How Sex Toys Work

By Edie / April 10, 2023

Answering your basic questions on all types of sex toys and how they work.

Knowing how sex toys work may seem like a no-brainer to most of us. However, some folks from older generations, and those from strict, modest families may have no idea how sex toys work on their bodies or how they work mechanically.

Therefore, I am going to get back to the basics and talk about how sex toys work, both on your body and how different types of sex toys work mechanically. And who knows, you may just learn something you didn’t know before!

How Sex Toys Work: In a Nutshell

  • Sex toys work in two ways; in the body to induce pleasure and orgasms. And mechanically by way of small motors.
  • Some sex toys work manually, meaning the user does all of the work.
  • Vibrators comes in various types like bullets, penetrative and multi-function. All of which work by utilizing small motors that rotate quickly for a bussing sensation, or more slowly for a rumbling feel.
  • Kinky sex toys aren’t just for BDSM lovers. On the contrary, masks, restraints and ticklers are enjoyed by mainstream sex lovers. These pleasure products are also manually operated.
  • Hard core BDSM toys include floggers, paddles and even sounding rods; all of which work manually.
  • High-end sex toys include things like sex dolls, sex machines, programmable strokers and sex furniture. Some of the pleasure products are manually operated while others work by a complicated series of motors and even computer programming.

Quick Links on How Sex Toys Work

How Do Sex Toys Work?

How do sex toys work? Previously, I mentioned how broad a question this is, as it can mean two things.

First, how do sex toys work on the body? What this means is getting to the bottom of how they work in the body and what they do to the bodies of hims, hers and thems!

Secondly, how do sex toys work mechanically? Meaning, how do they operate to make our bodies feel so incredibly amazing?

The answers to those questions may surprise you. So, let’s get into the basics of how sex toys work!

In Your Body, How Do Sex Toys Work?

How do sex toys work when using them on your body? In other words, what do sex toys actually do to our bodies?

In all bodies, sex toys create thrilling sensations to our erogenous zones and our genitals. From there, those sensations build and cumulate into one of the best feelings in the world; the orgasm.

But exactly how do sex toys work in tantalizing different body parts? Well, that depends on the body part about which we are speaking.

So, let’s discuss body parts and how sex toys work to make them go “Wow!”

How Sex Toys Work for Penis Owners

If you have a penis but have little sexual experience in regard to self-pleasure, you may not understand how sex toys work for you. To be honest, it’s all about basic stimulation.

Sex toys work for penis owners by applying pressure, stroking or vibrating the penis as a whole. Or they work by focusing that stimulation to certain hot spots like the glans.

Then, the stimulation builds and builds until you reach orgasm. Finally, you can broaden your masturbatory horizons by discovering other parts of your body that can bring you to orgasm, and finding sex toys for those body parts.

For instance, certain types of sex toys work through the rectum to stimulate your prostate (or p-spot). As a result, you’ll experience a completely different type of orgasm!

Finally, people with a penis can also add to arousal by using sex toys that work on the nipples, perineum and your other, personal erogenous zones.

Vulva Owners and Sex Toys

Vulva owners have a few options when it comes to pleasure products. However, all sex toys work as a means to an end; the orgasm.

First, sex toys work on people with vulvas by vibrating, rumbling, licking or sucking the clitoris. Next, some toys work by penetrating, while sometimes vibrating or thrusting into the vagina.

As a result, these types of sex toys work by delivering the sensation of stretching, as well as targeted stimulation of the g-spot or a-spot.

On top of that, people with vulvas can also enjoy orgasms from nipple play too, making other types of sex toys work as well.

Anal Orgasms, Sex Toys and the Back Door

Another way sex toys work on a body is by facilitating an anal orgasm. And all people have a back door which can be stimulated to orgasm.

The reason for this is, in penis owners, sex toys work in the butt by stimulating the sensitive nerve    endings around the anus as well as stimulating the prostate, till orgasm is achieved.

The same goes for people with vulvas, as sex toys work as deep stimulation, which may bring about a few different types of satisfying orgasms.

How Do Sex Toys Work for Couples?

Sex toys work for couples in the same ways they do for single people, only, the pleasure is combined. For instance, some sex toys work for couples when used in between the two bodies, or to stimulate the clitoris during penetration.

Another way sex toys work for couples is by building arousal and relaxation in the anticipation of sex and orgasm. So, sex toys also work for various types of foreplay.

Finally, sex toys work for couples by broadening sexual horizons, building trust and allowing the couple to learn more about what makes their partner tick.

Different Types of Sex Toys and How They Work

Now, we are going to switch gears and talk about the different types of sex toys and how they work in the mechanical sense. And remember, each and every pleasure product we discuss is created to add to the sexual experience, as well as producing stronger, more fulfilling orgasms.

Dildos, Strap-Ons and Grinders, Oh My!

This category of sex toys is considered manually operated. What that means is no batteries, no chargers and no rumbling, buzzing or vibrations.

Hence, how these sex toys work is by human manipulation.

Also, these types of sex toys are numerous, as well as being some of the most popular pleasure products sold. So, let’s talk about each type of product and how these sex toys work.

The Dildo

How do sex toys work? The Dildo, photo of all types of dildos

How does a dildo work? They work in several ways, depending on the type of dildo you’re using. One great example is the strap-on dildo – worn attached to a harness – and facilitating Lesbian penetration and pegging between all types of couples.

Plus, other types of dildos work via penetration, and are operated by a partner or someone enjoying masturbation. These dildos include g-spot and a-spot stimulators, steel, weighted g-spot stimulators and even smaller dildos created specifically for anal penetration.

Last, but certainly not least, there is the suction cup dildo. How this sex toy works in unique as it suctions to any flat, smooth surface and allows for hands-free penetration for all people with a hole in need of filling!

Butt Plugs

Butt plug types

Speaking of people with holes, when it comes to butt plugs, this manual sex toy works by stimulating the excitable nerves in and around the anus. And with sizes from small to quite large, every bottom is sure to find the right butt plug for their pleasure.

Finally, butt plugs are made from all sorts of materials including safe silicone and steel. Additionally, some are plain and some are fancy with jewels, flowers and even animal tails for those who want a bit of kink with their butt play.

Cock Rings

How cock rings work, showing several manual cock rings

How does this sex toy work? Although the cock ring is a manual product, how it works is a bit more complicated.

Learning how to wear a cock ring is relatively easy. Basically, you place the ring at the base of a penis, about two inches from the body, after it has become erect.

Now, how this sex toy works is by holding in erectile blood, allowing for a firmer, longer-lasting erection. Plus, it makes the penis far more sensitive, while delaying ejaculation.

In the end, a cock ring works as a couple’s toy, bringing pleasure to both partners in a completely manual way.


How sex toys work: masturbators, showing several types of masturbators

Masturbators, sometimes called pocket pussies, are sex toys that work by engulfing the penis in a sleeve with differing textures inside. Thus, the penis owner either manually moves the masturbator up and down the penis, or they hold it still and thrust into the toy.

In addition, masturbators are available encased in plastic containers, like the Fleshlight, or even concealed in a small, egg-shaped container like the Tenga Egg.

Finally, let’s not forget other types of manual masturbators controlled by hand power, like Jack-Its strokers and your typical, soft pocket pussy.

Pumps Work Manually Too

Pumps work manually too: showing both a penis and pussy pump

Another type of sex toy that works manually, without any vibrational bells and whistles is a pump; specifically, the penis and pussy pump.

First, the penis pump works by placing the penis in the cylinder, pumping to remove air, and enjoying the firmer erection and feeling of suction.

Next, the pussy pump sex toy works by covering the entire vulva in a silicone shield, and the pump is expressed, which pulls out the air and creates suction.

The Waterslyde

Waterslyde: a water-operated pleasure product that attaches to the bathtub spigot

How this sex toy works is unique from every single product in this article! That is because it is 100% water-powered.

The Waterslyde attaches to the bathtub spigot and directs the flow of water directly onto the user’s genitals for unique pleasure that’s different from most all pleasure products.

Eggs and Balls for Strength Training

How sex toys works: showing yoni eggs and Ben Wa balls

Let’s talk about balls and eggs; specifically, Ben-Wa balls and Yoni Eggs. How do these sex toys work?

Ben-Wa balls are old-school, weighted balls worn inside the vagina to accomplish two things. One, the weight and muscle tension it requires to hold them in place, strengthen the pelvic floor and Kegel muscles.

And two, some say the movement and clanking of the Ben-Wa balls send delightful sensations throughout the vagina.

In comparison, Yoni Eggs are used for the same reason (strengthening), as well as the belief that certain varieties of crystals and stones cause positive energy to flow throughout the body.

Nipple Clamps and Suckers

How do sex toys work? Showing nipple clamps and suckers

Okay, I understand that these nipple pleasuring toys fall somewhere between a mainstream sex toy and something used for BDSM play. However, to each their own, so I’m placing them here!

But how do these sex toys work? First, nipple clamps work by pinching the nipple either via a spring-loaded clamp or one that adjusts to fit.

Next, nipple suckers work by applying suction. Simply said, they work by squeezing the air out, placing it over the nipple and releasing.

Viola’, instant suction and hands-free, nipple pleasure!

Grinders and tribbing, Baby!


What the heck is a tribbing sex toy and exactly how does this sex toy work? To answer, a grinder is one of the simplest, yet most stimulating sex toys ever invented.

And why is that? Because a Grinder can be used by people with vulvas, penises and even those in the midst of transition!

To further explain, a Grinder is a shaped piece of silicone that is molded and sculpted to feature deliciously stimulating lumps, bumps and other textures. Then, that little sex toy works by giving the person something to grind their genitals against.

Hence, the name “grinder”.

How Sex Toys Work: Vibrator Edition

Now, let’s talk about the most commonly recognized pleasure product; the vibrator. How these sex toys work is extremely different that manually operated products.

Plus, they come in a variety of types for use on all sorts of body parts. So, let’s get into the different types of vibrators and how they work.

How Bullet Vibrators Work

How bullet vibrators work: showing several types of bullet vibrators

Bullet vibrators, also known as personal vibrators are small in size, while packing a powerful, stimulating punch.

How these sex toys work is by a small motor, inside the product, which turns either quickly, for a more buzzy vibration or a bit slower,  which presents a more rumbly feel. And these tiny powerhouses come in all shapes and sizes!

For instance, you can find bullet vibrators that have a bullet shape or are shaped with more of a scoop for cradling genitals and featuring a tip for targeted stimulation.

But if you’re looking for discreet vibrators, some bullet vibrators are cleverly disguised as lipstick, mascara and even necklaces. Furthermore, bullet vibrators work as massage tools, as well as sex toys that stimulate all of your pleasure zones.

Penetrative Vibrators

Penetrative vibrators, different types and colors

Penetrative vibrators; how do these sex toys work? They work exactly the same way as bullet vibrators, with larger, spinning motors inside and sometimes, more than one.

Additionally, penetrative vibrators can be straight and phallic, curved to hit the g-spot, and in an extended length to tickle the a-spot just right.

And if that’s not enough, some vibrators have an additional motor that doesn’t spin. Rather, this motor pushes and pulls, allowing the end of the vibrator to thrust.

Finally, some vibrators are considered multi-function sex toys. For example, the iconic rabbit vibrator includes a motor in the shaft plus a second motor in the clitoral stimulator.

That way, you not only get the thrill of internal vibrations, but external stimulation at the same time. These popular sex toys work by delivering dual stimulation in order to produce blended orgasms.

Vibrating the Booty

Vibrating Botty: showing 3 types of vibrating anal toys

Products for vibrating the booty; how do these sex toys work? Again, these products contain small, vibrating motors to target stimulation to the rectal tunnel as well as the prostate in penis owners.

To start, vibrating butt plugs work by not only making the rectum feel full, they deliver buzzy to rumbly vibrations to all people with butts.

Next, the prostate stimulator, with its unique shape, features a motor that presses against and massages the prostate. As a result, penis owners experience orgasms that are far different than the regular penis-centered O.

On top of that, some prostate stimulators have an added motor that vibrates to stimulate the prostate from the outside, via the perineum.

How Do Penis Vibrators Work?

How do penis vibrators work? Showing 3 styles of penis vibrators

Believe it or not, penis vibrators are a newer pleasure product which give penis owners a better variety of playthings to choose from. But how do these sex toys work, you may wonder?

As with all vibrators, penis vibrators utilize small, spinning motors to create vibrations that range from buzzing to rumbling. However, where the motor is placed depends on the style of the penis vibrator.

For instance, some of these vibrators look like a penetrating toy, but with wings on the end that wrap around the penis. Therefore, these sex toys work by concentrating the vibration at the base of the wing, allowing the vibration to create a fluttering sensation as well.

In addition, some penis vibrators work by wrapping around the shaft with small motors placed along the length of the toys. As a result, stimulation is delivered in different spots along the length of the penis.

Stroke Me, Stroke Me!

Vibrating strokers, showing 3 types of strokers with vibration

Strokers are yet another penis pleaser that includes a vibrating mechanism. However, these take a simple masturbating sleeve and adds the pleasure of a vibrating motor or two, maybe even three or four!

Plus, some of these vibrating strokers have even more technology, featuring different types of motors that create a squeezing or spinning sensation inside of the stroker.

Therefore, how do sex toys like this work? Simply lube up, place your penis inside, press a button or two and enjoy the vibrations and other unique sensations.

Love Me, from a Distance

Hoe sex toys work: Showing 3 app controlled sex toys

Alright folks, we are about to get techy with sex by discussing remote control vibrators. Exactly how do these sex toys work?

Simply, put, they work via an app, which acts as a remote control, operating a vibrator anywhere in the world, or in the next room. Furthermore, these vibrators are set up exactly the same way as traditional vibrators featuring spinning motors.

However, they have the added computer technology to connect and be controlled by an app. But the best part of these remote-control vibrators is that they come in all shapes and types to thrill any genital you may have.

For instance, there are c-shaped vibrators for internal-external thrills, phallic-shaped vibrators for vaginal or anal stimulation and even butt plugs and prostate stimulators. Now, you can give and receive pleasure when you or your partner is away.

Just for the Vulva: How Clitoral Suckers Work

Just for the Vulva: How clit suckers work

How sex toys work varies, depending on how they are built. And one of the most unique sex toys available for vulva owners is the clit sucker.

How does a clit sucker work? Simply put, clitoral suckers have an opening which fits over the clitoris and inside, there are motors that deliver short puffs of air.

In turn, the air bounces between the clitoris and the bottom of the opening, creating a sensation that feels a great deal like suction. Plus, some clit suckers have the added bonus of vibration!

Living on the Edge: How Kinky Sex Toys Work

Kinky sex toys are usually used by those who enjoy BDSM. However, some people enjoy the lighter side of kink, and are game to use blindfolds, restraints and ticklers.

However, with the vast array of BDSM toys available, you may wonder how these sex toys work. Well, most of them are human operated but work in different ways.

So, let’s get into it!

Spank Me, Flog Me, Paddle Me

How paddles, floggers and whips work: showing several types of BDSM toys

Some of the most popular BDSM toys are created to give users light, moderate or severe pain. And the most popular ways of pain delivery come from whips, paddles and floggers.

These sex toys work by delivering a punishment, usually to the bottom or thighs and given by whomever is the dominant partner.

Plus, these sex toys come in a wonderful variety of materials from silicone and leather to stainless steel. Therefore, you can pick your pain and your pleasure.

How Do Restraints Work?

How do restraints work? Showing two types of BDSM restraints

Restraints are popular BDSM products and are used specifically to restrain the submissive partner for a number of reasons ranging from pleasure and pleasure denial to full-on punishment.

But how do these sex toys work?

BDSM restraints are made with a plethora of different materials and work by attaching a person’s wrists, ankles, legs, arms and other body parts to each other, chairs and beds – just to name a few.

Further, they attach by Velcro, tying and even buckles. Finally, restraints also work by keeping the submissive from being able to move, allowing the dominant partner to have their way with them.

Blindfolds, Masks and Gags

BDSM blindfold, mask and ball gag

Okay, so I am cramming 3 different BDSM products into a single section, but that’s okay! Because, I am going to explain how they work.

First of all, blindfolds work by covering the eyes of the submissive. What this does is takes away sight, making all of the other senses more sensitive.

Therefore, when blindfolds are used, the wearer can be touched, teased and even spanked without the luxury of knowing what’s about to happen. Which, by the way, can be extremely arousing.

Next, masks are used in BDSM play for a number of reasons. For instance, some dominants may wear masks as part of their costume. Or, a submissive may be asked to wear a mask in order to rob them of sight, sound and their voice.

Finally, gags work by placing an item in the submissive’s mouth and tying or buckling it behind their heads. In turn, the submissive is unable to speak and may even drool, depending on the size and shape of the gag.

Sex Swings

Sex swing

Another sex product that can easily cross over from BDSM to mainstream sex is the sex swing. And boy, can sex swings add some excitement to any bedroom romp!

But how do these unique sex toys work?

Sex swings work by utilizing padded seats, backrests, handles and stirrups to support one or two partners. As a result, you are able to achieve more exciting sex positions as well as having weightless sex with fluid, swinging motion.

In addition, sex swings work by attaching to a door frame, hooking to a sex swing stand or by being mounted in a ceiling beam. Plus, because of their supportive nature, they are excellent sex tools for mature adults and those with mobility issues.

Cock Cages

How do sex toys work? Showing different styles of chastity cages

Cock cages, or chastity cages, are a BDSM staple for submissives with penises. But how do cock cages work?

Cock cages are made from various materials ranging from leather to plastic and steel. And these sex toys work by surrounding (caging) a flaccid penis in order to deny an erection or any sexual pleasure.

Cock cages also work by utilizing locking mechanisms, either manual or electronic, and the key holder is the dominant partner. Therefore, the caged person cannot access their penis for any sort of self-pleasure.

But no worries, most cock cages are open-sided and have a slit in the glans area so the wearer may keep his penis clean, and is able to use the bathroom without removal of the cage.

How Do Sounding Rods Work?

How do sounding rods work? Showing different types of sounding rods

I saved one of the most risqué BDSM sex toys for last; the sounding rod. Now, I am going to give you a trigger warning before I get into how this sex toy works.

So, if you are sensitive, squeamish or not into potentially painful procedures, stop reading now and skip ahead to the next sex toy.

Are they gone?

Okay, sounding rods are long, thin pieces of silicone or steel that are placed in the urethras of both penises and vulvas. And they work by delivering a unique, sometimes painful, sensation that some people find very arousing.

And if that wasn’t enough, you can actually find sounding toys that vibrate or deliver an electric shock as they are being used.

How the Most Expensive Sex Toys Work

Sex toys don’t merely consist of manually operated and vibrating products that can easily be stashed away in a box or the night stand drawer. On the contrary, some sex toys are big, expensive and things you only imagine in your wildest dreams.

So, now we are going to take a look at these expensive items and how these sex toys work.

The Sex Machine

How sex toys work: showing a Hismith sex machine

Ah, yes, the sex machine; a sometimes loud, invasive-looking piece of machinery that will bang you better than that one guy you will never forget.

Now, how sex machines work is far more complicated than a simple vibrator. For instance, we are talking about arms and motors, pistons and yes, even hydraulics, in some cases.

Basically, this large sex toy works by moving a dildo forward and back, at various speeds. Plus, you can adjust the sex machine for different, exciting sexual positions.

And with a treasure trove of dildos that can be attached to the sex machine, everyone with a willing hole can enjoy being f*cked by these expensive but thrilling contraptions.

How Do Ride-On Sex Toys Work?

How do ride-on sex toys work? Showing 3 models of ride-ons

Ride-on sex toys work by utilizing a seat or saddle on which a user straddles and rides. But, to make things more sex toy worthy, these ride-ons include different attachments for penetration, grinding and vibrating of the clitoris.

Best yet, ride-ons work via remote control so you can set your favorite speed and go for a solo ride. Or you can hand the remote to your partner for a thrilling, unpredictable ride.

Finally, some of the most well-known ride ons include the Sybian, the Motor Bunny and other alternatives. So, no matter which you choose, you’ll be able to ride your way into orgasmic bliss!

Hiya Doll! How Do These Human-Like Sex Toys Work?

How do sex dolls work? Showing 4 models of sex dolls

Sex dolls are probably one of the largest and most expensive sex toys available today. But, aside from the obvious, how do these sex dolls work?

First and foremost, sex dolls are anatomically correct with breasts, penises, vaginas and butt holes. In addition, underneath the skin-like silicone or TPE, the sex doll has a steel or titanium articulated skeleton.

Therefore, sex dolls work by being posed in any position you prefer. Then, you can have sex with them by way of their realistic genitalia.

Next, some sex dolls come complete with artificial intelligence. How these smart sex dolls work is by computer programming that learns the companion’s likes, dislikes, hobbies and even sense of humor. Thus, these sex dolls can carry on full blown, intelligent conversations, tell jokes and even compliment their companion – even during sex.

Finally, there are also sex dolls that are considered robotic, as they can move. These dolls work through complicated, internal machinery that allows the upper and lower half of the doll to move independently; mimicking thrusting and oral sex movement.

Programmable Strokers

Programmable strokers: showing 4 models

Yes, we are back at the strokers again! However, these programmable strokers allow penis owners to push a few buttons and simply hang on while the toy does all the work.

Kind of like a hand-held sex machine for penises.

These sex toy marvels include such brands as Kiiroo, the Fleshlight Launch and dozens of other brands. How these sex toys work is via computer programming.

Therefore, the user chooses from features such as stroke length, speed, vibration and other movement, pushes the appropriate buttons, grabs hold of the handles, and enjoys the ride.

Plus, some of these programmable strokers have virtual reality syncing. How that feature operates is through adult films and pre-programmed movements that sync up to whatever the actor is doing on the screen.

How Sex Furniture Works

How does sex furniture work? Showing a Tantra Chair, couch and sex chair

Last, but certainly not least, sex furniture, though not actual sex toys, facilitate sex in whole new ways. Fortunately, not all pieces happen to be expensive.

For instance, a simple sex chair is relatively inexpensive. How it works is the partner with the willing hole sits on the chair, which features an opening.

Then, the partner with the penis or strap-on, lies under  the stool and penetrates their eager partner. Not only does this sex piece add spice to sex, it is a great tool for people with mobility and movement issues.

On the other end of the spectrum is a piece of sex furniture called the Tantra Chair. How it works is by supporting the bodies and weight of both partners, allowing for all sorts of yummy sexual positions.

Again, sex furniture, such as this, is perfect for everyone, but more so allows for mature folks and those with mobility issues to continue to have an exciting and fulfilling sex life. Plus, pieces like the Tantra Chair are stunning pieces of furniture that can be left in full view, with no one being the wiser.

Making Sex Toys Work for You!

Now that you know how sex toys work, it’s time to get out there and make those sex toys work for you! So, whether you are single or coupled, enjoy vanilla sex or kink, you are bound to find the right sex toys that will send your orgasms to other-worldly planes!