Most people have a special place in their memory reserved for firsts: Their first kiss, their first date, their first night away from home. In my bank of Firsts is the memory of the day I bought my first sex toy.
It was Valentines Day. I was twenty one. My partner took me to a huge adult store to choose a vibrator for me to keep me company on the many nights we spent apart during our long-distance courtship. The feeling as I walked through the store was an intermingling of excitement, intimidation, fear and confusion. The number of options was absolutely mind-boggling, and for someone who had only recently started exploring their sexuality it was overwhelming. I had very little knowledge about my own body, my likes and dislikes and what would feel good for me. I was thrilled to choose my first ever toy, but completely unprepared for the task.
If you’re in the same boat, looking to choose the first toy for your goodie-drawer, let me offer you some advice.
Think about what you like
The most important step to choosing a sex toy is considering what you like. Making a list, however short, of the sensations that feel good to you and your personal preferences is a great way to narrow your choices.
Imagine you’re going shoe shopping. You wouldn’t walk into a shop and say “I need new shoes, any shoes will do”. If you did this, you could wind up leaving the store with a pair of six-inch stilettos, which are totally inappropriate for your outdoorsy lifestyle. If you went looking for flat, supportive shoes that will protect your feet, you’re more likely to find something appropriate.
To begin, think about how you masturbate. If you have a vulva, do you enjoy penetration, or is your attention usually focused squarely on the clitoris? Do you like firm or soft touches? If you have a penis, do you enjoy a lot of friction or tightness? Make a list of the kind of things you like when you play by yourself or with a partner.
While it can be great to try new things, for your first toy ever I think it’s best to select something that will build on the sensations you already know feel great for you. You’re going to have more luck selecting a toy that gets you off if you have an idea of what you want the toy to do.
Ask an expert
My first trip to an adult shop was overwhelming because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. There were a gargantuan number of products to choose from and I felt entirely lost. Luckily for me, there was a fantastic sales person to help me out. She asked me loads of questions, was completely non-judgmental and dispelled all my anxiety. She made me feel a lot more confident and helped me to choose a toy that was just right for me.
If you’re feeling unsure or overwhelmed, ask for advice. If you’re shopping online, shoot an email through to the store to see if there’s someone that can assist you. They’ll probably jump at the chance to help, answer your questions and give you a hand choosing something that you’ll love.
Opt for multi-purpose toys
Maybe you’re coming into this adventure with limited knowledge of your own anatomy or sexual preferences. For many people, their first sex toy is their introduction to masturbation or their own sexuality, and they may not know what they like just yet. If this is the case for you, my advice would be to choose a toy that can be used in multiple different ways. Look for g-spot vibrators which can be used either internally, or on the clitoris or vulva. Vibrators that are designed to be used on the clitoris may also feel great on nipples, inner thighs, labia or perineum. Versatile toys give you the opportunity to play and explore in your own time.
Let go of perfectionism
It can be tempting to try to find the “ultimate” toy, the one that is going to deliver a million toe-curling orgasms and leave you in a satisfied puddle. When you begin your shopping adventure, you’re going to be inundated with hundreds of products which all promise to be the be-all-and-end-all in sexual pleasure.
Let me tell you a secret: in all the years I’ve been reviewing toys, I am yet to find the “ultimate” toy. I’ve never tried a toy and thought “This is The One, the Holy Grail. I can throw out all my other toys and just keep this one”. Sure, some toys are better than others, and I definitely have my favourites, but even the best ones have flaws. I don’t actually think the “perfect” sex toy exists, so you can release yourself from the obligation of having to find it. Instead, work on finding a toy that feels great, that leaves you satisfied and which fits your needs.
There’s also no rule that says you can only own one sex toy. If you choose one that’s not quite what you’re looking for, you can always try something else.
Choosing your first ever toy can be very daunting. Not only is it overwhelming, but it can be confronting if you don’t feel like you have a good understanding of your own body and what it likes. It can also be an experience that brings up a lot of shame and fear. Remind yourself that you deserve pleasure, and that buying a toy is a gift of self-love and an opportunity to understand yourself better. There are plenty of sex-positive people who can help you out, and you don’t have to choose the perfect toy on your first go. Just relax, enjoy yourself and have fun finding a toy that works for you.