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I revere Missy Elliott for several reasons. Not only is she one of the greatest living rap artists, she is also inadvertently responsible for my obsession with sex toys. I won’t go so far as to proclaim she’s my spirit animal, but getting her album This Is Not a Test! for Christmas was a momentous occasion. More specifically, it was because of the track “Toyz” that features as number nine on the album. The catchy verses had me singing quietly in my room, “I got a bag full of toys and I don’t need none of ya boys.” Of course I knew she wasn’t talking about teddy bears, I may have only been eleven but I wasn’t that naïve. Though I didn’t really understand how much of a maverick Missy was for singing about female pleasure and sexual satisfaction until I was older. Her subject matter still has gravitas today, which is actually kind of depressing.
I bought my first sex toy a few years after this, when I was sixteen; to be honest I was more nervous about buying a vibrator with a fake ID than I was about losing my virginity. By this time I’d had a few one-night-stands and I thought it was time I took my ability to orgasm into my own hands (no pun intended). I had never been into an adult store before, though I’d always been curious as to what exactly went on behind the mannequins in negligées, and signs advertising sex pills and poppers (Rush wasn’t something I became aware of until a year later, but that’s another story).
One night two girlfriends and I collectively decided that we should make a trip to K’ road. It’s safe to say we were all extremely nervous but I was hell-bent on coming out of a shop with something; a testament to my womanhood, my maturity—I was sexually evolved! I was quite obviously deluded. I’m twenty-two and I still don’t understand the rules of casual dating (is it even a thing?), and I’ve never used Tinder. Anyway, once inside I tried to pretend like I knew exactly what I was doing. The man from behind the counter approached us and asked if there was something in particular we were looking for; “vibrators please,” I said, trying to contort my lips in a subtle way so that my braces didn’t show. He pointed us in the direction of a wall on which vibrators of all shapes, sizes, and colours hung in their packages. I am so fucking smooth, I thought to myself.
We spent the good part of an hour listening to him talk about the different functions of each toy: g-spot stimulation, clitoral stimulation, waterproof toys, high intensity vibrations, low intensity vibrations, which lubricants to use, and so on and so forth. To say it was an educational experience is not an overstatement, I learned that most women cannot orgasm from vaginal penetration alone (around 80% apparently), something I was never told in sex education. The night was a success, but after a few weeks I wanted to go back. I missed the clandestine thrill of perusing through double-ended dildos, nipple clamps, and butt plugs. Going to D.VICE and spending an entire paycheck is now probably my favourite pastime. I’m aware I need to be more fiscally responsible but I can’t help it.
Of course I’ve made some pretty terrible purchases in the past, Ben Wa balls (?!), ribbed anal beads (?!?!), it was doomed from the start but I liked the colour and they were on sale. I like to think, though, that I’m doing humanity a favor by testing out bad sex toys so the rest of you don’t have to. I know not to buy anything from the adult section on grabone.com, I generally avoid the bargain bin and 50 Shades of Grey merchandise—c’mon ladies we can do better. With sex toys, like anything, what you get is what you pay for. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s good! However, it’s possible to buy something that’s good quality for under $150.00. Here are some toys tested and recommended by yours truly that won’t ruin your bank account:
Evolved Diamond Princess: RRP $101.99
If you’re new to sex toys and feeling tentative, this is good starting point. I know the thought of searching through quivering, girthy dildos and toys that look more like they belong in the kitchen than the bedroom can be daunting, especially if you want something pretty and discreet. But how cute is this little vibrator? It’s also waterproof; in other words it ticks all my boxes, and it’s small enough to use for clitoral stimulation during sex. I know a lot of companies are making beautifully engineered, ergonomically designed couples toys, like those soft c-shaped vibrators where one half rests on your clitoris and the other half is inserted inside. But, I personally find a lot of them get in the way and a regular vibrator does the trick, as long as some extra clitoral stimulation is what you’re after.
Available at www.peachesandcream.co.nz
D.VICE Pendant Silicone Butt Plug: RRP $43.99
You didn’t honestly think I’d skip over butt stuff now, did you? I think we’re all grown up enough to recognize that anal play can be fun for both sexes (I hope you’ve seen the Broad City episode where Abbi pegs a guy… YAS KWEEN!). But, if you’re new to this realm it’s good to start off slow and that’s what makes this toy perfect, whether you want to prepare for anal sex or you just want to try a little extra something during masturbation. Yes, I’ll admit butt plugs do look a bit scary but as long as you get a size that you’re comfortable with and use plenty of lube, you’ll be just fine! Inserting a butt plug for the first time can be a little uncomfortable but the more you use it the more you’ll get used to the sensation. The important thing is to relax. I’m aware I’ve now made this sound about as fun as a pap smear but just trust me on this one. Play some music, light a scented candle and lay down on the bed. If you don’t want to get lube all over the sheets it’s best to have a towel handy. The easiest way to insert it is to lay on your back and bring your knees toward your chest. Otherwise you can get your partner to insert it for you. This is also another toy that you can use easily during sex.
Available at www.dvice.co.nz
System JO Cool H2O Water-based Lubricant: RRP $21.99
I was skeptical about cooling lubricant for a long time before I used this particular brand. I once used Durex cooling lube, and let me tell you, it was not an enjoyable experience to say the least. It stung and it sort of felt like someone had put toothpaste on my vagina. Suffice to say I stuck to regular lube for a few years after that. Until a friend, and fellow toy aficionado, recommended me this. It changed my life. Ok, maybe that’s a slight hyperbole but it feels awesome. Kind of like having an ice-cube inserted into you but in an enjoyably erotic way, and it goes perfectly with the Icicles Glass Massager below. I also highly recommend this brand’s H2O line, even if you just want a standard lubricant because it’s water based which means it is safe to use with all sex toys. Although water based lubricants dry up faster than silicone based ones, silicone based lubricants can cause some women irritation if they are allergic, and are not compatible to use with silicone sex toys.
Available at www.peachesandcream.co.nz
Icicles Glass Massager 08: RRP $84.99
I never thought I’d hear glass and dildo in the same sentence, but this toy is amazing with a capital A. I take it everywhere with me; to my boyfriend’s house, to foreign countries—hell, I’ll probably start putting it in my handbag soon. These massagers are hand-blown and made to last a lifetime if they are looked after properly, and no, it won’t break inside you. In fact, glass makes some of the best sex toys. It is non-porous which makes it easy to clean, and hypoallergenic so it can be used by those who are allergic to silicone. But wait… there’s more! You can warm these babies up by running them under hot water or cool them by putting them in the freezer, for an entirely different sensation. I highly recommend freezing and using in conjunction with the aforementioned cooling lubricant, then letting your sexual pleasure transcend to a higher plane.
Available at www.peachesandcream.co.nz
And there you have it, a few of my personal favorites. Now that you’re acquainted with the gear, let’s discuss care and storage of your toys. As someone with a growing collection, the easiest place to keep them is in an unused shoe bag, in a drawer, or basically anywhere they’re not visible but I’m sure you know all of this already. Caring for your toys is important if you want them to last and cleaning them after each use keeps things hygienic, which is equally as important. Most silicone and glass toys can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap, other synthetic materials may require you to use toy cleaner which can be bought from any adult store. Also—don’t put your toys in the dishwasher! If using a waterproof battery powered toy, make sure it’s totally dry before putting it away again. It’s all pretty straightforward.
I’d just like to reiterate that none of this information came from my school sex education, and it wasn’t until after I hit puberty that I realized female and male pleasure are approached differently. Why is it that not getting pregnant seems to always be at the epicenter of sex education for young girls? Masturbation was something that I had to figure out for myself, it was mostly trial and error at the beginning. Like it was learning how to communicate with my sexual partners about what made me feel good. In the beginning all I cared about was whether or not I could make them cum. Women, especially, are so accustomed to measuring their worth in how much pleasure they can give a man. Or how much they are willing to do with their sexual partner.
When I was thirteen I went to Christmas In The Park with some friends, at this point in time everyone thought they were pretty cool and mature. Not long into smoking my first joint, some small, pimply fellow asked me “are you frigid?” before I even had a chance to introduce myself to him. “No,” I scoffed, but after a while I felt annoyed I’d even answered the question. I sat in silence philosophizing to myself, why is that the only thing he cares about? Does he not have any goddamn respect? Would it really matter if I were ‘frigid’?
Sometimes, even now, I find myself asking the same questions. What I do know, however, is that my pleasure is equally as important as my partner’s and I also know that if I see one more article dedicated to “Twenty Ways To Drive Him Wild” I’m going to hurt someone… or write the editor a letter.