Certain sex toys have phthalates, latex, or are porous. In general these toys are best to be avoided. Phthalates and latex can leach out of the toy and there have been studies associating them with fertility problems and increased risk of certain cancers. Porous toys allow materials such as feces and bacteria to get into the toy. This makes the toy impossible to clean. If a partner uses a porous toy and has a sexually transmitted infection there is a risk of passing on that STI to anyone else who uses that toy. Therefore, in my opinion, is it best to only use toys that are made out of silicone, metal, ceramic, hard plastic, wood (coated) or glass. And it is best to avoid toys made out of rubber, jelly, TPR, and other substances. So, now let’s talk about the feel and characteristics of each material.
Silicone: This is a soft man made substance. It is non-porous, hypoallergenic (will not cause an allergic response), and a very good sex toy material. It is a soft material with some give to it, and mimics flesh in some respects. It retains heat, so it can be warmed by soaking it in water and once it is inserted, it quickly warms to body temperature. It can be sterilized by boiling it, putting it in the top rack of the dishwasher or using a 10% bleach solution. This means it can be shared between partners. Only water-based lubricants can be used with it however.
Metal: I am sure most people are familiar with metal. This is an extremely heavy material and has a lot of weight to it, even for a small toy. It is very firm and hard and has absolutely no give to it. Metal is very strong and is unlikely to ever break under regular use, as a sex toy. It is often shiny, reflective and grey. They also retain heat very well and can be used for temperature play (soak it in hot or cold water). Metal too can be boiled, go through a dishwasher or cleaned with 10% bleach. It is non-porous, so it can be shared after it is sterilized. It can be used with water and silicone-based lubricants.
Hard Plastic: This is similar to what most plastic containers you have lying around your house. It is non-porous, which is good. It is a rigid material and does not have much give to it. It is normally very smooth. It can be used with water and silicone-based lubricants. Plastic does melt, so it is best not to expose it to heat, so no boiling these toys. They are non-porous, but because sterilization is difficult, they are best used for one person. To clean it, you can use soap and warm water, but this does not guarantee sterilization.
Wood: This is a natural material that comes from a tree. It is also a very hard material without any give to it. Wood is a porous material, so it requires a coating for it to be used. It is compatible with silicone and water-based lubricants. You need to be careful, if you drop wood you can wreck the coating and then it is not safe to use. It can get wet and be washed, but it should not be submerged for long periods of time.
Glass: This is the same as glass you will find in Pyrex cookware in your house. Glass is a hard material, but is prone to breaking. It is compatible with silicone and water-based lubricant. Glass also retains some heat and cold. Glass also has a unique aesthetic to it. It looks quite interesting.
Ceramic: This is made from using certain clay cooked to a very high temperature and then allowed to cool. This is similar to your ceramic tiles or ceramic dishware you might have around your house. Ceramic is a very hard material and does not break easily. It retains some heat, so it can be heated or cooled. Heating and cooling will not damage the toy at all. Ceramic is compatible with water and silicone-based lubricants. You can run through a dishwasher and boil these toys.
Everyone has a preference for what size of toy they want. Some toys are very large and up to two inches in diameter. These are too big for a beginner, but good for an advanced player. This will add some additional stimulation to the prostate and create a more filling sensation as well. There are, however, very small toys (1 inch in diameter) that are good for beginners. Lots have an aggressive curve that place lots of pressure on the prostate, without creating a filling and stretching sensation. You can look at the size of the head of the toy (this will add to the filling sensation) and also look at the neck of the toy (this will add to the stretching sensation). There are many different sizes of prostate toys you can get and the size is going to be very individualized.
There are lots of different varieties of prostate toys. Some have bumps, some have a more aggressive curve, while others have less aggressive curves to them. Typically, the more curve the toy has, the more stimulation it is going to provide. But each person’s prostate is located in a slightly different spot. So, if the curve is not right, it might miss your prostate. Really, only trial and error will find the toy that works best for you. Some prostate toys are kind of a hybrid. Some have balls like anal beads, some are shaped like butt plugs, some have a big curve to them. You will need to think about the size before you buy a toy
Vibrating or Non-Vibrating
Some prostate toys vibrate. This tends to add some more stimulation, but also it feels a bit different. Like most vibrators, there is a range of vibrations. Some are deep and rumbly, some are more buzzy. Vibrating toys tend to be more hands-free and just let you leave the toy in place. They also tend to cost more money, especially the rechargeable kind. Vibrations may be too intense for some and others will just not like the sensation. I, personally, think it is best to try a non-vibrating toy first and then decide if you think you might like a vibrating one (you can experiment by placing a hitachi or a vibrator at the base of your toy and it will vibrate).
Some toys such as the Aneros have a perineum tab that stimulates the prostate externally. This makes for a more intense experience, but also makes it harder to sit with the toy in. The perineum tab will push upwards, if you sit down. So, if you want something to wear in public this might not be a good idea.
Some prostate toys have a texture piece somewhere on them. This will change the sensation. The anus is very sensitive areas, so texture can be too much or distract from the prostate for some. Others really like the feel of bumps or ridges on their toy. You can experiment with other toys (such as a dildo), too see if you like a texture toy, before you buy one.
Those are the major features to look for in a prostate massager. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to ask in the comments.