Dildo vs Vibrator: A Sex Toy Comparison (Key Differences Explained)

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While most people have heard of vibrators and dildos, not everyone knows the differences between them. These popular sex toys can be an essential part of discovering what feels good for your body and how to satisfy a sexual partner.

While fingers are the original masturbation method, you can make things even steamier and more sensual with the help of a toy. Choosing the right kind of sex toy will seriously enhance masturbation and help you achieve a full-body climax, which would be near impossible just using your fingers.

Dildos and vibrators are the two most popular sex toys for women (for good reason), and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit anyone’s preference.

Although many products incorporate features from both of these toys, there are some fundamental differences between dildos and vibrators you should know about, as they will help you choose the right toy for you.

This article will introduce the different kinds of vibrators and dildos available, how you can use them to full effect, and the right way to clean and care for your sex toys.

What is the difference between dildos and vibrators?

The dildo vs vibrator debate is older than you might think. Humans are highly sexual beings, and we’ve been looking for ways to pleasure ourselves since time began.

Dildos came on the scene as early as 30,000 years ago, with early stone carvings of penises used to pleasure our ancient ancestors. Vibrators, as you might imagine, are a much newer invention, first invented in the late 1800s and sold as body massagers.

It wasn’t long before some more sexually liberated individuals started using them to masturbate, and the vibrator as we know it today was born.

Dildos are any kind of sex toy that is used by inserting the toy into the vagina or anus, and they’re generally, though not always, phallic-shaped. Although some vibrators are also used inside the vagina, the major difference is that they use motors to vibrate or pulse.

Vibrators: An Introduction

Rabbit vibrator in hand

First up, let’s explore the difference between a vibrator and a standard dildo. With a dildo, you provide the power and thrust behind the toy to control the intensity of your masturbation session. On the other hand, vibrators are usually electrically powered and provide gentle to intense vibrations or pulsations for automatic pleasure.

Vibrators aren’t always phallic shaped, and they don’t have to be designed for penetration. Many vibrators focus on clitoral stimulation to achieve climax, which can produce powerful orgasms without the need for penetrative masturbation.7

But as the name suggests, vibrators do one thing that standard dildos don’t – they vibrate! Most vibrators come with different levels of vibration or speed, so you can increase the intensity as you come close to climaxing.

Vibrators can also be used during sex with a partner, to make the experience more intense. Try using your vibrator on your clitoris during foreplay while your partner massages you, to get you in the mood for sex.

A lot of vibrators are water-resistant, so they can also be used in the bath for a completely indulgent masturbation session, or a steamy session in the shower with your partner – but check the batteries won’t get wet first.

The four main types of vibrators are:

Let’s explore some of the main types of vibrators and why you might choose to use them.

Bullet Vibrators

Bullets are small and petite vibes that are designed to give powerful and intense clitoral stimulation. Discreet and compact, bullet vibes are great for slipping into a handbag or purse for an overnight rendezvous or a short trip.

Usually, bullet vibes have a pointed tip, like a real bullet, which makes it easier to angle the vibrator onto the clitoris for targeted stimulation. Likewise, bullets are generally small in diameter, and they can be inserted into the anus during sex for extra intense pleasure.

Bullets are a great choice for beginners or those who don’t have a lot of storage space, and they are generally one of the most affordable types of vibrators available.

Rabbit Vibrators

Named after their little’ ears,’ which are designed to provide full clitoral stimulation, rabbit vibrators also offer penetrative masturbation for G-spot thrills.

Rabbit vibes look a lot like a traditional dildo, but they have an extra clitoral stimulator attached to the shaft. Some rabbit vibes feature a single powerful vibrator in the clitoral stimulator with a static shaft, while others also have a shaft which pulses or vibrates for more intense penetrative masturbation.

Usually, rabbit vibes which also have a vibrator in the shaft of the toy don’t focus on girth or length like a traditional dildo, and instead, rely on their vibrating or gently rotating movement to stimulate the sensitive nerve endings inside the vagina.

Magic Wands

Maybe the most deluxe masturbation method, magic wands are large vibrators which usually plug into the mains, though cordless versions are also available, to provide strong and pulsing vibration power.

We already explored the Hitachi Magic Wand in our ultimate guide, one of the most well-known clitoral stimulation toys, which was originally designed as a body massager and tension reliever.

Well, it turns out that magic wands aren’t just used to relieve tension in the muscles – they also double up for some seriously satisfying sexual tension relief.

Wands are usually quite large toys, which, although it makes them unsuitable for those wanting to be discreet, means they can pack more power.

Many couples like to experiment with magic wands during foreplay, as they can be used alongside massage oils for a deep full-body massage, before being used on erogenous zones to reach orgasm.

Clitoral and Pebble Vibrators

Clitoral vibrators are usually made of silicone, and come in a pebble-like shape. They fit nicely in the palm of your hand and can be held against your clitoris for a deep and intense massage.

Silicone gives a soft and warm feeling on your vagina, and unlike metal vibrators which might need warming up, they let you get straight into the action.

You can also use most pebble vibrators as body massagers, so why not have your partner rub it gently over your erogenous zones during foreplay?

The great thing about pebble vibrators is their compact size, which makes them perfect if you need to be discreet, or if you want to take them with you on your travels.

How to Use A Vibrator

If you’ve never used a vibrator, you might be wondering the best way to start, so here are a few steps to keep in mind during your play sessions.

1. Explore your toy

Before you explore yourself, you should get to know your toy first. Many vibrators will come with multiple settings to control the speed and intensity of the vibrations, so experiment a little with your vibrator before you start masturbating.

Also, this is a great time to make sure your vibrator is fully charged or has fresh batteries, as you don’t want to lose power mid-session!

2. Get comfortable

Everyone masturbates differently, and how you use your vibrator will depend on your preferences. Before you start, get comfortable somewhere private, either in bed, on the sofa, or in the bath if you have a water-proof vibrator, and make sure you’re not going to be disturbed.

Most people will use their vibrator lying on their back, but you might choose to lay on your front if you’re using a smaller toy like a pebble or bullet vibrator.

3. Start slowly, then turn up the intensity

If you’re like most, you’ll want to start masturbating on a lower vibration setting, and then slowly turn up the intensity as you come close to orgasm. Some vibrators will have a pulse setting, which gives powerful vibrations in short bursts to make your orgasm last longer.

The first few times you use a vibrator, try experimenting with which settings help you reach climax, and give you the best orgasm.

Vibrator Care and Maintenance

Vibrators take a little more care and maintenance than a dildo, as naturally, they have moving parts, and they’re often battery operated.

Batteries will be the number one consideration when it comes to caring for your vibrator. As with any electrical device, you must take care to ensure your vibrator’s batteries don’t get wet unless the instructions specifically say that the toy is submersible.

If you don’t feel like buying batteries all the time, you might want to invest in a rechargeable toy. These come with a sealed battery unit, which you can plug into a charger and have your toy ready to play whenever you need – no frustrating battery replacements!

Many rechargeable units are also perfect for wet play, such as in the bath or shower, as their battery units are often sealed – but be sure to check first.

If you’ve got a silicone vibrator, be careful to check you’re using the correct type of lube, as some lubes can be corrosive to silicone. If you’re unsure, a water-based lube would be the safest option to use for your silicone toy.

After you’ve finished using your vibrator, make sure you clean it thoroughly with soap and warm water, taking care to clean the toys contours and paying extra attention to toys which are ribbed or dimpled.

Once you’ve finished cleaning your vibrator, pop it in a dry drawer or storage box and make sure it doesn’t gather dust for your next use.


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Dildos: An Introduction

Dildos are used for penetrative masturbation and can be used both in the vagina and anus for a deep and full satisfying feeling.

Many dildos are phallic shaped, which means they are generally made to resemble a penis, with details such as veins and a molded head. Not all dildos are phallic, though; you can get neutral ones without details, or fantasy dildos, as we’ll explore below.

Dildos can be used in solo masturbation sessions, or they can be a great addition to the bedroom for partners. For same-sex couples, particularly women, double-ended dildos can be used for penetrative sex involving both partners simultaneously.

If you’re thinking of using a dildo for anal play, make sure you buy one with a flared base – otherwise, it can be dangerous if it goes in too deeply. Dildos with suction cup bases are great for this kind of masturbation, as they stick to surfaces and can be ridden without the need to hold the toy.

The main types of dildos available are:

  • Glass Dildos
  • Silicone Dildos
  • Metal Dildos

Now let’s take a look at each of these different types of dildos in more detail so you’ll understand the differences between them.

Glass Dildos

Glass dildos have become a popular toy choice recently, as their material makes them perfect for temperature play. They can be used to produce both spine-tingling cold sensations or warmed up for a more natural feel.

Many choose glass dildos as they are also easier to clean than some silicone or TPR/TPE type dildos. Their smooth and non-porous surface means that glass dildos can be cleaned easily using most antibacterial soap products.

Many glass dildos have colorful patterns that run through the glass, which makes them pleasing to look at, and they can help add some flair to a sex session.

If you’re wondering how fragile a glass dildo is, don’t worry. Genuine glass dildos from reputable sellers will be made from special tempered glass, so they are resistant to breaking or shattering. That said, you should still always handle your glass dildo with care. If you do chip or crack your glass dildo, you should stop using it immediately to avoid injury.

Silicone Dildos

One of the most popular materials for dildos and, in fact, all sex toys, is silicone. It’s a versatile material which is warm to the touch, flexible, durable, and water-resistant. Silicone is usually the material of choice for high-quality sex toys, and they last a long time.

Silicone dildos come in all shapes and sizes, which will suit size queens who love the feel of a huge dildo, such as horse dildos. You can also buy fantasy dildos from specialist makers such as Bad Dragon, who make customizable dragon-themed dildos.m

If you buy a silicone dildo, make sure it’s a phthalate-free one, as these chemicals can be harmful. If you’re using lube with your dildo, which you probably will be, make sure it doesn’t react with the silicone, as some lubricants can damage the surface of your toy. Water-based lubes are your safest option.

Metal Dildos

Metal, like glass, can be an exciting choice of dildo material, especially for those who love the cold touch of metal on their skin.

Although metal dildos may require a larger initial outlay, you can rest assured that with proper care, these toys are going to last a lifetime, so they are actually good value for money.

Generally, metal sex toys will be made of solid stainless steel, which makes them both safe for regular use, and prevents rust or corrosion. As they are solid metal, they’re non-porous and generally easy to clean and sterilize.

This makes metal toys a good choice for people concerned with keeping their toys clean, especially if you or a partner regularly uses a metal dildo for anal sex.

How to Use a Dildo

Dildos come in many shapes and sizes, and really there’s no wrong way to use one – whatever you enjoy as long as it’s safe.

But that said, there are some first steps you might want to take if you’re new to dildos and you want to gain some experience.

1. Pick the right size and material

Sometimes, size can matter. But this goes both ways, and if you’ve never used a dildo before, you don’t want to take on more than you can handle. You might want to start with a small or medium-sized dildo that you’re comfortable with, and if you find you’d like something bigger, you can then work your way up to it.

Also, think about what you want to use your dildo for. If you like sensory play, you might want to choose a metal or glass dildo that can be cold or warm to the touch. Similarly, if you’re into anal play, glass and metal toys are easier to clean for future use but also feel very hard. Whereas silicone dildos are softer and able to bend to fit the contours of your body, allowing for easier insertion and providing a realistic skin-like feeling. It all comes down to personal preference.

2. Choose the right lubricant

There are many different types of lubes available, each suited to a specific purpose. Most off the shelf lubes will be fine to use with your dildo, but make sure the ingredients in the lube won’t react with a silicone dildo first – you can check this in your toy’s instructions.

If you’re going to be using your dildo for anal sex, you could try a lube that also includes an analgesic agent. These lubes contain numbing creams and compounds which help to desensitize your anus when experimenting with anal toys.

Be careful with analgesic lubes, however, as sometimes pain can be a good way of knowing your limit when it comes to anal sex. Always start slowly if you’re experimenting with anal sex toys.

3. Solo or with a partner?

Choosing the right dildo will also depend on whether you’re using it with a partner, or if you’re buying a dildo for solo masturbation sessions.

For solo masturbation, a silicone dildo with a suction cup is perfect for placing on a flat surface, such as a hardwood floor or a shower tile, and riding for a hands-free experience.

Other toys, such as double-ended dildos or dildos without a base, are better suited for use by a partner, who can control the dildo for you.

Dildo Care and Maintenance

Similar to vibrators, cleaning and maintaining your dildo is an important part of enjoying its long-lasting use. You’re going to want to clean them after every use to prevent the build-up of potentially harmful bacteria on your toy.

Because dildos aren’t battery-powered, you should be ok to go ahead and soak the dildo in warm soap and water after you’ve used it and give it a light scrub to make sure it’s clean. The only exception to this is wooden dildos, which may soak up water and become damaged, so give these a good clean by hand and then leave to dry.

If you’re using a cheaper silicone dildo that is slightly porous, you may want to sterilize your toy every so often by soaking it in a bleach solution. To do this, you make a weak 10% bleach and warm water solution, and leave your dildo to soak for around an hour – this should help make sure it’s adequately sterilized for your next session. Make sure you thoroughly rinse your dildo with clean water to remove the bleach solution after soaking, as otherwise, this could irritate your skin.

Should You Choose a Vibrator or a Dildo?

Ok, so is there a clear winner in the dildo vs vibrator debate? Not exactly!

Choosing between a dildo or a vibrator will depend on what kind of masturbation session you’re ready for. Dildos are best for full penetrative sex, so if you’re trying to hit your G-spot or you love the feeling of being full either during vaginal or anal sex, then a dildo could be the toy for you.

Instead, those who prefer the intensity of clitoral stimulation will probably prefer a vibrator, which can be used to produce powerful full-body orgasms, which many can’t normally achieve using just penetrative masturbation.

But there’s no need to choose just one. If you’re feeling really exploratory, you could use both of these toys at the same time, especially if you’ve got a dildo that you could ride hands-free while using a vibrator.

Some toys, like the ever-popular rabbit vibrator, combines the best of both worlds, with clitoral stimulation and a pulsating shaft, which can be used for penetration. These vibrators make great solo-masturbation toys or can be used by a partner during foreplay.

Whatever toy you choose, make sure you always keep your toys well maintained, including checking the batteries are charged, and making sure that you clean your toy properly after every use.

If you’re interested in learning more about the best kind of sex toys, tips and tricks in the bedroom, or unlocking the secrets to better sex, then check out our other blog articles and video lessons too!

We hope you enjoy your new dildo, vibrator, or maybe both!

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1 thought on “Dildo vs Vibrator: A Sex Toy Comparison (Key Differences Explained)”

  1. It’s hard for me to choose a favorite between my dildo and vibrator! I remember a time when I didn’t use either, now I wouldn’t be able to live without them haha. Be it for masturbation or during sex with my partner, having a dildo/vibrator always makes it better!

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