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Ahhh Valentine’s Day. A time for romance. A time for cliché. A time that functions as a convenient excuse to engage differently with your and your partners’ sexualities in ways erroneously not often condoned by our sexually conservative culture. Whether you relate to Feb. 14 with anticipation, dread, or indifference, it’s always fun to have an excuse to dive deeper (and harder) into what feels good.
What do you need to know before gifting someone a sex toy? For starters, keep the gift low pressure and centered on your partner by giving it to them out of a context where you’re about to have—or already having—sex. If it’s going to be just theirs, make it clear that it’s theirs first and foremost, and that you don’t expect to use it together unless it’s their idea.
If you’re thinking about a sex toy to use together, talk about it first—or even cozy up with your laptops and go shopping together. If it’s a sex toy that stretches their comfort zone, give them time to explore on their own without asking whether or not they’ve used it yet. And check out the best sex toys to buy your partner for Valentine’s Day below.
The Doxy Die-Cast Wand Vibrator
If your giftee already uses and loves a wand vibrator like the Magic Wand but is into something a little more powerful and, frankly, sexier, the Die-Cast Wand from Doxy could be the perfect upgrade.
The aluminum cast handle is luxurious to the touch compared to its plastic counterparts and the matte silicone-wrapped head both easily translates sensation and simplifies clean-up afterwards (plus, it’s weighted). While the Doxy has to plug into the wall to run, the trade-off in power and run time (read: endless) are absolutely worth it.
While many people with vulvas love vibration, others find it too intense — but that doesn’t mean they’re left high and dry (and toyless). The Whim is a set of two squishy silicone external sex toys designed for grinding.
Each side has unique ripples and shapes to offer the user different sensations. Put water-based lube on the business side and either cup it with your hand to explore or ride on top. Or use them as a buffer between vulva and vibrator, or vulva and strap-on.
Dame Products Kip
Dame Products’s Kip is a lipstick vibrator that proves that size isn’t everything. Kip has a sloped head that ends in a tip and flexible edges that flutter along with the vibration for a few different angles to explore.
It also has a surprisingly rumbly motor that stays fairly quiet, along with the standard range of intensities, USB charger, and waterproofing.
We-Vibe Ditto Butt Plug
The We-Vibe Ditto is a rumbly, powerful butt plug in a size and shape that’s accessible for beginners yet still satisfying for more experienced folks who like smaller plugs. (Though if your giftee has a prostate, the similarly rumbly We-Vibe Vector will hit the spot.) It’s rechargeable, waterproof, and comes with a remote control to make changing the settings in the moment easy. Bonus: it also works with the optional (and now allegedly secured) We-Connect app, making it a good fit for long-distance or coronavirus-separated partners.
Requiring both less commitment than a set of leather restraints and less skill than bondage rope, bondage tape is perfect for anyone who wants to explore bondage in a lower-stakes, low-investment way. Bondage tape is single-use, easy to handle, and sticks only to itself. But it’s still important to be aware of the risks, so if you’re not familiar with kink be sure to read up on safety, keep the wraps away from any joints (or necks) and loose enough to slide a finger under, and have medical shears on hand for a quick release just in case.
Sutil Luxe Lube
Really good lube can take solo or partnered sex from great to mind-blowing, but it can also be an investment. Sutil lubes are water-based and some of the best, and Sutil Luxe is light, slick, and formulated for compatibility with vaginal pH (a lot of lubes out there are not!). Plus, it’s water-based, so you don’t have to worry about a problematic interaction with a silicone toy or safer sex barrier.