Tips for First-Time Vibrator Users

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Dear Sex Counselor,

I just bought my first vibrator. It seems like it could be a lot of fun, but I have no idea what to do with it! How can I experiment to find what I like best? Am I going to get addicted to it and no longer enjoy other stimulation?


Congratulations on buying your first vibrator!  Although you’ve taken the most important step (mustering up the courage to buy one), vibrators can be pretty overwhelming at first.  Here are some suggestions to help you become better acquainted with your new toy.

Try some lubricant.

We recommend that you use some lubricant on any vibrator that doesn’t have a smooth, hard shell, and on any vibrator when it’s used internally.  We like water-based lubricants because they are extra-slippery and are safe to use on the gential skin and tissues. Silicone lubricant will work too, as long as your vibrator isn’t made of silicone, Cyberskin, or rubber.  Lubricant will keep things slippery, so you can move the vibrator around easily on sensitive areas without worrying about friction or abrasion, and can instead enjoy the sensations.  See our How to Choose a Lubricant brochure for more information about picking a lube that’s right for you.

Try vibrating on different parts of your body.

In addition to your genitals, try using your vibrator on your nipples, on the insides of your thighs, and anywhere else that might feel good.  Orgasms are often better and stronger when you involve more of your body along the way.  Also, the more nerve endings you stimulate, the more possibilities for pleasure you create.

Build up your arousal.

Begin by using your vibrator on its lowest setting, and use it on the labia, not directly on the clitoris (refer to our model, above).  If your vibrator doesn’t have different speeds, use its side, rather than its more intense tip, at first. Vibrators can also be used along the shaft of the clitoris rather than directly on the tip of the clitoris—you don’t want to make the clitoris numb, you want to warm it up and help it become erect and aroused. 
You can get closer to the head of clitoris as you get more aroused.  Many women find that they never vibrate directly on the tip of the clitoris, but find a spot to one side or the other when they are aroused and ready to have an orgasm (or several).

Experiment with different intensities.

Play with different levels of vibration, from mild to strong, to see what you like.  Some people like to start with mild vibrations and increase the intensity as they get closer to orgasm; some people like to change the intensity up and down many times.  Everyone’s preferences are different.  Building up intensity, then tapering off as arousal increases is a great way to play with your arousal level and lengthen your self-pleasuring session.  Remember, the longer you enjoy arousal the more intense your orgasm may be.  Rushing to orgasm can be great for stress relief or to help you sleep, but extended, luxurious, teasing sessions are wonderful, too.

Try different positions.

You could try anything that is comfortable for you: lying on your back, lying on your belly, lying on your side, sitting up, or leaning against the shower wall (if your vibe is waterproof).  You may like to put a pillow or rolled up towel underneath your bottom or belly to change the angle of your body.  Some positions may be easier for you than others, and each one will make the sensations feel different.

Experiment with different strokes & textures.

You could try moving your vibrator in circles, figure eights, or up-and-down.  You hold it still in one place, slide it slowly over your skin, or gently tap.  There are endless possibilities.  Try vibrating over fabric, such as clothing or underwear, in addition to directly on your skin.  If you have a hard, plastic vibrator and want to try some softer sensations, consider a silicone or elastomer sleeve.  Sleeves come in different shapes¬—some have rabbit ears, some have a nubbly texture.  They fit over your vibrator, and change the way the surface feels.

Try using it internally, too.

Once you are aroused, you can play with using insertable vibrators inside the vagina—use lubricant unless you are lubricating a lot yourself.  But remember: most women don’t have orgasms from vaginal stimulation alone.  You can insert your vibrator and stimulate your clitoris with your hand if you like, or if you have a waterproof vibrator, you can go into the tub or shower, insert your vibrator, and then use water on your clitoris if that’s something you enjoy.  

Once it’s comfortably inserted, try tilting your vibrator to different angles to see if you find any especially sensitive spots inside the vagina.

Consider anal stimulation.

You may enjoy using a vibrator inside your anus, or at the opening.  There are lots of nerve endings in this area, making it very sensitive to stimulation.  Only use a vibrator inside your anus if it has a flared base to keep the toy from slipping into the anus and getting stuck, which can be a medical emergency.  There are also vibrators designed specifically for anal stimulation (see our How to Choose an Anal Toy brochure for more information).

Also, be sure to thoroughly wash any vibrator that is used in the anus before using it in the vagina, since naturally occurring bacteria in the anus can cause infections if they enter the vagina.  Another option is to cover your vibrator with an unlubricated condom (make sure to add your own water-based lube) that gets changed or removed before moving the vibrator from the anus to the vagina.

Entertain the possibility of multiple orgasms.

If you are interested, a vibrator can help you experiment with multiple orgasms.  If your clitoris becomes more sensitive after an orgasm, give it a rest, either by stopping the vibration altogether or moving it to a different spot, then start the arousal process again.  If your clitoris isn’t ultra-sensitive right away, use your vibrator to keep your arousal level high, and see what happens.  You may be able to orgasm over and over again.  If you can’t, that’s fine too—one orgasm can be plenty for many women.  Pleasure is the goal, not a particular number of orgasms.  See our Orgasms for Women brochure for more information.

Relax and have a good time.

Have fun.  This is about your pleasure—there are no right or wrong ways to use a vibrator.

Will I become addicted and be unable to orgasm without my vibrator?!?

Glad you asked—the short answer is no.  A vibrator may help you have an orgasm more quickly than manual stimulation, but it will not desensitize you to stimulation that typically leads you to orgasm.  Many people grow accustomed to the speed at which they reach orgasm when using a vibrator and grow frustrated when other forms of stimulation (oral or manual) don’t achieve the same results.  This doesn’t mean a person is addicted to a vibrator; just that they’re used to its efficiency.  

A recent study reported that vibration can actually increase the number of clitoral nerve endings.  That means that more orgasms with your vibrator may actually lead to more orgasms, more easily, through all kinds of stimulation.  

One caveat, however: it is possible to train yourself to be able to achieve orgasm only with a certain kind of stimulation.  This is true whether you use a vibrator or not, so vary your technique every now and then to avoid getting into a rut.  Your body benefits from being reminded how to get aroused in different ways, so it’s healthy (not to mention fun!) to add a bit of variety once in a while.  Who knows, you may discover something new along the way.