For decades, sex toys have been designed to shock and titilate consumers, often mimicking male sex organs and coated in cheap, shiny black vinyl. Only in recent years have toys been created with a sophisticated woman in mind, and Ti Chang was just the designer to bring forth a new class of pleasure products. “I approach our products from the point of view of a woman and that of a trained industrial designer,” shares Chang, the founder of Crave. “This means I care deeply about the experience of a product, physically and emotionally, for a user. How does a woman feel when she sees the product? Does she feel excited or delighted because it’s beautiful? Or does she have to hide the toy in an underwear drawer in fear of someone seeing it?”
With women’s needs and desires at the forefront of her brand, Chang created a sex toy called Vesper, which can be worn out and about as jewelry. She wanted to confront the feelings of shame and embarrassment women felt about their sex toys and give them something that would make them feel empowered (and, of course, give them a mind-blowing orgasm). “What we wear, what we tattoo on ourselves, is a form of self-expression,” Chang explains. “A woman wearing a vibrator out is someone who is openly embracing pleasure as part of her identity, and that is powerful.”
We asked the pleasure expert about using toys, and if you’ve been hesitant about trying them out, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
How should women approach buying a sex toy for solo use?
Ladies, get to know your body. That is the first and foremost thing you need to do when you are starting to think about embarking on a sexual journey with yourself—with or without products. Touch and look at yourself, know your vulva and all your parts. There are so many thoughtful sexual resources out there that are definitely worth a YouTube deep dive. I highly recommend Shan Boodram and Stevie Boebi, just to name a few. If you prefer books, Emily Nagoski’s “Come As You Are” is profound. If podcasts are more your thing, try “Shameless Sex” or “Sex with Emily.” All of the above content is made by smart, educated women whose goal is to empower your pleasure.
Once you know a bit more about your body, try out some products that fit your price range and pique your curiosity. Make sure the manufacturer has a good reputation and read some reviews on their products. Reading reviews is helpful, but know that no two vulvas are alike and what works for one person may not work for another. There is no one vibrator for all. If something doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you, just keep experimenting and try new things.
What advice would you give to couples looking to try a new sex toy?
If you are a couple who is looking to try a new toy, kudos to you both! Curiosity to try new things is so important to keeping things fun and exciting in the bedroom. Start with looking at products online. Send product links that you’re curious about to your partner and vice versa, letting them respond at their own time. Some couples prefer to look at products together, while some prefer to respond via email. Give each other a non-judgemental space to share products and experiences they are interested in. From these products, it will be natural to also set some boundaries. Not interested in golden showers? Say it. Don’t want anything in the back door? Tell them! Setting boundaries about what you DEFINITELY don’t want to do is just as important. Be respectful of your partner’s boundaries. Don’t prod or pressure them into something that they are unsure about.
What’s the biggest misconception or myth people have about using sex toys?
The biggest misconception about vibrators is that you will go numb and never have an orgasm without vibrators again. I don’t think anyone has ever told a guy that if he masturbates on the regular he won’t be able to orgasm with a partner ever again.
How should consumers go about cleaning their sex toys?
Don’t dunk the whole thing in water, use a damp cloth and wipe. There are a lot of toys that are not waterproof, so submerging them in water is a sure way to ruin your product. Don’t use hand soap or cleaners that may have silicone or ingredients made from silicone. Sometimes liquid silicone can show up in liquid hand soaps or skincare products. Common silicone ingredients might be listed on the label as cyclomethicone or dimethicone.
What are you favorite sex toys that can be used remotely or rely on apps?
I don’t have one. Currently, I don’t think the technology is delivering the experience people want. I’ve tried many remote products and I’ve personally experienced awkwardly pointing a remote at my crotch trying to get the bluetooth to connect. Really not my sexiest moment.
What products do you recommend for traveling?
One day, when we can finally travel again, I recommend anything with USB chargeability. USB is universal worldwide, so you don’t need additional adapters and cords. Also any product that is compact, discreet and cannot be turned on accidentally.
What about lube?
Lubricants can be a game-changer. It’s one of the easiest ways to enhance sex and play. There are many different kinds of lubricants, and you have to figure out what works best for you AND your partner (if a partner is involved). There are oil-based, silicone-based and water-based lubricants and many that are formulated with a combination of those. Be sure to understand the ingredients so you know what you are putting inside of you.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with one toy, what would it be and why?
If I was stranded naked, I would bring a Vesper. If I happened to be stranded wearing clothing with pockets, the Wink+ because it has a battery life of 6+ hours.