Shadeen Francis: LFMT, CST

First time shopping for sex toys? It is normal to be unsure of where to look or overwhelmed by all the options. While you can always do a general online shop, here are a few tips to help ensure you get what you are looking for:

You might try shopping at an “adult store” or a sex shop. These environments are typically sex-positive, non-judgmental, and emphasize on education, accessibility, and inclusivity. Going in person is great if you are looking for support, have questions about toys and tools, or are unsure of what you are looking for. Not everyone feels comfortable visiting a sex shop, especially if you’ll be going alone or if you’re worried about being outed or embarrassed. If that’s you, try calling ahead. This can help you get a sense of the environment to help you decide if you’d like to go in person. Seeing the products and sometimes even getting to see demonstrations (non-sexually, of course) can be a great way to better understand your options and find the toy that’s right for you.

Maybe you don’t want to go in person, or there isn’t a sex shop location close enough to you. That’s okay! There are many other retailers that carry sex toys, however, please be aware that the products in many stores are sold as “novelty items” which are unregulated and are commonly made of toxic materials that are not body safe. Look for products made of non-porous materials like silicone, glass, stainless steel, or ABS plastic. 

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, online retailers may be more accessible. You can shop from most sex shops online, and you can also look at the websites for the sexual health and wellness brands that you already use or recognize, as many also sell sex toys. Looking online allows you to read reviews, browse on your own time, and research what the toys are made of to make sure they do not contain materials that are harmful to your body.

All people deserve to be equipped with sex-positive, medically accurate, shame-free sexuality education and relationship information. With this as a foundation, your self-exploration, with or without toys, can be rooted in a focus on wellness and pleasure.

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