When I first started reading sex toy reviews online, I thought they would help me unlock the secrets of the sex toy industry. Which toys were good, and which were bad? Which would give me earth-shattering orgasms, and which would leave me grumbling and unsatisfied? Which were worth investing in, and which cost so much for so little payoff that I might as well throw my money into a bonfire?
However, as I started writing sex toy reviews of my own, I quickly learned that it’s not that simple. A reviewer can tell you whether a toy worked for them, but they can’t tell you whether it’s an objectively good or bad toy – because there is no such thing.
There are some qualities that make a toy likelier to appeal to a broader range of people – for example, a highly adjustable and rumbly motor, an ergonomic and intuitive controls interface, and a shape designed to hit common erogenous zones like the G-spot. Likewise, there are certain qualities that will make a toy less functional and pleasurable for the majority of users: a weak and buzzy motor, for instance, or controls located in a spot that’s hard to reach while the toy is in use.
But once you move beyond those generalities and look at toys’ more granular qualities, you get into the territory of subjectivity. What works brilliantly for one person may be lackluster or even painful for another. It’s all a matter of anatomy and taste.
For example, one of my all-time favorite sex toys, the Njoy Eleven, is definitely not for everyone. It has an impressive 2” diameter on its larger end, and it’s made of stainless steel, so it’s unforgiving and unrelenting. Inserting it could be uncomfortable, painful, or just plain impossible for people who like their penetration on the smaller side – but for me, it’s not only comfortable but often ecstatic. It sweeps over my G-spot with every thrust, often inducing squirting and/or blended orgasms – but for people who like more subtle G-spot stimulation, or who don’t like G-spot stimulation at all, the Eleven would be a disappointment.
Similarly, for many years, I didn’t understand the appeal of the Hitachi Magic Wand (now called the Magic Wand Original). Everyone seemed to sing its praises, from sex toy reviewers to porn stars to laypeople – but when I bought one and tried it myself, it just numbed my clit and annoyed me with its heft and size. I felt like a broken outlier for not enjoying it, because advocates of the Wand often ignore the subjectivity of sex toys and write about their fave vibe like it could give anyone an orgasm, regardless of preferences. That’s not cool, and it’s part of why I strive to reflect different people’s tastes in my reviews now, instead of assuming everyone’s body works like mine! (And for the record: I adore the Hitachi’s contemporary update, the Magic Wand Rechargeable.)
A good trick, when searching for reviews of toys you’re interested in buying, is to look for reviewers whose tastes and anatomy are similar to your own. Their opinions of a particular toy are likeliest to reflect what yours would be, so you can make smarter purchasing decisions with their help. Dangerous Lilly’s Sex Toy Reviewer Directory is a great starting point for finding reviewers whose likes and dislikes match yours.