Whether you’re brand new to sex toys or have been absolutely in love with yours for a long time, one thing’s for certain. The wide, wonderful world of sex toys is vast indeed. So vast that even experienced toy lovers sometimes need a little help making sense of the hundreds of options they have to choose from these days.

Here we’ll go over some of the most important questions to ask yourself before and after you start the shopping process to ensure maximum satisfaction with your purchase. You’ll be enjoying your next favorite vibe before you know it.

1.      How new am I to vibrators (and to sex toys in general)?

The first thing you’ll want to consider before evaluating your options is what you’re hoping to get out of the experience of using a vibrator. Are you buying a vibrator as a way to get to know your body better and learn more about what types of sensation make you orgasm? Will this be your first time actually using a vibrator or simply your first time buying one? If vibrating toys are entirely new territory for you, it’s probably best to keep things as simple as possible.

Consider making your first vibe a smaller option designed to deliver focused stimulation straight to your clitoris (i.e. a vibrating bullet or a finger vibe). Numerous studies show that around 70% of all women require direct clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm and bullet-style vibrators are great at delivering this. They’re also easy to use, not to mention versatile, so they’re perfect for folks that like to use toys both alone and with a partner.

2.      How much variety do I like when I masturbate?

Take a moment to consider how you most like to masturbate. Do you go about pleasuring yourself the same way every single time or do you like to mix things up? Do you prefer super intense, localized sensations or do you enjoy stimulation that brings your entire vulva into play?

If you want a toy that’s capable of stimulating you in a variety of different ways, you’re a good candidate for a vaginal vibrator. Of course, a good vaginal vibe can be inserted, but it can also be used just to stimulate the clitoris when that’s all you’re in the mood for. Vaginal vibrators also come in a variety of different shapes and colors, varying from neon penis-shaped works of art to relatively neutral shapes in subtle colors.

You may also want to consider whether you’d like your vibrator of choice to be even more versatile still. Options like vibrating wands are great for people that like to start a pleasure session with a nice, soothing muscle massage and move things downtown a little later on. Wands are nice, non-threatening ways to introduce vibrating toys into play with a male partner as well.

3.      Do I want to be able to enjoy multiple types of sensation at one time?

Some people prefer to focus on one type of stimulation at a time, but others enjoy their playtime best when they don’t have to choose. If you’re the latter, then you’d probably really enjoy a vibe that offers simultaneous internal and external stimulation. Iconic options like the world-famous rabbit vibe are specially designed to deliver deep, O-inducing G-spot stimulation for sure, but also include a tickler that perfect for stimulating your clit at the same time. Even if you’re not already a multi-point stimulation convert, a rabbit is a great way to explore it during your private playtime.

Rabbits aren’t the only vibrators out there capable of delivering multiple stimulation types either. For instance, some toys can be used to stimulate the sensitive nerves in your anal area while you also enjoy vaginal or clitoral stimulation. There are even pulsating vibrators out there that simulate the back and forth sensation of penetrative sex while also delivering the powerful vibrations that already do such a great job at getting you off.

4.      Am I looking for something I can use with my male partner?

The days when vibrators were thought of solely as female masturbation aids are long behind us. Lots of men are discovering how delicious some well-focused vibrations can feel when used to stimulate their shaft, scrotum, or perineum as well. As men become more and more comfortable with vibrators as a concept, vibrating toys are increasingly becoming part of couples play.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with simply letting your vibrating dildo do double duty as a partners’ toy, lots of men aren’t exactly jazzed about playing with anything too penis-like. Couples play is a perfect fit for ultra-versatile vibrators like vibrating eggs or bullet vibes for that reason. However, vibrating toys made specifically for play that includes a male partner are way too good to miss out on.

Do you love intercourse, but find you need additional clitoral stimulation in order to actually reach orgasm? Try a wearable vibe designed to deliver exactly that. Would your male partner really appreciate a vibrating couple’s toy made with his anatomy in mind? Treat him to a vibrating cock ring that will make sex more buzzworthy for both of you. There are even remote controlled vibrating couples toys that can make time apart a lot easier to bear, so don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities!

5.      How discreet do I need my vibrator to be?

Unless you happen to live alone, it’s highly likely that discreetly enjoying a little solo pleasure time requires you to get creative. After all, no one likes the experience of being walked in on by a roommate, a houseguest, or a child that also shares their space! Plus, you naturally just want to enjoy your alone time without worrying about whether or not that telltale buzzing can be heard from the next room.

If that state of affairs sounds familiar, then you’ll be thrilled to know that not all vibrators are the same when it comes to the associated noise level. Look for an option designed to operate as quietly as possible. Not only do you not have to worry about other folks in the house hearing, but a quieter vibe will be less distracting for you too.

6.      What material is the best fit for me?

Shopping for a new vibrator has more in common with shopping for clothing than you might otherwise think. Before you decide on a new blouse or skirt, you’d definitely check the label first, right? You totally need to know whether it’s “wash and wear” or “dry clean only” so you also know whether or not it’s a good fit for your lifestyle. The same is true of your new would-be vibrator. What it’s made of is just as important as how well it works.

Each material option you’ll come across has its own advantages and drawbacks, but some are lower maintenance than others. Jelly rubbers can feel quite nice, but they’re also porous, which makes them hard to clean and maintain. Hard plastics are good, solid options that are easier to clean but don’t tend to have as pleasant a feel.

Silicones are a good fit for pretty much everyone, so unless you’ve got your heart set on a specific material already, go this route. You don’t need anything special to clean and maintain your silicone vibrator, as silicone is non-porous. Plain soap and water totally does the trick! Plus, silicone is an especially great fit for vibrating toys, as it transmits vibrations more effectively than the alternatives.

7.      Do I want to be able to travel with my vibrator?

If you’re new to vibrators, taking one on the go might be the last thing on your mind right now. You might change your mind once you get attached to yours though, so portability should definitely be a consideration for frequent travelers. Most vibrators are fine to take along in your carry-on luggage, so long as they’re shorter than 7 inches in length. (Anything longer can be considered “club-like”, which violates TSA policy.) You’ll also probably want to pick a vibe with a power lock to prevent it from switching on unexpectedly in transit (every traveling sex toy lover’s worst nightmare).

You might also want to give some thought to how you’ll want to use your vibrator once you reach your destination. Do you want to be able to get a little frisky with a partner (or by yourself) in the hot tub, bath tub, or ocean? Make sure your vibe is waterproof. Want to be able to carry it with you everywhere with complete discretion? Look for a vibe that mimics the look of another everyday object (i.e. lipstick or jewelry). There are even vibrators made specifically with the needs of frequent travelers in mind that might be a good fit for you.

At the end of the day, you have more options to choose from in regards to vibrators than you probably thought possible. Explore the possibilities today and take your intimate life to the next level!