Why you should care
Because getting off can be gorgeous. Especially when it’s a gift.
When it comes to gift-giving, there are the presents that end up in the “I know you’ll regift this, but I also need to fulfill my social obligation and spend $20 on you” camp. (We see you, balsam-scented candles.) There are the personalized gifts from someone who has busted out the crafting supplies (or at least shopped on Etsy early enough for pre-holiday delivery). And then, there are the vibrators.
Here’s the thing: Yes, sex toys are personal. But they are also expensive, indulgent and embarrassing to buy for yourself. In other words, the perfect holiday gift. And I speak from experience as someone who has given more than a dozen vibrators to friends and acquaintances in my life, and no gift (except maybe the XBox I gifted to my brother in 2006) has landed better. I still remember how my friend Renee, 36 weeks pregnant and horny as hell, lit up when I brought a bag of vibrators to her baby shower and discreetly deposited them in her car.
Krista McHarden, a sex writer and sex toy expert, agrees that a sex toy can be a more heartfelt gift than, say, a fruit basket. “Of course it depends on your relationship with the person, but given in the right spirit, it says, ‘I love you and you deserve to have an amazing time between the sheets,’” says McHarden.
Dirty Lola, a single-moniker sex expert, agrees. “When you give sex toys as gifts, you are giving more than just an object. You are giving a doorway to new experiences.” And who doesn’t want a doorway for the holidays?
There are some considerations when it comes to sex toys. It’s probably a bad idea to give one to your boss, but could one work for your grandma? Maybe. Here are some of the smartest, most aesthetically pleasing sex toys on the market — and exactly who to give them to.
For your long-distance male partner
Can a masturbating device for men be cute? Yes, it can. While it’s no substitute for the real thing, this discreet and compact vibrating device looks like a bedside lamp. But flip it open and add some lube and the magic commences. This gift says, “I know it’s not as good as the real thing, but you still deserve to have a solid orgasm when I’m not there.”
For your recently divorced baby boomer aunt
While there are plenty of ways to achieve tech-assisted orgasms, this is a classic (and a cliché) for a reason. Yes, it’s basic, but it’ll get you off, fast. And if Auntie is taken aback, you can always say that you thought it was a back massager.
For your newlywed sibling
With a vibrator, a cock ring and an “open-ended texture stroker,” this multipack has something for everyone. The Fifty Shades of Grey label gives it a little less edge — it’s a gag gift that will also get your sibling and their spouse off and be way more welcome than a matching set of Mr. and Mrs. bathrobes.
For the grandparents who have the Story of O on their bookshelf
A kit full of erotic adventures, Tango offers “flirty games” as well as accessories (riding crops, blindfolds, nipple clamps, etc.). The founder of the brand is a Harvard grad who markets the box as a “pleasure-based curriculum.” It’s a great way to show grandparents what the kids are up to these days — and it may inspire them to learn some new lessons too.
For the couple you made out with in the past
Had a three-way with a committed couple? We’ve all been there. This couples’ gift shows that you’re not the jealous type and have no desire to break them up. It can also suggest the possibility of an encore.
For your wanderlusting ex-roomie
It’s cute! It’s pastel! It’s waterproof! And the price is right. While Tenga creates luxury products that often cost over $100, this $25 marvel does the job discreetly. This gift says, “You deserve to get off anywhere in the world.”
For your friend with benefits
It’s consensual adult fun … but since you don’t know who else that person might be playing with, do everyone a favor by gifting this sex-toy-cleaning kit. The Home Play not only claims to kill 99.9 percent of harmful germs and bacteria but it also has three USB charging ports, so you can charge and sanitize at the same time. Safe and thoughtful? Win-win!
For the office white elephant Exchange
At less than $10 and with low-key graphics, this candle just makes the office-acceptable cut. After all, you don’t have to eat it as part of sex play. You could just light it and then enjoy it on ice cream later. And this type of gift is way more desirable than yet another mug-and-coffee set.
You deserve self-love. Designed as a necklace (with the option of custom engraving), the Vesper is a discreet vibrator that’s attractive enough to wear at holiday gatherings — and then use in private to release any awkward holiday party tension.