There are lots of different types of dildos out there. The right one for you depends on what you’re using it for and your personal sensual tastes. They are predominantly penetrative products, and many can be used anally or vaginally. Some dildos have specific textures for internal pleasure, like rough or slick surfaces. Others can have a curved tip for clitoral stimulation. Some are double-ended, allowing for simultaneous anal and vaginal penetration. Others can be worn as a strap-on and are compatible with harnesses. And then there are the more representational dildos, which are designed to look a lot like a human penis.
The history of dildos is complicated and diverse. There’s no doubt, however, that they’re a common piece of sexual pleasure equipment for both men and women. A dildo is “a masturbatory toy that is shaped like an erect human penis, with an opening at the end that allows it to be inserted in the anal or vagina,” according to Wikipedia. The dildo can be made out of glass, plastic, ceramics, metals or another material. It can also have a textured or vibrating surface and be shaped in a variety of ways, including straight or kinky.
A dildo’s main purpose is to provide internal penetration, although it can be used as a clitoral toy, and some people enjoy clenching or tapping the head of their dildo once it’s inside. The most important thing to remember when choosing a dildo is that it’s a tool for personal pleasure, so it should always be treated with respect. It’s also important to use lube with a dildo, especially during anal play because of the bacteria-filled crevice it goes into. Lube cuts down on friction, and it can also make for a more pleasurable experience because of the way it feels to touch a lubricated object.
Some dildos come with their own lubricant, and it’s a good idea to use that with a new dildo at first to get a feel for its texture and heft. But a good quality lube like silicone can also be purchased separately. “Masturbating with a new dildo before you try it anally is a great idea to get familiar with its heft and how it moves and reacts to your body,” says Finn.
There is some anxiety about dildos looking too much like penises in lesbian culture, but there is also an enthusiasm for the toy’s potential for both internal and clitoral pleasure. Pleasure-based, queer-inclusive sex educator Lateef Taylor argues that there are “so many options beyond just thrusting” for dildos—and some of them don’t necessarily even have to be inserted all the way in.
A dildo should not be inserted into the rectum, as it could potentially travel up to the sigmoid colon. That’s why some dildos have a flared end to prevent this. But other dildos, like the butt plug, don’t have this feature. The shape and size of dildos can vary, too, so it’s essential to check out the product descriptions before buying one.