We often think of sex toys in terms of solo masturbation, but if you're not incorporating one of the best sex toys into your sexual repertoire with a partner, you could be missing out on a world of fun.
"Sex toys can enhance all sexual relationships―with yourself and with a partner, confirms Dr. Jess O'Reilly, sexologist and relationship expert at sex toy site Lovehoney (opens in new tab). "The mere presence of a sex toy often leads to new conversations about everything from desires and fantasies to boundaries and hesitations." And, as we all know, honesty and vulnerability enhances all relationships.
Sex toys can also bring a bit of spiciness to an otherwise bland sexual routine. If you're in a long-term relationship or if you're just looking to learn more about what makes you and your partner feel good, toys serve as an excellent (not to mention fun) teacher. "The novelty of a toy can also heighten passion, as it can offer a simple reminder to break your routine and try something new," Dr. O'Reilly agrees.
Still, whether you've never used a sex toy with a partner or just need to expand your inventory, it can be difficult to know where to begin—there are a lot of sex toys for couples out there. For that reason, we've rounded up some of the very best sex toys to bring to bed with your partner for your deepest connection yet.
How to Bring Up Sex Toys With Your Partner
Many people become nervous or even defensive when it comes time to talk with a partner about bringing toys into the bedroom, but this initial conversation (or conversations) doesn't have to be so anxiety-inducing, so long as each partner is honest, empathetic, and open to listening.
"When broaching the topic of introducing toys with your partner, it’s important to talk about what and how you are feeling," says Ashton Egner (opens in new tab), communications manager at sex toy brand Kiiroo. "The key for any couple is communication. If you don’t talk about your sexual wants, needs, and desires your partner will never know that you want to incorporate toys into your sexual relationship."
Furthermore, it's important to be introspective about why you want to use sex toys during partner play. "Explaining why you think introducing toys into your relationship will ignite things in the bedroom will provide your partner with a better understanding of your desires."
Still nervous about bringing the topic up? Consider doing a bit of research before you put your thoughts and feelings out in the open. "Educating yourself with articles or podcasts from other people who have been through the same situation will help you go into the conversation with a background on why you may be feeling the way you do―decreasing the chances of your partner feeling negatively toward your request," Egner affirms.
How to Get Started
So you've done your thinking, performed your research, and had a wonderfully open conversation with your partner, which begs the question: What now?
"Once you’ve established what exactly you’re craving with your partner, the next step is to choose the type of toy that will please one or both of you," Egner suggests. "The first place to start is with something simple such as a vibrating toy, and if you like the sensation, start to look at the different types of toys available on the market today. We all have different bodies, and we all have different sensations that tease and please us. Once you are able to communicate that desire, it will be easier to start experimenting from there."
For Clitoral Stimulation
If you have a clitoris, you're no stranger to the intense sensations that touching it can produce. It is, after all, the only human organ built first and foremost for pleasure! It's no wonder, then, why so stimulators and even penetrative toys are made with the clitoris in mind.
The most popular of these clitoris-focused toys are vibrators, but remember that not all vibrations are alike, and not all toys stimulate the clitoris in the same way! Egner encourages couples to explore what makes them feel best, both in terms of vibration type and where they like to be touched, before finally settling on a toy. "Once a couple has figured out if vibrations are something they enjoy, then they can start to explore the more premium sex toys that can be used during foreplay, or while being intimate," she says. "The possibilities are endless, however, it’s important to figure out what is best for you, your partner, and your relationship."
And, as you'll see from some of the options below, when it comes to types of toys, the possibilities are endless.
This all-star vibrator can be secured onto your vulva so that it stimulates your clitoris without getting in the way of penetration. Win-win. One reviewer even said that it gave his wife what she called "the longest sustained orgasm of her life."
This little gem comes with an optional tether and attaches to one's fingers with ease. According to reviews, it's also small and quiet enough to be carried around and used with subtlety. Press it against your partner's chest, genitals, rectum, or other erogenous zones to add a bit of spice to your finger fun.
Designed "to enhance the sensations of sex for couples," this innovative toy sits partially in the vagina, while the other half of it sits on your clitoris. This way, once the vibrations get started, both you and your partner can feel the waves.
Get subtly sexy with this wearable vibrator, which comes complete with a pair of lace panties designed for the device to fit right in. Dr. O'Reilly fully endorses the use of such toys, encouraging couples to "consider using a wearable toy to tease your partner throughout the day by sending small vibrations – a playful preview of what’s to come."
For Penis Play
Sex toy articles tend to focus on vibrators and clitoral stimulation, but there are toys that stimulate penises, too! Many provide simultaneous stimulation to the clitoris, but, regardless, it can be just as much fun to watch your partner have a good time as it is to have a good time yourself.
The soft plastic rings in this set are meant to enhance stimulation to the penis, and are great for people who want to give some love to the base of the penis without opting for deep penetration. Users recommend using a water-based lubricant with these toys for hours of "slippery fun."
This ring, small enough for beginners, fastens to the base of the penis and has an extension that stimulates the clitoris so that when it vibrates, both partners reap the benefits. Dr. O'Reilly recommends cock rings as a great option for couples that are just beginning to explore the world of sex toys. Such rings, she says, are "inexpensive and available at most drugstores. These can be used while having intercourse—regardless of the genders involved."
Dr. O’Reilly highly recommends this toy. She says, "Music (and sound in general) has the capacity to significantly affect mood. The contagion hypothesis suggests that we mimic what we hear in our environment, so when you listen to music that evokes a sense of relaxation, adventure or closeness, it follows that you might feel more of the same."
If you have a vagina and your partner has a penis, Kiiroo's couples sets are excellent options for long-distance play. Have your partner use the masturbator while you use the vibrator, get on FaceTime, and the rest is history. You can even control the intensity of your partner's vibrations using an app on your phone!
For Strap-On Fun
Strap-ons can be used in a myriad of situations, but are especially popular among queer women as well as men who enjoy anal stimulation (many men, of all sexual orientations, do!). And we have good news: If you have a vagina and are interested in a strap-on option that pleases both you and your partner simultaneously, there are a number of products out there for you and your person to explore to your heart's content.
For those who want to keep it simple, opt for this sleek, basic product, which comes in both black and matte purple. One enthusiastic reviewer said this was her favorite strap, that it was easy to use, and that she even bought a second one so she could keep it at her partner's house!
If you're not into the S&M look of most strap-on harnesses, opt for a delicate, lacy lingerie option like this one from Lovehoney, which one very satisfied customer said "felt like lingerie but naughtier."
Many people enjoy the intensity of double penetration―including one ecstatic reviewer, who calls this toy the "magical orgasm wish giver"―and this product provides just that and more with both its hardware and its vibration settings.
In a long-distance relationship, or just looking for more sexy reminders of your partner when you two are apart? "Using remote-controlled sex toys is a great opportunity to explore eroticism throughout the day, regardless of your location," says Dr. O'Reilly. "They offer novel sensations and inspire playfulness which in turn creates stronger relationships because it improves openness and exploration."
If you're new to remote-controlled toys, O'Reilly suggests exploring control dynamics. "Especially for those accustomed to routine, remote-controlled sex toys are a great opportunity to experiment with new roles...Take turns teasing each other and exploring new levels of anticipation." She also suggests getting creative with time. "Remote-controlled toys really allow you to play with the building anticipation and prolong your partnered experience."
Use this ring during sex like a traditional penis ring, or incorporate it into foreplay to drive your partner crazy before the main event. Dr. O'Reilly suggests that, with toys like this, partners "play with intensity settings, starting off slow and building to a climax. You may also want to tease by depriving them of vibes as you edge them to heightened pleasure."
For those who love an internal toy and want a unique sensation that their partner can control, this toy does just the trick. It's both a G-spot vibrator and a clitoral stimulator that features a whopping 20 different vibration functions and a shaft that heats "to a lifelike 40°C for sensational bliss."
Think: Remote g-spot stimulator, but for your rectum. Reviewers consistently laud this toy for the intense pleasure and ease of use that it offers to those who are just beginning to explore anal stimulation.
Let your partner control the vibrations of this G-spot massager using an app of their phone for an easy, interactive long-distance sex session. Scores of reviewers laud this toy for its subtlety, saying that it can be worn and used "whenever and wherever," and while I can't condone masturbating at work, I can endorse this fun addition to any couple's sexual repertoire.
For Nipple Play
There are countless people who can attest to the joys of sexual stimulation to the nipples, and this anecdotal evidence has been validated in a number of studies. In a particular 2011 piece by researchers at Rutgers University, researchers found that, in a sexual context, nipple stimulation sends sensory signals to the same part of the brain that processes stimulation to the clitoris, vagina, and cervix.
If you already love the feeling of your partner touching your nipples (or vice versa), check out some of these nipple-focused toys that can bring your exploration to the next level.
These nipple suckers are great for beginners, and have a fun added twist: They change from purple to bright pink as things heat up, and reviewers assure us that they fit on comfortably while providing just enough suction to remain firmly in place.
If you're looking to play with different temperatures and physical sensations, check out this icey nipple balm that'll keep you cool even when things get steamy. It also comes in two fresh flavors: Chocolate mint and strawberry mint.
This looks a bit like a pump for breastfeeding, but do not be deceived! The toy has seven different settings that can be used during foreplay to heighten sensitivity, or during sex to intensify the moment. According to users, the product provides a great deal of suction, so be sure you're ready!
For The Adventurous
If you want to get a little kinky or think outside the box with a partner, you're not alone! And Dr. O'Reilly stresses the importance of divulging your fantasies to a partner, especially if your relationship with that person is also emotionally intimate. "These vulnerable conversations have the potential to deepen intimacy and connection," she tells us. As long as there's consent all around, there's nothing wrong with trying something new!
If you're looking to try out some light bondage but aren't looking to risk physical discomfort, consider this soft, stretch-to-fit satin blindfold and restraints set in "very sensual and sexy" maroon.
Make finger stimulation a little more interesting with these ribbed, textured toys. Dr. O'Reilly recommends using bare fingers as a starting point for all partner-on-partner stimulation in order to "determine where and what type of stimulation you and your partner might like," and progressing from naked fingers to toy-enclosed ones can be an excellent progression for those who enjoy ribbed and/or firm means of stimulation.
This firm, comfortable pillow is designed to support you when you and your partner need to adjust the angle for things to hit just right. It's also inconspicuous enough to blend into your bedroom decor when playtime's over. Described by customers as both firm and durable, this pillow is ready to weather all of your sexual adventures.
This unique bondage rope comes in fun colors so that it's as non-intimidating as possible, and the package even includes an instruction manual on how to tie comfortable, safe knots. One reviewer attests that the ropes feel great on skin, too, so you don't need to worry about chafing, scratching, or pulling. Just sit (or lay) back, relax, and have a great time.
For more, visit our Sexual Wellness section, where we unpack topics around consent, kink, sex toys, and more so you can have your safest and very best sexperiences yet.