5 Mistakes You’re Making with Your Sex Toys, According to a Sexologist

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Whether you’re just awakening to your own sexual wellness or you’ve tried out so many vibrators you could write the book on it, you might be making some major faux pas with your sex toys. That doesn’t mean you should write off that magic wand, though. Sexologist and SKYN Sex & Intimacy Expert, Gigi Engle, stresses how important a good toy can be: “The truth is, two in three women need clitoral stimulation in order to achieve orgasm. Sex toys help bridge the gap that intercourse inevitably forms due to a lack of clitoral action.” So, before you forget to replace the batteries, Engle helps us understand what common mistakes people make with their sex toys so you can avoid them and keep doing your thing.

1. Not Cleaning Your Sex Toys

“Not cleaning your sex toys is a one-way ticket to bacterial vaginosis town. Bacteria lives on your sex toys like it lives anywhere else,” warns Engle. So be sure to read the directions thoroughly so you don't break your precious vibrators. Per Engle, for most toys, warm water and soap is sufficient.

2. Not Storing Your Toys Correctly

Be sure your toys are fully cleaned and dried before storage—simple plastic or cloth bags will do just fine, says Engle. And make sure to store each toy separately to avoid cross-contamination!

3. Assuming sex toys are just for solo play

Engle can’t emphasize it enough: Sex toys are not just for solo play! In fact, she says that using toys with partners can help you feel closer, make you feel more adventurous and overall improve orgasm quality. “Humans are incredibly curious creatures and being able to explore that curiosity with a sex partner is a magical, bonding thing.”

4. Thinking a sex toy can replace a person

This is one of the biggest mistakes Engle sees in her work. Sex toys are not a one-to-one replacement for another person or meant to replace the intimacy of having sex with another human; they are there to enhance sex and offer unique sexual experiences. So yes, sex toys are great for your alone time, but just remember, your vibrator can’t hold you when you cry about your childhood cat.

5. Thinking sex toys are a crutch for bad sex

Engle sees this one a lot: “Some people feel intimidated by sex toys because they’re worried their partner will respond negatively or feel insecure. We’re taught that if you need a sex toy, your partner must not be good enough at sex. This just simply is not the case. Sex toys are not a crutch for sex, they are an enhancement.” So, if your sex life sans toys isn’t doing it for you, don’t solely depend on a toy to change everything. Instead, it might be time for a real conversation with your partner on your wants and needs. On the contrary, if you’re already satisfied, Engle sees it like this: “Pleasure products are the key to intensifying intimacy and pleasure with your partner. It's like having a big bowl of pasta: The pasta is delicious on its own, but add in some salt and Parmesan and BOOM, it's a whole new ballgame.”

5 Sexual Wellness Products to Shop Now

1. Skyn Shiver Massager

High-powered, body-safe, USB-rechargeable and at a veryyyy generous price point.

2. Maude Vibe

It’s chic, discreet and offers three speeds. Plus, considering it sells out over and over, you know it’s gotta be good.

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Ella Paradis

3. Lelo Sona 2 Cruise

Reviewers love this toy so much, 97 percent of them would recommend it to a friend, citing the best orgasm they’ve ever had. Not too shabby.

4. Le Wand Pearl White Rechargeable Massager

Ten speeds. Twenty vibration patterns. It’s the adult choose-your-own-adventure we’ve been waiting for.

5. Kiki Handcuff Wristlets

Because you want to try the handcuff thing, but you also want to keep it super classy.

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Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...