Nov 152013
 

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If you ask me, sex toys are way better gifts than socks or body wash. Now I may be biased, considering I own over 400 of them and have been testing them and reviewing them for six years, but you know. The point is, I have OPINIONS about things that go on vulvas and in vaginas and butts, and even sometimes over penises.

Today, I was on Sex Out Loud Radio telling the universe all about my top sex toy gift ideas — plus my tips for picking out a sex toy for someone else. So, you should totally listen to that. As an accompaniment, here’s the transcript — along with photos of the toys and links to my reviews.

TIP #1: VERSATILITY IS KEY

LELO Mona 2 vibratorWhen picking out a vibrator for someone else, the key word you want to keep in mind is versatility. Don’t get something that has one speed, or even 3, if you ask me — it’s just a little bit too limiting. Also don’t get something that has a very very specific purpose, unless you know your recipient wants something that does that.

In terms of versatility, my #1 pick is the Mona 2 vibrator from LELO. I’ve become so obsessed with this toy lately that I’m pretty sure everyone’s getting sick of hearing about it. But it covers all the bases: it’s rechargeable, strong, fully submersible in water, and the shape is just awesome. It has a bulbous end for great G-spot stimulation, but it’s also sort of tapered on one side, so it sits nicely between the labia when used clitorally. It also has incredible range in terms of vibration, so a person who doesn’t know how much power they need yet can find out.

As a bonus, it comes in a box that’s already perfect for gift-giving. You can literally just toss a bow around it and be done. Which is great because I’m already having flash-forwards to how much peppermint schnapps I’m going to have to drink while I wrap presents this year, just to make it bearable.

We-Vibe Touch vibratorLELO Mia 2 vibrator
If you’re looking for a solid clitoral vibe, my favorite rechargeables are the We-Vibe Touch and LELO Mia. The We-Vibe Touch is one of the most powerful rechargeable clit vibes I’ve ever tried, which, of course, I love, and the LELO Mia is USB rechargeable, so it’s basically the best travel vibe ever.

TIP #2: USE COMMON SENSE AND BUY THE TOY FOR THEM, NOT YOURSELF

You need to be honest with yourself — how much do you actually know about what your recipient likes? For instance, if they don’t listen to music while jacking off, don’t get them a music-powered vibe no matter how much you want to blast Black Sabbath on it. If they’ve never had a vibrator, don’t get them something that plugs into the wall and sounds like a sander.

Insertable toys are the most complicated in this way. I think people err on the side of too big, perhaps because they use their own dicks as measuring sticks. I once heard a guy complain that the toy he bought for his wife was too big for her. But no joke, the actual manufacturer name of the toy was Big Boss. So, common sense, yo. Read the measurements. Visualize. Be realistic.

Fun Factory Bootie butt plugnjoy Pure Plug butt plugNobEssence Romp butt plug
One thing you can do is casually have a conversation in advance where you try to scope out what someone is interested in. I would suggest Thanksgiving dinner as the venue for this. Perhaps you find out that they’re interested in not just pumpkin pie, but also anal. If they’ve never tried anal play, I would suggest the Fun Factory Bootie, a little silicone plug with a curved tip. It’s cute, small, and it has a great base.

If they’re more well-versed in anal, they’ll love the njoy Pure Plug, which is stainless steel, or the NobEssence Romp, which is wood. Both feel amazing and really have that “wow” factor when you open them because they’re so gorgeous.

LELO Luna Beads kegel balls

Say your Thanksgiving companion mentions being intrigued by kegel exercisers. My favorites — and I’ve tried quite a few — are the LELO Luna Beads. These are inserted vaginally and can be worn around, to make mundane tasks less excruciating. Oh, yeah, and they tone the PC muscles, too. But mostly the sensation of the inner balls rolling around is just really fun.

Tantus Rocket dildoPleasure Works Siren dildoLELO Ella dildo
Or maybe during this “casual conversation” they express interest in G-spot spelunking. Now, if they’re new to G-spot stimulation, a really simple silicone dildo with a good G-spotting head will do the trick. I really like the Tantus Rocket, the Pleasure Works Siren, and the LELO Ella.

njoy Pure Wand dildoNobEssence Seduction dildoJopen Key Comet G Wand dildo
But if they’ve already found their G-spot and want to up the ante a bit — perhaps even learn to squirt — I absolutely adore the njoy Pure Wand, which is stainless steel, the NobEssence Seduction which is made of wood, and the Jopen Key Comet G Wand, which is half-glass and half-silicone. All of them are basically G-spot homing missiles, so you can’t go wrong.

TIP #3: EDUCATE YOURSELF

There’s a lot to know about sex toys, and it can be overwhelming, but it’s worth the extra research. The sex toy industry is unregulated, so there are a lot of mystery meat materials out there that you want to avoid. A good rule of thumb is to look for toys made out of the same materials that are used in kitchen products: glass, stainless steel, 100% silicone, hard plastic, and sealed wood. These materials are non-porous and pure, so they can’t hold onto bacteria and they won’t leach chemicals into the body. You know something is leaching chemicals if it has a terrible smell, usually like a new shower curtain.

There are certain companies, like all of those I’m mentioning, that only make body-safe products. When you’re researching stuff, don’t be afraid to email me or other bloggers to get our advice or help you break a tie. We totally love that shit.

TIP #4: UPGRADE THINGS

Pleasure Works Silver Bullet vibratorPleasure Works Diving Dolphin vibrator sleevePleasure Works Wild Hare vibrator sleeve
You can give an extra boost to something your partner already owns, or replace a toy they love with something even better. Pleasure Works makes a couple 100% silicone sleeves called the Diving Dolphin and Wild Hare, and those fit over any vibrator with a diameter of an inch or so. They fit perfectly over the Silver Bullet, which consequently is an excellent starter vibe, and they give it some extra grip, too, which is awesome.

Sleeves can be an inexpensive way to experiment and see what kind of stimulation someone prefers — just make sure they’re made of body-safe materials.

Vixen Creations VixSkin dildos

So, if your partner already has a favorite toy that’s made out of a questionable material, this is your chance to get one in a better material. That’s another thing that I love — when someone emails me wanting a body-safe version of something. It’s like a little game for my sex toy encyclopedic brain.

For example, if your partner owns a soft, smelly insertable toy, check out the dildos made by Vixen Creations. They have a dual-density pure silicone called VixSkin that is highly detailed, delightfully squishy, and will last a lifetime. I’m addicted to it, to put it mildly.

Fleshlight line-up

Also speaking of upgrades… maybe your partner has a cheap masturbation sleeve or only uses their hand to jack off. You should definitely consider getting them a Fleshlight. My boyfriend is super picky about sleeves, but he loves the luscious material used to make Fleshlights… as do I (you can sometimes find me casually fingering one). There are about a million to choose from, from basic orifices to extremely detailed porn star vulvas. There’s even a build-your-own option.

Fun Factory Stronic Eins pulsatorTantus Splash dildoCrystal Delights Crystal Twist
But what if the person you’re buying for already has a hefty sex toy collection? I’d suggest a toy that offers a truly unique sensation, and I would know which ones do because I have a very discerning vagina. I suggest you check out Fun Factory’s Stronic line. These toys do not have traditional motors; they actually contain weights that move back and forth. Yes, like a Shake Weight. Except for your vagina. And a lot more useful. The Stronics are not cheap, but I think they’re worth it. And I don’t say that a lot about $200 toys.

If $200 is a bit much, and I don’t blame you there, look up the Tantus Splash or Crystal Delights Crystal Twist. These two dildos are oddly shaped, yet feel so wonderful because of it.

Sportsheets Under the Bed Restraint System

If you want to veer off the traditional sex toy path, there’s always the Sportsheets Under the Bed Restraint System. This thing basically turns any bed into a bondage playground, complete with both wrist and ankle cuffs. And when you’re done, you can just toss the straps and cuffs under the mattress, effectively hiding them away from your kids… or in my case, my cats.

Sliquid lube is the best

And finally, I must mention lube! It’s the best. Everyone should use it. My favorite brand is Sliquid, because all of their lubes are glycerin- and paraben- free. I say get some lube samples and stuff them in a stocking. Plus then you can do a lube flight and find out what both of you like.

TIP #5: IF ALL ELSE FAILS… GIFT CERTIFICATES

If you can’t decide, and if I’m overwhelming you with suggestions, see if your favorite sex shop does gift certificates (hint: Good Vibes, Babeland, SheVibe, Early to Bed, and Come As You Are all do). One thing you can do is make a list of potential toys to show your partner — you could even put together a sex toy brochure or menu or something — but leave the final say up to them. This shows that you put some effort and research into it, but ultimately you’re giving them the reins. People love having the reins.

So there you have it — hopefully these tips will help you avoid getting the side-eye from your gift recipient. Well, hopefully you’ll get the opposite of the side-eye… uh, whatever that is. Something good.

  • Kim Vande Walle

    Do you know any EU importers for Sliquid (other than Lovehoney, which was already suggested to me here)? Specifically Belgium. It seems like a wonderful product, but hard to get here.

    Oh, and do you have any upcoming reviews for the new LELO LIV2 and Gigi2?

    Very informative post, dear Epiphora. Thank you for your work!

  • Run Amok

    Thanks Epiphora! I’m now plotting excitedly.

  • Oddkin

    LoveHoney.co.uk sells Sliquid, all sorts of types and sizes. They have a 15% off for 2 or more Sliquid products and shipping is very cheap for intra-European orders (5GBP for orders under 100GBP)

    If you shop with them regularly you build up customer loyalty points that can also be spent on Sliquid bottles.

    They’re my dealer in any case :) I’m in the Netherlands

  • http://www.bedroombondage.co.za/ Noëlle Steegs

    Of course sex toys make better gifts than body wash! I keep seeing LELO toys mentioned everywhere, and think.. hmm, maybe I should try one someday. Maybe even the Mona 2. Who knows. And I really had to giggle.. making yourself come with a vibrator influenced by playing Black Sabbath? That’s definitely interesting! Makes me think of which songs I’d use.. maybe Fire Wire from Cosmic Gate. Thank you for doing this, I’m sure it’s helpful to many!

  • http://heyepiphora.com/ Epiphora

    Hmm, I don’t know. Lovehoney is the one I recommend to international folks because they have their shit together. I’m not well-versed in other international retailers.

    I’ll be reviewing the Gigi 2, but suffice to say, the Mona 2 is MUCH MUCH MUCH better.