Using sex toys for the first time can be very intimidating, especially when faced with such a large range of strange and scary objects. My suggestion is to ask a close friend who has had experience with sex toys when searching online or going into an adult shop. It’s important for first-timers to feel comfortable when asking for advice. The assistants in the adult sex shops are usually very knowledgeable and kind.

1. Always use a good quality lubricant. However do not use silicone lube with silicone toys as it causes the material to disintegrate. Use a water-based lube instead.

2. Toys which should be avoided are usually cheaper and of low quality. These toys contain a chemical called phthalates which makes the plastic more bendable and feel more realistic, yet they also tend to cause allergic reactions such as itching, burning, rashes, and sometimes, tissue damage. Examples of these toys contain rubber (latex), jellies, and PVC.

There are many materials that are considered body safe. Silicone toys are more pricey because they are more durable, easy to clean, realistic, and bendable. Other examples of toys that are safe and enjoyable are stainless steel, borosilicate glass, and crystal. They are non-porous which makes it next to impossible for bacteria to grow and thrive. Remember to wash your toys with toy cleaners or soap and water.

3. Toys I recommend for beginners is the bullet for women. Ask any sex toy manufacturer for a silicone bullet vibrator and they are pretty standard in look and feel. Most bullets come with a few vibrating settings, starting from gentle to a little more intense. The bullet stimulates the clitoris as well as allowing for penetration into the vagina. It is not very large in girth nor length so it is less intimidating.

For men, I would suggest a bullet with a butt plug. The anus becomes a vacuum when objects are inserted simply because it is an empty cavity. Using a toy with a butt plug is very important. The butt plug should always be bigger in circumference than the anus.

4. Communication is the most important ingredient in every successful relationship. Any change to the current status quo requires a conversation. The space needs to feel safe to share without defensiveness and judgement. Remember that timing is everything. When broaching the subject, make sure you are both calm and are able to focus on each other without distractions. Be specific about you want. Make sure that your partner is comfortable and gives their consent to trying new things. They should not feel coerced into anything they don’t feel comfortable doing.

5. If you are prone to dermatological problems and experience sensitivity to certain materials which cause allergic reactions, such as latex, you should be careful when buying sex toys. Always check for objects that include phthalates. Phthalates have become a subject of major health concerns linked to male-fertility, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and more.

Not everyone has the courage to stretch themselves out of their comfort zones. We should recognize that those who are afraid to explore their sexuality should feel respected, supported, and not judged. Make sure that if you are trying sex toys for the first time, your decision is yours and you are ready to explore the possibilities that await your next chapter of self exploration.