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An erotic toy is any type of device or accessory used to stimulate erogenous zones and assist in achieving orgasm.
Erotic toys may be used by couples or as part of solo play. They are often shaped like human genitals, and may be penetrative or non-penetrative, vibrating or non-vibrating. They may be made from a range of different materials, including silicone rubber, glass, steel, velvet, or silver. Erotic toys can be purchased from erotic stores, online sex shops, and some vending machines.
An erotic toy may also be called a sex toy.
Erotic toys may be used during foreplay or sexual intercourse, depending on the toy. There are a wide range of erotic toys on the market, including vibrators, dildos, anal beads, Ben Wa balls, butt plugs, cock rings, nipple clamps, penis sleeves, cock harnesses and much more. Some erotic toys, such as vibrators, are more female-oriented, while others, like artificial vaginas, are designed with straight men in mind.
Many same-sex couples favor erotic toys designed to pleasure both participants at the same time. Double-ended dildos are popular choices for lesbians, for example, as they can be used for simultaneous vaginal or anal stimulation.
Some erotic toys have evolved over time to further enhance the pleasure of consumers. For example, vibrators were once simply phallus-shaped objects. Then rabbit vibrators, with distinct ear-like nubs designed to stimulate the clitoris and a shaft to provide internal pleasure, hit the market. Vibrating sex toys such as these have also come to feature different speeds and modes.
While erotic toys play a large part in satisfying sexual desire and the need for orgasm, some suggest that their greater purpose is to foster love and intimacy between couples and even within oneself during solo play.