Finding the best sex toys for women can be challenging: There’s a world of sex toy options out there for clitoral stimulation—like G-spot vibrators, finger vibrators, and bullet vibrators, just to name a few—and penetration toys you can use for insertion and anal play—such as butt plugs, dildos, and anal beads). So you might justifiably wonder, Where do I begin? Whether you’re hunting for a new vibe to add to your nightstand collection, to explore with a partner, or are looking for a beginner’s model, the right sex toys can spark and enhance your sexual pleasure.
First, ask yourself how you hope to actually use the toy. “Have an idea of the type of stimulation and pleasure you want to experience, which will help narrow down the toys that will best meet your needs,” says Malika O’Neill, LPC, MS, MEd, a sex and relationship therapist and the founder and CEO of The Pleasure Collective, LLC. For instance, if you love the sensation of tongue, take a look at oral sex toys. If you’re highly sensitive, seek out a toy with gentle vibrations.
Secondly, what type of toy do you want? Are you aiming for external stimulation of the clit or sensitive areas, or do you definitely know you want an insertable toy for G-spot or anal play? Good Vibrations staff expert Carol Queen, PhD, notes that many beginners assume that toys must be vaginally inserted, but there are tons designed chiefly for clitoral stimulation.
From there, consider: What is the toy made to do? Do the size and shape work for you? How many intensity and pattern settings does it have, and how much do you want to spend? (“Don’t expect a particular toy to be optimal for a kind of play or body part it wasn’t designed to facilitate or stimulate,” Dr. Queen says.)
Lastly, is your toy body-safe? You’ll want to choose ones made of sanitizable, non-porous materials like medical-grade silicone, stainless steel, and borosilicate glass.
Perhaps the best-known category of sex toys marketed for women are vibrators, which come in a ton of styles with varying levels of power and speed. Though many vibrators are primarily designed for external clitoral stimulation, some stimulate the G-spot internally and dual-stimulation vibrators target both the clit and the G-spot.
Best Wand Vibrators
Designed originally for body massage, wand vibrators are often characterized by large ball-shaped heads, long bodies, and intense motors—the combo of which diffuses more vibrations across the clit than a smaller toy can. “Wands are great for clitoral stimulation during solo play or partnered play,” Lovehoney sex expert Shamyra Howard, LCSW, CST, tells SELF, adding that they can feel excellent across sensitive zones like nipples, butts, and penises. Below are some of the most highly rated (by both sex educators and SELF editors) wand vibes.
Best G-Spot Vibrators
What’s known as the G-spot is actually most likely a small area of spongy tissue located near the front of the upper vaginal wall. Though its exact location is debated among researchers, when the area is stimulated it can feel fantastic to some.
Best Clitoral Suction Vibrators and Stimulators
If tongue action turns you on, there are many oral sex toys that can be used alone or with a partner. True to their name, clitoral suction vibrators (a.k.a. suckers, air-pulse vibrators, or oral sex simulators) have wide mouths that surround the clitoris (without touching it) and pulse tiny waves of air that “evoke the feeling of suction,” Dr. Queen says. These toys can additionally be used to stimulate nipples and penis heads. Another type of oral sex toy is the clitoral stimulator, which is designed with silicone “lips,” “tongues,” or “petals” that flick across the clit.
Best Finger Vibrators
Finger vibrators slide onto a finger or between them and aim to capture the nature of masturbating with your hands. They can make amazing additions to solo sex (especially if you’re a beginner to vibrators), because they let you use your hand as you ordinarily would.
They’re also great for partnered play, Good Vibrations education director Andy Duran previously told SELF. Finger vibes can be used to focus sensations on any sensitive zone, including the butt, breasts, and clit. Should you have issues with dexterity, many of these vibrators fit securely around (or tether to) the fingers, Dr. Queen says.
“Have an idea of the type of stimulation and pleasure you want to experience, which will help narrow down the toys that will best meet your needs,” says Malika O’Neill, LPC, MS, MEd, a sex and relationship therapist and the founder and CEO of The Pleasure Collective, LLC.
Best Egg and Bullet Vibrators
“Egg vibrators are egg-shaped and fit in the palm; they can be clitoral stimulators or allover vibes,” Dr. Queen says. Also known as a love egg, the egg vibe has vibration speeds that are often app- or remote-controllable, leaving hands free for other fun. Though similar, bullet vibrators are more ovular and petite (hence the “bullet”), making them perhaps the most discreet sex toys, as they’re easy to slip into a clutch or pocket for on-the-go pleasure.
Best Rabbit Vibrators
If you’re a Sex and the City fan, you might already know of the rabbit vibrator. That original vibe had a long body that was insertable into the vagina, with distinctive rabbit “ears” that stimulated the clit. Though many rabbit vibes today have preserved this signature style, others have replaced the ears with shorter curved arms (or multiple arms or suction mechanisms) while offering that same dual stimulation.
Best Remote-Control Vibrators
There’s lots to love about remote-control vibrators: They’re often cordless, hands-free, and many can be managed from afar via app—a real turn-on for anyone in a long-distance relationship (or situationship). “It’s fun and sexy to hand the controller to a partner and wait for the vibration to start,” Dr. Queen says. Remote-control vibrators come in many stylings, from G-spot vibrators to rabbit vibrators. One popular type is the panty vibrator, a “wearable vibrator hidden in the underwear for discreet clitoral stimulation,” Shamyra Howard, LCSW, previously told SELF.
Best Palm Vibrators
“Similar to the heads of wand vibes, palm vibrators have more surface area than mini vibes or pointed vibes, and thus stimulate with greater diffusion and less focus and tend to stimulate more of the vulva, not just the clitoris,” Dr. Queen says. This oblong vibrator fits comfortably in the palm and can feel great when stroked across the body too. Here are a couple beginner-friendly palm vibrators to consider.
PENETRATIVE SEX TOYS
For many, putting pressure near the anus can feel really good, which is why it’s worth checking out penetrative toys designed specifically for anal insertion. The main types are butt plugs (and similarly, anal beads) and dildos (which can fit into strap-ons and be inserted vaginally as well as anally). We’ve rounded up the best penetration sex toys, according to experts. A few words to the wise? For anal penetration, lube up and be sure your toy has a flared base (you don’t want to risk it getting stuck in your rectum).
Best Butt Plugs and Anal Beads
Butt plugs and anal beads are both designed as intro toys to anal play. Plugs are usually cone-shaped with a wide base that keeps them from sliding out of your backside. Some vibrate, some have rigid or flexible bodies, and some even have furry tails. They’re “designed for safe anal penetration and can be left in the butt, freeing your hands to do other pleasurable things,” Dr. Queen says.
While butt plugs offer a feeling of pressure and fullness, the sensation of anal beads has more to do with movement. “Unlike a butt plug, which is only meant to go in and stay, anal beads were designed to stimulate inside the body and specifically to move in and out of the bum,” Alicia Sinclair, the CEO of sex toy company B-Vibe, previously told SELF.
If you’re a butt-plug beginner, experts recommend starting with a smaller one that’s roughly the size of a finger or two before working your way up to anything larger. The same principle applies to anal beads: Choose a string that starts small and grows bigger, so you can ease into the feeling, Sinclair says.
If you’re new to anal play, you might start with the Novice, a vibrating butt plug that is only about the size of a pinky (3.35 inches), remote-controllable from up to 30 feet away, and has 15 vibration patterns for a range of sensation.
Best Dildos and Strap-Ons
The basic dildo is a penis-shaped toy that can be inserted into the vagina or anus. Functionally, some have suction bases that provide stability (and can be used in the shower), some have dual ends (or two-in-one for double the penetration), and some are designed with bases to be worn with strap-on harnesses along the pelvis for hands-free vaginal and/or anal penetration with a partner. Many strap-on sets are sold with dildos included (an affordable option for beginners).
Malia Griggs is a writer, editor, and social storyteller who joined SELF’s commerce team in 2020. Previously, she worked at The Daily Beast, Comedy Central, and Cosmopolitan.