We are literally in a golden age of pleasure products! However, there are so many options that it can be tricky to know what you want and how to find it. A great place to start with a true classic, useful for any person, widely available, beloved the world over: the vibrator.

There was a time, not so very long ago, when they sex toy industry was beyond basic. There was very little variety, unlabelled materials, and not a lot of information on how to choose them or how to use them. Lucky for us, that has changed significantly and the consumer is much more considered in the design, packaging, marketing and performance of sex toys. 

What makes a vibe a vibe? 

In simplest terms, ‘vibrator’ is an umbrella term for any sex toy that has a an automated vibrating motion. They can be any size or style, battery operated or rechargeable, for internal use or strictly external, so long as when you switch them on, they vibrate. Fortunately, that is not where the subtleties end; the technology of vibrators is changing quickly and improving at lightning speed, which means there’s literally a vibrator out there for everyone. 

Consider Form vs Function / Function vs. Form

Before you get swept away by the amazing shape of a toy, or its unique colour, or other aesthetic features, think about how you’ll use it and what sorts of conveniences you’d like it to have. A lot of vibrators on the market still focus on cis-female pleasure and resemble their less sophisticated predecessors with smooth, phallus-type designs available in pink or purple. That might be just what you want, and need, but if it’s not: there’s a wide and wonderful world of designs out there. 

Decide how you want to use it  

Once you narrow down how you want to use your soon-to-be new friend, the choices become more clear. 

Ask yourself some important questions:

  • Is this primarily for solo use or will I use this with a partner?
  • Do I want a waterproof/submersible vibe for use in the bath or shower? 
  • Do I want pinpoint accuracy with the vibration or a more broad surface?
  • Do I want an intense and focused “buzz” or a deeper, more bass-like “rumble”? 
  • Do I want something for internal penetration or just external stimulation? What about anal? 
  • Corded or cordless? And is a quick charge cycle important? 
  • Will I take this travelling? Is discretion essential? Loudness? 

A lot of vibrators satisfy more than one of the above criteria and are very multi-use, while others remain one trick ponies. A big wand style vibe might have the power you want but maybe the cord is inconvenient or it’s just too loud. A teensy bullet style vibe might be great for direct clitoral stimulation and is great for travel because it’s small and discrete, but will not help with penetration. A penetrative vibe may hit all the right spots but may not have the variety of vibrations you need. Will you find one toy that does it all? Maybe, but again, there’s nothing wrong with variety. Treat yourself! 

Be Selective with Materials 

Once you’ve narrowed down how you’d like to use your vibrator, think about its materials and their performance. Choosing body-safe materials is an important consideration because the sex toy industry is not fully regulated, so your due diligence really counts. Consider making body-safe materials a priority when shopping for a vibrator or any other kind of sex toy that you will use against your mouth or genitals, or have inside your body. 

The material world of sex toys falls into two main camps: Porous and Non Porous. 

Toys made of porous materials are often less expensive but also not as long lasting. Make informed choices, always, but keep an eye out for ingredients and terminology like rubber, latex, TPR/TPE, PVC and anything labelled “jelly”. These materials can’t be properly sanitized because of their porous (bacteria trapping/absorbing) nature so they are not ideal for toys that are shared between people and they may degrade faster than more stable, non porous toys. 

Non porous toys are generally made of silicone, metal, ceramic, hard plastics, and glass. Some properly treated and sealed stone and wood toys are non porous as well.  

Most of the body safe vibrators on the market are made from silicone, and with good reason. Quality silicone toys are non-porous, can be sanitized, are compatible with most (but not all) lubricants and they wear very well over time. In fact, a well maintained silicone vibe can give you years and years of fun and pleasure. Silicone also transmits vibrations very evenly without interfering with them or dulling them too much, spreading them uniformly. That means that you get the most out of your toy because its silicone construction increases its efficacy. Many silicone vibrator users also find them very comfortable against their bodies because of the soft satiny texture and heat conductivity. ABS hard plastics are also a commonly available, safe material used for vibrators. Generally, plastic toys are very smooth and wipeable, making them easy to clean with hot soapy water or a liquid toy cleaner. ABS hard plastics transmit vibrations very well and very directly, often giving it a more intensely “buzzy” feel than its silicone counterparts. 

Final Thoughts

You may be thinking ‘Wow, I had no idea there were so many things to consider!’ and that’s why it’s so important that you shop with reputable retailers, buy quality products that will last, and consider the materials you use in relation to your health. Putting in the time to think through all of these options may sound like a lot of work just to buy a vibrator, but quality sex toys are an investment in yourself, in your sexual health and well being. It is not excessive or ‘extra’ to be selective. Read labels, consider your options and make healthy, informed choices that are good for your body and your wallet.  

 

 

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