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Ask A Sex Educator: Dildo or Vibrator

Posted by Secret Pleasures Boutique on 1/14/2019 to Ask A Sex Educator



Q:  Which toy should I get a dildo or vibrator. What is the difference?


A: Hi Sex Toy Shopper,


This is such a great question! Shopping for a dildo or a vibrator can be a sexy and confusing experience. Do I need a sex toy that vibrates? How do I know what type of stimulation I’ll like? Is there a way to tell if this sex toy will bring my body to orgasm? Does more expensive mean more pleasure? Lots of choices means lots of options to experiment with but can also create a daunting shopping experience. We’re here to help you!


What’s the difference between vibrators and dildos?


Both vibrators and dildos can be used for penetration of mouths, anuses and vaginas. Anybody can use a vibrator or dildo and sex toys can be used alone for masturbation or during sex with a partner. Some people also enjoy both vibrators and dildos at the same time, and some people like to mix up their masturbation and use different toys for different moods.


Dildos are one of the oldest sex toys in our history. They are typically used for penetration of vaginas or anuses during masturbation or partnered sex. Dildos usually don’t have a motor and are made of silicone, glass, stainless steel, wood or other materials. Our pop culture tells us that dildos always look like dicks, but dildos come in a wide variety of shapes other than penises - they can take any form including non-phallic ones and fantasy (e.g. tentacle dildos).  Some dildos like the Echo Dildo Vibe, have the option of a bullet-style vibrator that can be inserted into the shaft of the toy so you’re getting some of the benefits of vibration.


Vibrators usually have a motor built-in that causes either vibrates through pulses, rumbles or buzzes. Vibrators vary in shape and size, and can be designed to curve to reach prostates and g-spots, or clitoral stimulators. Some vibrators serve well as penetrative sex toys with vibration that can be turned on or off. Many can be used internally and/or externally. Most Vibrators are usually made of silicone or plastic or jelly rubber. And you’ll find that many promise to do more than one thing, like stimulate a g-spot and clitoris at the same time. Check out Secret Pleasures’ How To Choose a Vibrator Guide and some of the recommended vibrators that we love.


How do you know which you’ll like?

You may be buying a vibrator or dildo for the first time, but maybe you’ve already got a sense of what pleasure you like or that brings you to orgasm. When you first set out to do your sex toy shopping, consider how important having a toy you can penetrate yourself with is for you. This can help you include or exclude toys that don’t serve this purpose. If your answer is sometimes or maybe, also consider what you already know about your body’s pleasure either during solo sex or partnered sex. Think about:

  • If you’re masturbating manually now (e.g. using your hand), do you tend to penetrate the hole you’re thinking of using the toy for? For example, if you have a clitoris, when you masturbate do you stimulate inside of the vagina as well as the exposed part of the clit? Or do prefer clitoral stimulation only?

  • If you enjoy penetration of your anus, vagina or mouth - do you like the feeling of depth, or stretching, or weightiness?

  • Do you have a particular kind of orgasm you want to try to achieve? For example, you may want to play with prostates or g-spots

  • Do you have a fantasy you think about while masturbating? If your fantasies involve a big purple penis - you may want your toy to bring that fantasy to life! Do you have a colour that turns you on? Do you fetischize the hardness and coldeness of glass or stainless steel?

  • Does your body need support during masturbation? For example, do you need buttons that are easy to press or an extra long handle to hold?


If you don’t masturbate or you only have orgasms with a partner, think about the kinds of things they do that arouse you or make you cum. If you haven’t yet started exploring your body’s pleasure or you haven’t had an orgasm - not to worry, there is no race to the finish and orgasms aren’t the only way to get pleasure from sex toys. As we make time to explore our bodies, we learn what they like and don’t like by playing with different types of stimulation.


Sometimes even our best guided wisdom can lead us to a vibrator or dildo that just isn’t a match for us. There are lots of great sex toy review bloggers out there, testing things and sharing their personal pros and cons - so you can try googling the toy you’re interested in to see what reviews are out there. If you’re able to, I recommend going into a sex-positive sex shop like Secret Pleasures gives you access to knowledgeable, well-trained and non-judgemental staff who know the products and manufacturers well.  They are happy to answer all your questions and guide you to the toys that open up your potential for more pleasure!