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January 16, 2013

Advice: Savage Love

Tips on toys

Q: My name is Nancy, and I’m 19. My boyfriend’s name is Carl, we have been together for almost a year and we have great sex frequently. I want to do something sexy for us on our anniversary. I plan on being with Carl for years to come, and I don’t want the sex to become monotonous. For a while, I’ve wanted to go to a sex store to purchase a few things to spice things up. I found a supportive friend who wants a few kinky things for her and her boyfriend. We’re both excited to go on this adventure, but there’s just one problem: I have no idea what to buy! I was hoping you had a few essentials my friend and I should consider purchasing.
Needs A Naughty Connection, Yo!

A: One man’s scorching-hot sex toy is another man’s boring old roll of duct tape. By which I mean to say, turn-ons are subjective. Not all sex acts appeal equally to all. Likewise, sex toys I might buy for my partner might not appeal to your boyfriend. I’ll go further than that: The sex toys that turn my husband on would either terrify or stump your boyfriend. Instead of buying the sex toys that turn me on, it would be better to find a few things that turn you on. And instead of shopping with your friend, you might want to go shopping with your boyfriend.

But if you want to surprise your boyfriend, I asked a few sex-toy merchants for recommendations.

Jennifer Pritchett from Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis (smittenkittenonline.com): “The variety of sexy gadgets and orgasm-promising gizmos can be overwhelming even for an experienced shopper. Don’t fret! Smart sex-toy shoppers use a process of elimination. First, commit to a budget you are comfortable with. Second, ask yourself what you want to do with it. Penetration or no? Vibration or no? Unsure? Then go with the most versatile toy possible. Try out the vibrating dildo by Pleasure Works called the Right Spot. This affordable toy is great for g-spot or prostate stimulation, comes with a removable vibrator, and can be sterilized easily!”

Claire Cavanah from Babeland in Seattle and New York City (babeland.com): “Nancy sounds like a great girlfriend — she’s taking responsibility for maintaining the hotness in her relationship. Bravo! She asked for the essentials, and that means vibrators and lube. We offer a kit called the Babeland Vibrator Starter Kit for $45. It consists of three vibrators: the Orchid G, which is great for, you guessed it, g-spot stimulation; the Silver Bullet, a standard vibe that has served as a gateway toy for many thousands of sex-toy lovers; and a Sonic Ring vibe, a stretchy cock ring that holds a vibrator on top of the penis or dildo for clit stimulation during penetration and gives the penis a good buzz, too. These rate as good starter toys because they’re easy to use, they’re unobtrusive and friendly looking, and they deliver a lot of power.”

Evy Cowan from Shebop in Portland, Ore. (sheboptheshop.com): “I could give Nancy some suggestions on a starter kit, but I think it’s much more fun to explore and decide for yourself what would work for you and your partner. Don’t be scared to pick things up and turn things on (if the shop provides floor models like we do)… Don’t be afraid to ask the staff questions — that’s what we’re here for. If the sex shop in your town is not helpful when it comes to questions, then do some research before you go shopping. On our blog, we have a great guides section that gives advice, from choosing your first vibrator to detailed instructions on how to use a cock ring…”

Tynan Fox from Twin Cities Leather in Minneapolis (facebook.com/TwinCitiesLeather): “The other contributors have given you some spectacular answers, but as Dan alluded to, don’t forget to think outside the box. Don’t let the gas masks and floggers and cock locks (oh, my!) scare you away from leather/fetish shops or gear. It’s OK to start small and simple. Consider buying two blindfolds — one for each of you — and go at it while you’re both wearing them. The feeling of having sex with all your other senses heightened may just ignite a new kinky spark in your love life, and that would definitely fight off routine, monotonous sex. Who knows? Maybe one day, rather than thinking outside the box, you’ll be keeping your boyfriend’s cock locked inside one! But start small. You want to work your way up to the Fucksaw.”

Find the “Savage Lovecast” (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.