Even the most experienced pleasure connoisseur had to start somewhere when it came to their impressive sex toy collection, but that’s easier said than done for most beginners. It doesn’t exactly help that today’s consumer has hundreds of different options to choose from. As exciting as having choices can be, it’s naturally confusing, as well.

Then there are all the myths, misconceptions, and wrong ideas those who aren’t in the know still have about sex toys. The more you know about how to choose, use, and take care of your sex toy before you even pick it out, the more you’ll get out of the experience. Here are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind about your first sex toy.

Sex toys are right for everyone.

Although society’s more knowledgeable and sex-positive than it was years ago, many people still think sex toys are solely for specific people when they’re for everyone. You don’t need to be a woman to benefit from a sex toy, nor do you have to be single. People of every gender and every relationship status can and do use sex toys regularly, couples included.

Sex toys don’t have to be phallic.

If you’re into representational sex toys that look (and feel) exactly like penises, you have options out there and shouldn’t shy away from exploring them. That’s not a requirement, though. Many of today’s most popular toys are designed with various unique aspects of a person’s anatomy in mind and don’t look anything like penises. A sex toy doesn’t even have to be insertable to be pleasurable to use and bring a lot to your sex life.

Body-safety is a must.

Whatever sex toy you choose, keep in mind that it’s going to get up close and personal with some of your most sensitive areas. That makes body-safety a key concern, but not all toys are equal in this regard. Cheaper bargain toys are the most likely to come with safety concerns, so it’s worth investing in a high-end toy from a brand with a great reputation. Read the packaging on the toys you’re considering and do your research, as well.

Do as much homework as you need to.

Speaking of research, there’s no such thing as too much when you’re in the market for your first sex toy. There’s absolutely no reason to go with the first option you see unless you genuinely want to. Take your time and see what’s out there first. Google your little heart out. Have a good look through some of the many toy review blogs out there. Ask your friends what they recommend if you’re comfortable doing so. Remember, this is about you and what gets you excited.

Proper care is so important.

Your vibrator is an investment in your pleasure, and it deserves to be treated that way. Don’t simply toss it in your nightstand drawer or stuff it between your mattress and your box spring for safekeeping. If your toy came with a storage bag, make sure you store it in that, separately from any other toys or accessories. Get into the habit of washing your sex toy after every single use, as well. Plain, unscented soap and water work just fine in many cases, but a good spray-on, wipe-off toy cleaner is an excellent alternative in a pinch. The better you are at taking care of your sex toy, the longer you’ll be able to enjoy everything it brings to your life.

The right lube is your friend.

Just as the right sex toy can be an absolute game changer when it comes to your sex life, so can the right lube. Don’t just think of it as something to keep on hand in case it’s needed, either. A little lube goes a long way when it comes to reducing friction and maximizing sensation. Just make sure your lube of choice is safe to use with your toy before you start playing. When in doubt, go with a water-based lube, as it will be compatible with just about anything.

Sex toys aren’t dirty little secrets.

Although some people are more comfortable being open about their sex toys than others, there’s no reason to hide that you use a toy, especially from a partner. Quality solo sex is a healthy part of absolutely anyone’s life, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. And toys can be such huge game changers in the bedroom, so it’s well worth using one with your partner at some point. If you like how it goes, consider shopping for additional options to add to your collection together. It’s a beautiful way to nurture intimacy and expand your horizons as a couple.

If you’ve never used a toy before and are getting ready to buy your first one, you’re in for a real treat. In fact, your sex life may never be quite the same, but in the best possible way. Get excited!