If you’re wondering how to use a dildo, you might be asking one of a few questions. Maybe you’re wondering how to integrate a dildo into your masturbation routine. Maybe you want to use a dildo as a strap-on with a partner. Or maybe you’re thinking about buying a dildo but want to brush up on everything you can do with it before you take the plunge. Whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered.

Dildos—which, by the way, are sex toys meant for penetration and are often phallus-shaped—are a fun addition to any sex life, solo or partnered. And while they’re pretty straightforward to use, there are some tips and tricks to keep in mind if you want to stay safe and take full advantage of the toy. Below, find out everything you need to know about how to use a dildo by yourself and with a partner.

1. Choose your dildo with care.

Maybe you already have a dildo, in which case, you can skip this step! But if you don’t have one yet, chances are you know that there are many different types of dildos out there. An overwhelming amount, even. When choosing a dildo, there are a few factors to take into consideration: material, size, shape, anal-safety, and whether you’re hoping to use it freehand or with a harness (meaning, using it as a strap-on, probably with a partner).

Dildos come in pretty much all shapes and sizes. Some are straighter, like the Avant Pride P8 Love Dildo ($60, Babeland) and some are more curved for G-spot stimulation, like the Lovehoney Slimline G-Spot Sensual Glass Dildo ($25, Lovehoney); some are short, like the Buck Vixskin Dildo ($130, Babeland) and some are long, like the Spectral Glass Dildo ($150, Babeland); some are thick, like the King Cock Ultra Realistic Girthy Suction Cup Dildo ($45, Lovehoney) and some are narrow, like the Charm Silicone Dildo ($45, Babeland); some are more…phallic and lifelike, like the Bandit Dildo ($130, Babeland) and come in bright colors and less biological shapes, like the Limba Flex Dildo ($70, Babeland). It’s kind of a Goldilocks situation.

Similarly, you have a lot of materials to choose from, too. You can divide most sex toy materials into two broad categories: porous materials and nonporous materials. As SELF previously reported, porous materials have tiny holes (like pores) that can harbor bacteria, fungi, and general gunk. So for dildos, especially ones you’ll be sharing with others, nonporous materials are typically preferable. Some common nonporous materials include silicone, glass, and metal (such as gold or stainless steel). If you have a porous dildo, you might want to stick to solo play or plan to use a condom on it (more on that later). For a more extensive breakdown on how to choose the right dildo for you, check out this article.

Lastly, for both anal play and strap-on play, you’ll want your dildo to have a flared base. That way, it won’t disappear up your butt and you can secure it into a harness, respectively. For solo play, you might want to consider a toy that has a suction cup base, which opens up some more possibilities for how you can use it. But more on that later!

2. And choose a harness, if you want to use it for strap-on play.

A harness is something you wear on your body and attach your dildo to so you can penetrate a partner. It typically goes around your pelvis, securing your dildo where a biological penis would sit, but there are harnesses that go on your chest, hand, thigh, foot, forehead, and more. It’s all about how you want to be able to control it.

Sometimes harnesses and dildos are sold as a set, but most often, you’ll have to buy them separately. Just like when buying a dildo, you need to take a few factors into consideration when buying a harness, such as style, material, sizing, and dildo compatibility. For a full breakdown of everything you need to know when buying a harness, check out this article.

3. Use plenty of lube.

Any time something enters your body during sex, lube can make it a lot easier and more enjoyable, sexologist and sex educator Goody Howard, M.S.W., M.P.H., tells SELF. You just want to make sure the lube you choose is compatible with your dildo and the condoms you use with it. The biggest rule of thumb to remember is that silicone-based lubes can’t be used with silicone toys (it ruins the material) and oil-based lubes can degrade condoms and render them ineffective. If you need help choosing the best lube for you, check out this article.

4. Use a condom when necessary.

As SELF previously reported, there’s a risk for STI transmission even when you’re having sex using a dildo. That’s true for STIs that spread through body fluids, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, and also for those that are transmitted via skin-to-skin contact, like human papillomavirus. So just like when you’re having sex without toys, safety is key.

Condom safety is about more than just using one in the first place, though—it’s about using a new one when necessary. To have safe sex while using a dildo, per previous SELF reporting, use a new condom every time you go from being penetrated to doing the penetrating (and vice versa), as well as every time you switch from using a dildo anally to vaginally. The latter helps protect you from getting a urinary tract infection or a vaginal infection by making sure you’re not spreading bacteria from your butt to your urethra or vagina.

5. Discuss dildo use—and sharing—with your partner.

Obviously this is important for safety reasons—if you and your partner are sharing sex toys with others, you want to make sure you’re on the same page about using condoms and keeping up on proper toy hygiene. But that’s not the only thing you should discuss.

“I also get asked all the time if you should switch dildos for each partner or if you just use the same dildo and put a condom on it for different partners,” says Howard. “It just depends on the person wearing the dildo and the relationship they have to the dildo. They might feel like, ‘This is my dick, I’m going to use it with every partner and use condoms.’ Or maybe they’re not married to one dildo and they’ll use a different dildo with different partners.”

You might not know how you feel one way or another, which is fine, too. Talking things through with a partner can help you figure it out.

6. Don’t forget foreplay.

Even if you’re using lube, Howard recommends leaving plenty of time to get in the mood, loosen up, and get some natural lubrication going if possible, too. And yes, you can engage in foreplay when you’re masturbating! No partner required. Experiment with different ways of touching yourself to get yourself excited, Howard recommends—maybe you use your fingers before bringing in the dildo, or maybe you tease the dildo around your vulva before moving on to penetration.

For strap-on play, foreplay might involve wearing your harness around in non-sexual situations to build up anticipation. Which, by the way, is also a solid way to get more comfortable with your strap-on in general, so win-win.

7. Experiment with techniques other than thrusting.

You might be inclined to use your dildo exactly how one much have sex with a biological penis—namely, by thrusting it in and out of yourself or your partner at various speeds—but there’s no reason to limit yourself. For one, some dildos (like ones with certain textures or a large curve) aren’t built for that. Moreover, there are simply more options out there.

Some people enjoy inserting a dildo for a feeling of fullness while otherwise only enjoying clitoral stimulation. Some prefer the sensation of tapping the dildo gently once it’s inside or simply clenching around it instead of thrusting it in and out. And of course, if you want to use your dildo a more traditional way, then thrust to your heart’s content. It’s completely personal.

If you don’t know where to start, Howard recommends thinking about how you typically masturbate without toys. What kind of sensations do you like? Can you do something similar with a dildo? (Incidentally, this is also a useful tip for choosing a dildo in the first place. For example, do you typically use a “come hither” motion when fingering yourself? A curved dildo might be a good choice.)

8. Find your favorite dildo-friendly positions.

This goes for both partnered sex and enjoying your dildo solo. For partnered play with a strap-on, try simple sex positions that allow you to get used to the strap-on, especially if you’re the one wearing it. Basic positions like missionary, on all fours, or standing beside the bed while your partner lies on its edge allow you to adjust the strap-on or direct it with your hands if necessary.

For solo play (or partnered play not involving a harness), it’s all about finding a position where you can reach the dildo and move it in a way that you like. If your dildo has a suction cup, Howard recommends attaching it to your toilet seat so you can ride it or sticking it to the shower wall so you can thrust back on it. “It can help you have more control over the insertion, how deep it goes, and the rhythm,” says Howard. Just make sure you clean your bathroom.

9. Combine dildo use with clitoral stimulation.

Whether or not you stimulate your clit is about whether or not you enjoy it. If you don’t, no worries! It’s worth mentioning, though, that many people with vaginas require some sort of clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm, per the Mayo Clinic, so if that’s something you’re interested in, don’t forget the clit when enjoying penetration. Combine your dildo play with a bullet vibrator or a wand or just use your hands.

10. Experiment beyond penetration, too.

Speaking of branching out, there are other ways to utilize your dildo or strap-on. Just think outside the box a little and follow your instincts about what might be hot (so long as your partner is on board, too). “I love getting ‘blow jobs’ from my husband,” Melissa R., 28, previously told SELF. “It felt silly at first but it turned out to be really hot. Once I started thinking about my strap-on as ‘my cock,’ we got more and more ideas of how to play with it.”

11. Brush up on anal sex tips.

Safe and pleasurable anal sex is a whole separate article, but luckily, we’ve already written it here. Moreso than vaginal penetration, anal requires some degree of planning ahead and working yourself up to full-on penetration. That’s thanks to your butt’s lack of natural lubrication and a muscle known as your anal sphincter, which is designed to keep things nice and tight so poop stays in (and therefore more difficult to penetrate without proper technique). So if you’re hoping to use your toy for anal, check out that article, too.

12. Communicate during sex.

Communication is important for pretty much all partnered sex, but there’s a specific reason why communicating when using a dildo or a strap-on is extra important: You can’t always feel what you’re doing. “One thing I learned very early on is that I’m terrible at judging how deep I’m going when I’m using a strap-on,” Spencer W., 25, previously told SELF. “My poor partner put up with a lot of low-key stabbing. But it’s not like a hand, where you can kind of feel where you’re at. Go slow and check in along the way.”

The same goes for the receiver, by the way. “If something feels uncomfortable, say something,” Lisa Finn, a sex educator and brand manager for Babeland, previously told SELF.

13. Clean and store your dildo properly.

Yep, even if you’re the only one using it. In general, you should wash and dry it after each use so it’s as clean as possible, per previous SELF reporting. “Learning to clean your sex toy properly is so important. So many people don’t know how,” says Howard. How to clean your dildo depends on the material, but you can clean many with a little soap and water or with a specialty toy cleaner. To learn everything you need to know about cleaning your dildo, check out this article.

Source: self.com