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5 Things to Know When the (So-Called) Best Sex Toy Doesn't Work for You

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Published: APRIL 24, 2017 | Updated: APRIL 23, 2020
Even the "best" sex toys are prone to disappoint. Here are 5 things you should know if it happens to you.

Over the weekend I saw a tweet from a colleague that made me feel all the feelings. They described themselves as “having a mini crisis” because of their inability to orgasm with a very popular vibrator. I know that feeling well! The sex toy industry is full of wonderful products and the sex blogging and writing industry is full of excellent writing about those products. Over time you become very aware of which products are regarded as the “best,” the must-haves, and the beloved toys that no one ever speaks ill of. When one of those products doesn’t work for you, it’s easy to feel like you must be at fault. If that’s the case for my colleagues and I, I can only imagine what it must be like for people who don’t constantly discuss all things sex like we do. That's why I want to talk about it! When you’ve done your research, figured out which sex toy is considered the “best,” plunked down your hard-earned money to buy it, and don’t enjoy it, what next? Well, here are five things you should know when the “best” toy doesn’t work for you:

1. It’s Not Your Fault.

Our society is not open enough about sex. Consequently, people often think “everyone” is doing it more and better and that any mishaps must indicate a flaw that lies with them. Add to this the trust we put in people with websites who write about sex and the unfortunate habit of writers to label things they like as “the best.” When a bunch of people who seem to know more than you call their favorite products “The Best of the Year” (when they are actually just that person’s favorite) and the same product earns that distinction from several other people, it’s easy to think the people who know about sex stuff must be right and you must be doing something wrong. This is not the case. Nothing works for everyone.

Read: 10 Basic Sex Toys You Should Know - and Try!


2. Even Sex Writers Have This Experience.

I mentioned my colleague above and how I know that feeling all too well. I had the exact same experience with the exact same toy. I was thrilled to be able to relate to them about it. Additionally, I’ve spent YEARS listening to hoards of sex writers swoon over a certain G-spot vibrator that couldn’t make me orgasm even if Idris Elba used it on me it while Ryan Gosling stroked my hair. One of my site’s most popular posts is about how a toy that set the industry on fire last year does nothing at all for me and folks often get to my site by searching “Why doesn’t the ______ work for me?” You are not alone. I make my living talking about all the sex and this happens to me. Often.

3. A Sex Toy You Hate May Help You Find One You Love!

The sex toy my colleague referred to in their tweet is very strong, but very small. Four years ago, when I realized it didn’t work for me, I figured out that I needed my toys to cover more surface area - small toys can’t do that. Another time, I had a sex toy that didn’t work for me, even though one of a very similar size and shape did. The difference? One had buzzy vibrations (very surface-y) while the other was rumbly. Notice what it is that you don’t like about a particular sex toy. When you are using it, what do you find yourself wishing was happening instead? It’s like the sex toy equivalent of kissing a couple of frogs before you find your royal match!

4. You Deserve a Toy That's the Best for You.

Even as adults it can feel challenging to swim against the tide. When we hear a lot of folks talking about something being amazing and it seems like everyone loves it, it can feel weird to go off in search of some other (possibly obscure) thing that works for you. In the end, you are spending your hard-earned money and putting your pleasure on the line. You deserve to enjoy the hell out of every toy you own


5. There’s No Such Thing as the “Best” Sex Toy.

There are many well-made sex toys. There may even be a sex toy out there that is objectively the best-quality product on the market. Yet, when it comes to ability to get people off, there is no single “best.” Our bodies are all different and what we each need from toys is going to be different. Unfortunately, even in “sex positive” communities this idea isn’t always embraced and admitting that the favorite toy, the one everyone runs out and gets when they start exploring, does nothing for you is sometimes greeted with skepticism and derision. But now you know better. In sex toys, there isn't a “best.” There’s only what’s best for you and that’s what you deserve!

Photo for JoEllen Notte
JoEllen Notte

JoEllen is a writer, speaker, researcher and mental health advocate whose work explores the impact of depression on sex and relationships. Since 2012 she has written about sex, mental health, and how none of us are broken on her award-winning site The Redhead Bedhead.

JoEllen's book The Monster Under the Bed: Sex, Depression & The Conversation We Aren’t Having is now available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

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