Sexual Health Week: 9 best sex toys for couples to keep things interesting in the bedroom

1 week ago 1

Looking to make things more exciting in the bedroom? Sex toys are in theory the ideal solution – but for years the devices on offer often failed to live up to their promise.

“The high street used to be awash with toys that broke after a couple of uses, and then went straight to landfill,” says Lucy Litwack, CEO of erotic emporium, Coco De Mer. “More than that, they were full of toxic chemicals: things like phthalates, that are illegal to put in a dog toy, were considered fine to use in a vibrator.”

Thankfully things have changed. New brands like Smilemakers and Dame are putting female pleasure to the forefront – the clues are in the names – while more established brands like Lelo continue to lead the way, refining shapes and materials all the time.

Central to our choices below is the fact that 70 per cent of women need external stimulation to reach climax: many of these toys provide a varied way to reach this, on their own or paired with intercourse.

Other toys make a good precursor or second act – or indeed are a treat all of their own; something to luxuriate with over long afternoons lost in sex and sensuality.

Our choices cost rather more than a bunch of flowers. But we believe they will bring substantially more pleasure, for years to come…

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Lovehoney beaded sensual glass dildo

Glass may sound daunting, but don’t be put off: in terms of bang for your buck this is a sensational toy. The absolute trick is to coat it in a silicone lube and even though it is rigid, it somehow slides to the perfect place. This toy is curved, making it great for G-spot stimulation. It is also formed with "beads", making it especially good for anal play (as always, be sure to wash thoroughly after with soap and water). The glass is shatterproof – unless you drop it from a height – and holds temperature nicely. Try placing in the fridge for added tingle.

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Dame Eva II

In some ways this is a great evolution from the ballerina mentioned above: a hands-free women’s vibrator that doesn’t impose on sex with a partner. Dame’s mission statement is closing the pleasure gap, where 91 per cent of men orgasm during sex, versus just 39 per cent of women. So, its NYC team designed Eva II to tuck under your labia: the body of the toy rests over your clitoris, and its wings hold it in place. It isn’t held down with tent pegs, clearly, and depending on your size and shape you may need to press it into place – particularly during more energetic sessions. It has three speeds, and is perfect for lazy, long spooning.

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Oskia rose de mai skin massage candle

Up the ante with this candle by Oskia: it smells divine and melts to a warm coconut oil base fragranced with mai rose which makes for a fabulous massage. NB for wax play, in which you want to stimulate the pain/pleasure response by dripping hot wax onto the body, you don’t want a massage candle. Instead, you should be looking for a plain white unfragranced candle: hot enough to (almost) hurt, but not as burning hot as a fragranced or coloured beeswax candle which can damage the skin.

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pjur silicone-based lubricant

Not so much a toy, but a key asset in your war-chest: silicone lubricant basically changes everything. Super slidy, it will transform a massage (though for that we’d still look to the rose de mai candle above). But for handwork? It takes things to a whole new level. Just be clear never to use it with silicone toys as the silicone will “melt” together. There are some good hybrid alternatives – such as the ID silk hybrid lubricant – that are sold as safe to use with silicone toys. But go for your life on anything metal, wood or glass, unless you are looking to anal play, when the thicker texture of water-based lube will be your friend.

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Lelo tor 2

It’s incredibly hard to choose between the toys by Swedish manufacturer Lelo. The brand moved the conversation towards rechargeable devices, which are ergonomically styled with a proper focus on ethical manufacture. We love its Elise 2 as a great all purpose dildo-shaped vibrator. But, while duly noting that not all couples boast a penis, and acknowledging that this also is rather good on a dildo – we believe it would be a shame not to celebrate this particularly good cock ring. The ring has a multi speed motor on one side of it, which is wonderful positioned where her clit is most likely to land. Cock rings take a bit of getting used to, and the only con is that this isn’t made of the most stretchy silicone. That said, the lack of give will pay dividends later on when he comes.

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Smilemakers the ballerina personal massager

This is the latest product from Smilemakers – a company with a range of excellent value entry-level vibrators (we love “the fireman”), and which is devoted to the pursuit of female arousal. A best-selling line for Gweneth Paltrow’s wellness brand Goop, Smilemakers works with NGOs and health organisations to promote sexual awareness and erotic informaiton via “vulva talks”, a “pleasure positive” sex education programme.

The ballerina is a great toy for couple's sex. Made from velvet soft silicone, it fits neatly across the whole vulva, hitting all pleasure points from the clitoral glans, down over the inner and outer labia, to the vaginal opening. It’s great on its own, and has four speeds. It’s also fantastic for rear entry positions where you can hold it in place – eg during penetrative sex, with your partner standing behind you.

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Doxy number 3

We love the story behind this toy. William Garland’s girlfriend broke her vibrator. When he tried to find a replacement Garland was appalled at the shoddiness of what was on offer – so he decided to design his own model, making prototypes at his friend’s scaffolding factory. That factory now produces more vibrators than it does scaffolding poles, which is no surprise as it is a dandy toy. The original Doxy is effectively a British take on the Hitachi wand (that Sex and The City classic); we find the only advantage the Hitachi has is in the slowest setting where it has more rumble, but for heavy duty, fast and powerful vibrations Doxy knows its business. The Doxy 3 is upgraded with a lovely aluminium sheath, and a slightly smaller and lighter head and body. This is good for targeted vibrations in a wide range of speeds and is huge fun.

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We-Vibe unite

It was We-Vibe which really cracked the code for U-shaped devices than can be worn by a woman during sex, with small motors embedded in either end of the U for simultaneous clitoral and G-spot stimulation. This latest Unite iteration is the most slim fitting and comfortable yet, with 10 vibration modes. Still, it takes a moment or two to become used to the sensation, and to figure out the best positions for you both to enjoy it. But this time will be repaid in dividends – it is the kind of toy that really, brilliantly shakes things up.

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Fleet Ilya cut out cuffs

Handmade, loved by kinksters and also some A-Listers (we’ve promised not to name, but you’ll be in stellar company), when it comes to elegant restraint no brand does it better than Fleet Ilya. The cuffs, anklets and harnesses will make you feel a million dollars – and are made of durable, saddlery leather which will last forever. If you choose a cuff, or a gauntlet, even the strongest partner will never be able to break free. If money were no object, we’d buy pretty much everything the brand makes. But if we had to choose just one thing? The cut out cuffs are cool enough to wear out, and perfect for a touch of BDSM (don’t forget team: always play consensually and safely).

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The verdict: Sex toys for couples

Each of the above will enhance love and lovemaking. Our favourite is the LoveHoney glass dildo for a number of reasons: it is rare that you find a quality toy for such a low price; it can be used on her in multiple ways, and is in particular a real hit (pun intended) for G-spot stimulation – it is also fabulous if either of you are excited by anal play. If you are new to any kind of toy, the silicone lube is an easy gateway to new sensations (and really marvellous twinned with the glass). For longest and strongest action go for the Doxy and for the extra boost during penetrative sex, the We-Vibe unite.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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