So you want to buy yourself a sex toy. Where do you start? There are so many—how do you know which type is for you? What about how loud it is, how intense it is, what it’s made of? Where do you even go?
Not to worry, knowledge is power and I am about to share what I’ve learned with you. I hope this will empower you to take control over your own sexuality and sex enjoyment (if you haven’t yet). If you have: hooray, and well done!
A note for males: in this article, I address ladies because I am a lady. However, vibrators can absolutely be for guys, as can sexual empowerment, so I encourage you to read the article and take what you can from it.
Now, let’s talk vibes.
Vibrators vs. Dildos: Choose your pleasure
This can be a tricky one, but it’s a good starting point. Some sexy lady toys are vibrators, some are dildos, and plenty are both. If you know whether you’re more sensitive to clitoral stimulation or G-spot stimulation, that’s a good place to start. If your previous self-sexy experiences have led you believe that the best way to get yourself off is to rub that little nub at the front of your lady-flower (inside the folds of your labia, but not inside your vulva), then you prefer clitoral orgasms. A slight majority of women are with you on this, and you may want to focus your attention on vibrators that are not dildos. However, if you’ve found that you prefer the feeling of something inside you, as opposed to some external rubbing, then you likely have a preference for the G-spot orgasm. In your case, looking at dildos (that are and are not vibrators) is a good idea.
What if you don’t know what you prefer? What if you’ve never had an orgasm before? (Or you can’t say for sure?) Well, ladies, that is just fine! When I bought my first vibrator, it was at the advice of a caring and wise gynecologist, after coming to her worried about the excess pain and lack of pleasure I felt during my first few months of having sex. Her advice: “Take a nice long bath, put on some music, and experiment with yourself. See what you like to do.” Since I had no idea what I might like, I bought a vibrator that looked pretty versatile: The Easy Glider. It can comfortably stimulate the G-spot as a dildo or pleasantly pleasure your clitoris, so I had the versatility to learn more about my body and my preferences. And I definitely figured out how to know if I had an orgasm.
Meet the Vibes
Bullet, Eggs, and Rockets (Clitoral Vibrators)
- Pocket Rocket is a crazy popular brand that you can find almost anywhere. I haven’t used one myself, but I’ve heard they are particularly good for beginners.
- The RO 80mm Bullet and The Go-Go Bullet are pretty typical bullet vibes. I don’t own one (yet), but I like that they seem to be simple and easy to manipulate.
- Babeland Leaf Life is one of the more fancy-schmancy, design-student-project vibrators. I must admit, I’m always drawn to their aesthetics and the contours tend to help them work well, but they also typically have a higher price tag.
- The Club Vibe 2.OH is an example of how kooky and fun these guys can get. It’s remote controlled and can vibrate at different speeds to the beat of your music.
Just G-Spot Vibrators
- The Tiger Vibe is a classic G-spot stimulator. Note its shape: that’s the most common shape to look for if you want a solid aim for your G-spot.
- The G Swirl SmartVibes is another example of a vibrator that is designed for your G-spot. Either of these can probably do a decent job on your clitoris, but that’s not what they’re built for.
Versatile Vibrators (use them however you want*; good for beginners who are experimenting)
- As I said above, The Easy Glider was my first vibe and it was perfect for starting out. Just $20, can be used inside and out, and has a spectrum of speeds.
- My absolute favorite vibrator right now is another versatile one: the Lelo Gigi. (Explore the whole Lelo site as I’ve heard all their products are excellent.) The Gigi fits snugly wherever I want it and has a variety of vibrating patterns and intensity. The drawback, however, is the price. I got mine on sale through Amazon, though, so look out and snag those deals if you can!
- If you can’t decide, get a kit! The Babeland Vibrator Starter Kit will get you a Silver Bullet, a G-spot stimulator Orchid G, and a Sonic Ring to put around anything that might be penetrating you and add some clitoral stimulation into the mix
*If you want to use a vibrator or any sex toy for anal play, make sure it looks like this, with a safety bit at the end that keeps it from completely entering the anus. Unlike a vagina, which is not super long and gets much smaller as you go deeper, your anus goes right on to your intestines. You definitely don’t want to go to the hospital to get anything embarrassing removed.
You may have heard of…
Rabbit Vibrators. These little guys have a nice bulbous dildo bit and a delicate little clitoris bit to stimulate both parts at once. I have The Butterfly Kiss, which is a Rabbit variation. One drawback is that sometimes the top of the dildo can be a bit big: Rabbits tend to come in a standard size, whereas ladies come in lots of different shapes and sizes, If you’re interested in trying, though, check out this little guy: My First Rabbit Vibe.
Hitachi Magic Wand. “The Cadillac of Vibrators” might look a bit alarming at first glance. The tennis ball–sized head is too big for most people to insert (though there are dildo attachments that are more manageable) and the thing looks more like a massager for shoulders and backs. That’s because when it was first marketed, it was a massager for shoulders and backs. Thank Betty Dodson and Sex and the City for finding its true purpose! The Hitachi is supposed to be very powerful—too powerful, in fact, for many. If you’re interested but intimidated, check out the smaller, less intense Mystic Wand.
The We Vibe. This little guy has appeared on Oprah, Dr. Oz, and more! The little U-shaped device fits snugly against your clit and your G-spot, stimulating both at once. Meanwhile, the vibe is small enough that your partner can penetrate you and enjoy the vibrations him or herself. There is a lot going on in there! I’ve never tried anything like this, but it certainly sounds exciting and there are tons of testimonials on the website if you’re interested.
Other Factors to Keep in Mind
Intensity: If you’re a beginner to the vibrator world, you probably don’t yet know how intense you need your vibrator to be in order to enjoy it. You might buy your first vibrator only to feel under-stimulated by a little pocket rocket or over-stimulated by the Hitachi. For your first time, look for a vibrator with different vibration settings, so you can experiment. If possible, I prefer vibes with either several settings or a sliding scale of intensity so I don’t find one setting too light and the next one too intense. Also, many vibrators have different vibration patterns, which can be fun!
Volume: I don’t know your sexy needs so this may not be a problem for you, but some vibrators are loud. Luckily, most websites have both a volume and intensity star rating system, so you can fit your purchase to your needs. And if you’re buying in a store, feel free to take out the vibrator and turn it on and listen to it. I would say that two stars is quiet enough to use if thin walls are all that separate you from your parents or even if you’re in the same room as a sleeping roommate, if that is the sort of daring thing you might do.
Power: Once upon a time, all vibrators were powered by batteries. Today, you have far more options. Some vibrators plug into the wall. Some recharge with a wall outlet, but can hold their charge for a time (these are my favorite). Some are even solar-powered! Again, keep in mind your needs and preferences when shopping.
Materials: Different materials give you different experiences, so it’s good to consider what you might want. Harder plastic and metal both transmit vibrations well, but they are also very firm and inflexible. Hard plastic, metal, glass, etc. are also nonporous, and are therefore super easy to clean with soap and water.
Soft plastic and jelly rubber can provide a lighter touch (but these can get powerful as well) and also offer flexibility that allows you to manipulate them easier. The downside of these is that they are extremely porous (so they can trap dirt and bacteria) and need to be washed very carefully and thoroughly, or else used with a condom.
Silicon is becoming a very popular material for sex toys. It is nonporous and easy to wash, and you can even boil it for extra disinfecting if there is no vibrator inside. Due to its popularity, there are now products with silicon blends as well, which can provide more flexibility but also more pores.
Lubes: This could possibly be an entire article, but for now keep in mind some things about these four types of lubes:
- Water-based lubes are the most common and are compatible with condoms and silicone toys.
- Oil-based lubes are good for hand jobs, but break down condoms/latex and aren’t good for your silicon toys.
- Silicon-based lubes are long-lasting, but hard to wash out and expensive.
- Extra virgin coconut oil is an excellent lubricant and doesn’t leave you feeling sticky after, so it makes great massage oil as well.
Where to Buy / How to Shop:
Shopping online is my preference because I like to read reviews, check volume and intensity levels, search various sites to see if I can get the same thing cheaper elsewhere, etc. Some great sites to start with are Babeland and Good Vibes. Both are female-friendly, non-skeezy sites with good customer service and discreet shipping labels. I’ve heard that Adam & Eve is good too, though I have never bought anything there myself. I’ve also bought brand-name vibrators from Amazon on sale.
If you’re planning on going to a shop in person, look around for a women-friendly or an upscale sex shop, as you will probably be much more comfortable there than in a dirty room with girly magazines and leering creeps. Have a rough idea about what you’re looking for and know what you want to ask the sales clerk. If you have a friend with whom you’re comfortable talking about your sexy preferences, bring them along to get a second opinion and ease the tension you might feel going alone. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Ask for opinions and advice from the sales staff and have them put batteries in your options and turn them on for you. You can hear the volume and test the intensity on your nose to get an idea of what it will feel like.
In short: be brave, be unashamed, be sex-positive! Good luck!
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