While we all might be curious about the best plunger or probiotic tampon or cold-sore remedy, it can be difficult to discuss these more personal items. That’s why we’re tackling Things We Don’t Talk About, a series in which we track down the best hygiene-, sex-, and bodily function–related things we all need but might be too embarrassed to ask about. Today, recommendations on the best couples sex toys (just in time for Valentine’s Day).
Almost any sex toy you might have in your bedside dresser right now, from a high-design vibrator to a decidedly non-vibrating dildo, can become a couples sex toy. All you have to do is add another person to the mix — and if you are interested in using more toys with your partner, experimenting with the toys and vibrators you already own and know (and probably love) together is a great place to start. But if you’re looking to try something totally new, or want some help mixing things up in the bedroom, there are plenty of clever, innovative sex toys designed specifically for couples. And to save you the trouble of trying out a bunch of duds, we asked three experts to share their favorite couples sex toys, ones that are safe, easy to use, and, of course, lots of fun.
Vibrating Couples Sex Toys
If you’re looking for a nonthreatening couples sex toy, writer and sex and relationship expert Shelby Sells recommends the Squish, from feminist sex toy company Unbound. “It’s really soft, and it’s a vibrator” she says, “but it doesn’t look like a vibrator. It doesn’t have a phallic shape.” Rather, the little raindrop looks more like a makeup sponge, and it feels just as squishy, as the name suggests. When you squeeze the Squish, the vibration gets stronger, and its unassuming, pliable shape makes it easy to slip in between you and a partner if you want clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex, too. “You don’t necessarily need a hand,” Sells explains. “It’s just a get-’em-where-you-fit-‘em kind of thing, and luckily, it fits in pretty much everywhere.”
The original couples sex toy, according to Emily Morse, doctor of human sexuality and host of Sex With Emily on Sirius XM, is from We-Vibe, a Canadian company that just celebrated its tenth anniversary. And though there have been a few different versions of their wearable, c-shaped vibe over the years, their Sync is arguably the best. Morse even goes as far as to call it “the ultimate couples toy.”
The way it works is fairly straightforward. One end “can be worn internally, and then the external part would lay, if a female-bodied person’s wearing it, on the clit,” explains Carolanne Marcantonio, a licensed master social worker and sex therapist based in Brooklyn, who also recommended We-Vibe. “You could also wear it during penetration. That way, the internal part rocks up against the G-spot, and the external part gives clit stimulation.” That means you’re experiencing stimulation from penetration as well as from the toy, at essentially every possible angle. What makes the Sync especially user-friendly is that the angle of the toy is adjustable, so it bends to more comfortably fit the wearer’s shape. Plus, it can be controlled with an accompanying app, so you or your partner can adjust the settings without fiddling around with tiny buttons down there.
If you’ve intrigued by c-shaped vibrators, but you’re looking for something even more flexible, Sells has been intrigued by the Crescendo from Mystery Vibe. “They’re marketing it as the first unisex and universal vibrator,” she explains. “So if you look at it online, it does have that phallic shape, but you can bend it and mold it kind of however you want.” Because it’s so adjustable, you can really use it in any number of positions, penetrative or not.
The Pulse from London–based Hot Octopuss is branded as the world’s first “guybrator.” But a better way to describe it would be as something between a vibrating cock ring and a masturbation sleeve. The toy cups the penis, and, as Morse explains, “It has this little oscillation inside. It’s not really a vibrator, but it oscillates on the underside of his penis, where the frenulum is, meaning the underside of the penis, where there’s this really sensitive spot.” And on the Pulse Duo, which is designed for couples, the outside also vibrates; that means a partner can simultaneously get stimulation by rubbing against the device, as the male-bodied partner is getting pleasure from the oscillation. It’s a great device for foreplay or for partners who prefer non-penetrative sex.
“If you’re looking for something that’s more basic, I actually love a vibrating cock ring,” says Marcantonio. It can, of course, be used on a penis. “It helps to let blood flow into the penis and not out, and it can help to maintain a stronger, harder erection for longer,” she explains. But you can also put it on a dildo, so the person receiving penetration can get some vibration, or even just on your fingers, kind of like a non-slip vibrator. A vibrating cock ring is also great if you don’t want to spend a lot of money; some of the more simple options cost well under $50.
“The Pivot by WeVibe is great, too,” says Morse. “I like this one, because it’s kind of a twofer because it is such a good vibration. It has really strong vibrations, you could just use it as a clitoral vibe, as well.” So instead of putting it on a penis during penetration, the female-bodied partner could just “hold it in your hand during intercourse and put it over your clitoris.”
“Hot Octopuss has a great penis ring, too, called the Atom,” adds Morse. Like this Pivot, this one is also very powerful, “meaning the vibrations extend throughout the whole ring,” she explains. But the Atom also has a wider contact area that’s designed to make it as pleasurable for the person who might be rubbing up against it as for the person wearing it. The main difference between the Atom and the Atom Plus is the size of the ring itself. The regular Atom is designed to fit over the shaft of the penis and sit at the base.
Toys for Sensation Play
If you’re looking to dip your toe into sensation play, like erotic massage, or even BDSM with your partner, you don’t have to go full Fifty Shades of Grey or build a dungeon in your basement. A fun, entry-level accessory to use with your partner is a simple blindfold. “When we take away one sense, like eyesight, everything else becomes much more heightened,” says Morse, “so if he’s got a blindfold on and she starts tickling with a tickler or spanking with a little paddle, it can just be a very hot, fun way to play.”
And if you do want to get into the slightly kinkier side of things, there are plenty of kits for beginners to get you started. Morse is a fan of Sportsheets, which specializes in Velcro restraints, and they have a beginner’s bondage kit that comes with a blindfold, a tickler, and easy-to-adjust Velcro cuffs.