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The goop Guide to Sex

It’s a big world out there, and there’s some pretty tantalizing, sex-positive, heart-rate-upping stuff in it. So to celebrate our new sex book, we went out into it and brought back the best of the sex department—from erotic books (what’s better than sensual literature that’s actually sensual?) and an aphrodisiac shower gel to sleek vibrators (see our Dildo Dictionary below), gorgeous whips, and edible sex dust. Welcome to the ultimate edit of the sexiest essentials for the bedroom. And the shower. And…

THE DILDO DICTIONARY

Some don’t know the difference between a dildo and a vibrator, while others have to make time to Marie Kondo their BDSM dungeons. For the uninitiated, half the fun of sex toys is experimentation. The other half is knowing a few things:

– Both dildos and vibrators are technically just dildos. The latter vibrate and can get impressively high-tech; the former are always manual and are meant to go inside, vaginally or anally.

– Personal massagers vary wildly in shape, size, and intensity, though generally speaking the endgame is usually the same: orgasm by clitoral stimulation.

– Lubrication is often essential. And since it goes into particularly permeable parts of the body, make sure to read the lube label and avoid any ingredients that end in -paraben. (Take a deeper dive into clean personal-care products in chapter 30 of The Sex Issue.)

– Keep it clean. For obvious reasons, intimacy enhancers require a pretty thorough scrub-down between uses. Consult each toy’s individual packaging for cleaning and storage instructions.

– Take your time and do some research. For sexuality coach Layla Martin’s tips on introducing toys to your repertoire, bringing up the idea with a partner, and how they can help tap into your unique sexual presence, turn to page 37 of The Sex Issue.

In the meantime, since there’s no regulation around sex-toy materials, some tried-and-tested toys that play by our rules: YES to medical-grade, nonporous materials and a rock-hard NO to phthalates.

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