If the term "homemade sex toy" makes you immediately imagine a trip to the ER, you may be surprised to hear they're not necessarily as questionable as you'd expect.
According to Sara Nasserzadeh, Ph.D., a sexuality and relationship consultant in Palo Alto, California, DIY toys can be a great option—especially for women who are hesitant to use (or pay for) anything mechanical, man-made, or explicitly created for sex play.
Homemade or everyday objects “are accessible, plus they can bring lightness and laughter to the dynamic, which is always priceless,” Nasserzadeh says. Here are some of her and other sex experts’ favourite homemade toys—and how to use them safely:
1. Pearl necklace
If you can’t get into giving blow jobs, but do want to do something similarly erotic for your partner, this tool—er, jewel—is for you, says Debra Laino, doctor of human sexuality, a sexologist and couples and marriage therapist based in Delaware.
After (an optional) seductive strip tease involving removing the necklace, “slowly wrap it around his penis and slowly jerk him off," Laino suggests. Added pleasure bonus: Kiss and suck on the tip while you’re at it.
“The texture of the pearls gives the penis a very different and unique sensation,” Laino says. Just don’t use your grandma’s jewels.
2. Wooden spoon
A wooden spoon is perfect for spanking because you can spank soft or hard, depending on your partner’s preference, Laino says. Just be sure you actually talk about your desires first.
One more important tip: Wrap the spoon with non-microwavable saran wrap, says Laura McGuire, Ed.D., a sex educator in New York State. Like any kitchen utensil that’s not made with Pyrex glass or ABS plastic, it has tiny holes that make it impossible to entirely disinfect. “If you put that in your vagina or anus, you’re not going to have a good time,” she says.
Is your mind in the gutter yet? Good—now you see that a cucumber was pretty much created to double as a dildo. Here too, just be sure to wrap it with non-microwavable saran wrap first in order to protect yourself from getting a bacterial infection, McGuire says.
A condom can work too, of course, but isn’t a great idea if you actually ever plan on eating the cucumber—and don’t want it flavoured with condom, she adds.
Home décor goals aren’t the only reason to invest in extra pillows. Rubbing against a stack of them can stimulate the clitoris and serve as a stand-in for a partner, says Rachel Needle, Psy.D., a psychologist and sex therapist in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Pillows, as well as towels, can also be great co-masturbation tools, says McGuire, who encourages everyone to think outside of the penetrative sex box. “People forget that a lot of pleasure can be derived with just friction,” she says.
5. Removable shower head
Want to get dirty while getting clean? Easy. Just use your shower head as a vibrator by pressing it up against, or directly spraying, your clitoris, Needle says. “Many [shower heads] can be used at varying pressures and spray settings, so each individual can experiment with what feels best,” she says.
6. Scrubbie pot scrubber
If you like the feeling of exfoliating your face or back, you might really like a similar sensation on your inner thighs, between your butt cheeks, on your outer labia, or against your breasts, says Kim Airs, a sex educator in Los Angeles and founder of the online sex toy boutique Grand Opening.
“A scrubbie can be used gently or firmly, depending on what feels good for the user,” she says. Your man may like it too, she adds, on his scrotum or penis shaft. Scrubbie too rough? Don’t use a steel one, of course, and try adding a (scented, if you like) dollop of massage oil, Airs says. Just be sure to use a clean one that hasn't been used for cleaning dishes or toilets.
Don’t have the patience to eat your pad Thai with chopsticks? Dig in with a fork and save those bad boys for a later. “Chopsticks can be squeezed together with a small rubber band at the ends to create easy-to-use nipple clamps or to squeeze the outer labia together,” Airs says. (Just check the sticks for splintering potential first.)
You can rethink that rubber band, too: “If you want a quick, pinching sensation, a snap of a rubber band will certainly make one jump to attention,” Airs says. Again, be sure your partner is cool with feeling a sting—and sporting a bite-mark-looking impression temporarily after.
Sure, you can attempt to hold an ice cube in your mouth while delivering oral sex, or even swish ice-cold water in your mouth beforehand, but the thing about ice is that it melts. Instead, create that same effect by swishing your mouth with mouthwash or popping in a strong mint first, McGuire says. “It’s going to leave that tingling sensation, and a lot of people really, really love that,” she says.
9. Coconut oil
Is there anything coconut oil can’t do? The organic type, which won’t have preservatives or other chemicals, works great as an inexpensive lube, says Jane Fleishman, Ph.D., a sexuality educator in Windsor, Ontario. “Just remember you can't use any oil-based lube with a latex condom because the oil will break down the integrity of the latex,” she says.
Make sure your oil is new, too. “Oil can always grow bacteria, so make sure it’s never been opened before,” McGuire says.
You have to take off your nylons to have sex, so why not involve them in the fun instead of tossing them in the laundry pile? Use them (with consent) to tie your partner’s wrists or ankles, or to blindfold him or her while you do the seducing, Needle says.
“Remember, all other senses are heightened when sight is deprived, so you might want to use something silky or sexy to the touch,” she says.
A shirt or scarf can work too, says Terri Vanderlinde, D.O., an ob-gyn and sex educator in Dover, New Hampshire. “It all comes down to being present, being mindful, and each partner being committed to pleasure—their own and their partners,” she says.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.