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Matt McGuigan/the Gauntlet

The skinny on sex toys

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With the Taboo Naughty But Nice sex show coming up Nov. 12-15, it's time to start thinking about what kinds of exciting sex toys to buy for you, your lover or for novelty Christmas presents.

The sex show is an awesome place to shop for all kinds of quirky and kinky stuff-- there's no other place where you can find everything from lubes and dildos to bondage gear all under one roof with many people willing to demonstrate the different ways you can use them. The Taboo sex show boasts a comfortable environment, showcasing demonstrations and information sessions to help you choose the right toy. Picking a toy is often a difficult decision, depending on what you want to use it for and the materials you are comfortable with. There are a large variety of sex toys and the knowledgeable people that work the show's booths will be able to steer you in the right direction and answer any questions you have. Several first time and seasonal buyers need to ask a variety of questions when purchasing their fun things and it is important to know the toy's pros and cons. Taboo demonstrations can show you how to use the toy, how to store it and even how to clean your toys to keep both you and them in the best condition possible. But to give you a little primer, we have rounded up a bit of information on some of the more popular attractions.

Dildos are the first thing that come to mind for most people when sex toys are mentioned, and because of this, there are a huge array of types, styles and sizes. You can get dildos that vibrate, twirl, oscillate or pulse, and many-- like Sex in the City's famous rabbit vibrator-- can perform many or all of these functions. Dildos are manufactured from a variety of different materials, including rubber, silicone, plastic, glass and metal. Some materials are safer than others. Glass, metal and silicone are the safest materials because they are all able to withstand high temperatures and can be boiled or put in the dishwasher to sterilize between uses. They are also non-porous, so you don't have to worry about them absorbing fluids and growing bacteria. On the topic of hygiene, recently a new complication has showed up on the radar for informed sex toy purchasers in the form of "phthalates." Pronounced "thal-eights," these are chemicals added to a variety of plastic products to make them softer and more bendable. Research into phthalates has shown they can disrupt liver and kidney function, mess with hormones and diminish fertility. The research isn't focused on sex toys specifically, but it's disconcerting enough to think twice about what you are putting in your body.

Dildos can be intimidating to new purchasers. An excellent, discrete and fun toy is the personal vibrator or massager. Vibrators are often smaller and more buyer friendly. They come in a variety of shapes, colours and functions and are easy to start with. Most sex toy purchasers start with a vibrator and work themselves up, in more ways than one. Vibrators are also multi-use-- they can be used for direct clitoral stimulation, as well as other sensual areas of the body. Exploration on both female and male bodies can uncover quite shocking revelations. Vibrators also boast different speeds and intensities, so each session can be customized to individual comfort. They are marketed as discrete and some you can even put in your purse or pocket for that orgasm on the go. Vibrators are designed to be fun and fancy free, and can be bought with remote controls to keep things heated at a distance. Since they are marketed for both men and women, the possibilities are virtually limitless. There are even waterproof vibrators for those more inclined to sudsy fun. Like dildos, vibrators should be cleaned between each use, and a drop of lube goes a long way. Vibrators are easy to share, and experience new sensations with your partner. Overall, vibrators are a great introduction to sex toys, and are both user friendly and a great time to be had by all.

Cock rings are the most common male sex toy, and while they might not be quite as exciting as the ubiquitous Fleshlight, they can still be a great way to stimulate both partners. You can get vibrating sex rings that come packed with a condom and lube as a simple introduction in the grocery store, but at the sex show you can get cock rings with nubbins, tassels and even support sheathes and ball nooses. The nice people selling them will tell you exactly what those extra add-ons do. They can be placed either around the shaft of the penis or around the base, behind the testicles. Their main purpose is to keep the penis filled with blood longer, to retain an erection longer and to experience more sensation. However, whether your cock ring is for around the shaft of the penis or around the base, behind the testicles, the most important thing to remember is never wear a cock ring for longer than 20 minutes. Any longer than 20 minutes, can cause the extra blood retained in the penis to leave bruising and discomfort for days. No one deserves that.

So before you go sex toy shopping, do a little research. Find out what interests you, and what you would like to experience. Think of some questions and bring them with you when you are browsing. With this you can make an informed decision and buy a little something in a black bag that will keep you and a partner happy. Sex is fun and here is your chance to be a kid in a candy store. So whether you invest in a small bullet vibe for the time-being, or are busy hooking up the sex swing right now, be informed about the toys you buy, and never skimp on quality. Be safe and continue to play! Any questions, concerns or topics you wanna hear about can be directed to campuscoitus@hotmail.com.

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