I would love for you to check out this article
and this article
on safer sex for lesbians! They're great for just helping you feel caught-up and informed so that you can make your own decisions about dental dams and other means of protection.
Your question has many parts, so I'm going to try to cover all of it!
1. Dental dams do NOT reduce sensation. You will still very much feel what is happening with/between your bodies. It will feel texturally different, is all -- because your skin and a dental damn are made of different materials!
2. You can carry dental dams with you if it makes you feel safe! Or stash them in your room, or wherever you think they may come in handy -- there's no harm in having them around. Just make sure they don't get really hot (like being left in a car in the middle of summer), as this may make them less effective.
3. Whether to use a dental dam, and when, is a negotiation between you and a sexual partner. Getting tested and knowing each other's STI status, discussing how much risk you are willing to take on, etc. are all helpful in discussing whether you want to use a dental dam with a particular partner.
Okay. That's dental dams. Now sex toys! It's interesting that you keep asking about the experiences of high-school virgins -- I feel like there may be some insecurity there about knowing what's available to you and what to do when it comes to sex. That's totally normal! The world of sex toys, in particular, is very broad and can pretty much take you in a million different directions. I'd recommend exploring on your own first and seeing what you like. We have this great article on DIY Sex Toys
that can help you to explore different sensations and see what you like before committing to buying a toy.
Once you know a bit more about what you like, and have the tools to ask your partner what they enjoy (from testing a few things out yourself and doing some background research), you can start navigating having a stash of toys of your own if that's something that you want! It's always okay to start small -- smaller dildo, simple bullet vibrator, etc. -- and work your way through the arsenal as you learn more about your body.
You said you want to start with a few toys for yourself, anyways -- that sounds like a great idea! Do you have particular questions about different kinds of sex toys, or how to choose one?