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How to Pick the Best Vibrator: A Guide for Older Women

These good vibrations are healthy for the mind, body and spirit.

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illustration of light coming out of drawer from nightstand, vibrators
Kiersten Essenpreis
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Whenever someone seems surprised that a physician would recommend a vibrator, I remind them that in the early 1900s, doctors allegedly used electric vibrators in their office to elicit orgasm as the standard treatment for “hysteria."

Women (who never seemed to get cured!) would dutifully go for their weekly treatments. In 1915 the American Medical Association classified vibrators as “a delusion and a snare” without medical benefit. This was reinforced by legislation in most states that prohibited the sale of vibrators.

Keep in mind it wasn’t until 1972 that The American Medical Association stated that masturbation was “normal” as opposed to deviant behavior.

Fast forward to today. Vibrators are commonly used not just for solo or partnered sexual pleasure, but also recommended by enlightened doctors for sexual health. In 2013 the FDA classified vibrators as a therapeutic device for the treatment of sexual dysfunction. For starters, regular vaginal stimulation helps maintain lubrication and elasticity. (Use it or lose it!)

Many women, because of aging, diabetes or vascular disease require the extra stimulation of a clitoral vibrator to achieve orgasm. Vibrators are also good for relationships. Sometimes men who suffer from erectile dysfunction avoid intimacy knowing that they can’t follow through. They are thrilled and relieved to find a way to please their partner without intercourse.

And finally, there’s a lot to be said for switching it up. Even if you love pancakes, after 20 years, you might enjoy a cheese omelet instead.

So, now that you are convinced that your cell phone should not be the only thing that vibrates, it’s time to go shopping.

Buying your first vibrator is kind of like buying your first bra. If you were lucky, your mom guided you on exactly what to get. But unlike your first bra, buying a first vibrator is a little trickier. You can’t try it on, and chances are your mom didn’t buy it with you. So, allow me to be your guide.

Many women resort to randomly buying something online or at a sex shop, then dashing out the door. If you do have a vibrator that has been your trusted go-to for 20 years, it’s time for an upgrade. We’ve come a long way.

Vibrators today recharge with a USB, are waterproof, made of silky skin-like silicone, warm up, light up and can be operated remotely. Some can even track how many orgasms you have and how strong they are.

Sex toys fall into two basic categories: those that are inserted in the vagina and those that are used for external stimulation. An internal vibrating dildo is often purchased by well-meaning men thinking that what women want is something that is exactly like a penis only shaking and forever hard.

But since most women are unable to have an orgasm without clitoral stimulation, and so what is most effective may be a wand or bullet-shaped vibrator that provides external vibration. And for those that want the best of both worlds, put an internal toy together with a clitoral stimulator and you have what is commonly known as the classic “rabbit” — a penis-shaped vibrator that provides internal fullness while external rabbit ears tickle the clitoris.

While any toy can be used with or without a partner, some are specifically designed to be used with a male during intercourse. One popular option is the soft bendable Elixir Play Garnet ™ clitoral vibrator attached to a ring that goes around the base of the penis. Another approach is the We-Vibe™, a U-shaped device designed so that one branch slips inside the vagina (with room for the penis) with the other branch strategically positioned over the clitoris.

An easier (and less expensive) approach that doesn't require perfect positioning is for the partner (or you) to slip on a Trojan™ finger vibrator. There are also hands-free “wearables” such as the Dame EVA™ that slip inside the labia. Another clever innovation is the We-Vibe Moxie, a nifty device that slips inside panties and is controlled by an app on a smartphone.

Next time you see someone inexplicably smiling during a dinner party, check to see if she, or her partner, have their phones out!

Today you can buy a vibrator in your corner drugstore, online or even at an airport gift shop, presumably not to be used during take-off or landing. And yes, Amazon is a gold mine if you want your new vibrator delivered to your doorstep overnight.

If you are shy about purchasing a vibrator, you can always shop for a Magic Wand Massager™. No one will know you are not intending to use it on your sore neck. The Screaming O is a vibrator camouflaged as lipstick. And for the ultimate in a vibrator that doesn’t look like one, Crave is a very cool-looking necklace/vibrator that comes in metallic tones of silver, gold and rose gold — and has a convenient USB charger.

While on a trip to Amsterdam a few years ago, I stopped in a famous sex toy store to see if they had anything different than what is available in the States. I asked the clerk behind the counter enough questions that she quickly realized I wasn’t just a curious tourist, but a medical expert.

She went back and came out holding a vibrator and proudly told me that had been the recipient of the “Motor of the Year Award”. Best souvenir ever!

And, on the topic of vacations, take your vibrator with you but be sure to remove the batteries. Nothing like a vibrating suitcase to get the TSA's attention.

Would you ever try a vibrator? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Health
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