Weeks ago, we published a story bemoaning the struggles of being single and horny in the midst of a global pandemic. As of right now, there’s still no vaccine on the market, and it’s not clear how much longer we single pringles will have to continue entertaining ourselves.
Why not distract yourself from the existential gloom and quarantine-induced loneliness by learning more about your own sexuality and what you’re into?
After all, college is all about becoming an adult. Many of us have had different experiences with sex education (or worse, none at all!) and there’s nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to learning about sexuality. Learning about your own sexual preferences is a meaningful part of understanding yourself and becoming an adult. If there was ever a time to experiment with sex toys you’ve never tried before, it would be now, safe in the privacy of your own room … since it’s not like we have anywhere else to be.
First things first: lube. It doesn’t matter what gender you identify as — if you’ve never used lube, you’re missing out. Maybe you’ve been using oil, lotion or even … nothing. (Seriously? Don’t do it dry, it’s 2020.) There are lots of different kinds of lube, which can be confusing for people who have never used it before.
The most important thing is that you make sure you’re buying the right type of lube: water-based, oil-based or silicone-based.
Water-based lubes are safe to use with condoms and wash off easily with water. Oil-based lubes can be used during sex or just for massages, but they might stain your sheets and shouldn’t be used with condoms since oil can cause them to break.
Silicone-based lube is hypoallergenic and the least likely to cause allergic reactions, but don’t use it with any silicone sex toys — it can deteriorate the material, which will make your sex toys unsafe to use.
Vibrators come in all shapes and sizes, from discreet, lipstick-shaped bullets to the impressive (and expensive) Sybian. If you’re exploring the sensual world of vibration for the first time and have no idea where to start, don’t worry! Here’s a handy guide from The Everygirl with a long list of options.
You’ll first want to figure out whether you’re looking for penetrative or non-penetrative vibration — as in, are you okay with stuff going inside of you, or not?
For beginners, I’d recommend trying non-penetrative toys first. Before you empty your bank account on intense motors and state-of-the-art toys, try this affordable option from Amazon! If it’s not your thing, at least you didn’t spend $1,000. (Yes, there are vibrators that actually are that expensive.)
Lastly, let’s dispel the idea that vibrators are only for vaginas. Sexual enjoyment and exploration aren’t limited by the constraints of gender and body type. There are vibrators that can be worn on fingers and penises, and even vibrators that go in your butt! Which brings us to the next subject ...
Are you curious about butt stuff? Butt plugs, much like vibrators, are also incredibly diverse. Butt plugs and other insertable toys, like anal beads, are sold in different sizes, materials and levels of firmness.
This is an especially important point for beginners. Start small and gentle — go for toys that are made out of silicone and figure out what you’re comfortable with before you attempt larger and harder toys, like wood or glass plugs.
Make sure you’re using tons of lube, too, specifically lube that is not silicone-based. Whatever you read online or see in porn, do not take painkillers or use any kind of numbing cream while you’re getting to know your butt. Porn is totally unrealistic about the time and effort it takes to prepare for anal sex, which can sometimes be painful! Being able to feel pain is important so you know your own limits and so you can tell when you might be doing something wrong, that you need to go slower, or that you should try something different.
Nipples are an erogenous zone regardless of sex, though some people may be more sensitive than others. If you’re thinking about nipple play, there are a ton of different accessories for you to try out!
Before you make any purchases, you should do a little experimenting with your pain tolerance. When you do buy your first set of nipple clamps, look for ones with adjustable pressure or ones that are more gentle.
Of course, once you’ve figured out your preferences, there’s a whole world of BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) accessories to explore! From additional weights to chains to electrical clamps, the list is endless.
When someone says “sex toys,” chances are the first image that comes to mind is a dildo, and an incredibly phallic-looking one, at that.
For anyone who’s interested in penetrative sex toys but doesn’t like penises, I have good news for you: There are tons of dildos out there that look nothing like a real penis. That’s because enjoying penetrative sex has nothing to do with being attracted to penises specifically!
Like butt plugs, smaller and gentler dildos made of silicone are best for beginners. You might see some really intense stuff in porn, but, well, not everybody is a porn star. Before you go for massive and expensive toys from Bad Dragon, try something smaller and more affordable, like this blue toy with ridges or this one that looks like a popsicle.
If you’re not looking to be penetrated, but rather to do the penetrating, check out this guide to buying your first strap-on! The most important thing is that you find a toy that can be worn with a harness — not everything is compatible, so make sure you read the fine print.
At the end of your foray into the intimidating and magical realm of sex toys, remember that hygiene is key!
Make sure to follow the cleaning instructions included with your toys. Whenever you’re done with using them, you should generally be washing with warm, soapy water (or whatever your specific instructions suggest) and storing your toys in a clean place to dry. The last thing you want is some kind of infection because you were getting down and dirty.
And finally, keep in mind that this list is not expansive. There are packers, masturbators and toys made specifically for trans and gender non-conforming people, as well as many other items that aren’t included in this list. With no clear end in sight to our time in isolation, why not make the most of it by loving yourself?