It’s a strange time to get sexy. Some couples are quarantined together; others have been forced to stay apart. Regardless of your situation, those of you who are in a relationship may be wondering how to keep your sex life afloat in a time of so much uncertainty and fear.
For the horny and home-bound, public health guidelines recommend masturbation—“You are your safest sex partner,” an NYC Health brief advises. Science about the sexual transmissibility of COVID-19 is inconclusive thus far, with one small study reporting that the virus may exist in the semen of not only currently infected patients but also recovered ones.
It seems that, presumably if healthy, the people you live with are your only safe sexual partners. In any case, whether you’re alone or with a partner, sexually active or abstaining, you may find pleasure and solace in sex toys.
Sex toys aren’t a magic fix for staying connected and stress-free during this difficult time, but they can certainly help. As a professional sex toy reviewer for the past eight years, I really do think they can change lives and enrich relationships. So here are my suggestions for toys you can use with a partner, whether they’re within touching distance or temporarily out of reach.
If you live (or are quarantining) together
When you want a classic, capable vibrator, it’s hard to pass up the formidable Magic Wand. Despite its hefty size, it’s surprisingly versatile and can be enjoyed by folks with all sorts of bodies, whether they’re playing with a partner or on their own. If you’re intimidated by the wand’s legendarily jackhammer-like motor, don’t worry: Newer versions like the Magic Wand Rechargeable and Magic Wand Plus have some milder settings available, and you can always use the vibe through underwear or even pants if you need a buffer.
On the other end of the size spectrum, it never hurts to have a small vibrator around, such as the Fun Factory BeOne or We-Vibe Tango. You can use these little toys on clits, penises, labia, perineums, nipples and just about any other external erogenous zone you want to explore with your partner (or by yourself). You can also tuck one behind the dildo in your strap-on setup to give the wearer some extra stimulation while thrusting.
Speaking of strap-ons: When it comes to this type of sex, everyone seems to have their own opinions on which harnesses and dildos are best. As for me, I’ve been in love with my Aslan Leather Nicki Jaguar harness for years; the leather is deliciously soft and the long straps allow for extensive adjustability.
For a more affordable option (because handmade leather goods ain’t cheap!), I love RodeoH harnesses, which are as comfy and cute as your fave pair of underwear—whether you lean masc, femme or androgynous.
As for dildos to pair with your harness, anything that’s made of silicone and has a flared base is a good bet, but I’m particularly partial to beautiful cocks made by indie creators like New York Toy Collective, Uberrime and Funkit Toys. The latter sells body-safe dildos for as little as $16, which delights me, because you deserve great sex toys even if you’re on a budget!
A vibrating cock ring like the We-Vibe Pivot or Tenga SVR can amp up sensations for both partners, whether worn around the base of a flesh-and-blood dick or one that’s strapped-on. You can also slide your fingers through the ring instead, if you want to add a little vibration to your fingerbanging!
If you’re long-distance (or the lockdown has basically forced you to be)
App-controlled vibrators are hugely popular these days, and some of the best ones are made by Canadian brand We-Vibe. Their proprietary “We-Connect” app allows one partner to take charge of the other’s sex toy from anywhere they can access the internet: Just pair your Bluetooth-enabled sex toy with the app on your smartphone, text your partner an invite link, and they’ll be at the helm of your pleasure in no time.
These vibes come in many different shapes, suitable for a wide range of body types and preferences—try the Wish if you like clitoral stimulation, the Ditto butt plug if anal vibration is your jam, the Sync if you want simultaneous G-spot and clit sensations, or the Verge cock ring if your penis and perineum need some attention.
Engaging in a lot of Skype sex these days, or even those fabled Zoom orgies we keep hearing so much about? You might want to play up those exhibitionistic impulses with a gorgeous toy that gives your partner a window into your pleasure, like a see-through Fleshlight Ice stroker or a clear glass dildo. With a good enough lighting setup, you can make your performance look downright cinematic!
Suction-based toys, like nipple suckers, penis pumps and clit pumps, are useful if you’re missing the sensations of oral sex. These toys create a seal around sensitive areas, gently “sucking” more blood into them to make them engorged and even more sensitive. This not only feels good but can also help speed up the physical arousal process so you’ll be extra turned on for whatever comes next—and since stress inhibits sexual arousal, you might need all the help you can get during anxiety-provoking times like these. Along similar lines, “air pulse stimulators,” like those made by Satisfyer and Womanizer, intermingle vibration with gentle rhythmic suction to create an effect much like great oral.
Sadomasochistic desires are difficult to satisfy from a distance, but not impossible. A good pair of nipple clamps work wonders because, once affixed, they produce plenty of pain with minimal effort, so you can more easily imagine it’s your partner doling out the pain and not just you. When you’re on the phone (or another telecommunication avenue of your choice), one partner can also give the other instructions about when to tug on the clamps’ chain to produce a sudden spike of sensation. You don’t have to lose your kinky connection just because you’re apart!
Regardless of how your sex life is going (or not) right now, you’re still capable of pleasure and intimacy—and sex toys can help you achieve those goals, even during difficult times. Good luck with your sexplorations!