The first vibrators were heavy electric machines made for doctors to use to cure women’s “hysteria”. By the 1930s they had become a home novelty, and today they come in an enormous array of styles. Here’s a quick rundown on the options:
- Electric vs. Battery:
Electric vibrators (like the classic Hitachi Magic Wand) plug into an outlet. Their incredibly intense vibrations have made many women loyal to the electric vibrator. Most have two settings with two different frequencies of vibration. Battery operated vibes, on the other hand, usually have graduated settings, giving you a lot more control over the strength of the vibration. There are many, many more varieties of battery operated vibrators, but they aren’t as strong as their electric counterparts. Because of the wide variety of battery-operated vibrators, most of the information in the rest of this section describes them rather than electric vibes.
- Soft vs. Hard:
Soft vibrators have a jelly rubber or silicone sheath surrounding the motor’s casing. These vibes have a little extra give when inserted and are softer to the touch. Hard vibrators are what many women imagine when they think of a vibrator: hard plastic and vaguely rocket-shaped, these vibrators transmit vibration very well. Although hard plastic vibes generally look like they’re meant for insertion, they also make great clitoral stimulators. For more information about product materials, see What Are My Toys Made Of below.
- Clitoral Stimulators:
For most women, clitoral stimulation is the main factor leading to orgasm. Any vibrator can be held against the clitoris, regardless of how it was intended to be used, but a certain class of vibrators are made for that exact purpose. Clitoral stimulators often feature a soft sheath covering the vibrating bullet with nubs (or in some cases, bunny-ears) that flicker against the clitoris. If that alone doesn’t make you want one, many clitoral stimulators pulsate. Their optional rolling, pulsing vibrations mimic the contractions of orgasm, making them a favorite of many women and a great option for pre-orgasmic women.
G-spot vibrators press and vibrate against (you guessed it) the g-spot, a bundle of nerves an inch or so inside the vagina. Not all women find g-spot vibration that exciting, but many women love it. When combined with clitoral stimulation, it can lead to some explosive orgasms. If you generally like g-spot play, a g-spot vibrator is especially worth trying.
- Dual Action Vibrators:
Want the best of both worlds? Dual action vibrators (like the infamous Rabbit) have a swirling shaft for internal stimulation and a clitoral stimulator all in one unit! They have dual controls, so you can set shaft on low and turn the clitoral stimulator up as much as you want (or vice versa). Several have beads embedded in the shaft which spin for extra sensation inside and at the nerve-packed entrance to the vagina, and a few have a reverse function which makes the beads spin back and forth!
A dildo can be hand-held, but the fact that you can attach a dildo to a harness is one reason they’re so popular. After all, imagine the things your hands can do if they’re not controlling your toy! Most dildos don’t vibrate, but a few do.
It is important to consider the length and girth you’re looking for when shopping for a dildo. Most of our product descriptions include measurements. To make it easier we often also include a finger-estimate. Mistress, for example, is perfect for the two-finger woman.
If you plan on using your dildo with an interchangeable-ring harness, it’s also important to know the width of the base. Generally speaking, a 1.75” or 2” ring will comfortably hold most dildos. When a smaller ring would work better for a given product, you’ll find that in the product description.
The anus and the area around it are packed with nerve endings, meaning it can be a very pleasurable area for many people. There are a few key things to remember about anal toys. First, if you’re a beginner, start small and work your way up. Certain toys allow for working your way up without having to buy a new toy for every stage. Second, lubrication is especially important for anal play. Unlike the vagina, the anus is not self-lubricating and the sensitive tissue is prone to tiny cuts and tears if too much friction is introduced. Lastly, never use a toy anally unless it has a wide enough flared base to keep it from disappearing inside. You don’t want to have to make that trip to the emergency room!
There are four main kinds of anal toys. Plugs are intended to go in and stay in during sex or masturbation; they provide a pleasurable stretching and give the muscles something to resist against. Dildos can be worn in a harness or used hand-held, and the friction created by their in-and-out motion makes them a very popular choice for anal toys. Anal beads are usually jelly rubber or silicone molded beads that are graduated in size with the largest beads on the end of the toy with the handle. They are meant to be introduced slowly into the anus, although much of the fun comes from removing them quickly! Finally there are vibrating anal toys. Both dildos and plugs come in vibrating varieties, vibrating anal probes are long and thin, and vibrating prostate toys, which are design specifically to reach and stimulate the prostrate gland.
A harness is just about any contraption that allows a dildo to be attached to a person. While most folks will conjur images of a “strap-on” (that is, pelvic) harnesses when asked, there are many more places than that where a dildo can be placed. Harnesses come in many varieties and materials, many of which need some extra attention.
- Pelvic Harnesses
Also called “strap-on harnesses,” the most common of all harnesses. They hold a dildo right at the mons pubis so that you can control the movement with your hips. A pelvic harness can be found in a wide variety of materials, but most are nylon, leather, pleather, or rubber. They come in one-strap, two-strap and brief style. The one-strap ones fit like a g-string, between the butt cheeks. If you’re not a fan of thong underwear than the two-strap is what you’re looking for. The straps go around the upper thighs, just under the cheeks. Brief style, is exactly as it sounds, brief cut underwear designed to be easy, comfortable, and stable.
- Thigh Harnesses
These hold a dildo on the thigh (bet you didn’t see that one coming). While I’ve heard some folks say these seem a little strange to them, let me ask you when the last time was that you were lying with a lovely lady, your legs alternating like a zipper? I’ll bet it was pretty recently. A thigh harness holds your dildo right there, giving you a more comfortable and more easily controlled topping experience. These are particularly useful for those of us with bad backs, as there’s a lot less stress on the lower back when your leg is the controlling body part. They’re also great for sex in a chair, provided there aren’t armrests at that moment or both partners are facing the same way. Thigh harnesses also open up a world of I-didn’t-think-of-that positions. Last but certainly not least, a pair of thigh harnesses makes for the best thigh-grinding experience we’ve ever imagined.
- Chest Harnesses
This harness is a great way to taunt a lover, or give her a wonderful show. It works particularly well if she’s strapped down to the bed, with something under her head so she can’t help but get the full view. Turn around and lean down to give her a view of all of you as you go down on her. While a chest harness can have limited uses in terms of positioning, those positions can quickly become a favorite.
- Wrist/Hand Harnesses
This is a great harness for folks who can’t grip a dildo, although the rest of us can enjoy it just as much. It looks just like the wrist braces you can buy at a pharmacy with a hole cut in it for your favorite dildo. Whether for personal time or to better manipulate a dildo for your lover, these are great. A kink-positive use is to restrain someone’s wrist against a surface and then ride her hand- she’ll have a lot of feeling from her fingertips but no way to access anything you don’t want her to.
- Chin Harnesses
A particularly kinky setup, chin harnesses haven’t got a big following outside of specific circles. The Lickity Split is a particularly wonderful one as it holds the dildo low enough on the chin for your tongue and mouth to still access a clitoris or the anus. This harness, too, seems to most tickle the fancy of those who are kinky, but we think it’s fun regardless. For less stress to the neck of someone wearing a chin harness, if she’s lying on her back, put a rolled up towel or small pillow underneath her neck. This harness is also great if you have hand or wrist troubles because it lets you do a lot at once, giving your partner a lot of amazing sensations simultaneously.
- Other Harnesses
In this section I’m going to describe the Night Rider instead of a wide variety of harnesses, because that one can do just about anything. You see, the Night Rider looks a bit like a thigh harness (and can be used as one), but comes with really long straps. These straps are long so that it can be tightened around damn near anything. The packaging suggests putting a dildo on a chair, which we thought was a fun-for-one exercise or a nice/mean addition to a show for a lover. It can also be strapped to a cushion or set of cushions, dungeon equipment, fitness equipment (a new use for that weights bench sitting in your guest room!), and even Liberator Bedroom Adventure Gear. It can also attach around any part of a body- which is particularly useful for folks who have limited use of their hands or no hands, for a great addition to pony play, or a new way to worship your lover’s feet. The possibilities with a simple, long-strapped harness like the Night Rider are nearly endless.
So you’ve never put on a harness before and it’s something that interests you, or something you’re willing to do for your partners pleasure. If you’re looking to strap it on for the first time, this is where you want to be. In the store, we try to address any and all questions about harnesses, so we’re trying to re-format that for the site. If there’s anything missing or you still have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!
There are different styles and materials in terms of harnesses. For this we’re going to concentrate on the pelvic harness, but a lot of tips can be applied to any kind of harness. There are also a myriad of dildos to choose from, again in a variety of materials.
- Pick one out.Our general recommendation is a leather harness if you’re looking for a long-term one (and one that feels amazing against the skin), and a silicone dildo as they’re virtually hypoallergenic, the longest-lasting, the only non-porous material for strapping on, and 100% silicone ones are phthalate-free.
- Get to know your new toy by yourself. This may be a little harder if you and your lover(s) plan to switch who’s wearing the Harness, but try to each spend some time alone if this is everyone’s first. Strap yourself into it, look at yourself in the mirror, maybe jack-off your dildo a bit.
- Bring it into the bedroom at a good time. Make sure you have some time to play around with it and still do other things, too. Make sure you’ve got some water-based lube around, or some Pink (the only toy-safe silicone based lube). Even if neither partner has any trouble self-lubriacting most of the time a new experience can make a girl nervous, which doesn’t lend itself to being well-prepared for a dildo. The lube suggestion is especially useful for anal sex, since the butt doesn’t lubricate like the vagina does.!
- Have your lover strap you into your harness. While it takes a minute or two the first time, it can be a good experience for both and can be really hot. Remember to make it more than the logistical buckling, this isn’t a belt. Make it sexy.!
- Be Safe(r) about it!If you’re not using silicone or (even if you’re using silicone) if you’re switching partners or orifices on one partner your best friend is the condom. You can even color code them to differentiate between what goes or has been where on whom. !
- Be prepared to LAUGH.Each time you try something new in bed it’s probably going to get a little awkward. There’s a lot of fumbling for all of us, particularly with something like a strap-on, which can take a good bit of experience to become talented with, so make sure you’re open to a fun, laughter-filled roll in the hay! You won’t look like a porn-star the first time (or you will, but from a made-for-straight-men woman-on-woman sex scene instead of a hot lesbian-made feminist porn-star)
- Try out different things.As any guide for men who want to do well with ladies will tell you, it’s not all about thrusting. The aim in strap-on sex, like all sex, is to have fun and have things feel good. Spend some time trying out different motions and positions. That’s not to say there’s any reason to refrain from finding your rhythm and thrusting your hips till your lover’s in absolute ecstasy, but don’t let that be added into the ‘same thing, different night’ category of sex. If you’re both comfortable with it, bring some oral sex into the picture- it can be quite a good show for the person wearing the harness.
- Disassemble and clean everything up.For silicone dildos soap and water is all you need, and they’re best stored on-end (as in, with the flared base used to stand on, pointing vaguely upward). For other materials check out the materials sections for cleaning and care suggestions for your toy and harness!
The Material: Silicone
What it feels like: Less give than jelly rubber, more flexibility than any other non-porous material. Silicone has the perfect density for hands-free penetration. It warms to body temperature and transmits vibration beautifully.
What it costs: Silicone toys are a little more of an investment, but their high quality and long life makes them well worth it.
Cleaning and Upkeep: Do Not use silicone lubricant with silicone toys, because it will break down the material. Use a condom if you want to use silicone lubricant. This non-porous material can be sanitized by boiling in water for up to three minutes, running through the dishwasher, or washing with warm water and anti-bacterial soap. Condoms make for even easier cleanup. We strongly recommend using condoms when sharing toys during a session.
Chemical Sensitivity: 100% silicone toys are extremely unlikely to cause a reaction in those with chemical sensitivity. We especially recommend these silicone dildos.
The Material: VixSkin Silicone, by Vixen
What it feels like: VixSkin toys are designed with an inner core of solid silicone, while the exterior of the toy is softer silicone with plenty of give. Best of all, these very realistic dildos feel soft and silky like skin.
What it costs: These handmade toys are top-of-the-line, so they’re an investment, but their high quality and long life makes them well worth it.
Cleaning and Upkeep: Do Not use silicone lubricant with silicone toys, because it will break down the material. Use a condom if you want to use silicone lubricant. This non-porous material can be sanitized by boiling in water for up to three minutes, running through the dishwasher, or washing with warm water and anti-bacterial soap. Powder with cornstarch (not talc!) to maintain silky skin-like feel. Condoms make for even easier cleanup. We strongly recommend using condoms when sharing toys.
Chemical Sensitivity: These 100% silicone toys are extremely unlikely to cause a reaction in those with chemical sensitivity.
The Material: Jelly Rubber and Vinyl
What it feels like: Soft and flexible. Most jelly rubber toys have a hard plastic core or flexible metal rod inside of them. As long as you don’t try to bend them in half, the core will stay inside.
What it costs: Less expensive than non-porous material, but also won’t last as long. Use condoms, clean well and store safely to extend the life of the toy.
Cleaning and Upkeep: This porous material cannot be sanitized. Use condoms to prevent the spread of bacteria and make cleanup easier. Clean with anti-bacterial soap and warm water, and store in a cool dry area. We strongly recommend using condoms when sharing toys.
Chemical Sensitivity: Jelly rubber toys contain chemical softeners (phthalates) which have been linked to health risks. They are no longer used in children’s toys, but no studies have been conducted on the risks of phthalates when introduced vaginally or anally. We recommend using condoms to reduce the amount of contact between you and the toy. Jelly rubber toys may also contain latex.
The Material: Hard Plastic
What it feels like: Well… hard. No give and no flexibility, but hard plastic toys transmit vibration quite well.
What it costs: Hard plastic toys tend to be the least expensive.
Cleaning and Upkeep: This non-porous material can be washed with warm water and anti-bacterial soap to disinfect. Don’t try to boil hard plastic toys — they’ll melt! We strongly recommend using condoms when sharing toys during a session.
Chemical Sensitivity: Hard plastic toys are unlikely to cause a reaction in those with chemical sensitivity.
The Material: Pyrex glass
What it feels like: No give or flexibility, but Pyrex glass can be heated or cooled for new sensations. A little bit of lube makes these toys almost frictionless, many have raised designs or swirls or bumps, adding new dimension to sensation and many love their weight. They are shatter-resistant. Plus they’re so pretty, they make great paperweights!
What it costs: These beautiful toys are an investment, but well worth it if you want a long-lasting toy that can be sanitized.
Cleaning and Upkeep: This non-porous material can be washed with warm water and anti-bacterial soap, boiled, or run through the dishwasher to disinfect. We strongly recommend using condoms when sharing toys during a session.
Chemical Sensitivity: Glass toys are unlikely to cause a reaction in those with chemical sensitivity.
The Material: Metal
What it feels like: No give or flexibility, but metal warms to body temperature. A little bit of lube makes these toys very slippery, and many love their weight.
What it costs: Depends on the metal, but generally speaking these are mid-range toys.
Cleaning and Upkeep: This non-porous material can be washed with warm water and anti-bacterial soap or run through the dishwasher to disinfect. We strongly recommend using condoms when sharing toys during a session.
Chemical Sensitivity: Always double-check the metal a toy is made out of if you have sensitivities to some metals. Generally, metal toys are unlikely to cause a reaction in those with chemical sensitivity.
The Material: Acrylic
What it feels like: No give or flexibility, but a little lube makes them very slippery. These lightweight toys are a great option when holding a heavier toy for any length of time would be too tiring.
What it Costs: Generally mid-range
Cleaning and Upkeep: This non-porous material can be washed with warm water and anti-bacterial soap to disinfect. Do not boil acrylic toys, they will melt! We strongly recommend using condoms when sharing toys during a session.
Chemical Sensitivity: Generally, acrylic toys are unlikely to cause a reaction in those with chemical sensitivity.
Ah, the mystical, mysterious G-spot.
Infamous for the very intense orgasms its stimulation induces in some women, the G-spot has been treated by many as the Holy Grail of female sexuality. In actuality, it’s not that hard to find, and if you have a vagina then you almost certainly have a G-spot.
Named for Dr. Grafenberg, who published information about the g-spot and the role of the urethra (yes, the urethra — we’ll get to that in a minute) in the 1950’s, the G-spot refers to the place on the front wall of the vagina through which the urethral sponge and clitoral legs can be stimulated. Many women find this incredibly pleasurable, but not all can orgasm from G-spot stimulation alone, and some don’t find it particularly gratifying. For some women, G-spot stimulation even leads to female ejaculation (FE). FE is the expulsion of clear fluid produced in the periurethral gland through the urethra. The fluid is not urine! Not all women ejaculate, but many can learn how.
How should you go about finding your G-spot? Here are a few simple steps to get you headed in the right direction:
- Private Time. Set aside a good chunk of quiet time just like you normally would for a good long session of self-loving. Empty your bladder before hand, because it’ll probably make you more comfortable later on. Then, get yourself all hot and bothered just like you would any other time. The tissue of the urethral sponge swells when you’re aroused, making it much easier (and a lot more fun!) to find.
- Oooh, That’s The Spot! The G-spot is about two inches inside the vagina, against the front wall (towards your belly, that is). When you’re aroused, it feels swollen and rough, a little bit like the surface of a walnut. When you find it, use your fingers or a toy designed to hit the G-spot (such as the ROCK CHICK), to press and stroke the area. Most women find that it takes a certain amount of pressure in order to really stimulate the G-spot.
- Come On Over. Try making a “come hither” gesture with your fingers, or pull and rock your toy against the spot. Play around a bit to find out what kind of stimulation works best for you, and don’t be afraid to stimulate your clitoris at the same time. G-spot stimulation initially makes many women feel like they need to go to the bathroom; try not to resist this feeling. Instead, relax and let it build. If you want to try to ejaculate, try pushing out when you have your orgasm, but don’t worry too much about this during your first G-spot experience. After all, you’ve got plenty of time to practice!
Yes it is!
Good sex is all about lubrication. Many women don’t produce as much of their own lubrication as they would like, but even women who think they get plenty wet enough on their own are often surprised to find that a little help from a store-bought lubricant makes their sex life even better. But with so many different lubes to choose from, where do you start? Lucky for you, we have plenty of experience with lube, and we’re here to help.
Water Based Lubricants: Water based lube has come a long way since the initial release of the classic, Astroglide. The major advantage of water based lubricants is how easy they are to clean up: a little soap and water will wash them right away. Water-based lubes are Ph balanced and compatible with all of the other materials they might encounter (including latex, jelly-rubber, and silicone). Their slipperiness comes from glycerin, so many water based lubes tend to get a little sticky when they dehydrate on skin. This problem is easily solved by adding more lube or a few drops of water onto the area being lubricated to rehydrate it.
Silicone Lubricants: Of course, the drawbacks of silicone lubricants are few and far between. They’re super-slippery, and a little bit goes a long way. They’re non greasy and, since they’re not water based, they don’t dehydrate — in other words, you can keep going for as long as you like! Not being water based also means that silicone lubes don’t wash off quite as easily, but not to worry: the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, so it will take care of cleanup all by itself. Silicone lubricants are perfect for anal play, where lubrication is especially important. Silicone lubricants are latex-safe, but if you want to use silicone lube with your favorite silicone or cyberskin toy, be sure to use a condom — the lube can break down the material of the toy.
Sensitive Skin: For those with sensitive skin or a tendency to develop yeast infections, choosing the right lube is especially important. Lucky for you we have a couple of suggestions! Uberlube Silicone Lubricant is made with the highest grade of silicone, so it’s hypoallergenic. It even contains vitamin E for extra gentle skin-softening. It’s a moisturizer and a lubricant all in one! And for women who prefer water-based lubes but have found that the glycerin in them tends to cause yeast infections, so be sure to buy glycerin free.
Oil Based Lubricants: There are stories of folks using oil based lubricants or household items (Crisco, anyone?) as lubricants. This is an awful thing to do to your or your girl ‘s vagina. Oil is not vagina-friendly and can give an awful yeast infection. For anal play oil-based lubricants can be ok, but only if you’re not using latex barriers. Oil breaks down latex, leaving you open to .bacteria and STDs
Still Too Wet?: Some women may find they make a little too much wetness for their comfort or pleasure. For these women we recommend a towel. Towels are great for a lot of things in sex — under someone’s head for support, or under someone’s butt so going down on her doesn’t risk you hurting your neck — but their simple use to mop up extra lubrication cannot be forgotten
What a great question! Thanks for asking. Women, especially women who have sex with women, often think they aren’t at risk for sexually transmitted infections. While very little research has been done on the transmissibility of STIs between women, it is entirely possible to catch HIV from a cut on a partner’s hand, HPV from an unclean shared sex toy, and herpes from a partner’s mouth. The best way to prevent infection is to be tested yourself, and make all of your partners test clean before you’ll sleep with them. But staying clean doesn’t have to mean giving up casual sex altogether! It just means taking extra precautions when you don’t know your partner’s STI status.
- Condoms: Blood, sexual fluids, and feces on sex toys can all spread infection. Latex and polyurethane condoms can be used over any dildo or vibrator to keep it clean. That way, if you should want to switch who the toy is being used on, all you have to do is change the condom. Otherwise you’d have to get out of bed and go sterilize the toy. Also remember to switch condoms when switching from anal to vaginal play. Use lubricated condoms or add your favorite lube, but avoid condoms with Nonoxynol 9, a spermicide that can cause irritation.
- Gloves: Cuts on hands can spread HIV, and skin-to-skin contact can spread HPV, the virus that causes genital warts and some cases of cervical cancer. Using a latex or nitrile glove (and lots of lube) prevents infection, as well as protecting vaginal walls from poorly-filed fingernails. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a nurse fetish you never knew you had!
- Dental Dams: A dental dam is a very thin square sheet of latex that can be stretched over the vulva or anus for performing oral sex. You know that little cold sore on your lovers lip, the one that just started to hurt this afternoon? If she performs oral sex on you anytime between now and when the scab from the cold sore dries up and falls off, you could end up with genital herpes. Herpes Simplex Viruses 1 & 2 can present as oral herpes (cold sores) or genital herpes, can be passed in either direction, and can sometimes be spread even when no sores are present. Using a dental dam is the best way to protect yourself when you don’t know your partner’s status. Put a few drops of lube on the receiver’s side, and maybe a few drops of flavored lube on the giver’s side, although many dental dams already come flavored.
- Sterilize: Since many toy materials are porous and can’t be sterilized (jelly rubber, cyberskin, silicone rubber compounds), using a condom is the only way to keep them safe for multiple partners. But silicone, Pyrex glass, metal, acrylic and hard plastic are all non-porous and can all be sanitized. Silicone and Pyrex can be boiled for up to 3 minutes, and they can all be washed with hot water and soap (anti-bacterial if you like). If your toy is battery-operated and not waterproof, always be careful not to get any water into the battery pack.