Let this be the year (or decade) you finally think beyond the vibrator.

By Amanda Chatel
April 20, 2020
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With every new year comes a new round of sex toy innovations. While it's natural to have a go-to toy, it's definitely worthwhile to try something new. Although humans may be creatures of habit, no one ever said that genitals prefer to stick to the humdrum of the same old, same old. (That's why so many different types of sex toys exist in the first place!)

"I think we'll start to see a lot more 'tech' in toys—whether that's app compatibility or the ability to be used across distances," says Megan Stubbs, a sexologist and sex and relationship coach. "I also think we're going to start seeing more toys that do more than just vibrate. With the success of toys like the Womanizer, I've seen more companies implement that kind of [suction] technology into their products. I also think we're going to see more rechargeable toys. Who wants to deal with batteries anymore?" (Answer: No one.) And, in the midst of a pandemic when social distancing is key, sex toy creators and experts agree that couples sex toys—especially those with long-distance capability—are really going to be on the rise (if at least for now).

Here's the DL on all the hottest sex toy trends of 2020 to get through quarantine and beyond.

1. App-Enabled Distance Toys

"In this current moment of social distancing, couples around the world are re-thinking how to create [intimacy] from afar," says Dominnique Karetsos, advisor to MysteryVibe. "In the months to come, I expect to see more sex toys offering safe and effective long-distance features."

Jess O'Reilly, Ph.D., sexologist and relationship expert, agrees. Distance toys, at least for now, are the biggest sellers out there and are very likely to remain so for the time being, she says.

"People seem especially interested in app-enabled and remote control toys, and their interest should continue to grow throughout the year—especially as more people find themselves separated from their partners due to physical distancing," says Dr. O'Reilly. "For long-distance partners, a toy can help alleviate the pressure of phone or video sex, as it provides physical stimulation while you provide other types of pleasure according to your comfort level: visual, audial, emotional, psychological, romantic, and/or fantasy-based."

While there are plenty of sex toys that work from one end of the room to the other, if you and your partner are quarantined states (or even countries) away, We-Vibe and it's We-Connect app are a great option to turn to for long-distance play. Although We-Vibe may have been the first to put this technology to use, since then other brands, like OhMiBod, have released their own versions. For example, OhMiBod Esca 2 (Buy It, $179, ellaparadis.com) is all about hitting the right spots and can be controlled a world away as well.

Try It: We-Vibe Chorus, $200, lovehoney.com

2. Bluetooth-Powered Toys

Bluetooth-powered toys are also a rising star on the sex toy menu—useful for social distancing and otherwise.

"Partners quarantined apart can use Bluetooth-powered toys to share stimulation and stay connected," says Carol Queen, Ph.D., Good Vibrations staff sexologist and author of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone.

But you don't have to be cities away from each other to enjoy Bluetooth-powered toys. Even if your partner is in the other room, these toys can be used to keep surprises alive and well. And, if surprises aren't your thing or you don't have a partner, you can still control these particular toys on your own.

For example, Amsterdam-based sex tech company Kiiroo offers toys that connect via Bluetooth to interactive videos, virtual reality, a partner's toy, and more. "Some of these Bluetooth toys allow a partner to use the controls, while others seek to link up toys for both to use at once," says Queen. "The Kiiroo products can also connect with cam professionals if you don't already have a boo who wants to put on a show."

But Kiiroo isn't exactly cornering the market on Bluetooth-powered toys. Lovense also has a wide array of toys, from butt plugs and dildos to wands that can be controlled via Bluetooth, as does Satisfyer (who makes this other sex writer's favorite toy).

Le Wand

3. Stainless Steel

For those who aren't concerned about distance with their partner or prefer to roll solo with their toys, then say hello to stainless steel.

"Stainless steel is a highly underused material that was long overdue for a facelift," says Alicia Sinclair, CEO and founder of COTR, the company that makes Le Wand, B-Vibe, and The Cowgirl toys. "There haven't been any new shapes or sizes introduced into this category for years and there were a lot of innovation possibilities."

While most stainless steel toys are all about internal stimulation (like the cult-favorite Njoy Pure Wand), brands like Crave make buzzy stainless steel toys as well. Regardless of which type you buy, Sinclair says a stainless steel product belongs in every sex toy collection: "Stainless steel toys are 100-percent body-safe, easy to sterilize, can be used with any lubricant, and are virtually unbreakable."

What makes stainless steel so great is it provides a different sensation and has a lot—and I mean a lot—of weight to them for those who like that extra full feeling. They're also perfect for temperature play because they hold hot and cold far longer than silicone toys.

Try It: Le Wand Bow, $125, lewand.com

MysteryVibe

4. Bendable Toys

Sometimes getting a sex toy to hit all the right spots can be just as difficult as getting a new partner to do so. Luckily, a new breed of sex toys—bendable ones—is making it easier than ever.

"In 2020, people are looking for personalization—no matter the style of the pleasure product," says Karetsos. MysteryVibe saw so much success with their award-winning, bendable, flagship vibrator, Crescendo, (which provide stimulation for vulvas, penises, and more) that they decided to make another one. Their newest release, Poco, is a bendable bullet vibrator with just as much power as the larger Crescendo and comes with 16 different intensities and a playbook to inspire the perfect position for your body and/or your partner's body. Unbound also makes a bendable toy—appropriately named Bender.

Try It: Poco, $70, mysteryvibe.com

5. More Adventurous Toys

Partially thanks to the whole stay-at-home thing, Sinclair predicts that there's going to be a boatload of adventurous sex toys hitting the market and making their way into bedrooms.

"Due to being in isolation, I think folks are going to be more open to trying new things than they are otherwise," says Sinclair. "Why not use this time to explore your sexual curiosities? I think this will include things like anal toys, even for people who've never explored butt stuff before." A great place to start? An anal training kit specifically designed for beginners. (Or one of these other anal sex toys recommended by experts.)

And, if you've already been there and conquered that (or it's just not your cup of tea), Sinclair has another suggestion: the Cowgirl, a saddle-shaped sex machine that delivers over 1200rpm of powerful vibrations. The Cowgirl is for those who want to simulate riding a partner, with both penetration and thrusting through the use of a variety of silicone attachments so there's something for everyone, no matter their stimulation preference.

Try It: The Cowgirl, $1500, lovehoney.com

With a sense of adventure on the table, it might even be a time where people who have flirted with BDSM finally give it a whole-hearted try with toys such as floggers and rope for some very delectable binding and teasing. Being cooped up for so long can do wonders for the imagination and if those sexual fantasies start heading in a certain direction, you might as well follow.

6. Pegging Toys

Speaking of butt stuff and being more adventurous, if you've yet to experiment with pegging (aka using a dildo to anally penetrate someone), then now might be the time. Especially if you're still in lockdown and you've covered everything but(t) that.

"I think 2020 will be a year remembered for a wider acceptance of pegging," says Searah Deysach, founder and owner of the Chicago-based sex shop Early to Bed. "We've seen a real uptick in women buying strap-ons to use with their male partners."

One of the reasons pegging has been on the rise is thanks to both media and more education about the prostate. Broad City tackled pegging way back in the 2015 episode, "Knockoffs," and it also appeared in the film Deadpool in 2016, but from an educational standpoint, the prostate is finally being recognized as the erogenous zone it always has been. The sex toy company HealthyAndActive has seen a 56 percent jump in prostate massagers in the past five years alone. To call it totally mainstream might be jumping the gun, but it's definitely on its way there. (Just don't forget the lube when you finally indulge!)

Emojibrator

7. Sexual Wellness Toys

Sex and sexual wellness should naturally go hand-in-hand—but they don't always seem like they're in the same camp. But if you can combine wellness with pleasure, it's a win-win.

"As more sex-tech and pleasure product companies are branding themselves as 'wellness' companies, we've seen both an emerging market and skyrocketing demand for wellness-focused pleasure products," says Melissa A Vitale, founder and publicist of MAVPR, NYC's first sex and cannabis PR agency. "The biggest surge in intimacy wellness products has been in consumer-friendly Kegel toys."

A few years ago, Elvie launched the Elvie Trainer (Buy It, $269, ellaparadis.com) which, linked to an app, not only made doing Kegel exercises fun and consumer-friendly, but it created a game-like competition to see how far you could get each day.

Sure, Ben Wa balls and Yoni eggs have been around a while, but they weren't consumer-friendly. "They didn't have extensions for easy removal leaving many customers wondering if they would have to make an embarrassing ER trip before shoving half a hand up their nether parts," says Vitale. "Also, while those items had a quality shape and premium feel, they weren't exciting." Especially since they were used solo, not often included in play with a partner, and don't have vibrational capabilities.

The Kegel toys of today are bridging the gap between wellness and pleasure, by stepping outside the box in regards to shapes and sizes making them exciting. The Paula Kitty Cat Kegel Ball Vibrator, for example, isn't just used to exercise the pelvic floor, but its unique cat shape gives it a playful touch, and the remote control and vibrator components make it more of a pleasure-focused experience.

8. USB-Rechargeable Toys

No longer are the days when you need to steal batteries from the remote to power your vibe in a pinch. A majority of toys on the market today are USB-rechargeable.

"Instead of using batteries to power the motor, these vibrators come with a USB charging cable that plugs into your computer," says Mayla Green, sex coach at TheAdultToyShop.com. Not only are they convenient, but USB rechargeable toys are environmentally friendly because they kick batteries to the curb.

While toys with USB rechargeable cables aren't exactly brand new, toys that are USB rechargeable without the cable—as in, the toy plugs directly into the USB port—are even better. For example, Le Wand Chrome Collection toys are all completely sans cable, making life for those of us who can't keep track of any more cables and chords (ugh), so much easier. Many companies are bound to follow suit with this brand of genius convenience.

9. More Affordable Toys

Considering the state of the country, not everyone will have the cash to drop on expensive toys this year, says Queen.

"On the other side of this crisis, people will certainly appreciate a good value, and there are toys at a wide range of price points to help when you're looking to re-build in the 'new normal'," says Dr. Queen, citing two toys below, as well as "the always-popular Magic Wand which has been a cult favorite and top-seller for decades for a reason!" (See: The Best Cheap Vibrators, According to Reviews)

Sex toy prices really run the gamut. You can buy one for as low as $20, to well into the thousands or even millions. (Fun fact: the most expensive vibrator is $1.3 million.) But it's important to keep in mind that while price does play a role in quality, as well as brand name, it doesn't necessarily mean that the $1.3 million vibrator is going to deliver something that a $20 vibrator can't. Ultimately, it comes down to knowing what your body prefers and what the products are made of because sex toys are not regulated by the FDA.

As long as the toy(s) you're purchasing, no matter what the price is, are body-safe: made of medical-grade silicone, glass, stone, metal, or even ceramic, then you're keeping your body away from harmful chemicals and toxins. If a $20 vibrator or dildo makes the body-safe cut, then it's a quality item. Absolutely stay away from anything that's made of plastic or jelly-type of material. (Here's a complete guide to buying safe sex toys.)

Visoot Uthairam/Getty Images/Ella Paradis

10. The Wand

"I feel like I could declare 2020 as the year of the wand," says Deysach. And, considering how many versions and incarnations of the Original Hitachi Magic Wand are currently for sale, it's hard to ignore that wands aren't just here to stay—they're iconic.

But just because something is iconic, doesn't mean that companies won't try to make an even better version—a quick look at Babeland or Good Vibrations proves that there's almost an overwhelming number of wand vibrators from which to choose. People can't get enough of them, and because of this, those who have fallen in love with one wand are bound to branch out and try others. (Consider one of these best wand vibrators, according to experts.)

"All the time, there are more and more styles of these versatile powerhouses coming out, and I don't see that slowing down," says Deysach. You can now find different sizes (the newer ones tend to be smaller, although just as powerful as the originals), cordless, and waterproof wands, many of which offer even more features, like textured removable heads that fit every mood. (Not to mention, they've come a long way in the looks department.)

As Dr. Queen points out, wands are multi-functional, as in good for "the neck, the back, the pussy, and the crack!" If a goody drawer lacks a wand, is it even really a goody drawer?

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