Vibrators

Content Written By: Michael Krychman MD, Susan Kellogg PhD CRNP

There are many sexual accessories that a woman can purchase to help stimulate both her erogenous zones and genitals. Some enhance pleasure while others are part of a complicated sexual medicine treatment plan. Women do enjoy vibratory sensation on their breasts, vulva, and clitoral tissues, peri-anal area as well as within the vaginal vault.

Vibrators come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The intensity of stimulation varies between vibrators and most have variable speeds and settings. These sexual devices can be helpful for women who may need extra stimulation both the sensitive erotic areas of the vagina, vulva and clitoris. Vibrators come in a variety of different sizes, shapes and materials and can even be remote-control, clitoral, G-spot or waterproof. They can be battery-powered or use an electrical outlet. For some women a vibrator might make the difference between adequate stimulation and the ability to achieve an orgasm or not. For the estimated 60 percent of women that do not reach orgasm through intercourse alone, vibrators can be a useful adjuvant to the stimulation they do receive from their partner.

The EROS-Clitoral Therapy Device™ is the first FDA approved device for the treatment of women with sexual dysfunction. The clitoral vacuum device works by increasing blood flow to the clitoris and external genitalia. It is a small, handheld suction device, connected by tubing to a small, soft plastic cup that is placed over the clitoris. When a gentle vacuum is created, blood flow to the genitalia causes genital engorgement, increased vaginal lubrication, and enhanced ability to achieve orgasm. The EROS device may be used prior to having intercourse. Alternatively, the device may be used without intercourse, 3–4 times per week, to “rehabilitate” sexual responses.

Specific types of vibrators often recommended by sexual medicine health care professionals include: the Vielle ®-a battery-operated external clitoral stimulation device that is worn on the fingertip; the Rabbit®- a dual clitoral /vaginal stimulation device; the Pocket Rocket®- a small portable, water proof device that can be used while bathing; and the Magic Wand by Hitachi- an electric vibrator which delivers high intensity vibration, particularly useful for women with poor or altered genital sensation.

If a woman is concerned that vaginal penetration will be uncomfortable, especially if her partner tends to get too enthusiastic, she may consider the use of a sexual aid, such as a vibrator, to prepare herself. Vaginal vibrators are made in the shape of a phallus, with or without a clitoral stimulator attached to the shaft. Bumps or ribs to help stimulate the vaginal erogenous zones more intensively cover some devices. Some are equipped with a separate control, with or without a wire. The devices usually have variable speeds, and may have vibrating motors that can be activated and controlled independently. A waterproof function allows use of a vibrator in or out of water. Multi-speed devices can be adjusted from slow to high for the intensity a woman wishes. Different women have different needs and respond individually to the sexual stimulation. However, for some women, vaginal penetration may simply be too painful.

Vibrators can be helpful in reducing pelvic floor muscle tension. If a woman has discomfort with a finger or tampon inside the vagina, this is more likely a consequence of pelvic floor muscle tension. Under such circumstances, physical therapy and muscle relaxation are the primary treatments. Vaginal penetration should never be forced. A vibrator may be used externally and/or internally to massage and relax the pelvic floor muscles. If possible, placement of a vaginal vibrator internally may enable one to specifically relax tender pelvic floor muscles. If embarrassment is an issue, a woman can substitute a vaginal vibrator with a vibrator designed for other areas, such as her lower back, neck or feet. Such a vibrator can be placed directly on a woman’s perineum or lower abdomen to help relax the pelvic floor muscles. If a woman has never used a vibrator before, the pelvic floor muscles commonly involved in painful penetration are located at the floor of the vagina and just to the side of the rectum. To massage those muscles, as the vibrator is entering, gently push the vibrator down towards the rectum and from side to side. When selecting the correct vibrator, size is important. A simple rule, especially if there is pain or discomfort, is that if the vibrator requires a double A battery, it may be the correct small size. If the vibrator requires a larger C or D battery, the vibrator may too wide.

Vibrators can be an enhancement to lovemaking and a source of personal pleasure. They are devices intended to vibrate against the body, including inside the vagina, thus stimulating the sensory nerves and enabling a pleasurable and possibly erotic feeling. Vibrators often allow women to achieve orgasm. A vibrator may stimulate vaginal sensory erogenous zones as well as the clitoris simultaneously, allowing a woman to experience pleasurable sensations. Vibrators may provide more intense orgasms than those produced by hand stimulation alone. These devices are often recommended by sex therapists for women who have difficulty reaching orgasm by other means.

Vibrators can be used alone as part of self-erotic exploration and stimulation or as part of your sexual repertoire with a partner or lover. Couples often use them to enhance the pleasure of one or both partners.Generally, sexual massagers can be used both internally and externally to enhance stimulation, arousal, and pleasure. Females can stimulate the labia, vaginal, clitoral and anal areas; males can stimulate scrotal, penile and anal areas. If sexual toys are shared it is important to cleanse them in between person use and to never move from the peri-anal region to the vaginal region before washing the toy first.

Lack of moisture may cause irritation and painful sensations when using a vibrator, therefore lubrication may be required. Many vibrators come with suitable lubricant because some substances can damage the texture of the vibrators. Vibrators can be pliable to create the feel of the real body and can be made out of silicone, jelly, rubber, vinyl or latex materials. Silicone retains body heat, has no odor, and warms up quickly. Silicone vibrators are easier to clean and care for since this material is not porous and bacteria do not remain on the surface. Silicone vibrators can be boiled up to 3 minutes or run through the dishwasher. In contrast, jelly material is porous and carries the scent of rubber. In order to mask this smell, some manufacturers aromatize the products with more pleasurable scents. Jelly materials cannot be sterilized in boiled water. For some polymer vibrators, it is preferable to replace them, as they are impossible to keep clean. Oil products, such as oil-based lubricants, massage oils, butter, and olive oil, can injure latex. Rubber vibrators are porous and often need more care to clean. They should always be used with condoms and cleaned with mild soap and water. Vinyl vibrators are light in weight, easy to clean, and come in many different forms and colors. Vinyl products are non-porous, and can be washed with mild soap and hot water.

Vibrators and other sexual accessories can often be bought in stores that sell small appliances but are often labeled as massagers. Other vibrators are available at sexual medicine centers and over the internet. Women should take the time to browse, read reviews and check pricing and manufacturing ingredients. Vibrators containing phalates and latex should be avoided to decrease allergen exposure. Some popular web sites for vibrator purchase include: www.drugstore.com; www.goodvibes.com; www.xandriacollections.com and www.evesgarden.com .

Patient instructions: Vibrator use
  1. Get to know your vibrator. Take it vibrator out of the package and get to know how it works and what kind of batteries it takes. Experiment with the buttons, and speeds. turn it on or off and examine switches. Before use: wash your vibrator with warm water and a mild soap and make sure to rinse it well so that no residual soap remains. If it isn’t waterproof, be careful not to get any water near the battery case. Check for sharp edges or seams.
  2. Use the vibrator for the first time “on your own”. Even if you’re planning on using your vibrator with a partner, it’s a good idea to check it our by yourself first. You’ll feel less self-conscious and you can really concentrate on how it feels. You will not be for you without being distracted. Make sure you have enough time and privacy. If you have roommates, children, or other distractions, you can always turn on some music, shut the blinds and make use of blankets and comforters to mute the sound.
  3. Use your vibrator with the lights turned on. Not everyone will be comfortable with this suggestion, but it can be very educational to discover specific places on your body that are rich with nerve endings and ready for enjoyment and stimulation. Get comfortable with the feel of the vibrator on your body. Run it along your body without even turning it on. Notice how it feels. Press it firmly against your skin and press it onto you body and massage your muscles; try it on top of your clothing first. It is a gentle and non threatening way of introducing your body to the vibrator.
  4. Progress to using the vibrator with your clothing removed. Once you turn it on, start by touching the vibrator to your body and this will help you understand the vibration sensation. Even though vibrators are used mostly around the vulva and clitoris, get a feel for the vibration all over your body include touching the breasts and other areas which feel good. Slowly move to the more sensitive parts of your body. Do not be in a rush: Explore every part of your body. Many women use vibrators for clitoral stimulation and some report that one side or even one portion of their clitoris responds to vibration more than another. Leaving a vibrator in place can allow it to establish sensation connections that previously weren’t there.
  5. Adjust the speed, pressure and other areas of the vibrator. Most vibrators have at least two speed/intensity settings. Always start on the lowest setting first. Experiment with applying different pressures, speeds and locations. Most women use vibrators for external clitoral stimulation, but as long as your vibrator is safe for penetration there’s no reason not to try it. A vibrator that is safe for penetration will be smooth, have no rough edges, and won’t absorb bodily fluids. In almost all cases, it’s recommended to put a condom over a vibrator if you’re using it for penetration. You should also use water based lubricant when using a vibrator for penetration. If you are not sharing your vibrator, and using it exclusively for yourself, then you may choose not use a condom. Some women will use a vibrator to stimulate an area on the top of their vagina referred to commonly as “the G spot”. Pressing the vibrator against the top of your vagina may provide this type of intense stimulation.
  6. Use your vibrator with your partner in any number of ways. You can control the pressure, using it on yourself to add stimulation during sex play with a partner. You can use the vibrator on your partner (or vice versa). You can also find a vibrator that fits well between you and your partner that neither of you need to control, but can add stimulation during sex. If you want to insert a vibrator for penetration be certain that the toy is smooth and seamless. Also be certain to se a condom if you are using the vibrator with another partner or sharing the toy.
  7. Take your batteries out. Get in the habit of taking your batteries out of the vibrator each time your finished using it. If you leave your vibrator on for extended periods with the batteries in, they can corrode and leak into the battery case, destroying your vibrator.

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