Dildos 101

Dildos are insertable toys. Dildos generally don't vibrate or if they do, they have a very simple vibrator with only a few functions. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be used vaginally or anally. Some can be attached to harnesses.

What to look for

  • Pick a dildo that's made of borosilicate glass, stainless steel, or 100% silicone.
  • If you're picking out your first dildo, look for one that is soft enough to squeeze a bit in your hand but firm enough to be inserted easily without bending a lot.
  • If you want to use the dildo anally, get one with a handle or a base that is much wider or larger than the narrowest part of the toy. That way, if you lose your grip on it, you can retrieve it easily.
  • If you're not sure about size, you can use the cucumber technique — get a large cucumber and pare it down until you reach a size that feels comfortable for you, then measure its diameter (toy widths are diameter, not circumference). Be aware that many toys don't have the size on the packaging, so you'll need to be at a store or site (like ours) that tells you the size of the toy.

What to avoid

  • Stay away from cheap jelly rubber dildos. These are very difficult to clean because of their porousness. They can trap dirt, body fluids, and soap inside the material, and that may lead to infections. They may also contain toxic chemicals that may leach out of the toys. If a toy has an odor to it or feels sticky or oily, it probably contains these chemicals.
  • Don't go for glass, stainless steel, or very firm silicone until you've played a bit and are sure about how you are going to use it and what size and shape you want. Toys that don't bend can be painful to use unless you know exactly how you want to angle them.
  • When buying plastic toys, be sure to check for any seams, which will scratch and cause pain internally.
  • In general, the simpler the dildo, the better. Stay away from toys that have fancy designs in them. This creates little cavities where bacteria and dirt can hide.