• Clare


Everyone remembers their first one. Hidden in the drawer or slipped beneath the covers. That muffled buzz, the grasp of the sheets. Not quite a story to tell the grandkids, but it still goes down in history. The first orgasm of the rest of your life.

Feeling a bit of FOMO right about now? Poor thing. But it’s never too late to join the sex toy revolution - that’s why you’re here, isn’t it? So come and learn from the masters and take that first step by reading our beginner’s guide to sex toys. We promise you won’t regret it...

What are the different types of sex toys?

First things first, you need to know what you’re dealing with. The world of sex toys can seem pretty daunting at first but don’t worry, we’re here to hold your hand and help you through it. You’ll be a pro in no time, so here goes!

Vibrators Vibrators, or colloquially known as vibes, are a perfect starting point for the eager sex toy apprentice. There are a few different kinds of vibrators but some, such as shaft vibrators and wand massagers, can pack a serious punch so you may want to work your way up to them. Save these for later, when you’ve become a full-blown sex toy addict.

Dildos If the buzz just isn’t for you and you prefer to do the hard work yourself, then go down the old-fashioned route of a dildo. We don’t blame you. Dildos come in a whole range of different shapes and sizes. Mostly cock-shaped, for obvious reasons. But still, some are a little more realistic than others. The ideal first dildo for a sex toy beginner will depend on how into the idea you are. The veiny textures mean extra stimulation, but then so do the ridges on the more discreet designs. It’s all about personal preference so size ‘em up for yourself and see what takes your fancy. Just don’t forget to lube up first!

Fancy taking your solo play to a new level? Some dildos come with suction cups for hands-free use. Perfect for the shower - trust us on this.

Rampant Rabbits It wouldn’t be a beginner’s guide to sex toys without a mention of the Rampant Rabbit. Oh yes, this one’s our baby and we’re incredibly proud of it. Back in the day Ann Summers started a sex toy revolution with the launch of the Rampant Rabbit the likes of which you wouldn’t believe, and we guarantee that it’s still the best you’re gonna get. The Rampant Rabbit combines a vibrating dildo with a bunny-eared bullet; so you still get deep penetration but with the mind-blowing clitoral stimulation. It really is the best of both worlds. We may sound biased, but try it for yourself and you’ll be screaming your support. Mighty or mini. Rotating or rechargeable. We’ve got all your bases covered. Check out our How to use a Rabbit guide too... you may be surprised.

Cock Rings

You don’t have to play alone when it comes to sex toys. Unlock the cooperative achievements with some couples playtime. Cock rings are the perfect beginner’s sex toy for couples - for a whole host of reasons. They keep your man harder for longer; it slows him down and keeps him in the moment, and stimulates your clit at the same time. Everybody wins. Once you can both handle the simple, stretchy styles, why not step up your game? Vibrating cock rings will send shivers down your man’s spine while the attached bullet works your clit like a vibe. A quick exchange of rings and you’ll be committed to better sex for the rest of your life.

Anal toys Now you have a pretty good grasp of the ins and outs of sex toys, it’s time to take things a little further. If you’ve made it this far through the guide, then you’re just about ready for anal toys. If the idea of playing with the back door gets you a little excited but don’t know where to begin, anal beads and butt plugs are a great place to start. And they are perfect for both solo and couples play. Once you’re ready for a more advanced level, prostate massagers or strap-on dildos are ideal for switching up the gender roles.

Male masturbators

Don’t forget, boys - you’ve got options too. We’ve got plenty of male sex toys just waiting for you to explore. We’ve already discussed the two main ones: cock rings and anal toys, but if you’re looking to intensify your solo missions, then male masturbators are your new best friend. Skin-soft sleeves, vibrating options and plenty of discretely-disguised designs, these toys will amp up your pleasure in ways you never thought possible by your own hand. We also stock a range of penis pumps and extenders for that extra inch when you need it!

Bondage Bondage is a whole other game to play, honey, which is why we’ve dedicated a whole guide to telling you everything you need to know. But we’ll cover a few basics with you here. Newbie bondage toys like ticklers, blindfolds and handcuffs are a fun and safe way to start testing your limits and handing control back and forth. For a little trip down the path to pain, paddles and crops should be your next step. Submit fully with gags and restraints, or go all the way with nipple clamps and a pinwheel. Christian Grey, who?

Your (mini) guide to sex toy materials

Though size and shape will always count, sex toys now come in a variety of materials, from glass all the way to metal. But what feels hot for one person won’t turn another person on; it’s all down to what you like. And who knows you better than you? To help you out, you are beginners after all, we’ve broken down the most common sex toy materials and each of their properties.

Silicone toys Silicone is the material of choice for designer sex toys, or those that cost a little more, and is well loved for hypoallergenic properties and non-porous material. Safety is sexy, don’t you know? It’s becoming a more and more popular material of choice because it is easy to clean, feels great and is very durable, which means you get longer bang for your buck. However, don’t use silicone lubricants with silicone toys; we cover this in more detail later on but it can really do some irreversible damage.

Glass toys Versatile and beautiful, we’ve seen a real boom in the number of glass sex toys hitting the market recently. Not only do they look pretty, but they really allow you to experiment with temperature and sensation play, as they can be gently heated or cooled down to enhance your pleasure. For those of you who feel a little nervous at the thought of inserting a glass toy - don’t worry. They are made of borosilicate glass which is incredibly durable and won’t smash when dropped. They are also one of the easiest types to clean.

Metal toys Not really one for beginners, but it’s good for you to know about them so you can work your way up to. It’s non-porous, safe for the skin, strong, waterproof and safe for all lubricants; it’s the perfect sex toy material. However, what makes them more of an advanced toy is the heavy weight and rigid feeling. But if you love firm pressure on your G-spot then this could be the material for you.

Plastic toys The material of choice for your classic vibrators and bullets, plastic is both hygienic and feels great. It’s the perfect conductor of vibrations; meaning strong stimulation for you. It’s also odourless, tasteless and compatible with silicone and water-based lubes.

Real-feel toys Remember the male masturbators that we introduced you to earlier? Well they would fall into the category of real-feel toys. These bad boys are designed to both look and feel like the real thing. Take the Fleshlight for example, they are as lifelike as you’re going to get, and their material means they will even retain heat to stay at body temperature.

The Dos and Don'ts of using sex toys

As with anything to do with your body, there are certain rules to follow to ensure not only that you stay safe, but also that you have a good time. But never fear, we’ve broken them down into a few simple dos and don’ts.

The dos...

  • DO make sure you use the right lube. For silicone toys, silicone or oil-based lubricants should be avoided as it will stick to the material and start to erode the surface of your toy. Your safest option is water-based lube.

  • DO use a condom if you are playing with a partner. If you’re using sex toys in a new relationship, fingers, penis, toys all need their own condoms. For solo play you don’t necessarily need a condom as long as you keep the toy clean.

  • DO clean your toys after every use. We’ll go into more detail on how to do this properly a little later in the guide, but it really is an essential do! If you really want be safe, you should clean them before every use too.

The don'ts...

  • DON’T share sex toys with anyone else. Cock rings or double ended dildos are a given - you have to share these to some degree - but you should never use a vibrator or a dildo and pass it onto someone else regardless of whether you’ve cleaned it or not.

  • DON’T put a toy anywhere you shouldn’t. This rule mostly applies to anal play; you shouldn’t insert any toy up there that doesn’t have a flared base, otherwise you run the risk of losing it! Boy, wouldn’t that be an embarrassing trip to A&E?

  • DON’T chuck your toy in a drawer until you next use it. There can be all sorts in drawers from dust, hair, food crumbs and bacteria. The best tips for storage are to either keep it wrapped in a cloth (or a cloth bag if it comes in one) or its original box.

How to clean your sex toys

This part is important so everyone pay attention! Once you’ve had your fun, whether you’re playing solo or with a partner, it’s essential that you look after your toy so it can look after you! But cleaning your toys and keeping them in top condition doesn’t have to be a chore; read on...

For cleaning non-porous materials

Non-porous materials are: silicone, plastic, metal, glass, or acrylic. These kinds of toys are a lot safer from bacteria as it is unlikely to get trapped, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with a quick clean! Pay particular attention to any nooks and crannies of your toy to ensure a thorough clean. More often than not, particularly for external toys, a gentle wipe down with sex toy cleaner, wipes or soap and water will suffice. If you consider yourself a real neat freak, you can sanitise your toy in boiling water.

For cleaning porous materials

Porous materials are: jelly rubber, rubber, vinyl, any real-feel toy, leather, or nylon. Although these toys will feel a lot more realistic, the downside is that they require a little more care and maintenance than other materials. The structure of porous materials means that it is easier for bacteria to linger, so a good deep clean is essential. But that doesn’t mean using stronger soap as this could cause a reaction in either you or your partner.

How often should I change sex toys?

If you keep your toys clean and in excellent condition in the ways we have described above, then your sex toys should bring you pleasure and happiness for many years to come. Knowing when it’s time to get a replacement is really all down to common sense. If there is noticeable damage to your toy, if the batteries have leaked or if a non-waterproof toy has sustained water damage it might be time to treat yourself to a new one. As if you needed another excuse.

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