How to actually use a vibrator

Better Sex

6 min read

How to actually use a vibrator

Written by Team NORMAL on 03 Feb, 2022

Reviewed by Georgia Grace (Sex Coach)

We all need a little help sometimes.

If you’re not someone who regularly uses a vibrator, or even someone who regularly masturbates, you might feel like you’re missing out.

Television, magazines, and social media give us the impression that everyone is out there having skilful self-love sessions—but the reality is that heaps of us are just starting to figure out how we like to pleasure ourselves.

Many of us needed (and still need) time, experimentation, and even a bit of trial-and-error before we learned how to masturbate using our hands.

And it makes sense that vibrators can take a bit of practise to use, as well.

So, this article is for anyone who’s never used a vibrator, but is keen to try. Anyone who has used one but feels like they’ve fallen into a bit of a sexual rut and would like to mix things up a bit.

And anyone who has used a vibrator once or twice but found the experience confusing, overwhelming, or just couldn’t get the hang of it.

And if you get to the end of this article and realise vibrators still aren’t your thing, that’s cool too. Vibrators aren’t a necessary prerequisite to sexual pleasure. But they can be a lot of fun.

Different types of vibrators

The first thing you should know is that there are many kinds of vibrators, and each one focuses on a different area—or areas—of the body. Let's go over them quickly here:

Clitoral vibrators

Clitoral vibrators are designed to focus on the clitoris. They often look like bullets or wands, but can really be any shape. Some have ‘arms’ that extend down along the labia, to stimulate the part of the clitoris that sits under the skin.

Others are shaped like a computer mouse that sits within your palm, and cups the vulva—these are known as palm vibrators and are great for external stimulation!

Another device that’s popular for use on the clitoris is a sucker, which sits over the clitoris and uses air pressure to create a ‘sucking’ feeling.

This isn’t technically a vibrator, but that sucking feeling can be just as stimulating as vibrations!

Quinn
Quinn $225

Quinn use pulses of air pressure to stimulate the clitoris (and its 8,000 nerve endings!)....

Vaginal vibrators

Vaginal vibrators are designed to be used during penetration. They’re often a fairly phallic shape, although some look more like penises and others are more abstract. Some are curved so they can access the g-spot easily.

Darcy
Darcy $225

Darcy is a three-in-one saviour - designed with a longer arm for the feeling of...

Rabbit vibrators

Rabbit vibrators are designed to stimulate the clitoris and penetrate the vagina at the same time. They’re so named because one of the original and most influential rabbit vibrators had little ‘ears’ on the clitoral vibrator that made it look like, well, a rabbit!

Piper
Piper $225

Piper is designed for blended stimulation - internal stimulation of the vagina, plus external stimulation...

Wand vibrators

Massagers and wand vibrators look like something you might use on a sore muscle, but they’re designed to be placed between the legs to stimulate the clitoris and vulva at the same time.

Charlie
Charlie $225

A classic that never goes out of style, wand vibrators like Charlie are versatile enough...

Prostate and anal vibrators

Prostate vibrators and anal vibrators are designed to stimulate the anus and/or the prostate in male bodies. These vibrators can look like a butt plug, small bullet, or dildo. It’s very important that whatever you put into your butt has a flared base, a ring-pull, or a wire attached to it so you can easily pull it back out again.

Which vibrator should I use?

    There’s no right or wrong answer as to which vibrator you should purchase or use first. You can make your own choice depending on how you like to be touched, how you like to touch yourself, or simply what you think might be nice.

    If you really enjoy clitoral stimulation but aren’t so keen on penetration, a clitoral vibrator may be a good choice—let yourself be guided by what you enjoy, rather than what you think you ‘should’ choose.

    No matter which kind you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind before and after purchasing:

    Vibration speed

    Not all vibrations are equal! A vibrator that has a low, rumbly vibration is generally considered to be more stimulating than one that has a high, fast buzz. Again, you might have a preference for one or the other, but you should try to find out what kind of vibrations your device offers before purchasing.

    Noise level of the vibrator

    If you live in a house with other people, the noise level of your vibrator might be worth considering. Some vibrators are louder while others are whisper-quiet. Any good online retailer will tell you how loud the vibrator is before you purchase it, and retail stores should be able to let you switch on a tester so you can see (and hear) for yourself.

    Battery, rechargeable or plugged-in

    Some vibrators are battery-operated, others are rechargeable, while some need to be plugged into a wall socket. The way your vibrator is powered may not make a huge difference to how well it works in the moment, but you might need to stock up on batteries, plug it in, or remember to charge it before use.

    Cleaning your toy

    You’ll need to clean and store your vibrator before and after use. Not all vibrators can be cleaned the same way and you shouldn’t just leave them under the bed to gather dust. Check the instructions for your specific product, but generally, a specialised cleaning spray plus storage in a cool, dry spot is a good move.

      Tips to using a vibrator

      Once you’ve bought your vibrator, given it a clean, and worked out how to store it, it might feel like the obvious next step is to just turn it on and see what happens. And you can do that, but you can also follow our tips if you’re not quite ready to jump into the deep end yet.

      Get to know the vibrator’s functions

      Have a read of the instructions that come with your vibrator and get familiar with everything it can do. Some vibrators have different speeds, intensities, and functions—some pulse, some thrust, some can even respond to our heartbeat or the music we’re listening to! Try out all of the functionalities that appeal to you, and see what you enjoy. 

      Use lube

      We’re big fans of lube for solo and partnered sex. It can make penetration easier, prevent the vibrator from pulling on our delicate skin, and it can even just feel really nice to apply! There are many types of lube out there, and we’ve written an explainer on what they are, what they contain, and how to use them. As a general note, silicone lube can’t be used with silicone devices—as many vibrators these days are made of silicone, we recommend water-based.

      Water based lube
      Water based lube $25

      A hydrating, paraben-free personal lubricant. Use water based lube for all of your sexual needs:...

      Try leaving your clothes on

      If you’re someone who’s previously found vibrators too intense, it might help to leave your underwear or clothes on—at least in the beginning. Putting a barrier between our sensitive genitals and a device can reduce the strength of the vibrations and allow us to ease ourselves into the experience.

      Don’t just focus on your genitals

      The body has heaps of erogenous zones that extend well beyond what’s between our legs. To get yourself in the mood, you might try using the vibrator on your neck, nipples, stomach, thighs, wrists, or butt cheeks—or any other hidden sensitive spots you may have.

      Explore yourself

      Some vibrators are made to be used in very precise ways, like the clitoral sucker and the prostate vibrator.

      They work really well when they’re placed directly over the clitoris or directly on the prostate, so if you try to use them anywhere else it can be a bit hit-or-miss.

      Other vibrators allow you to get a bit more creative with where you put them: a bullet vibrator, for example, can be used directly on the clitoris but it can also be used to trace around it, up and down the labia, between the butt cheeks, and on the perineum.

      A vaginal vibrator can be used for penetration but it can also be used on the clitoris and can be traced around the vulva and butt as well.

      Some people respond well to direct stimulation of their erogenous zones, and others don't—find what works for you with a bit of creative experimentation.

      Once you’ve explored the basics and feel comfortable with your new vibrator, you can work up to some more advanced techniques.

      If you’re playing solo, you might like to explore other kinds of devices, using two devices at once, or even edging—getting yourself to the point of orgasm and then backing off.

      If you have a partner, you could invite them to enjoy your new vibrator with you, or you could even shop for a device together.

      The sky is really the limit when it comes to how you can enjoy a vibrator. Remember, there are no rules about what should feel good or how you should use each device—you’re bound only by your imagination and what feels good. Enjoy!

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      To learn more about the foundations of great sex with acclaimed sex coach Georgia Grace, check out NORMAL's video masterclass, The Modern Guide To Sex.