Even when the recession was really biting, there's always been one industry that kept on buzzing: global sales of sex toys continue to rise year on year, with Lovehoney recording profits of £2.25m as turnover increased 51% to £23.6m over the year.
But this needn’t necessarily be bad news – as sexpert Tracey Cox says, “The more your lady uses a vibrator solo, the higher her libido is going to be.”
What is important is that you know your enemy… here are seven of the biggest and best on the market to get yourself acquainted with.
G SPOT TICKLER
Size: 6” x 1.1” diameter
Made of: Silicone
What is it? It looks a joystick from an ’80s arcade game, but it’s actually a great entry-level couples vibrator. The smooth part hits her G-Spot, while ?the textured part sits against her clit.
Why does she love it? “It’s designed to follow the contours of a woman’s body,” explains Leigh Dedhar from the makers Rock-Chick. But unlike most vibrators, which are best when the woman is on her back, this one is made for cowgirl. Yee-hah.
Why should you embrace it? It’s really easy to use and high satisfaction rates.
Rocks Off Rock-Chick, £39.99, rock-chick.com
Size: 4” long and 3/4” wide
Made of: Plastic and rubber
What is it? A smaller ‘handbag-sized’ vibrator used by girls for an instant orgasm fix.
Why does she love it? The main function of a bullet is speedy clitoral stimulation. It’s small, inconspicuous and can help her come in seconds.
Why should you embrace it? If you and your missus want to begin experimenting with vibrators, it’s best to start with one of these. They look nothing like a real penis, so you won’t feel uncomfortable using one. Plus they’re much smaller and thinner than your member, which’ll flatter your man-meat.
RO Soft Tip, £25, annsummers.com
Size: 5” long, with 5 1/2" ‘turbo tail’ and 1” ‘crab claw’
Made of: “Unscented, hygienically-superior material”.
What is it? It looks like one a fork you use to eat snails, but it’s actually an every-hole-pleaser.
Why does she love it? Not every girl is up for sexy bum time, but this is a great introduction. “This one stimulates women in three ways, giving them a really full feeling that will drive them crazy,” says Monique Carty from sextoys.co.uk.
Why should you embrace it? According to Tracey Cox, “The anus has got tons of nerve endings so it can be really good once you get past the ‘this is all a bit weird’ feeling.”
Wild Orgasm Twin Teasers, £99.95, sextoys.co.uk
Size: 6 1/4?” x 1 1/4?”
Made of: Glass
What is it? A hand-blown, clear-glass dildo with raised pink spots and an angled head.
Why does she love it? Because, in the words of Garth from Wayne’s World, it’s “ribbed… for her pleasure”.
Why should you embrace it? Glass vibrators are less popular than traditional styles, but Monique Carty says that’s down to a lack of education. “Most people love glass for temperature play,” she explains. Tracey Cox agrees. “You can heat them up and cool them down – that’s why they’re becoming more popular.” You can microwave or freeze this bad-boy for a hot or cold surprise.
Icicles Waterproof Glass Vibrator, £33.99, hiddendrawer.co.uk
Size: 7 1/2" x 1 1/4?” (+ 2” of rabbit)
Made of: PVC/ABS, with interior rotating metal balls
What is it? The best-known vibrator ever, this little bunny is loved by vaginas across the land.
Why does she love it? With seven levels of clitoral stimulation, three shaft rotation speeds, internal beads that can rotate in two directions and even a “quiet mode”, the Rabbit is the iPhone 5 of lady-fiddling fodder.
Why should you embrace it? Because she’s not using it in the way you think. You might think it looks a bit threatening but, in reality, the 'insertion length' once you get to the ears is not that much. Plus, as Tracey Cox says, “Most women don’t use the main part, they use the vibration of the ears on the clitoris.”
Ann Summers Rotating Rabbit, £39, annsummers.com
Size: 6 1/2” x 1 1/2”
Made of: Silicone
What is it? A flesh-coloured fun-stick with an “incredibly realistic soft veined texture”. If the description doesn’t creep you out, looking at it next to your own junk definitely will.
Why does she love it? Tracey Cox sums it up best, saying that for all the whistles and bells, “often that cheap, hard plastic works best. The cheaper and the harder the plastic, the more vibration it carries.”
Why should you embrace it? It sort of makes sense to use something that looks like a penis as a replacement for a penis. Plus it smells nice. Just don't use a silicone-based lube on a silicone toy or it'll go all bubbly and weird. No, really.
Always Ready Slippery Smooth Dong, £20.99, chemistdirect.co.uk
Size: 6” x 1 3/4 ” balls
Made of: Jelly rubber
What is it? A multi-speed vibrator that’s specifically made for water-based joys. It even has an unnervingly realistic ballsack.
Why does she love it? It’s curved and ribbed in all the right places and even has a hang tie. However, it smells like a petrol station.
Why should you embrace it? “Taking her vibrator to the bathroom has many advantages,” says Monique Carty. “Bath time is a great way to relax, and something that makes orgasm a lot easier. Like sex, changing your environment can also make things more exciting.”
Loving Joy Water Willy, £21.49, lovingjoy.co.uk