As I pushed open the door to Joy Toyz on St. Laurent Boulevard, the first thing I saw was a wall of vibrators, lubricants and dildos. Joy Toyz bills itself as a women-friendly sex shop. Sitting at the desk typing away was Phuong Ly, Joy Toyz’s co-owner. After a quick introduction, she got down to business: “So where would you like to start?”
I wanted to know about the latest and best toys on the market. The sex toy industry is a lot like the fashion industry; it’s always being updated and there’s constantly something new on the way.
According to Ly, the latest trend in the adult toy industry is eco-friendly and environmentally conscious products.
The first toy Ly showed me was a Fun Factory vibrator line called Bimini. “It’s the perfect toy for beginners. It’s smaller, so it’s not intimidating. It has got a vaginal and a clitoral stimulator. Plus, it’s rechargeable,” she says.
The Bimini line operates like a cell phone; once the battery dies, just plug it in and wait. As a result, it’s more green.
“I recommend the Bimini more to first time buyers than the Rabbits, just because Rabbits are a little more advanced,” Ly explains. “Rabbits are a big gadget, lots of bells and whistles. Lots of first timers aren’t ready for that yet.”
Rabbits are the kings of all sex toys and became wildly popular because Charlotte on Sex and the City owned one. They have a clitoral stimulator that’s usually in the shape of a rabbit. Once turned on, the rabbit’s ears vibrate and do their “job.” Along with having a nice little bunny friend for down below, Rabbits sometimes have beads right under the shaft that will vibrate and rotate.
“When buying a Rabbit, make sure the shaft distance isn’t too far from the bunny’s ears. The tip of the ears should touch the top of the beads,” advises Ly. “The best rabbit I’ve come across is the Rabbit Habit from Vibratex. It goes for $125. Keep in mind though, toys are an investment. You’re going to be using them for years.”
Okay, so what’s the one basic toy that everyone should have in their goodie drawer?
“Bullets,” Ly answers instantly.
Bullets are small and basically look like their name implies. They have a button on the bottom and once pushed, will ensure you’ll have a very good night.
“Bullets will never go out of style. You could place them on your nipples, the head of your dick, the labia and especially the clit. You could even attach them to a cock ring,” says Ly.
Now, onto lubricants: should we use silicone lubricant? Water-based lubricant? Or petroleum lubricant?
“Lubes are very important. They help you enjoy your toy. They’ll slip and slide easily without you hurting yourself. Water-based lubes are very good for vaginal sex. However, always check the ingredients. Some water based lubes have glycerin in them. It adds texture to the lube,” says Ly.
I used to work at Fruits & Passion and I knew some clients would get a reaction from glycerin soaps. So ladies, do a patch test first to see how your skin handles it. Trust me, you’ll be really happy you figured it out beforehand.
“Silicone-based lube will last a long time because it takes longer to evaporate. I call it marathon sex lube. It’s the best lube to use for anal sex since it lasts,” says Ly. “Erostratus’ silicone lube is the best.”
I applied it to my fingertips and it was thick and quite moist. It felt like olive oil and body butter put together. Did it last? I had to wipe my fingers a few times before I got it completely off.
One key thing to remember is to stay away from lubricants that aren’t silicone or water-based. Along with increasing your chances of infection, you also risk getting pregnant.
“Petroleum oil-based lubes break down condoms. Take bubble gum, put it in your mouth and chew it. Now, add peanut butter in your mouth and chew it too. The oils from the peanut butter break down the gum, and it’s the same with petroleum oil lube and condoms,” explains Ly.
If you want a great eco-friendly and vegan alternative, look for Hathor Aphrodisia lubricants that are water-based and glycerin-free.
Next up, which ingredients should we look for when buying sex toys?
“Try to always buy silicone toys that say they are 100 per cent silicone. They’re softer, hypoallergenic and not harmful to your body. They’re more expensive, but you’re paying for quality,” says Ly. “Most people on a budget think jelly toys are best. But, jelly toys are not recommended. You can’t sterilize them and most jelly toys have phthalate.”
Phthalates are a group of chemicals found in many plastic items, including sex toys, because they can make toys softer and more malleable. Yet, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, exposure to high levels might cause cancer in the long-term. Hard plastic toys don’t have it and neither do silicone toys, so be sure to look at the ingredients.
There is a catch when it comes to silicone toys. You can only use water-based lubricant, not silicone lubricant, on them. “When silicone meets silicone they melt into each other,” says Ly. That’s not a reaction you want with an expensive toy.
Since I’ve been pretty selfish so far, my next question had to do with couples. I asked Ly what toy she would recommend for lovers to enjoy together.
“Definitely a Bullet or the We-Vibe. We-Vibe has a clitoral stimulator and the other end goes inside the woman and then the man penetrates her and feels the vibration. However, it’s really not a one-size fits all. If the woman is tight, trying to insert the penis with the We-Vibe already inside won’t be possible,” says Ly.
While this might not interest you, I felt it was important to get her expert opinion on how one should go about cleaning their toy.
“Sex shops will sell toy cleaners which work fine. You could always use an unscented anti-bacterial soap. Scented soaps could cause yeast infections. I prefer that because you could rub the soap in, unlike toy cleaners that you just spray on and wipe off,” advises Ly.
Lastly, I had to enquire about the glass dildos that I see everywhere. Should women be afraid of using them?
“Glass is just amazing. You could warm it up, or cool it down. It’s all about pressure. It’s perfect for g-spot and prostate orgasms. It’s also the best for clean-ups. It’s the easiest to sterilize and there’s no chance of bacteria buildup. A glass dildo is really a luxury.”
Ly suggests always looking for a glass dildo with a round, curved and hard tip for maximum pleasure.
Before I left, I noticed bottles marked Sex Water at the front desk.
“It’s an aphrodisiac and it’s supposed to stimulate men and women and really put them in the mood. It’s a new product,” says Ly.
Curious as I am, I bought one. At first, nothing happened. As I walked out of the shop, it started to kick in. It makes you energetic and definitely turns you on. There are six different flavours, for men, women and even both sexes.
At $2, they’re not budget-breaking, and definitely worth a try.
Five sex toy safety tips:
1. Stay away from lubricants that aren’t silicone or water-based (they increase your chances of infection and getting pregnant). Water-based lubricants contain glycerin which can cause skin irritations, so do a patch test first.
2. Use only water-based lubricant on silicone toys (when silicone meets silicone, they melt into each other).
3. Jelly toys are not recommended. They contain phthalates, a group of chemicals found in many plastic items, including sex toys. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, exposure to high levels might cause cancer in the long-term. Hard plastic toys and silicone toys don’t contain phthalates.
4. Look for 100 per cent silicone toys (they are softer, hypoallergenic and better for your body).
5. Avoid using scented soaps when cleaning sex toys as they can cause yeast infections.