This post was inspired by a beautiful, sex-positive friend of mine, who… hates vibrators. She attended one of Betty Dodson’s Bodysex workshops, and of course, since I’m a huge sex toy geek, I asked her what she thought of the vibe Betty provides for workshop attendees (it’s the Mystic Wand, if you were wondering). My friend just shrugged and said, “I don’t like using a vibrator. It feels like having sex with a robot.”
I was slightly flabbergasted, but I shouldn’t have been. There are plenty of people who don’t like vibrators.
However, I think that at least some of those people’s aversion to vibes might be due to a fixable factor. So, with help from some folks on Twitter, I came up with this list of common reasons why someone might not enjoy using a vibrator, and I’ve provided possible solutions for each issue.
Important note: There are people for whom vibrators just don’t work, period. I’m not claiming that everyone can or should love vibrators. If other methods work for you, keep at ‘em and don’t let me rain on your parade! This post is for people who have been dissatisfied with vibrators in the past but are interested in giving them another shot.
Problem #1: Vibrators feel too weak, cause numbness, or make you itchy.
Solution: If you’ve felt this way about a vibrator, it was probably too buzzy, or didn’t have enough power, or both. I can see how this could be a huge deterrent, because it even deterred me! My first few vibrators were cheap and/or battery-powered, which are the types of vibes that tend to be buzziest and weakest, so I just thought vibrations felt only okay and caused fast numbness. Well, they don’t have to!
The opposite of buzzy is rumbly (at least, in vibrator-speak). Rumbly vibrations don’t typically cause the numbness that buzzy vibes can, nor will they make you itch. They also feel stronger because they penetrate deeper into the skin. If you have a clitoris, rumbly vibrations will stimulate the internal portion as well as the part on the surface, and many people find that sensation more pleasurable, myself included.
My all-time favorite rumbly vibrator is the We-Vibe Tango (here’s my review). It’s small, because it’s meant for clitoral stimulation, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in ridiculously thuddy and yummy vibrations. If you want something you can use for penetration or clit stimulation, try the Lelo Mona 2; it’s not quite as rumbly as the Tango but it’s pretty close, plus it has a gorgeous and effective G-spot curve. If you want to try rumbly (and SUPER STRONG) vibrations on the cheap, seek out a Wahl 2-Speed at your local pharmacy – but keep in mind that it’s the jackhammer of vibrators, so you should probably use some kind of fabric barrier between your body and the toy, at least at first!
Problem #2: Vibrators feel too intense/strong/overwhelming.
Solution: I think the Hitachi Magic Wand is largely to blame for the commonness of this problem. So many people think it’s “the ultimate vibrator” because plenty of experienced vibrator users say that it is – but I am going to take a bold stance and declare that the Hitachi is not a good vibrator for beginners. Husbands, stop buying Hitachis for your vibrator-virgin wives! Please, for the love of all things holy and sexy!!
If you already have a vibrator that feels too strong for you and you don’t want to buy a different one, here are some suggestions. Try putting a fabric barrier between the vibrator and your body, like a folded washcloth or your underwear; this will dampen the sensations. Try starting off with the vibrator on your inner thighs or labia instead of putting it directly on your clit. If it’s a Hitachi, outfit it with an attachment like the G-Spotter, which will muffle and focus the sensations all at once.
If you think your current vibrator is hopelessly over-intense and you want to get another one, here are some you could try. Anything by Lelo will have multiple speeds (usually 10), starting very low and ending reasonably high, so you can control the power of the vibrations with much more precision; I recommend the Mona 2, Mia 2, or Siri. Lelo’s not in everyone’s price range, I know, so if you’re shopping for something cheaper, just make sure that it’s body-safe (probably made of silicone or hard plastic) and has multiple speeds. Something like the Bswish Bcute Classic or Turbo Glider would be great.
Problem #3: Vibrators are too loud, and it distracts you and/or arouses suspicion among your housemates/family.
Solution: You need a quieter vibrator, bro.
The aforementioned We-Vibe Tango and Lelo toys are very quiet. In general, you’re going to want to avoid anything battery-powered or electric; rechargeables are where it’s at.
Alternatively, you could muffle your loud vibrator with a blanket, or put some music on. But you’ve probably already thought of that.
Problem #4: Vibrators are awkward to use or hard to control.
Solution: Okay, first of all, let’s get this out of the way: sex toys are inherently foreign objects, so they will never feel quite as natural and intuitive as your own hands. You can get smoother at using them with practice, but they’re not really an extension of your body so they’re always going to feel more like tools than appendages. If you’re not cool with that, no worries; you don’t have to use sex toys. No one will force you.
But if you want to use a vibrator that’s as uncumbersome and unobtrusive as possible, you’re going to need something that is both ergonomic and super easy to control. I recommend one with easy up-and-down buttons, like the Lelo Siri, or a simple twist dial, like the Shane’s World Sparkle Vibe.
If your issue is that vibrators are hard to hold onto or slip out of your hand at crucial moments, try something with a looped handle, like the Lelo Alia, or a grippy plastic handle, like the Bodywand.
Problem #5: Your partner is threatened by sex toys, or you think they would be.
Solution: My first instinct in this situation is to tell you to “dump the motherfucker already,” but I realize that your partner’s insecurities may not bother you as much as they would bother me, and also that your partner’s insecurities may well be changeable and fixable. You deserve better than someone who wants to limit your pleasure, but I’m not gonna tell you how to live your life.
Insecure partners, especially those who are men, may have issues with realistic (i.e. penis-esque) toys that they would not have with less representational toys. If that’s the case, then of course I suggest getting a toy that looks nothing like a penis. Most Lelo toys look like tech implements from Planet Sophistication. Jimmyjane toys are also very design-y and often look more like coffee table decorations than sex toys, so maybe they’ll be less distressing to your partner than a 9-inch rubber dick.
That said, size can also be an issue for some partners, especially if they have concerns about their own penis size. In that case, I’d recommend something small and unintimidating, like the We-Vibe Tango or a hella basic Pocket Rocket.
If your partner worries that a sex toy will “replace” him or her, you may be able to quell that fear by using the sex toy with them, having them use it on you, or getting a toy like the We-Vibe that is specifically made to be used by couples.
Problem #6: Vibrators feel too impersonal/inhuman, or don’t feel like “the real thing.”
Solution: The obvious solution is to incorporate vibrators as part of “the real thing.” Trust me when I say that the combination of a vibrator and a human partner can be explosively terrific. I hate the narrative of vibrators being some sort of replacement for a partner, because I think they work best when paired together!
If you don’t have a partner at the moment, but still want a “real”-feeling experience, you could try a realistic dildo like the VixSkin Mustang. (I know, it’s not a vibrator, and this is an article about vibrators. But people don’t vibrate, so the most “realistic” toys will be ones that don’t vibrate either!) I am also a fan of the Stronic Eins, which thrusts back and forth – like a real penis, only faster and more consistent.
There are a few cunnilingus simulators on the market. I haven’t found one that I’m really happy with yet, but you might like them. The main ones are the Sqweel 2, Sqweel Go, Je Joue SaSi, and Lelo Ora. Some people (myself included) also say that the back-and-forth oscillation mode on the Jimmyjane Form 2 feels like a flicking tongue. If you choose to buy a toy that’s meant to mimic oral sex, definitely pick up some lube, too – oral lovin’ is nothing without lubrication!
Do you know anyone who hates vibrators? Why do they feel that way? Have you ever overcome your vibrator hatred? How did you do it?