Your Guide To The Different Types of Sex Toys
By Syd Morris
By Syd Morris
There are a lot of types of adult toys, which is (obvi) incredible but can also be a bit overwhelming. If you’ve found yourself here, never fear: we’re going to give you a comprehensive guide to all of the different types of sex toys so you can find the perfect one for you. You’re so welcome.
But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what sex toys even are and what they’re used for.
People have been making their pleasure a priority forever, and adult toys are not a new invention by any means. They have been used for thousands of years. The oldest dildo on record was discovered in 2005. Do you want to take a guess on how old it was? If you guessed 28,000 years old, you would be correct. However, there is still a lot of stigma and myths around using toys in your sex life. Some common myths that are still told around sex toys include:
1. They are only for people with vulvas.
2. If you are using one with a partner, that means your partner isn’t accomplishing what you want during sex.
3. They are only meant to get you to orgasm.
4. They are mostly for solo sex or masturbation.
Although all of these could be reasons or situations where people are getting sex toys, they are far from the only reasons. Anyone and everyone can use toys for any reason in any number of sexual situations. There are toys meant to make sex more accessible for people with disabilities or pain during sex, toys for queer couples, gender affirming toys, toys for anal, vaginal, nipple, penis play, and everything in between. Individuals and couples used toys to increase pleasure. That does not mean that one or more people aren’t “doing their job” in the bedroom, and sometimes a certain sensation accomplishes something that a human never could, and that’s ok!
Ok so hopefully we’re all on team sex toys now. Let’s get to the bottom (lol) of the different categories.
These toys are some of the most common ones people think of when they picture adult pleasure. Vibrating toys can include wands, which are solely for external use; vibrating dildos and rabbits, which can be for external and internal use (more on those in a moment); and bullet vibrators, which are mini versions that are perfect for on the go or portable use. Although they are typically used on vulvas and clitorises, they can be used on all genitals, nipples, and body parts. Aka, the fun is endless.
Toy to try: Pepper Pamper Massage Wand
Sexy tip: When using a vibrator on a partner with a vulva, right before they are about to orgasm, move the vibrator from their clitoris over to their inner thigh or nipples. This is a fun combination of edging while incorporating stimulation of other body parts. Some people can even orgasm solely from nipple stimulation!
Dildos are types of adult toys that can be made from a ton of different materials. The oldest dildo on record was made of stone, and although we aren’t making dildos out of stone anymore, they can be made of glass, metal, and silicone. These are a type of sex toy that can be inserted into the vagina, anus (read the “plug section” before using a dildo for anal penetration), and mouth. These can also come in vibrating variations, giving you some extra stimulation. Dildos can also be awesome for solo or partnered grinding.
With dildos and anything else you use for penetration, one of the most important things is lube! Inserting something into your vagina or anus shouldn’t be painful (unless you want it to be). Using lube doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you and it doesn’t mean you’re not turned on enough, it’s just helping create an even smoother and pleasurable experience.
There are two different types of lube you can use here: water and silicone. Water-based lubricants can be used on any toys. It’s much thinner and can be a tad easier to clean up. Silicone-based lubricants can be used on any toys that are not made of silicone. This one is a bit thicker and has a little bit more of an “oily” feel.
Glass and metal dildos are the smoothest materials and are completely firm. Silicone dildos are incredibly flexible and aren’t as firm as glass and metal. Most silicone dildos can be bent and shifted to what works for your body. There are also suction dildos, which can be attached to a wall or flat surface and there are double ended dildos that can be used by two people at once. If you want specific g or p-spot stimulation, try out a dildo with a curved tip to target those areas.
Toy to try: Avant Dildo
Sexy tip: If you want to try out temperature play, try the Deia: Hot & Cold toy. Or if you have a regular waterproof dildo, you can pop it in the freezer or running warm water over it before use.
Rabbits and combination toys are a combo of the above two! They are typically made of silicone to be flexible since they often have an external and internal feature, but they can be used for penetration, external stimulation, or both. These are great for combination orgasms, solo play, partner play, or literally anything else you can think over as they are an incredibly versatile toy.
Toy to try: Pepper Indulge Rabbit Vibrator
Sexy tip: Because of the many uses and functions, rabbits can often be great beginner toys for people with vulvas if they aren’t totally sure what they like.
If you like having that “full” feeling of something being in your anus or vagina, balls and beads could be fun types of adult toys for you. There are two different types of balls and beads: Ben Wa Balls (aka kegel balls) and anal beads. These are often made of metal or silicone, but can be made of other materials as well.
You can also get balls and beads with a vibrating feature for some extra internal stimulation. If you are going to be using beads anally, make sure you get ones that have a base that can easily remove the beads. Things can get lost in a vagina, but they can slip into your anal cavity if they don’t have a proper base–we’ll talk more about this under plugs, so keep scrolling!
Toy to try: Bloom Vibrating Kegel Balls
Sexy tip: Try wearing them while running an errand or going out to dinner one evening. It’s a hot secret that you (and maybe your partner(s) will know about, but no one else.
These types of sex toys are awesome for all genitals as they have a ton of different variations and uses. Traditional “cock” rings are put around the penis, similar to the sleeves, for added compression. Some are vibrating rings for added stimulation and some even have an additional vibrating section, so that if you are having penetrative sex, the receiver can feel a vibrating sensation as well. We love that for them.
In recent years, rings have been created to help with penetrative pain as well. There are rings in various heights that you can place at the base of the penis. This shortens the insertable amount of the penis into the vagina or anus. This can be immensely helpful for those with PCOS or other conditions that cause pain during penetration.
Toy to try: Pepper Connect Couple’s Ring
Sexy tip: The OhNut rings can also be placed on dildos if you are wanting penetration, but don’t quite want or need the full length of the dildo.
If you’re looking for some anal penetration, plugs might just be the type of sex toys for you. The big difference between plugs and dildos is often the size, shape, and most importantly, the base. Whenever you’re inserting anything into the anus, it must have a base. No exceptions. This is what protects you from a late night trip to the emergency room due to a sex toy disappearing into your butt (could turn out to be a funny story, but it kind of kills the mood).
Plugs come in a number of shapes and sizes. If you’re new to anal play, try out an anal training kit! It’s a set of multiple sizes of anal plugs that help you adjust to penetration. There should never be any unwanted tearing, bleeding, or pain from anal play. If this is happening, you likely need some more lube and maybe a smaller plug.
Toy to try: Anal Education Set
Sexy tip: Anal plugs can be a great way to introduce double penetration. If you have a vulva, you can insert a plug into your anus while also using a dildo or a penis for vaginal penetration.
Bluetooth toys are often insertable or wearable vibrators that are perfect for discreet public play or long distance. Types of Bluetooth adult toys include cock rings, bullet vibrators, beads, and vibrating underwear. Some Bluetooth toys have a maximum distance and others can be controlled via an app from across the world! International love, anyone?
Toy to try: Cocktail Remote Controlled Vibrator
Sexy tip: Give your partner(s) full consensual control of the app that controls your toy. Put on or insert your toy and go on a date night. But fair warning, you may need to finish your date night at home if things get too intense.
These types of sex toys are great for people with penises, larger clitorises, intersex folks, and trans men on HRT. Sleeves are exactly what they sound like! They are usually made of silicone and can be slid right over the penis or clitoris. Sleeves are a type of adult toy that can slid up and down or twisted while on. Sleeves can be used for partner play and are especially handy for solo play. Some sleeves have different textures or vibrating features to give them a ‘stroking’ sensation.
Toy to try: Torrent Stroker
Sexy tip: Instead of having sex together, try mutually masturbating with toys next to your partner. If you have a penis, you can use a sleeve and your partner can use whatever toy they please on themselves.
These types of sex toys can be used all over! They use suction to increase blood flow to any part of the body that you put the pump on, which can make that body part significantly more sensitive. There are toys that are designed to work anywhere on the body and some that are more specifically designed for the clitoris.
If you enjoy clitoral stimulation but don’t enjoy vibrating sensations, suction toys may be a great type of sex toy to try out. Suction toys can be used as foreplay, arousal, or for orgasm.
Toy to try: Baci Clitoral Stimulator
Sexy tip: If you have a larger pump and a clitoral suction toy, try using one on your clitoris and one on your nipples for a combination orgasm.
Strap-ons are great types of adult toys when you’re wanting to be a little more involved than using a dildo on your partner. There are many dildos that are compatible with harnesses as well as ones that come together as a set. With strap-ons, one partner is able to wear the harness with the dildo secured into it while the other partner is receiving penetration vaginally or anally. These can be incredible for having gender affirming sex and incorporating the sensations that you and your partner(s) want.
Just like dildos, there are many different shapes and sizes and some are double sided so that both partners can enjoy penetration at the same time!
Toy to try: Dildo Plug P&G (harness compatible)
Sexy tip: Putting on and taking off a harness can feel awkward or uncomfortable when you’re first trying it out. Try incorporating it into your foreplay! Have your partner(s) help you put it on, run your hands over their body as they are putting it on, or spice things up with some dirty talk about how bad you want them inside of you.
Some people might consider these accessories, but impact toys are just as much a type of sex toy as vibrators and dildos. If you’re looking to dip your toe into some BDSM, are a well versed practitioner, or just enjoy the light sensations of different textures and materials, impact toys can be a fun new addition to the bedroom.
These toys can be used on anyone, by anyone, in foreplay, BDSM scenes, penetrative sex, and in any other way your imagination decides. With impact toys, you can choose the intensity of how they are used. You can lightly drag a flogger across your partner’s body while teasing them or you can use a whip to leave a stinging impact.
Toy to try: Doll Designer Collection Leather Soft Whip
Sexy tip: The most important thing to remember, especially with toys that cause desired pain, is to talk about safety, consent, boundaries, and aftercare before you start using these.
Whew! Who knew there were so many different types of sex toys. The world of adult toys is incredibly expansive and there are so many different subtypes within these main adult toy types. If you’re wanting to incorporate your first or your 100th sex toy into your life, focus on open minded experimentation and pleasure. With any toy you’re using, you can stay safe and healthy by cleaning it with a toy cleanser or with hot water and unscented soap after each use, as well as before and after anal use.
Have fun shopping around, experimenting, and prioritizing pleasure. Remember that Pepper is always here to help you navigate finding the perfect toy for you, both online with the virtual concierge and in store at the toy bar. Who says toys are just for kids!
Sydney (Syd) Morris (she/her/), is a white, cisgender, queer, Sex Educator in Seattle who is passionate about making the worlds of sex education and sex tech easier to navigate regardless of beliefs, experiences, or identities. She is a Master of Arts in Education candidate at Antioch University, where her research investigates where adults go to find answers to their questions about sex. Syd approaches sexuality education from an intersectional and pleasure-centered lens. She believes that every part of you is relevant to your sexuality and you inherently deserve to experience pleasure in the ways that feel good for you.