Sex-Toy Life Hacks: Alternative uses for vibes, lubes, and more

“I need a butt-plug bin,” I said recently, in all seriousness. I’ve reached into my makeup bag for lipstick and pulled out a bullet vibrator. I’ve used a riding crop to fish a sock out from behind my bed. Point being, as a sex blogger and toy reviewer, I have a lot of sex toys, and whether by laziness, lack of proper resources, or accidental brilliance, being surrounded by them has made me deeply aware of their alternative uses. While searching the internet for “sex toy life hacks” gets you jelly dildo door stops and porous masturbation-sleeve beer koozies, the following hacks employ quality, body-safe toys that just happen to elevate your MacGyver status.

The first ingredient in my sex-toy survivor kit is lube. Lube is my life water—or oil or silicone, depending on the situation. Not everyone and certainly not every body part is self-lubricating, and for those that are, lube helps to reduce friction and can make sex generally more comfortable for longer. Because silicone lubricants like Uberlube ($16.96 for 15 mililiters at Sugar) and Sliquid Silver ($14 for four ounces at Sugar) are slippery, long-lasting, and unfazed by sweat or moisture, they’re perfect for all friction situations: bodies rubbing against bodies, thighs rubbing against thighs, crotches rubbing against bike seats, nipples rubbing against shirts, and anywhere else you may want to prevent from chafing.

Lube can also do your skin some good: While oil-based lube is a no-go for latex or polyisoprene barriers such as condoms and dams, it can give you supple skin. Sex educator and writer Caitlin Murphy swears by Southern Butter solid lubricants (various prices on southernbutter.com) for moisturizing skin and lips. While you’re slicking up the rest of your body, let it be known that you can also use lube in your hair. Fellow sex blogger Lorax of Sex uses thicker, aloe-based lubricants, like Good Clean Love’s Cinnamon-Vanilla ($12.99 for four ounces at Whole Foods), to define curls and make them smell like delicious pastries.

But there’s more to life hacks than lube: Sex toys can also help you when you’re sick.

Neti pot, Sudafed, strong vibrator. I would be lying if I said that this is my perfect sinus relief lineup; I’ve never tried a neti pot. However, I have tried more than a few vibrators, and because vibrations aren’t anatomy-specific but are very soothing to clogged sinuses, you can put them on whatever part of your face feels stuffy: nose, forehead, cheeks. Sex blogger Lunabelle, from Ninja Sexology, suggests the L’Amourose Rosa Rouge ($240 at shevibe.com): a powerful, rechargeable vibe with a heat setting to help you (and your evil head mucus) relax. However, I want soft face things, like a warm kitten or a helmet made of marshmallows, when there’s so much pressure in my head, so the plush Iroha vibes from Tenga ($99 at Sugar) make good sinus friends.

Sex toys can also be generally relaxing for self-care (in non-orgasmic ways). Vibrators can be used for back massages (go figure), and it’s OK to use massage candles ($17 at Sugar) as just candles, especially when they come in scents like lavender or bourbon. Squishy VixSkin silicone dildos by Vixen (various prices at Sugar) are like highly detailed, phallic stress balls, and sometimes the sound of a vibration pattern can be meditative, like listening to white noise or waves.

If you’re into something more practical than a high-powered sound machine, sex toys help around the house, too. As a clumsy individual, I have a multitude of embarrassing sex stories, but only one has led to me to a new way for keeping food fresh. It involves bondage tape ($10 at Sugar), a non-adhesive tape that sticks only to itself (like cling wrap), perfect for tying someone up because it’s compact, easy, and versatile. However, on one occasion, I managed to unravel a substantial portion of a roll mid-sex, proceeded to suavely shove it behind my bed, and then found it later when resealing a bag of Sour Patch Kids. It worked better than most chip clips I’ve owned.

There are also sex toys that can double as clothing, such as underwear-style strap-on harnesses like the SpareParts Tomboi ($78 at Sugar) or Bella ($165 at Sugar). They look like underwear but with an elastic hole in the front to secure any sex toy with a base. While their full potential is utilized when harnessing a dildo, I’ve definitely spent some time in mine when I’m low on quarters and therefore clean underwear. They’re comfy and machine washable, so it was inevitable.

I’ve used a silicone paddle as a fly swatter, dildos to prop up my camera, and a cock ring to hold a bundle of pens, so if you’re ever concerned about utilizing your sex toys in ways not advertised on the packaging, I hope you find comfort in the thought that I may be sitting here with lube in my hair, wearing a laundry-day harness, one hand holding a vibrator to my nose and the other compressing a stress-dildo.

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