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How to use sex toys, a guide

New to the world of sex toys? Wanting to explore something new, alone or with a partner? Find our complete guide on how to use sex toys.

By Rebecca Roberts | Last updated Aug 30, 2023

How to use sex toys

Curiosity about sex toys is nothing new. In fact, using dildos, sex toys and phallic objects has been done for centuries, with evidence of their use dating all the way back to ancient Greece.

Today, there are a ton of sex toys available, making it overwhelming for those new to the world of sex toys. Sex toys are more popular than ever and are a great way to add some spice into your sex life and explore your own - and your partner's - body. Some people find that sex toys help them deal with the sexual side effects of certain medications, health conditions, or menopause — like a low sex drive or decreased sensation in their genitals. However, with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to make a snap decision while trying to buy a toy. It's like browsing shelves and shelves full of orgasm-promising sex accessories at your local sex toy store. With so many options, which one is right for you?

To help, we've pulled together this comprehensive guide on how to use sex toys, with some input from our trusty Mumsnet users. Find a rundown on the different types of sex toys available, how to choose the right one for you, as well as common fears and misconceptions debunked. So, whether you're looking to add some excitement to your solo play or want to spice things up with a partner through mutual masturbation, this guide has you covered. Read on for our in-depth guide on how to use sex toys.

Don't miss: find our roundups of the best condoms, best lube, and best vibrators and stock-up on essential sex accessories.

Why use a sex toy?

Sex toys can bring a whole new level of excitement and variety to your sexual experiences. They allow you to explore your desires and fantasies in a safe and pleasurable way.

The benefits of using sex toys

Experimenting with sex toys is a great way to enhance your own self-awareness and body confidence. During solo play, using one helps provide a safe and enjoyable way to understand your own desires and preferences - leading to more satisfying sexual experiences overall.

  • Mental health: using sex toys can help alleviate stress and anxiety. The release of endorphins during sexual arousal and orgasm promotes relaxation and a more positive mood.

  • Self-awareness: exploring different types of sex toys encourages individuals to understand their own desires, preferences, and boundaries.

  • Body confidence: using sex toys can lead to increased body positivity and confidence, allowing the user to focus on the physical sensations rather than their own insecurities.

  • Empowerment: embracing sex toys empowers you to take control of your own pleasure.

  • Intimacy: incorporating sex toys into partnered experiences can enhance intimacy and communication. Couples can explore each other's fantasies and preferences, leading to a deeper emotional connection and increased trust.

  • Variety and creativity: add a layer of novelty and excitement to sex, and keep the action in the sheets fresh and engaging.

The different types of sex toys

When it comes to exploring pleasure, the world of toys offers a wide variety of options to cater to different preferences and desires.

"With sex toys I can control the intensity, move it around to exactly where I like it and get lost in my own fantasy so that is how I have some of my best orgasms."


From vibrators to dildos, cock rings and kegel balls, Ann Summers toys to Lovehoney accessories, there is something for everyone.

Sex toys come in various materials, like silicone or stainless steel, allowing users to choose what feels best for them. Additionally, some toys are designed for specific types of stimulation, like clitoral or G-spot stimulation.

External sex toys: what are they?

These are toys specifically designed to provide stimulating vibrations to the external erogenous zones, such as the clitoris. The different types include, but are not limited to:

  • Rabbit vibrators (both internal and external, see below)

  • Bullet sex toys

  • Wand vibrators (aka magic wands)

  • Clitoral suction sex toys

  • Cock rings

  • Panty vibrators (aka love eggs)

Whether used during foreplay or incorporated into sexual intercourse, external vibrators can enhance clitoral stimulation and lead to powerful orgasms. Their versatility and ability to deliver targeted pleasure make them a popular choice for those seeking extra excitement and pleasure.

Read next: Find our guide to the best condoms, according to Mumsnet users

1. How to use a rabbit sex toy (for external stimulation)

So, you've got a new rabbit sex toy and you're ready to explore its pleasurable potential.

  • Familiarise yourself with the controls and settings to ensure you know how to customise your experience.

  • Applying a water-based lube to the shaft of the toy will help with smooth insertion.

  • With the shaft inserted in your vagina, use the external stimulator (aka the ears) to rest against your clitoris for dual pleasure.

  • For increased external stim, try moving the toy in circular or up-and-down motions over your clit to explore various sensations.

  • Experiment with different vibration patterns and intensities to find what feels best for you.

"A rabbit is a good "starter" toy as you get both penetration and clit vibration."


Whether you're enjoying some solo play or incorporating it into partnered play, a rabbit vibrator can offer incredible sensations and shared pleasure.

2. How to use a bullet vibrator

When it comes to using a bullet vibrator, there are a few key points to keep in mind.

  • Apply a water-based lube to the vibrator to help enhance comfort during use.

  • Hold the bullet vibrator against your external erogenous zones like the clitoris, nipples, or perineum.

  • Don't be afraid to experiment with different levels of intensity and vibration patterns to find what feels pleasurable for you.

The compact size of a bullet vibrator makes it a versatile toy for both internal and external stimulation.

3. How to use a wand vibrator

To use a wand vibrator, make sure it's plugged in or has a fully charged battery before first use, then:

  • Apply a water-based lube to the head for comfortable use.

  • Hold the wand against external erogenous zones like the clitoris or vulva.

  • Experiment with vibration intensities to find what feels pleasurable.

The powerful vibrations can be enjoyed during solo play or with a partner. Whether you're exploring your own desires or enhancing shared pleasure, a wand vibrator can be a great addition to your intimate experiences.

Don't forget to clean your toy before and after each use for optimal hygiene.

4. How to use a clitoral suction vibrator

When using a clitoral suction vibrator, it's important to apply a water-based lube to the opening for a comfortable seal. Then position the opening over your clitoris, creating a gentle suction sensation. Explore different intensities and patterns of suction to find what feels pleasurable to you.

This vibrator can be used during solo play or incorporated into partnered play for added stimulation. Experiment with different angles and positions to discover what gives you the most pleasure.

Remember, the goal is to enhance your experience and explore your own desires. So, have fun, be open-minded, and enjoy the journey!

5. How to use a cock ring

To make using a cock ring easier, follow these steps:

  • Apply a water-based lube to the inner side for smooth placement.

  • Slide it down to the base of the penis, ensuring a snug, comfortable fit without being too tight.

  • Remember, you can use the cock ring around just the penis or both the penis and testicles.

  • By restricting blood flow, the cock ring enhances erection strength and stamina.

During intercourse, the cock ring provides increased pleasure and prolonged performance for your partner. So, whether you're looking for added sensation or a confidence boost, incorporating a cock ring can be a great way to enhance your overall experience for both of you.

How to use a wand vibrator

Internal sex toys: what are they?

For those of you who achieve climax via your G-spot(s), internal vibrators are a great sex toy to try. They can help elevate your pleasure with intense, customisable vibrators. They're versatile, and stimulate deep inside whether during solo or couples play. Examples of internal vibrators include:

  • Kegel balls

  • Dildo

  • Rabbit sex toys

  • Anal plugs/beads

  • G-spot vibrators

With a variety of functions and settings to choose from, you can customise your experience to suit your preferences. From intense vibrations to gentle pulsations, internal sex toys offer a range of sensations to satisfy your desires.

Read next: Here are the best vibrators, according to Mumsnet users

1. How to use kegel balls

Kegel balls, Ben Wa Balls, orgasm balls - they go by different names. These insertable, wearable toys are a popular type of toy and are often used remotely. Many designs are weighted, linked with a cord to pull them out, whereas others vibrate while inside you and others can help train your pelvic floor, too! Adding penetrative sex toys to your collection can enhance your sexual experiences and provide a realistic sensation of penetration. Whether you choose thrusting dildos or other similar toys, they can simulate the feeling of penetration without the need for a partner.

To use kegel balls in and out of the bedroom, follow these steps:

  • Apply water-based lubrication to your kegel balls for easier insertion.

  • Gently place the first ball into your vagina securely.

  • Add more balls gradually that you're comfortable with, or until only the pull cord is visible.

  • Use alongside another external toy, like a wand vibrator, for extra stimulation.

  • If a vibrating version, flick the switch to make it buzz while inside.

  • To remove, relax your muscles and gently pull the retrieval cord or use a finger to remove.

  • For added fun, use it to explore other parts of your body, like your nipples.

Remember to clean the kegel balls before and after each use, and consider using different weights and sizes to suit your needs and comfort level.

2. How to use a rabbit sex toy (for internal stimulation)

Like above, you should follow these steps:

  • Familiarise yourself with the controls and settings to ensure you know how to customise your experience.

  • Applying a water-based lube will help with smooth insertion.

  • With the shaft inserted, use the external stimulator to rest against your clitoris for dual pleasure.

  • For increased internal stimulation, try different motions or thrust angles and speeds to target your G-spot.

  • Experiment with different vibration patterns and intensities to find what feels best for you.

3. How to use a dildo

The sex toy that beginners often think of when introduced to the world of toys. While a classic silhouette, a dildo is designed specifically for internal, G-spot stimulation whether vaginally or anally. They come in different sizes, textures and materials. When using one, you should:

  • Properly clean and sanitise it before and after use.

  • Use a water-based lubricant for enhanced comfort and ease of penetration.

  • Try different techniques like thrusting or twisting motions for added sensation.

Don't be afraid to explore and discover what works best for you.

How normal is it to use sex toys

How normal is it to use sex toys

While toys may have been openly advertised by the ancient Greeks on their crockery, these days, the world of toys and kinkiness is still something not often spoken about.

Using toys is a personal choice and a normal part of many people's sexual repertoire. They can help people to explore their desires, enhance pleasure, and embark on a journey of self-discovery either alone or with their partner(s).

Millions of individuals and couples have embraced the benefits and pleasures of incorporating sex toys into their lives - you only need to have a quick glance at our sex Talk board to see for yourself.

"I have a bag of tricks with a bullet vibe, butt plug, nipple clamps, remote controlled vibe, rabbit ears cock ring, bottle of lube."


Embrace the freedom to explore and express your own preferences and desires with confidence. Using toys is a great way to enhance your sexual experiences and find new sources of pleasure.

Read next: Discover the best sex toys for beginners

Finding the right sex toy for you: what to consider

When it comes to finding the right toy for you, there are a few things to consider.

  • Firstly, think about your personal preferences and desires. Everyone is different, so what works for one person may not work for another.

  • Secondly, take into account factors like size, material, and functionality. These aspects can greatly affect your experience with the toy.

  • Thirdly, do some research and read reviews to find a reputable and high-quality toy that suits your needs.

  • And finally, don't be afraid to experiment with different types of toys to discover what brings you the most pleasure and satisfaction.

Seeking guidance from professionals or experienced individuals can also help you find the perfect sex toy for your preferences and comfort level.

1. Material: is it body safe?

When choosing toys, it's important to prioritise body-safe materials. Look for options made from silicone or stainless steel, ensuring they are hygienic and non-toxic. Check for phthalate-free labels, FDA approval, or medical-grade certifications for peace of mind. Opt for high-quality materials that are easy to clean and maintain.

2. Size and comfort

When using sex toys, size and comfort matter. Begin with smaller sizes at first if you're a beginner or have any discomfort concerns. You can gradually move to larger sizes as confidence grows, and choosing toys with adjustable features can help enhance pleasure and comfort.

Ultimately, prioritise your own comfort and pleasure when selecting the right size for you.

Read next: Best sex toys for women

3. Budget and reviews

When it comes to buying sex toys, it's important to set a budget range that suits you without compromising on quality and safety.

Take the time to read reviews and ratings from trusted sources, like our Mumsnet users, to ensure the reliability and satisfaction of the product you're interested in.

Other things to consider include: the value and longevity of the toy, discounts or sales available, or in-store promotions to save money. Opting for well-known brands like Ann Summers can also ensure a reliable purchase.

How to use and clean sex toys

Overcoming common misconceptions about sex toys

First of all - using sex toys is a personal choice that doesn't reflect inadequacy in your sex life. Don't let societal stigma or judgement hold you back from exploring the benefits and variety of sex toys available for different preferences.

Educate yourself about the options, from strap-ons to vibrators, and communicate openly with your partner about incorporating them into your shared intimacy. Remember, using sex toys can promote self-discovery and take your pleasure to new heights.

We examine and answer other frequently asked questions about sex toys by our Mumsnet users...

1. Are sex toys essential for a healthy sex life?

Toys are not necessary for a healthy sex life, but they can enhance pleasure and intimacy. Experimenting with these toys allows individuals to explore their desires, discover new sensations, and spice up their sexual routine. Ultimately, the use of sex toys depends on personal preferences and comfort levels.

2. Are sex toys safe to use during pregnancy?

When using a sex toy during pregnancy, it's important to prioritise safety and comfort. First and foremost, consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that using sex toys is safe for you and your baby.

Opt for sex toys made from body-safe materials with smooth surfaces to minimise the risk of irritation. Additionally, use water-based lubricants to reduce any potential discomfort or friction.

Pay close attention to your body's response during use, and if you experience any pain or discomfort, stop immediately. Lastly, be sure to thoroughly clean and sanitise your sex toys before and after each use to prevent any potential infections.

Read next: Uncovering the best Ann Summers sex toys

3. Are sex toys safe for anal play?

Yes, toys can be used for anal play, but it's essential to choose a toy that has a flared base or handle to prevent it from getting lost inside the anus.

Additionally, using a toy specifically designed for anal play, such as a butt plug or anal beads, can provide a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. Remember to always use plenty of lubrication and start with smaller sizes before gradually increasing to larger toys.

4. How to get rid of a sex toy

When it comes to getting rid of used sex toys, there are a few important things to consider.

First, check your local regulations to find out the proper disposal methods. Some sex toys can be recycled or dropped off at designated locations for safe disposal. If disposal isn't an option, you can repurpose the materials for other non-sexual uses. Make sure to wrap or package the toy properly to maintain privacy during disposal.

Alternatively, you can reach out to the manufacturer for guidance on environmentally-friendly disposal options. Ensuring the responsible disposal of used sex toys is essential for maintaining a safe and healthy environment.

Read next: Find the best lube and lubrication for sex

What types of lubricants should you use with sex toys?

When it comes to sex toys, it's important to choose a lubricant that is compatible with the material of the toy. Water-based lubricants are generally safe to use with all types of toys, including silicone, rubber, and plastic.

However, if you're using a silicone-based toy, it's best to avoid silicone-based lubricants as they can cause the toy to deteriorate over time. Instead, opt for water-based or hybrid lubricants.

How do you choose the right sex toy for you?

How do you choose the right sex toy for you?

When choosing a toy, consider factors such as your personal preferences, desired stimulation, and comfort level.

Start by exploring different types of toys, such as vibrators, dildos, or anal toys, and think about what type of stimulation you enjoy. Additionally, consider the size, material, and features of the toy.

If you're unsure, reading reviews or seeking recommendations from trusted sources can help guide your decision.

Read next: Best wand massagers according to Mumsnet users

What are some popular sex toys for beginners?

For beginners, there are many great options to choose from. Some popular sex toys for beginners include bullet vibrators, which are small and discreet, perfect for clitoral stimulation. Wand vibrators, such as the Magic Wand or the Dame Wand, can provide powerful and intense stimulation.

Additionally, butt plugs, penis rings, and clitoral vibrators are other popular choices. Remember, everyone's preferences are different, so it's important to explore and find what works best for you.

How to clean a sex toy before and after use

To keep your sex toys clean and safe, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and maintenance. For non-electronic toys, use mild soap and warm water to clean them thoroughly. If you have electronic toys, use a sex toy cleaner specifically designed for effective and safe cleaning.

After cleaning, make sure the toy is completely dry before storing it to prevent bacterial growth. It's also a good idea to regularly inspect your toys for any signs of wear or damage and replace them if necessary. Keeping your toys clean and well-maintained ensures both hygiene and longevity.

About the author

Our resident Leeds lass, Rebecca Roberts, is a writer, editor, and content marketing expert who, at Mumsnet, works hard to bring parents content specifically designed to make life easier. After birthing and breastfeeding two babies in two years, Rebecca knows first-hand how hard it can be to reignite intimacy. From condoms, to lubricants, to sex toys - she’s on a quest to find the best ones, with the help of Mumsnet user recommendations.

Beyond her role as an editor here at Mumsnet, Rebecca can be found balancing life as a working mum of two toddlers and when she’s not at her desk, you’ll likely find her at a local playgroup, in a nearby coffee shop, walking the dog, or hiding from her neighbour as she attempts to buy condoms during her weekly “Big Food Shop”.