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Sex Column: Playing with Sex

Howdy everyone, and welcome to my second week! I must confess that I am already incredibly infatuated with all of you and need to take a moment to psychically send you love beams, hearts, and kittens through all the airwaves.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business, shall we?

Last week, I said that I may just rank dildos according to a variety of criteria. Instead of doing that (or to be more honest, of just doing that), I thought this might be a good time to talk about dildos and sybians. And by that, I mean sex toys.

Sex toys can be great. They can do things your hands, tongues, penises, and other appendages (tentacles, proboscis, what-have-you) cannot. Some of them have motors and some of them are attached to saddles. Some of them even have both those features!

But sex toys can also be really scary: confusing shapes, alarming sizes, a myriad of materials to choose from!

So I am here to give a very basic Sex Toy 101.

First, what is a sex toy?

Well, good question, little Timmy. A sex toy, as I define it, is any object that can be used while performing sex. I say “can” and not any object that has been made to be used while performing sex because some objects are not expressly made or marketed as sex toys. I’m not just referring to improvised sex toys (though I largely discourage shaving vegetables into dildos and other such activities for reasons that will be illuminated below), but also for certain objects on the market that may not have begun their lives as sex toys. The most famous of these is the Hitachi Magic Wand, which is ostensibly a back massager, but is actually one of the most famous and frequently purchased vibrators on the market.

Second, what kinds of sex toys are out there?

Well, the short and simple answer would be: a lot of kinds, more than you could ever imagine. There are vibrators, dildos, cock rings, Arab straps, butt plugs, furry hand-cuffs, prosthetic vulvas, and, of course, sybians.

The most common of these are, of course, the vibrator and the dildo. The difference? The vibrator has a motor and, you know, vibrates, while a dildo does not. There are different types of vibrators: some are made exclusively for clitoral stimulation and therefore are not shaped to be inserted, and others are shaped for the express purpose of insertion, though they often also provide clitoral stimulation.

However, no matter what type of sex toy you are interested in, the one thing to keep in mind when purchasing is the material it’s made out of, especially if the toys may come in contact with genital areas. The most common materials include certain hard-casings such as plastic, pyrex glass, and metals such as aluminum and sometimes even gold. Others are made of soft materials such as silicon, cyberskin, latex, or jelly. Whatever the material, if you are planning on using your sex toy for penetrative acts, note that all the materials that sex toys are made of are stiffer than actual flesh, so it’s advisable to buy on the smaller side of things. Another important thing to note is that soft materials are often porous and therefore cannot be disinfected by alcohol swabs or anything of that sort. As a result, if you are planning on sharing sex toys, use a condom just to be safe!

In the same vein of cleanliness and hygiene, gold as a casing for sex toys may seem excessive in a “snorting cocaine with a hundred dollar bill” way, but gold is actually a perfect material for sex toys because of its naturally sterile and hypoallergenic qualities. In addition, sex toys are one of the places where paying more (within your budget) may benefit you in the long run. Fifty dollars or one hundred dollars may seem like an excessive amount to spend on sex toys, but those a) tend to last longer and b) tend to be made out of higher quality materials. Since most people are planning on using sex toys in rather sensitive areas, the investment can be the difference between a fun time and a yeast infection.

Some final notes on safe usage: depending on the activity you want to be engaging in, investing in some quality lube may also be wise (and lube should always be used during anal play). Furthermore, be conscious of what type of lube you are using with your sex toys. Silicon lubes should never be used with silicon sex toys (and silicon sex toys should never be stored with other silicon sex toys) because silicon tends to break down other silicon objects. Oil-based lubes should never be used with latex toys, and if you are using a condom, oil-based lubes should also be avoided.

And for anal play, please be sure to purchase toys specifically made for that use. Your muscles are stronger than you think, and you only have control over some of them! Any anal sex toy should be flared at the base to prevent embarrassing emergency room visits.

Finally, there are lots of sex toys out there. Explore! Follow directions! Be safe! Have fun!

P.S. I know I have been a tease about the sybian, so I thought I’d finally share. A sybian is a vibrator attached to a saddle-like object. And it looks like fun times.

P.P.S. I actually have a lot more to say on this topic, and I might tentatively announce next week’s column on Sex Toys, Part the Second: On Why You Should Be Using Them by Yourself, On Why You Should Be Using Them with a Partner, and On How to Choose Your First Sex Toy. Watch out! Or send me feedback/suggestions/questions at sex@tsl.pomona.edu if you have opinions on the things I should say.

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