Whether you are a seasoned professional or newer to the world of sex toys and pleasure aides, make sure you bookmark this blog post. This blog will introduce you to the top ten types of sex toys for women and vulva-owners and also give you recommendations for each type that is body-safe and Rythm-approved.
When you’re shopping for a new sex toy, you should consider your price point, the kind of stimulation you are looking for, whether you prefer battery-operated or rechargeable devices, and the safety of the toy. While the first few are personal preferences, Rythm has your back regarding toy safety.
When researching and purchasing toys, it’s crucial to keep in mind that not all sex toys and pleasure products on the market are safe or healthy for your body… and their manufacturers don’t have to tell you if this is the case. Rythm takes out the guesswork of buying sex toys because we only recommend toys from certified safe retailers and toys that are made from 100% body-safe materials. At Rythm, we are very picky about what products we recommend and sell. Products must be made from nonporous materials such as 100% medical-grade silicone, ABS plastic, borosilicate glass, stone, and/or stainless steel. They also must be free of common toy toxins such as PVC, trimethyl tin chloride, pilates, toluene, phthalates, and rubber.
Toys are listed starting from the ones that are most commonly for “beginner” users of sex toys and progress from there. These levels are based on what people often buy, the strength of stimulation, and the complexity of the toy, but use your judgment to find out what’s best for you!
1. Bullet Vibrators
A common starting place for a lot of vulva owners is a bullet vibrator for external (ex: clitoral or nipple) stimulation. They are compact (usually about the size of a lipstick or lip gloss tube), can be quite powerful for their size, and come in many varieties. They are often discreet, easy to travel with, and can even be worn as jewelry.
Look for toys like the Dame Zee Bullet Vibrator ($30).
2. Classic External Vibrators
Users can get creative with external vibes, but they are particularly nice for those looking for stimulation on the clitoris, vulva, and/or nipples.
An external vibrator is a broader category than bullet vibrators, coming in a much larger variety of sizes, colors, and materials, and some even have features that make them high-tech “smart” sex toys.
Wands are for those who love strong sensations and are not intimidated by the powerful presence of a toy.
Wand Toys originally came onto the market as “body massagers,” but quickly evolved into tools for extremely powerful pleasure. You might even remember Magic Wands being featured in Sex and the City, for example, in the iconic scene where Samantha tells Charlotte “I’m masturbating. I told you I’d be doing that all day today.”
In the 1970s in the US, sexual liberation became more mainstream, and clitoral pleasure was more frequently discussed through women’s consciousness-raising groups. The repurposing of these ‘massagers for sore muscles’ as sex toys became the earliest clitoral pleasure phenomenon. Women were discovering clitoral stimulation, as opposed to focusing solely on penetration, and the Hitachi Magic Wand (that they already had in their medicine cabinets) opened up a new world of pleasure possibilities. They are still, however, great for massaging sore muscles!
4. Suction & Air Pulse Toys
Suction and air pulse toys are best for those seeking stimulation concentrated heavily on the clitoris (or nipples).
These toys came onto the market within the last few years and quickly gained popularity and a reputation for being a quick, easy, and efficient way to reach orgasm. The suction area is placed on the clitoris or nipple and some say it mimics the feeling of oral sex.
Look for toys like the Satisfyer 1 ($49) or Dame Aer ($95).
People who are very sensitive to vibrations and/or those who enjoy internal stimulation might like dildos. They can always be paired with another toy (like a clitoral vibe).
Dildos are used for internal stimulation, whether that’s in the mouth, vagina, or anus, and come in every shape, size, color, and composition you could imagine. Common (and safe) materials include medical-grade silicone, metal, and glass. When buying a dildo, consider how phallic you want it to look (or, how ‘realistic’ you want it to look) – some websites categorize their dildos into categories like the following: representational, semi-representational, non-representational, and double-sided. Representational dildos look most like real penises and are made of materials that mimic skin. Alternatively, non-representational dildos will look the least like real penises.
For a non-representational dildo, look for toys like the Paris Silicone Dildo ($34.95) and for a more realistic-looking dildo, look for something like the Phoenix Realistic Silicone Dildo ($39.95). Other great dildos include the Glass G Spotter Sex Kitten ($29.95), Glass Dildo Superior Chrystalino ($39.99), and the Forte Dil by Crave ($53.99).
6. G-Spot Stimulator
G-Spot Stimulators are ideal for those who prioritize internal and G-spot stimulation. Though it isn’t true for everyone, for some, G-spot stimulators promote squirting (if that is something you are interested in).
7. Strap-on (“straps”)
Strap-ons are commonly used for pegging or when neither partner (or none of the sexual participants) has a penis, but there is interest in participating in vaginal or anal penetration.
A strap-on often consists of a harness and a dildo that is placed in that harness and can also provide stimulation to the person wearing the harness.
Look for dildos that are ‘harness compatible’ (meaning they fit into a harness and won’t fall out). There are a few types of harnesses: jockstrap harnesses (like Joque Harness, $119.99), boxer-style harnesses (like Rodeoh Black Boxer + Harness, $49.99), brief style harnesses (Rodeoh Black and Red Brief + Harness, $49.99), and strappy harnesses (like the Leather Regimental Harness, $84.99). For a wide variety of sizing, check out harnesses from Wet for Her by Women. An example of a dildo with a wider base that is harness compatible is Dildolls by Lovely Planet ($39.99).
8. Rabbits (Dual Stimulation)
Rabbits are built for the people who want it all – clitoral and internal stimulation. Why settle for any less?
Rabbits have an insertable portion and another portion that provides stimulation to the clitoris while it is inserted. There’s a wide variety of options for sizes, shapes, colors, and styles. They are called rabbit toys because they often appear to have ‘bunny ears’ for clitoral stimulators – this serves to stimulate the clitoris from both sides so as not to overstimulate.
Look for toys like the Ocean Rabbit Vibrator ($34.99) or the Lady Bi Rabbit Vibrator ($159.99).
9. Hands-free, Bluetooth, & Long-Distance
This genre of toy is perfect for long-distance couples, people with mobility differences, people with larger bodies, and anyone who wants their hands free to multitask.
These “smart” toys are incredible technological advancements to foster intimacy building and partner connection over long distances (even from halfway across the country or world). Bluetooth and remote-controlled toys are also great for people with mobility differences! These are more “advanced” on this list because they can come with a hefty price tag and the technology may not be easily operated or accessible for everyone.
Anal toys and trainers are for those interested in anal play… simple as that!
According to a 2017 survey done by Skyn Condoms, more than one-third of millennial females have anal sex and 15% of millennial men have anal sex “at least some of the time.” Anal play has become more and more normalized and with that, there have been great developments in safety and education for anal toys. There are two key pieces of information that you need for anal play. The first is that the anal cavity is not self-lubricating (where a vagina is) – dryness during anal play can result in fissures (tears in the tissue), severe irritation, irritation and/or damage to hemorrhoids, and is likely to cause pain. Plus, these injuries to the tissue actually make you more susceptible to contracting STIs. Second, anything that is inserted anally must have a flared base, otherwise, it may be ‘sucked’ up into the anal cavity and require medical attention.
There are many types of anal toys (beads, plugs, vibes, etc.), but no matter what you are using (even if it’s your finger or another body part), there’s a fair bit of preparation that should come before anal play, called “anal training.”
For anal training, look for toys like Dr. Sherry’s They-ology™ Wearable Anal Trainer ($75.99). Always use lubricant for anal play (Sutil Rich Lubricant by Hathor Aphrodisia is compatible with silicone toys and is $16.99 for two fluid ounces).
Gillian ‘Gigi’ Singer, MPH
American Board Certified Sexologist, Sexuality Educator, and Sex Ed Content Specialist