Pride Center’s Sex Week – Sex Toys 101

woman wrapped in scarf holds purple dildo in palm while speaking to an audience
Hunter Kelch, sexual health advisor at A Touch of Romance in Tarzana, during her sex toys workshop. Photo credit: Christine Martinez

If you’ve ever felt intimidated to walk into a sex shop or unsure of where to even begin, Pride Center kicked off its Sex Week with a sex toys workshop on March 16. Hunter Kelch, a sexual health advisor at A Touch of Romance in Tarzana, brought in a plethora of toys, and knowledge about each, to CSUN:

Hunter Kelch's and A Touch of Romance's booth at Pride Center's Sex Week
Hunter Kelch and her booth of A Touch of Romance products during Pride Center's Sex Week. Photo credit: Christine Martinez

Materials: “Any sex toy device is a medical device,” Hunter said. What is key to know is that the two main materials most sex toys are made out of are porous and non-porous.

  • Porous – Hunter advises to stay away from porous (like jelly or rubber material) because like a sponge that has been used one too many times, it retains moisture and houses germs. These are generally on the cheaper side but are of low quality.
  • Non-porous – Silicone is an example of a non-porous material and is a much better option. Toys made in America that are of non-porous material are typically the same material doctors use and approve of; they are high in standards. Even safer and more sanitary are European made products, as they have to pass more rigorous regulations.
  • Metal/glass – There are also metal and glass options as well that are higher end price-wise. Although those don’t sound safe, or even pleasurable, Hunter assures that they are and can even increase orgasms. They are extremely easy to clean and have a very long lifespan – some come with lifetime warranties. What is good to remember is that anything put into vaginal or anal cavities should be thoughtfully considered because mucous membranes are very sensitive and prone to bacteria and infections if not properly taken care of.

Toys for women: “Women have dominated the sex industry so the options of toys [for them] are vast,” Hunter said.

  • Clitoral – Clitoral stimulators, one most recognized, was used as a back massager in the 1970s. It plugs into the wall and has immense power. While you can still buy this at Walgreens for back problems, housewives long since discovered its more pleasurable properties. Nowadays, clitoral stimulators come in rechargeable, compact options. For instance, the Rabbit is a commercially popular one thanks to the TV show Sex and the City. Shaped like an actual rabbit, the clitoris is placed in between its two long ears and vibrations bounce it back and forth. The Womanizer, a revolutionary toy, offers both indirect and direct stimulation that causes full-body orgasms by using technology to suck, blow and vibrate. The Womanizer has also been backed by Oprah.
  • G-spot – G-spot stimulators can be straight or “hooked” (all dependent on personal preference). The “hooked” ones have an additional “come hither” motion that stimulates both the G-spot and clitoris. The possibility of female ejaculation is greatly increased for those curious enough to see about that capability.

Toys for men: “Men have glands in their prostate that when stimulated, are the equivalent of a woman’s G-spot,” Hunter said.

  • Prostate – Prostate stimulators include ticklers and massagers that look very similar to women’s G-spot stimulators.
  • Masturbators – More commonly referred to as “fleshlights,” they are made of medical grade silicone and are made to feel like real vaginas. The Zeppelin, which looks like an actual zeppelin, inserts the penis inside it and has rotating balls that encompass it entirely. Long before Viagra, C-rings helped men stay and get erect. Nowadays, they are used to hold the blood in erections for a longer more intense orgasm.

Anal toys: “Women have absolutely no pleasure glands in their anal cavities so it’s almost silly for us to even do it,” Hunter said. However, it’s all about preference. Some women do enjoy it and of course, there are toys that can help them with the experience.

  • Butt plugs – When inserted into a woman, they push up against the vaginal wall while being penetrated making them appear “tighter” and cause more intense orgasms.
  • Anal beads – Are designed for the same anal stimulation but not being left in for long periods.

*Hunter’s words of caution – Never use any anal numbing creams to satisfy your partner if you don’t like the feeling of anal sex. It’s better to not do it at all instead of slowly losing feeling in your anal cavity. Otherwise, you could tear or contract an infection and not realize it.

Extra tips:

  • Baby oil is not lube. Use only water-based lubricants.
  • There are special toy cleaners for purchase, use them to keep toys clean and sanitary.

Honorable mentions:

  • We-Vibe Sync – This device is worn inside a woman and is controlled entirely by an app. You can make your own vibration patterns and sync it with music.
  • Touch-screen wands: Reminiscent of G-spot toys only the vibrations and moves and are enhanced through touch.