Scientists believe that sex toys have existed for approximately the last 2,000 years, but we’re guessing they go back a lot farther. In fact, many of the first sex toys look remarkably similar to the ones you can buy today — phalluses of various sizes. While early sex toys may have been made out of bronze and polished wood instead of silicone, men and women have been pleasuring themselves with fake penises for millennia.
Even though human beings have been using sex aids for thousands of years, sex toys didn’t change much between biblical times and modern history. With the dawn of the electric age, enterprising inventors began selling vibrating machines to treat mental and physical maladies. Some of these primitive vibrators were even used by physicians or midwives to treat “hysteria” or depression.
Then, thanks to the 1960s sex revolution and the sex-positive ethos of second- and third-wave feminists, the last several decades have seen an explosion of innovation in the sex toy industry. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we’re living through a sexual renaissance, with exciting new ways to screw ourselves — and each other. Lovers can use the best couple’s sex toys to spice things up in the bedroom, men can use prostate stimulators to treat themselves to a little butt stuff (or a lot of butt stuff), and women now have an entire arsenal of vibrators, dildos and clitoral stimulators at their disposal. It’s truly a golden age for the orgasm!
And if you’re looking for the best sex toys of all time, you’ve come to the right place. Through years of testing and research, editors and writers at SPY know our way around a sex toy and what a quality sex toy looks like. We also consulted a few sex-perts from the sexual health and sexology fields about their top recommendations for sex toys.
How To Choose the Best Sex Toys for Your Needs
In researching the best sex toys, we talked to Dr. Jill McDevitt, a resident sexologist for the brand CalExotics. Dr. McDevitt holds three different degrees in the field of human sexuality. She notes that “the best sex toys are the ones that best meet your specific sexual need and goal (for instance clitoral stimulation during intercourse, or g-spot thrusting, or penile stroking, etc), but I do have go-to sex toys that I recommend to clients.” (We’ll cover those later on.)
In general, the best adult toys ever invented are made of body-safe materials, are durable, work discreetly and have a cult following. In reviewing the best sex toys of all time, you’ll sometimes find that a specific brand has become a generic name for an entire category of sex toys, like Fleshlights or Magic Wands. In addition to these famous sex toys, we’ve also included a few general categories like strap-ons and vibrators.
As an overview, you can classify most adult toys into one of the following categories:
We’ve included a few of each on our list. So, no matter your gender, sexuality or anatomy, we’ve got something for you. Keep reading to discover the best sex toys of all time, from iconic inventions like Magic Wands for intense clitorial stimulation to high-tech blowjob machines for dudes.
1. Hitachi Magic Wand
Originally designed as a sports massager, the Hitachi Magic Wand was a huge part of the sex-positive feminist movement of the 1970s. Before the days of Amazon and mail-order sex toys, it was much easier for women to go into a department store to buy something for their sore muscles than it was to ask for a vibrator. The invention allowed many women around the world to experience orgasmic masturbation for the first time. The Magic Wand became so entwined in the sex industry, that eventually Hitachi took its name off the device. Today, it’s sold in the US by Vibratex and is simply known as the Magic Wand Original. Countless women can testify that it’s a powerfully effective vibrator.
In addition to those glowing reviews, Sexologist Alex Miller with Orchid Toys notes that “the Hitachi Magic Wand, which started it all, deserves its spot in the hall of fame not only because it was the first readily available toy but because it provides STRONG stimulation externally, which although not a guarantee for everyone, certainly works for providing pleasure to most women. Some toys work better for some women, but it’s almost never bad to suggest someone try the Magic Wand.”
2. Rabbit Vibrators
The second most classic vibrator of all time has to be the Rabbit. Originally marketed in Japan in 1983 by Vibratex, these vibrators were popularized in the U.S. by the 1990s TV show Sex and the City. Today, rabbit vibrators refer generally to any vibrating dildo that combines internal g-spot stimulation with vibrating rabbit ears for clitoral stimulation. Together these two parts stimulate both the vagina and the clitoris, allowing for the ultimate orgasm. Since day one, sex toy competitors around the globe have been creating their own versions of the rabbit vibrator, and today, there are plenty of these sex toys featuring soft silicone exteriors and multi-vibrational motors.
If you’re looking for the classic Rabbit Vibrator, you want the Rabbit Pearl, which features three types of motion: “a lavender shaft that twirls for g-spot stimulation, ‘pearls’ that stimulate the sensitive opening of the vagina, and rabbit ears that flutter along the clitoris.” There are dozens of variations on this popular sex toy to choose from (Love Honey has exactly 69 different models), but the Rabbit Habit below is the most famous.
For a more modern take on the classic Rabbit vibrator, you’ll want to go with the best-selling Better Love Lily vibrator, which is currently 60% off via Ella Paradis.
3. Personal Massagers
This sex toy, the Maude Vibe, came highly recommended by Alice Queen, founder of Vanilla is the New Kink, a sex blog aimed at helping couples find spice in even the most “vanilla” of situations. She raves about the Maude Vibe, saying it’s “hands down” the “best sex toy of all time for men, women, and non-binary people. It is simple to use — just one button handles everything from on/off to changing between the three intensities. It has an organic ‘teardrop’ shape, which means it is endlessly adaptable. No matter what your body shape and where you use it, you’ll find pleasure. And, wow, for something so compact, Maude Vibe is surprisingly powerful! It has a long battery life and it’s easy to clean.”
She goes on to say that “as a woman, the Maude Vibe is by far my favorite toy for clitoral stimulation, either solo or with a partner. My husband also says it is his favorite toy ever, which surprised me at first. He loves to have it gently pressed against his perineum during oral sex. He says it intensifies the experience to mind-blowing levels.”
There you have it. This sex toy is so popular it actually runs out of stock fairly often, so it’s currently only available for pre-order. We highly recommend you get on the email list for an in-stock alert whenever it does come back, because it seems like a worthwhile purchase.
BEST FOR MEN
When most people think of sex toys, they usually think of some sort of vibrating object. While these can be fun for both men and women, there really wasn’t a toy to help men masturbate discreetly until the invention of the Fleshlight in 1998. These faux-vaginas look like a flashlight when they aren’t in use, but they simulate the feeling of a vagina when they are. In addition, Fleshlight has some products that are molded from the real vaginas of porn stars, if that’s something you’d like to try. Overall, the Fleshlight is probably the best male sex toy of all time.
5. Clit Stimulators
BEST ORAL SEX STIMULATOR
For the longest time, the sex toy industry struggled to create a device that could imitate the joys of cunnilingus. It’s certainly a difficult thing to replicate as your partner’s tongue is usually wet and warm and can move at a personalized pace and pressure. While the sex toy industry still hasn’t managed to replicate oral sex 100%, clit stimulators, like the Satisfyer Pro 2 Next Generation, do come close. Using soft vibrations, this device sends pressure waves that mimic sucking to the vulva. It’s covered in body-friendly silicone and offers 11 intensity levels to meet the needs of most women.
6. Classic Vibrators
BEST FOR WOMEN
SPY is a men’s website, so why is our list of the best sex toys of all time dominated by women’s pleasure aids? Well, it’s just not that hard for men to get off, and so the most famous and innovative sex toys of all time are usually designed for female pleasure. Sure, there are plenty of vibrating toys for men, and we’ll feature some shortly, but the humble vibrator is the unsung hero of the sex toy world. There are countless models to choose from, and these devices are generall designed to maximize g-spot stimulation for an intense orgasm.
If you’re looking for a recommendation, Lelo is one of our favorite places to buy sex toys online. The brand’s SORAYA vibrator has an award-winning design that’s hard to beat. It’s made from an extra-soft, vagina-friendly silicone and offers 12 vibration settings for maximum pleasure.
Another great vibrator option is this “Butterfly Kiss” one from CalExotics, that comes recommended by Dr. McDevitt for its clitoral stimulation via the butterfly as well as the g-spot stimulating shape of the internal vibrator itself.
“I’ve actually been recommending this vibe throughout my entire 13+ year career because it is simply perfection in its design. While the perfect shape has (thankfully!) remained the same over the years, CalExotics has gifted us with upgrades to the materials (now made of silicone) and it’s charging mechanism (rechargeable by USB instead of AAA batteries), so it has all the functions of a modern vibe while keeping the integrity of the classic shape.”
“The shape is perfect because the internal bulb is sized and shaped to lay against the g-spot, and the butterfly wings and antennae lay against the clitoris from all angles. The shaft is flexible and bends and moves with your unique shape,” said Dr. McDevitt.
7. Bullet Vibrators
BEST FOR POWER
Bullet vibrators are known for packing a mighty, powerful vibrating punch into a tiny package and this one is no different. The Glam bullet from CalExotics comes with ten different vibrational functions and comes in a lipstick-sized travel casing you can slip into your bag and carry anywhere. The motor is whisper quiet so you can use it discretely easily and it only takes two hours to charge via USB to enjoy 50 minutes of high-speed vibration action or 90 minutes of slower speeds.
Dr. McDevitt described this sex toy as a “super-charged bullet with incredible power, but with a super quiet motor, that can be used for anything from clitoral masturbation to nipple play, massage to enhancing oral sex through the cheek. It’s also great for beginners just trying their first sex toy because it’s simple, straightforward, non-phallic and doesn’t look “sexual” which can help some younger folks new to vibrators get over any intimidation they may feel.”
The bullet vibrator is also a great option or beginners. If you are in the market for your first vibrator, these lipstick-shaped devices are affordable and simple to use. You can find plenty of options at our favorite sex toy retailers including sites like Love Honey.
8. The Strap-On Dildo
BEST FOR ADVENTUROUS COUPLES
Pegging, the sex act that involves a woman penetrating her male partner with a strap-on harness, is a relatively new concept. Coined by sex columnist Dan Savage, pegging has become a popular genre of adult porn and has been explored by TV shows like Broad City in recent years. Previously, strap-ons were most closely associated with lesbian sex, and straight couples and heterosexual men are hardly the only ones that enjoy this sex toy. Today, folks of many genders and sexual orientations enjoy strap-on harnesses. (Go ahead, we know you’re curious.)
Some of the earliest known sex toys appear to be primitive strap-ons, and erotic artwork from the 18th century depicts women using these implements in sex acts. In one famous political cartoon titled, “The Royal Dildo,” Marie Antoinette is pictured penetrating another woman using a strap-on. That cartoon was almost certainly inaccurate, but if you want to dress up like Marie Antoinette and recreate this anachronistic sex act, go nuts!
9. Bluetooth Sex Toys
BEST FOR LDR
Necessity is the mother of invention, and in a global pandemic, many of us were distanced from our partners. Whether this was your first experience at a long-distance relationship or you and your partner are seasoned pros, it doesn’t take long to learn that you may need a little help to give your sex life a heartbeat. Bluetooth sex toys are one way to spice up all that virtual sex you’ve been having. These toys can be controlled by remotes or through apps on a smartphone, allowing your partner who may be thousands of miles away to pleasure you as he or she sees fit. One of the best Bluetooth sex toys on the market is the OhMiBod Esca 2 G-Spot Vibe. Order one for your LDR, and you’ll never look back. These toys are also popular among sex workers like webcam performers, as they allow the audience to interact with the performer in real-time.
10. Vibrating Cock Rings
BEST FOR COUPLES
For couples who want to integrate a toy into their sexual encounters, a vibrating cock ring may be a good choice. These have been around for decades, but they continue to improve dramatically. You no longer have to use the cheap plastic versions you used to find in sex toy stores for a few dollars. Those are often toxic, anyways. Today, vibrating cock rings are often coated in body-safe silicone and offer several different vibrating modes, like this gorgeous option from Lelo. The Tor 2 offers an easy-to-control interface and is available in three different colors.
11. Hands-Free Vibrators
BEST FOR FILLING THE ORGASM GAP
Unless you’re extremely lucky, the orgasm gap is something you’ve likely experienced before. This refers to the fact that men usually enjoy more orgasms than women do, but hands-free vibrators are here to help. These devices sit between a woman’s labia to stimulate the clitoris during penetrative sex (or simply during masturbation). While still a relatively new concept, the one hands-free vibrator that has really got the ball rolling is the Dame Eva II. With its flexible wings, snug fit and three-speed motor, this vibrator can go with you wherever and is ready to help women orgasm whenever it’s needed.
12. Finger Vibes
Most vibrators take a concerted effort to use. They require holding and positioning in exactly the right areas, but finger vibes were invented to give you or your partner more precise control over the vibrations. These vibrators slip over your fingers, allowing you to explore pleasurable feelings where you need them most. In particular, we like the Kimi Rechargeable Finger Vibe as it gives you not one but two finger covers for double the fun. The rechargeable device has six vibration modes with six speeds each.
As we mentioned earlier, human beings have been using phallus-shaped devices for self-stimulation for thousands of years. It’s hard to think of a more classic sex toy than the dildo, which now comes in all shapes and sizes, from bubblegum pink dildos to realistic PVC phalluses complete with veins and testicles. For every penetrative need, there’s a dildo to match.
14. Butt Plugs
BEST INTRO TO ANAL PLAY
Although anal toys have been around for a long time, B-Vibe is one of the first companies to really put a dedicated effort into creating vibrators for anal play. The Rechargeable Rimming Plug, in particular, has gone a long way to introducing users to backdoor sexual activities. The plug has a vibrating tip as well as rotating beads around the base to mimic rimming, also known as analingus. This butt plug is a great option for men who might want to explore anal fun but aren’t ready for the real deal or a full anal vibrator.
15. VR Sex Experiences
Remember Demolition Man with its strange sex scene between Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone? In the year 2032, the writers surmised that all sexual encounters would take place in a virtual world. Turns out, they weren’t far off. VR sexual experiences are one of the newest advances in sex toys. In essence, these kits use sex toys paired to a VR headset, allowing you to trick your mind and body into believing you’re having some sort of real sexual encounter. The Kiiroo Titan VR Experience is the leading kit in this new genre of toys, and it comes with a VR headset, lubricant and a vibrating stroker that can be paired to over 4,000 X-rated movies. Even without the stroker, VR pornography is a new and growing niche in the porn world.
16. Robotic AI Sex Dolls
MOST QUESTIONABLE SPLURGE
Sex dolls have been around for a while, creating a fetish following among some men. But, for the first time, robotic sex dolls with artificial intelligence are entering the market. The first robotic versions appeared three decades ago, but in 2018, RealDoll took things one step further by adding artificial intelligence technology to their line of real-ish RealDolls. The RealDoll X-Series offers users life-size sex dolls with modular heads that can create a multitude of expressions as well as sensors throughout the body for a more interactive experience. RealDolls are also almost completely customizable. If you have the money and can get over the uncanny valley effect, they might be worth the investment.
Honorable Mention: Vibrating Strokers
This innovative sex toy from CalExotics has multiple functions built into one sex toy, and has customizable levels of each. Dr. McDevitt explains it as “part penis stroker, part vibrator, and it also has 3 functions of compression from squeeze pads that customize the level of tightness, all within a self-contained unit.”
This toy comes with many different options that build upon the experience of a fleshlight and take it to the next level. Each squeeze pads adjust the level of tightness you feel with each stroke, and the tickling will help you reach new levels of climax you didn’t think possible. The easy-to-use silicone buttons on the device help you switch between the various functions and the chamber sleeves are easy-to-clean and require no special care before or after use.