In 2016, vibrators replaced diamonds as a girl’s best friend, and for 2017, I’m making it my goal to open men’s eyes to the possibility of sex toys for their own pleasure. In step with this, I’ve rounded up a selection of top-notch toys for the coming (get it?) year.

To start, you’ve probably heard of the Fleshlight, which happens to be the number-one male sex toy in the world. You can custom build the look and feel of your Fleshlight online, and for those who might be interested in extending the amount of time it takes for them to orgasm, the Stamina Training Unit, a best-seller from the same company, is designed with this very goal in mind.

Once you have a Fleshlight in your hot little hands, use only water-based lubricants because oil- or silicone-based products run the risk of deteriorating the inner sleeve. I currently have a Stamina Training Unit sitting in my living room (as female sex writers are wont to do) and the feel of the patented “skin” is so unbelievably soft and flesh-like—even softer than my own skin whenever I use baby oil to glaze myself like a Christmas turkey before a first date. So, have fun with this one.

Another best-seller on the market is the Tenga Egg, a textured, disposable masturbation sleeve. Jack Lamon from Toronto’s Come As You Are, a worker-owned-and-operated online sex shop that also presents the city’s annual Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair, tells me, “It is super versatile. You can use it on the head of a wand-style vibrator to keep it clean and change up the sensation, you can wear it on your hand to masturbate. You can even cut the tip off to take the pressure off of a blow job.”

More recently, I’ve noticed anal play growing in popularity as more men realize the pleasure that can come from stimulating their prostates and the social stigma around doing so declines. The number one thing to remember about anal play is that you can never use too much lube, and just when you think you’ve doled out enough, you should probably still use a bit more.

As tempting as it may be, I wouldn’t suggest diving straight into the butt plugs or anal beads, but instead, start by inserting one finger for a minute, then two fingers for two minutes, and so on, until you feel ready to graduate to an anal toy. The Fun Factory Bootie Set will allow you to start small and work your way up.

“Most folks’ eyes are much bigger than their other orifices, so be realistic,” Jack jokingly says. “A toy with a bit of a curve will be great for prostate stimulation while a less curved toy will lend itself to a general feeling of fullness.” Girth is also a more important factor than length, since you don’t have to insert the entire thing. I’d also recommend making sure the toy has a flange (or a base) so that it doesn’t go catapulting up your rectum once you’ve inserted it, and that there aren’t any rough edges or seams that could potentially injure you.

As for lube, one size doesn’t necessarily fit all. For silicone toys, stick to water- or oil-based products, with the caveat that oils (including coconut and olive oils) are a no-no with latex condoms because they will break them down. Organic lubricants are another good option, particularly if you tend to have allergic reactions (or if your partner suffers from yeast infections). If you’re not sure which one to choose or feel overwhelmed by the possibilities, go for a lube sampler so that you don’t have to commit to a full-sized product while figuring out what works best for you.

If you’re curious about teledildonics—and who isn’t?—stay tuned, because I’ll be reviewing the next wave of futuristic sex in an upcoming Hard Science column.

Until then, if you aren’t convinced about purchasing a sex toy, you aren’t alone. As a sex researcher, I’ve personally heard of guys using anything and everything, from mayo to toilet plungers, for the purposes of self-pleasure. Although I totally get the convenience and the discreetness of DIY pervertibles, do keep personal safety in mind, and remember there is always the option of shopping online, like on Come As You Are’s easy to navigate, educational website. Invest in a few goodies for yourself this year and see how far they will take you.


Debra W. Soh is a sex writer and sexual neuroscientist at York University in Toronto. She has written for Harper’s, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, The Globe and Mail, The Los Angeles Times and many others. Follow her on Twitter: @debra_soh.