Expanding Your Sexual Imagination

How To Get the Most Out of Your Toy Collection

A person with light skin, dark blue geometric floral tattoos over their shoulder, and a shaved head, looks up ward. Their head is split in a squiggled line between the eyes, and dark blue flowers spill out of the space between. The background is blue and gold paint.

by Jackie

Have you ever looked at a toy in our store or on our social media and found yourself asking “what does that thing even do?” You’re not alone! This is actually one of the most common questions we hear from our customers!

The confusion is totally understandable, of course. The wonderful world of sex toys has become much wider in recent years. Where there used to be a few pretty reliable shapes you could find toys in — wand, bullet, rabbit, plug — these days, there are toys of all kinds of unique shapes and functions, some of which you may never have seen anything like before, even if you’re a relative toy aficionado!

It’s ok to have questions. After all, that’s literally what we’re here for. But it’s also true that even the most straightforward toys can often be used for many different things, if you’re able to expand your imagination a little bit. Most toys are designed and marketed with a specific use or anatomy in mind, but many are surprisingly versatile if you’re willing to be a bit open-minded with how you use them.

The key is learning to look at all toys with both curiosity and creativity. Although it can definitely be helpful to learn the intended use behind the design of a specific toy, the best way to get the most out of toys is to experiment! Perhaps something that was designed for the clitoris also feels heavenly on your nipples, or maybe a vibe that was created with the prostate in mind just so happens to hit your g-spot at just the right angle. Toys offer nearly limitless avenues to all kinds of unique and unexpected pleasures. But if you never try, you’ll never know — so we recommend you get exploring as soon as possible!

First Things First

There are some safety rules that you should always keep in mind while you’re experimenting, of course. If something is going to be used on your genitals or inserted into your body, it’s important to make sure that it’s made of a high-quality, body-safe, non-porous material. Some of the most common materials for toys are medical-grade silicone, borosilicate glass, or stainless steel. If you’re ever in doubt, choose a brand or shop that you know and trust to use body-safe materials — like us here at As You Like It!

Hygiene is an important part of playing with toys, too. Make sure that you clean your toys well after each use and store them in a safe, dry place free of dust and lint. Most toys can be cleaned with a gentle, unscented soap and warm water, but be sure to check the specifications of your exact toy! Be especially careful when sharing toys with other partners, or moving toys between body parts. In particular, avoid putting a toy that has been used anally near mouths or vaginas without a thorough wash first. When in doubt  — or for easier cleanup — use condoms as barriers on your toys when sharing them with a partner or transitioning to using them on multiple body parts. If you want maximum convenience and full sanitization, we recommend you invest in a UVee, the one-of-a-kind locking box that sanitizes your toys with ultraviolet light in just 10 minutes!

For those who are interested in anal exploration, it’s important to understand that there are some crucial differences when it comes to anal and vaginal penetration. Firstly, the anus doesn’t self-lubricate like a vagina does. If you want to play with your booty (or someone else's), it’s crucial to use a good lubricant to protect the sensitive skin from microtears. The anus also has an entirely different muscle structure than the vagina, which means that putting anything in the butt will require a much slower dilation process. With anal penetration, it’s important to relax, start small, and never push past the point of pain. Listen to your body, and don't force it if it doesn't feel right. Finally, remember that the vagina has a natural end point (the cervix) that will stop toys from traveling too far into the body and getting lost. But the anus has no such end point. For that reason, it’s critical that you never insert anything anally that doesn’t have a base at least twice as wide as the toy itself, which usually looks something like an uppercase T. This wide base is critical because it stays outside the body, keeping the toy from being pulled inside and traveling too far into the anus to be recovered, resulting in a painful and costly emergency room visit. If you're especially interested in anal, check out our Guide to Anal Adventures blog!

With these core safety tenants in mind, you’re ready to start expanding your sexual imagination!

Think Outside the Box

So many toys are designed and marketed with one very specific use in mind, giving them unique and even sometimes downright strange shapes that can lead to all kinds of confusion. When in doubt with any toy, it’s always good to start with what’s on the box. For example, there are many interesting C-shaped vibrators like the Chorus by We-Vibe, which are designed for simultaneous g-spot and clitoral vibration. If you look at We-Vibe’s marketing, they created the Chorus with the intended use to be worn during penetrative vaginal sex. An ingenious idea, since we know that most people with vaginas require clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm!

But while the marketed configuration may work well for some couples, not all will find it a comfortable addition to vaginal penetration. Knowing the intention behind a toy can be helpful, but it’s important not to be limited by what the box tells you the toy is designed for.

For example, Chorus can also make an incredibly versatile wearable toy! Because of its distinctive double-motor design, set of two adjustable joints, and compatibility with both its squeeze remote and the We-Connect App, Chorus has almost unlimited options for pleasure. Experiment with both internal and external vibration on your own, wear Chorus on your next errand, or share the love with someone else by letting them control your toy from anywhere! Harness players can wear chorus under their strap for a next-level grinding sensation. Nestle Chorus in the palm and add lube and lend its powerful vibrations to the penis, testicles, or perineum. Even use the adjustments to place Chorus beneath your chin to take oral to the next level. Honestly, the options are almost limitless!

Or, to consider our Toy of the Month, the Iker by Svakom, was designed with the intention of being a next-level prostate and perineum vibrator. But many people with different anatomy discovered that it also works pretty incredibly as a simultaneous g-spot and clitoral vibrator. Still others found that Iker worked for them as a wearable toy, and even more found that it was comfortable for them to use the shorter arm as a kind of handle, giving them the extra reach or just the right angle to apply vibration to the clitoris or perineum by hand.

But these are just a few examples of how to get creative with two unique toys. The real goal is to change the way you look at all toys — not with assumptions or restrictions (aside from the safety ones we’ve already covered, of course), but with a curious and explorative mindset. And there are a few things to consider that may help you see the full potential of your toys.

The first is that any vibrating toy can be used anywhere external that you want vibrations. While there are some obvious erogenous zones that people tend to focus on (like the genitals and nipples), there are many places in our bodies that are less commonly thought of as sensual spots, but that can feel incredible when focused on with the intention of giving pleasure. Therefore, we give you blessing to take your favorite vibrator and explore your entire body, not just your genitalia. You might be surprised at what parts of your anatomy respond positively to a little extra love!

The second is to know your anatomy. While it’s good to follow your instincts when it comes to pleasure mapping your unique body, it can also be helpful to have a map! Most people with vaginas have pleasure hot-spots in the clitoris, located at the top of the labia above the vaginal opening, and the g-spot, located about 2 inches inside the vagina on the forward wall of the body. Most penis-owners find the most pleasure when stimulating the glans, located at the head of the penis, the perineum, located beneath the testicles, or the prostate, located about 2 inches inside the anus on the forward-facing wall of the body. If you have specific goals in mind, like finding the elusive g-spot, it can help to know exactly where to look, and exactly what that part of the anatomy usually responds to.

Finally, keep your own unique body in mind. If you’re hoping to find one of those internal “spots,” like the g-spot or the prostate, look for a toy with a curved shape that will allow you to easily reach and explore. If you are hoping for a toy to grind on, search for something with a broader surface or a distinctive ridge. If you have hand pain, find a toy with an ergonomic handle and easy-to-press buttons. The exact shape and size that works best for you can only be found via your own exploration and experimentation — because every body is totally different! The trick is to work with yours, while keeping an open mind all throughout the discovery process.

The only goal is learning more about your pleasure. And with that in mind, you can start conducting your own experiments!

Embrace Experimentation

Have you heard of the Scientific Method? If you’ve been through high school, you probably know what it is: a universal process for conducting experiments to learn new things. First, you define a question, then make predictions, gather data, and finally form and analyze your conclusions. So in the spirit of science, we’d like to pose a simple question for you to ponder: what brings you pleasure?

It’s good to draw from the data you already have when making your predictions. How do you touch yourself, if you do? What kind of touch do you like to receive from others? What areas of your body enjoy stimulation? If you’ve had toys in the past, what did you like about them, and what did you dislike about them? All these questions and more will help guide you toward a more successful experiment — whatever that means for you!

Returning to our Chorus example, if you know from past experience that gentle caresses on your thighs turns you on, try turning it to the lowest setting and cup it in your palm or wrap the curve around your fingers to give yourself a light sensual massage on your inner thigh. Or, if nipple play is what really gets you going, experiment with moving the textured, buzzing inside of Chorus’s upper arm against your nipples and see what kinds of sensations it evokes.

Like all good scientists, it’s important not to get too attached to our hypothesis. While we might think that a toy is just right for us, it’s possible that your body might surprise you. Even with the best data to draw upon, the reason we experiment is because we want to learn more than we already know, and sometimes we might be wrong. Many people searching for a penetrative toy might think that a larger toy will inherently offer more pleasure, but that isn’t always the case. Bodies can often respond better to pressure, friction, and rhythm than simple. But then again, other bodies do find the feeling of fullness and stretching to be uniquely satisfying. And as with all science, there’s no way to know for certain what the results will be until you conduct the experiment.

But the good news is that your pleasure process can be an incredibly enjoyable experience, if you’re not too attached to outcomes. Follow the data — which, in this case, is your pleasure — and listen to your body! If you try something that feels just meh, or that you just have no pleasurable reaction to, then recognize that isn’t your thing, and move on to the next! Go slow, and if you try something that hurts, stop and adjust something before trying again (if you’re even interested in trying again). Some of the most common adjustments can be a change of position, the use of more or different lubrication, or even simply a gentler pressure. If you have persistent pain during sex, check out our blog on the topic for our most helpful tips and resources.

Most importantly, listen to your own intuition when exploring new toys and sensations. If you find yourself compelled to try something new, as long as it’s anatomically safe and feels good to you, we encourage you to go for it! There’s no accounting for personal tastes, so always choose toys that are attractive to you. When picking out a toy, it’s important that you actually want to take it home and get sexy with it. Find a toy that makes you want to take the scenic route through your own anatomy, and really focus on all those delicious sensations you can experience. Remember, this journey is meant to be a joy ride, not a commute.

The point is just to experiment as you feel inspired to, based on what you know from your own experiences, and have fun navigating the process! After all, you’re the only one who can fully explore your unique pleasure.

Get Exploring

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge you need to experiment safely, and have had a primer on how to think creatively about your toys, you’re ready to start expanding your sexual imagination! The next step is to look over your current toy collection with your newly open mind. You may find that the toy/s you already own have all kinds of pleasure possibilities you just never considered before! If you're looking for some ideas, we actually have an entire video series on YouTube dedicated to sharing creative uses for toys!

If nothing you already have at home is inspiring you, visit our online shop and browse all of our most popular toys for all bodies, broken down into easy to navigate categories. When shopping, look for anything that draws you in, that seems especially interesting or inviting to you. You can even make a wishlist, writing down anything that you’d like to try! From there, you can compare which toys might be similar to each other, and prioritize the toys that you are the most interested in treating yourself to.

Or, for those that don’t like to shop online, visit one of our two beautiful Oregon locations and ask one of our highly trained staff members to guide you toward a pleasure exploration tool to meet your unique desires! Because even though anyone can conduct experiments, sometimes the most helpful thing to have on hand is an expert in the field. And with every one of our employees being certified Community Sexual Health Resources, that’s what exactly we offer our customers here at As You Like It.

But remember, while we may be able to answer questions and guide you toward some quality options, no one will be able to choose your toys for you. Every body is unique, and you alone know how to understand, please, and honor yours.

And now, armed with a new, expanded mindset of creativity and exploration, you’re sure to learn something new about your personal experience of pleasure — and maybe you'll even experience some new heights of orgasm along the way!

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