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Dildo

Updated: MAY 26, 2021
Reviewed by Dr. Sunny Rodgers

A dildo is a sex toy, usually unpowered, that is most commonly phallic-shaped. Dildos penetrate the vagina or anus during masturbation, foreplay, and sex.

Dildos are the oldest sex toy on the planet. It’s believed people used the first dildos roughly 30,000 years ago. Modern dildos are now commonly made of latex, plastic, silicone, wood, glass, and metal.


Dildos can provide a more realistic sex toy experience than vibrators, as they are phallic-shaped and mostly not powered, although vibrating dildos are also available. Many styles also look and feel more like real penises. There are even squirting dildos that you can fill with liquid.


The realism of all these dildos can be very satisfying for the user. However, there are also dildos that are more "unnatural" or "fantasy styled" for people looking for something different. Brightly-colored dildos can be fun--there are even dragon dildos if you want to try something really different!


Dildos made from materials such as metal and glass provide a very different sensory experience than a penis does. No matter what material your dildo is made from, use it with a high-quality personal lubricant to help make insertion easier and more pleasurable.


Just like real penises, dildos come in a range of different lengths and girths. It’s a good idea to experiment with different sizes to see what feels best for you. Some people love a large dildo, while others find inserting them unpleasant. Many people start with a small dildo and graduate to larger dildos when they feel more comfortable.


If you’re interested in anal penetration, try a special anal dildo. These are often narrower and curved slightly for easier insertion. Anything you are inserting anally must have a wide, flared base to ensure part of the toy stays securely outside of your body. If you’re unsure of the size you need, consider an inflatable dildo. You can pump these sex toys up to your preferred size after insertion.


Some dildos also come with harnesses that go around a partner's waist. Known as strap-ons, they allow people without penises to penetrate their partners. There are also strap-ons that come with a hollow dildo that slips over the wearer's penis as a sleeve or extender to enhance the natural size or firmness of an erection.


Dildos with suction cups at one end can be stuck to smooth surfaces, such as bathtubs and walls. These dildos suit hands-free play on your own or with a partner.


Perhaps you're wondering about the difference between the terms dildo and dong. As previously mentioned, most dildos are phallic-shaped with bases and/or testicles, whereas dongs can also be shaped like realistic penis shafts, but they have no base. Dongs also can be double-ended. Double-ended dildos suit double-penetration during masturbation or partner sex.

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More About Dildo

Many people love dildos because they can provide a satisfying, safer, and uncomplicated alternative to penetrative sex. Using a dildo can be a great stop-gap measure for people who aren’t having sex. They can also complement sex in a relationship, whether people play with them on their own or with their intimate partner.

People can control the depth, angle, and pace of penetration with a dildo if they are inserting it themselves. Alternatively, they can hand the dildo to a partner and let them take control. When they’re maintained and sterilized correctly, using a dildo carries a limited risk of disease, but using a condom can provide additional protection.

Using a dildo can be a great way to get in touch with your own sexuality. It can even strengthen the PC muscles of your pelvic floor, which may lead to stronger orgasms.

While penetration with a dildo may feel pleasurable on its own, many people, especially people with vulvas, need further stimulation to orgasm. Try massaging the clitoris with fingers or a bullet vibrator while using a dildo to create faster and more intense climaxes.

If your dildo is waterproof, you can heat it to make it feel more like a warm penis. Pouring hot water over a dildo will make it warm. If you want it a little hotter, boil a dildo in a pot of water (be sure to check with the manufacturer to ensure it is safe to do this!). As an added bonus, this technique helps sterilize the dildo.

You can also cool dildos down in the fridge for a different type of sensation. Certain materials will absorb and hold the heat or cold temperatures better than others. Consider your dildos' materials carefully, as some heating and cooling techniques will not work for every dildo. For example, boiling a wooden dildo will cause warping, as this porous material will absorb water during soaking.

Dildos can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria if they’re not maintained properly. You can clean most dildos with warm water and sex toy spray or liquid antibacterial soap. Most manufacturers recommend washing dildos thoroughly before and after each use. If you use your dildos for anal penetration, you should also wash them thoroughly before trying any vaginal penetration. You can also sterilize glass and medical-grade silicone dildos in the top rack of the dishwasher. Store your dildos in their original packaging or wrap them in a lint-free cloth when they're not in use.

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