So, you want to buy someone special a sex toy for a gift. Maybe it’s a toy you’ve discussed and researched, or maybe it’s a surprise - the recipient has no idea what you have in store. No matter the reason, if you want to get the right toy for the right person, you have to follow a few guidelines. Here's are 10 of my top tips for buying a sex toy as a gift.

Be Practical

First thing's first: There’s no need to go overboard when buying sex toys, especially for first-time buyers. It’s better to buy one quality sex toy that you think a person will love than it is to buy an array of mediocre, cheap toys that, let's face it, just don't do sex toys justice. Start with a well-reviewed company and work up from there when deciding the specifics. (Check out top sex toy reviewers in our Sex Blogger Directory.)


Be Safe

The sex toy industry is not federally regulated, so it's important that you do your homework to understand which toy materials are safe. Some examples of safe materials include glass, metal, silicone and hard plastic. If you aren't sure, try a smell test: If the toy smells like chemicals, it probably isn't safe. Aspects such as the presence of phthalates and the porousness of the toy ought to be on your radar as well. (Learn more in Sex Toy Safety: A Guide to Materials.)


Be Observant

Think about what your partner loves sexually. Do they like clitoral stimulation? Anal sex? Bondage? When you think about the successful aspects of sex, there are products that might really enhance the acts you know a person already loves. For example, if your lover gets off on G-spot stimulation, you might want to buy a G-spot dildo or vibrator.


Be Creative

Don’t be afraid to up the ante - at least after you know what the hard limits are. That way you can go for fun toys that the person might never think to buy. Say, for example, that your partner likes nipple play but abhors the idea of nipple torture. In that case, a set of nipple charms, vibrators or tassels might be appropriate, whereas nipple clamps, presses or clothes pins might be too extreme. (Learn more about nipple clamps in 5 Steps for Choosing Nipple Clamps.)


Be Realistic

While it can pay to be creative, it can also backfire if you get too caught up by your own fantasies. If your partner loves penetration but doesn't even own a sex toy yet, a custom-made sex machine might be a little over the top. Sometimes less is more.


Be Thoughtful

Choosing a toy can be a daunting task, especially when it is for someone else. If you have a few ideas of what that person likes, those details can go a long way. Maybe you can pick a cock ring in his favorite color, or buy an erotica book about firemen, because you yourself are one. If your partner isn't experienced with sex toys, start subtle and start small.


Be Respectful

People’s openness about sexuality varies a ton. Their willingness to experiment tends to be on the same spectrum, so be willing to meet them where they are - not where you want them to be. If you are both new to sex toys, perhaps part of the gift shopping will include both of you. Make a date to visit a toy store that has educators as staff, so you can both learn new things together. Then, you can either get your partner a gift card for their favorite store, or have them make a pre-approved list of toys they'd like as gifts. (Read more about how to approach using a sex toy with a partner for the first time in How Sex Toys Can Help You Play Nice With a Partner.)


Be Economical

Some of the best sex toy sales occur during holiday weekends, or on the days leading up to the holiday (Valentine's day included!). Checking local stores or different websites can give you an idea of what the deals look like. Ranging from free lubricant with a purchase to free shipping, to a percentages off products, there are many great deals out there. When you shop through the links on your favorite blog, that person earns commission too. That means you can even give back while you get off.


Be Selfless

When people are given sex toys as gifts, there’s an implicit expectation of sharing the sexual experience of the toys with the person who bought them in the first place. If your partner wants to do that, great. Just don't assume you have any right to apply pressure simply because you got them a sexual gift. Let them have their privacy to learn more about themselves and what they like. Giving others space to simply have pleasure can be the best gift you ever give.


Be Silly

It’s easy, especially for sex geeks, to get caught up in taking sex toys too seriously. They are toys. These toys are meant to supplement or enhance, intrigue or inspire. Sex toys are not replacements for people, or intimacy. They're for fun, learning and a little adventure - either alone or with a partner. So let loose when you're choosing them - and when you're playing with them.