There are multiple routes to O-town, and plenty of tools to help you get there. But if you’re new to the wondrous world of sex toys, or are simply looking to test out a new variety, how do you know what to look for?

Your first stop: Making sure the toy you’re interested in is made of body-safe materials. These include: medical-grade silicone, stainless steel, glass, and ABS plastic, says Dr. Karen Toubi, a board-certified OB-GYN in Beverly Hills. “Avoid materials like jelly, PVC, and rubber as they can contain harmful chemicals,” she adds.

Next, look at specific features, including size, shape, vibration settings, noise level, and power source. Is the toy battery-powered or rechargeable? Does it require a power cord? If you want your toy to last a long time, rechargeable is probably the way to go. “Rechargeable toys are usually more convenient and cost-effective in the long run,” says Dr. Toubi.

The type of stimulation you prefer will help narrow down your options, too. Are you interested in clitoral stimulation? Consider a bullet or wand vibrator. Penetration way more up your alley (pun intended)? Opt for a dildo or G-spot vibrator. Want the best of both worlds? A rabbit vibe may be your best bet. And if the only place you ever get privacy is the bathroom or your bedroom, you might want to invest in something waterproof and quiet.

Okay, so maybe you already know what you want, but where do you shop? Two words: trusted sex toy retailers, like Lovehoney and Babeland. “The FDA doesn’t regulate sex toys that don’t fall under the umbrella of ‘medical device,’ which means that the phrase ‘body-safe’ isn’t always used in an honest way on third-party sites,” says Babeland’s marketing director Lisa Finn. For trusted sex toy retailers, that phrase is used to identify toy materials that are phthalate-free and can safely be used for their intended purpose, Finn explains.

So if you happen to stumble upon a “dupe” with a price too good to be true, it probably is. Using a toy that’s made of a non-body-safe material can cause irritation or infection, says Finn. Not to mention, vibrations from cheaply-made motors can create friction and that friction can cause toys to malfunction, overheat, and even catch fire, Finn adds. (No, seriously, it’s happened!)

In short, opt for the good stuff. Not only are higher-quality materials safer, but they’ll also last you much longer, are easier to clean, and feel velvety against your skin, says Finn. Plus, they often come with warranties, so if your vibrator suddenly stops working, at least you’ll be satisfied knowing you’ll get a replacement.

Meet the Experts: Dr. Karen Toubi is a board-certified OB-GYN specializing in women’s sexual health. She’s based in Beverly Hills, California.

Lisa Finn is a sex educator and the marketing director at Babeland.

Donna Oriowo, PhD, is an AASECT-certified sex therapist and founder of AnnodRight.

Oh, and you can’t talk about sex toys without mentioning lube. ICYDK, there are three main types of lubricant: water, silicone, and oil.

  • Water-based lube: This is the “universal” lube type, meaning it’s compatible with most sex toy materials, including silicone and ABS plastics, says Dr. Toubi. These lubes are also safe to use with condoms and dental dams, adds Finn. However, they absorb into the skin quickly, so you may need to reapply often during play.
  • Silicone-based lube: This is the slickest, most long-lasting option. They work with latex condoms, but they aren’t compatible with silicone toys, says certified sex therapist Donna Oriowo, PhD.
  • Oil-based lube: This type of lube is long-lasting and often derived from natural ingredients, making it a great option for those with sensitive skin. These lubes also work with metal, glass, and silicone toys, says Finn. However, they aren’t compatible with most condoms and are hard to clean off, says Oriowo.

Now, with all of that in mind, keep reading for a how-to guide on the most popular sex toys on the market, including how to use them and how to best care for your feel-good gadgets so they continue working for years to come (wink-wink).

Want some more tips for buying sex toys? Or just watch to see clueless people play with some popular toys for your entertainment:

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Dildo

Let’s start off with a classic: the dildo. “Dildos are insertable toys designed for penetrative play,” says Finn. They can be used for vaginal sex, anal sex, and oral play. And while they’re often marketed as partnered play toys, they can be used solo or even to affirm one’s gender, Finn explains. Dildos come in different sizes and shapes, and the size you go for will depend on personal preference, says Oriowo. Oh, and there are a ton of different types—Finn listed at least eight! These include: strap-on dildos, hand-held dildos, G-spot dildos, double dildos, strapless strap-ons, anal-friendly dildos—a.k.a. a dildo with a flared based and smooth shaft, ideal for pegging—realistic dildos, and pack-and-play dildos.

How To Use This Toy: To use a dildo, you’ll first want to apply a generous amount of lubricant on the toy and on your genitals. Then, gradually insert the toy for vaginal or anal penetration, says Dr. Toubi. And if you’re using a strap-on dildo, make sure it’s securely strapped in the harness. The harness itself should be tight enough that it stays in place, but loose enough that you don’t risk cutting off any circulation, says Oriowo.

How To Care For This Toy: Repeat after me: Always clean your toys before and after use. For most dildos, mild soap and warm water should do the trick, says Dr. Toubi. But some require dedicated toy cleaners, so just be sure to read up on your toy’s instructions. If your dildo doesn’t have a motor, it’s most likely okay to submerge it in water, which will provide a deeper clean, says Oriowo. After washing, pat dry, and ideally store it in a cloth or silk bag, similar to the bags some purses come in, says Oriowo. This will keep dust off it.

Bullet Vibrator

Bullet vibrators are designed for clitoral stimulation, but they can also be used on other external erogenous zones such as the nipples and along the shaft of a penis, says Finn. They’re called bullets because of their small size and shape that resemble, you guessed it, a bullet. “Bullet vibes give a very precise and pinpointed stimulation, and that concentrated vibration can feel intense despite the small body of the toy,” explains Finn. Their vibration is best-described as “buzzy” versus the “rumbly” sensations of other, bigger toys. Palm vibrators, which are often pebble shaped and cover more surface area, and lipstick vibrators, which are bullet vibes disguised as a tube of lipstick, also fall into this category.

How To Use This Toy: After turning the toy on, find a vibration speed that works best for you then place it on the body part you’re looking to stimulate, whether that’s the clit, nipples, or elsewhere. You can also use a bullet around your anus, says Oriowo. Just be careful not to insert it because it will get stuck up your butt (cue an awkward trip to the ER). Pro tip: Change the general tempo of your vibe from time to time. This way, your body doesn’t get used to one way of achieving orgasm and you’re also keeping things fresh, Oriowo notes.

How To Care For This Toy: It depends on the bullet. Some bullets are single-use and if that’s the case for yours, then you can just throw it away, says Oriowo. If it’s not, then your best bet is to clean it using a cleansing spray made of mild soap and warm water, she explains. Unless it’s submersible, then you can just clean it in the shower or sink. After washing, pat dry, and st

Wand Vibrator

The wand vibrator is the Cadillac of sex toys—at least, according to Oriowo. But in all seriousness, owning a Hitachi Magic Wand is a right of passage—it’s the wand that started it all. Generally speaking, “wand vibrators are another type of external vibe,” says Finn. “[They’re] almost microphone-shaped, and defined by a handle topped with a rounded vibrating head.” Wand vibes are loved for their power—a long handle means room for a bigger motor—and are the perfect choice for someone who likes strong, rumbly sensation, per Finn.

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Fun fact: Wand vibrators “were originally marketed as back massagers, but very quickly gained popularity as pleasure tools after sex educator and feminist Betty Dodson featured the original Magic Wand in her Bodysex Workshops,” says Finn. The more you know!

How To Use This Toy: You can use these sex toys against the clitoris and vulva, against the perineum or taint to stimulate the root of the penis, and nipples, to name a few options, per Finn. Some folks like to place this vibe directly on their clit, but others feel the direct sensations are too intense and require something between them and the wand, such as clothing, says Oriowo. Wand vibrators are a great addition to partnered sex, but can be bulky if there’s a penetrating partner, Oriowo adds. A bullet might be a better option when getting to those hard to reach areas.

Lastly, you can actually use it as a classic back massager if you’re looking to work out some kinks, says Finn. Get it?

How To Care For This Toy: If your wand is fully submersible then feel free to clean as you would other water-resistant toys, says Oriowo. But if it’s not, like most wand vibes, then your best bet is to just clean the head—the part actually touching your body—with a damp cloth or toy cleaner, says Dr. Toubi.

Clitoral Suction Toy

If you, too, were inundated with TikToks featuring the rose vibrator on your FYP, then you may be eligible for financial compensation already be familiar with this one. Clitoral suction toys are designed with “an opening that surrounds the head of the clitoris and creates a sensation that mimics the feeling of sucking, like during oral sex,” says Finn. These toys trap air around the clit and use the movement and pulsation of that air to provide focused, contained stimulation to the targeted areas, Finn adds. For this reason, it’s great to pair with other forms of stimulation, like penetrative play

How To Use This Toy: Place the nozzle around the clitoris, creating a seal, before turning it on, explains Dr. Toubi. When first experimenting with your toy, start on a low setting and work your way up until you find a vibration pattern and speed that works for you, says Oriowo. And while these toys are designed to stimulate the clitoris, they can also provide pleasure to other parts of the body, such as the nipples, Oriowo adds. Psst, if you like the sensation of your nipples being sucked, you’ll want to try that out with this toy.

How To Care For This Toy: Because this toy has a nozzle, it requires an additional cleaning step. To really get in there, some people recommend using a Q-tip, says Oriowo. Simply spray the end of a Q-tip with a toy cleaner or mixture of mild soap and water, and swirl it around the inside of the nozzle. If your toy is submersible, you can even put it in soapy water, turn it on and let it do the work for you, Oriowo adds.

Rabbit Vibrator

You might remember the classic rabbit from that episode of Sex and the City––IYKYK. Rabbit vibrators, or dual-stimulation vibes, are “designed to stimulate both the G-spot and clitoris at the same time,” says Finn. These toys feature an external arm, meant to sit on the clit, and an internal arm meant for vaginal insertion. They got their name “rabbit” because earlier styles featured an external arm with bunny ears, Finn explains. While this style is still popular today, not all rabbit vibes have a classic “rabbit” arm. Because these vibes stimulate two genital areas simultaneously, they’re ideal for those looking to achieve a blended orgasm.

How To Use This Toy: “Insert the main shaft vaginally and position the smaller arm against the clitoris,” explains Dr. Toubi. Or, if you’re using your vibe for anal play, insert the external arm into the anus, aiming for the prostate, while the external arm rests on the perineum. After that, adjust the settings as desired. Depending on the motion of the internal arm—some provide a thrusting motion, others vibrate, and a few are stationary—you might want to start off slow and only utilize one arm, then gradually add in the other, says Oriowo.

How To Care For This Toy: As with all the previous toys, make sure you clean your rabbit before and after use, either with mild soap and warm water or a specialized toy cleaner. Be sure to clean the entire thing, meaning both external and internal arms, says Oriowo.

Cock Ring

Cock rings are toys worn around the base of the penis, says Finn. They restrict blood flow to help sustain erections, and can even delay and/or intensify orgasms, she adds. They come in various sizes, so ensure you grab a size that’s comfortable for you and isn’t too constricting, says Oriowo. Vibrating cock rings are also a popular option, especially during penetrative sex as it stimulates both the wearer and their partner, says Finn.

When it comes to partnered play, if you’re wearing a condom, the ring should go over the condom not under it, says Oriowo. If you’re using a vibrating cock ring, you also want to make sure the speed and rhythm of the vibrations work for both partners involved, Oriowo adds. Oh, and ICYDK, cock rings don’t actually require a cock. “Vibrating rings can turn any dildo or internal vibrator into your own customizable rabbit vibe! These also slip easily over a couple fingers for any play where you are using your digits,” says Finn.

How To Care For This Toy: It depends on the cock ring, but in general, mild soap and warm water should do the trick. Make sure you clean inside the ring as well as outside, says Oriowo. And if there’s a vibrating portion, wipe that down, too.

Male Masturbator

Male masturbators, strokers, or penis sleeves—whatever you want to call them—are toys designed to intensify the sensation of stroking the penis, a.k.a giving a handy, per Finn. They can be used during masturbation or while engaging in partnered play. Male masturbators may be shaped anatomically—to mimic the feel of a vagina or anus—or another fun shape that can surround the shaft of the penis, Finn says. They can either have a single opening or openings on both ends (which, FYI, are great for adding extra sensations to a blowjob, per Finn). “Some sleeves vibrate, and more high-tech masturbators can have other features like suction, pulsation, or even hands-free stimulation where the toy does the stroking for you,” Finn explains. They also often have ridges and other textures to add another level of stimulation. This toy truly is the whole package.

How To Use This Toy: First, apply a generous amount of lube in the sleeve and on the penis, Dr. Toubi suggests. You don’t want to cause any friction down there because that’s totally not sexy and rarely satisfying. If your masturbator is self-lubricating, however, you don’t need to add any extra. After lubing up, insert the penis and move your hand up and down the sleeve, a.k.a stroke it as you would your penis—come on now, you know the drill.

How To Care For This Toy: This may or may not be obvious, but “the part where you place your penis is the part that needs to be cleaned,” says Oriowo. Be sure to sanitize the interior with (you guessed it) mild soap and warm water or a toy cleaner specifically designed for textured sleeves. Oh, and also wipe down the exterior while you’re at it. Why not, amirite?

Butt Plug

Unlike anal dildos, butt plugs are designed with the intent of the toy staying inside the body throughout play, adding a sensation of fullness to the nerve-rich anus, says Finn. Some administer vibrations, but most don’t move, like dildos. Some folks even wear decorative butt plugs solely for the aesthetics, “almost like jewelry for the booty,” Finn notes.

How To Use This Toy: Because the booty does not self-lubricate like the vagina does, lube is essential when using any kind of anal toy, says Finn. So after applying a good amount of lube (ahem, when in doubt, add more, as Oriowo says), gently insert the plug into the anus. And don’t worry about the toy getting lost up there, as “the flared base prevents full insertion,” notes Dr. Toubi.

How To Care For This Toy: Repeat after me: mild soap and warm water. If your plug doesn’t have a motor, feel free to dunk it into a tub of water for a deeper clean. Oh, and if that bad boy has multiple bulbs on it, make sure to thoroughly clean those, too.

Prostate Massager

Much like the G-spot, the P-spot, or prostate, is chock-full of nerve endings and can unlock a treasure chest of pleasure. It’s located about one to three inches inside the body, along the anterior wall of the anal canal, says Finn. Unfortunately, similar to the G-spot, it’s hard to reach directly with your own fingers—a toy is often needed to stimulate it. That’s where prostate massagers come in. These toys are contoured with a curve meant to target that hot spot, with some even featuring vibration or an external arm to stimulate the taint at the same time, Finn notes.

How To Use This Toy: Like other toys meant for anal play, apply a very generous amount of lubricant to your prostate massager before inserting it in the anus. When inserting, be sure to angle the curved part towards the prostate, meaning that front wall towards the belly, says Dr. Toubi. Once you hit something bulbous, massage that area with the toy for extra sensations.

How To Care For This Toy: Again, mild soap and water! And don’t forget those ridges and divots, says Oriowo. Those need some TLC, too.

Thruster

“A thrusting toy is an insertable toy that imitates the sensation of, you guessed it, the thrusting motion of penetrative play,” says Finn. Meaning, the toy does all the pumping for you! These toys mimic the movements of penetrative sex through a motor, per Finn. “Some thrusters use a shaft that extends and retracts, while others use a combination of strong magnets to propel the toy into that back-and-forth motion,” she says. There are even some rabbit-style thrusters that combine those movements with vibration to take things up a notch because why not?

How To Use This Toy: Apply lubricant, as desired, then slowly insert the toy into your preferred crevice—vagina or anus, along as it has a flared base. Change the settings to satisfy your personal preference, but it’s generally recommended you start low.

How To Care For This Toy: Read the manufacturer’s guidelines as some toys require specific toy cleaners, says Dr. Toubi. But generally, mild soap and water are a safe bet. To ensure your thruster keeps, well, thrusting for years to come, be sure to clean it before and after each use, pat dry, and store it in a cool, dry place. Oh, and keep it charged! Don’t you hate it when they stop mid thrust?

Anal Beads

Anal beads are—well, you can probably assume—beads meant to be inserted in your booty. They’re made of rounded shapes that are fixed onto a stem or cord, typically getting larger as they near the handle, says Finn. “Anal beads are a great tool for leveling up an orgasm through some extra back-door stimulation paired with however you usually love getting off,” Finn notes. They provide a super unique type of stimulation, too—a sort of popping sensation against the nerve-rich perimeter of the anus when removed, she adds.

How To Use This Toy: Use anal beads as you would other anal toys—lots of lube, and slow and steady insertion. You can opt to keep the beads in throughout the entirety of play, but to get the most out of your booty experience, pull them out slowly as you’re about to reach climax, says Finn. Instant orgasm upgrade!

How To Care For This Toy: After use, clean each bead thoroughly with mild soap and warm water, says Dr. Toubi. Pat dry and store in a cool, dry area.

Finger Vibrator

Finger vibrators are small, usually external vibrators that have a loop or tether to attach them to the fingers,” says Finn. They’re great for adding extra sensations during partnered play and freeing up one hand so you can use it for other things. These vibrators can be used to stimulate the clitoris and other external erogenous zones. Pro tip: Your vibrating cock ring can also double as a finger vibe. Simply use the opening where the shaft of the penis would normally go for your digits, Finn says.

How To Use This Toy: Slip one or two fingers into the designated finger loop, find a vibration pattern and speed that works for you and/or your partner, and then rub it against the clit or any erogenous zone you’re looking to stimulate (i.e., the nipples or shaft of the penis). Easy-peasy!

How To Care For This Toy: Mild soap and warm water, duh! Just be extra careful if your toy isn’t waterproof or water-resistant as these mini devices can be a bit sensitive.

Couples’ Sex Toy

This category of toys is rather broad and ambiguous as any solo sex toy can be incorporated into partnered play, says Finn. But in this case, couples’ toys will refer to any toys designed with partners in mind. This may include: strap-on sets, vibrating cock rings, couples’ vibrators like the We-Vibe Chorus, wearable devices, remote- or app-controlled toys (which, BTW, are perfect for long-distance pairs), and even toys meant for BDSM play.

How To Use This Toy: Since this is such a broad category, it’ll really depend on what other categories the toy falls into. Regardless, yYour best bet is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which you can find on the box your toy comes in or the website you used to purchase it, says Dr. Toubi.

How To Care For This Toy: You know the drill: mild soap and warm water. If your toy happens to not be submersible, water-resistant, or is battery-powered, to err on the side of caution and , opt for a cleansing spray or damp towel to wipe your toy down.