When it comes to spicing up your love life, one of the easiest, exciting ways to turn up the heat is adding sexy toys to the mix. When it comes to selecting the right toys, Stefani, an independent consultant for Pure Romance (a direct seller of relationship and intimacy aids), suggests talking to your partner and picking something that you both agree on. “Think about what kinds of sexual pleasure you both enjoy, whether it’s anal, vaginal or oral sex, and find toys that will enhance that pleasure. Start with something basic, and remember to start slow and stop if anytime something makes you uncomfortable.”

There are a variety of toys for every budget, so I’m going to guide you with some tips and recommendations. No matter what you’re into or looking to get into, it’s out there if you know where to look.

Internal, direct stimulation toys are among the most popular. These are toys designed to stimulate genitalia directly, and many of them are electronic. Dildos and vibrators are the top options in this category, and they’re almost always designed with women in mind. Dildos are generally shaped like human penises and come in various sizes, shapes and colors. They can be shared between lovers or used for solo play. If you have a male lover, I recommend trying a glass dildo, because it’s an incredibly smooth alternative that provides a unique type of stimulation, plus it’s easy to clean and store.

G-spot vibrators are designed to be inserted into a woman’s vagina and provide direct stimulation to a woman’s G-spot (the internal region directly behind her clitoris). When stimulated to a certain point, most women will experience an intensely explosive internal orgasm. Clitoral vibrators, like the popular “bullet,” are designed to provide direct stimulation to a woman’s clitoris. Bullets often come with different speed options and are for the more discreet player.

Lelo Gigi vibrators are popular (“the bestselling G-spot vibrator in the world!”) for more advanced players, because of the rather intense sensations they provide. With vibrators, you have to be careful with prolonged direct stimulation; many women report becoming less sensitive over the years. I recommend newbies use a barrier like underwear or a sheet initially. If you’re really daring, you’ll try a combination toy that provides both G-spot and clitoral satisfaction at once. (Be sure to put down a towel before you turn up the buzz!) Men can use these on their female partners during intercourse or women can use them for some fun solo time. There’s even a couples vibrator that can be used during intercourse to tantalize the both of you.

Sensory toys focus more on stimulating other areas not thought to be directly associated with sex. For example, using blindfolds on your partner can heighten sensitivity to touch and increase suspense, which heightens the overall thrill. You can tease your partner with feathers or change up the temperature with an icy-hot tickler, which engages the nerve endings in the skin and gets the entire body fired up.

Toys used for edgier play are for those with kinkier tastes who want to explore another level of sensual pleasure. For those who are into being restrained, bondage toys can help fulfill certain fantasies. A restraint kit helps turn any bed into a sexy lair where one of you is “bound” to please the other. Been a bad girl? You might find yourself on the receiving end of erotic discipline with a sexy paddle. If you’re looking to explore anal play, a training kit might be just what you need to open the “back door.” More extreme couples might be looking for new ways to get into the “swing of things.” Installing a sex swing in the home could be just what they’re looking for.

Using sex toys isn’t an automatic indication that something’s wrong or missing from your current sex life. Not at all—they’re merely enhancements. If your lady wants to introduce vibrators, for instance, don’t take it personally. You want to give her the ultimate pleasure, right? Why not explore every possible option to make her toes curl? Most vibrators move the equivalent of 1,000 licks per minute. You know you can’t do that!

Toys are additions, not necessarily replacements; but they can be used to help couples that are dealing with health-related issues, like paralysis (due to an accident) or prolonged erectile dysfunction. They can also aid long-distance couples who are apart for extended periods of time. Use them to set up a sexy Skype date and get into building sexy cyber-intimacy to satisfy those urges in the meantime in-between times. There are so many exciting reasons to consider adding sex toys, so don’t limit yourself. Try something new in 2013!

Feminista Jones is a sex-positive Black feminist, social worker and blogger from New York City. She writes about gender, race, politics, mental health and sexuality at FeministaJones.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FeministaJones.