If you’ve found a sex toy you’re interested in buying, but you’re unsure what firmness would be best for you, we can provide a few tips!
Many indie or fantasy sex toy companies, and even some mainstream toy companies, offer multiple firmness options.
Shore Hardness Scale
Platinum-cure silicone comes in many “shore” hardnesses. Shore hardness is essentially a measurement of the squishiness of the material – it’s also known as the Durometer Shore Hardness Scale because of the instrument used to compress the silicone material. If you see a toy store listing a toy’s shore rating, such as “Shore 00-30”, they are likely referring to the shore scale. This does NOT measure the “bendyness” of the material. Generally, softer firmness toys are bendier and “floppier”; however, even firm silicone toys are bendable.
The firmness of a toy varies on which scale they use – the Shore 00, Shore A, and Shore D scales are all different, so 00-30 is very different from 30A! The 00 scale only measures soft silicones, whereas A measures a variety of hardnesses, and D only measures hard silicones.
If a maker isn’t specific about which scale they use, don’t be afraid to ask!
Silicone companies are also great resources on learning about different hardnesses. Silicone manufacturers such as Smooth-On have plenty of information regarding silicone series and shore hardness on their website.
Additionally, some toy companies offer firmness samples, usually small objects cast in different shore firmnesses. This can be useful if you have no idea where to start, but ultimately, the size and shape of the toy in question makes a big impact on what firmness feels best.
The most common Shore hardnesses are the following:
- This silicone is often called extra-soft. It’s typically used for packers, as it is very squishy without being too tacky to the touch. Most companies do not use this for dildos, as most dildos in this hardness will have trouble standing up and may be difficult to insert. However, for those soft toy lovers out there, some companies will offer 00-20 dildos through custom orders.
- This silicone is usually offered as the soft option for dildos. It is about as squishy as a fresh gummy bear. Some toys may have trouble standing up on their own in this firmness, but not all.
- This silicone is typically the medium firmness option. It’s firmer than a fresh gummy bear – more like a stale gummy bear. It still has squish to it, but squishing it takes a bit more force. Toys in this firmness usually stand on their own well without flopping around, unless they are very thin.
- Usually the firm option, this firmness isn’t completely hard, but requires much more force to squish it. Toys in this firmness are still very bendable but will not flop around much.
What firmness is best for me?
This is all up to personal preference, and most likely requires some trial and error to find what’s perfect for you. If you are new to toys with firmness options, there are a few things you can consider to help you make a decision.
Texture - This comes into play when you are considering a toy which features lots of bumps, ridges, or scales. The firmer the toy, the more the texture of the toy will be felt during use. If you love lots of texture, you may consider getting a toy in medium or firm, so that you can feel everything! Naturally, if you get overwhelmed more easily by lots of texture, a softer toy may be more appropriate for you.
Shape - A thin toy will likely be much more floppy than a thicker toy, so you may wish to opt for a firmer option to ensure it holds its shape better. Some people find that floppy toys are more difficult to insert either vaginally or anally, so a firmer option may help remedy that issue. If your toy has a knot, this may be another factor to take into consideration. A firmer knot may provide more of a “popping” sensation, but a softer knot may be easier for you to insert due to more “squish.”
Thickness - The thicker a toy, the harder it may feel due to its sheer mass, even in the same shore hardness as a thinner toy. Because of this, many people prefer to get thick toys in softer firmnesses, but thinner toys in harder firmnesses.
For absolute beginners, we typically recommend medium (00-50) or soft (00-30) toys, depending on the shape of the toy. However, keep in mind that this is all ultimately up to you, and we encourage you to experiment with various firmnesses and shapes to find what’s best for you!