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Using Sex Toys

Sex toys are objects that increase pleasure when used during sex or masturbation. They can also be used to help sexual dysfunctions or other medical conditions.

Many types of sex toys exist, as shown by the picture on the right. You may choose to use a sex toy, or you may choose not to use one. It’s all up to you! Whether you are using a sex toy alone or sharing it with a partner, follow these tips to stay safe!


Putting a condom on a sex toy may sound weird, but it can make things a lot easier for you and someone you may share it with. Each person who uses the toy should use their own condom because, while it’s fun to share toys, it’s not so fun to share sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You and your partners should get tested for STIs before you engage in any sexual activity together, including using sex toys. For more information on getting tested for STIs, visit the Getting Tested page.


While sex toys can be great for both vaginal or anal stimulation, using one set of toys exclusively for vaginal stimulation and one set exclusively for anal stimulation is best. If you’re going to use one toy for both, you’ll want to do it in the safest way. Do not switch back and forth between a vagina and an anus without changing the condom or thoroughly cleaning the toy. You don’t want bacteria from an anus to be hanging out in the vagina or close to the urethra (the opening to the bladder where urine comes out) where it can cause an infection. No one likes that kind of truffle butter.


If you have multiple sexual partners, you should be extra careful with your toys. When possible, only use one set of toys with each partner. If you’re going to use the same toys with different partners, you should clean your toys thoroughly between partners to prevent transmitting STIs between your partners.


Make sure to clean your toy every time! Follow the cleaning instructions specific to your toy to ensure that it’s safe and ready for its next use. If you protect your toy by putting a condom on it, cleaning it can be much easier because you won’t have to worry about killing potential sexually transmitted bugs.

Content reviewed by Shandhini Raidoo, MD, MPH, FACOG

Last Updated: September 25, 2020 by Phyllis Raquinio


Sex Toys Photo: Gainsburg, M., Rimm, H., Bacharach, E., & Engle, G. (2019, October 17). The 24 Best Sex Toys For Couples In 2020. Retrieved July 15, 2020, from