Sex Advice From . . . Sex Shop Employees

Pin it

Molly, 25

What are some do’s and don’ts for making a sexy home video?

Do use a tripod! Do not use fluorescent lighting. Do choose music carefully. Turn off the phone and all other beeping devices, except the smoke alarm if you’re filming a fancy wax-play scene.

What beginner sex toy do you recommend for women? For men?
Well, I must begin with the important disclaimer that every person is unique and likes something different. I recommend going for quality and picking an internal/external vibe like the Gigolo or Lava Lust. They tend to last a long time, and smooth vibrations can be enjoyed on the clit, around the vulva and inside, too! If I were a dude, the one toy I’d buy first is the vulva Fleshlight. It’s a cyberskin masturbation sleeve that looks and feels fabulous.

How about something for the more advanced players?
Straight girls, strap it on! Lesbians, strap it on! Boys who dig boys? Use a vibrating butt toy that curves to the front for prostate stimulation.

Can you recommend some porn for a beginning viewer?
Into hetero movies? Try Urban Friction. The movie has an actual plot, following a couple of punk, tattooed cuties trying to incorporate threesomes into their sex life. Not into hetero movies? Check out Pornograflics for an array of genders and sexy vignettes.

My friend doesn’t have a boyfriend or a vibrator — she’s afraid getting the latter means she’ll never have the former again.
Your "friend" is totally normal. I reassure women way too often that there is nothing wrong or abnormal about using sex toys. Many women come for the first time with a vibrator after years of trying otherwise. You cannot replace people with toys. Yes, toys can be the most awesome, life-changing addition to your sex life, but you may still crush on that hottie you like and wish for companionship with other humans.

Is it okay to sleep with friends’ exes?
Everyone has different boundaries, but if you speak honestly and gently with your pals before you jump their friends, you’ll be relieved when you wake up the next morning and accidentally run into them. Lying is not an option here, people.


Is there a surefire way to help a woman orgasm? What about multiple orgasms?
There is no magic button to send someone to orgasm heaven. That being said, take deep breaths as you get more aroused. After that first orgasm, back away from the clit. Let things settle down for a few minutes or more before trying to come all over again. Oh yeah, and when somebody says "just like that" they mean keep doing just that. Not harder, not softer, just that.

What is something that should never be said in bed (aside from comments about genital size)?

"I voted for Bush." Kick them out. Actually use your foot. Tell your friends so they don’t make the same mistake.

Say I wanted to introduce swinging — how should I approach the subject with my partner?
What not to do: Surprise them! Talking is a better place to start. Try opening the discussion in public so he doesn’t expect you to start immediately. Drugs and alcohol are not safe or cool ways to get a partner’s consent. According to my friend Matie, one step in the right direction is to simply avoid the term "swinging." Lots of folks who are into more than one partner use words like polyamory, non-monogamy, open relationships and such.

What digital stimulation works best on women?

Fingers are probably the best sex toy. Sure, we’ve seen fingers going crazy in porn, but that rigorous single finger going back and forth directly on the clit is NOT the answer for most. Try different things and ask for explicit feedback. Try rubbing vertically outside the labia slowly or circular movements around the clit and above the clitoral hood. Try three flat fingers up and down the entire vulva and gently slide one lubricated finger in between the inner lips and right over the vaginal opening. Shoving in more than one finger immediately is not okay. Start slow, one finger at a time and add as she opens up. Remember: Digital or manual sex might be what some need to get off, without the destination of intercourse in mind.

Is it possible to have a “friend with benefits” relationship?
Of course! Try reading the ever-popular The Ethical Slut, for tips on dealing with jealousy and other challenges of non-monogamous relations. My bottom line advice is to define boundaries honestly, openly and early in the relationship, whether it’s a year or a night long. Define your expectations and talk about the worst-case scenario before it happens. And use condoms and barriers.

What are some specific ways to keep a long-term sexual relationship fresh?

Make separate wish lists of fantasy ideas. Exchange lists and surprise each other. Maybe even take ‘em in the bathroom or alley in public. Try a remote control vibrator and see how much you trust your partner! Try role-playing for an entire day out together. Try staying apart for a week so that you miss each other’s bods that much more.

Kim Airs, 46

Do’s and don’ts for making a sexy home video?
Do make it consensual. Everyone involved should know they are being taped. Watch it when you’re screwing the next time for some extra porn-star-fantasy thrills. Don’t be afraid of taping everything you want. Don’t criticize yourself when you’re watching the repeat performance.

What beginner sex toy do you recommend for women?
The Judy Jetson. It’s a nice sparkly purple jelly rubber with great vibrations. Wonderful for internal as well as external use. The tapered end is great for women starting out.

For men?
A cock ring, especially the vibrating “Honeyspot,” which pleases both partners. It’s touch-activated and will vibrate the woman’s clit during the in-and-out, especially if she’s riding cowgirl on top. Cock rings are great not only because they cause a different sensation for the guy (the essential bodily fluids have to gush through a slightly restricted channel), but they also bring the balls forward and create a hot basket for the gal to enjoy looking at.

How about something for more advanced players?
Use a harness-and-dildo combo to have men give it up! Soooooo many men fantasize about this. To have a lot of pleasure for the woman, use a dildo cuff with a Pulsating Pleaser on it, which is basically a vibrating cock ring.

Can you recommend some porn for a beginning viewer?
Always Candida Royalle’s Femme Productions, but if you want a plot line, Veronica Hart’s videos are great. She’s a talented director and scriptwriter which is reflected in her work. There’s lots of sex and it usually doesn’t disintegrate into the “bobbing, hairy man butt” thing.

What about non-porn videos that will get a person in the mood?
My personal favorite is the unedited version of Crash. It has this edgy sexual tension, and James Spader having sex beneath the sheets with his lovely co-star.

My boyfriend loves for me to go down on him, but he rarely returns the favor. How can I bring this up without sending him running?
Flip around into the sixty-nine position. Slide your hands in between your legs so he can see what you’re doing. If that doesn’t work, go on strike and refuse to suck his dick unless he turns his head upside down and puts it in the right place.

Is it okay to sleep with friends’ exes?

Totally depends. I know when this has worked and I know when it’s failed miserably. It takes strong wills all the way around.

Is there a surefire way to help a woman orgasm?

Nope. All orgasms are different, all women are different. Some have hair-trigger reflexes, and some women take hours to get off. The most important thing with orgasm is BREATHING. People forget about that way too often. Breath and energy work can bring you to higher plateaus and this applies to both men and women and everyone in between.

My guy takes FOREVER to come, how can I make it happen faster?

Good question. I frequently find this as a challenge especially when I’m spent, after two hours or so. I say communicate. Like, “what would it take you to come? I’d love to see your hot load all over my (fill in the blank)…" Keep talking to him and telling him you really want to see it happen.

What is something that should never be said in bed (aside from comments about genital size)?
Make comparisons to other partners, unless it’s being used as a turn-on. “Oh yeah, what else did she do to you?” Also, anything work related, like “Oh, I have to get this report done.”

Female ejaculation: How can you make it happen?

I could write a whole book on this, which is what I plan on doing! Personally, I started doing this, consciously, in 1992 when this guy taught me how to do it. It was a matter of refocusing my orgasmic energy from shooting out of my head to literally, shooting out of my cunt. It took a little concentration to do it but once I had this great crotch coach, it started to flow. Now, I do it more frequently than not and prefer to do it because it decreases my sense of “blue balls” when I release. Crooking the fingers in a “come here” motion while plunging in and out of the vagina, not too hard, will stimulate the G spot area immensely. When masturbating, I like to use the middle and ring fingers of my right hand.

Tips on giving a good blowjob?

Using your tongue a lot. It will take the tension out of your jaw and give his dick a whole new sensation. Vary the way you use your tongue on him, from fat, sloppy licks to sharply pointed tongue tip circles. And don’t forget the balls.

Tips on giving good cunnilingus?
I always suggest varying rhythm, touch techniques, and lick more than just the good parts. Slide down the thighs and the inside of the knees. Lick in the “golden triangle” which is the groove from her hipbones down to the pubic hair down to the rest of the goodies.

Is casual sex possible with a friend — i.e., a “friend with benefits?"
Simple. I do it all the time. Separate the sex from the emotional connection. Talk about other things WHILE you’re fucking as opposed to the romantic stuff. Also, make it clear BEFOREHAND that this is what the two of you are doing and if it gets emotionally scary or close, take a step back by going to your regular friendship and not having sex.

What are some tips to initiate group sex?
Whenever you fantasize about doing something, I find it really easy to bring it up in the third person like, “Oh, I read it on Nerve. This woman had always thought about it and…” Make the stuff up because they probably won’t go searching for that exact article. It breaks the ice and you get to get a “read” on how they are thinking by just gauging their response to what you say. And look for those non-verbal cues, too.

Becca, 23

What beginner sex toy do you recommend for women?
For women, I think a great starter toy is a variable speed or multifunction vibrator — internal or external — and plenty of lube. Some great beginner vibes include the Judy Jetson, Honey Bear, Technobeat, and Sea Lion.

For men?
For men, I’d recommend a basic male masturbation sleeve, like the Hand Job Stroker or Crystal Gal, and plenty of lube as well. I also recommend a beginner (smaller) anal toy, since prostate stimulation can be really intense for a lot of men. This can be a touchy subject for men since it sometimes brings up insecurities about their sexuality. I like to point out that body parts don’t have a sexuality. As in, if you’re straight, how can your ass be gay?

How about something for the more advanced players?
If you haven’t tried a harness and silicone dildo, that can be really fun, especially with a double dildo.

Can you recommend some porn for a beginning viewer?
Some great hetero videos to start off with include Urban Friction and White Lightning. Check out educational videos such as Bend Over Boyfriend, Talk to Me Baby and The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, or classic ’70s porn for more realistic female bodies and full pubic bushes. Another good resource is The Ultimate Guide to Adult Videos by Violet Blue.

My friend doesn’t have a boyfriend and doesn’t have a vibrator — she’s afraid getting the latter means she’ll never have the former again.
This is definitely not uncommon, but the amount of sex toys you own has absolutely NO correlation to your current or future relationship status. In fact, figuring out how to please yourself sexually can make future relationships better. Sex toys can also be a ton of fun to use together and they’re not just for women — many men enjoy vibrations on the head of the penis, along the shaft, or on the balls. If she wants a vibrator, there’s absolutely no reason for her not to get one. But if she isn’t interested and you’re trying to talk her into it, maybe you need to pay more attention to your own sexual experimentation, and let her figure out how to express her sexuality on her own.

My boyfriend loves for me to go down on him, but he rarely returns the favor. How can I bring this up without sending him running?
If you don’t ask, your partner may not know what you want. Plus, it can be a major turn-on to hear a partner articulate their desires. If you’re a wimp and can’t bear to bring it up, you could always rotate your body around while you’re going down on him so that you’re straddling his head. Then slowly lower your crotch toward his mouth until he gets the point. If it turns out your boyfriend just doesn’t like giving head, ditch him. There are plenty of caring, intelligent potential partners out there who enjoy it immensely and will go at it all day if you ask them to.

My guy takes FOREVER to come, how can I make it happen faster?
Talk to him. Does he want to come sooner, or is he enjoying the ride? Are you not enjoying the whole session? Then maybe you need to talk about ways to make it more fun for you, not ways to make him come sooner. If your partner does want to come sooner, talk about what kinds of stimulation are most intense for him. Watching each other masturbate can be a great way to learn about the types of stimulation that the other person responds to. For many people, stimulation has to have a certain rhythm to it in order to build to orgasm. If you want to extend an orgasm, changing speeds and types of stimulation can be a great way to do it, but if you want an orgasm to happen sooner, stimulation typically needs to be more consistent.

My lover and I seem to have opposing libidos — he’s in the mood in the morning, I’m only in the mood after 10pm. What can I do?
The only thing you can do is compromise. Are there things that get either of you in the mood when you’re not already? Perhaps you could agree that the person who is more in the mood will take the initiative to get the other person in the mood. For example, let’s say a woman wakes up in the morning to a tongue lapping at her clit. Do you think she might be more or less in the mood than the woman who wakes up with an erection poking her in the spine? You get the picture.

Best music to get a person in the mood?

I’m partial to Ben Harper myself, especially his cover of “Sexual Healing.”

Say I wanted to introduce swinging/involving additional sex partners. How should I approach the subject with my partner?
Before you think about how to bring up the topic, think about whether your relationship is strong enough and honest enough to survive it. If you are thinking of it as something that can revive a struggling relationship, you need to think again. If you’re sure you’re ready to introduce something like swinging or additional partners into your relationship, be sure to frame it in a positive way. Don’t say “Honey, I’m really bored with our sex life. Maybe we should try swinging so I can screw other people who are better in the sack than you.”

What digital stimulation works best on women?

Ask her. If she’s bashful, try different types of stimulation — gentler, firmer, external, internal, both at once, small circles on the clit, larger circles around the clit, massage the labia, gently rub her asshole — and ask her to indicate, verbally or non-verbally, when something feels good. Also, remember to use lube, especially on the clit, whether she asks for it or not.

Tips on giving a good blowjob?
Deep throat does not automatically equal good. The first rule of giving good oral sex is to enjoy yourself. If you think it’s a chore, your partner will pick up on that. Appreciative noises are always a turn-on. Don’t be afraid to use your hands and mouth at the same time. If you’re not too coordinated, you can do something like squeezing or caressing thighs, stomach or ass while you use your mouth. If you’re more talented, you can use your hands and mouth in unison or alternate hands and mouth between the shaft and the balls, or you can insert a well-lubed finger or two in your partner’s ass if they’re game. Some people really enjoy eye contact when you’re going down on them. Everyone is different.

Tips on giving good cunnilingus?
Most of the blow job tips above are applicable to eating pussy as well. Except substitute the deep throat doesn’t equal good head statement with "Thrusting your tongue in and out of someone’s vagina generally does not equal good head." Many of these tips apply to other oral activities like kissing and rimming as well.

What are some specific ways to keep a long-term sexual relationship fresh?
Communication. And lube. I think it’s important to have an active imagination and to be open to trying new things. Never say never — just because you’re not interested in trying a specific activity right now, don’t assume you’ll never want to try it. Be sure to check in periodically with each other about where you are sexually. And lots of lube. Did I mention lube?

Rek, 22

What are some dos and don’ts for making a sexy home video?
Don’t go beyond what you can do. If you aren’t a good actor, or don’t have tons of friends involved, don’t try to create a crazy plotline. Do what you enjoy doing — that’s what will look the hottest on film.

What beginner sex toy do you recommend for women? For men?
For women, a vibrator that can be used internally — possibly even one curved for g-spot stimulation — as well as externally, like the Gee Egg. For men, I’d go with a vibrating cock ring, like the Pulsating Purple Pleaser. They tend to be looser than other cock rings, and the vibrations are an optional addition.

How about something for the more advanced players?
If you’re advanced and like it strong, the Hitachi Magic wand, possibly with the Gee Whiz silicone g-spot attachment. Or, try a double ended silicone dildo like the Nexus or the Feeldoe — these toys allow the strap-on wearer to be penetrated at the same time that they penetrate their partner, and are much more functional than the double dildos seen in so much girl-girl porn. For those looking for something more than "just sex," I’d go with a flogger, one with a beautifully crafted wooden or metal handle. Elegant and sexy.

Can you recommend some porn for a beginning viewer?
When I started watching porn, I went for whatever I could find. There was an early ’90s lesbian flick called Suburban Dykes followed by The Erotic World of Angel Cash followed by the classic Behind the Green Door. If you’re a beginning viewer, I’d recommend watching a bunch of things from different categories. You might find yourself surprised by what porn really turns you on, and it would be a shame to miss out on a whole category of porn because you didn’t think you were "advanced" enough for it.

My boyfriend loves for me to go down on him, but he rarely returns the favor. How can I bring this up without sending him running?
Tie him up and sit on his face. Seriously, that’s definitely something to bring up with him. He may not realize that you feel like you’re missing out on the fun. And if he’s going to run away if you ask for the sexual pleasure you desire, is he really the best partner for you?

Is it okay to sleep with friends’ exes?
It depends. What is your relationship with your friend? What is your friend’s relationship with their ex? And of course, what do you want the relationship with your friend’s ex to be? Friends with benefits, just a fling, lovers, dating, marriage? Talk to both of them and remember: A new lover isn’t worth your friendship unless, of course, it is.

My guy takes FOREVER to come, how can I make it happen faster?
Try switching activities or types of stimulation. The part of me that is a sex educator says, "Why is it a problem that he takes forever?" If you don’t like waiting for him to reach orgasm, or get tired of doing whatever you’re doing, and orgasm is essential to your sex life, there’s nothing wrong with making him finish up the job himself.

My girl takes FOREVER to come, how can I make it happen faster?
Orgasm has become a goal of many people’s sex lives, but it doesn’t need to be. If orgasm is important to you, though, talk to your partner and see if you’re touching her in a way that will bring them to orgasm. Work with her to reach it, rather than licking away and hoping she’ll magically come.

Say I wanted to introduce swinging, how should I approach the subject with my partner?
Not in bed. In general, during/right before/right after sex is not the best time to bring up major changes to your partner. One great way to bring up fantasies to a partner is by taking turns listing things you want try, don’t want to try, and would consider trying (a "yes/no/maybe" list). Take some time to discuss the different things on your lists, and then start trying the things that were on both of your "yes" lists. There’s an example of a list that you can use in The Ethical Slut, which is one of the few well-written books about multiple partners. It’s very biased towards honest and open communication with your partners, but then again, so am I.

My boyfriend seems to think that using spit as a lubricant is perfectly acceptable. I don’t want to say anything, but it’s making me crazy. What should I do?
Are you dating my ex? If so, dump him now. Have you brought up using a commercially produced lubricant? I’d say your best bet would be to introduce him to that bottle of lube you just bought.

What digital stimulation works best on women?
Go for the g-spot, go for the clit, go for adding fingers. Don’t go for the world record on "How far up a woman’s vagina can I stick a single finger." Her cervix will thank you.

What hand job tips will surprise and please my man?
Try using a toy like the nubbly textured Hand Job Stroker. Don’t be afraid to use some pressure — believe me, he’ll tell you if it hurts.

Is casual sex possible with a friend — i.e. a “friend with benefits”?
Definitely. Does it take clear communication? Definitely. If you’re someone who enjoys falling in love, casual sex with ANYONE might not work out so well. But if you’re someone who digs the casual sex groove, then friends can be great partners. You already know them, you get along with them, and if you’re anything like me, you already talk about sex with your friends.

What are some tips to initiate group sex?
A sexual — but not pornographic — movie can be a good start. Getting people turned on and touching each other can lead to group sex. But don’t try to force it. Even if everyone in the room thinks group sex is hot, if they aren’t interested in the other folks in the room, your orgy will fizzle out. If you’re in a relationship and you and your partner are interested in exploring group sex, finding another couple or a few friends can be a great way to start. And if you don’t mind being slightly middle-school about it, a game of Spin the Bottle can definitely get things going.  

Special thanks to the employees and owner of Grand Opening! in Brookline, MA. You can visit the store’s website at

Interviews and photos by Barbara Atkinson.

Sex Advice From… appears on Thursdays. Do you have sex-advice questions for the general public? Send them to

Previous Sex Advice


©2004, Inc.