Spend your stimulus check on stimulation
A quick guide to sex toys for every budget
I’ve been using the same reliable Hitachi Magic Wand I got from sex educator Betty Dodson in a masturbation workshop for over 20 years now. Whether I’m using it on myself or my partner, it remains my all-time favorite. I cannot recommend it enough. However, my Wand and I have an open relationship, and I enjoy playing with many other toys. To be honest, sometimes merely window-shopping — though these days, most of the windows are on my computer — is enough to rev my engine.
Toys have gotten even more imaginative and intriguing since I got my wand, keeping my curiosity aroused. It has been wonderful to see sex toy stores and brands expand the range beyond the two extremes I saw most when I was first shopping, those of the hardcore toys for advanced players, and the delicately suggestive toys provided by upscale lingerie companies. Wonderful toys are now available in every price range. Below, I’ve arranged 10 of them according to price — mostly vibrators — since that’s my jam.
The biggest thrill of the high-end luxury item is the knowledge that whatever you’re using is the very best, and you deserve it. Of course, there are people who get off just on spending money, and this is perfect for them, too, because in the case of a very expensive sex toy, no matter what it does, they get what they pay for.
Since the internet is, for most of us, our local shop, I’ve provided links. However, if you know of a struggling sex toy store in your area, visit their website to see if you can order directly from them.
The Pearl Royale by Colin Burn
If price is truly no object and you want to make sure people know it, the Pearl Royale is for you. Hailed as most expensive sex toy in the world, this platinum and gem-encrusted, phallus-shaped vibrator is for all your ostentatious sex toy needs. With variable speeds, it comes with its own crown, studded with pink and white diamonds, but the wall-mount display box costs extra.
The Inez from Lelo
This 24-karat-gold-plated Inez vibrator curves neatly into your hand, with that particular smoothness that comes only with polished metal. This baby is so special it is made-to-order only, taking up to 30 days to arrive, so you may want to have another toy on hand while you wait.
If you’re fancy but not that damn fancy, you have plenty of luxe-quality options.
The Apex from JimmyJane
This beloved (and often sold-out) vibrator is designed with a suction cup enveloping a tiny tongue-like device meant to evoke oral sex. If you’d like to send me one, DM for my mailing address.
Obsess Harness, on Etsy
I’m not quite sure who makes this harness, but I love the way it looks, and the placement of the ring is low enough for comfortable pegging. It’s also well-placed for a dildo with a vibrating base, since we all know that’s not going to provide ideal delight for the wearer when it hits at navel level.
Happy Rabbit Vibrating Strap-on Set on Adam/Eve
Everybody loves a rabbit vibrator, and this one straps on! While this places the vibrating dildo a bit higher than is likely to stimulate the wearer, it’s clearly intended to provide additional stimulation for the penetratee rather than the penetrator. It’s waterproof, so it's okay to lay down the puppy pads and go for the juice. The vibrator is rechargeable, which means you’ll have to plan ahead — but the anticipation should be sweet.
The Make Me Over by Bedroom Candi
This adorable vibe looks like a compact powder puff, fits into the palm of your hand, and has its own compact-shaped recharger case. This is a discreet and adorable toy from a Black-owned company. You can buy it online, and the company also has an in-home party-based structure, so that when we’re having bachelorette parties in person again, you know who to call.
The Rosebud Stainless Steel Butt Plug by Julian Snelling at Coco De Mer
The bright red metal finish and crystal embellishment of this toy give it a silky feel, responsive to body temperature, as well as a luxe appearance. It’s a great-looking gift for the person in your life who enjoys the simple, yet glamorous, things in life.
The Boudoir Bible by Betony Vernon
While one doesn’t always think of a book as a sex toy (though the devious among you have probably employed one in various ways), the brain is well-known as the most powerful sex organ. Betony Vernon’s beautifully illustrated and intimate book provides imagery, text, and imaginative stimulation galore, whether you’re alone or with a friend or two.
Since we’re all spending a lot more time indoors this past year, it’s not surprising that sex toys seem to be more popular than ever. Still, there’s a good chance your local mom-and-pop sex shop may be struggling from lockdown, so if you can, try to find their website and order directly from them.
Alu Lube by Dame
If you want to get more out of the toys you already own, this lube is a great start. It’s plant-based and made from aloe vera, so it’s more natural than silicone lubes, but still safe to use with latex products.
Babeland Buzz Vibe
It has all the portability of a bullet vibe, but it’s soft and blue. You can take it anywhere and put it anywhere, and it’s priced to move! The thrill of cheap toys is that you can try them once and not feel guilty if they don’t work out. If you like them, you can buy more expensive and durable versions. If you need to throw them away, you may be able to recycle them
If you just can’t bring yourself to spend any part of your much-needed stimulus check on personal stimulation, the best way to economize is to use what’s already around the house. It’s especially fun to use a household object you can reuse later — perhaps serve the spaghetti sauce with the wooden spoon you spanked your partner with earlier, giving them a knowing eye. One of my favorite kinky uses of household objects is to play sexologist Midori’s Predicament Bondage with glasses of water. You can place a full glass of water in each of your partner’s hands, and give them various rewards and punishments depending on which hand lowers first.
And of course, if you need the best sex toy at the last minute and you’re broke, remember that your hand is available at no added cost.-CL-
Jo Weldon, headmistress at the New York School of Burlesque (where Zoom classes are currently available), is the author of The Burlesque Handbook and Fierce: The History of Leopard Print. Weldon started her professional writing career at Creative Loafing while in high school and years later worked as a columnist for our section “The Adult Scene." Follow her current project, researching the intersections of sex work, fashion, dress, and culture at joweldon.com or at her Patreon page, Sex Worker Style.