a hand showcasing an arc of sex toys

Yeah, masturbating is cool, but have you ever tried masturbating with sex toys?

We want to be clear, we say this with all the love in our heart toward using your hands. But, if you’re a power hand user that’s interested in something else — not necessarily something more — then sex toys can be a great way to explore sensations that are physically impossible to create without some kind of tech.

The world of sex toys is vast, meaning there’s a high likelihood that there’s something out there you’ll like. With all those options, it also means shopping for a new sex toy can be overwhelming. And though there are worst things than going through some trial-and-error with vibrators and dildos, shopping with a sense of what works, what’s built to last, and what’s safe to use helps avoids some frustration (and some dollars spent, since many places don’t accept sex toy returns).

Whether you’re looking to buy your first ever toy or are rounding out your collection, we’ve rounded out a list of our top picks (plus some extras) of the best sex toys for getting busy with yourself.

The big benefits of using sex toys for masturbation

Most people that masturbate with regularity have a tried and true routine. While knowing how to get yourself off is a handy (sorry) skill, there’s also something to be said about introducing a bit of variety.

For starters, if you’re in a masturbation rut, you might be able to get there physically, but you still find yourself emotionally, spiritually, and who knows, maybe even still physically, wanting something more. Maybe you’d simply like to take more time before reaching climax or you want to figure out if you have any undiscovered turn-ons. Sex toys can help.

If you’re a fan of clit stimulation, for instance, but have trouble breaking out of your usual ways, the Womanizer Premium’s Autopilot mode builds the teasing and surprise into the process for you. For penis-having people used to the feel of their own hand, masturbation sleeves like the Fleshlight or Tenga Eggs allow for easy variety in sensation and grip strength.

As Anna Lee, the co-founder of Lioness, said of sex toys, “There’s so many different ways to explore like sensations and just what works for you and what doesn’t. It’s a feeling of sexual empowerment to be able to buy your own toy and be like, this is something that I bought for myself for a self care moment.” And we love a self-care moment that involves pleasure and orgasming.

Anyone who wants to use sex toys for self-pleasure should

Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and Scientific Advisor to Lovehoney, also noted that while the stigma surrounding masturbation spans across gender, it is particularly strong when it comes to men using sex toys.

“Some people seem to subscribe to this idea that ‘real’ men don’t need sex toys,” Lehmiller wrote in an email. “Many men masturbate in the same exact way every time they do it. However, mixing it up can help you to understand yourself and your own body better.” One particularly easy way to mix things up? Using sex toys.

The science backs the benefits, too. The Kinsey Institute and Lovehoney conducted a survey of 2,000 American adults and found that 69% of men found that masturbation allowed them to discover new turn-ons and sources of pleasure.

“This tells us that self-pleasure is self-exploration,” Lehmiller wrote.

At the end of the day, no matter what gender you identify as, masturbation is your time to get in touch with yourself, despite the stigmas or negative attitudes that may exist around it.

“Remind yourself the myths and taboos surrounding masturbation are rooted in moralistic pseudoscience,” Dr. Eric Sprankle, a clinical psychologist, sex therapist, and author of the upcoming book DIY: The Wonderfully Weird History and Science of Masturbation, wrote in an email to Mashable. “It’s all nonsense. Your body is your own, so you should feel free to do with it as you please.”

And remember: masturbation doesn’t have to be all about orgasming

Yes, orgasms feel great, but one of the best parts about using sex toys while masturbating is that it really emphasizes the journey and not the destination.

At the end of the day, masturbation is about enjoying yourself, getting in touch with your body, and feeling pleasure — all of which are possible, sans orgasm. Lee has a big presence on TikTok, and mentioned that most of the questions she receives from people on the app are some variation of “Is this normal?” I.e. Is liking a certain sensation normal? Is taking a X amount of time normal? Is not orgasming every time normal?

For an activity that’s supposed to be all about the self, it can be pretty easy to worry about what everyone else is doing. Our advice? Find your pleasure in your journey, specific to you. Worst case? You don’t come and you’ve given yourself a bunch of pleasurable feelings. Best case? You come and you’ve given yourself a bunch of pleasurable feelings. Once you stop seeing orgasming as the only goal, we promise your solo (and probably partnered) sex life will be so much better.

Are these toys good for just masturbating?

Of course not! If you want to incorporate a clit suction toy or a masturbation sleeve into partnered sex, go live your truth. The toys you’ll find on this list are geared toward taking your time and exploring your body, which while fun with a partner, is especially gratifying to do at your own pace, on your own time.

That’s also not to say this is an exhaustive list. Sexual pleasure is a deeply personal experience, so that super popular vibrator that everyone seems to rave about might not be your favorite, and that’s more than okay.

“It’s trial and error, so don’t get discouraged if the first toy you try is a dud,” Sprankle wrote. “Reflect on what you liked and disliked about it, and try another one that is closer to your interests. There’s a toy out there for everybody and every body.”

So while we do highlight our top picks, we’ve also listed a few honorable mentions for each toy category you find on this list, just in case you’re interested in checking out a wider variety of options.

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