That Vibrator: Choosing and Using with Your Partner

We’ve been talking about vibrators for a few posts now, spinning riffs off the MiddlesexMD survey in which some of our readers participated. This will be the last post on using a vibrator with your partner, so I want to delve into the details of how to choose a vibrator and then use it together.

When it comes to sex toys, the human imagination runs wild. You can find every permutation of color, size, and shape for every conceivable purpose. This is certainly true for vibrators. For our shop we’ve tried to narrow the field to a few high-quality devices that are uniquely suited to the needs of “mature” women (think long-lasting, powerful, straight-forward to use, and safe). But there are also vibrating devices just for men (penis rings and prostate massagers, among others), and some more specifically for partnered use, such as the We-vibe.

A few additional pointers before we begin:

  • Decide whether you’d like to get used to a new vibe alone or to share the initial awkward play with your partner. There are pros and cons to each approach. Doing it together can be a funny, fumbly foray into a new level of intimacy that has its own quirky, erotic quality. Acclimating to a new vibe alone allows you to really concentrate on what you like and what works without the distraction of another person. Probably, you’ll want both to practice together and alone at some point.
  • A vibe is a very personal gadget. You’ll discover a lot about yourselves and each other, sensually speaking, that might surprise you both. That’s the beauty and the challenge of using a vibe. Be patient and persistent. If something doesn’t feel good, try another approach or a different type of vibrator. Some moves may be nice together; others feel better alone. Be sure to share what works with your partner.

Writes one blogger: “The thing about couples’ vibrators (and the thing about couples) is that each individual will have a wildly different experience, and the success of the device (or the relationship) is your ability to make it work for you.”

  • New partner? Don’t forget the risk of STDs. During sex, the vibrator may travel from him to her and back again, carrying whatever fluids are present, including sperm. Be sure to clean it thoroughly with soap and hot water or put a condom on it. Never go from rectum to vagina without cleaning. Hard materials, like silicone, plastic, and glass, are easiest to clean.
  • Do not put a small vibrator in the rectum. The most common vibrator mishaps are those that occur when the device gets “lost” in the vagina (it’s not really lost), or more frequently, in the rectum.
  • You can’t use too much lube, but you can use too little. Buy a good quality lubricant, and use it Use only water-based lubes with silicone toys.

 With that in mind, I’d suggest starting simple, small, and uncomplicated. You can program some vibes for different series of pulses, to vibrate to music, to use with your Smartphone or a remote. I’ll bet some vibes change color with your mood. But why make things more complicated than they need to be at first?

Maybe start with a small, clitoral vibe that looks unintimidating (is smaller than he is) and that is easy to use. Try the Kiri or the Mia2, both by Lelo, a manufacturer of high-quality sex toys. At some point, maybe you’ll want to try the We-Vibe. It’s very popular and made for couple play. (One part is inserted in the vagina, along with the penis—yes, this works, and the other rests on the clitoris.) The programming variables are staggering. This blogger offers an objective and entertaining tutorial.

Consider the type of power you’d prefer: rechargeable (no batteries to buy; most powerful), lithium ion batteries (more power), regular alkaline batteries (typically less power). Some vibes are waterproof (consider the possibilities…).

When your vibrator arrives, check it out either alone or with your partner; charge it up; read the manual; test-drive the features. To start, use it on your extremities at the lowest setting, even with your clothes on, to get used to the feeling. How does it feel on your leg? Arms? Move to the back of the knee. Inner thigh. Circle the nipple—his and yours if you’re test-driving together.

Take it slow. Continue to explore what works for you. Use it on the labia, around the vagina. Or let him do it. Don’t go for a direct hit on the clitoris; too abrupt just hurts. Oblique works better. Vary the speed, the intensity, the angle.

Take turns. Let him hold the vibe and guide his hand. Then switch and let him guide you. Once you’ve both figured out what feels good, you can communicate with, or show, your partner.

Turn up the speed and run it up one side of his shaft and down the other. Then use your mouth on his penis with the vibe held against your cheek to continue the vibration but with a change in temperature and texture. Circle the head of his penis with it. With the vibration set very low, use it on his scrotum and finally, his perineum (the space between his scrotum and anus). This region can be very sensitive and indirectly stimulates his prostate. If you’re on top, you can easily reach down with the vibe and gently buzz this area.

Take your cues from him. Experiment, and let him tell you what he likes. You might also try a vibrating penis ring—you get clitoral vibrations while he gets a buzz to his shaft. Good vibrations all around.

The whole process may feel strange at first. But as this blogger puts it, “And that’s kind of the point: adding a little bit of fun and awkward and weird to sex.”

Eventually, you should learn a lot about pleasuring yourself and your partner. Maybe you’ll like the vibe just for foreplay or maybe it will become an integral part of your sex play. Maybe you’ll just decide to use it alone or not at all. As sex and relationship counselor, Kate McCombs writes, “…if a toy doesn’t do it for you, it doesn’t mean you’re broken.”


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