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How to Use a Vibrator

How to Use a Vibrator to Get the Best Orgasms of Your Life

Female holding Dildo vibrator

Sex toys may be exciting to explore, but they're not always intuitive to use — especially if you're not sure what you like or which features best suit your needs. This is mainly because vibrators are so versatile. While there are a ton of vibrator options for all genders and some vibrator options for couples to use together, they come in different styles. Some vibrators provide internal stimulation, some provide external stimulation, some offer both, and some even simulate oral sex.

With so many sex-toy options out there, finding your right match can be an overwhelming (but satisfying) process of trial and error. If you're feeling nervous — perhaps you struggle to orgasm, you aren't sure how to introduce a sex toy to your partner, or you struggle with shame during or after masturbation — it's helpful to think of a vibrator less as a sex toy and more as a tool that will enhance your sex life.

"When you think of the vibrator as competition, you will lose every single time, so make it your friend and [think of it as] a tool that benefits both you and your lover," says sexologist Marla Renee Stewart, MA, sexpert for Lovers.

Tools are there to help you, make things easier, and aid your body's natural capabilities. You wouldn't feel embarrassed using a hammer and nails to put up a shelf, so give yourself the same grace when it comes to sex. This is especially true for disabled people or anyone with limited mobility; think about vibrators as assistive technology.

Together, we'll break down how to use a vibrator, the different types there are, and how to use vibrators safely.

What Is a Vibrator?

A vibrator is a type of sex toy — or tool — used to stimulate the body, erogenous zones, and genitals for sexual pleasure. It does exactly what it sounds like: it vibrates in a similar way to a muscle or head massager.

"Vibrators can add to your sex life because they allow you to embrace your pleasure in various ways," Stewart says. "They are there to help aid you in orgasm if you're having difficulty or add to your sex life by extending the foreplay."

Most vibrators come with a number of settings and patterns so you can customize the intensity and rhythm of the vibrations. There are a ton of different vibrators out there (more on that in a bit), but you should consider not just what style of stimulation you might enjoy but also how it will fit into your sex life.

Start by asking yourself some foundational questions: Where do you like to masturbate? Do you want to use this toy for solo, partnered sex, or both? What kind of design or color makes you feel sexy or gender affirmed? Do you plan to submerge your toy or get it wet (like in a bathtub or shower)? Do you need a toy that is quiet, discreet, or travel friendly due to your lifestyle?

When you've settled on some answers, look for toys that have features to meet your needs. There are waterproof toys, toys that come with a travel lock (so they don't randomly go off in your suitcase or bag), gender-neutral toys, and vibrators perfect for partners (including toys for lesbian and gay couples). You'll be able to find most of these features in a vibrator and match it with the design style that most suits you.

Types of Vibrators

  • Clitoral Vibrators. This type of external vibrator is meant to stimulate the clitoris, vulva, and other erogenous zones (like your nipples or inner thighs) but is not meant for internal use (vaginal or anal). Clit vibes come in many different sizes and shapes, including the more traditional bullet-shaped vibrator, handheld egg shape (like Dame's Pom), oral-sex simulators (Lelo's Sona 2 is a great option), or wand shaped (the Romp Flip Wand Massager is great for beginners).
  • Internal (Vaginal) Vibrators. Vaginal vibrators are designed to be safely inserted into the vagina but can be used both internally and externally on the clitoris or penis. Usually, internal vibes are dildo shaped, like Fun Factory's Tiger or Mystery Vibe's Poco. Some internal vibes are specifically designed to activate the G-spot — located about an inch or two inside the upper wall of the vagina, nearest the belly button — as G-spot stimulation feels amazing and can help give you intense orgasms. You'll know if a vibrator is G-spot friendly if it sports a bulge at the top of the vibrator, like The Tennis Pro from Smile Makers or Dame's Arc.
  • Mixed Stimulation. Mixed-stimulation toys are great if you like a blend of internal and external stimulation. The most well-known example of a mixed-stim toy is the rabbit vibrator, which has the more traditional dildo shape with the addition of a small attachment (sometimes resembling a rabbit's ears) that activates your clit as the vibrator is inserted. Unbound Babes has a great starter rabbit-style vibe, Clutch, and there are more advanced mixed-stim vibrators that also incorporate anal play, including the Happy Rabbit Triple Vibrator, which sports an anal-beads attachment.
  • Anal Vibrators. The main difference between vaginal and anal vibrators is the safety design features — meaning you can't use these two different vibrators interchangeably for all types of internal sex. Unlike vaginal vibrators, anal vibrators, and any anal-safe toy in general, must have a flared base. The flared base ensures the toy will not get "lost" in the rectum and that it's much easier to take the toy in and out. Anal vibes usually look a lot like butt plugs, like the Satisfyer Plug-ilicious 2 or B-Vibe Rimming Plug 2.
  • Vibrating Cock Rings. Cock rings are a lot of fun and super versatile — you can use a vibrating cock ring on the G-spot, balls, nipples, and other erogenous zones. To use a cock ring, you can either use it as a massager on the length of the penis, head, shaft (base of the penis), or balls or slip it over the penis. When worn on the penis, the main benefit of the cock ring is the concentrated blood flow to the penis shaft and head. Some people wear them because they don't want to orgasm too quickly or they enjoy edging themselves. Other people wear them because they like the slightly painful sensation of being restricted. Try the MysteryVibe Tenuto 2 or Lelo Tor 2, which can also be used to stimulate your partner's clit during partnered sex.
  • Wand Massagers. Sex-toy retailer Lovehoney calls wand massagers "the ultimate orgasm tool." These ice-cream-cone-shaped external vibrators are best for those who crave deeper orgasms and like intense sensations on the clitoris. Stewart recommends a wand, especially if you have a smaller or more medium-size clit. If you're interested in trying, the standard Magic Wand will do just the trick.
  • Grinders. Calling all you pillow humpers out there. Grinders are a great option if you want a hands-free, genital-neutral toy. With grinders, you're meant to grind or "hump" them, and they're not made for internal sex. The Ruby Glow Dusk ride-on vibrator is especially suitable for vulva owners, and Cute Little F*cker's Starsi was made with trans femme folks in mind and is great for penis owners — though anyone can use it.
  • Couple's Vibrators. Most vibrators can be used for a couple or group dynamic very easily, but the main difference for an explicitly couple's vibrator is design. Some are double ended — like the Sway Double Sided Warming Vibrator by Lora DiCarlo — while others use tech to introduce orgasm control and please via remote control or apps. With the We-Vibe Chorus or the Hueman Black Hole (which combines both a cock ring and butt plug), one partner can wear the vibrator while the other controls the intensity, pattern, and vibration setting on their phone or remote while watching their partner in pleasure.

Tips on How to Use a Vibrator

There's no right or wrong way to use a vibrator — you can use them on your genitalia, on your body, during foreplay, or to experience orgasm. But there are a few safety precautions you should consider.

You should clean your toys before and after every use. A cloth with gentle soap and water is usually fine, but you should follow the care instructions included with your toy. For an in-depth explainer on cleaning your sex toy, read POPSUGAR's guide here.

If you're playing with a partner, practicing safe sex and not fluid swapping is recommended. Stewart recommends using a condom on the vibrator if you are sharing the same toy. Change out the condom when switching between partners, or clean the toy "between peoples and holes," Stewart says. That means if you want to use a vibrator on the vulva, penis, or anus, you need to clean the toy or swap out condoms between the genitalia.

You should also be aware of what lubricants are compatible with your toy. It depends on what material your vibrator is made of, and the packaging will include specific information on how to care for it. As a brief refresher, though, silicone toys are not compatible with silicone lube, as this combination can deteriorate your toy's surface. And if you're using a condom, you should use water-based lubricant, since oil-based lubes can cause the condom to break. For a full explainer on lubricant, how to use it, and the types out there, read POPSUGAR's lube guide.

Lastly, as a general safety note, you should not move sex toys from the anus to the vagina without washing the toys first. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself at risk of infection.

Image Source: Getty / MikeyGen73
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