Sex & Relationships

7 Ways To Find The Right Sex Toy For You Without Overspending
by Annakeara Stinson and Kristine Fellizar
Originally Published: 
Shopping for sex toys can be overwhelming, so here are a few tips.
Mikhail Reshetnikov / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

Sex toy shopping is a little different than shopping for, you know, other types of toys. There are a lot of very particular and personal things to consider when doing so, not to mention a sexy cornucopia of options and varieties you probably didn't even know existed. Pleasure is boundless — which is cool and all — but that may leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin. The good news is that picking the right sex toy for you doesn’t have to mean blowing your entire monthly budget. However, experts say, there are a few things you may want to keep in mind before you make a purchase.

"If you are curious about sex toy shopping, but a novice, don’t worry," Dr. Janet Brito, a sex therapist and psychologist at the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Hawaii, tells Bustle.

According to Brito, the benefits of owning a sex toy are numerous. For instance, using vibrators during solo play can help you release tension, learn more about your erogenous zones, and take your orgasms to the next level. Plus, trying out different sex toys with a partner can help to keep things fresh and exciting in the bedroom.

If you’re new to sex toys, you may be hesitant about spending $150 on something that may not, you know, do it for you. According to Tara Struyk, co-founder of Kinkly, an online sex toy retailer and resource, there’s an increasing number of really good budget sex toys out there. “But on the lower end of the price spectrum, there’s also a lot of junk that is not only a waste of money, but possibly also unsafe to use,” Struyk says.

So as you go forth trying to find the perfect toy, one that’s good for you and your body, here are a few things to keep in mind.


Think About What Matters To You Most

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When shopping for sex toys, the first thing you want to do is figure out what it is you want. For instance, are you looking for a device that focuses on the clitoris or the G-spot? Do you want something that has a variety of speeds or strong vibrations? Or do you want a toy that feels like oral sex?

“Once you have a sense of what you'd like, then you can start looking for toys,” Zachary Zane, sex expert and Lovehoney LGBTQ+ activist, tells Bustle.

It’s good to have an idea of what you want to avoid overspending. According to Zane, some products cost more because they have cool features like app connectivity, so your partner can control it from afar.

“If you don't plan on using the app, then don't buy that toy,” Zane says. “There are other toys of the same quality that will be cheaper because they don't have certain features.”


Purchase Sex Toys That Have A Warranty

In general, it's a good idea to buy toys that have at least a one-year warranty as many reputable sex toy brands do offer this. “If they don't have a warranty, there's a decent chance the company knows their toys break often,” Zane says. “If they do have one, odds are, they're more likely to be of higher quality.”


Look For Body-Safe Materials

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Typically, expensive toys are pricey because they’re made with higher quality materials. According to Struyk, higher end toys tend to be made of silicone, glass, medical-grade steel or even specially treated wood. Silicone toys are also more expensive, but tend to last longer.

“Less expensive materials that give a similar, skin-like feel often contain phthalates (a harmful chemical), or can be porous, which means they're never truly clean,” Struyk says. These chemicals can also irritate sensitive skin.


Go For A Reputable Brand

While there are a lot of very low cost sex toys available, going with a reputable brand and buying from a local or a well-known online retailer is a good way to go.

"Find a toy by a brand that has an online presence, that has at least a few reviews by independent sex toy reviewers and that appears to care about quality and customers," Struyk says. "This will go a long way toward finding a toy that is actually designed for your pleasure."

If you’re shopping for sex toys on Amazon, just be cautious and make sure you’re ordering it from a seller who has excellent reviews. According to Struyk, it’s hard to determine whether a product is real or a cheap knockoff. Your best bet is to purchase from a site that specializes in sex toys.


Size Matters — But There Are Other Factors, Too

"In terms of choosing a certain type or size of toy, it's best to start with what you know [feels good to you], then branch out from there," Struyk says. "I'd also recommend getting a toy that can be used in a variety of different ways."

For example, Struyk says, if you aren't sure if you prefer internal of external stimulation, you could choose an insertable vibrator, since its vibrations will work just as well outside the body if you find that's what you prefer.

"Good online sex toy retailers also provide specs around the toy's size, so if you're buying something you plan to insert, measure how many fingers you can comfortably (or pleasurably!) insert, and use that as a guide to compare to sex toy measurements," Struyk says.

Another good thing to remember? A toy that's a little smaller than you'd maybe prefer is better than one that's too large to use comfortably, Struyk says.


Check Out Reviews For Each Toy

Yes, friends, when it comes to using sex toys, some pleasure-centered consumer reports from other users are a huge help.

Struyk says that her biggest recommendation is checking out some of the knowledgable sex toy reviewers to see what they have to say about the toys you're interested in.

"They'll lay out the pros and cons of different toys, and provide some insight into who they might be suited for," Struyk says.


Know That A Simple Finger Vibrator Is A Great Place To Start

"Start with a vibrator that you can put on your finger," Becca Hirsch, M.A., LMFT, who specializes in sex therapy and sexuality education at Center for Mindful Living, tells Bustle.

"Many folks with female genitalia do not orgasm from intercourse alone, and need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, which is perfectly normal," Hirsch says. "Since the finger vibrators are small, it makes it less daunting to bring into intercourse or partnered interactions."

Another major perk to the finger vibrators is that you can easily pick one up online, or at any regular store such as Target, Hirsch says. Plus, they’re small, so they’re easy to bring on a date night that might get spicy or for a sexy solo weekend getaway.

Most of all, don't forget to enjoy yourself! Before you know it, you'll be a sex toy pro yourself.


Dr. Janet Brito, a sex therapist and psychologist at the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Hawaii

Zachary Zane, sex expert and Lovehoney LGBTQ+ activist

Tara Struyk, co-founder of Kinkly

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