Since I first wrote about the concept of sides last year, the term’s recognition has exploded. Sides—a term for people who prefer less invasive sexual acts like oral, frottage and mutual masturbation over penetration—has since appeared in The Guardian, The Daily Beast and is one of the latest entries in the terminology of homosexuality on Wikipedia.
Perhaps the biggest milestone was when Grindr, host to an estimated 11 million users, ceremoniously added sides as a sexual position option on their app. As a result of this exposure, the term has evolved from describing the proclivities of gay men to one that represents all genders and sexual orientations.
The idea of a “side” is still in its infancy, so there aren’t too many relevant resources apart from Side Guys, a Facebook group created by the Michigan-based sex and relationship therapist who coined the term, Dr. Joe Kort. If you’re a side yourself (or think you might be), here’s a guide full of sex toys that can satisfy all your non-penetrative needs.
If you have a penis
The Arcwave Ion:
The Arcwave Ion may just be the most innovative sex toy released in recent years. It uses the same Pleasure Air technology that made the Womanizer (also on this list) and has become a bestseller. The Arcwave Ion produces as close to a clitoral orgasm as humanly possible in people with penises, stimulating the pacinian receptors, which are present in both the penis and clitoris. If I had to describe the sensation, I’d say it’s like putting your penis in a soft speaker, letting the sound waves hit the most sensitive area. I’ve truly never felt anything like this before.
The Manta by Fun Factory:
It sounds dramatic, but as someone who was once not a fan of strokers, this toy completely changed my perspective. The Manta, with its fluttering wings and powerful motor, is a fantastic tool for edging (tip: bring the device just under the glans to hit the most sensitive part of the penis) and is fantastic for partnered play, turning your penis into a vibrator. It also simulates a deepthroat blow job if your gag reflex is giving you grief.
We-Vibe Cock Ring:
I’m going to say it: there are just too many cock rings out there. And even still, most aren’t all that unique. Some might have rabbit ears that target the clitoris, others vibrate and some do both. That’s about it. What makes the We-Vibe cock ring special is that it can be controlled by We-Vibe’s app, meaning you could wear it out in public and have someone turn the device on when you least expect it.
Blowmotion Real-Feel Dual-Entrance Vibrating Male Masturbator:
This realistic-feeling masturbator from Blowmotion resembles your more traditional stroker, offering seven vibration patterns and three speeds. The interior sleeve is soft yet textured, firmly gripping the penis and stimulating all the toe-curling nerve endings. It’s visually discreet as well, making it fantastic for travel.
Penises come in all shapes and sizes, and the Voy appears to be one of the few penis toys that addresses this fact with a tightness adjustment system. The Voy is open-ended, which makes cleanup a lot easier, while sparing room for some oral play. When paired with oral sex, the Voy feels like a deepthroat blowjob. The toy also comes with protector lids to keep it clean and discreet during storage.
If you have a vulva:
(To better assist with toys for vulvas, I contacted Lovehoney sex educator and pleasure expert, Javay Frye-Nekrasova.)
“This toy is a great option for exploring a form of stimulation that isn’t vibration,” Frye-Nekrasova says. Defined as a “clitoral suction stimulator,” the Womanizer Premium 2 uses soft bursts of air to provide direct clitoral (or nipple) stimulation. Its velvety tip can be used for fluttering and sucking sensations in 14 intensity levels. Just dab a bit of water-based silicone on the tip and ready yourself for some delicious clitoral exploration.
We-Vibe Tango X:
Bullet vibrators are fantastic for offering pinpointed stimulation on all areas of the body, and the We-Vibe Tango, with its small, lipstick-like appearance, packs a whopping punch, making it a sensual and inconspicuous travel companion. “It’s great for using directly on the clitoris as well as the nipples, around the vulva, around the rim of the anus; anywhere you’re curious to explore,” Frye-Nekrasova says.
Ideal for folks who enjoy full-coverage stimulation, the Romp Wave, while technically a clitoral vibrator with its unique surfboard shape, can stimulate the entire vulva with six vibration speeds and four patterns. In addition to holding the toy directly on the vulva, Frye-Nekrasova recommends using the Romp Wave as a grinding toy by sitting on top and riding it.
The Moxie comes equipped with a magnetic clip, making any pair of panties a hands-free vibrator. Because the toy has an ultra-slim profile with a smooth silicone texture, it doesn’t feel bulky or uncomfortable in your undies. As is true with all We-Vibe toys, the Moxie can be piloted using the We-Vibe app, meaning you or a partner can turn the toy on whenever, wherever.
Fifty Shades of Grey Rabbit Bullet Vibrator:
Sometimes you just crave a classic. And, regardless of your opinions on the Fifty Shades books or films, their line of sex toys is full of crowd-pleasers. Their Rabbit Bullet Vibrator is great at stimulating the clitoris, as bullet and rabbit vibrators are each individually crafted to do. This toy combines the two. “The rabbit ears, in particular, do a wonderful job of stimulating the sides of the clitoris and have the flexibility to them that can be used to caress the lips of the vulva as well,” Frye-Nekrasova says.