Thongria, née Zoë Ligon, is the internet’s favorite dildo duchess. When she’s not holding court with her vibrators on Instagram, or slinging pleasurable items at her sex toy hub, Spectrum Boutique, she’s co-hosting a sexual wellness podcast, writing books, and just generally educating us on how to be more unapologetically horny.
“The first [sex toy] I picked was a bit of an impulse-buy from a now-closed NYC sex shop,” she tells VICE, “and it was by no means a body-safe dildo. That’s something no one tells you in sex ed, of course, and how would you know that unless you do your research?” When you’re building up your carousel of sex toys, she says it’s just as important to follow your intuition as it is to educate yourself on the bells, whistles, and materials of different sex toys. “Buy the sex toys you want,” she advises, “not the sex toys that you think your partner wants you to want.” Compare the diameter of your preferred number of fingers to that of an insertable toy you’re considering, and know that, as with all things, finding your perfect medley of vibrators is a trial-and-error journey. Sex toys are fun, but “sex toys are also tools,” she reminds us, “and you should select things that make your eyes (and holes) water!”
In an attempt to organize our own dildo pantry, we’ve asked Ligon for the best brands and tips for buying various sex toys, from partner-play vibrators and BDSM accessories to clitoral stimulators and cock rings.
What to look for in a vibrator
“Versatility!” Ligon says. “There aren’t many instances where I would recommend a single-speed vibrator over a vibrator with speed-control, for instance. Having three or more speed patterns gives you options. Another way that a vibrator can be more versatile is if it can be used internally or externally.” Having a toy that can be used as either an external massager or internal penetrative toy increases the likelihood that you’ll find at least one way of using it that’s pleasurable for you, she explains. It’s also important that the toy is made of a non-porous material, such as silicone. “Bonus points if it’s got a flared base or definite stopping point so that it can be anal-safe, too!”
A wand vibrator is just that—a vibrator without attachments that can be used internally or externally, and usually comes with a ball-shaped feature on the end. “I will always have a love for the Magic Wand series,” says Ligon, “as it was my first love, however, I am also a huge fan of the Doxy Original for a corded option (it’s soooo rumbly) and the Lovense Domi if I want a smaller, wireless option.”
A rabbit vibrator is usually phallic in shape and has a shaft for vaginal insertion as well as a bunny ear-esque attachment for stimulating the clitoris. “While dual stimulation is amazing, rabbit vibrators can be very hit or miss,” says Ligon, “One reason I like to recommend the We-Vibe Nova 2 is because it’s designed to maintain contact with the body at all times—or at least more so than your average rabbit vibe! The external arm bends and flexes as it’s inserted to maintain constant contact. Also, a big shout out to the Fun Factory Miss Bi—it’s just as amazing to use anally as it is vaginally.”
Did you know It’s more common for people with a clitoris to achieve an orgasm through clitoral stimulation than through penetration? That’s why external clitoral vibrators are a must-have for our own sexual pantry. As for Ligon? “It’s a toss up between the Je Joue Rabbit Bullet and the Kiki Flex! The Rabbit bullet is better for teasing and tickling with it’s soft, bendy ears, and the Kiki Flex is my favorite for a broad vibrators that is sleek and compact.”
Sex toys for partner play
“When it comes to toys and partners, just about anything can be a ‘partner play’ toy,” Ligon says, “and your choice in toy will ultimately depend on what you are trying to achieve during partnered sex.” Have you seen those remote-controlled vibrators that cam girls love? Also great for making things a bit kinkier with your partner. “One versatile option I like to recommend is the Romp Wave,” says Ligon, “It’s compact enough to fit between two bodies any number of ways, and also a fantastic vibe to pop in a harness, or use for humping and grinding against a partner’s body.”
Sex toys for butt stuff
Don’t know where to begin your Journey to the Center of the Earth? We’ve written a guide for butt stuff beginners, covering everything from training plugs to prep-work. “I designed the Bump, Swirl, and Twist from b-Vibe,” says Ligon on bum toys, “and they are literally based off my own personal butt plug sketch ideas! While they are very high-quality, top of the line toys, they’re not ideal first-time toy picks because even the smallest one is sizable in order to accommodate the vibrating motor. For first time picks, I definitely suggest a set of plugs that offers multiple sizes like the Mood Naughty Pride set.”
Sex toys for bondage and BDSM
BDSM encompasses bondage and discipline; dominance and submission; and sadism and masochism in the bedroom, and “BDSM toys include everything from spanky, hitty things, to restraints,” explains Ligon, “to sensation toys and so much more.”
Ligon says the scope is so wide when it comes to BDSM toys. “But if I had to pick,” she says, “I’d go with the Violet Wand electrostimulation toy because it is such an exciting and arousing tool to have. I am a huge fan of sensation play with things like feather ticklers, and electrostim wands are a nice next step for those who like body tingles. As for restraints, the Zalo & Upko Rose Ball Gag; and if you want some simple cuff restraints, I partnered with the Stockroom to make a special line of mint bondage.”
A cock ring is worn at the base of a penis, in order to restrict blood flow and create a stronger, longer-lasting erection. They’re usually made of silicone, and sometimes come with clitoral stimulating attachments. “I’m loving the Nos ring from Fun Factory,” says Ligon, “and Lovense Diamo–they both have a nice broad contact point and a wonderful rumbly motor! As far as non-vibrating rings go, I like to recommend adjustable ones, especially for first time cock ring buyers so that they can get a custom fit!”
Lubrication gel can be oil, water, or silicone-based (and compatible with different sex toys and condoms) and can be helpful in increasing ease of penetration, or simply adding more wetness during masturbation. “There are 10 open lube bottles scattered throughout my house at all times,” says Ligon, “Next to my bed I have a gigantic pump bottle of Slippery Stuff because it’s good for truly everything and has minimal ingredients. In my travels, I’ll bring a bottle of the Dame Alu lube. For sexy times that aren’t happening with toys or barriers like condoms present, I like Wild Thing, an oil based lube from Intamo (just note that oils are not condom compatible!)”
And there you have it: something for everyone (including anyone who might wander into your bedroom).
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