VIDEO: Learn All About Sex Toys with Archie Bongiovanni

It seems like only yesterday that Archie led the Queer Sex 101: All About Sex Toys workshop and taught us all about Thank you so much to everyone who came to the live facilitation of this educational workshop led by Archie! If you missed it, you can still watch the recording right below and refer to the provided transcript:

As a special offering for Autostraddle readers in connection with this workshop, local indie sex toy retailer Smitten Kitten is offering 20% off your entire purcahse with code QUEERSEX101 til May 6!

powered by Crowdcast

Learn All About the Basics of Sex Toys!

RACHEL: Hi, everyone! Good evening. It’s really great to have you here. And I really appreciate everyone who has shown up for the second edition of our new live video series. Where real queer people teach you about the sort of nuts and bolts of real queer sex! Tonight we will be working with Archie Bongiovanni, who I am honored to call a personal friend. Archie is so knowledgeable and also so kind and approachable. They have the experience of working at our own indie sex shop in Minneapolis, Smitten Kitten. I almost always say Smitten Kitchen, like the food blog. It’s not that. It’s Smitten Kitten. And I’m really excited that they’re able to share all of the expertise, knowledge, and context they have about both the actual kind of products involved in queer sex toys, and also the kind of context about how we as queer people can actually use them in our lives.

Archie you might know already as the author of Grease Bats, both the Autostraddle comic and the real live physical book that has been published with the same title. They’ve also published books like the quick and easy guide to using they/them pronouns, and you may have seen their books published all over the internet. They’re here to bring that voice and sense of approachability as well as their knowledge about everything related to queer sex toys, to give a primer and also to answer some of the questions that y’all have sent in ahead of time. And thank you to everyone who is attending this workshop live for being an A+ member. Everything about these workshops, from the planning and paying the presenters and captioners is funded entirely by A+ money and we’re so excited that your support is able to make possible things like this, that are enjoyed by the entire community. Thanks so much. I’ll be here in the chat all night, along with our A+ and fundraising director Nicole and our live captioner, Mirabai, to answer any questions and to support Archie as they present. I’m super excited to hear what they have to say. I’m sure you are too. Archie, let’s go ahead!

ARCHIE: Sweet. All right. Hi, everyone! I’m Archie. I use they/them pronouns. Really excited to be here with y’all tonight. It is storming here in Minneapolis. So if my internet is lagging or I get cut off… It’s the thunderstorm’s fault. And I think just… Have a little bit of grace. Which I think everyone has at this point with virtual events. I want to start with a little bit of a brief overview of how I’m going to be kind of pacing the next hour. I’m gonna start by talking about — when someone comes to me, seeking a new sex toy, whether it be their first or their 50th, I like to kind of ask a couple different questions, or there’s things to kind of consider overall. And then I’m gonna talk about… Cleaning, lube, what kind of sex toys there are out there. A whole bunch!

Here’s Your Queer Sex Toy Overview

So a little overview of the different types. And then we’re gonna do Q and A. By all means, ask a question whenever it comes up. In that little ask a question box. Maybe not the chat. Because I’ll lose it. And we also have some links to some of the items that we will be talking about. So if you see something, you can click it now. Save it for later. These are the things that I will be pointing out — are things that I really recommend. And I will answer the questions at the end. Oh, hi! Yeah. Oh, what I also really wanted to point out is that I do work at Smitten Kitten, which is a really, really inclusive, really rad sex toy shop in Minneapolis. But they ship worldwide.

And they really wanted to pass along a discount code for y’all. So queersex101, for 20% off. And that’s good until May 6th. And that’s 20% off your whole purchase. So you can kind of stock up, if you want. But… So you come in. And you’re like… I… I don’t know anything about sex toys. Where do I start? One of the things that I like to kind of have someone think about… One, when you get a sex toy, what price range feels comfortable for you? Sex toys, I think, as we know, especially if you’ve browsed those websites, any online shop, you know that they range from $10 to $150. Having a more expensive toy doesn’t necessarily make a toy better. And having a $20, $30, $50 toy can be, like, your perfect item. So I really like to work within whatever kind of feels comfortable. With someone’s budget. Because I think we can… I think there’s quality toys in every budget.

Material

The second thing you always need to kind of consider when you’re looking at sex toys is the material. Sex toys are not, like, the sex toy business… The industry… Is not well regulated. It’s kind of like the Wild West. Something can be mislabeled. If you go on Amazon, there’s a good chance you might get a counterfeit product. So what you’re really looking for is things that are hypoallergenic and not porous. Especially if it’s gonna be something that you put inside your body. Any sort of, like, jelly toy or toy that isn’t, like, medical or food grade material… Can harbor bacteria. Viruses. And can cause infections.

Sometimes when I work in the shop, people will be like — oh, this toy, it always irritates me. And we ask… Where did you get it? And it wasn’t from us. Smitten Kitten. We find that it’s like a jelly material. So that’s something to be kind of mindful of. But also… What I like to recommend is just like… Shop at one of the many sex shops that are out there that kind of do the work on their side to kind of make sure that they’re providing quality, safe toys. And they usually will talk about that in their messaging. And in their about page. That way you don’t have to be a scientist. You can let other people get paid to do that work. And you can just enjoy shopping.

Materials that are, like, totally safe are going to be silicone, glass, surgical steel, sealed ceramics, and medical grade plastics. I have some examples of some of those that we’ll get to later. Another thing to kind of think about, when you’re looking at a sex toy for the first time is if it’s a vibrating sex toy, is it gonna be battery operated or rechargeable? Rechargeable toys… Can sometimes last longer, or they often have a warranty, which is something else you might want to kind of think about. They often have a warranty that’s a little bit longer. However, battery toys are really easy for travel. Can also be just as convenient. And then there are a few toys that are directly plugged into the wall.

Those are not waterproof. So that’s kind of something that is not great about them. However… They’re always gonna be at 100% power. Which is kind of nice for also… Battery operated toys. Is that if your toy dies, you can just switch those batteries and keep going. If it’s a rechargeable toy, you have to kind of wait. So there’s pros and cons to any of them. But something to kind of think about. The other thing I like to talk to people about when it comes to getting their first sex toy is how it fits in your hand, and how the buttons look. And this isn’t something that I think people automatically kind of think about or look for. But it’s gonna be something that you’re gonna hold onto for five minutes, 50 minutes, et cetera. You want to make sure that it fits comfortably in your palm.

And that it doesn’t hurt your wrist. And that perhaps… Where are the buttons located? Is it gonna be annoying to kind of find those buttons? Is it a single button? Can I not tell which button turns it on or off? And then… You know. Midway. You turn it off by accident. That can always… That’s a bummer. So that’s something to kind of think about too. Yeah. So those are what I usually ask people to kind of think, when they first come into the shop. The second thing I kind of want to cover for this sex toy 101 is cleaning your toys. It’s something that is usually included in any box. But it’s always nice to kind of get another primer.

So silicone — silicone tends to be kind of soft. It can be a little harder. But it’s usually pretty soft. A little bit of flexibility. All you need is body friendly soap and hot water. You can also… If it is not one… Say, a dildo, if it doesn’t have a vibrating component, you can also put it on the top rack of your dishwasher. I don’t know a lot of people who do it. But it’s an option. Any silicone dildo or anal toy without vibrating components can also be boiled. For 3 to 5 minutes.

And that will also sanitize them. Plastic… ABS plastic… Is a safe plastic for sex toys. That’s, again, body friendly soap and hot water. It’s not porous. You can also always have a bleach solution. To kind of quickly wipe down toys as well. I don’t know if it’s fully necessary. I don’t really think it is. Body friendly soap and hot water is like the best. It’s like your best friend. Don’t complicate it. Is my own opinion. Glass… Don’t boil glass. You’re just gonna want to use soap and hot water for that as well. Steel, also soap and water. You can also steam steel toys. If you want to sanitize it. But then they get really hot. So be careful. And then elastomer… Which is kind of what a lot of strokers are made out of… So it’s not quite silicone… Pretty stretchy. These are… Sex toys made of this item aren’t meant for sharing. Because they are porous. So it’s kind of like a solo toy.

That you can just kind of flush out with hot water. Soap will kind of start to degrade it. So that’s something to know too. Yeah. Okay. My next topic is lube. Smitten Kitten really prides itself on being a lube… A shop full of lube nerds. I think that lube is almost necessary for any sort of play. It can enhance sensation. It can add, like, a protective barrier between toys or skin. It can also rehydrate skin. And your genitals are part of your body. They need hydration as well. So lube, however, is similar to the sex toy industry. Where it’s not well regulated. And there’s a lot of lube out there with ingredients that can cause harm or irritation. And also, bodies are super, super unique. And so there isn’t, like, a one fits all lube.

Everyone Needs Lube

I get asked pretty often like: What’s the best lube? What’s the best lube for a body? And it’s gonna vary from person to person. Since everyone has different things that maybe they’re sensitive to, different pH levels in a vulva, and just a lot of different things to kind of consider. Smitten Kitten does have lube sample packs. So that’s something to kind of think about. If you really want to invest some time to find your lube. That’s a nice way to get a bunch of little lubes, to kind of try them out.

Doo-doo… Water-based lube is the most common lube that’s out there. It’s also… Tends to be the most affordable. So that’s really nice. The other thing that’s really nice about water-based lube is that it’s compatible with everything. It’s compatible with barriers, with all the toys, and so it is really nice to just have a lube that you don’t really have to think… Does this work with this toy? Does this work with this barrier method? However… When you’re using water-based lube, you’re absorbing all the ingredients. And they do tend to have the longest ingredient list. And they can… It can change the pH level of a vulva. And when that gets kind of skewed one way or another, that can cause irritation. But it can also cause BV, and it can kind of just be like… Uncomfortable. So… When you go to a grocery store, or, like, wherever people buy lube randomly, like a convenience store, they often have KY.

Which… Not all KY is what I would consider body safe. A lot of them have glycerin, which is sugar, which can cause a lot of yeast. And other kind of ingredients that I wouldn’t want in my body. That would possibly irritate. So I think lube is something to be a little picky about. Especially water-based lube. Silicone lube… Is nice. Because the molecules are too big to get absorbed into your body. So you’re not absorbing those ingredients. It’s literally just gonna stay on your body until it, like, dissipates. Until it’s gone. So you’re not absorbing it. Which means you’re not taking in any ingredients.

But you’re also not changing the pH level. So that’s not gonna cause any irritation. Silicone lube is often what I recommend for folks who are experiencing a lot of irritation with the lube. Like, they’re just not finding a water-based lube that works for them. I often recommend switching to silicone. Silicone lube — the bummer about that is that it’s not compatible with silicone toys. Something to note with that is that… When people say it’s not compatible with silicone toys, it’s not gonna melt your toy. It’s not gonna destroy your toy or make it break down in your body. The molecules bond. The silicone molecules bond together. And so it can sort of change the way that your toy looks, or, like, a little bit about how it feels. Almost like pilling on a sweater, or a slight… A very slight ridge where the silicone is.

So if you do end up using silicone on silicone, it’s not the end of the world. You didn’t destroy your toy. It may just look a little bit different. So for folks who have a lot of sensitivity, I often recommend, like, it might not keep your toy looking super pristine forever, but… It might outweigh… That might outweigh being able to have sex without irritation. So… That’s kind of silicone. Hybrid lube is also out there. That is part silicone, part water-based. That’s pretty cool, because it is compatible with silicone toys. And some folks find that hybrid lube lasts a little bit longer than water-based lube. Because water-based is getting absorbed. However, it’s not quite as hypoallergenic as just silicone. And then there’s also oil-based lube.

Oil-based lube is super, super hydrating. It’s really great for dryness or folks who have, like, any sort of irritation. For folks who are on antidepressants, or have any sort of hormonal changes, whether it be like menopause or… HRT, or chemo, et cetera, hydration becomes really, really important. On a vulva. On genitals. And so that’s where I think oil-based really shines. Is kind of like… It’s like lotion, basically. But also, it’s a great lube. It’s nice and slippery. It’s rehydrating your skin.

If you have chronic recurring yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis, or UTIs, that’s when oil-based lube might not be the most compatible with your body. It is often kind of thick. Or it kind of takes a little bit longer to kind of clear out of your bod. And that’s where some folks can find irritation. But some folks won’t. So it’s a little bit kind of… Trying it out. If you’re at all interested. For folks who do have a lot of dryness, I often recommend… You can combine… There’s no reason you can’t combine lube. So I often recommend silicone and oil-based lube. So you get that hydrating with oil. Because silicone doesn’t hydrate. But you get the slipperiness that comes with silicone. One thing to note about oil-based lubes is that it’s not safe with latex or polyisoprene. So dental dams or condoms, those are something to be of note. It is safe with polyurethane condoms. Always double check. Just double check before you use it. Okay. Now is the fun part. That was… I feel like a lot of business-y stuff. Now I want to talk about… Just like the different types of toys that are out there.

Let’s Talk About the Types of Queer Sex Toys

Vibrators

I’m gonna start with vibrators. Vibrators are fun. They can be internal, they can be external, and they can go with any bod. There’s no right or wrong way to use a vibrator. And while, like I said, the sex toy industry can kind of suck, can be a very gendered industry, but the toys themselves often can be played all over your body. And I always like to recommend folks to like… See where vibration can feel good for you. It doesn’t have to be right on the genitals. It can be fun all over. So some of the beginner vibes that I have today… There are bullet vibes. So this is the FemmeFunn Ffix Bullet. This is a battery operated bullet.

It’s super great for beginners, because it’s not very expensive. So that’s something to note. Is like… You might not… If you’re buying your first toy, you might not want to start with, like, a $50, $80 toy. You might want to start with like a $20, $30 toy, and then it’s gonna get you closer to knowing what you do and you don’t like. Oftentimes battery operated toys end up feeling a little buzzy. Which isn’t bad. But that’s kind of like how I like to describe to others… Especially if you’re not in the same room and you can’t feel the toys… Different types of vibrations. There’s buzzy vibrations. And then there’s thuddy vibrations. Sometimes I think of it as… You can kind of imagine from a sound frequency… If a buzzy is something like a fly buzzing around… So it’s a little kind of like a higher kind of sensation. And then a thuddy kind of… Vibrator is gonna have sort of a deeper — almost like a rumble.

So this FemmeFunn bullet is nice. Because it’s just like… Nice, easy bullet. And then there are also beginner toys that are gonna be better for internal sensation. While you absolutely can use a bullet toy vaginally, often it’s just kind of like… A little bit straight. And if you’re using an internal toy, I like to recommend just a little bit of a curve. To kind of hit that spot. So this is another super popular toy at Smitten Kitten, called a Hue G. It’s a nice single button battery operated toy. What’s nice about this one, compared to this one, to think about, again, this is gonna be really easy to kind of hide in your bedroom, to pack.

To kind of put in a place where maybe people won’t find it. This one… A little more obvious. This… When you think about, again, kind of the buttons and the handle, to put it on your bod, your hand kind of has to be a little bit closer to your genitals. Anything with a wand kind of shape or reach is nice, because you can kind of have your hand be a little further up. So that’s something — if you have like arthritis or a lot of wrist pain, something to be considerate about.

And those can get pretty long too. This is the Satisfyer Petting Hippo. This is a $50 toy. Satisfyer has a line of vibrators that are really awesome for $50. They can be internal, external. I know. The Petting Hippo actually has a face of a hippo. Um… Pretty playful. It’s nice because it’s $50, rechargeable, so it’s gonna have a little bit of a thuddier kind of vibe. Can you hear this? I don’t know if you can hear it.

(very faint buzzing)

I also don’t know where my speakers are. There’s some water. Because I washed these before. Versus… Let’s see if I can get a buzzy toy on

(higher pitched buzzing)

So if you can hear it, awesome. If you can’t, sorry I wasted your time. To show a little bit of… You can sometimes hear the difference. Rechargeable toys can at times be a little bit quieter than battery operated toys too. So if you’re trying to be a little bit stealth, you have roommates, you have family that you live with, noise is something else you want to be kind of thoughtful about. This petting hippo has, again, that super long reach, which is really awesome. It has a lot of flexibility. So you can kind of play with the pressure. You can also use it internally. It’s got a g-spot curve. It’s also kind of fun to see what you could perhaps do with this kind of shape and how you can kind of put it on a body. In different ways.

The next kind of vibrator that I want to talk about are rabbit vibrators. These are often when people hear the word “vibrator”, they often picture a rabbit vibrator. And they kind of look like this. Rabbit vibrators have an internal piece for g-spot or p-spot, and then outside kind of stimulation. They can be a little bit tricky. If you’re buying your first toy. Because essentially you’re trying to find… You’re trying to hit two things at once. You’re trying to hit your internal sensation of where that might feel good. Plus where it’s gonna feel good on the outside of your body. And since every body is different, the girth, the length, the curve versus how this hits on your body — you’re essentially kind of shopping for two toys at once. It’s not to say you can’t do it. It’s just something to kind of think about. Before spending… A bunch of money on a toy that you’re like… Oh, I like the outside but not the inside. So… Rabbits can be pretty tricky.

But they can also be, like, a lot of fun. Next… Wands. So wands are usually… There’s the Hitachi Magic Wand. Is… The best… I don’t know. The best known wand, I would say. However, they do make smaller wands. This is called the Palm Power. As well. The Magic Wand, there’s three different ones out there right now, that Hitachi makes. Some are rechargeable. And some plug into the wall. And wands are known for having bulbous heads. So heads that are a little bit large.

The Hitachi Magic Wand doesn’t just hit one part of your body. It really is like a spread-out strong sensation. And that’s what wands are known for. Is being super, super strong. They’re usually really rumbly. And they can also be for… Like I said, all bods love wands. The Hitachi Magic Wands — they’re quite large. You know, they’re very easy to hold onto. However, again, if you have wrist pain, that might not be your friend. So something lighter, like a Palm Power, could be awesome.

This is sort of like a little travel wand. Called the Noje. Again, it’s got that head that’s like a little bit flexible. Wands are fun, because they often have attachments that can be put on to create internal attachments, the heads come on and off, or this little wand can come with other attachments, which is just like… Super fun to kind of explore that sensation. All over your body. So this could be on a clitoris. A nipple. This one could be super fun kind of cupping, again, the clitoris, or… Playing with how it feels against a penis. That’s kind of… What is so fun about toys. Is just how versatile they could be.

So yeah. That’s the Noje wand. So if you’re like… Ooh, I want something that’s kind of rumbly, kind of strong, that’s a great wand. Because it’s $50, $60, rechargeable, small enough to kind of pack and hideaway. And isn’t… It’s not gonna break the bank. As far as toys being versatile, this is called the Volta. So this is a little bit more of an expensive toy. But when you turn it on, these kind of flick together. So that can be super fun on a clitoris, but it can also be great on a penis as well. You can kind of lay your body on it as well.

So I like to always point out that this toy exists. Just to kind of show that… They’re constantly — this came out like two years ago — toys are constantly evolving. And if you’re like… I don’t think that there’s a toy that I really want for a specific thing… It might pop up someday. So… This is a really great couples toy as well.

Air Pressure Toys

Then there’s air pressure toys. And those are also pretty new on the market. But have become really well known, because they don’t feel like anything else out there. They’re not gonna feel like another kind of vibrator.

So… This is the Satisfyer. Satisfyer is awesome. They tend to be fairly loud. Air pressure toys are not quiet. But what they do is you kind of put a clitoris like right here… And they cause bursts of air pressure. And it almost sort of can feel a little bit like a suction. But… That’s not what’s happening. It’s not actually, like, sucking your body. It’s like a small burst of air pressure. Repeated. And that’s kind of how these toys make the feeling that they’re creating.

Super, super fun. I like Satisfyer, especially if you’re like… I’m curious about it, but I don’t know if I want to commit to it. Satisfyer tends to have a lot of pretty affordable brands on there. In their line.

Anal Toys

Okay. I’m gonna keep going. We’re gonna move to anal toys. And I just also want to reiterate, if you do have questions, I know I’m talking really fast. There’s just a lot of information. But if you do have questions, plop it in the “ask a question” box. So for anal toys, super fun. Again… All genders love ’em. There is a nice basic anal plug. This one is called petite sensations. They have a great line of beginner plugs. They all have this kind of battery operated bullet as a part of it.

So you can play with vibration if you want. The thing that makes anal toys sometimes a little bit different than any other vibrator is that they always have to have a base. Like, a flared base. So this is not an anal-safe toy. But this toy — it is. There’s something to kind of stop it from just getting like… Sucked up in there. So if you’re buying… If you’re curious about like… Oh, I want to buy my first anal toy… Some things to kind of think about and look for… Is the tip. Any sort of flared tip like this is really great for easing into your anal sphincters. And then how this base kind of sits… Is this is how your anal sphincters are gonna kind of close around that. Which can be very satisfying. Especially if you’re moving, if you’re doing other things during sex. That base… This kind of closed base is pretty great.

Yeah. Most of those are kind of made of… So many materials. But that’s kind of like a nice basic plug. Next you have anal beads. They kind of look like this. This is by Vixen Gem stones. Vixen Creations makes these gem stones of various sizes. I think anal beads scare a lot of people, because they look just like a little unwieldy. But they actually are really fun. It is a small burst of a sensation. And then again, your sphincters close around this, and then it’s gonna be another burst of sensation again. You can stop at any point. But these kind of build up in the body. When you’re turned on, there’s a lot of blood going to that whole region. And that means there’s more ways to get stimulated.

So beads are really fun. And I don’t know if there has been an anal class yet. But I’m sure that if not… That there will be one. That Autostraddle will put on. So I won’t go too much in depth with it. The last toy I want to talk about is for anal — a prostate toy. Prostate toys have — unlike just a regular plug — they often have a little bit of a curve to it. And they tend to be made of harder material. So steel, glass, or this is ABS plastic.

This is the Aneros brand toy. Aneros is like… Mwah. They’re so good at prostate toys. They know exactly what they’re doing. And if you’re curious about them, I do recommend them. Aneros brands are also kind of… They have these nice ridges down here, where, again, you can kind of squeeze. And it is sort of meant for almost solo play. So you can kind of contract your sphincters, and that can stimulate your prostate just from the rocking motion that it creates.

Penis Toys

Yeah. Next I’m gonna just talk also about penis toys. So again… All of the vibrators I mentioned… Penis safe. Penis fun. But there are cock rings. They’re super great, especially if you have vibration. They can be fun for everybody involved. They can go in front of the testicles, behind the testicles, or this is called the O-hare. It does both. And you can have some teasing ticklers as well. Cock rings are safe. They slow the blood down from leaving the shaft of the penis. That can feel really pleasurable. The next toys I want to talk about are strokers for penises. So these are two strokers.

This one is the Sexy Pills. I think it’s called Blue Valentine stroker. These are elastomer. They are meant for solo play. Or… Partner play, but not… These aren’t supposed to be shared with someone else. So kind of like… One of these per body. They have a lot of texture on the inside. That can be really fun. And like I said, they come in a bunch of different shapes. And designs. I think they’re fun. And I also want to talk about HotOctopuss. Which is a brand. It’s one word with two S-s. HotOctopuss. They have a whole line of toys out there for penises that are real fun. They’re basically penis vibrators, specifically for penises that aren’t erect. You don’t need an erect penis to play with any of these. This is the Pocket Pulse. It’s the most affordable of the ones they have, but also the buzziest. So that’s kind of something — the other ones they have are pretty thuddy. But you can put an erect or not erect penis in there, and it can vibrate and it sort of has this little pulsating bit right here that kind of pulses. And vibrates. So those are really fun as well.

Dildos & Harnesses

Next I’m gonna talk a little bit about dildos. And harnesses.

It is starting to rain really hard here. So you might kind of hear some rain on the window. And I’m sorry if it ends up being kind of loud. Okay. So there will be a strap-on class. So I’m not gonna go too far in depth for dildos and harnesses. But besides girth and length, you kind of also want to think about texture, when you’re looking for a dildo. Some are a little bit harder silicone. These harder toys can be really nice, because they’re great at hitting p-spots or g-spots. They kind of keep their shape in your body. Other softer toys — these can be made of, like, dual density, if you want something really soft. That’s the keyword to look for. Is dual density silicone.

Super squishy. Super soft. These have a little bit more flexibility. And they kind of squish inside your body. And that can feel really nice as well. But they don’t hold their shape the same way that a harder silicone can. So… Something to kind of think about. For any sort of anal dildo, you’re gonna want something that’s smooth. So girth, length aside… You want something that’s gonna be smooth, without a lot of texture on top of it. Dildo bases vary. Most are harness compatible. And some also have vibrating capabilities. A lot of people ask how they can feel the vibration or giving vibration to a partner while wearing a dildo. Get one that has a spot for a bullet vibe, and then get a strong rechargeable bullet. Not a battery operated one.

And you’re gonna be able to feel it a lot more through the density of that silicone. Double ended dildos exist as well, that are worn internally and externally. Or for penetration externally. These are a little bit tricky. Because you are again… It’s sort of like a rabbit toy. Buying something that’s trying to please two people at once. They are sometimes called harnessless dildos. I recommend assuming that you’re gonna want to use it with a harness. Just for that stability. It takes a lot of your kegel muscles to hold onto, while other muscles are kind of contracting on the other side. One other thing I want to note, when we’re talking about dildos or any sort of penetration… There are things called Ohnuts. So this is an Ohnut. It is stackable. It’s not a cock ring. It’s very light, very stretchy.

But if your partner or someone doesn’t want a lot of depth, you can use and stack these on a penis or a dildo, and it kind of acts like a little barrier to prevent it going too deep. Depending on what you’re interested in. A super, super squishy cock ring can also do that. However, a cock ring is gonna act like a cock ring. And you don’t always want that. So that’s the Ohnut. When you are shopping for harnesses, again, there’s gonna be a future strap-on class. So I don’t want to go too deep. But I will say: Sportsheets has a really, really nice affordable line of harnesses. If you want a beginner harness and don’t want to spend a lot of money, they’re awesome. They fit a lot of bodies, which is great too.

They are made often with nylon straps. Those nylon straps can kind of stretch with use. Or kind of like… Slide. So they’re not always the most stable. But they are affordable. Leather or pleather harnesses… Those are gonna be the most stable. But they’re also gonna be the most expensive. Underwear style harnesses… So sort of like RodeoHs I think are the most well known brand. Those are great, because you slip them on. You can usually, if you search around, you can find some in a lot of different styles, which can be great too. So it can kind of match your personality.

They do have a tendency to kind of stretch with time. And… If you are trying to, like, have a harness that you share with a partner, underwear styles are the least likely that two people are gonna fit one pair. While leather and sort of like… Nylon harness can fit a lot of bods. So… That’s that. I’m gonna answer some questions right now. So… I know there’s a few… Yes. So I know that there’s a few in the comments. And there’s a few that we previously asked. But I’m gonna start with the one that’s in the comments. Just because it’s about harnesses. Any ideas for truly plus size harnesses for strap-ons or other ideas for two fatter people with vulvas having sex that aren’t double ended dildos? Scissoring toys have not worked so far. Yes. So for truly… So plus size harnesses. They’re out there.

They can be kind of like… Tough to find. I think… It depends a little bit on the style that you want. If you’re interested in a leather harness, if you can afford it, I would go to a place that you’re like… I like this leather harness. I like the way that this looks. A lot of leather shops offer customization. So you can really customize it to your waist, to your hips. Sportsheets… Not Sportsheets. Spare Parts. If you want an underwear-style harness, they’re great. They go up to XXXXX. Which of course — it’s sizing. And I don’t remember what exact inch number it is.

But Spare Parts is really nice if you want an underwear-style harness. And they tend to be a little bit nicer quality than RodeoH, and they’re gonna last longer than RodeoH harnesses as well. So those are my… Harness questions. If you want an affordable one, Spare Parts does make… Sorry, not Spare Parts. It’s because they both start with S. Sportsheets makes very affordable plus sized harnesses. But they’re gonna slip. So… That’s kind of like… The bummer. And so the other thing you want to think about when you’re going harness shopping is that any toy — it’s gonna lose a little bit of length.

Once it’s in the O-ring. And just kind of how bodies, butts, bellies (audio drop)

ARCHIE: Thing to think about… Sorry. Ha-ha. That’s something to think about. With not only how long it is, but also… Oh, audio is back? I’m sorry if I disappeared. Am I okay to go? Can someone tell me in the chat? I’m here? I cut out for a minute? Oh, no! I don’t know how long I was cut out. MIRABAI: Check the transcript! Ha-ha.

Your Queer Sex Toy Questions, Answered!

ARCHIE: So I’m gonna roll with it. I’m answering the question… Toys for disabled overweight folks who might find reach difficult. I was saying again — longer handles. I like this Petting Hippo, because of its length. Something you might want to think about also is how it’s gonna hold in your hand. So I like the Petting Hippo, because it’s very light. The Hitachi Magic Wand also has a long reach. But it’s really heavy. So for disabled folk or other folks with any sort of wrist problems, that might not be a viable solution. The Le Wand Petite also has a strength of a wand, but is a little bit lighter. You can get a wand attachment. Um… Oh. I cut out for a minute or so. I was talking about the O ring.

I’m just gonna keep going. Sorry! Yeah. Oh, the Le Wand Petite. Nice for that reach. But a little bit lighter. And… Has some attachments, so if you wanted internal play, it has that length with that… An internal attachment. Tantus also has a few toys with handles. These are nice for partner play. They’re not quite — the handles aren’t quite the curve for solo play. But they’re nice to hold onto for partner play. The G Force is possibly one that could be nice, because it has a little bit of a curve. By Tantus. Double ended dildos — especially ones that don’t have a lot of flexibility, like the Sharevibe, those can be kind of nice, because you can use the part — the smaller part that usually is internal for the wearer — you can kind of use that as almost like a handle for solo penetration.

Steel anal hooks can also be used vaginally or anally, if reach is something that is difficult. Because they have that long reach and a hook, and that can kind of go right into a g-spot or a p-spot, and stimulate that way. And then a palm harness is a good idea for folks who perhaps have any sort of problems with grip. Because you can kind of hold a harness into that. And I am happy to answer more specific questions. About different toy recommendations if folks have them. About disability.

So… Any suggestions for a wand-style toy that’s less intense than the Magic Wand? Yes. So I honestly think this toy is super fun. So… It is smaller. However, it comes with five variables of speed. So it does have, like, a nice low rumble. But still that kind of wand capability. Also, if you have the original Hitachi, I might suggest upgrading to the Hitachi Plus, which is their newer version. It’s still a plug-in version, but it has four speeds instead of just their two.

Let’s see. Is there a double dildo that works really well with a particular harness? So any double ended dildo is going to work with a harness as long as you can either… If it’s fabric — and most do this. The fabric can move to the side — or it’s just like an open o-ring… It will not work… Double ended toys — they’re not gonna work if there’s a flat piece of leather and the o-ring sits on that, because you won’t be able to use the internal part. Oh, this is the Noje. N-O-J-E. That one.

So… Some questions that people had sent in, that I will answer. Advice, tips for wearing a strap-on while having my clit stimulated. What toys are best designed for this? So again, getting a strong vibrator that goes in a dildo is going to kind of provide you pleasure if you’re wearing it, but also pleasure for whoever is being penetrated. But also maybe perhaps the We-Vibe Unite. Which kind of sits in the body. And then there are harnesses that also allow for a bullet vibrator to kind of sit in the harness. I find all of these to be… Just not as great as me holding a toy to my body. During penetration.

Things can kind of get shifted and moved. And if you just use a toy directly, it can be annoying. But you’ll have more kind of control. Another person asked: What is the safest and most effective lube? We kind of talked a little bit about that. But if you really want something that isn’t gonna interact with your body, whatsoever, go with silicone. Is my recommendation. Someone asked… I like this question. Do I buy a strap-on if I want to use it with a future unknown partner? Or is it weird to have one lying around?

Oh, yep, yep. Check the chat for another great question. Or another great suggestion. Is it weird to have one lying around? I say… Not weird to be stocked up. Just get it! Get one for you! Another question that came in earlier: I cannot find my p-spot. I read articles, experimented, and it’s just meh for me. I sometimes like having a vibe in there. But that’s it. I feel like I’m missing out. Okay. The p-spot can be super elusive. If you’re able, I do recommend trying to find it yourself first. With your own hand. Not a thing that everyone can do.

But I do recommend trying it. It’s usually a couple knuckles in. Curled towards your belly. The more turned on you are, the more likely that you’ll feel it. And the more likely it’ll be like a little enlarged with arousal. You can also try, again, a toy that is perhaps a little bit harder material, that has that kind of curve to it, to kind of stimulate and feel it. You can also stimulate the prostate externally, through the perineum. So getting and trying a strong vibrator, like the Magic Wand, you could perhaps stimulate your prostate from the outside of your body. So that could be something to kind of play with as well. And also… It might just not be for you. That’s okay too. Not everyone can find their prostate. Not everyone enjoys prostate play. So… It’s just… Everyone is different. Okay.

Another question. And again, if you have some, go ahead and ask. Or if you’re like… I really want you to answer my question that I sent in anonymously, so I’m gonna send it in again — go ahead. After using my Hitachi, I constantly get infections. I’ve talked to my doctor and it seems that the friction of the toy breaks my skin up in a way that leads to vaginal infections. But I like powerful sensation. Are there alternatives? So it does sound very uncomfortable. It sounds like there’s definitely some… Fissures. Some microfissures happening. I would make sure that you’re always using lube. Especially maybe a nice thick lube. I really like Sutil Rich. S-U-T-I-L Rich. That is a thick, water-based lube, and it can sort of act like a cushion or a barrier, between your body and any sort of toy. So I think that’s kind of important, to make sure you’re doing. You can also put a soft barrier in between your Magic Wand and your skin. Either like a silicone cap, or getting like… Even if it’s just you… You could use something kind of like one of these strokers. Put this over your wand. And it kind of creates a soft, squishy barrier. That’s not silicone. That’s something to just be mindful of.

Or there are grinding toys, such as the new one called Pelle Whim Silicone Grinding Toy on Spectrum Boutique. It’s kind of like a soft silicone toy. You could put that on your vulva, and then your Hitachi Magic Wand on top of that. Also, if you want a toy, and you’re like… This still hurts. It’s not working. You might want to try a super strong toy that has more pinpointed sensation, instead of the overall sensation that the head of the Hitachi gives. So that would be — I think the Eroscillator could be a nice contender. Really rumbly. Very strong. Also a plugin toy, so it’s always at 100% power. The We-Vibe Tango is a small bullet that is very rumbly. Or the Zumio, which is a super pinpointed toy.

I know we only have a minute. Do I have time to keep answering questions? Or… Should I wrap it up? I don’t mind. I have other questions. It’s up to y’all. Okay. Have to wrap it up. Totally. Um… Thank you all so much for coming. I’m not sure… Rachel might say an outro. But I do want to thank you all for being here. I’m sorry I cut out for a little bit. It sounds like. Because of the storm here. So that’s a bummer. I am, like, very down to answer questions. So feel free to, like, hit me up. Yeah. Or send questions in to Autostraddle anonymously, and they’ll have one of us probably answer it. But on the website! So others can see it too!

RACHEL: Hi! Wow. I’m just back already. I just wanted to thank everyone. Thank you so much. I’m actually in the same storm as Archie. Because Archie and I live in the same city. So it has been really special, feeling like we’re all going through this together, as it’s really Biblical outside right now. Thank you so much. I want to thank again the A+ members who made this possible and everybody who tuned in tonight, to help go through this. I learned so much, and I’m really grateful to Archie. I’m actually definitely using that Smitten Kitten code myself, to grab some of the things Archie mentioned, right after this is over. And just wanted to also — in addition to thanking you for being here, as Archie mentioned, we’re planning a few more installments of the series, and are hoping to kind of improve and expand it, as time goes on. If you have any thoughts, suggestions, if you have any feedback about what you’ve already seen, anyone you would like to suggest working with us in the future, any thoughts on other types of content you would like to see on Autostraddle, related to this, or if you have other questions you would like to see covered in either a workshop or on the website, please just let me know. I’m Rachel. I’m the managing editor at Autostraddle, and you can email me directly at Rachel@Autostraddle.com. And we will see you again, I hope, for the next installment in the series next month. I can’t release details yet, but I believe that we’ll be able to see very soon. Thank you so much for being here, everyone. I really appreciate your time and your support. And thank you so much to Archie.

(applause)

Goodnight, everyone!

(meow!)

And goodnight from my cat!

Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And A+ members keep the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you're able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?

The has written 96 articles for us.

1 Comment

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!