Best sex toys 2021: stay happy, healthy and satisfied

Dive into the wonderful world of the best sex toys, with T3's guide to the different types of toy, who they're for, and our top picks

best sex toys: selection of colourful sex toystoys
(Image credit: Ron Lach on Pexels)

What turns you on? That is the best sex toy. The best sex toy is the one that works with your particular tastes, the one that really gets you going, the one most compatible with your parts or your partner, the one that works in combination with other sex toys (or sex itself) to make the experience completely unforgettable. Because there is little in life that's more personal than the stuff you like to take in the bedroom with you. 

The sex toy market has exploded in recent years, basically in tandem with the stigma around toys falling away. You can shop for them in some pretty mainstream stores, and there are plenty of sources online which can ship you a wild variety of great sex toys quickly and easily. And let's not discount the power of a pandemic to trap us at home with our thoughts, desires, and our favourite toys.

If you're just getting started, you'll probably find the sex toy market a little intimidating: there's such a large variety of sex toys for women, toys for men, and toys for couples (or more) that even working out the kind of thing you want to try is tough, let alone finding the top choice in that department. So let's walk you through the broad categories of products that are out there for you to enjoy, and pick out some of our favourite sex toys along the way.

Best sex toys: Fleshlights

best sex toys: woman holding Fleshlight

(Image credit: Fleshlight)

There's no question about it: for most, the Fleshlight is the best sex toy for men. Though guys have had right hands forever, and there's certainly no reason for them not to access the vast array of toys designed for the fairer sex, specific sex toys for the penis took their time in coming. The Fleshlight only got its patent 23 years ago - first listed, clinically, as a 'device for discrete sperm collection' - and has been followed by a string of imitators and third-party innovators. 

The idea of a Fleshlight is fairly simple: in general they consist of an outer shell, in which sits a soft, skin-like sleeve with an orifice, usually textured inside, into which you insert a penis. With plenty of lube and a steady hand a Fleshlight offers a sex-like experience, and perhaps even more.

From Fleshlight itself, you can get all kinds of devices; at first they trended towards the more anatomical, and the company's best sellers are still those which emulate actual body parts (and, in the Fleshlight Girls and Fleshjack Boys ranges, reproductions of real porn star genitals), but increasingly the more experimental Fleshlights are offering an experience all their own, with complex inners, open ends, clear materials and all kinds of other gimmicks.

T3's top pick

Fleshlight Flight: Pilot

(Image credit: Fleshlight)

In our huge guide to the best Fleshlights, our top pick is the Fleshlight Flight: Pilot, which is a slightly smaller and much more discrete spin on the Fleshlight with a feel all its own. Don't discount Tenga's products if you're looking for extra stimulation, as they tend to be a lot more experimental - try the 3D Module (with plenty of lube).

Best sex toys: Dildos

best sex toys: dildo

(Image credit: Anna Shvets from Pexels)

Dildos can be, by their very nature, a bit intimidating. The classic image of a veiny, massive, dick-shaped whopper lives rent-free in many of our heads, and while that particular variety of toy has not gone away, there are plenty of alternatives out there which can satisfy without grossing anybody out - and, indeed, toys which go the other way and take size and texture to the extreme. 

As with any other toy, it's all about what works for you. Think about the things you've enjoyed in past sexual experiences, and start there in terms of size; consider the thickness and length, too, as well as the texture of the dildo and its material. Something non-porous is a must in order to keep things properly clean - whether that means softer silicone or colder metal is really up to you.

Guys looking to work on prostate stimulation - or girls working on the A-spot - may prefer something smaller and smoother, and while a butt plug (see below) might work for that, there are specific slimmer dildos that will do the trick.

Best dildos: SoDivine Glorious dildo

(Image credit: SoDivine)

T3's top pick

T3's top pick in our guide to the best dildos is So Divine’s Glorious, which is reasonably sized at around six inches insertable, employs a liquid silicone inner to feel as close as possible to a real penis, has a strong suction cup (perfect for going hands-free in the shower) and looks pretty great too. Try Lovehoney's Beaded Sensual Glass Dildo if you fancy some temperature play.

Best sex toys: Vibrators

Best vibrators

(Image credit: Ron Lach / Pexels)

A vibrator is not only a dildo that buzzes. Vibrators come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, offering you the opportunity to excite the parts that matter to you, whether that's inside, outside, or anywhere else. There are vibrating butt plugs, dual-purpose kegel vibrators, specific g-spot vibrators, sonic devices which use moving air - a wide, wide range.

Recent years have seen the shapes of vibrators changing, and they're increasingly smarter, too. Varying vibration patterns add a little spice to procedings, while connected devices can even work to keep you and a partner active even if you can't be in the same physical location.

Vibrators aren't just for female satisfaction; used in the right way, they can work very well for men too. Vibrating cock rings are a great example, but prostate massage with an anal vibrator can also be an interesting experience, and many Fleshlight-like devices (and, indeed, some Fleshlights) include small built-in vibrators to enhance the experience even further.

Iroha Yuki

(Image credit: Tenga)

T3's best vibrator

Our top pick is Iroha's Yuki, a soft palm-sized vibrator which looks completely innocent and non-threatening but packs a punch when you need it. It has a semi-insertable tip, three speeds, a pulse mode, and we think it's perfect for solo or partner play. For those with a clitoris, Womanizer's toys - like the Liberty and Starlet 2 - offer incredibly deep stimulation, and can even help those who struggle to orgasm to hit the mark multiple times over.

Best sex toys: butt plugs

Best butt plugs

(Image credit: Ron Lach / Pexels)

A butt plug is an anal sex toy which basically does as its name suggests. Given that everybody has a butt, butt plugs can be enjoyed by just about anyone, but it doesn't mean they will be enjoyed by everyone. Not everyone likes the way they feel; others, though, enjoy the pleasurable feeling of being filled. For guys they can add a little pressure on the prostate, and they can also stimulate the internal nerves of the clitoris and G-spot, particularly when employing a vibrating butt plug. Having penetrative sex while a vibrating plug goes to work can work well for both partners.

They're also fantastic, as you may already have worked out, for anal sex preparation. This is true both if you're trying to train your anal muscles to relax and contract more reliably in a solo session, and if you're looking to stretch out a little before a session with a partner. Start with a smaller toy, if you're just getting used to the 

Do bear in mind that butt plugs absolutely need a good lube (see below) and you'll need to be patient; gradual insertion is important, with frequent reapplications of lube, and gentle removal (with more lube) is a must. All toys made for anal play come with a flared base of some kind, so you don't need to worry about them getting lost.

best sex toys: Lovehoney Butt Tingler

(Image credit: Lovehoney)

T3's best butt plug

Lovehoney's Butt Tingler is a fantastic choice for beginners. It's small enough at 3.5" in circumference and the same amount of insertable length, and it's smoothly curved, easy to remove and coated in soft silicone - though this does mean you won't be able to use a silicone lube with it. Most excitingly, there are ten vibration functions on its built-in bullet, which can be removed if you want to stimulate other erogenous zones.

For those with a penis, Lelo's Bruno is worth a look - it's expensive, but provides both prostate and perineum stimulation, with independent motors so you can vary the amount of attention you're giving each area.

Best sex toys: Lube

best lube: cake

(Image credit: Cake)

No sex toy is complete with out a generous amount of lube. OK, perhaps some might be viable without, if you're already warmed up and inserting into a self-lubricating area, but even then you may run into friction issues with certain toys or even toy-free sexual contact - it's imperative to have some on hand just in case.

But what to pick? Silicone lube is perfect for use in the shower, since water won't easily wash it off, but some bodies are sensitive to silicone and some toys, too, don't take kindly to it; if you're using a silicone toy, steer clear, as it can degrade the outer material.

There are also water-based lubes available, which are the most neutral and will work with any toy, as well as oil-based lubricants which can provide a seriously slippery experience as long as you don't mind getting them on your sheets and aren't using a latex condom. Some lubes are hybrids, mixing several kinds together - check the ingredients before you buy to make sure you're not inadvertently grabbing something unsuitable.

You don't necessarily need to opt for specific toy lube sold in little bottles, either. Here's a top tip: lube aimed at the gay market tends to come in more generous quantities, and is just as effective for straight or solo play.

Best lube

(Image credit: Lovehoney)

T3's best lube

Lovehoney's water-based Enjoy lube comes in generous quantities, and it's safe to use with condoms as well as being vegetarian and vegan-friendly. If you're going for anal play, try the slightly thicker formula of Enjoy's companion, Discover.

For Fleshlights, while you could use other lubes, it may be better to stick with Fleshlight's own formula to ensure there's no chemicals which are going to degrade the SuperSkin/CyberSkin inners - you'll find it in the company's own Fleshlube product, which is slightly more expensive but a little goes a long way.

Alex Cox
Alex Cox

T3 magazine's own Gadget Guru is a 25-year veteran of the tech writing wars, and has the scars to prove it.