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Sex toy 101: A pandemic buy guide

Bea Cupin

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Sex toy 101: A pandemic buy guide

CONFUSED? Here's a guide to get you started.

Image from Shutterstock, product stills from ilya and Lauvette

Sex toys are a great way to explore bodies – whether it's your own or your partner's

My reaction to the first time I held a real sex toy was a scene out a comedy sketch. Ilya owner AJ Osmeña was walking us through their catalogue of toys when I picked one up. He told me it was one of their more popular models and that it was one of the more intense ones. 

How intense? I turned it on and, surprised by how strong and silent the vibration was, I dropped it onto the table. The table then started buzzing, as if to justify both my bewilderment and embarrassment. 

A few years have passed and, thankfully, I’m a little less jumpy and clueless when it comes to most kinds of sex toys. 

Still, it’s a daunting world. The wire array of vibrators alone can lead you into a tizzy, especially when you don’t know how each works or have no idea about what you want. Then there’s the intimidation and even shame that many still feel about acquiring, using, or even thinking about getting a sex toy. 

So in case you’re in need of a push, here it goes: There’s absolutely nothing shameful about having sex toys. 

They’re a wonderful way to discover a body, be it your own or your partner’s/partners’. Sex toys are also a practical way to let off some steam when physical distancing is a must and you’re tired of using your good old hand. Do not let anybody shame you for thinking about, using, or doing anything that’s consensual and pleasurable.  

While this article cannot claim to be an exhaustive guide, think of it as a soft entry into the wonderful world of sex toys. 

Do your research.

This is a given but it’s especially important when you’re buying online and are unable to literally get a feel of the toy before your purchase. 

For first-time buyers, consider the following: 

  • Do you want an external or internal toy? (Aka… Do you want it to go inside you?)
  • Is it for one-time use or do you want it to last? 
  • Who will be using it? Just you? You and your partner? Are you on a long-distance relationship and do you want your partner to be able to control the toy remotely?
  • How discreet do you want it? 

It’s important to think about these things first, so it’s easier to narrow down your options. Some toys are designed for insertion while others are only for external stimulation. 

If you’re buying for the first time and you happen to be in quarantine with others (especially family), a toy’s noise level and look might be especially important – you might want the option of a vibrator that doesn’t look like one or a vibrator that barely makes a sound. 

For a more thorough guide to different kinds of sex toys, check out sex shop ilya’s collaboration with vlogger Say Tioco.

Quality matters 

Sex toys are not something you’d want to scrimp on. 

Make sure you purchase your toys from reputable sellers and, as a general rule, be skeptical if a toy is too cheap. Remember that you’ll be inserting or placing this close to very sensitive parts of your body – you wouldn’t want to introduce toxic materials during sexy time. 

Another reason why quality materials matter – hygeine! You want a toy that’s easy to clean and disinfect. You wouldn’t want to reuse a toy that’s porous because that means bacteria or mold could get trapped inside without you knowing.

Make it a point to check if your toy comes with a warranty, and for how long. Several brands (although they’re admittedly on the pricier side) offer years-long warranties that include unit replacements if your toy suddenly decides to conk out.

Safety, always 

We can’t emphasize this enough – make sure your toys are made of good quality materials and make sure they’re appropriate for your intended use. 

For example, if you want a toy for anal play, it’s best if it comes with a flared base. If you want to use your toy in the shower, make sure they’re waterproof. 

Newbie recommendations 

If you’re a newbie with a clitoris and have a bigger budget to spare, you cannot go wrong with the Satisfyer Pro Traveler or the Satisfyer Pro 2 or 3. It’s a no-contact toy that stimulates the clitoris via pulses of air. It’s noise-free, even at the strongest setting, and is as discreet as it gets. While it takes a little getting use to, position-wise, it’s pretty idiot-proof. It also delivers intense orgasms at record-breaking speed. 

For those with a penis, toys like the fleshlight or the tenga, which are reusable and easy-to-clean, are good options. If you’re not quite ready to commit to sex toys, the disposable tenga egg or tenga cup are good options to help you get a…feel of what you want. 

Where to buy?

In the Philippines, sex toy options have thankfully branched out beyond the dark and dingy stalls of the past.  

Shopping and delivery app Pickaroo has a category specifically for sex shops – both ilya and Lauvette are on it, along with S-Hande and Midoko. Take note, however, that the selections on the platform are limited. 

For a wider range of options and even real-time consults, check out ilya and Lauvette’s websites. 

Let loose, enjoy shopping (or just browsing), have fun exploring your body, and don’t forget the lube. –

Purchase your sex toys online safely and save with this Shopee voucher code. 

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.