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9 Tips For How To Use A Vibrator For The First Time

Researching Sex Toys

By Stephanie Delgado and Liz Klinger, Co-founder and CEO of Lioness

Table of Contents:

Advice from a sex toy designer

If you’re considering trying a vibrator for the first time but don’t know where to start, this is a good place to be.

Much like your first crush, lover, and job navigating your first vibrator can be extremely confusing. Fortunately, people like Liz Klinger, Lioness CEO and Co-founder, are here to share their wisdom, trials, and tribulations of buying your first vibrator and learning how to use sex toys.

“My first experience with a vibrator was pretty awful,” says Klinger. “I bought it at Spencer’s (with cash, of course). I was 16 years old and knew I technically wasn’t supposed to be doing this, and I was also at the age where everything I did felt mortifying. But mortifying or not, I was very interested in trying this, so my curiosity overrode fears of being caught or embarrassed.”

Buckle up for her mistakes and victories while we discuss 9 tips for how to use a vibrator for the first time:

Vibrators

By Anna Shvets on Pexels

Tip #1: Your first vibrator doesn’t have to look like a penis

During her time purchasing a vibrator, Liz felt inundated with a sea of pink and purple jelly rubber—most of which either looked like a penis or like something out of a My Little Pony porn. Finally, she settled on a yellow, minimalist glow-in-the-dark vibrator.

“I rushed to the register to check out, and while there, debated the entire time whether to make eye contact with the cashier (which makes me look more “casual” about this transaction?),” says Liz. “I might or might not have jerkily made and broke eye contact multiple times. I’m pretty sure he looked bored. I rushed out of the store as quickly as possible.”

Obviously, we don’t want you to feel embarrassed but the real tip here is choosing a vibrator that suits you.

If you’re not into penises (or pinks and purples, for that matter), don’t feel pressured to suddenly want to masturbate with something in that category. Take your time and really shop around before you buy your first vibrator.

You’d be very surprised to find that vibrators come in all shapes and sizes and a wide variety of colors. In fact, some of the most popular ones, like Vibrating wands, don’t look a thing like a penis.

Tip #2: But really, don’t feel ashamed when you buy your first vibrator.

Much like Liz, you may be reluctant to hold your head held high and look your cashier in the eyes while you purchase your vibrator. Trust us, you don’t need to feel ashamed when you’re taking steps to explore your pleasure.

If you are uncomfortable, however, consider one of the following purchasing methods to lessen the discomfort:

  • Buy online. Liz purchased her first vibrator before online stores really existed. Today, purchasing a sex toy online is a great way to avoid feeling uncomfortable at checkout. It’s also a great way to give yourself time to research and find what you really like.
  • Go into an adult store. The people who work at adult stores are used to talking about vibrators, anal plugs, dilators, porn, and more. Many stores prioritize educating their staff on both the product selection and how to interact respectfully with and educate customers. If there is anyone in the world who will reserve judgment for your vibrator choices, it’s them. They’re also a great resource for learning about your options if you’re still not sure what to buy.
shopping

Tip #3: Don’t let your buying experience define you.

If you were uncomfortable or awkward while you purchased your vibrator, you’ll need to let go of those feelings. And if you find that you bought an underwhelming piece of plastic, like Liz, you’ll need to be willing to go back in search of something better instead of giving up completely.

As Liz puts it, “I thought that garnering the courage to buy it would be the hard part, but I was wrong. Using the damn thing was a whole ‘nother ordeal.” After she went home and frantically destroyed all evidence of the vibrator’s packaging and scoured her parent’s utility closet for batteries, she gave it a whirl and found...it sucked.

“Looking back, that thing barely even vibrated. It was your standard plastic vibrating stick that was cheaply built (I think I bought it for roughly $20). It didn’t do a damn thing for me. I remember even trying to use it as a dildo, and the size and the plastic feeling felt alien and so, so uncomfortable in a very bad way. The cheapness made it feel strangely violating. I couldn’t use it again. I hid it inside the back of my drawer until I found an opportunity to dispose of it somewhere my family would never find it. (Dexter’s got nothing on teenage girls buying sex toys.)”

Despite Liz’s first experience with her vibrator being nothing short of abysmal, she was determined to find a sex toy that worked for her.

Now, we all won’t go on to develop a smart vibrator like the Lioness Vibrator, but we all can explore our pleasure and find what works for us. After all, trying anything sexually for the first time can be all sorts of awkward and uncomfortable.

And believe it or not, Liz’s first experience is not uncommon. If you are nervous or worried you won’t have a great first experience either, don’t let that be indicative of what it might be like going forward.

There’s a lot we don’t know when we first get into something (sex stuff and beyond) and giving up completely after one crappy experience is never the way to go.

holding vibrators
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Tip #4: Quality matters

“Quality is absolutely essential,” says Liz. “I wish I could underline that 10 times.”

While you’re learning how to use your vibrator, things are going to feel different than fingers or a partner’s body part. The higher-quality materials will always outrank the lower-quality materials because higher-quality toys are designed for use, not for sales.

Those low-quality toys are also not the safest, says Liz. “Many of those toys are also made with pretty low-quality materials to optimize for every nickel and dime of profit. And if they made things with low-quality materials, you know they cut corners elsewhere, too. I’ve opened up enough vibrators that have weird pieces of tape/shoddy wires/all sorts of things that you wouldn’t see in even most other consumer electronics. Some were downright dangerous.”

Don’t put bad things in your vagina or anus

Why do materials matter when it comes to sex toys? “Well,” says Liz, “if you’re planning on using your toy vaginally or anally, these parts of your body are far better at absorbing materials than the rest of your skin. Chemicals can jump into the bloodstream without metabolizing (versus if you were to ingest something orally). Mucus membranes are great for that.”

In other words, those cheap rubber/plastic toys are made of materials that will expose you to phthalates, parabens, and other shit that you don’t want in your body. Much like the effects of smoking, you may not feel the negative effects immediately, but they can compound over time and become a bigger problem later.

“If that’s not convincing to you,” says Liz, “I’ve had a number of vibrators of varying price points literally melt in room temperature. Yeah, that’s going into your body. Get something that’s not shitty for yourself.”

Low-quality looks and acts like low-quality

It’s important to remember that if they skimped on materials, they probably skimped on sensations and wiring which may affect the toy’s overall ability to produce vibrations. The vibrator might not vibrate in a way that’s comfortable for you (or a lot of people, in some cases).

“There have been some vibrators that have such small/muted vibrations that I don’t know many people who’d enjoy them, if at all. And in the case of wiring...if it’s designed with shoddy wiring, you can bet it’ll go kaput after only a few uses,” advises Liz.

Invest in your pleasure and get something that’s built well. With something as simple as a standard vibrator, there are a bunch of great companies at a wide range of price points these days.

Get something with a brand that’s been around for a little while or prides itself on being transparent about the materials used for their products.

Don’t get something that looks like it’s coming direct from a questionably named manufacturer that looks like it could disappear overnight (and rename itself and start selling all over again), These companies are less likely to care about materials and their brand’s long-term reputation and more about simply moving dollars and units.

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Tip #5: Use lube...liberally

If you’re already sexually active in any way, lube is probably already one of your best friends. If it’s not, we strongly suggest making an introduction and getting to know a few great lubricants.

A good sex lubricant doesn’t just mechanically make it easier to use sex toys. It also helps you feel more comfortable and can lead to even better sex by yourself or with a partner.

“I didn’t use lube for my first experience.” says Liz. “Frankly, I’m not sure such a thing even existed at the time. If I could go back and do it again I absolutely would have used lube for my first experience.”

There’s little worse than feeling dry while you masturbate and experiencing chafing from a toy that just isn’t working well. Lube helps avoid discomfort which makes it easier to maintain interest in your pleasure and avoid distractions (and frustration).

“If you’re interested but need a bit of help getting into the swing of things, a great lube can do the trick,” says Liz. “I wrote a pretty comprehensive article on some of the different lubes out there (and my co-founder Anna has one specifically for anal play, too, if that’s your thing). Like sex toys, it’s a vast world but hopefully, these introductions can arm you with information for what to look for.”

choosing something from the phone

Tip #6: Choose a stimulation that pleases you

Vibrations are not all the same. In fact, you may have heard words like “rumbly” or “buzzy” to describe various vibrations.

All these words are doing is describing the certain frequencies that various vibrators use. Some may feel “substantial” while others are more “fluttery.”

If you’re not sure what you might want, Liz weighs in with this pro-tip: “While one certainly sounds like it should be better—and the majority of people do prefer “rumbly”—there are some people who prefer buzzier vibrations, which is fine. On certain corners of the internet, you have some who proselytize the gospel of rumble but there isn’t any right or wrong way to prefer your stimulation if you prefer lighter sensations.”

In other words, find what works for you and let it rumble, roll, buzz, or flutter. Here’s some great information on what contributes to stronger and weaker vibrators:

  • The size of the vibrating motor: bigger usually equals stronger vibrations and lower frequency (deeper rumble).
  • Where the motor is placed: closer to the body usually means stronger vibration, further means it needs to travel and will get weaker before the vibration reaches the surface.
  • The metal used in the vibrating motor—denser metals usually pack more punch, when in the same form factor, than less dense metals like stainless steel (our company Lioness uses tungsten motors, which are more dense, for this reason).
  • The material of the sex toy itself—for the sciencey folks out there, think about how vibration moves through a material—more rubbery materials will be easier for vibration to travel than stiffer plastics. Vibrators where the vibrating part is a flappy part of silicone will usually be weaker than something where the vibration is right next to the part of the body you wish to stimulate.
  • The power of the battery or power source—more power equals more ability to vibrate stronger and harder for longer periods of time. (Again, to give an example from Lioness, which I know best—we could either make our tungsten motor weaker, last like 3 minutes, or stuff a way bigger battery in there. We chose the latter).

Just remember, if you’re buying your first vibrator or aren’t sure what you may like, lean towards “rumbly.” It’s easier to muffle down a vibrator that’s too strong than it is to make a weak one stronger.

And, as always, if you find something that just doesn’t jive with you, that’s totally fine!

How can I make a strong vibrator feel a little bit weaker?

If the vibrator feels too strong for you, you can put a cloth between you and the vibrator to dampen the vibrations. If it’s too weak but you like other parts of the vibrator (like the shaft part or something else), you may want to do some manual stimulation or even get a separate, inexpensive-but-well-built bullet vibrator to get the sensation you’re looking for.

Liz says, “It’s not uncommon to add different toys and sensations, especially if you have a collection of toys and are looking to craft a certain experience. It does require a few extra steps though, which is why I generally recommend going for something on the stronger end since you can fix that on the spot more easily.”

setting the mood

Tip #7: Set the mood

Partnered sex isn’t the only time where location and mood matter. In fact, masturbating with a vibrator is a great chance to romance yourself.

When you try your vibrator for the first time, make it special. Treat yourself to your favorite meal, take a relaxing shower, and get cozy. Making sure you’re aroused and relaxed is a great start to a pleasurable time.

“When I had my first vibrator, it sounds kind of silly, but I didn’t really know what to do between that and trying it.” says Liz. “Looking back, the vibrator is only part of the equation. It’s not just going go magically conjure orgasms for you on its own. You need to put in the work to become interested and aroused, and then the vibrator will help enhance that arousal into something more.”

Tip #8: Try your new vibrator at least a few times

“I recommend trying a new toy at least a few times, in a few different ways, before you determine whether you like it or not,” says Liz. “As said previously, the first time trying anything new might be a little awkward or confusing, especially if it’s something you’re very new to. While I haven’t liked everything I’ve tried, there are some toys I’ve tried where I don’t like it the first (or even second) time, but then I come back to it later and find that hey… this is actually pretty great!”

With so many things able to influence your health and mindset—like stress, diet, sleep—some experiences may not be as pleasurable and exciting as you were hoping for. Still, that’s not always the sex toys fault.

Instead of giving up and throwing the toy away, try it a few times over an extended period of time. There are many ways to switch it up with the same sex toy and see if you find something that works for :

The point is to experiment a bit before resolving to get a new vibrator. Even if none of these things work and you’re still left with a toy you don’t like, you can at least say you learned something about yourself in the process.

Lioness Vibrator and App

Tip #9: If it’s not working, that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you

This should go without saying, but some people who have less-than-pleasurable experiences with vibrators think there is something wrong with them or that if they don’t like one sex toy, they won’t like *any* sex toys. That’s certainly not the case.

If you’ve heard rave reviews about a product but find it to be lackluster for you, you are not broken. Everyone’s preferences are so different, there will never be one sex toy that works for everyone. It’s a matter of finding what you like. Sometimes the hype for something outweighs the actual number of people who truly enjoy a product.

Liz reinforces this sentiment with her own personal experience. “We did thousands of user tests while developing Lioness, and preferences were all over the place. We tried to centralize the “best practices” from all of that to make the best single vibrator we could. But while a lot of people like it, it still doesn’t work for some. That’s just reality.”

When you’re just starting out with your vibrator, it may be even harder to know what you like. Add to that the fact that your preferences actually change over time and it can feel daunting.

Rest assured, however, this is totally normal and so are you.

Think of the experience of trying a sex toy an exploration into the unknown. It will be kind of unexpected, maybe a little bit scary or nerve-wracking, but potentially exciting and thrilling. Regardless of whether you have a mindblowing orgasm or super-pleasurable experience, you’ll come out of the experience knowing more about yourself than you did before.

As a result, you’ll move closer and closer to being in touch with yourself and what’s pleasurable for you. That’s all you should care about. Not the latest “it” toy with whatever reputation it has.

Go forth and give your new vibrator a try

With Liz’s expertise and these tips in mind, it’s your turn to find a vibrator that’s great for you.

Don’t go into the experience looking for something specific, though. Instead, research your options, grab a great lube, and take yourself on a few solo dates to find what works (and what doesn’t).

 

 

 

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