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So, you want to buy your first adult toy. Congratulations! Introducing adult toys into your play is a fantastic way of opening yourself up to whole new realms of pleasure. 

It’s still widely debated whether Victorian-era doctors used vibrators to treat hysteria in their female patients or if that’s just a myth. Myth or not, we can all agree that at the very least, vibrators – and sex toys in general – are perfect for scratching those late-night itches, experimenting with your own pleasure or even for taking things up a notch with a partner.

While you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the plethora of options out there, we’re here to walk you through the most crucial steps of buying your sex toy, from start to your toe-curling finish (and even the recommended aftercare).

  • Choose the Right Materials

You can easily narrow down your search by being diligent when considering what materials your toys are made from, particularly with regards to their chemical makeup. Some chemicals, mostly found in cheap or bootlegged toys, can be unsafe for your body. The most common unsafe chemical found in sex toys is phthalates – they’re usually found in jelly-like toys, since the chemicals bind to add flexibility to hard plastic. An exposure to phthalates has been linked to many health risks, including male infertility, asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and plenty more.

Thankfully, stores like HotCherry ensure that all the products on their site are free of phthalates – yes, even if your toy of choice is a real looking dildo!

That said, just because a sex toy package states that its elements are “phthalate-free”, they could still contain materials that are unsafe – that’s why it’s vital that you read the ingredients listed on the packaging. Be on the lookout for negative chemicals that can be found in sex toys such as timethytin chloride, phenol, carbon disulfide, toluene, and cadmium – all of which could affect the fetus of a person who is pregnant or breastfeeding, and have harmful effects on the central nervous system.

A great way of seeing if there may be some unsafe materials at play is by doing a smell test. When you’re looking for a toy or get a new one in the mail, open it up and give it a big sniff. A strong smell is a solid indicator that cheap, unsafe materials were used to make the product, and a sign that you should return it.

  • Take Your Time Browsing

Once you’ve done the more tedious work, it’s time for the fun part: choosing the right sex toy for you. Start by considering what kind of pleasure you enjoy the most – is it anal, oral, penetrative, external rubbing? 

The first toy you add to your sexual repertoire should be something that simply complements what you usually do in sex or with your hands, and wouldn’t require a significant change in your routine. If you’re introducing a sex toy into your solo play for the very first time, you likely won’t want something large or overly complex.

For example, if you go wild for variety in your clitoral stimulation, a bullet vibe might be the perfect little gadget to launch your collection with. If prostate play is your cup of tea, then a simple prostate massager might be ideal. 

The great part of sex toys is that they open the possibilities of sensations that may not be otherwise attainable without them – you do only have two hands…and way more erogenous zones than that. So, don’t be afraid to reach for a toy that comes in a strange shape or bright color if it delivers the pleasure you seek. If you just want something to mimic traditional sex, you can browse the wide variety of pocket pussies and dildos available out there – they tend to come in all shapes, sizes and colors. 

If you’re really lost about finding the right sex toy for you, browse around a sex toy shop and see what excites you. Once you have your toy, get a good feel of it before putting it to use. Figure out all the vibration patterns, modes and special features it offers, if any. By practicing on your own and knowing how to use your toy, you can avoid any mishaps while in action, such as hitting the off button when you meant to press the boost button…right as you were on the verge of orgasm.

  • Do A Post-Play Check-In With Yourself

After using your sex toy, it’s important for you to pay attention to how you feel – what you enjoyed, what you liked a bit less, whether it wasn’t the right toy for you at all, or whether you want to take it even further and size up or get a more expensive version. 

However, if it didn’t go well the first time, try not to be so hard on yourself or the toy. Just like any kind of sexual activity, practice makes perfect, and it takes time to master how to incorporate the toy into your play. Experiment with different positions, different ways of using the toy, and lather on a good lubricant or arousal oil for added support. Eventually, you will crack the code on what feels good.

  • Don’t Forget to Clean Your Toys

Finally, keeping your toys clean is an essential aspect to sexual health. Just about all reusable toys will clean thoroughly with warm water and soap or a gentle toy cleaner. Make sure you are doing this before and after every use, while avoiding areas that aren’t waterproof such as a remote control or unsealed battery case. You can usually find the manufacturer’s instructions on washing the toy in the box, so always try and follow them carefully.

You should also be cleaning your products when moving from one part of the body to the other, such as the mouth, vagina or anus to prevent bacteria from being transmitted that way. Washing your sex toys isn’t only important for sexual health, but also for the maintenance of your toys. Remember: safe sex is good sex – even when it’s just you and your toys!