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What are the different types of sex toys?

There are thousands of different sex toys out there. Some of the most common ones include: 

  • Vibrators (aka vibes, personal massagers) — Objects that vibrate (move continuously/buzz) to stimulate your genitals. It’s very common for people to use vibrators to stimulate their clitoris and other parts of their vulva and vagina. But vibrators can also stimulate the penis, scrotum and testicles, nipples, and anus. Vibrators come in all shapes and sizes. Some can go inside a vagina or anus, and others are meant to be used outside the body.
  • Dildos — Objects that go inside a vagina, anus, or mouth. Dildos come in many shapes and sizes, but they’re often shaped similarly to a penis. Some look like realistic penises, and others are more abstract. They can also be slightly curved, to help stimulate your g-spot or prostate. Dildos can be made out of lots of different materials, like silicone, rubber, plastic, metal, or, break-resistant glass.
  • Anal toys — Sex toys made specifically to stimulate and/or go inside your anus. Anal toys include plugs (usually called butt plugs), anal beads, prostate massagers, and dildos with a wide base. You need to use lube to use anal toys safely. And it’s very important that any toy you put in your butt has a flared base (meaning it’s wider at the bottom) or some other way to pull the toy out, so it can’t accidentally slip all the way in. If a sex toy goes all the way inside your butt, it could get stuck and you may have to go to the doctor to get it out.
  • Sleeves (aka masturbation sleeves, penis sleeves, or strokers) — Soft tubes that you put your penis into. Sleeves come in all shapes and sizes, and often have different textures on the inside for more sensation. Some even have vibration or suction. There are also strokers that are specially designed for a larger clitoris or smaller penis, particularly for intersex people or trans men on hormone therapy.
  • Penis rings (aka cock rings, erectile dysfunction rings, or constriction rings) —  rings that go around your scrotum and/or penis. Penis rings slow blood flow out of the penis when it’s erect (hard), which can increase sensation, or make your erection harder and longer-lasting. The safest penis rings are made from soft, flexible materials that you can easily remove, like silicone, rubber, or leather with snaps. Some penis rings have little vibrators on them, to stimulate you and/or your partner. Because penis rings restrict your blood flow, don’t wear one for longer than 10-30 minutes, and take it off right away if you feel any pain or discomfort. And talk to your nurse or doctor before using penis rings if you have a bleeding disorder or are on blood-thinning medicine.
  • Pumps (aka penis pumps, vacuum pumps, or vacuum erection pumps) — Vacuum-like devices that use a hand or battery-powered pump to create suction around your penis, clitoris, vulva, or nipples. Pumps drive blood flow to the area, which helps increase sensitivity and sensation. Some people also like the feeling of the suction. Penis pumps can help you get an erection, but they won’t make your penis permanently bigger. Some pumps are designed to help treat erectile dysfunction, genital arousal disorder, and orgasm disorder — you can get more information about these pumps from a nurse or doctor, like the ones at your local Planned Parenthood health center. But most of the pumps you buy in sex stores or adult shops are not medical devices, they’re just meant to enhance pleasure during sex and masturbation. Make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging, and don’t pump for longer than the instructions say. And talk to your doctor before using a pump if you have a blood disorder, or are on blood-thinning medication.
  • Ben Wa balls (aka Kegel balls, Kegel trainers, vagina balls, orgasm balls) — Round objects that you put inside your vagina. They can help you do exercises that tone and strengthen your Kegel muscles. Kegel balls are usually weighted so you have to squeeze your vagina to keep them inside your body. Some are hollow with smaller balls inside that roll and bounce when you move, making a jiggling sensation. You don’t need these balls to do Kegel exercises, and not everyone uses them for that purpose — many people just like the way they feel inside their vagina.
  • Packers (aka prosthetics) — objects that look and feel like a realistic penis (usually soft) that create a “bulge” in your underwear or clothes. Some packers also let you pee standing up (called stand-to-pee or STP packers). Many trans, genderqueer, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people use packers to help affirm or express their gender identity. Like with anyone’s genitals, packers aren’t always sexual or used for sex. But some packers can be worn bent down or sticking up, so they can resemble both an erect (hard) and non-erect (soft) penis and can be used for sex.
  • Harnesses (aka straps or strap-on harnesses) — garments that hold a packer, dildo, or other sex toy against your body. Some are worn like underwear or jock straps, and others may go around other parts of your body, like your thigh.

There are so many different kinds of sex toys and ways to use them that figuring out where to start can feel a little overwhelming. Going to a sex toy shop and asking someone who works there about different products can be a great way to learn more about sex toys and what might work well for you. You can also just try something that seems interesting and go from there. Or you may decide sex toys aren’t for you, and that’s totally OK too. The point is that there are lots of options for different bodies and different kinds of sex — so no matter who you are or what kinds of sex you have, sex toys can be an option for you.

What are the different types of sex toys?

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