Toys That go Bump in the Night

Buzzzzz. Buzzzzzzz. Buzzzzzz. That’s what our daughter heard from passing kids as she walked down the hallway of her high school. Debby and I had gone away for a weekend. Teenagers were in our house—in our bedroom, in fact. They looked under the bed and found the stash of vibrating sex toys I store in an old ammunition case (seems appropriate right?).

The school kids thought it hilarious that we old folks had vibrating sex toys. Let’s look into why you might also find it hilarious and want some for yourself.

I don’t want to put too fine a point on it, but the gentle little vibrating sex toys are female orgasm magic. And they aren’t bad for men either. The vibrations create sensations unlike anything else, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.

 About half the men and women in America have used vibrators for sex.[1] But for some reason, people who regularly attend religious services are less likely to have felt the vibe.[2] I’m here to change that.

Vibrators have become so mainstream that Wal-Mart, common drug stores (such as Walgreens), and even some convenience stores (“I’ll have a super Slushie and an orgasm maker”) now sell vibrators. Sites like or sell every available sex toy. Trust me, you will be overwhelmed with options.

Allow me to guide you. Let’s start at the beginning and assume you have never used a sex toy. Let’s ignore butt plugs and dildos and all other implements of destruction for the moment and focus on vibrators.

Think about how you might use a vibrator. You won’t find an instruction manual in your vibrator package, so I’ll share some tips. Don’t start by shoving the vibrating piece of plastic into one of your body cavities. Start with external use, and have some lube handy.

Get comfortable running the device on your hands, feet, legs, and belly. If there are variable vibration settings, get a sense of how it feels on each of them. Take some time exploring the sensations it produces on the rest of your body before you move to your erotic zones.

See what you like and don’t like. Think about what your partner may enjoy. Here are some tips:

1.     Use the different surfaces of the vibrator. Each surface will provide a unique sensation.

2.     Vary the pressure. Try a light and gentle touch and then a firm one, pressing against the skin.

3.     Play with the different speed and pulsation settings.

Understand that vibrators can take you to orgasm quickly, which is why they are so popular. But what’s the fun in rushing to orgasm? Try using these little wonders to take you to the edge, but then back off. After you try that a few times, finish and you’ll find the orgasm is intense.

Now that you have an idea of how you’d use a vibrator, think about how to purchase one. You can search “vibrating sex toys” on Amazon and see lots of options. Or go to or and see many more. They ship in non-descript packaging and charge the credit card with a name that doesn’t scream sex toy. You could also go to a Babeland store and shop with cash in person.

Regardless of where you shop, here are some options to consider:

1.     Power Source: We’ve already begun by narrowing it down to a vibrator for external use. The next consideration is power source:

a.     Battery operated vibrators tend to be the lowest cost and least powerful vibrations. They tend to break. The more expensive ones seem to be better made and last longer.

b.     Plug-ins cost more and can be more powerful but have a wire that can get in the way during lovemaking.

c.     Rechargeable batteries tend to cost the most, but they have powerful batteries for a good buzz and no power cord to get in the way.

2.     Vibration options:

a.     A simple on or off option is sometimes nice.

b.     Varying the intensity of the vibration movement (from a gentle purr to a thumpity-thump) changes the experience.

c.     Varying the type of vibration from pulsating to escalating to all kinds of other patterns may also work for you.

3.     Noise: Some are quiet and some aren’t. If this matters to you (“Mommy, what’s that funny noise and why are you and Daddy wrestling?”), then have a listen prior to purchase.

4.     Material:

a.     Hard plastic (acrylic) materials are often used for external use. These are easy to clean and rarely cause allergic reactions.

b.     Soft plastics used for internal use sometimes cause allergic reactions. Silicon tends to be hypoallergenic, but it is expensive. Cheaper versions that claim to be made of silicon may not be.

c.     Avoid the potentially toxic phthalates (pronounced “tha-lates”), which are used to help to soften the toys. If it has a strong chemical smell and is clear and cheap, don’t use it. Items labeled “100% Silicon” are a better option.

d.     If you are sensitive to multiple chemicals, you may struggle to find a material that doesn’t cause a reaction. You may want to use a condom on the toy. If you have a latex allergy, use a non-latex condom.

In the end, just buy something and give it a whirl. See what you and your partner think. By the way, another added bonus:  the vibrator can reduce your workload.

If you like your vibrator and decide to try some other sex toys, here’s a list to help you with terminology and functions.

1.     Dildo: a phallic shaped sex toy with no motors or moving parts. They are made of soft or hard plastic, glass, metal, wood, or organic material (think banana). Dildos come in all shapes and sizes. The Bible describes the use of a dildo, which means it was common enough for readers of that day to recognize.[3] Dildos get used for vaginal or anal penetration, either in masturbation or by a partner in love making. I’m guessing you knew that...

2.     Penis ring: a flexible plastic, rubber, or leather device that encircles the penis (and possibly the scrotum) to restrict penis blood flow and keep harder and longer erections. The restrictive pressure can be pleasurable for the man. A vibrating feature can be added to stimulate the clitoris. Note to men: don’t wear it too long or your penis may fall off. You think I’m kidding...

3.     Anal beads: a string of plastic spheres that can be pushed up the anus (with lots of lube), then pulled out slowly to stimulate the sphincter muscles. I hear if you can get the timing right, pulling these out at orgasm is wonderful good. But don’t lose them up there. If you do, don’t tell the person in the ER you sat on them by mistake. Learn to own your idiocy.

4.     Penis Sleeve: a cylindrical sheath that the penis slides into for masturbation. Think faux vagina. The Fleshlight series of penis sleeves are probably the best selling sex toy line. On the other hand, you could save $85 and cut the end off of a banana, squeeze the banana out, fill it with hot water, and have at it.

5.     Butt Plug: an anal dildo designed to stay in place during sex. They come in a variety of shapes but generally have a wider handle on the end to keep it from going all the way in. The glass and stainless steel models can be heated or cooled because who doesn’t want a cold, steel cylinder shoved up their butt?

6.     Pumps: a toy used to create a negative pressure (think vacuum) on nipples, the clitoris, or the penis. The pressure causes blood to flow to the area, enlarging the erectile tissue and increasing sensitivity. Products range from inexpensive plastic pumps to high tech ones with gauges. It’s a two-part toy: a suction device against the skin and a pump to create pressure. The suction device can be removed after a short time or kept on during love making. Some pumps are removable. I remember when we were first married Debby chased me around our room naked with the vacuum cleaner hose. Watching my penis disappear into that hose was a terrifying moment for me...Debby couldn’t stop laughing.

Let’s not limit our thinking about sex toys to the kind you can buy from the naughty store. You can also build your own. My favorite is double shower heads.

Taking a shower together brings up the age old struggle, “Who’s going to be warm and comfy under the gentle spray and who’s going to be cold?” A double shower head takes that question off the table but introduces some delightful new ones, especially if the one shower head is handheld with a 5’ hose.

This type of shower is a good place to learn a few things about what feels good for your spouse. If you begin by washing each other and kissing with all the water spray, it can get quite erotic. Rather than finishing in your normal way, consider using the hand held shower to finish yourself while your spouse sits down and watches. It may make you a bit uncomfortable to masturbate in front of your partner, but it can be a freeing experience. Watching your partner masturbate should teach you a few things about what feels best for him or her.

You could also build a stripper pole, rings, or high hand holds to hang from. Other ideas are to build a hammock, a trapeze, or whatever else your crooked little heart desires. has a list of inspirational movie scenes and some how-to instructions.

That should be all you ever wanted to know about sex toys and more. Perhaps you’re now inspired to give a new toy a try. 

[1] Two new national surveys from Indiana University recently published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, NYT 6/26/09

[2] Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Sanders, S.A., et. al. "Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Women in the United States: Results from a Nationally Representative Study," in Journal of Sexual Medicine Early View, June 2009.

[3] Ezekiel 16:17.