To illuminate this particular corner of human sexuality, we reached out to Nenna Joiner, the founder of "Adult Gallery" Feelmore, the Bay Area's superlative purveyor of erotic goods.
Below, some very specific suggestions about how to best please your ladyfriend, the politics of vibrator size, and what (and what not) to buy.
InsideHook: Say a guy's never used a toy with his partner before. Where's a good place to start, in terms of ease of use?
Nenna Joiner: The Internet is a great place to buy (side-eye). However, seeing products in person will give you a real idea of weight, length and texture of material. Make sure you match the type of store with the type of partner you have. If your partner wears Christian Louboutin, I highly doubt they will appreciate a fluorescent-lighted adult store with the video arcades in the back with strong hints of bleach.
Pop into a boutique that gives great customer service. You can always read reviews, yet I personally believe reviews of sex products are related to the reviewer's personal orgasm — i.e., their body. Let your partner wander through the store and pick up what they touch to validate their choices. Choose items, if you can, that are close to their favorite color. They need to feel connected with the product. If she comes in contact with something and holds onto it for more than three minutes, she is leaning toward buying it.
IH: What's your most popular toy?
NJ: Aneros Prostate Devices and Fleshlight masturbation type products are the most popular products for men. Since they have switched from corded to rechargeable, Magic Wands are the it product for women.
IH: Which would you suggest as a "satisfaction guaranteed" piece, even if it's slightly more advanced?
NJ: Silicone lube is highly advanced! A higher percentage of time it is used for backdoor, aka anal play. However, a little bit goes a long way. If you're using water-based lube, it will naturally dry and become tacky. The price of silicone is advanced (four ounces of a quality brand could yield $20 or more; eight ounces, close to $34), but using just a dime-size [dollop] will keep you lubricated possibly for the entire session. One note: make certain your partner does not have any allergies to glycerin or doesn’t like paraben; if so, ask for a brand that is made without these ingredients.
IH: What, if anything, do you wish more men knew about pleasing their partners? Or what do you think women wish they knew?
NJ: Men should know they don’t need to pressure a woman. You must make them comfortable enough to open up. That is a big step in pleasing your partner. Women would like them to know that sharing sexual fantasies should not lead to shaming. It is just a fantasy, and their partner is enough.
IH: What, if anything, do male buyers frequently get wrong in terms of terms of what their partners want?
NJ: They think their partners don’t want internal vibrators. Of course, men are naturally equipped, however, men, at times, show their insecurity by choosing a vibrator that is smaller than themselves since they don’t want to be in competition. Your Love doesn’t want to replace you, she just wants to explore her own body!