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Sex Toy Sommelier is our sex toy matchmaking and advice column at SheKnows. Whether you’re taking your first brave steps into the world of sex toys and sexual health accessories (welcome, it’s fun here!) or an old pro looking to add some new goodies to your existing collection (hello to you too!), Health & Sex Editor Katherine Speller is here to help SheKnows readers level-up their bedside tables, toy chests and/or DIY sex dungeons with the tools they need to feel deeply satisfied — and give some pro-tips on how introduce some of these new toys and tools into your sex life along the way.
Write in to let us know what you’re into, what you want to be into or what you’re in the market for via our hotline (we’ll keep things anonymous, of course) and we’ll do our very best to drop a range of toys and sexual health products that meet your tastes, wants and needs. While money certainly can’t buy you love, it can buy you orgasms — which can be just as good, TBH.
As summer winds down and back-to-school season hits, you may be feeling that Virgo season urge to catch up on your reading (but like in sexy way). Or maybe you just want a few more good steamy beach reads to ride out the last few days of summer. Or maybe, if porn and audio-erotica staples aren’t serving you, you just want some free-range, grass-fed smut to rev your engines. If any of the above apply to you, you’re going to love this month’s column. While we’ll be resuming your previously scheduled Sex Toy Sommelier format (addressing real questions from real readers via our hotline and making people’s sex toy dreams come true!) next month, we’re closing out the summer with a twist: A grown-up NSFW summer reading list paired with just a few of the toys that’ll really help you really enjoy them.
I’m joined this month by legendary bookseller and life-long Romance fan Nicole Brinkley who hand-picked some Romance novel titles that range from sweet and sexy, seriously steamy and a little bit silly. From there, I hand-picked some toys that felt like they most accurately matched the vibe of the book. Was this the weirdest and most intense test of my Sex Toy Sommelier skills to date? Yes. Am I obsessed with the results? Also, yes.
Like we always say around these parts: Your brain is your most powerful and important organ when it comes to really experiencing sexual pleasure. So why not treat your mind and your body to a book and a toy that will give you that sensual boost? You deserve it.
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston x Satisfyer Curvy 3+
Nicole Brinkley: Yes, it’s a book about grief but it’s a pretty sexy romance, too. Poston claimed to write The Dead Romantics so that she could look her grandmother in the eye after — but maybe her grandmother is kinkier than she thinks. If you think your hot ghost editor watching you as you [I don’t know, is there a good ghost pun for masturbation here?], you should try…”
Sex Toy Sommelier: Living in the future means there’s plenty of ways to get sensations you might otherwise only get with a partner while you’re hanging solo (or even just far apart). App-controlled toys offer plenty of options for remote play and pre-programmed individual settings that can go on for like ever — while it’s not an exact stand-in for a hot ghost voyeur whispering in your ear, it’s the closest you’ll get without a ouija board. For penetration lovers, We-Vibe Nova
is a forever standout (one of the softest and most luxurious-feeling G-spot stimulators I’ve ever owned!) and for those looking for a suction toy that will give that unique clitoral stimulation that feels almost like oral sex, I love Satisfyer Curvy 3+
. Both offer ways to pre-program the settings that keep you satisfied for hands-free action that will let you really focus on fantasizing.
The Accidental Pinup by Danielle Jackson x Lingerie & Sex Toy Jewelry
NB: If you’re looking for an excuse to get dressed up in lingerie so your partner can take sexy photos of you, The Accidental Pinup is here for you. And if the person you’re partnering with is your enemy-turned-lover? Why, even better. This plus-sized romance takes photographer Cassie Harris out from behind the camera and into the spotlight of Buxom Boudoir’s latest photoshoot — a photoshoot taken by her rival Reid Montgomery. Turns out all that animosity between them might have been hiding some pretty heavy chemistry.
STS: This one is a bit of a two-fer but the idea of recommending cute, inclusive lingerie that you’ll look and feel cute in and playing with the power-play of enemies-to-lovers is like too much for me to pass-up. So first of all, I love to recommend Lovehoney’s collection of lingerie (and other sex-wear — including costumes and “wet look” or rubber-y looking ‘fits) because they have a solid selection of plus size options that aren’t all the same and they almost always have a deal going down. Another brand I’m kind of obsessed with (that I learned about via TikTok) is Solstice Intimates. Mixing textures, patterns and cool prints, they aren’t always serving what you’d think of as the platonic ideal of “lingerie” but I’m a firm believer that the whole point is to find what looks and feels sexy to you (and you can and should be out-of-the-box as you want to be on that front!)
Adding to the wearables and playing off the power-play/love-to-hate each other energy, I’d also say you should score yourself a cute set of handcuffs that doubles as a bracelet — like Crave’s ID and Icon Cuffs or Unbound’s Bangle Handcuff Bracelets. Beginner-friendly and surprisingly cute when you just want to throw on a simple bracelet, both also work as functional handcuffs for light restraint-play.
A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall x Wild Flower Enby 2
NB: If sexy historical romances are your jam (and they’re my personal favorite!) then you should grab A Lady for A Duke by Alexis Hall. The emotional stakes are high when Viola Caroll, living as her authentic self as a trans woman after being presumed dead, returns to her childhood home to find the Duke of Gracewood — her former best friend — in a deep, brooding state of grief. She’s determined to pull him out of his misery — but the forbidden feelings that stir up between them are undeniable. Steamy and intimate, you want to pair this with…
STS: While sex toys are truly never gendered, toys designed with inclusivity and all bodies in mind are my absolute jam. ENBY 2
is designed (as it name implies) with all bodies and all kinds of pleasure in mind, without too much thought to the gender binary people often project on sex and sex toys. With a flat underside and a body-friendly top that you can rub against, grind, hump, put between two bodies during a sexual encounter or hold against wherever you want to receive pleasure. The versatility is great for people of all experience levels and bodies and, appropriately enough, it can be hands-free and easy to use in a comfortable steamy reading position. You’re welcome.
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake x LELO Ora 3
NB: Y’know how every Hallmark movie has the heroine returning home to discover that maybe her small town isn’t so bad after all? Take the trope, make it gay, and make it way more steamy, and you have Delilah Green Doesn’t Care. This sex-driven sapphic romance follows tattooed photographer Delilah and bookseller single mom Claire reconnecting after years apart. Even as they work together to save Delilah’s stepsister from her awful fiancé, both women know exactly what buttons to push to rile up the other — pun intended.
STS: I’ve been asked by quite a few vulva-owning people for toys that feel like oral sex over the years — and have found that LELO Ora 3
, when paired with the right lube, really aligns with the organic tongue-like sensation some folks are looking for without it getting weird. Quiet, easy to hold, this small-but-mighty toy is a solid pick for anyone craving that close-to-real feeling.
Going Public by Hudson Lin x We-Vibe Vector
NB: If your forbidden love fantasy involves your boss falling in love with you, good news: you and Elvin Goh from Going Public share something in common. This quietly sexy workplace romance follows assistant Goh who is hopelessly in love with his charming playboy boss Raymond Chao. Yes, the pressure to help their latest disaster client is on… but who says long nights at the office can’t be sexy?
STS: Not to over-saturate this list with remote-controllable options, but this one had me thinking that We-Vibe Vector
— a powerful prostate stimulator/butt plug with app-control capability — was a great fit. Discreet but impossible to really ignore when in use, these kind of toys are a great long-distance tease, foreplay or main event staple for partner(s) with penises and prostates (and folks with vulva who like anal play, alike). If you want something that can be a sexy secret (for yourself or your partner(s) and you) I can’t recommend it enough.
Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters x Unbound Clutch
Nicole: Cute and sexy? Yes, please. Set in a sex toy shop? Even better. In Satisfaction Guaranteed, Cade Elgin has her work life on lock and no personal life of which to speak… until she inherits a sex toy shop alongside sexy co-owner Selena Mathis, who has sworn to celibacy until she can make Satisfaction Guaranteed a success. Whether you’re more like buttoned-up Cade or too-many-feelings Selena, you’ll find somebody in this book to connect with. This sapphic romance is all about mixing business and pleasure (battery-operated or otherwise), so it’s the perfect book to pair with a toy of your own.
STS: A sex toy-centric love story is extremely on-brand in these here parts. Obviously I could (and have) recommended 100+ toys that could be a match, but I figured I’d take this opportunity to plug the new release I’m personally currently loving: and that’s Unbound’s Clutch. The brand’s first foray into rabbit vibes, it’s a thrusting, vibrating dream with an ergonomic design that will work for most people who like penetration, a whisper-quiet sound and a long, long battery life. She’s also just really cute and I like looking at her. Maybe you will too!
The Dragon’s Bride by Katee Robert x Anything on Bad Dragon
NB: Katee Robert’s Dark Olympus series, which reimagines Greek myths in a magical sexy city, are fun–but we prefer her kinky monster erotica. The Dragon’s Bride, designed with a stunning classically illustrated cover, follows Briar Rose, who is trapped in a terrible marriage and makes a deal with a demon… only to find her contract sold off to the highest-bidding monster at an auction block. That monster? Sol, a dragon. A dragon who seems oddly interested in taking care of her and of prioritizing her pleasure. Still, it all seems too good to be true, and she can’t fall for a literal beast. Right?
STS: Look, if you are among the people on Rihanna’s Internet with so-called “monster-f-cker energy” we do not kink-shame. We support you and your dragon-loving dreams. And Bad Dragon has a whole host of sci-fi and fantasy-inspired toys that can and will live up to your wildest most monstrous fantasies.
We’ll be back next month with another edition of Sex Toy Sommelier and don’t forget to send us your asks so we can help you find your perfect sex toy match. While you wait, check out 69 (nice) sex positions you should put on your bucket list: