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Sex toys are devices used to enhance, simulate, stimulate or facilitate various sexual activities, thus making it more fun.
Most sex toys can be used by one person although some require a friend (or several friends) to help. The range of possibilities for sex toys is limited only by the human imagination.
 For people
See the external link below for a slideshow history of the vibrator.
 Butt plugs
A 5 inch by 1.75 inch butt plugWarning: NSFW Image! Butt plugs are dildo-like devices intended for anal rather than vaginal use. They come in both "dead" and vibrating versions, the latter having a small battery-powered motor that sends vibrations to the surrounding musculature. The most important distinguishing characteristic is a flared base or other mechanism which prevents the butt plug from being inserted fully, ensuring that the user can remove the device. They frequently have a more pronounced "flare" shape than dildos, and are usually smaller.
While buttplugs are usually associated with gay males, almost everyone (gay or straight, male or female) can find them pleasurable. Males, of course, get a bonus in this area, since the prostate may provide intense pleasure when stimulated. This is because human sexual anatomy requires muscles working with and against other muscles (instead of working against bone as with other skeletal muscles). The "end point" of these contractions is the anal sphincter, which, being a circular muscle, contracts upon itself. If one has a buttplug inserted, the anal sphincter "uses" the device as a pushing point: the contractions going back upline are thus much stronger and orgasm is heightened.
Contrary to fears, the anal sphincter is not weakened from this practice, if anything it will become stronger as any exercising of a muscle will increase its strength.
 Anal beads
Anal beads consists of several small balls attached together in series which are continuously inserted through the anus into the rectum and then removed with varying speeds depending on the effect desired (most typically at orgasm to enhance climax). Those who use anal beads enjoy the pleasurable feeling they receive as the ball passes through the narrow sphincter of the anus.
 Bondage devices
Handcuffs, ropes, chains, gags, etc.
This class of sex toy almost always requires (at least) two people. The actual manifestation of sexual congress with bondage devices is waaaaay beyond the scope of this article, however some info is useful:
The usual method in using bondage gear is that of one person being Dominant (the "binder", or "top") and the other being submissive (the "bound", or "bottom", or if you're in the mood "victim", although the term isn't universally popular for obvious reasons). Some people tend towards one or the other role, and others are referred to as "switches" in that they play both roles comfortably. The sense of being restrained can add to the euphoria of sexual pleasure in many ways, with one of the most important being the trust required. Conversely, the sense of power (and responsibility) involved in not only restraining somone else, but making it "interesting" for them can be a very exciting sexual journey.
The sense of passion is what is being enhanced with bondage, as the toys used do not usually have a sexual nature associated with them. Leather restraints of various sorts are often employed and for some people, the smell, texture and appearance of leather (or latex, or rope) restraining devices are highly erotic.
- Disclaimer: Before getting your fine self all tied up, make sure you know and trust your partners(s), that limits and boundaries are clearly defined, and that a safe word, the utterance of which is meant to immediately end all activity, is agreed upon. A bound person should never, ever be left alone, even if that's their kink.
 S & M devices
Whips, clamps, hot wax, gags, electricity, piercing, etc.
As with bondage, Sadomasochism usually involves "top" and "bottom" roles. With most aficionados of S & M, the distinction between pain and pleasure is blurred, with something that might usually be painful becoming intensely pleasurable under the right circumstances. This is generally credited to the rush of endorphins released during pain play, although some are attracted to the sheer variety and creativity of methods involved.
S & M often travels hand in hand with bondage and Dominant/submissive roleplaying, leading to the shorthand term "BDSM", where the "D" stand for discipline.
Electrical stimulation devices provide a mild electric stimulation to erogenous zones. Most of the other types of toys discussed below come in e-stim versions, allowing the current to be directed through genitalia or other areas.
 For people with female sexual organs
Dildos are devices intended for vaginal insertion during masturbation. They are generally roughly phallic, but the amount of realism varies widely. The size, colors and materials also vary wildly as well; recently Pyrex-style glass and silicone have become more common on high-end products.
Some dildos are designed to be usable with a harness, allowing one person to wear the dildo as if she had a penis, and apply it to another person.
In addition double headed dildos exist which can be shared by two women at the same time or, for the more adventurous, inserted into two female orifices simultaneously. (How often this actually happens in reality as opposed to being seen in pornographic movies may be open to debate.)
 Insertion vibrators
Some dildo-like devices have vibration mechanisms built-in. Some people consider these "vibrating dildos", others consider them a separate category of toys. Insertion vibrators are generally battery-operated and thus provide relatively mild vibrations.
Some insertion vibrators have a separate protusion intended for clitorial stimulation; the "rabbit vibrator" popularized by Sex and the City is an example of this style.
Curiously, vibrators originated as a medical device to treat female hysteria.
 Non-insertion vibrators
These vibrators are intended for clitoral or vulva stimulation. Some styles strap on to the body ("butterfly"); others are hand-held. Some of the hand-held styles run off AC current and provide stronger vibrations. The Hitachi Magic Wand is the best-known vibrator of this style.
 For people with male sexual organs
 Masturbation sleeves
Masturbation sleeves are typically hand-held devices made from a flexible substance, shaped as a rough cylinder with a hole down the center. The user's penis is inserted into the tube and the device is moved back and forth, in a manner very similar to manual masturbation. Sometimes called 'pocket pussies'.
 Sex dolls
Sex dolls are life-sized representations of humans (or, generally sold for novelty purposes rather than actual sexual use, sheep) with orifices or surfaces designed for sexual use. These can be either whole-body dolls ("blow up dolls" and "RealDoll") or partial body ("Jenna's Perfect Pair", modeled on Jenna Jameson's breasts and various disembodied pelvis products).
 Cock rings
Cock rings are rings, generally made of a solid material such as metal or hard plastic, through which the penis and scrotum are inserted. The cock ring puts pressure on the dorsal vein of the penis, this traps blood in the penis, making it more turgid than it would otherwise be. Since only a fraction of arterial blood is now entering the penis the glans penis is much less sensitive enabling its owner to perform longer before achieving orgasm.
Another style of cock ring provides nubbins or ridges designed to stimulate a partner's clitoris during penile/vaginal intercourse.
 Prostate stimulators
Somewhat similar to butt plugs, prostate stimulators are inserted into the anus. Unlike butt plugs, which are designed for both men and women, prostate stimulators are explicitely designed to stimulate the prostate. They are generally even less phallic-shaped than butt plugs. The manufacturer of the Aneros prostate stimulator claims a patent on their design.
Sounds are thin straight rods which are inserted into the urethra. The alleged purpose is to widen the urethra to facilitate sex of some sort with the urethra as the receiving orifice. Or maybe just to use it for storing thin straight rods.
 Legal issues and repression
Like most issues related to sex, sex toys tend to be regulated for reasons of religious perversion or political pandering. One outcome of this is the classic Swedish Massager, which is sold to relax tired back muscles or to assist in massage in general. It is nothing more than a vibrator, of course.
The legal state of sex toys in Alabama has been one of hatred and irrational fear. The story goes back to 1998, the year a law was put in place that banned the sale and use of the devil sticks. A group of plaintiffs, made up of six people who use sex toys and two people who sold the vile devices, sued the Attorney General, William H. Pryor, claiming it was a violation of their civil rights. A federal trial judge in 1999 found the law unconstitutional, but the 11th Circuit panel didn't listen to them, seeking a broader examination of how sexual laws had been enforced over time. After concluding that sexual privacy was "deeply rooted" in American legal tradition and practice, the trial judge again found the law unconstitutional. Stanley F. Birch, a member of the 11th Circuit Court of appeals, said although Lawrence v. Texas secured the repeal of sodomy laws, they still don't know how far sexual privacy goes. During a second review, Birch repeated the same argument he once gave in a Florida case concerning gay adoption. According to the Alabama trial judge's review of sex laws, only Georgia and Texas have bans on sex toys. Alan I. Begner, an Atlanta lawyer who represents sex shops, said Georgia's ban is "nearly identical" to Alabama's law. "On the face of it, sex toys are illegal to sell," Begner said, but he said shops can survive prosecution if they can prove their products are "for novelty use only".
In 2004, the court of appeals upheld the law again on a vote of 2-1. Troy King, Attorney General of Alabama, was reported as saying "they [the 11th Circuit Court] did their job". It came to the agenda again in 2005, but the court refused to even hear the case. In 2007, another appeal was attempted, and of course, the demon rods were still found illegal -- on Valentine's Day. 
- ↑ Well, not really, but accidents happen and we're not condoning anything that when combined with being an idiot will cause an injury.
- ↑ http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1090180191546
- ↑ http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2005/02/supreme_court_passes_on_alabama_sex_toys_case/
- ↑ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18663903/
- ↑ http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2007/02/alabama_sex_toy_ban_upheld/