Contributed by Tanya S..

How do you go about choosing the right sex toy for you and your lover?  Sex toys have become less risque and more socially acceptable.  There are even sex-toy parties, which are like Tupperware parties, adult toy stores, a toy section in some lingerie shops; even your local Duane Reade carries sex toys. But how can you tell what type of sex toy you need?

Who will be using the sex toy?  Do you plan to use it yourself? Or are you thinking of introducing it to your partner?  If you are looking for a toy to use with your partner during intercourse, you can choose the we-vibe, a toy that can be used internally and externally during intercourse.

Do you plan to use it with multiple partners? If so, be sure to place a condom over the toy. Alternatively some toys are silicone and can be sterilized with boiling.

What are you looking for from your toy? Do you want to use in externally, internally or both?  If you want a g-spot stimulator, you should be sure to get a curved one that can reach your g-spot.  The Gigi is one of the most popular g-spot stimulators. It can also be used externally.  Some have one setting or speed while others have multiple speeds or vibration pattern.  You may want to get one with lots of choices so you can explore what you like.

What do you want the toy to look like?  There are toys that look realistic, cast from a real penis and are made from cyberskin to imitate the feel of skin.  Others are brightly colored and are phallic-shaped but look nothing like any part of human anatomy.  Some toys look like cartoon characters or like lipstick and other makeup products.

What type of material would you want? Do you want the toy to be hard, like plastic, glass or steel? Or do you want it to have a soft feel like silicone? Be sure to avoid jelly/rubber or other materials that contain phthalates.

What type of texture do you want? Toys can be smooth, ridged or studded.

What size toy would you prefer? Do you want something discreet that you can carry in your bag or a dildo that is human-sized.  If you are in a shop, you can close your eyes and hold the toy for a better sense of the size since eyes can be deceiving.

Do you want it to be rechargeable?  Lots of toys are now rechargeable and do not use batteries; some are even charged by a hand crank, the sun or rain.

What about the price point?  Sex toys can be anywhere from $20 to $200. There are some that are even $1000 but they are made from gold.  Think about how much you want to spend and what features you want—the more money, the more features and better quality.

What type of cleaning does it require? Different materials need different care.  Here is a guide on how to clean different materials.

Finally, be sure to get some lube to use with your sex toy. Silicone lube is great for water play but cannot be used with silicone toys.  Make sure the lubes are also Paraben-free and glycerin free.

Enjoy shopping for your next toy.  Do you have any favorites?