All About Vibrators

Brief History of Vibrators

steam powered vibrator locomotive

The illustrious history of the electric vibrator begins in 1869 with the invention of a steam-powered massager patented by an American doctor. This device was designed as a labor saving medical tool for use in the treatment of “female disorders.” Within twenty years, a British doctor followed up with a more portable battery-operated model, and by 1900, dozens of styles of electric vibrators were available to the discriminating medical professional.

What were these physicians doing with their vibrators? They were treating hysteria—the most common health complaint among women of the day. While the existence of hysteria as a disease was debunked in the 1950’s, medical experts from the time of Hippocrates up to the twentieth century believed that hysteria expressed the womb’s revolt against sexual deprivation. A woman’s display of mental or emotional distress was a clear indication of her need for sexual release. Genital massage was a standard treatment for hysteria; its objective was to induce “hysterical paroxysm” (better known today as orgasm) in the patient. Obviously, such treatment demanded both manual dexterity and a fair amount of time, so turn-of-the-century physicians were delighted with the efficiency, convenience and reliability of portable vibrators.

The vibrator was soon marketed as a home appliance in women’s magazines and mail-order catalogs. Ads proffering “health, vigor and beauty” promoted the vibrator as an aid to health. By the 1920’s, doctors had abandoned hands-on physical treatments for hysteria in favor of psychotherapeutic techniques. But vibrators continued to have an active commercial life in which they were marketed, much like patented medicines, as cure-alls for illnesses ranging from headaches and asthma to “fading beauty” and even tuberculosis!

Ad copy for these vibrators was coy and ambiguous. “Be a glow getter,” one package insert suggests. And who wouldn’t be tempted to experience “that delicious, thrilling, health-restoring sensation called vibration,” when assured that “it makes you fairly tingle with the joy of living!” The vibrator’s usefulness for masturbation was never acknowledged; however, as vibrators began appearing in stag films of the 1920’s, it became difficult to ignore their sexual function. Probably as a result, advertisements for vibrators gradually disappeared from respectable publications.

Today sex toys hail from all over the globe. Japanese vibrators were some of the first to feature rotating figurines with faces and vibrating attachments shaped like animals—part of General Macarthur’s post-war legacy to Japan were laws forbidding the manufacture of sex toys resembling genitals.

Vibrators vs Dildos

Many people confuse vibrators and dildos. What distinguishes a vibrator from a dildo or another type of sex toy is that it vibrates. The vibrator is powered either by electricity or batteries. Phallic-shaped vibrators can be used as vibrating dildos (i.e., they can be inserted vaginally or anally). If a person is looking for something penis like, that does not vibrate, they’re looking for a dildo or plug.

Plugs are generally a short dildo with a flared base, commonly used for anal insertion.

There are more styles and sizes of dildos available then you can shake a stick at. And we carry dildos and vibrators in sizes ranging from under 1/3” diameter (Micro eggs) to as thick as a neck, and up to as long as an arm. Different strokes for different folks is our philosophy.

Choosing the right size depends on a person’s tastes, their personal capacity, vaginal or anal, and how they want to use their dildo/vibrator. Dildos are measured by thickness (diameter across, not circumference around) and length (base to tip).

If a person likes pressure and fullness or clitoral stroking then four inches should be ideal. But if they plan to thrust in and out, seven or more inches is a better choice. We carry specially curved dildos for g-spot stimulation. Items with handles, flared bases or testicles make great handles for gripping during thrusting.

People should choose a dildo or vibrator size based on what they currently enjoy for penetration (finger, penis or?). If that is satisfying then that is the right size to start with. They can always come back and upgrade to a slightly larger size for an enhanced feeling of fullness later. A dildo that is too big can be uncomfortable or even painful and everyone has his or her own personal likes.

Bases on dildos are required if the item will be used for anal penetration or is to be used in a harness. Flared bases work best in harnesses but dildos with scrotums will work well in many strap-on harnesses.

Dildos and plugs, are made of either vinyl or synthetic rubbers molded into flexible penis shapes. They come in realistic, semi realistic and abstract shapes.

We carry these items in Latex, jelly, Silicone, Cyber-flesh (a realistic feeling material) and even glass – all have their positives and supporters.

Keeping your toys clean

It is extremely important to use a quality sex toy cleaner to clean toys with before and after each use to kill bacteria and germs that might cause an infection. The product we sell is Midy Tidy, which uses Phospholipids to kill bacteria. Phospholipids are popular because they are a safe but gentle germ killer and cleaner used in commercial cleaners and baby wipes. Phospholipids will kill germs and bacteria without destroying the latex and jelly material most toys are made of. Using regular antibacterial soaps might hurt the material adult toys are made of. Rinse it thoroughly with water, and let it dry completely before putting it away. Midy Tidy will not leave a dangerous residue, and viruses and bacteria won’t live on a dry surface. Be careful not to use any cleaner with alcohol in it.

At a very minimum, wash the toy with mild soap and water before and after each use.

Vibrators Can Be Enjoyed by Everyone

get your rocks off with a vibrator

For everyone who thinks they don’t have any use for vibrators because they’re completely satisfied with their orgasms, we’d like to remind you that variety is the spice of life! Just as your taste in food can change, so can your experience of orgasm. Many women report vibrators make them come more quickly as well as make their orgasms feel more intense. Many couples use vibrators (there's even ones just for couples!) to create a powerful buildup for an orgasm that they can finish by some other method. Guys, you aren't left out either! There's male a masturbation device called the Arcwave that is just for you.

The belief that masturbation and vibrators are just a temporary substitute until a real live body comes along was a prevalent one. But today many people are finding that a more fulfilling sex life can be had when they integrate toys and vibrators into their sex play. As a result manufacturers have been more than willing to help by creating an array of new couple friendly toys that can be used solo or as couples both during foreplay and intercourse. These include wearable vibrators like the We-vibe & popular vibrating penis rings among others.

People with disabilities have also discovered the sexual appeal of vibrators. If experiencing reduced sensitivity, the intense stimulation offered by a vibrator can be felt when the stimulation offered by a hand cannot.

Vibrators Come in All Sizes, Shapes and Materials

The penis-shaped, hard plastic vibrator is probably the most well known model, yet it is also the source of endless confusion and frustration for women hoping to use one to vibrate to orgasm. The dildo shape suggests insertion, but most women experience orgasm from direct clitoral stimulation (pressing a vibrator against the clitoris), not thrusting it in and out of the vagina. By learning about various vibrator sizes, shapes and uses, as well as experimenting to find out what kind of stimulation each individual likes, you are bound to find a vibrator (or several) that you really like.

The array of shapes is almost overwhelming, ranging from small bullet-shaped vibrators which are ½” wide by 1” long to 3 pronged units with clitoral, vaginal and anal stimulation and even the hand held “back massagers” that can take vaginal / g-spot head attachments.

Our most popular vibrator is a standard phallic shape with clitoral stimulation typically referred to as a “duo vibe” or “rabbit” vibrator since the original design had a rabbit at the base of the shaft as the clitoral stimulator. (75% of women do not reach climax without direct clitoral stimulation hence the popularity of vibrators either solely for, or incorporating clitoral stimulation). Many have bumps, or ribs for added stimulation.

Vibrators also come in a huge variety of materials from realistic lifelike feeling Cyber flesh materials which feel like real skin to soft jelly material to hard acrylic and everything in between. It becomes a real personal choice as to what someone likes and is looking for.

For the more adventuresome we even carry toys made of glass (borosilicate, think Pyrex). These hold temperature and have a smooth firm sensation to them and many people like to heat or chill them for an added sensation.

One important thing to keep in mind is although the hard acrylic vibes, like the slim lines, are reasonably inexpensive, most people come back and purchase one of the cyber flesh, silicone or jelly types because for actual insertion they are much more comfortable.

Many people confuse vibrators and dildos. What distinguishes a vibrator from a dildo or another type of sex toy is that it vibrates. The vibrator is powered either by electricity or batteries. Phallic-shaped vibrators can be used as vibrating dildos (i.e., they can be inserted vaginally or anally). If a person is looking for something penis like, that does not vibrate, they’re looking for a dildo or plug.


Attachments designed to fit over the head of a wand like the G-Spotter are lightweight, vinyl caps, which can be pushed all the way down over the head of the vibrator. We carry a version for each the Hitachi and the Wahl they are usually stocked in the same display as the Hitachi & Wahl. You should always point them out to the customer who buys a massager. The G-Spotter is curved to vibrate against the G-spot area in the front wall of the vagina. When the tip is inserted, the area of the cap below the tip will vibrate against the clitoris, offering powerful simultaneous clitoral and vaginal vibrations!

Why do all the packages say “sold as an adult novelty only”?

Several states have their own laws prohibiting the sale of “obscene devices.” These statutes explicitly define an obscene device as “a device including a dildo or artificial vagina, designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genitals.” In the states of Texas , Georgia , Louisiana , Mississippi and Kansas , sex toys are currently commercial contraband, although Kansas and Texas do allow the sale of sex toys for therapeutic and medical reasons. It’s not quite clear where citizens of Kansas or Texas are supposed to go to buy their medically approved dildos, nor whether they’d need a doctor’s note.

Due to these laws, adult bookstores in states such as Texas find themselves in the position of labeling all their vibrators, artificial vaginas and blow-up dolls as “novelties only.”

In California , a manufacturer or retailer who provides explicit information as to how to use and enjoy sex toys is vulnerable to prosecution under the state’s “pandering” laws. Furthermore, any implicit or explicit claims as to a sex toy’s efficacy could subject the toy to FDA regulation as a medical device. This is why most of the toys say “Sold as an adult novelty item only.”

So there you have it! All the fun facts surrounding this timeless toy. 

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