I'll never forget the first time I went shopping for a sex toy. Naively browsing the aisles of an ~adult~ store, I remember feeling distinctly overwhelmed by the many brightly colored, phallic objects waving in my face from every direction. Even though I've long considered myself a sex-positive person, I remember being embarrassed just looking at all the over-the-top sex toys and wondering why the only aesthetically pleasing, modern-looking toys were those specifically labeled "discreet" — as if sex toys need to be either totally undetectable or else hidden away under your bed in shame.
"Over the last decade, our culture has begun waking up and challenging the stigma that has plagued this category for so long," Ti Chang, co-founder and VP of design at sex toy company Crave, tells Bustle. "With the rise of women across the globe in various movements, women are also demanding serious design and consideration for products for intimacy. So the design of sex toys is evolving to meet the design and manufacturing standards of other modern consumer products. Why should a product for pleasure be any less beautiful or functional than any other everyday product?"
Preach. Fortunately, the stigma surrounding sex toys is slowly fading, and women (and men, too!) are being presented with more and more options for toys that fit *into* their lifestyles instead of standing out. But well-designed sex toys do so much more than just look good: having access to these kinds of products can help people embrace their pleasure, which has positive repercussions pretty much across the board.
"When people embrace their pleasure, it helps them lead richer, more expressive and more empowered lives," Chang says. "Products for pleasure should enhance this, both with the object itself and also the experience of using that object. An object that you feel you need to hide after use because it is embarrassing to look at is not a good experience."
When we have toys that we're proud to show off (though you don't have to wave them in anyone's face per se), it can help us feel more proud of our own pleasure, too. So if you're looking for a new sex toy that's both beautiful and gets the job done, here are seven toys that you can proudly display on your bedside table instead of shoving under your bed.
1. Vesper by Crave: Necklace
To the untrained eye, this sleek, modern sex toy might look like nothing more than a trendy accessory — but in reality, Crave's Vesper necklace is a powerful, portable vibrator. After you wear the Vesper out, let it wear you out with its two vibration patterns, three power settings, and run time of 40 minutes on a single charge.
2. Satisfyer Pro 2: Clarisonic
Although it looks like a regular old Clarisonic, you won't have much luck if you try to wash your face with the Satisfyer Pro 2 — but if oral pleasure is your jam, it can definitely help with that. The Satisfyer uses "pressure wave stimulation" to mimic the feeling of oral sex, and is almost guaranteed to bring you to orgasm in record time.
3. MysteryVibe Crescendo: Toothbrush Travel Case
This sleekly designed toy is so minimalist that it's almost impossible to detect its true function at a glance, but the MysteryVibe Crescendo is much more than meets the eye. It's a flexible, bendable vibrator (with six independent motors!) that can be used in all sorts of cool ways — in a U-shape for interior and exterior stimulation, or in an S-shape for use during oral — and it looks beautiful on your bedside table to boot.
4. Duet by Crave: USB Stick
This unique looking toy by Crave is certainly out of the box for a vibrator, but the Duet's beveled edges and surfaces aren't just for looks. Depending on how you hold the Duet, you'll experience different feel-good sensations, courtesy of its two motors, four vibration modes, and four power levels.
5. Unbound Zip Vibe: Lipstick
If you throw it in your bag, this teeny tiny bullet vibrator might be mistaken for nothing more than another tube of lipstick. But even though Unbound's Zip Vibe is discreet and cute AF, it shouldn't be overlooked: this clitoral vibe is perfect for solo or partnered play, and is a great option for sex toy newbies who might be overwhelmed by a more complex toy.
6. Queen Bee: Microphone
It's not actually a portable microphone for your spur-of-the-moment karaoke needs, but this super powerful wand vibrator from Hot Octopuss is just as likely to make you sing. On one side, the Queen Bee features their patented PulsePlate technology for super targeted, intense vibrations; flip it over, and the other side offers a more gentle massage.
7. Tenga's Iroha Plus: Wax Lips
OK, so maybe the average person doesn't have those cartoonish wax lips lying around on their nightstand, but that doesn't change the fact that the gorgeously designed Iroha Plus by Tenga is virtually unidentifiable as a sex toy. This toy is squishy to the touch and extremely pliable, but still offers intense pleasure with its five power levels and two rhythm patterns.
Even if you don't necessarily want to put it on display, having a pretty, aesthetically pleasing sex toy that you'd be happy to recommend to your friends can be empowering. That way, the next time you go shopping for a sex toy, you won't feel the need to hide your face in shame — no matter what you're buying.