Whether you're hoping to rev things up DIY-style or crank up the heat with your guy, a vibrator can be (as Martha might say) a "very good thing." But the process of buying a battery-operated bedfellow can seem a tad intimidating -- unless you use follow these shopping tips from Claire Cavanah, co-founder of sex shop Babeland.
Know What You Want
Cloud 9, Gigi, Rabbit? Buzzing, rotating, pulsing? Plug-in or battery-op? Discreet or, uh, "anatomical"? Narrow down the choices by deciding how you want to use the toy: Will you insert it or use it mainly on your clitoris? Do you need a lot of power, or a little buzz to get you over the edge?
This is one area where impulse shopping can pay off, adds Cavanah: "Animal attraction counts. If you see a toy and find it sexy, that could be the one you should take home."
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Do some research beforehand to compare models, familiarize yourself with options and get feedback from online reviews. Some sex shops also offer special sections devoted to newbies.
Cavanah notes that The Rabbit Habit and the Hitachi Magic Wand are popular with newcomers (no pun intended), while The Laya Spot's multiple speeds and petite size make it great for beginners.
Bring a Buddy
Shopping for a vibrator with your partner or the Samantha of your friends can make the experience more fun that mortifying. Says Cavanah, "If supportive friends help you open up about sex, bring them. If it's your lover you think will be most helpful, bring him or her."
Ask your friends for their recommendations, or work with your partner to find a toy you're both comfortable with. Of course, if you shop better when you're flying solo, don't be afraid to go it alone.
That sleazy porno place with the leering sales clerks probably isn't the most comfortable environment for a first-timer, so find an upscale or female-focused sex shop, where they're prepared to help. "A good staffer will make you feel welcome and know the important attributes of each toy beyond what you can discern by just looking," says Cavanah.
If you know what you want and would rather not deal with going to a sex shop, buy online. Some retailers also offer informational workshops and how-to videos that can help demystify sex toys.
Before you hit the sales counter, throw a little water-based lube into your shopping basket. A few drops on the surface of your new partner in crime will help you feel more comfortable. And don't forget the batteries!
Don't Get Busted at Airport Security
We've all had the nightmare where you're dying of shame as some burly security guard pulls out your vibrator at the metal detector. Cavanah says you can avoid this trauma by taking out your toy's batteries so that it doesn't accidentally get switched on (or putting it in your checked luggage, of course).
Consider a more innocuous-looking toy like the Lipstick Vibe or Pocket Rocket if you're flying with just a carry-on. "They won't raise eyebrows the way other, sexier-looking toys might," she says.
Tell Us: Have you ever used a vibrator? What's your favorite model?