How to use a vibrator: the basics.
Depending on what kind of vibrator you're using, licensed psychologist and AASECT-certifed sex therapist Megan Fleming, Ph.D., explains, the technique will be a little different.
Some vibrators, like bullets and wands, are primarily for clitoral stimulation. In this case, you'll hold it against the clit and make any motions that feel good to you, which could include running it along the length of the clitoral hood, tapping it against the glans (head) of the clitoris, making circular motions around it, or simply holding it in place pressed against clitoris or the vulva area.
In the case of a toy like a rabbit or a G-spot vibrator, you'll insert the vibrator into your vaginal opening and thrust it in and out at the desired speed and pressure. You can angle it directly toward the back of your vagina to maximize the feelings of fullness and reach toward your cervix, or you can angle it to press against the upper wall of the vagina, toward your stomach, which is the area often referred to as the G-spot.
If you're trying a vibrator for the first time, Fleming suggests lying on your back with your legs open and starting by stimulating yourself with your hand first, to get an idea of what—and where—feels good. It can also be helpful to look at yourself in a mirror and identify things like the clitoris and the vaginal opening if you've never done so before, so you know where to focus your vibrator's touch. As you get more comfortable with the toy you have (and we'll get into more specifics below), you can experiment with different positions, like standing or sitting up, as well as different motions and techniques.
Types of vibrators and how to use each one.
Before buying a new sex toy, Fleming suggests opting for a cheaper option at first, to make sure you actually enjoy what you're investing in. "They can be expensive, and until you know you like a specific kind, finding a less expensive option is important," she explains. Once you know you like a specific type, brand, material, etc., you can think about investing in something a bit pricier, should you want to.
Bullet vibes are a great option for anyone starting to dip into the world of sex toys. They're small, discreet, and not intimidating, making them great to experiment with. "If it's your first, I would start with a bullet," Fleming says. They're primarily used for clitoral stimulation, but sex educator Marla Renee Stewart, M.A., adds that you can use a bullet vibrator around other parts of your body, too, to start getting used to the sensation.
Stewart notes that sometimes clitoral size is an indicator of what kind of vibrator you may like: "If you have a smaller clitoris, you may enjoy more bullet-type vibes," she says, and if you have a larger clitoris, "you may want to try a suction/air pulse vibe." Of course, you can definitely try both, too, if you want! Again, because bullets are nice and small, you can incorporate them into everything from solo play to intercourse, experimenting with different settings and speeds.
How to use a bullet vibrator: Once you're already sufficiently turned on, apply some lube to both your clit and the bullet. Play with the different settings, preferably starting off slow, and apply pressure to the clit. From there, experiment with different motions that feel good, and definitely consider using it on other areas as well, such as around the vulva, to find any other unsuspecting sweet spots.
G-spot vibrators are for folks looking to explore G-spot stimulation, as the name suggests. These vibrators are angled to reach the so-called G-spot, which is an area located on the internal upper vaginal wall that can sometimes feel good when pressed against. Some G-spot vibrators are made from stainless steel, and then you've got silicone, glass, wood—the list goes on. Similarly, some are chargeable while others require batteries, so take that into consideration when thinking about what you're looking for.
How to use a G-spot vibrator: The G-spot becomes enlarged when you're aroused, so remember, take your time and get turned on first. It can help to use your fingers to locate it first so you have an idea of where you're going. Add some lube into the mix before you go in with your vibrator. Angle the vibrator so the curved side is pointed up and will stimulate the G-spot. From there, you can experiment with different positions to help you "hit the spot," such as doggy-style. The G-spot isn't very far from the vaginal opening, so work with steady pressure and short thrusts.
Rabbit vibrators offer both G-spot and clitoral stimulation, with both a shaft and little prong-like "bunny ears." These vibrators are great for what's known as a blended orgasm, which comes from both the G-spot and clitoris. "If you really enjoy penetration and clitoral stimulation at the same time, you may want to go with a toy that can do both," Stewart says.
How to use a rabbit vibrator: Rabbits are great because you can get just internal stimulation, just external stimulation, or both at the same time, making them super versatile. You'll want to insert the shaft into the vagina while also making contact between the rabbit head and the clitoris. Find an angle that allows for both comfortably, and play around with different positions.
What was once made for massaging quickly turned into a pleasure tool for women everywhere when they discovered the power a wand vibrator can have. This is a great option for exploring your full body, as well as your erogenous zones—and your partner's, too—for a relaxing and stimulating experience. Fleming recommends the Mantric Rechargeable Wand Vibrator if you're interested in going this route.
How to use a wand vibrator: Wands are another good option for external and/or clitoral stimulation, though some brands come with accessories so you can get internal stimulation as well. However, generally speaking, you can apply the wand to the clit, and you'll probably want to keep it moving. Wand vibrators offer super-powerful vibrations, so they can cause some numbness. If this happens, just take it easy for a moment and perhaps turn down the setting. It can help to incorporate a barrier such as a towel or underwear, if it's too intense.
There's no shortage of couples' vibrators on the market today, which is great for couples looking to broaden their sexual horizons. With everything from toys controlled by Bluetooth to vibrating penis rings, there's plenty of room for you and your partner to explore what you like. Fleming says penis rings are great if a partner with a penis has problems keeping an erection, as it maintains the blood flow. "And she gets the bonus of the vibrating," Fleming adds, noting a majority of women don't orgasm from penetration alone, so it's a win-win.
The usage instructions will vary based on the type of couples' toy you use, so make sure to read the instructions that come in the box carefully.
General tips and tricks:
1. Unboxing your new toy.
Before you do anything, Fleming says you'll want to read the instructions for your new toy when you open it up. They'll often come with special instructions and tips for how to use it, as well as the cleaning instructions you'll need to follow.
2. Charge your toys ahead of time.
Remember to charge up your toys before you need them, Fleming says. Because what's more of a buzzkill (literally) than a dead vibrator in the heat of the moment?
3. Set the mood.
Whether you're masturbating or having sex with a partner, setting the mood before sex is so important, particularly for women, Fleming says. "Arousal is both mental and physical, so it's important for women to realize we can turn ourselves on—and turn ourselves off."
Stewart recommends paying attention to your physical environment: "Setting the mood means that you may want to invoke your romance skills by tidying up your place, set some mood lighting or candles, and making sure that you have all the necessary accoutrements for the sexual situation."
She also suggests scheduling time for masturbation playing with your vibrator. That way, you're creating quality time and ensuring you don't have anything else to worry about at that time.
4. Get yourself aroused.
Ease into the experience and enjoy taking your time. Particularly for women, it can take some time to really get aroused. Fleming notes that when you're trying anything new sexually, including using a new toy, "You want to start when you're already aroused—you don't want to start from a neutral cold start."
When people aren't fully aroused, she adds, what they're responsive to and what feels good can be very different from what feels good once they are. "When people are aroused, they're more open and receptive," she says.
To incorporate a vibrator into foreplay, Stewart recommends starting off with a finger vibrator, either on your own or with a partner, to start heating things up.
5. Take your time.
Particularly if using a new vibrator but also just as a general rule of thumb, take your time. After all, what's the rush? "Taking your time with the toys is going to be key," Stewart says. "Don't rush to get it on the genitals right away. See how it feels up against different parts of your body, and play with it before you 'play' with it."
Fleming suggests going into it with intention and giving yourself plenty of time to take it slow to explore both your own pleasure and pleasure with a partner.
6. Explore your body.
Getting to know a new toy also offers a chance to get to know your body better, which will help you learn more about yourself and what you like. Fleming suggests taking the time to figure out whether you like direct or indirect clitoral stimulation, how much pressure you like, what turns you on, and other specifics about the type of touch that feels good for you. Every person's body is different, so experiment and explore.
Try masturbating not only in your bed but on the couch, in the bathroom, or really anywhere, Stewart adds. Different places and positions can offer different sensations. "How you're masturbating can be also a way for you to explore, whether that's on your stomach, or on your back, or sitting up, or having one leg up while standing. You can get a sense of all the different ways your body can receive pleasure."
7. Experiment with settings.
Once you've got your new vibe, you can have some fun and figure out how to use it in a way that works for you. The blessing here is most vibrators offer lots of different speeds and settings for you to explore.
"As you're starting new, I think it's really important to start on a low speed," Fleming explains to mbg, "because vibrators today are really powerful. Even on a low setting, it can be too intense for some women—so definitely start low and slow and work your way up." If even the lowest setting is too intense, you can create a kind of barrier with underwear, or a towel, to lighten the intensity to your liking, she suggests.
8. Use lube.
Fleming and Stewart both recommend adding lube to the mix. Fleming notes that the mind associates wetness with arousal, which is another good reason to incorporate lube, plus it can add to the sensation of the vibrator itself. As a rule of thumb, "use water-based lubes with silicone toys," she says, as silicone lube can degrade the material of a silicone toy.
You'll want to apply the lube to both the toy and the areas you'll be stimulating, she notes. Otherwise, the toys can inadvertently tug on your skin uncomfortably.
"Trying different lubes is key," Stewart adds. This is where sample packets come in handy, to help you get an idea of what works—and what doesn't. If you are unfamiliar with lube, trying sample packets will help you get an idea of what works with your body and what doesn't.
9. Keep playing.
It's called experimenting for a reason, so just try to relax, explore, and notice what you do and don't like. "It's all about discovering what feels good as far as pressure, friction and speed," she says. And remember, what feels good one day may feel different tomorrow. "There's the whole role of context depending on how relaxed you are and where your mind is at. It's very much dependent on context," Fleming adds.
10. Bring your vibrator into sex with a partner.
While great for solo play, vibrators are also wonderful additions to sex with a partner. If you never have before, you might be nervous to suggest it to your partner, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with incorporating new things into the mix. Let your partner know you're interested in trying some new things and suggest making a fun date out of going to a sex store or browsing for different things online. Fleming suggests starting small with something like a bullet because they're not visually overwhelming.
Using toys during partnered sex "also helps you to convey to your lover what you like," Stewart says. The same vibrator will feel different when a partner is using it on you versus when you're using it on yourself, she notes. "It's important to note that when they are touching you, you are giving them the feedback they need in order to get all the pleasure that you can out of the experience."
Cleaning and storage.
Don't forget to clean your toy up and put it away somewhere it will stay clean, every single time you use it. Most toys come with a pouch or case for storage. Fleming notes that some brands make sex toy cleaners; you'll just want to double-check what kind to get depending on the material of your vibrator. Also, "Make sure it's completely dry before you put it away," she adds.
You can also definitely go the extra mile and give it a quick cleanup beforehand as well, to keep your precious parts germ-free. When in doubt, read the label for your specific toy, as cleaning instructions can widely vary based on material, and be sure to check out our complete guide on how to clean and care for every type of sex toy.
Trying a new sex toy, especially if it's the first time you've ever used one, might seem intimidating—but it doesn't have to be! The whole point, of course, is to have a pleasurable and intimate experience, either with yourself or with a partner. So slow down, have fun with it, and enjoy this new addition to your sex life as you figure out how to make your vibrator work for you.