“Variety's the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.”
The 6 Key Ingredients That Make a Great Sex Toy
—The Task by William Cowper
Every great recipe comes to life when key parts coming together in a perfect blend. Each spice, ingredient and cooking technique informs, influences and enhances the others. If you remove some of these ingredients, the final result just might not be as enjoyable as you’d hoped.
This same logic applies to sex toys! While pleasure devices may have been pretty basic in the past, our growing knowledge of, and appreciation for, different bodies and pleasure has lead to sex products becoming a multi-billiion dollar, widely accepted industry that helps people fulfil their sexual desires.
So, what dash of this and pinch of that makes a good, body-safe sex today that will please your sexual palate? Check out the 6 Key Ingredients That Make a Great Sex Toy.
Sex Toy Brand Reputation
Sex toys used to be a hidden pleasure. Not only were they much harder to find, through discreet mail order or in sketchy shops, but once we got them, we kept them stashed away when not in use. These days, things have changed. Some folks are proudly displaying their sex products. And more importantly, we’re talking about them. And we’re judging them!
In general, our sexual conversations have grown more public in recent years, and along with that has been the rise of sex toy bloggers. These fine folks are doing the hard work for all of us: testing out new sex products and giving reports on their performance, aesthetics, materials and more. These reviews help inform the public as well as give companies ideas on how to innovate and improve their products.
When you become curious about a sexy plaything you might want to drop some cold, hard cash on, do a search to see if it is getting good reviews and what the opinions are out there. As with all types of reviews, you may not necessarily agree with someone else’s opinion, and that’s okay. But sex toy reviews can help you make informed decisions. There are many brands carried by Lion's Den that frequently receive high marks among sex toy reviewers, including Dame, Fun Factory, and Lelo.
Body Safe Sex Toy Materials
One of the most valuable aspects of opening the sex toy conversation has been the drastic improvement in understanding what we put in or on our bodies—and how these materials affect our health. Much like the differences between fast food and a balanced diet, not all sex toys are created equal and you need to research what your sexy toys are made from before you play with them.
Like many other products in society, we didn’t fully understand that the mass-produced, cheap materials that our sex products are made from can be dangerous. Namely, they can be porous, meaning they will break down in microscopic ways, allowing harmful bacteria to become trapped in little crevices. That bacteria can then make its way inside you. Not super sexy sounding!
So, when you’re looking at sex toys, become aware of the materials they are made from. Here’s a handy reference:
Non-porous, body-safe materials
Silicone, stainless steel, glass, Pyrex, and ABS plastics
Jelly rubber, latex, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), TPR (thermoplastic rubber), TPE (thermoplastic elastomer)
Many sex toy companies have seen the need for body-safe products and have embraced these materials and practices. Check out the materials lists for We-Vibe Tango X, Tantus Acute Dildo, and the B-Vibe Anal Training and Education Kit. Reading labels isn’t just for grocery shopping any more!
Accessible Sex Toys
We’ve come around to understanding that sex is an important part of life for many people. But it is only in very recent years that “many people” also includes people of differing abilities who want to use and engage with sexual products. For far too long, sex toys have frequently been similarly shaped, making them difficult or even impossible for people with differing dexterity and motor ability concerns. Everyone deserves a seat at the table.
Just as any good cook knows, sometimes you need to introduce something new to broaden your flavor appeal. And this goes far beyond the typical cylindrical vibrators that are held at the base. The whole sex toy market has been positively disrupted by understanding that there are more accessible options out there for everyone.
For folks with penises, the Hot Octopuss Pulse III Duo is a revolutionary toy that provides hands-free penis pleasure. The Doxy Die Cast 3 Wand features large buttons that are more tactile and easier to find. The Liberator Wedge Plus Size has made a variety of sexual positions possible for those who need to balance pain and discomfort with their sexytimes.
Sex Toys for Every Body
We are experiencing a wonderful era where folks are truly discovering their bodies. A restaurant cannot survive offering the same meals over and over again. People’s tastes and palates change over time, so menus must adapt to appeal to patrons’ desires. As we explore and expand our understandings of sex, sexuality and gender, our pleasure products must do the same thing.
These days, dildos and vibrators that look like penises and strokers that look like vulva are not sufficient. Their appeal will lessen as folks break free from the strictly cis-normative ways of thinking about sex. Non-binary, trans and fluid folks need products that provide reflect how their bodies fit into sexual society. And these toys better perform!
Sure, some of those traditional models will work for some, but toys that don’t fall into stereotypical aesthetics and differing pleasure sensations, will be more attractive for more folks. The Crescendo Bendable Vibrator gives you and your partners the option of flexibility. The Tryst v2 Multi Erogenous Zone Massager offers different sensations for many different body parts. These types of toys bring so much to the table that they can’t be labelled. Just as you shouldn’t be!
Sextech and Functionality
Our sex toy cup runneth over! This is the golden age of sex toys and the cornucopia pleasure devices available to us is outstanding—and always expanding. Tuck in and enjoy the feast!
Whereas sex toy functionality used to be fairly limited to weak vibrations and dull shaft strokers, we can now explore sensation in all of its vast variety. Sex product companies are investing heavily in expanding our options. Invention and innovation are propelling sex toys forward at a pace hitherto unseen.
The new breeds of vibrators rumble from tickle to intense and masturbation sleeves that tease with a multitude of different textures. Tech-enabled toys can be controlled from across the planet. Fans of BDSM can find countless ties that bind and floggers that ouch. Ass play and prostate fun? The backdoor is the new foyer! Lube? We’re swimming in it. With each passing year, our wide array of sexual desires and needs are being increasingly met by new and innovative sexual products. What are you looking forward to next?
Sex Toy Price
Finally, in an ideal world, price wouldn’t be a factor in food or pleasure. And while "dirty" is often considered a good thing in a sexual sense, when it comes to sex toys, cheap is a dirty word. All too often a cheap price means a cheap product: poorly made, low quality material, or something that wears out way too quickly. Sexual satisfaction and personal fulfilment are crucial life factors for many people, however, they may be limited in their sexual pleasure by cost considerations when it comes to shopping for sexual products.
Sex toy companies have built a tremendous industry...but they have to buy the good materials, pay their people and get the word out to us, the customers. Since their products aren’t on end displays in big chain stores, their costs are high which means the price point is necessarily high too. It behooves customers to be smart and savvy when investing in a sex toy.
Here are some of the things you can do to save on sex toys and improve the sex toy marketplace in general:
Buy from reputable distributors and watch for deals including discount codes, free shipping and more.
Avoid mass shopping sites where cheap products are tempting, but are often inferior and made of non-body-safe materials.
Help your fellow shoppers out and leave reviews on the sites you like best—of the products and the site.
What sexual pleasure is on your plate tonight? Take a taste—all of these sexy ingredients are really coming together!
Jon Pressick is a sex-related media gadabout. For more than 20 years, Jon has been putting sex into our daily conversations at his long-running site SexInWords—as a writer, editor, publisher, sex toy reviewer, radio host, workshop facilitator, event producer and more. These days, he focuses on writing for Kinkly, GetMeGiddy, The Buzz and PinkPlayMags and editing Jason Armstrong's series of Solosexual books. You can find him on Twitter at @Sexinwords.