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Whether you’re partnered, single, or somewhere in between, Valentine’s Day brings a lot of expectations with it. As a therapist and a sex educator, a lot of my clients struggle to navigate their own expectations, society’s expectations, and — if applicable — their partner(s)’ expectations!
That’s a lot of pressure put on a holiday that’s supposed to be all about love and connection. This Valentine’s Day, let’s change the narrative. What if this year was focused on love, connection, and pleasure — yes, with your partner, but also with yourself?
Part of my job is to test sex toys and pleasure aids (yes, it’s usually as fun as it sounds) and so I can provide recommendations and let people know which are best. I’ve gathered my favorites below, so you can smooth-sail your way into a pleasure-filled Valentine’s day, no matter your status. (For more about toys and pleasure aids, check out my sex toy reviews on Instagram.)
Remember: Sex toys or pleasure aids are meant to enhance your sexual experience and help do things that another human can’t (such as move their tongue at a crazy fast pace for 20 minutes straight). Toys are not replacements for people — they never have been, and they should be. Think about what type of pleasure you want to get this year, and either share it with someone or enjoy one or more of these sex toys yourself.
Here, 10 sex therapist–approved sex toys and/or pleasure aids to make your Valentine’s Day extra spicy this year. (Note: I highly recommend getting a toy cleaner like Sweet Vibes Foami or Sliquid’s Toy Cleaner.)
For Anyone Experimenting with BDSM: Anoeses UNO Belt & Cuffs
If you’ve been making do with DIY restraints, consider investing in handmade, premium leather products from Anoeses, which deliver on aesthetics, functionality, and quality.
Why I love it: I’ve previously recommended the DITA collar and leash from Anoeses (which I still do!), but this belt adds something so extra. Not only does it feel incredible against your skin, but you can also clip on to something else or someone else, and know you’re safe and secure. For example, if you’re wearing the belt, you could clip your own handcuffs to yourself to add restraint or clip your ankle cuffs to your belt — the options are endless.
For the Lingerie Addict: Cherri Organic Cotton Intimates
Why I love it: First, Cherri was founded by a young woman with an incredible mission: “to create comfort within everybody at every moment.” Second, every time you purchase something, Cherri donates underwear and hygiene products to women in homeless shelters in the United States. Finally, the products themselves are cute, comfortable, and made in the USA with GOTS-certified Supima cotton and certified organic dyes. (See: How to Shop for Sustainable Activewear and Clothing)
Who I recommend it for: Cherri’s products can be worn daily or for more sexy special occasions. I recommend this to anyone who wants to wear cotton intimates but feel sexier (and more ethical) than a six-pack of bikini cut undies from the big-box store.
For the Toy Collector: Cake Toy Joy
This water-based lubricant doesn’t drip and actually stays on your toys. Plus, with a name like “Cake” your pleasure session is sure to feel extra indulgent.
Why I love it: I don’t know about you, but it’s not my favorite thing when I go to put lube on a toy and it drips all over my hands and sheets. This lube doesn’t do that; plus, the clean up is super easy with a Cake Bottoms wipe (Buy It, $12 for 12, hellocake.com) or soap and water. It’s also free of parabens, dyes, sulfates, fragrances, alcohol, gluten, and shame. And it’s not just for toys: This lube great for other sex acts, too, including use with latex condoms. If you’re going to have some lube in your nightstand, this is a great one. If you’re thinking of foraying into butt stuff, also consider buying Cake’s Tush Cush (Buy It, $22, hellocake.com) while you’re at it.
Who I recommend it for: Any human being who owns and uses any sex toys or pleasure aids or masturbates.
For the Butt Play Veteran: Crystal Delights Sparkle Butt Plug
Why I love it: Crystal Delights puts love into their stuff; as a small, women-run business, all their products are handmade. Each hollow plug is properly annealed (aka heated to make it super strong) and then filled with tiny sparkly crystals. It looks like an explosion of sparkles and it’s SO beautiful and perfect for Valentine’s Day. (And it’s only $35!)
Who I recommend it for: Since this is a short stem bulb plug, it’s a great glass toy for beginners and advanced users alike. Anyone who likes glass toys or wants to try one, try a Crystal Delights plug. They’re unreal — and so pretty!
For the Dildo Lover: LuzArte Jollet
LuzArte is run by a woman named Luz Chavez, a knowledgeable herbalist, who together with her designer produces one-of-a-kind art pieces and other lifestyle products including (yep!) dildos.
Why I love it: It’s a small business run by two women and the product is OUTSTANDING. One of the best and unique dildos I’ve ever had the pleasure of using; my favorite one has little marijuana leaves on it, but they offer a huge variety of colors and patterns. These dildos are specially shaped (unlike any dildo I’ve ever seen or used) to fit into the female anatomy, with a penis-like head that widens into a 1.8-inch bulge designed for G-spot stimulation. On top of that, there are clitoral-stimulating ridges at the bottom and you can pop a bullet vibrator into the base to make it buzz.
Who I Recommend it for: Anyone who wants to support a small female business and wants a kick-ass, artistic dildo.
For Couples with a Penis-Owner: Fleshlight Quickshot Pulse
Advertised as a “couples oral sex toy,” this incredibly versatile and affordable pleasure aid is one of my favorite products from Fleshlight.
Why I love it: For a Fleshlight product (which typically cost $70-80 and don’t have an open end), the Quickshot is affordable and easy to clean. Plus, it can assist in basically anything pleasurable for penis-owners, whether solo or with someone else; this toy take the pressure off of deep throating during oral, to help keep your hand from getting tired, or to add a new sensation to the mix (just be sure to use lubricant!).
Who I recommend it for: Penis-owners who are interested in adding an aid to your masturbation practice or anyone who wants to gift a penis owner with something pleasurable for Valentine’s Day.
For the Sex Toy Newbie: Le Wand All That Glitters Special Edition Wand
A glittery and petite magical wand from Le Wand that will grant your wishes of pleasure this Valentine’s Day.
Why I love it: Le Wand is a women-operated company that makes high-quality toys and accessories — and not just wand vibrators. (For example, they also make gorgeous stainless steel toys, similar to this G-spot wand that one writer loves.) This wand is a great starter toy for solo or partnered play (you can use it to massage anything) and looks cute enough to leave out on your nightstand. And it comes with glitter nail polish — what’s not to love?!
Who I recommend it for: This is a perfect gift for someone newer to sex toys or pleasure aids or even someone new to masturbation.
For Literally Anyone: Cute Little Fuckers Princette Puppypus
Why I love it: This company was created to make sex toys more gender-inclusive. This toy can be a vibrating butt plug or a stand-alone vibrator. Its buzzing legs can be grasped by all hands and can slide between fingers for an open-handed explorative grip. (Here are even more finger vibes to peep for hand play.) As their website says, “Princette Puppypus is a versatile and euphoric friend.”
Who I recommend it for: ALL genders and ALL bodies. 🎉
For Vulva Owners Who Love Dual Stimulation: Bellesa Dea
Who I recommend it for: Vulva owners who enjoy dual stimulation and blended orgasms and who want to support a company that was first on the scene of creating a porn website for women, by women.
For Anyone Who Loves Clit Action: Dame Aer
Why I love it: It’s brand-spankin’ new to the market and it’s so high tech and so affordable — there’s just nothing not to love. There’s a small learning curve with a suction toy if you’ve never used one, but it’s worth it to reach the mind-blowing orgasms this toy can bring. Compared to other toys of its type and quality, the Dame Aer is one of the most affordably priced.
Who I recommend it for: Anyone who enjoys clitoral stimulation.