How to choose my first vibrator

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Dear Sex Counselor,

I’ve finally worked up the courage to buy myself a vibrator. I’ve never used one before, and I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the choices. Can you give me any guidelines? I want my first vibrator to be one that I’ll like.


Congratulations on buying your first vibrator! I understand how overwhelming it can be to look at all the choices. There are vibrators in every shape and size available. We’ve found that variability is the best characteristic to look for in a beginning vibrator - getting one that offers lots of choices when it comes to how and where to use your vibrator. Here are some general guidelines for choosing one that would work well for a beginner. For good beginner vibrators, check out the section Basic Vibes--a good place to start.

  1. Choose one in a "shaft shape" that can be used both internally and externally.

    For someone using a vibrator for the first time, we recommend choosing one that you can experiment with using both externally on the clitoris and vulva, and internally, in the vagina. This allows you to experiment with vibration in a few different areas of your body, to find out where you like vibration. Some women like to use vibrators just on the clitoris; some like to use them just on the vaginal lips; some like to use them inside the vagina; and some like to use them in all three places, and more! You’ll never know what you like until you try it yourself. The shape that works the best for a variety of stimulation is a "shaft shape" - about 5-6" long. The DivaHeatthrob, Jillor Slimvibe 2 are examples of this shape.

  2. Choose one that has multiple intensity levels, from low to high.

    Because you don’t know how intense you like your vibration, it’s good to get a vibrator that has a range of speeds from low to high. This way, you can experiment with different intensities to see what you like best. Some women like mild stimulation all the time; some women like intense stimulation all the time; some women like mild, then intense; and on and on. The possibilities are endless.

  3. Choose one made from a hard material, like hard plastic.

    Though it may not seem like having a hard-shelled vibrator would be comfortable on your genitals, a hard material is actually an advantage. Why? Because it allows you to feel the full range of vibrations your vibrator has. If you get a vibrator with a soft surface, the vibrations will be muted. Some feel that hard-shelled vibrators are just too intense, but we encourage you to remember that it’s always easier to decrease a vibrator’s intensity than it is to increase it. If your vibrator feels too intense, you can always vibrate it over a towel, blanket, or hand to mute the vibration. If it isn’t intense enough, however, there isn’t anything you can do to make it more intense.

  4. Choose one that is about $25 or less in price.

    It’s true that many women enjoy vibration, but it’s also true that some women don’t like vibration on their genitals at all. If this is your first time trying it, it’s best to not invest a lot of money, until you know whether you like the sensations. If you end up not liking vibration, it’s better to be out only $25 than it is to have lost $80 on an expensive vibrator that doesn’t work for you.

If you’ve abided by these guidelines but are still faced with lots of choices, there are some other guidelines that can help you narrow your choices down.

  • Do you want one that’s waterproof?
    We have sections both on our website and in our store for the vibrators that can be used in the bath or shower, if that’s something you think you want to explore.
  • Do you want something to be used in the vagina?
    If you’re going to be using your vibrator inside your vagina, make sure you get one that’s an appropriate width. The easiest way to know what width you’re comfortable with is to see how many fingers you’re comfortable being penetrated with when you’re aroused. Once you know this, you can measure the width across those fingers, and use that width to find a vibrator size that would be comfortable for you to insert vaginally. We list the dimensions of all of our vibrators in their descriptions on this site.

But my friend says the Rabbit Pearl is the best vibrator ever. Can I start with that one?

You can if you want, but we wouldn’t recommend it. The Rabbit has been highly publicized, and while it’s true that many women love it, not everyone does. The Rabbit, and many toys like it, provide lots of stimulation to lots of areas of the genitals, and that much stimulation at once can feel overwhelming to women who have never experienced vibration on their genitals before. Keep in mind that what works for one woman doesn’t necessarily work for another woman, and save the Rabbit for a time when you know you like vibration, and your genitals are ready for it.

Happy exploring!

The Sex Counselor