Sex toys: getting started

Siski Green / 03 February 2016

With so many shapes, sizes and styles of sex toy available, it’s hard to choose. Find out what to look for before you buy.

Orgasms are good for you. They improve circulation, improve your mood and, if you’re in a relationship, help you bond. And let’s not forget that they feel great too! Which is why buying a sex toy could be considered a healthy lifestyle choice.

A sex toy can make reaching orgasm easier (or for those who’ve never had one, simply possible), they can make you get to climax quicker too, and they can make sex more fun. Just be sure you know what kind of toy you’d like and safety features to look out for, before you buy.

Find out about the health benefits of sex.

Extra stimulation

Vibrators are ideal if you’re looking to increase sensation during sex or when playing solo. They work by vibrating a simple finger or, in the case of phallic vibrators, the sex toy itself delivers a buzzing movement along with the pressure you apply as you hold the sex toy.

Try a vibrator that straps to your finger so you can control the movement yourself (vibrating finger rings, for example, can cost from £4.99), a vibrator that your partner can put on his penis for extra stimulation during sex (Durex Play Ring, for example) or a phallic-shaped vibrator if you want the sensation of penetrative sex while being stimulated.

Read our tips for having better sex.


How many settings do you need on a vibrator? This is a question you can only really answer with some experimentation. For some people a high-speed intense vibration is too much and they can’t bear the sensation, so they may need to knock it down a notch or two but won’t need a wide variety of settings. For others, the feeling of being able to build from slower vibrations to faster ones gradually is wonderful and so more settings would be useful, such as on the Sh! Desire Vibrator (around £49).

A warmer touch

Some sex toys feel plastic and hard to the touch – not sensual or sexy. So check the material your sex toy is made of before you buy. Silicone, for example, feels smooth and slightly soft, making it ideal. If you’d like something to feel as natural as possible, you can also try one of the vibrators that warms up (like the Rosa Rouge Warming Vibrator, around £129.74). Being warm while trying to reach orgasm has been found to be key to success. A study from Holland found that women wearing socks were more likely to orgasm and the researchers theorise that this is because they were warmer and therefore more relaxed, and able to orgasm.

Full power

What’s worse than not even getting close to orgasm? Getting really close each time but then not reaching climax. And that’s why battery or mains power is an important aspect to look at when choosing a sex toy. Many will come with the option to recharge, so look for details on how long they’ll last on a full charge. And if they run only on mains power, like the Magic Wand Vibrator (£49.99) make sure the cable is long enough to reach your bed or wherever you plan to use it!


While it’s not always possible to listen to a sex toy before you buy it some will mention their lack of noise (some even claim to be silent), so look for that if it’s important to you.

Sex appeal

Some sex toys can look off-putting, especially if you plan to use them during sex – many simply look like a penis or vaginal substitute, which isn’t necessarily the idea if you’re enjoying sex with your partner. So look for toys with user-friendly shapes and designs – the Lelo Insignia Alia Rechargeable vibrator, for example (£59.95) is shaped like a ring, making holding it far easier and it’s lovely to look at too. There are also vibrators designed to look discreet such as the MIA 2 from LELO, which would be mistaken for a lipstick by anyone but you.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.