Fortunately and unfortunately for us, sex stores generally have a no return policy, so picking out a good vibrator can be a daunting task. Here are some things to think about if we are picking out a first vibe.
Note: Most vibrators are designed with vulvas in mind. For this reason, this blog will focus mainly on toys designed for vulvas. There are also vibrators specifically designed for penises or for anal use. Truth be told, vibrators can be used on any part of the body. (Second note: if we’re going to use a vibrator in a butt, it must have a flared base.)
But as I said, the most variety can be found in toys designed for use with vulvas, so whether we are vulva owners ourselves or we want to buy a vibrator for someone with a vulva here are things to consider:
What Material Should it Be?
There is such a thing as an unsafe toy. Silicone and hard plastic are the safest and easiest toy materials to maintain. They are non-porous materials, which means that they can be easily cleaned with soap and water without the risk of bacteria sticking around. The only drawback of silicone toys is that they are not compatible with silicone lube, so instead we’ll want to use a water based or hybrid lube. Rubber, Elastomer, and soft plastic materials tend to be cheaper than silicone and hard plastic toys. However, these toys are porous so they can harbor bacteria and can never be fully sterilized. We can make these toys safer and easier to clean by using condoms on them. Jelly toys are not super body safe. First, they are porous, so they can harbor bacteria. Plus, jelly toys are usually made with phthalates, which are plastic softeners that are associated with some serious health risks. Products made with phthalates are being phased out of many products in the U.S. because they are not recommended for use in our bodies. For more information on sex toy material and safety and a list of stores that sell sex toys made out of body-safe materials, check out http://badvibes.org
Where is it going to go?
Most vibrators fit nicely into one of three categories
External toys: With over 8,000 nerve endings, the clitoris tends to be the organ that responds most strongly to vibration. Through the clitoris actually extends into the body and can be stimulated through the labia and the front of the vagina, many people prefer direct external stimulation. Vibes are designed in various shapes and sizes to directly stimulate the clitoris or the outside of the vulva. Some of these toys are small and thin and perfect for very directed pressure. Others are flat and can cover more surface area.
Internal Toys: Internal vibrators are often designed in long thin shapes that can be easily used for penetration. Some internal toys have defined “heads” or bulb-like shapes which are intended to easily stimulate the g-spot. Even though the g-spot tends to respond best to firmer massage rather than vibration, some people enjoy the feeling of fullness that internal toys offer, combined with vibration. Internal toys can totally be used externally too, so these toys can be very versatile.
Dual stimulation toys: These are toys designed to stimulate the inside of the vagina and the external vulva simultaneously. For those who have heard of the rabbit, that’s what we’re talking about here. Usually these toys have two motors, and some toys even occilate, which is a spinning sort of motion. These toys have a lot going for them. For some people, they can offer both clitoral and internal stimulation at once. Unfortunately, these toys are always a gamble. They tend to fit some bodies and not others, and they don’t leave much room for experimentation if we find they aren’t quite right. Dual stimulation vibrators also tend to be more expensive, so they aren’t recommended as first toys.
How should it feel?
Different vibrators feel differently.
Thuddy vs. buzzy: This distinction is pretty hard to describe, but some other descriptors could be deeper vs. tinglier feeling. Preferences are totally personal. This means it’s a great idea to stop by a store if we can. Also some websites have reviews about what the vibration of different toys tends to feel like.
Range: Some vibrators are “one speed.” Others have one or two settings. Some have dials or arrows that correspond with a huge range of speeds from slow and gentle to fast and hard. It’s always a good idea to start with a toy that has at least a little bit of variety, because this allows for experimentation, but prices tend to increase as variation potential does.
How does it run?: Vibrators are powerful. Battery run vibrators are often the least expensive type. Their biggest flaw is that some of them require a lot of changing of batteries, especially since they can feel noticeably softer and softer as their batteries die. Usually this is no big deal, because we can always keep batteries around, but make sure to check what type of batteries a vibrator takes before buying it. Some of them require N-batteries, or watch batteries which aren’t as easy to find. Rechargeable vibrators are sometimes pretty pricey, because they tend to have more advanced motors. Like other chargeable electronics these toys stay strong consistently until they die. However, the other side of that coin is that once these vibrators run out of charge, they require time to recharge. This means if a toy dies right before we are about to get to a really happy place, we might have to wait 5 minutes to an hour before we get to keep playing. This can be a very literal buzz kill. Some brands hold charges longer than others, and very fancy brands sometimes blink when they are getting close to running out of charge. Plug-in toys range in price. The “Hitachi Magic Wand” is an example of this type of toy. The Hitachi and other plug in vibes are famous for having the strongest vibrating potential of all toys. (Fun fact: the Hitachi originally was and continues to be marketed as a back massager, so it’s really crazy strong). Some people need this intense vibration, but for others, even the lowest setting will be too intense. These toys are large and require use in close proximity to an outlet. If we’re going for discretion, plug in vibes might not be the best choice. On the other hand, plug in vibes never need to be charged and they never require new batteries.
Phew! So many choices. For more information on this topic, click on some of these great stores in Wisconsin and Minneapolis, or feel free to email or stop by Sex Out Loud.
A Woman’s Touch, Madison, WI
Smitten Kitten, Minneapolis, MN
The Tool Shed, Milwaukee, WI
No matter what you choose, remember that it might take a while to find the toy that is just right for you. That’s okay. You’ve got a whole world of pleasure ahead….
Psst: Want to check out some different kinds of vibes but can’t make it to one of those awesome stores? Request our Advanced Pleasure program or stop by the office to check out the Sex Out Loud pleasure toolbox, filled with vibrators of different sizes, types and sensations!