When I was fourteen, I snuck into a fashion week afterparty and received a fateful gift bag from the distracted PR agents: among the glitzy show notes and cheap baubles, there was a $14 Silver Bullet vibrator. I discovered it alone in my room unpacking my purse for the night, and hid it in my sock drawer nervously for two weeks before sneaking into the kitchen at one in the morning to locate AAA batteries. I turned the little remote on, and understood pretty quickly why vibrators were worth the hype.
After a long and passionate affair with the bullet, I decided I wanted more power: at sixteen, I convinced my mom to buy me a Magic Wand. Then, when my friend wanted to get me a birthday present: rabbit toy, please! When I turned eighteen and started partnering up with toy brands, the collection grew even bigger. I became the friend who was gifting away extra toys that took up space in the sock drawer (which slowly moved up to being proudly displayed on the dresser), and trying out as many brands and styles. Maybe in the name of research, but also because Y’ALL, vibrators still rock! No hand or genitals can buzz at up to 1200 rpm (hello Cowgirl), and no toy gets tired (as long as it’s adequately charged).
Because I talk so much about vibrators, I get a lot of questions about them. Like: Em, is it true vibrators help you orgasm faster? High-powered ones are well known for heavier and powerful stimulation, but like everything else with masturbation, there are variables. I may use a lower speed one for long periods of time on end, or sometimes I’ll have four minutes before I need to leave the house and will just use a wand quickly to bang it out – pun intended. All power-levels can provide pleasure, and enjoy yourself by not putting the pressure on coming.
The rumors about vibrators having the capabilities to alter your genitals are just that!
Or: Em, is it true vibrators destroy your nerves? Absolutely not! The rumors about vibrators having the capabilities to alter your genitals are just that! It’s a myth! Essentially, when you experience a lot of sensations in one focused area of your body, there might be a short period of time where it’s more numb afterwards. Personally, after a long session with a wand, I may have this feeling where my clit feels like it’s still “pulsing”. But a vibrator just increases your blood flow temporarily. The idea that it’ll “ruin you” is pretty backwards and silly, if you ask me!
And: Em, is there a right way to do this? Not really, whatever works best for you! Hump it, grind it, control it on the app on your phone, have a partner dictate the settings, put it in a pillow, use it alone, use it with partners. There are considerations you can take, like choosing one with body-safe ingredients, insertion (repeat after me: FLARED BASE FOR ANAL!), pairing it with the proper lubes, and, if you choose to use one on a partner, using proper barrier methods: otherwise, read the instructions and trust your gut.
With those out of the way, let’s get into the different vibrators you can use! I’ll break them down by type, but I’ll also explain why you may want to use each, price, materials, and some examples (and I’ll throw in a couple tried-and-tested personal faves, as a bonus).
Bullets (A.K.A eggs or ‘lipstick vibes’) are often considered a beginner toy because they’re usually more affordable with lower intensities. It’s common for them to be battery powered and attached to a remote that you can crank up or down. Manufacturers often offer them in discrete styles – necklaces, makeup tubes, and sculptures included.
- Price range: $9 – $129
- Where?: Try using it on your clitoris, against the frenulum, or around certain ~erogenous areas~. If it has a wire you probably shouldn’t use it internally. Wireless eggs are fine to use vaginally, since nothing can get lost in your vaginal canal, but, like I said in the intro and will probably say several other times in this, if you’re putting anything in your butt, it needs to have a flared base.
- You may like it if: you want to pinpoint stimulation in a specific area (check out the tip on the Rocks Off RO-80), you’re more interested in external stimulation than internal, you want to try a vibrator but can’t invest in something pricey, you want a toy that a partner can control (Nu Sensuelle Pleasure Panty, Svakom Elva, We-Vibe Moxie)
One of the most widely recognized and popular styles, Rabbits are beloved because they’re the Geminis of the sex toy world – they’re versatile as hellll. Your clitoris can be stimulated internally, through the prostatic, spongy area on your vaginal walls (the A-spot and G-Spot convo are for a different article), or externally, on the clitoral gland or hood: rabbits have taken this into consideration with their two “bunny ears”. The part meant for internal stimulation will sometimes be able to rotate or thrust, and the external will operate more like a standard vibrator with less movements. Many rabbits can also be used anally to stimulate the prostate!
- Price range: $39 – $229, though you can get a bullet with a “rabbit” sleeve for $14.
- How?: I find that rabbits are always slightly tricky to coordinate seamlessly, though I’m also sometimes extremely lazy. I’ve hacked it by realizing you don’t really need to move your hand that much: when it’s rotating 360º inside you, you can just hold it in place and let it do it’s thing!
- You may like it if: you love the feeling of dual stimulation, you want a toy that “takes control” does more than just rumbling, you want to squirt or feel “filled”!
- Notes from the teacher: I’ve tried two rabbits in my life. There was the the $10 shady one my friend got for me on Amazon (that taught me a very important lesson about safe ingredients!) and the slightly more pricey, far better-quality CalExotics one. The latter was fun to play with, and the sheer range of settings may be enough to entertain you if you’re bored with your routine or want a change in technique.
Not that different in purpose than rabbit vibes, but this section is dedicated to every other internal toy with one “arm” or “ear”. Some are dildo-shapped while others are intentionally non-phallic, some are smooth and some are textured, some can heat up (!), all are great inside of you.
- Price: $15 – $139.99 (for a whopping 9 inches)
- Extra notes: The rabbit section covered most of the points I’d include in this section, but here are a couple extra details. Make sure you’re also using a generous amount of lube to make insertion easier and reduce friction. G-spot oriented toys can be a little less girthy if you’re afraid of bigger toys but want to explore. These toys have a lot of variety, and you can choose if you want something flexible/bendy or firm.
- Notes from the teacher: Tenga Iroha Mikazuki’s line (flexible and wavy) are so beautiful that I half want to just buy them for the aesthetics. Blush Nude Impressions vibes have a suction cup and a motor, which I personally find incredibly innovative and interesting.
Of all the toys I talk about, I get more questions when I bring up wands than for any other. The most common misconception seems to be that the wand’s head is inserted vaginally. That’s certainly not the intention, though I would be extremely intrigued to hear from anyone who has tried that – I just wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. Once you get past that common assumption and understand that the handle is for gripping and the ‘head’ is for stimulating externally, you can talk about how great these toys are. Their power is unmatched! Wands have motors that allow them to be far more intense than most of the other ones on this list. They’re also great for folks looking for clitoral stimulation, because these cuties are large enough to cover more of the whole clit, not just the hooded area.
- Price: $23 – $199
- How?: Wands usually have sturdy bases with more flexible necks/heads. That bendable aspect makes partnered or solo sex fun because you have a level of control. However, you don’t need to use the handle – grinding against it can take out the angling stress.
- Considerations: There’s so much discourse around wands, and Zoë simplified it all down in an amazing 20 minute video exploring rumbly vs buzzy sensations, patterns vs straight vibration, plug in vs cordless and different sizes and models. I can’t get to all the details in this article and she covers it so beautifully that I urge you to just check it out directly!
- You may like it if: Bullets aren’t strong enough for you, you love high-powered toys, you’re more into broader stimulation than pinpoint.
No matter what size, color, or amount of swiveling balls you choose from, remember that toys can get lost in your anus!
In case you couldn’t tell from the name, these toys are made specifically for penises (though most vibrators can go on all genitals). Cock rings can be worn behind the balls or around the shaft, and they help maintain erections, increase sensation, and delay ejaculation by restricting the blood leaving the penis while allowing more to flow in.
- Price: $16 – $199
- I’ve never personally had the chance to try out a Cock Ring, so I asked my lovely friend Molly-Margaret of @whatswrongwithmollymargaret fame for insight – according to her, you may like it if: you want hands-free or mutually beneficial stimulation during partnered sex. She also adds that it’s a good beginner toy if you’re looking to get into the game but don’t know where to start.
- When: some cock rings are just made to enhance your masturbation, others are made for partnered sex. Whatever suits your fancy!
Butt plugs don’t always vibrate, but for those who like more than a feeling of ‘fullness’ and want additional stimulation, there are plenty rumbly ones to choose from. No matter what size or shape you choose, remember that toys can get lost in your rectum! That means when you’re figuring out what to use, make sure there’s some type of external stopping point. All of the toys in Spectrum’s “Butt” section are anal-safe! Your other go-to is LUBE, and plenty of it.
Tried it all? Interested in trying a vibrator but not interested in one of these categories, per se? There are also kegel exercisers, dilators, wand attachments, flower-shaped toys, vibrating prosthetic balls and air pressure stimulators. Or, if you’re interested in different kinds of physical stimulation, consider BDSM toys oriented around sensation play: a pinwheel or pair of vampire gloves, pump, or electrostim wand. Whatever thing you’re dreaming of, it probably exists. Go forth and pursue that pleasure!