Girls Just Want to Have Fun

A Guide to Vibrators

Question: what is a vibrator? Answer: anything that vibrates. Does that mean a washing machine, dishwasher, or a blender mixing up a tasty batch of pina coladas is a vibrator? Absolutely! Does it make them particularly well-designed, laborsaving devices to give your hand a rest as you embark on self-pleasure? No. For that, you have highly specialized, ergonomically engineered, person-pleasing wonder toys used by millions of women and commonly referred to as vibrators.

Get Buzzed When it comes to vibrators, there's a shape, size and function for everyone. And why would you want to use one of these devices? Simply speaking: orgasms, orgasms and still more orgasms.

"Going from manual to vibrator stimulation is like going from driving a stick transmission to automatic: you don't have to work so hard and you don't stall as often, so you can just relax and enjoy the ride," explains Anne Semans, author of The New Good Vibrations Guide to Sex (Cleis Press, 1997). She adds: "A vibrator orgasm can be stronger and more explosive because they come so fast."

You Decide There are many different kinds of vibrators, so if you're considering buying one, it's best to winnow the field by answering two initial questions about yourself. The first: do you want a plug-in or battery operated model? According to Semans, plug-ins last longer but battery operated ones don't require an electrical outlet, making them handy for camping trips. According to Kim (who asked that we not reveal her last name), the manager of Eve's Garden, a popular women-only specialty boutique in New York, NY, it makes sense to think about the type of stimulation you prefer. "If there's someone who likes clitoral stimulation, look at something for external use like a Mini-Massager as opposed to a Cyber Cock which is more for internal stimulation."

Kim also makes another point: get something you find aesthetically pleasing, otherwise you are less likely to use it. Because vibrators not only come in lots of shapes, sizes, and textures but also a color selection that rivals any decorator's swatch collection (including champagne, translucent pink, lavender, and basic black), finding something that's just right shouldn't be a problem. In fact, you might become overwhelmed by the selection. "You have to start somewhere but it's not written in stone that you have to purchase just one vibrator," says Kim. "It's like a sweater: you just don't have one."

Types of Vibrators

Electric (for clitoral stimulation):

  • Wand: Usually long and slender with vibrating tennis-ball-sized heads attached at the end. One of the most popular is the Hitachi Magic Wand.
  • Coil-Operated: Small and looks like a hairbrush, this is the stealth vibrator: the coils make it run practically silent.
  • Swedish: Slips over the back of the hand. Occasionally used by barbers to deliver an invigorating scalp massage.

Battery Powered:

  • Cylindrical: When people think of vibrators, this is usually what they're picturing. They are often seven inches long and resemble torpedoes or penises (some even have "veins"). They can be used for clitoral stimulation as well as vaginal insertion, and go by names such as Ms. Smoothie, Waterproof Max, Mr. Naturally, and the aforementioned Cyber Cock.

  • G-Spotters: these are similar to the cylindrical models except they have a special curve towards the end of the shaft reputed to help deliver vibrations over the G-spot when the vibrator is inserted vaginally.

  • Dual: these guys are the overachievers of vibrators; they have a clitoris-vibrating branch coming off the vaginal stimulating shaft. The Rabbit Pearl is a particular favorite, with rotating "pearls" in the middle of the insertable portion and a little pink rabbit look-alike with fluttering ears who just wants to make friends with your private parts.

  • Egg-shaped: smaller than the real kind and with zero cholesterol, this vibrator is attached to a battery pack via a cord and is inserted into the vagina.

  • (Look Ma) No-Hands: special harnesses allow clitoral stimulation during intercourse (or even a trip to the grocery you are not likely to soon forget).

While vibrators can be found in sex/erotica shops and in their catalogues, some, like the Hitachi Magic Wand, are also available at drug stores and department stores, where they are usually called "personal massagers."

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines Should a boyfriend take your vibrator purchase as evidence of low performance on his part or a threat of any kind? Absolutely not. Says Irena Feingold, 27, a documentary filmmaker in New York, N.Y, and proud owner of the Hitachi Magic Wand: "A vibrator is not better or worse than sex, it's different. My boyfriend understands that it's not a male replacer. It's something you do for yourself. Would your boyfriend be jealous that you meditate?"

Before you invest in the family-sized pack of batteries, Feingold has one caveat: "Don't over use it. It's like eating chocolate; you can't have it every meal."