Buying a Vibrator

With hundreds of different vibrators out there in dozens of different shapes and sizes, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, but shopping for a sex toy should be fun!

I wouldn't dream of using this below my neck dear!

I wouldn't dream of using this below my neck dear!

A Little History

Hear “vibrator” and might well picture a phallus shaped bit of pink plastic buzzing around in someone’s underwear drawer; but vibrators were not always synonymous with sex toys. Indeed, in their earliest days, vibrators were regarded strictly as medical devices and used by doctors for the relief of, among other things, “female hysteria” (a condition which amounted to the perfectly healthy urge of women to have orgasms and which was treated by having their doctors get them off!).

Very early vibrators would largely be unrecognizable as sex toys today. Designed to look more like kitchen appliances, the first consumer vibrators were marketed as “massagers” to be used for pain relief and as part of various beauty treatments. Less wholesome applications were left to the owner's imagination. The term “massager” in reference to vibrators is still in occasional use, a hold over from an era in which the thought of a woman pleasuring herself was scandalous.

The Modern Age of Pleasure

We’ve come a long way in the last 100 years, and you’ll now find vibrators in a variety of unapologetically sexy shapes and sizes. Though their looks have changed dramatically the basic function of vibrators hasn’t; vibrations stimulate the nerves, increasing blood flow to the skin and producing a pleasant sensation just about anywhere you put it. Of course, some areas are a bit more sensitive to vibrations than others; nipples, the head of the penis and (gasp!) the clitoris are a few popular regions to stimulate.

In addition to simple vibration, many modern-day vibrators offer multiple speeds and vibration modes along with rotating shafts, dual stimulators and so on. All this variety is, no doubt, a wonderful thing, but it can also make picking out a vibrator a bit overwhelming. Fear not though, because we’re here to help...

Vibrator Basics

Let’s start by taking a look at the different forms vibrators come in. Vibrator types range from simple one-speed bullets to “rabbit” style designs that offer multiple speeds, rotating shafts and more. We break down vibrators into seven categories:

Bullet Vibes

“Bullets” is a term we use for the broad range of small vibrators meant to be used for external stimulation. In its most basic form a bullet is a small (usually 2.5” - 3” long) bullet or egg shaped vibrator that offers 1 - 3 speeds. "Finger vibes" are small bullet vibrators designed to fit over your finger - turning your hand into a mighty masturbation machine!

Straight Vibes

“Straight” vibes are what you will likely recognize as the classic vibrator. Straight vibes come in a variety of lengths, girths and materials and can be used for both external stimulation and penetration. These vibrators range from simple one speed operators to more full featured models offering multiple speeds and vibration modes.

G-Spot Vibes

“G-spot” vibrators have gently curved tips meant to contact the g-spot region located just inside and at the top of the vaginal opening. Again, features vary by model, from single to multiple speed and vibration modes.

Rabbit Vibes

“Rabbit” vibrators include all designs featuring an external clitoral stimulator (the "rabbit ears") coupled with a vibrating penetrator. The classic Rabbit Habit from Vibratex made this type of vibrator famous for producing intense orgasms. Rabbit vibes usually offer multiple speeds and vibration modes. Some models include rotating shafts and g-spot curves for extra vaginal stimulation.

Clitoral Vibes

“Clitoral” vibes are designed with cupped heads and / or  small vibrating nubs to better isolate and stimulate the clitoris. These can be a good choice for those new to clitoral stimulation, having trouble finding the clitoris, or just really into zeroing in on it!

Designer Vibes

Adult toy makers have gotten very creative over the years in their attempts to produce fun, functional designs. Designer vibrators come in a wide variety of unique shapes and sizes and usually offer multiple speeds and vibration modes. Many of these vibrators also feature built-in rechargeable batteries - allowing for clean, seamless designs.

Wand Vibrators

Wand vibrators are reminiscent of many classic massager designs and in fact they can be used for muscle massage as well as clitoral stimulation. Some models offer plug in power for industrial strength vibrations.

 

Let's Buy a Vibrator

The best way to find the right vibrator for you is to get hands on. See it, hold it, squeeze it, smell it (yes, smell it. More on this later...) and most importantly, turn it on and test it out. We’re happy to let you get hands on with any vibrator in the store - in fact, it's one of our favorite things to do! So don't be shy about asking to get a closer look at anything that grabs you.

Start with Features

We recommend that you start by figuring what you want out of your vibrator (other than great orgasms!). What’s important to you? Power? Control? Appearance? Size? Noise level? Concentrate on features and don’t let price limit your choices as you’re looking. If the vibrator you really like doesn’t fit your budget, we can usually help you find something similar. Figuring out what you do and don’t want in a vibrator will help you narrow down the field, then you can move onto deciding how much to spend.

Size & Shape

As we've seen, vibrators come in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit different uses. Beyond finding something you find visually appealing, here are a few things to consider:

How big? Small vibes are easier to store and travel better, but won't offer the same features or power of larger models. If you plan on using a vibrator for penetration, consider how much length and thickness you want.

Where would you like to use it? Just about any vibrator can be used for clitoral stimulation alone, but if you want penetration and stimulation together, you'll almost certainly love a rabbit style vibrator. If you're interested in bum play be sure to pick a vibrator specifically designed for it - something with a flared or curved base to prevent it from, ah, disappearing...

Aiming for your g-spot? The curved design of g-spot vibrators makes it easier to stimulate that magical place without having to resort to yoga poses. And if you really want to reach for the orgasm stars, many rabbit style vibes offer g-spot curves too!

Just need a little help? Sometimes a big toy can feel like overkill and you just want something that will give your hand a little extra kick. Simple cordless bullets and finger vibes are a perfect choice.

Sound & Fury

Power and noise are the most crucial qualities of any vibrator. With multi-function vibrators, be sure to test all of it’s various speeds and modes. Planning on using it for penetration? Try holding the vibrator’s shaft in a gently closed hand to see how much power it will have inside you. 

The Nose Knows:
No part of your hand is as sensitive as your clitoris; to test it's strength, try touching the vibrator to the tip of your nose instead (okay, you’ll look a little silly, but it’s worth it!)
Size, power, and noise level are generally related. Although higher-end products with better motors will tend pack more punch into small packages with less noise, among comparable toys, larger will almost always mean more powerful and more noisy.

Touchy Feely

This is where the rubber hits the road. How does the vibrator feel? Does it have a texture? How heavy is it? Is it soft enough? Too soft? And, yes, give it a sniff.. how does it smell? Vibrators are made from a variety of materials, from hard plastics, to soft gel rubbers. These materials each have unique feels and sometimes smells. Plastic and rubber smells are not uncommon, especially from less expensive toys. These smells typically diminish overtime and are certainly not harmful, but if you've got a sensitive nose, they're something to consider.

The Little Things Count

A few other things to consider when checking out a potential new vibrator include:

How is it powered? Most toys run on regular batteries, but more are starting to feature internal rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable toys can offer unique designs and save on battery costs over time - but you also have to make sure to recharge them regularly. Massagers come in corded models offering non-stop power and very strong vibrations, but, due to the cord they're not the easiest to deal with in bed.

How does it work? Vibrators range in function from simple one button on/off to multiple modes and speeds controlled with many fangled control pads and hand packs. It can get as complicated or as simple as you like. Put any potential vibe through it's paces to see if it works for you.

Come Take a Look!

We hope we've given you the basic lay of the land of vibrators. With a few basic questions answered the only thing left to do is grab some batteries and start testing. We're happy to help you take a closer look at anything in the store and answer any question you might have.

Want to learn more about the fascinating history of the vibrator? Check out A History of the Vibrator a fun slideshow on Slate with a great overview of our favorite sex toys humble beginnings. Then take a stroll through the Antique Vibrator Museum for some great pictures of sex toys from times past.