Using a vibrator or personal massager may seem easy, and it is—once you get the hang of it. But if you’re trying a vibrator for the first time, the process of selecting a sex toy and then actually pleasuring yourself with it can seem daunting. If you want to improve your sex life (including your solo play), you can start by thinking about what kind of touch and feel you enjoy. When it comes to vibes, you have many choices—small or large, clitoral or bullet or rabbit vibes, realistic or not, waterproof or not, quiet or loud?

The sex experts at Spencer’s are here to help you figure out the type of vibrator that will float your boat and how to use it so you’re totally comfortable. The first thing to know about selecting a vibrator is that there’s no one perfect vibrator that will suit everyone. Because all of us have different bodies and desires, our sex toy needs will differ. You’ve got plenty of options, from pocket rockets to rabbit vibrators to G-spot toys. Some people love large electrical plug-in massagers like the Magic Wand, while for others, a portable bullet vibrator will do the trick. A wand vibrator generally is for clitoral and external stimulation, while a rabbit vibrator delivers both clitoral and internal stimulation. If you enjoy using sex toys in the bath or shower, you’ll want to look for a waterproof vibrator.

The visual element is also important. You’re going to get very up close and personal with your toy, so you want the color and design to be ones that will make you smile every time you see it. There are fashion vibrators in cute designs, and others in one color. Some are discreet and portable, while others are larger and will never be mistaken for anything other than a sex toy.

Once you know which vibrator you want to use, make sure you’re prepared with the right size batteries (plus spares) or an accessible electrical outlet. Before you want to actually use the vibrator, insert the batteries or plug it in, then turn it on. Look at how it moves, test the different speeds and patterns if it has them, to get used to how it operates. You want to make sure in the heat of the moment you can turn it up or down in intensity. Next, run your vibrator along the back of your hand, or over a nipple or along your thigh. This will give you a sense of how strong the vibrations are.

Now on to the fun part…

Let’s Prep

Choose a time and space where you’ve got at least some privacy, so you don’t have to be self-conscious about making noise. Some vibrators are on the quiet side, while some are louder. Give yourself at least an hour of alone time so you can get to know your new toy and not be in a rush. If you’re using an insertable vibe like a G-spot vibrator, you likely want to have some lube handy in case you need it for a little extra slickness. Since water-based lube is compatible with all sex toys regardless of the material they’re made from, it makes a great choice for your bedside table.

If you’re in bed, you’ll probably want to lay down a towel underneath you to protect your sheets. Make sure you are positioned comfortably and have plenty of support behind your neck.

When you’re ready to take your new sex toy for a ride, go to your chosen spot and get undressed. You may want to touch yourself for a few minutes to prime your body and further arouse yourself.

Start with the lowest setting

We suggest starting with the lowest vibrator setting so you can get used to the sensation before moving up to a faster speed. From there, experiment with different angles and amounts of pressure. You can lie on your back and insert the vibrator or let it vibrate against you, or place the vibrator on your bed and lay down against it. Adjust your position to maximize your pleasure.

Feel free to moan or talk out loud while you’re letting the vibrations travel against your most sensitive body parts. You’ll soon discover which sensations feel the best. If your vibrator is insertable, sure you go slowly to give your body time to adjust. If you need a little extra slickness, use some lubricant on the shaft of the toy or apply it to your body to help guide the vibrator inside.

You can also use your vibrator on other erogenous zones, like your nipples, or run it along your inner thighs. You may want to do this as a prelude to placing it against your genitals, or if you just want to see how it feels.

Try your vibrator’s different speeds

Many vibes have multiple speeds, letting you adjust the pace. Pay attention to what types of vibration feel the best. You can also stimulate other parts of your body, running your hands along your chest, stroking and pinching your nipples or anywhere else. In addition to various speeds, some toys have different vibration patterns you can choose from. There may be one that really does it for you; if that’s the case, stay with it and see what happens.

Combine your vibrator with your usual routine

If you’re used to the touch of your own hand, you don’t have to give it up just because you’ve got a new adult toy sharing your bed! Your fingers and your vibrator can work in tandem. Once your vibrator is comfortably inserted into your vagina, you can play with your clitoris, touching yourself in time to the toy’s movements. You may discover that your orgasms feel different when aided by a vibrator. One way isn’t necessarily “better” than another, and you may want to switch back and forth between them.

Frequently asked questions

How long can you use a vibrator?

Read the instructions that come with your sex toy to give you a sense of how long your session may last.  

Are vibrators only for women?

In a word, no! Guys, sex toys aren’t just a women’s thing, and if you’ve never used one, you’re missing out on a whole lot of fun! There are men’s vibrators that work perfectly with your anatomy, or you can feel free to use any vibe along your balls or the shaft of the penis when you’re in the mood. You can use vibrators on your own, or with a partner (see below). Another option that combines the strong power of vibes with a sex toy specifically designed for men is a vibrating cock ring. This goes around the base of the penis and can help you maintain an erection while delivering strong sensations. Many vibrating cock rings can also help your female partner with clitoral stimulation.

Can couples use vibrators?

Yes! Vibrators aren’t just used during masturbation. Many couples incorporate sex toys into their lovemaking to amplify their pleasure, intensify orgasms and make their sex lives even hotter. Vibrators can be used as part of foreplay to help you both get aroused. A wonderful way to surrender a little control is to let your lover use a vibe on you, which will likely feel very different than when you’re running the show. There are even couples vibrators that provide stimulation to both of you at the same time.

You can also incorporate vibrators into intercourse, which can be done in the missionary position, doggy style or other variations. You can take turns “testing” the vibe on one another or have each of you use vibrators while next to each other. This can be a way to add a new element to your sex life that can improve your intimacy and show you another side of what turns your partner on. Maybe you want to make a vibrator part of your date nights, or simply keep yours handy for spur-of-the-moment fun. Wand vibrators, with their round, wide heads, can be a way for you both to experience pleasure. You can take turns placing the wand along each other’s bodies, such as running it up and down your partner’s inner thighs.

To add a whole new level of playfulness, you might want to try a remote controlled vibrator. Your partner can take the reins and decide which vibration pattern you feel next, or turn it on until you’re super close to reaching your peak, then turn it off for the ultimate tease.

If your partner isn’t totally on board with you using a vibrator, incorporating it into your couple time is a way to reassure them that the vibrator is there to improve your sex life. The most important thing to remember is that the vibrator isn’t there to replace the actual human being who you love getting naked with, but to enhance sexytime for both of you.

Caring for your vibrator

Once you’re done using your vibrator, make sure that you clean it according to the provided instructions (most vibes can be cleaned with sex toy cleaner or warm, soapy water). If it’s battery-operated, make sure to remove the batteries after each use to preserve the life of the toy. If it’s a plug-in model, always unplug your toy to maintain its longevity. Store it according to the care instructions.

We can’t stress enough that cleaning and storing your vibrator properly is necessary to make sure it lasts as long as possible and is ready to keep on buzzing the next time you reach for it. If you think you may want to take your new bullet vibrator or any other one with you when you travel, you’ll want to make sure the batteries have been removed and it’s stored properly so its in tip-top shape when you go to unpack it.

Once you’ve put your sex toy away, treat yourself to something indulgent so you can savor the good mood you’re in even longer. Notice how you feel afterwards and if any after effects linger. See our sex toy storage and cleaning guide for more information.

There you have it: everything you need to know about how to use a vibrator. If you’re looking for a new sex toy, check out our wide selection of vibrators. We also have plenty of toy cleaner to make caring for your vibe a breeze.