If you spend time with your battery-operated-boyfriend only when your real guy isn't around, you're both missing out—yep, sex toys aren’t just for masturbation.
That said, it can be intimidating to bring a toy into partner play. You don't want your SO to think you're implying they're bad in bed, after all. But just remember: Toys are not a crutch for sub-par sex, they're a way to make it even hotter.
Not only do women who use sex toys report a host of perks (like finally getting that clit stimulation needed to achieve an orgasm), but guys say vibes increase sexual desire, erectile and orgasmic function, and intercourse satisfaction, says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., author of Sex Made Easy.
“Sex toys from couples vibrators, solo vibrators, and everything in-between can provide couples new ways of increasing bonding and intimacy through new experiences,” says Liz Klinger, women’s sexual health expert and founder of Lioness.
Still freaked by the idea of busting out a vibe? Follow these steps:
1. Start with some real talk
Don't bring up the topic mid-sex, but do sit down and have an honest convo about it. “Start by giving your partner a genuine compliment,” says Kristie Overstreet, Ph.D., a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist. “Share with them that you have been wondering what it would be like to try something new.” Most importantly, you want your partner to understand that sex toys are not a threat to your relationship.
From there, Klinger suggests you "gauge their reaction first, talk about it, and then make a decision.” And realise, “there’s a chance that they may not want a sex toy, and that’s fine, too," she says. "There are plenty of other ways to explore and be intimate together.”
2. Go shopping
Okay, so he's down to give it a go—the next step is establishing how you'll go about finding a toy. You can either go alone and choose a toy yourself, or invite your partner along.
“See if they even want to shop for one with you and make it a date," says Klinger. As much as you may want to surprise them, "you may want their input on what they’d like to use so your gift won’t collect dust in the drawer."
That said, don't be offended if they don’t want to come shopping with you. If they feel a little too embarrassed to hit up a sex shop, go buy that toy you’ve been itching to try.
3. Choose the right gear
You’ll want to pick the right toy if this is your first time out. Overstreet says a vibrator is good starting point, since they're probably the most familiar option to sex toy newbies.
And when it comes to picking a toy, vibe or otherwise, Klinger suggests something small and easy to maneuver.
These eight options are perfect for taking the plunge.
1. 20 Function Bullet Vibrator, $30
This pocket-sized sex toy has 20 (yes, you read that right) different speeds, vibrations, and patterns of rhythm—so it’s no shock it’s known for its strength and intensity. A little (or a lot) of variety never hurt nobody. Plus, this guy is twice dipped in silicon for an optimal smooth, silky texture.
How to use it together: Because it’s so small, this toy fits easily between you and your partner during sex. The bullet’s also pointed, which is ideal for clitoral stimulation. On top of that, it's easy to hold, making it ideal for partner sex play as well, says Herbenick. And let’s not forget the seemingly countless vibration options. Cha-ching!
2. Form 3 Waterproof Rechargeable Vibrator, $85
Hold the rounded end of this waterproof, rechargeable toy in your (or your partner’s) hand like a computer mouse and let your fingers take control. Press the touchpad to focus the vibes wherever you like. The touchpad also bends to further direct stimulation and move seamlessly throughout your romp sesh.
How to use it together: The Form 3 was actually designed with couples sex in mind. Not only does it fit comfortably between two bodies, but it is also made of seriously thin silicon, so you can actually feel your partner’s touch through the top of the toy as he presses or strokes (the choice is yours). Trust us, he won’t hate the vibrating sensations on his perineum and scrotum either. Flip the Form 3 around when it’s time for the main event. This way your entire vulva (an area packed with sensitive nerves and tissues) is covered and your clit gets direct attention from the vibrating tip of the toy. An added bonus? This baby’s waterproof, meaning all the perks are not limited to the bedroom.
3. We-Vibe 4 Plus, $104
Taking tech to a whole new level, this sex toy is part vibrator, part app. The two-in-one G-spot and clit stimulator allows for stimulation during intercourse or other play. Vibrations can be controlled from either the wireless remote or the We-Connect app, in which users can also create custom vibes and stimulate their partner from any location.
How to use it together: Wearing the We-Vibe during sex is a plus for both partners. The snug fit gives attention to your G-spot and clit and the 10 various vibes also feel amazing for him, as his penis slips under the toy during sex. Paired with the app, the We-Vibe is especially great for long-distance duos because your partner doesn’t have to be in the same place—or even the same time zone—to tease and play with you, says Leah Millheiser, M.D., ob-gyn, director of the female sexual medicine program at Stanford. You can also chat and call in the app, all while your pleasure is gradually peaking. You'll take sexting to a whole new level.
4. Fiera Personal Care Device, $199
Attach one of the two SofSense suction rings, get into a comfortable position, and let Fiera do what it does best: enhance blood flow, create increased sensitivity, and get you in the mood. This little gadget gets the job done by suctioning onto your clitoris and then emitting mini-vibrations for five to 10 minutes.
How to use it together: “It’s like a pregame,” says Millheiser (who works with the brand). This product is designed to get you super aroused during those times where sex seems harder than going to the gym. And by getting ready to roll, you and your partner are bound to enjoy sex more, says Millheiser. By suctioning and then stimulating the clitoris for just a few minutes before sex, Fiera helps women get into the mood and mentality to romp. And the device’s magic doesn’t stop there. “After using it, the woman’s orgasm is more intense because of all this build up of blood flow in the genitals,” Millheiser explains.
5. Fin, $88
This small rechargeable vibrator is worn nested between fingers to enhance the way you touch your clitoris. The three levels of stimulation feel different on each end of the device, so whoever’s wearing this little buddy can move it (and their fingers) around in different ways to find that perfect pleasure point.
How to use it together: Fin’s a team player. He knows that your partner wants to make you feel good during sex, so he’s small enough to get you to that O without stealing the show. This toy is perfect for foreplay to get you going but also small and comfy enough to work into intercourse, Millheiser says. And best of all, Fin is built for any sized hand, whether it's yours or your partners. Get it, girl!
6. Eva II, $130
This adorable toy was designed with couples in mind, and is perfect if your boo is wary about toys playing too big a part in your sexy time. This tiny, light, and simple-to-use vibe has the same idea of a cock ring (direct clit pleasure for her), but it's worn by the woman instead, making it a little less cumbersome.
How to use it together: The beauty of Eva II is it has flexible silicon wings that tuck under your labia, while the vibe part of the toy sits on top—which means you can have totally hands-free clitoral stimulation during sex. Plus, it's waterproof, so you can get very creative with your sexual adventures.
7. Tenga Iroha Midori, $70
Klinger loves the . It’s a tiny, squishy vibrator that couldn’t possibly freak your partner out. It looks more like a stress ball than a product for pleasure enhancement, making it an easily maneuverable toy that is totally non-threatening.
How to use it together: This toy is designed to provide pleasure for all tastes—it offers a variety of vibration intensities and patterns, so you and your partner can discover what really gets you going. This toy is great for play all over the body, not just on the genitals. Try experimenting by using this vibe to stroke different erogenous zones on the body—whether that's your partner's nipples or inner thighs—the signature "SoftTouch" material is perfect for all-over play. Not to mention, the motor is nearly silent, which makes this toy very approachable for newbies.
8. Satisfyer Partner Whale, $39.95
Similar to the We-Vibe 4, this Satisfyer vibrator was also designed specifically for couples' play. The most important thing to remember when using this one: lube, lube, and more lube, says Klinger. Always lube up your toys before use.
How to use it together: This curved toy is fitted with two powerful motors, meant to pleasure you and him at the same time. The thicker part lies directly on the clitoris, while the other is meant to go inside the vagina—targeting your G-spot and massaging his shaft at once. With just the touch of a button, you can select one of three vibration intensities and seven rhythms to help get you both reach an intense climax.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.