I Tried 20 Vibrators. Here Are the Ones Worth Swearing Off Humans For.

I Tried 20 Vibrators. Here Are the Ones Worth Swearing Off Humans For.

Alone for the holidays? Absolutely no problem, I got you.

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Image for article titled I Tried 20 Vibrators. Here Are the Ones Worth Swearing Off Humans For.
Photo: Biird(Instagram)/Dame

Lately, I haven’t been fucking.

I’ve been fucking tired. I’ve been fucking drunk. And I’ve been fucking entertained by the sheer comedy that is my new and unexpected single life. But I haven’t been fucking, and that doesn’t sit right with me.

As a woman on the cusp of another turn of the decade—the third decade, if you are dying to know—getting in touch with my divine feminine spirit and sexuality and all that has played an integral part in the process of growing all the way up. It touches upon that whole well-seasoned woman, aging-like-fine-wine folklore: the idea that the older we get, the more intimately we should know ourselves, our bodies, and what makes them tick.

Most adults spend much of their waking day living in their heads, exercising the same parts of their brains until the clock strikes five: a regular human in a regular body trying to remember what all these body parts were designed for in the first place. Outside of work, we’re supposed to remember to live in our bodies—shift out of autopilot, get back in touch, and start feeling again. Yet, far too many grown-ass women (myself included prominently) can identify two, maybe three ways to make themselves cum. I’ve got one precious life, and without a partner, I’m going to settle for three basic modes of pleasure?

Up until recently, I’ve been a chronic relationship person, and “pleasure” has been constrained to the king-sized cis heterosexual bed of a couple with a somewhat dull combined imagination. Outside of the old-fashioned birds-and-the-bees dance, I am wholly inexperienced in the arena of what I’ll call explorative fucking, which includes fucking myself. Beyond a baby Je Joue G-spot bullet vibrator and an unused feather tickler recommended by a kind associate at Babeland last year, I’ve historically preferred to go au naturel: no futzing, no fancies, just the tried-and-true pointer finger. Now, as the shadow of that wretched 3-0 number looms large, au natural is beginning to feel too safe…too predictable. And, as I said, I hadn’t been fucking, and a finger does not a “fuck” make.

So, for you and me both, I embarked on an adventure to figure out what I really like and how I can get back to fucking without laying a finger on an actual human (men, mostly, because we really don’t need them). I’ve compiled a beginner’s guide to some of the best sex toys, vibrators, and suction simulators currently on the market for people with vaginas. As a sexual novice and someone who rarely if ever experiences vaginal orgasms—I’m a clitoral orgasm elitist—I’ve rated each product for its effectiveness (is she giving me “ooh lala” or “my clit feels like it’s being gargled by a vacuum cleaner, call an ambulance?”), discretion (can I keep her on my nightstand, or is she a girthy girl better fit to occupy the shadowlands?), aesthetic (is she akin to a Modigliani, or a misplaced Halloween decoration?), and creativity (did she sign up for extra credit, or is she the “Do the bare minimum” sort?)—and ranked them from good to great to best in show.

If you’re interested in swearing off men, women, or whoever broke your heart, all of this to say: You don’t need a partner, baby. You don’t even need a human! You just need a working outlet and a little buzz. Let’s get fucking.

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Arä by Passage du Désir

Arä by Passage du Désir

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Photo: Courtesy of Passage du Désir

Perhaps my favorite disguise for a vibrator, Arä by Passage du Désir ($50.62) looks like a genuine tube of lipstick, removable cap and all. The French entry offers ten different vibration modes and could quite possibly pass off as just another lip product at the bottom of your purse. Well, I guess it is a lips product, still. The cutest and most petite of them all, the only thing this rouge doesn’t offer is the ability to control the intensity, instead offering just one level for each of the 10 vibration patterns.

Effectiveness: 3 out of 5 platform heels
Discretion: 5 out of 5 BDSM dungeons
Aesthetic: 5 out of 5 tubes of body glitter
Creativity: 5 out of 5 sex swings

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Photo: Courtesy of Lovehoney

The Lovehoney Rose Clitoral Suction Stimulator ($34.99) is exactly what it sounds like: a vibrating rose that can suck off your petunia! One of the cutest toys I tested, I’m tempted to display it on my coffee table as a decorative nicknack. Cute, compact, and good at its job, my only criticism is that the Rose comes on a little strong if you’re starting from scratch. I’d recommend warming yourself up first to desensitize your clit before diving into the intense suctioning.

Effectiveness: 4 out of 5 whips
Discretion: 5 out of 5 ticklers
Aesthetic: 5 out of 5 chocolate drizzles
Creativity: 4 out of 5 arched backs

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Photo: Courtesy of Lovehoney

Okay so, not exactly a beginner’s vibrator, but more like a beginner’s exploration kit for anyone with a vulva. I had so much fun unpacking the Lovehoney X Womanizer 12 Days of Play Sex Toy Advent Calendar (down from $209 to $108). It comes with everything from the Womanizer Starlet, a bullet vibrator, a g-spot vibrator, butt plugs (I still don’t know how to use these), anal beads (also don’t know how to use these), a blindfold, and more. I’m not sure that I would be brave enough to buy the plug or beads on my own, so this was sort of a sneaky way to work them into my orgasm seminars. Also, come on. An unboxing experience? Unparalleled.

Effectiveness: 3 out of 5 grunts (these bite-sized toys probably won’t provide the most intense orgasms, but orgasms nonetheless!)
Discretion: 4 out of 5 bondage kits (small enough to be kept in a little grab bag in your nightstand)
Aesthetic: 5 out of 5 lap dances (diamonds! gold! magenta!)
Creativity: 5 out of 5 massage oils

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Photo: Courtesy of Doc Johnson

Doc Johnson’s Tryst Multi-Erogenous Zone Silicone Massager ($141) is nothing if not versatile! I have to admit that the night I tried this product, I got over-confident and tried to finagle without reading the instructions first. Because Tryst was designed to work as a solo masturbator for people with vaginas or penises, as well as a tool to be used during partner sex, the shape doesn’t exactly lend itself to intuitive use. I kept rotating it around trying to position the two antennae-type prongs directly on the clit, and then switching to the vibrating base, which didn’t fit quite right either. In the end, even without knowing exactly what was going on, Tryst’s two vibrating arms delivered a sweet waterfall of an O when rubbed over the clit.

In hindsight, I’d recommend looking at some of the lovely diagrams in the instruction manual to give you a few ideas of how to use this Little Shop of Wonders. You can, for example, insert one of the vibrating arms inside your vagina, with the other in your asshole (I didn’t try this, but I’m sure it’s nice?). You can also squeeze the arms around your clit, rather than just placing them on top. I can’t guarantee this one is the most beginner-friendly. But with three motors, seven massage patterns, and separate arm and base controls, I can guarantee that you will cum.

Effectiveness: 5 out of 5 thrusts
Discretion: 3 out of 5 foot fetishes
Aesthetic: 2 out of 5 smoochies (looks like the head of a flaming monster butterfly)
Creativity: 5 out of 5 spread eagles

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Spellbound Stimulator by Cerē

Spellbound Stimulator by Cerē

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Photo: Courtesy of Cerē

The Spellbound Stimulator from Cerē ($97) is a soft silicone toy that uses “air-wave technology” to give you that oral sex-adjacent suction and pulse. Developed by a male OB/GYN and vaginal surgeon, the Spellbound is both sturdy and flexible. It can be bent and shaped into whatever position you like. You can either leave it long and alternate using the vibrating and sucking functions on the clitoris, use just one or the other, or bend the Spellbound into a U-shape for a two-for-one special. While quiet with one function on, it became slightly noisy with both functions going at once. And if discretion is your main concern, I’m not sure I’d start with this one—it only comes in Onyx, is medium in size compared to some of the other products we tested, and was a little awkward to shove down your underwear if unbent. But if you don’t care about tucking the Spellbound away in a drawer, it’s a great entry into the world of double-function vibrators.

Effectiveness: 4 out of 5 ball sacks
Discretion: 2 out of 5 cock rings
Aesthetic: 3 out of 5 toe curls
Creativity: 3 out of 5 edible panties

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Aer by Dame

Aer by Dame

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Photo: Courtesy of Dame

Normally $95, Dame’s Aer suction tool is on sale for $74, but she’s worth the pretty penny. Femme-leaning, the Aer comes in multiple soft, calming colors and is perfect for newcomers to the suction sensation. According to Dame, Aer “creates a soft seal around your clitoris” while sending “rhythmic pulses of air” in five different patterns and five intensity levels. Though it’s meant to mimic the “flutter of a tongue” and “suction of a mouth,” you’re better off if you adjust your expectations. Aer fits snugly in the palm of your hand and doesn’t require much energy other than holding a steady grip; however, I’d say it creates a sensation reminiscent of someone sucking on you, but doesn’t quite mimic the feeling. If you go in expecting an orgasm that feels exactly like cunnilingus, you’ll be disappointed. Rather, expect a sucking-pulsing combination that will feel a little foreign to start but quickly become your best friend. Overall, Aer is pretty, beginner-friendly, relatively quiet, and a good fuck.

Effectiveness: 4 out of 5 squirts
Discretion: 4 out of 5 nipple clamps
Aesthetic: 5 out of 5 licks
Creativity: 2 out of 5 holes

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Photo: Courtesy of Maude

Maude, easily the chicest of all the sexual wellness companies who sent me products to test, boasts the $49 Vibe, the brand’s original vibrator with a flutter tip and basic vibrating sensations. If you’ve never owned a vibrator before, I’d say this is a very good place to start. Vibe comes in three neutral colors and is discreet (and honestly cute) enough to live on your mantle or bathroom counter. About the length of a hand, it’s soft, easy to grip, and comes with three powerful vibration patterns. If you’re pretty sensitive, I’d recommend warming up with your finger first so you’re not shocked by the sensation of even the lowest setting. And if you crave variety, I’d recommend looking elsewhere: I tended to lean towards the vibrators with lots of different buzz patterns, but I loved how sleek and simple this one is.

Effectiveness: 3 out of 5 strap-ons
Discretion: 5 out of 5 tubes of lube
Aesthetic: 5 out of 5 handcuffs
Creativity: 3 out of 5 thongs

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Photo: Courtesy of Zalo

Zalo’s Aya Wearable Vibrator ($99) is a party girl, if I’ve ever seen one. She’s not as simple or unfussy as some of the other beginner vibrators on this list, but damn is she a good-time gal. Aya is technically made up of four separate parts: a small vibrator, a detachable magnetic gold shield, a silicone G-spot attachment, and a remote control. Aya is about the size of a finger and can be as dressed down or glammed up as you’d like her. With about every vibration pattern imaginable, you can use the small vibrator as usual for a solid but not overwhelming orgasm. Or, you can use the “bulbous” attachment so you’ve got some pressure and sensation internally in addition to clitoral stimulation. The gold shield functions as a magnet to secure the vibrator in place within your underwear, so no hands in your pants! And, on the off chance you decide to allow human beings back into your sex life, Aya can be controlled by the remote or via Bluetooth and wifi from anywhere in the world. Like I said: She’s naughty.

Effectiveness: 4 out of 5 moans
Discretion: 5 out of 5 pussies
Aesthetic: 2 out of 5 corsets (she’s a little ornate and over the top for my taste)
Creativity: 5 out of 5 whips

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Photo: Courtesy of Bellesa

The Bellesa Finger Pro ($69) came in a close second in terms of delivering an intense, toe-curling orgasm in one minute. Dead serious: 60 seconds. Throughout the testing process, I found myself craving the Finger Pro, which imitates and amplifies the sensation of using your own finger, and came back to it over and over again. The attached ring-loop makes the Bellesa vibrator easy to slip on your finger, so there’s no need to hold onto anything while you conduct your business. All 10 vibration modes together made for a crescendo of pressure and ecstasy, and the lizard tongue-looking apparatus swung back and forth to provide a rubbing sensation (though, if you really use your imagination, it could also simulate a human tongue), with 105 textured bristles all around for extra stimulation. The Finger Pro is also waterproof, rechargeable, and small enough to throw in a purse.

Effectiveness: 5 out of 5 anal beads
Discretion: 5 out of 5 slaps
Aesthetic: 2 out of 5 spankings (bright pink, and reminds me of a bug-eyed chameleon)
Creativity: 4 out of 5 blindfolds

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Namii™ by Biird

Namii™ by Biird

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Photo: Courtesy of Biird

Talk about a tsunami of pleasure, holy hell. Namii™ ($109-$119) is a 2-in-1 clitoral stimulator from the sexual wellness company Biird. Apparently inspired by “the Japanese word for waves,” this vibrator looks like a large lavender lima bean that fits intuitively in the palm of your hand and delivers a suction function for the clit, as well as a rumbling vibrating function that will hit the underside of your vagina. Namii was hands-down the fullest, quickest, and most complex orgasm I achieved while testing products. It doesn’t precisely mimic cunnilingus per se, but it does provide a similar sensation to being eaten out while a finger or two are simultaneously inserted into your vagina: You’re getting multiple sensations at once for an all-surrounding release, and it’s really, really good.

Namii can also be used hands-free, though that wasn’t something I attempted. You can literally sit on it and let it do its thing, or use the suction function on your nipples if that’s up your alley. Added bonus? It comes with a sleek charging station that features mood lighting, so you can set it up on your nightstand for a bedroom vibe shift.

Effectiveness: 5 out of 5 fucks
Discretion: 3 out of 5 dicks
Aesthetic: 5 out of 5 quaking orgasms
Creativity: 4 out of 5 condoms

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