Choosing your first sex toy can feel confusing. You open up a website, or walk into the shop… And choices surround you. What in the world should you get, out of hundreds — even thousands — of options?! Is there a best first-time vibrator, or one dildo to rule them all?
The answer is: NO, not everyone will enjoy the same thing. Because we have different bodies, different tastes, different needs. BUT, hear me out: Knowing the right questions to honestly ask (either yourself, or your partner) about sex toy desires will narrow down the choices, and lead you to one or two toys to start exploring with. Your pleasure is top priority here, so don’t be shy about thinking about what you want!
This guide to buying your first vibrator, first dildo, or first butt plug will recommend:
- Only body-safe sex toys: so you don’t end up with nasty materials (like softened PVC) that will irritate the skin / cause infection.
- Mainly budget-friendly options (under $50) for most of these answers — though in a few cases (see the Nova 2), I had to pull out a pricier toy as truly the one best choice.
My own journey into buying sex toys was full of “Eh, that didn’t really work” and unsafe choices, as I wandered randomly through tons of vibes and dildos, trying to figure it all out. My goal here is to help you avoid a similar experience — so you won’t waste a few hundred dollars buying one mediocre product after another, but loving none of them. For more in-depth reading, I have a “best toys by category” guide too, if you (amazingly!) already know what category of sex toy you’re drawn to.1 Sex toys for beginners don’t need to be low quality.
Last, a note in case buying a first toy feels dirty or slightly scary. Sexual shame is such a common feeling when you first step into the world of toys! Many of us (*raises hand*) have been there, either secretly googling toys or finally working up the nerve to venture into a sex shop… while wondering at the back our minds, “Is this OK?” But we don’t need to apologize for wanting more pleasure in life, more fun in the bedroom. Sex toys are awesome tools that we can use to feel alive while we are alive, goddammit. Whether you’re playing solo, and/or with a consenting partner!
So let’s dive in…
- 1 How to Choose Your First Vibrator
- 2 How to Choose Your First Dildo
- 3 How to Choose Your First Anal Sex Toy
- 4 Other Toy Categories: BDSM & Penis Toys
- 5 Common Concerns for First-Time Shoppers
How to Choose Your First Vibrator
First, vibrator or dildo? There are safe vibrating dildos, but here a “vibrator” is any toy with a vibrating motor inside, vs. a dildo being a non-mechanical toy (that you thrust or ride).
If you’re here wondering how to choose your / your partner’s first vibrator (mainly for clits & vaginas), consider the following question to choose the type of vibrator:
- For clitoral or vaginal use, or both?
- Strong or gentler vibration? (Consider how easily you orgasm now.)
- Do you need a very quiet vibrator?
- Should it be app-controlled, for long-distance or public play?
Here’s a quick recap of top affordable first-time toys, for sale here — keep reading for the why:
- Best all-around vibrator (clitoral OR vaginal; quiet when inserted; good intensity range): Pillow Talk Sassy
- Best dual stimulation: We-Vibe Nova 2
- Best small starter vibe: BMS Essential Bullet
- Best for quiet & gentler play: Pillow Talk Racy
- Best first Satisfyer (clit “suction”) + vibes: Dual Pleasure
- Best app control: Dual Pleasure for at home; Sexy Secret for public play
#1. Clitoral Stimulation or Vaginal?
Find your answer to “Clitoral or Vaginal?” and progress from there!
If “I prefer clitoral stimulation” or “Inside, please!” is your answer, continue to Questions #2 and #3.
If your answer is: “I’m not sure” or “Sometimes one way, sometimes the other” — then I have a solution for you. The Pillow Talk Sassy by BMS is awesome because (1) the vibration quality is so good and (2) G-spot vibrator are easily shaped for clitoral stimulation too. (The longer handle plus the curve make them easier to hold against your own clit than a classic straight vibrator is. I’d use Sassy over a mini wand any day.) Because the Sassy vibe is so versatile, and the power range is incredible — it starts really low and rumbly,2 and gets higher-powered — I’ll be recommending the heck out of it in this guide: for under $50 (with discount3), you won’t find better vibration quality than in the Pillow Talk Sassy.
If you’re not sure if you want a vibrator or a dildo, the PT Sassy is excellent too because it’s very thrust-friendly. You can move it like a dildo with the vibration off (or on!). I myself always use the Pillow Talk Sassy as a vibrating dildo, gripping the quilted handle and thrusting its shaft into / against my body.
And finally, if your answer to “Clit or vag?” is a very reasonable “Why not both?!”: Then buy the We-Vibe Nova 2. No other rabbit vibrators are even worth mentioning here; I never recommend rabbit vibrators (besides Nova) to new buyers. Why? Nova 2 blows them away with how extremely flexible its clitoral stimulator is: it curls to stay in touch with your clit, no matter how you’re spaced (clitoral-to-vaginal distance is different in different people!); and no matter if, like me, you enjoy thrusting the G-spot stimulator in and out. Nova 2 will be all over you in the best way, with its soft & comfortable silicone and awesome, rumbly vibes. Like Sassy, this new Nova’s power range is respectable: the vibes start low enough, then work up to an amazing rumbly groove as you increase the intensity level.
#2. Strong or Gentle?
Some people just like more power than others. Strong vibrators (like Magic Wands, or air pulsators a.k.a. “suction” toys, like Satisfyer) tend to have the most devoted fans because those toys can be really sensational for external stimulation. BUT, if you don’t know how much power you like, a vibrator that starts strong may overwhelm you. For example, I’d like the affordably priced Satisfyer Sparkling Darling, $25, to have a lower speed or two, and I speak as someone who loves the Magic Wand Rechargeable! For most folks, I’d again recommend a toy with range, so it’s low-powered to start out, but gets strong at the end. That way, you have more chance of finding exactly the amount of power you need — rather than being confused by the good rep that Magic Wands get, but they’re too much as your first vibrator. It’s common to want more strength as you get more aroused and move toward orgasm, that’s why many of us like the vibration low to start out!
If any of the following applies to you, you may indeed want a strong first vibrator:
- Do you have a hard time orgasming (clitorally) from fingers / with a partner?4
- Do you just feel that you want something intense?
Top choices for “good range” (includes gentler vibration speeds) vs. “very powerful” (high-pitched and potent even on low:
- Good speed range: Pillow Talk Sassy (press-and-hold incremental control) or Satisfyer Dual Pleasure (lots of pulsing-air intensities, 11 of them)
- High-power: Wellness G Curve / Impressions vibrating dildos, by Blush Novelties
All of the above can be either clitoral or vaginal toys, with the Satisfyer Dual Pleasure offering both a clit-pulsing end and a vibrating end (use that on the clit or inside the vagina, you choose) — unlike the Satisfyer Pro 2, which I would not recommend as a first sex toy unless you have anorgasmia (have trouble orgasming / have never orgasmed) or are 100% sure you want a clit-focused power tool. In contrast, Dual Pleasure is a multi-purpose clitoral stimulator for cheap. Do be sure to use waterbased lube (like Simply Aqua Jelle!) inside its clit suction mouth, for comfort.
#3. Does It Need to Be Quiet?
So I’m going with vibrators here that only get up to about 40 decibels, a.k.a., truly quiet. “Quiet” is a bit of a relative term: different people have different definitions. Like, I’ve seen multiple people write that the Satisfyer Pro 2 is quiet, and that confuses me, honestly. It’s quiet enough on the lower vibration speeds and against the clit, but hovers around 50 dB (and rattly) on high even when surround by flesh (i.e., labia). You can disguise that sound, but you’ll need some TV or music playing at a consistent volume.
Instead, for really quiet: Pillow Talk Racy is a stand-out, at 35 decibels on high power when you’re using it externally.5 This longer bullet is rumbly, silky-smooth, easy to grip, and strong enough (if not super-powerful; maybe half the power of the Pillow Talk Sassy). It’s quieter than the popular Essential Bullet, and gentler too: the Essential Bullet’s hovering around 45 dB, with bursts up to 48 dB, and is definitely stronger then Racy on its top 2 steady vibration speeds (out of 4 speeds total). Good as a couples toy, too: with its textured handle + curve, Racy is much easier to hang onto during penis-in-vagina sex than other bullet vibes. And, you can use it for clitoral stimulation OR small internal stimulation.
I’m recommending this Pillow Talk line by BMS Factory so often because these are such rumbly vibrators, the adjustable “Incremental Speed” range6 is incredible, and the silicone feels very silky, great to the touch. These toys are absolutely as good or better than vibrators twice their price, with the only caveat being that BMS’s warranty is 90 days. (Vs. 1 year for most vibes, in case the motor randomly dies.)
#4. App Controlled / Long-Distance Play Needed?
App-controlled vibrators (full guide here) that connect to your phone via Bluetooth let a partner control your vibrator easily: either (1) out in public; or (2) long-distance, so it doesn’t matter how far apart you are as long as you both have working phones.
Satisfyer’s new Satisfyer Connect lineup is super because it has lots of toy options, for different types of play. For fooling around at home, the Satisfyer Dual Pleasure is IMO the hottest of these. The Sexy Secret wearable panty vibrator, though, is the wearable one you’ll want for sexy date night or erotic adventures out and about: clitoral stimulation in public.7 Bluetooth app-controlled vibrators have traditionally sold for $100 plus, so all these Satisfyers going for $40 is an incredible price. The Satisfyer app is quite well done, but not as good as the Lovense app, with Satisfyer Connect vibes’ main issue being that you can’t have the app running in the background — like if you’re wanting to watch/listen to porn or text a friend while using the vibrator.
How to Choose Your First Dildo
If you’re here wondering how to choose your first dildo:
- How large do you want it to be?
- Do you want it to look & feel realistic, or not?
- Do you want intense G-spot (or prostate) stimulation?
- Does it need a suction cup / need to be harness compatible?
Summary: I suggest the Luminous dildo first if you’re really not sure what you want. Luminous dual-density is great because it’s a realistic feel but is not flesh-toned (the “disembodied penis” look creeps some people out); its squeezable silicone outside makes you think of skin, and then the firm core adds stability / erectness. And it’s suction-cupped if you want to try hands-free riding. See all my first dildo recommendations here.
#1. How Big? (Size Matters)
This is especially important if you’ve (1) ever experienced discomfort with vaginal penetration or (2) are using toys anally (especially first-time). If you’re wanting a first anal toy, see the next How To heading below.
Smaller: If you are new to penetration (or regularly experience pain from penetration), you’ll be best with something smaller, preferably tapered, and semi-soft. I suggest the Avant D15, a cute little toy that starts at 1 inch diameter; or the Tantus Acute for medium-small size that’s G-spot/prostate geared. (Be sure to use a good lube too, that helps with comfort! Lube, honestly, may be the very best sex aid you ever buy.)
“Average” dildo size hovers around 1.5 inches diameter and 5.5 to 6 inches insertable length. That’s average human penis width, plus half an inch of extra length.8 The Luminous dildo is barely thicker than average (like a tenth of an inch), and a bit longer. And remember, you don’t have to take a dildo’s full length: IMO, the Luminous’s extra inch of insertable length helps for easier grip if you’re lying on your back, or if you’re having a partner thrust the dildo into you by hand.
One more popular medium-sized dildo (also dual-density, realistic silicone) is the Neo Elite 7.5 Inch with Balls. What’s the difference between it and the Luminous dildo, then? Well, the Neo Elite gives just a little more spot focus (it’s a firmer line pressing into your P- / G-spot); and the surface is slick and less skin-like.
Larger: Does thinking about a bigger dick turn you on? If so, it’s worth exploring a good stretch… Some folks end up being die-hard fans of a particular size (≈ 2 inches wide, for the win!), and others will want to progress upward as they gain more experience. For a starter toy that’s impressively sized (especially its big, soft coronal ridge 💥), see the Luminous Stud, a favorite of mine both suction-cupped and for thrusting by hand.
#2. Realistic Feel (and Look Too)?
The above suggestions are realistically shaped dildos, because penis stand-ins appeal to many people — though bright colors can add more fun to a phallic toy. (Hence the glow-in-the-dark effect of the Luminous trio, or the neon colors of Neo Elite, or the pastels of Avant D15.)
What if, instead, you want to avoid strong skin and vein detailing; it’s a turn-off to you?
Top non-phallic recommendations are: Temptasia Twist kit (set of 3 spiral toys for working up in size; good for harness play); Avant D16 (pretty soft, flexible silicone) or Avant Ergo Mini (dual-density that’s squishy-sticky-soft outside, with a firm core for support); and all of the firmer G-spot pressure toys listed in the next heading, below!
#3. Do You Want G-Spot / Prostate Focus?
This review blog was founded on the fact that some dildos are soft, and some dildos are hard, and that firmness makes a big damn difference in how a toy feels inside your body.
Typically, a harder toy provides more pressure — which means more intense G-spot or prostate stimulation, if the toy curves forward. (The G-spot and the prostate are both accessed by pushing into the “anterior” [=front] wall of their respective holes.) If you are looking for prostate play more specifically, also review the anal toy section, next…
If you’re more sensitive, you may get great G-spot stimulation from a soft & squishy ridge. But many people will seek out extra hardness to locate that spot and push on it.
Not-soft to firmer options I’d recommend for seeking out the G-spot or prostate:
- Tantus Acute: Glossy silicone with a spot-friendly curve; semi-firm so it will bend some, for a little give. Amazing as a first pegging dildo (after you get a tapered plug set!).
- Chrystalino Superior: Perfect for shallow and focused play. Oooh, the glass bulb curves in, strong pressure.
- Chrystalino Planets: Better for deeper thrusting (more than 3 inches inside your hole), vs. the Superior (above). I love how the beads pop in this one; it’s great as a vaginal or anal toy.9
Now, FYI, the most intense G-spot / prostate dildo is the Njoy Pure Wand, a hard ‘n’ firm curve of shiny stainless steel. The Pure Wand is exceptional for really focused stimulation — but, at $120, it is a lot to invest in a first toy if you’re not sure you’ll like its über-focused pressure.
#4. Need a Suction Cup, or Harness Compatibility?
Most dildos discussed above10 are harness-compatible, meaning that they have a flared base so they can fit inside a strap-on harness, and they’re safe for anal insertion.
Most have a suction cup. See all Luminous dildos, all Neo Elite dildos, and the Avant D15 for good strong suction cups. Colours Dual Density and ColourSoft silicone by NS Novelties are similarly affordable options with good suction cups, so you too could stick them all around your house. (I haven’t recommend the NS Colours dildos as much here because I believe the Luminous ones have a nicer silicone feel, for the same price.)
How to Choose Your First Anal Sex Toy
Anal play is NOT something to move into running at full force. You’ll hurt yourself trying to take too large a toy, too quickly. Some tingling and weirdness is normal when first inserting a butt toy or fingers. But pain shouldn’t be pushed through.
Key tips for first-time anal play:
- Start small: 1 inch diameter or less is preferred.
- Use lubricant. (Simply Hybrid Jelle is a favorite.)
- Stop if it feels painful or super-awkward.
Questions on what to look for when choosing your first anal sex toy:
- Are you an anal “virgin”? (Or have you played with fingers or other objects?)
- Do you want to wear the toy around, or thrust it in and out?
- Should it stimulate the prostate?
Question #1 Answer: If you’re totally new to anal, get a graduated plug set first! You’ll need to get adjusted to holding something inside your rectum, and a small, tapered plug will accomplish that most comfortably. If you’re not new, what width toy have you used before? (Or, if you’ve used fingers, measure around the fingers in question with a soft tape measure; divide by pi [≈3.14] to get toy diameter.) Especially when you’re new, it’s safest to move up in size no more than 1 inch circumference / 0.33 inches diameter between one anal product (or person?) and the next.
Question #2 Answer: Did you want a plug, vs. a dildo? Thrusting is more stressful on the sphincter muscles leading into the rectum, so you’ll probably want a little plugging experience first. I suggest wearing the Mood Naughty tapered set around, occasionally, for a month or so, till you’re really comfortable with the largest size.
Then, for thrusting… You have options as you safely move up in size. The Neo Elite 7.5 Inch is still my favorite anal dildo because it is so tapered. That makes it easy: Simple to get in, and more comfortable. The head is very small at 1.1 to 1.2 inches diameter and short — but then the toy gets up to an average-girth 1.5 inches in the middle, and about 1.7 inches thick if you take it all the way down. Plus a great suction cup for the win.
Another easy anal dildo is the Chrystalino Gallant, since its firm and streamlined head is easy to introduce with good lube (now experimenting with this one on a friend who’s making anal progress, woohoo!). Finally, anal beads offer a lot of interesting *pop*, with the sphincter muscles closing and opening repeatedly — but that’s stressful for anal noobs with the traditional kind of beads where there are big gaps between each bulb. Instead, if you want more feeling in a beginner-friendly toy, see the Chrystalino Planets: the first beads are small, and offer a ton of feeling in shatter-resistant glass.
Question #3 Answer: Prostate play interest you? If you’re not new to anal, just looking for a first anal dildo, then size is less of a limiting factor. See the firm P-spot dildo recs above; or the Neo Elite 7.5 Inch with Balls for a P-spotting realistic.
If you’re newer to anal, don’t expect immediate prostate orgasms; like G-spot orgasms, they can take some effort to achieve, or perhaps you’ll always need penis stimulation to come anally — there’s nothing weird about that! For a first prostate plug, the Mood Naughty line also has a curved shape that will massage lightly (I recommend: size medium). Or, again, the Chrystalino Planets is a smart choice for harder pressure. I haven’t recommended any vibrating butt plug here because the good ones start at around 1.2 inches diameter, which is a tad big for most anal newbies.
Other Toy Categories: BDSM & Penis Toys
BDSM play is a wide range, and truly a lot to explore. From dominance and submission (including handcuffs and more), to sensation play like spiky wheels vs. feather ticklers, to impact toys like paddles and whips… phew, it really can seem overwhelming. Start slow, take a deep breath, and just play with what you like. One set that covers most of your bases is the Beginners Bondage Kits (6 Pieces). The fuzzy-lined handcuffs and ankle cuffs are nice and gentle, then you have a swatty little flogger — and being blindfolded will 100% let you focus more on its feeling (plus the feather tickler’s, if the dominant partner wants to tease you too). Me & my favorite couple heartily enjoyed this set recently…11 Now we need a more impactful paddle.
Last, but not least? “Male” sex toys tend to be less valued in general, less sought-out: penis vibrators in particular, which is sad because they can be a ton of fun. Check out All Male Sex Toys’s penis toy guide for extra-detailed recommendations, including lots of cock rings. For quick & affordable first-time picks, see the Satisfyer Strong One (a vibrating cock ring to wear during penetration, to both  stimulate the receiver’s clit (or butt!) and  keep the wearer’s erection harder); and the Satisfyer Men toys. Again, Satisfyer vibrators come in first because you get a lot of power, and safe materials, for a low price.
For an affordable silicone stroker (basically, a “pocket pussy” that you don’t have to work to keep from molding like Fleshlight material can), check out the Firefly Yoni masturbation sleeve. Or, the Tenga Eggs are good choices for only using a few times, but their TPR/TPE material will harbor bacteria easier and, like Fleshlights, isn’t so easy to clean.
Common Concerns for First-Time Shoppers
Discreet Sex Toy Shopping Online
Online sex toy retailers know you probably don’t want your mailperson and/or neighbors to see you’re getting a package marked “BIG DONGS ‘R’ US.” Therefore, toy-related logos and adult brand names are not on the outside of the packaging.
Adult retailers will ship under, and bill you under, a formal name that’s more discreet than their online name. For example, Peepshow Toys ships and bills as “Hamilton Park Electronics,” the company’s legal business name. SheVibe and Lovehoney’s legal names reveal those companies’ initials but not full storefront names: “SV, Inc.” and “LH Trading,” respectively.
Many first-time buyers are so focused on discreet shipping that they overlook a more risky situation: Unsafe sex toy materials. PVC is the worst, to start. A common cheap sex toy material, softened PVC realistics are known to smell like shower curtains, leach chlorine, and cause burning and irritation after repeated use.
I often read about individuals who want to purchase off Amazon because “the packaging is discreet.” Amazon sellers are, honestly, in cut-throat price wars with each other 24/7 due to the “lowest price wins” setup of the Amazon platform, so quality is a secondary consideration in too many cases. (Shopping for sex toys on Amazon is kind of like going into the Dollar Store and hoping you’ll pick up something excellent.) When you’re talking about intimate items you’re going to put inside your genitals / rub on sensitive mucous membranes, not being able to trust that they’re made of safe and sanitizable silicone, etc., is worrisome.
Visiting an Adult Shop in Person
They sell sex toys to people all day, every day! Don’t be scared, your local shop employee is happy you’re there interested in buying sex toys, for sexual pleasure. No shame.
Browse, take a look around, consider what you want — and then feel free to ask questions, respectfully. If the shop employee isn’t new, they’ve probably heard it all before. They have to be open-minded to be working there.
However, I would suggest not pressing the salesperson about what they like; not trying to force personal details out of the employee. That makes the exchange more awkward, and their individual preferences may not match your preferences or your partner’s needs, anyway. It’s best to ask general questions like, “Have you gotten any feedback about *product name*?” Or “What would you recommend for someone who wants *kind of sex toy / kind of stimulation*?” Giving general info about what you want is totally appropriate, it’s just polite to not be super-graphic about it.
When going into a shop in-person too, remember to read up on materials beforehand. (TL;DR: Avoid anything made of PVC;12 “real feel,” a.k.a. TPE or TPR, vibrators and dildos are also problematic long-term.) Most shops will be selling a range of products from the worst PVC to some safer silicone options. “Boutique” shops that only sell more high-end products, or have almost entirely body-safe toys13 exist, but are rarer. You absolutely want easy to clean, it makes life easier when you really enjoy a toy!
- It’s built on my personal tests and on reading hundreds of real-life buyer + critical reviews; and aims to not be another puff piece about “the best vibrators for women!” that urges you to “Check Price Now!” and, for example, lists LELO products way up the list even though LELO vibes are now way overpriced for the motor power, plus have generally awkward button control.
- “Rumbly” is a term commonly used to describe a vibrator with resonating, not-super-high-pitched vibrations that travel better than “buzzy” vibration (rumbly’s opposite). Most but not all people agree: Rumbly vibrators are tops! True, the stronger a vibe gets, the buzzier it tends to be: so your best wand massager, even the Hitachi Magic Wand (now by Vibratex!) is not going to be counted among the most rumbly vibrators.
- Use code FELICITY at checkout for $48.60 pricing.
- Clitorally is noted because without external stimulation, most people will clits will have a difficult time achieving G-spot orgasms / orgasms from partnered sex (penis-in-vagina). That’s normal.
- It’s 42 dB on high speed when it’s not touching skin (decibel measurement taken approximately 1 foot away from the vibrator).
- This means that the vibrators have no preset vibration speeds: no built-in steady functions and definitely no vibration patterns functions. How you control them, and increase power: Push down on and hold to increase the power, then stop pressing when you find an intensity you like. Press and hold again later if you want more (and haven’t yet reached full power.
- TIP: Pair the vibe direct to one partner’s phone, rather than going long-distance, to avoid needing to use video chat in Satisfyer Connect.
- See the Penis Size Percentile Calculator here if you’re interested!
- Just make sure you wash it well first, if you’re moving from the anus back into the vagina.
- All of them besides the Chrystalino glass and the Njoy Pure Wand.
- Only the gag was neglected, I’d rather be able to communicate clearly during play.
- This includes “rubber,” “vinyl,” “latex” (if it’s not a condom), “jelly,” and “Cyberskin.” If it’s soft, it should be silicone. Plastic and glass and steel are all good too.
- Usually boutique shops will carry penis toys that are made of TPE, a nontoxic material that is porous, so you’ve gotta clean it and dry it well to make sure it doesn’t grow mold.