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Between Flannel Pajamas and Birdhouses

by Dr. Barb DePree MD

When “intimate massagers” are placed between the flannel pajamas and the birdhouses in the Vermont Country Store catalog you know that vibrators have gone mainstream! The ad rightly points out that sometimes, as we age, we need a little more help getting where we used to go effortlessly.

As I've said before, regular stimulation helps keeps our sexual organs responsive and functional, and the stimulation might have to be stronger and longer. That’s where a vibrator comes in handy. The steady stimulation it provides tones the muscles and reinforces the nerve and vascular pathways to your genitals. But using a vibrator can also help you learn where you’re sensitive and how you respond to different stimuli (which will improve your lovemaking). It can get you aroused during foreplay, and it can be a gentle way to “cool down” afterward.

A vibrator is an equal-opportunity toy, and it can be a useful aid for couples as well. In this post, we’ll discuss some features to consider before buying a vibrator, and we’ll offer some suggestions for your first session or two.

Generally you want your first vibrator to be a versatile, multi-function machine until you know more specifically what you like. Perhaps choose a wand-style vibrator that can stimulate you internally and externally. (Some do both at the same time.) Typically, models with a  good rechargeable battery last longer and deliver stronger vibrations than those with disposable batteries—but there are some nice exceptions; check for motor strength. Opt for a vibrator with variable speeds so you can change the level of stimulation.

Some women use a vibrator in the bathtub, so you might consider a waterproof model. If noise is an issue, that might factor into your decision. You also have a choice of materials, from stainless steel and hard plastic to soft, fleshlike silicone. Some users recommend starting with a hard plastic model that doesn’t mute the vibrations and is easy to clean. If you want a less direct sensation, you can cover it with a towel or hand cloth.

Don’t spend a lot on your first vibrator until you know what you like. Better to be out $40 than to spring for $80 and find out you don’t like vibration at all. (Some women don’t.) After a few practice sessions, you might end up ordering several vibrators for different uses—small, discreet numbers for travel, say, or multipurpose gadgets for vaginal and clitoral stimulation.

Once you’ve received your first vibrator, however, take some time to get acquainted. Remember that part of the object is to learn about your own body—what stimulates you, where the sweet spots are, how you like to be touched.

Set aside a few hours of undisturbed time when you can relax. You might want to start in the tub. You can set the mood with music, a glass of wine, dim light, scent, even candles. You could read a sexy story or watch a movie that turns you on. Begin exploring your erogenous areas gently with your hand—labia, clitoris, nipples, vagina, thighs, belly, noticing the various sensations and what spots are more sensitive.

Lubricate your hands, genital areas, and the vibrator. (Don’t use silicone lubricant on a silicone vibrator, however). Turn it on and feel the sensation with your hand. If you have variable speeds, start with the lowest one. Place the vibrator on your thighs. Try your nipples if you like stimulation there. Place it on your perineum (the space between your vagina and anal opening). Move on to your labia; place it on your clitoris.

Try various speeds. Let youself become aroused, then back off. Your orgasm will be more powerful if you let the arousal build. Can you orgasm clitorally? Can you orgasm more than once? Do you need more stimulation or a higher speed?

Maybe that’s enough for one session. Or maybe you want to move on to the vagina. Insert the vibrator (assuming you have a wand-style model) and move it around. Try different speeds. Can you find your G-spot? Try clitoral and vaginal stimulation simultaneously. (Use your hand and the vibrator.)

For many women, the clitoris, labia, and first few inches of the vaginal opening (the vestibulum) are the most sensitive.

Use your vibrator to stay “in shape” between lovemaking sessions or to “warm up” beforehand. But let’s not neglect the new possibilities a vibrator brings to couples’ sex as well.


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