As for the right kind of lube, many toy materials are compatible with water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based lubricants. But silicone toys—arguably one of the most popular materials for these items—can only be used with water- and oil-based lubes. Silicone-based lube will deteriorate the surface of a silicone toy and pretty much ruin it over time.
Of course, if you prefer silicone lube—and lots of people do because of how long-lasting it can be—this is another time when unlubricated condoms come in handy. Put one on your toy, and you can technically use silicone with silicone all you want.
Speaking of condoms, oil-based lube makes latex prone to ripping, so you should only use water- or silicone-based lube if you decide to use a latex condom with your toy.
6. You only let expensive, luxury sex toys near your genitals.
Hey, it makes sense, you deserve the best. But you should know that sometimes a $20 toy can feel just as great as a $200 one. People tend to assume that the most expensive toys on the market are automatically the best, but according to Finn, that’s not necessarily true—especially if you’re not very experienced with sex toys yet.
“If you don’t know what you’re looking for out of a toy and you don’t know what you like specifically, maybe start with something that’s a little bit more moderately priced,” says Finn. “Don’t be afraid to get a $20 battery-operated bullet and explore your body with that. Once you find out what works and what doesn’t, you can upgrade to something better.” (Caveat to affordable toys: Make sure they’re body-safe, meaning made out of materials that are known not to cause harm, and always familiarize yourself with the best way to care for your toy no matter its material.)
After you do know what you like, splurging can be worth it. More expensive brands tend to have better warranties, higher quality materials and parts, and will generally last you a long time.
7. You don’t read the instructions.
Look, I get it. When you buy a new toy, sometimes you want to try it right away, instructions be damned. But there are usually a few reasons not to do that.
When it comes to battery-operated toys, most instructions suggest getting a full charge before use to extend the battery life. Plus, don’t you want to know what all the buttons do so you don’t accidentally switch settings at the worst possible moment? (As in, right before you orgasm, so wow, thanks, starting from the bottom sounds great.) Same goes for non-battery-operated toys; you may save yourself a lot of frustration if you brush up on how to put on a harness before giving it a go.
On the subject of non-sexy tasks related to sex-toy care, Finn suggests taking a picture of your receipt in case you need to return the toy. Also, a lot of toys, especially the more expensive ones, come with a warranty that may be useful one day. Look out for Future You and register your device right away if you can—that could make it a lot easier to get it replaced if it buzzes to an early death.
8. You share toys without taking the proper precautions.
Dr. Streicher doesn’t recommend sharing unprotected toys with a partner during sex, especially if you’re using the toy for penetration. Using the same sex toys without protection is essentially the same thing as having unprotected sex. You’re sharing bodily fluids, which puts you at risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection. Not taking the proper precautions with this can also increase your risk of bacterial vaginosis, Dr. Streicher says. This condition happens when the normal balance of bacteria in your vagina gets out of whack, and it can lead to symptoms like itchiness, bad odor, and a burning sensation while you pee (though many people with BV don’t present with symptoms at all).