Julie Nguyen is a relationship coach, Enneagram educator, and former matchmaker based in New York. She has a degree in Communication and Public Relations from Purdue University.
Image by Prostock-Studio / iStock
July 30, 2022
If you’ve ever peeked inside of someone’s underwear drawer, chances are you’ve likely found a sex toy tucked away somewhere in the back corner. Nowadays, sexual well-being and taking control of your own pleasure is at an all-time high, and for good reason.
According to certified sex therapist and psychotherapist Lee Phillips, LCSW, CST, CSCT, sex toys can be a tantalizing addition to your sex life because it can add diversity, excitement, and creativity to the bedroom. “Routine sex and masturbation can get boring, so why not spice it up and try something new? Sex toys can help you achieve the orgasm you desire,” he tells mbg. “Many of my female clients report this because sex toys provide extra clitoral stimulation.”
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned sex toy enthusiast, it can be tricky looking for the right gadget for your orgasm needs. Fear not: We’ve done the heavy lifting for you so you don’t have to break a sweat (until you want to, that is). We’ve picked the brains of couples therapists and sex experts to round up the best sex toys for women and vulva owners. These recommendations will get you offline and into the bedroom for the ultimate plug-and-play pleasure.
How we picked:
We asked sex therapists what to look for when searching for the best vibrators and used their expertise as a guideline for selecting these options, and we even included some of their personal recommendations.
These products are made from body-safe and non-toxic materials, so it’s safe to use on your body. You can try out these products knowing it’s safe for your physical health and pleasure.
We chose these products from reputable and inclusive sellers who support diversity and the LGBTQ+ community with their product offerings and sexual wellness resources.
Through gathering expert recommendations and scouring certified customer reviews, we made sure these sex toy products are highly rated by the people who actually use them.
mbg’s picks for the best sex toys for women to try in 2022:
- Proprietary air-pulse technology for strong suction
- Can be loud on higher settings
Sex therapist Aliyah Moore recommends the highly-reviewed Satisfyer Pro 2+ to vulva owners who are new to sex toys and looking for an orgasm without penetration. “Instead of the typical vibrations that you get from most clitoral vibrators of massagers, the Satisfyer uses pressure waves to stimulate your clitoris.” The intensity levels and waterproof feature lets you have multiple orgasms without having to put anything inside of yourself. The medical silicone mouth on the sex toy provides suction to the clitoris, allowing for a unique pleasure you can feel all over.
- Great addition to partnered sex
- Takes experimentation for the right placement
“[The Eva] is an external-only clitoral stimulator that a clitoris-owner can wear during any type of sex. It’s buzzy, on the lighter side, and is great for folks figuring out how to integrate clitoral stimulation during other types of play,” relationship and sex therapist Rachel Wright tells mbg. The Eva’s slim and compact wearable design allows it to stay in place comfortably while the three-speed motor can reliably get you to orgasm with your partner. Play with it in the bedroom or in the shower; the medical-grade silicone material and waterproof feature allows for fun wherever you want to go.
- Great value for a basic vibrator
- Vibration may not be powerful enough
Lovehoney’s AA battery-operated waterproof mini vibrator has an angled tip that helps with direct clitoral and erogeneous zone stimulation during solo and partnered play. The 5-inch vibrator comes with a multi-speed dial for variety with your vibrations, while keeping the sound whisper-quiet. The hard plastic ABS materials are latex-free and phthalate-free, meaning it’s safe to use on your genitals. Another favorite of Moore’s, she recommends the toy as an effective yet budget-friendly option. “It gets the job done for a toy that costs less than your average trip to Starbucks.”
- Soft and pliable for vaginal or anal use
- Size can be too big for some
Packed with many vibration and pulsation features, the dual rabbit vibrator is made with super-soft dual-density silicone and ABS plastic for safe play. The powerhouse toy has multiple massaging stimulations, like the flickering rabbit ears to tickle the clitoris and a curve on the shaft of the toy to provide pulsations on your G-spot or prostate. Phillips recommends it for any of his clients looking for simultaneous vaginal and clitoral stimulation.
- Stylish option when you’re on the go
- Charge can wear down over time
If you don’t want to keep your sex toys locked away in your nightstand, take the Vesper with you for a night out on the town. Made from high polish stainless steel, the 3” slim pendant shape hangs on a chain around your neck with an intense vibration on the tip for focused clitoral stimulation. “Wear it out and then use it wherever you’d like,” Wright recommends. “It’s sexy to wear something so out in the open–if you know, you know.”
- Vibration could be stronger
Womanizer’s Pleasure Air technology provides clitoral stimulation without direct contact, so you get all the pleasure without overstimulating the nerves. The waterproof toy comes with six intensity levels and hours of battery life. Certified sex therapist Bat Sheva, Ph.D., MSW, MPH, notes this is a brand she recommends often. “It’s not inexpensive, but because the suction needs to be fairly powerful, it’s worth paying up for this. Many women say it feels like oral sex. So if you are an oral sex fan, and that gets you off, this one might be for you.”
- Long battery life
- Plug-in and battery options
The Magic Wand is known as the little black dress of sex toys. It’s so consistent, Sheva recommends every woman should have a wand in their vibrator collection. The rechargeable pick comes with an updated, easy-to-clean silicone head and the same deep, rumbly vibrations for strong orgasms. “It’s an all-around massager that works not only on my pleasure zones but also on other parts of my body or my partner’s like the back, neck, and shoulders after long travels,” Moore says.
- Can be more comfortable than using a dildo
- Material could be softer for flexibility
Ideal for G-spot stimulation, the finger extender was ergonomically designed so you could easily slip your two fingers into the toy. The body-safe material lets you feel your muscle contractions and the warmth of your body, so the touch feels natural and super-soft. Good for solo or partnered masturbation, customers rave that the toy is amazing for those who love finger play.
- Remote controlled
- Great for long-distance relationships
- Customers have noted problems with the toy holding a charge
“I have to admit I don’t get off from penetration alone, and I know most people don’t either. That’s where rabbit vibrators with clitoral and internal stimulation come in,” Moore notes. The watersafe and body-safe Nora toy has an external vibrating arm to deliver rumbly vibes to the clit while the insertable arm rotates instead of vibrates, which uniquely stimulates your G-spot. So, where does the innovation come in? The technological features. The app-controlled vibrator can be used close range or far away, which also makes it a great sex toy for long-distance relationships. “You can even sync it to your favorite playlist or your partner’s voice,” she says.
Tips to keep in mind.
See your sexuality as part of your self-care.
Sexual self-care is about checking in on your sexual likes, dislikes, and preferences since they can change over time. Being in rhythm with your body and prioritizing pleasure via masturbation allows you to nurture a deeper connection with yourself. Bringing toys into your sexual self-care practice can be a bridge to work through any shame and traverse new sexual ground as well.
Get in touch with your body.
You can’t find the right toy unless you know what makes your body tick. Phillips suggests running through several questions to help you figure out the particular features you’ll want with your sex toy: “Is it to spice up your sex life with your partner? Are you not being pleasured enough, and you are tired of using your hands and fingers? Are you having a difficult time achieving an orgasm?” Getting down to the nitty gritty opens you up to explore your pleasure zones and the type of touch you would prefer which narrows down your choices.
Elevate the sensations you already like.
Think about what you already like in bed, and then look for a toy that can give you the sort of focused stimulation you crave. “For example, if you really like using your fingers in a fast, pressure-filled way on and around your clitoris, try something that vibrates on and around your clitoris,” advises Wright. “If you like the feeling of flickering on your clitoris, find a toy that mimics this either with air, a tickler, or suction. If you like dual-stimulation (penetration and clitoral stimulation) find a toy with dual-stimulation.”
Try out new things you’re curious about.
It’s not just about sticking with what you know. Sex toys offer a pathway to experiment with new kinks individually or in partnered scenarios. So, break away from the familiar activities and be as curious as you want to be. Trying out anal beads, remote-controlled vibrators, or internal g-spot vibrators can empower you to play out any secret fantasies or try out that hot move you saw in your favorite porno. (Here’s our full guide to using every kind of vibrator.)
Choose the proper materials.
In the world of sex toys, not all sex toys are created equal. The FDA doesn’t regulate the sex toy industry since they’re not considered medical devices, so they’re classified as “novelty items.” Therefore, it’s important to have some awareness about the chemical makeup in your sex toys to avoid any dangerous compounds. The exact material of your toy play a heavy consideration here, and body-safe materials are king. “Don’t use toys made from anything besides silicone, borosilicate glass, or stainless steel. It’s OK if a handle is made of ABS plastic, but anything going on or in your bits needs to be body-safe,” Wright says.
Just like with sex, you don’t need to just rely on natural lubrication to get you going. “Make sure you have plenty of lube on hand,” Wright suggests. “Everyone needs it. I promise it makes everything better.” The exact amount depends on whether you’re using the sex toy internally or externally, but you can apply the lube directly on top of the toy or on your body.
How to clean your toys.
Wright recommends using a sex toy cleaner that’s gentle enough for the genitals but also strong enough to get rid of bacteria. “How you clean a toy varies depending on the material that the toy is made out of. Some say gentle soap and water is fine; however, there are so many variables when it comes to the ingredients in soap that I prefer to use something I know isn’t going to mess up vaginal pH.” (Here’s a full guide about how to exactly clean every sex toy out there.)
She shares a few tips below:
- Store toys in a relatively temperature-controlled place to prevent bacteria growth.
- Don’t store silicone on silicone (the same reason why you don’t use silicone lubricant on silicone toys; it creates microscopic holes for bacteria growth).
- If something is glass or stainless steel, boil them! Especially if they’re being used anally.
- If they’re only being used vaginally and on one person, a toy cleaner will suffice.
- Clean the sex toy before and after uses to wash away dirt, bacteria, microscopic organisms, body fluids, etc.
- Depending on the material of the toy, leave it out to air dry or towel dry before storage.
Sex toys are a great way to invite fun into the bedroom, even if it does require a little bit of research and experimentation to find the best sex toys that work for you. These sex toys are a great starting point to help you fulfill your sexual needs and stay curious about what turns you on. The best part is that you don’t have to stop at just one toy—you can get as many as your heart desires.