A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist US.
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 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 seven 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
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 celebrated its tenth anniversary last year. And though there have been a few different versions of their wearable, C-shape vibe over the years, their Sync is arguably the best. Morse even goes as far as to call it “the ultimate couples toy” and Vanessa Marin, a licensed psychotherapist and writer specializing in sex therapy, calls it one of her favorites, as well. 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 is also a fan of the Sync. “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’re looking for an accessible couples sex toy, several of the experts we talked to suggested using a small vibrator that you can hold while having sex. Couples looking for something even smaller might want to try the Tango from Canadian company We-Vibe. Carolanne Marcantonio, a licensed master social worker and sex therapist based in Brooklyn, says it’s “the smallest and strongest on the market, at just about the size of a finger.” It’s also rechargeable and waterproof, and has a small button on the bottom that lets you try eight different settings of varying intensity. “If you’re a person who needs a lot of vibration it’s great because you can put it on your clit during penetration and it’s not big and cumbersome and it won’t get in the way,” says Marcantonio. It’s versatile, too: “Anyone can use it — you can use it on the testicles, the inner thighs, nipples,” she says. “The sky’s the limit and the whole body’s covered in nerve endings, so we can really experience pleasure anywhere.”
If you prefer something that keeps your hands free, Madeline Cooper, a clinical social worker and therapist who specializes in sexuality and relationships, recommends Dame Product’s Eva vibrator. “Somebody with a vagina can use it either alone or with a partner,” she says. “Basically it sits on top of the clitoris and on top of the vulva and has these wings that tuck under the labia. You just press a button and it vibrates, so you don’t have to be holding something in place while you’re engaging in intercourse or other kinds of intimacy.”
If you’re intrigued by C-shape vibrators, but you’re looking for something even more flexible, Sells recommends looking into the newly released Crescendo from Mystery Vibe. “They’re marketing it as the first unisex and universal vibrator,” she explains. “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 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.” A better way to describe it might be somewhere 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 nonpenetrative sex.
If traditional vibration isn’t your thing, sex therapist and relationship coach Cyndi Darnell says the Womanizer Pro is “possibly one of the most popular toys at the moment,” and despite its “terrible name” is extraordinary. “It uses new technology to provide suction over the head of the clitoris, so instead of there being a rumbling vibrating sensation that can sometimes cause numbness on the clitoris, the Womanizer has a volcano shape that forms a vacuum seal over the clitoris. When you turn the device on, it sucks in little bursts and basically mimics oral sex.” You can use the Womanizer Pro alone, but Darnell told us it can be fun to try with a partner. “If you’re receiving penetration with a dildo or fingers, as well as using the Womanizer, it can provide really powerful sensations,” she says.
“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, like this one, cost well under $50.
“The Pivot by WeVibe is great, too,” says Morse. “I like this one, because it’s kind of a twofer. It has really strong vibrations, so you could just use it as a clitoral vibe.” 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 the 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. There is also the Atom Plus, and the main difference between the two 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, whereas the Atom Plus is big enough to slip over both the shaft and the balls to provide perineum stimulation.
If you’re someone who deals with vaginal pain during sex, Marcantonio told us that the Ohnut, a series of interlocking silicone rings, can really help. “You can put it on a penis or on a toy, and it controls the depth of penetration.” Marcantonio says it can also work well for people experimenting with anal play who want to start with shallow penetration before working up the the full length of a penis or a toy. “For some cis men, the feeling of having their whole penis enveloped is really nice, so for them it helps to receive pleasure and feel stimulation, especially if their partner can only handle shallow penetration,” says Marcantonio. “Then you can remove one of the rings and it’s like half of the penis or toy is entering — I’ve found to be a really great couples toy.”
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.
If a whole kit sounds like too much, Marcantonio says a spreader bar is a good option. “It’s a bar with two rings on the end. You put it between your partner’s legs, and attach the restraints to their ankles. It splits the legs about a foot or two” she says. “But you can use it between their arms, also.”