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Advice on Vibrators

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Vibrators
by Elf Sternberg

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GENUINE
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SEX
MACHINES

The subject at hand (ho ho) is vibrators. Enough people have asked me about them that I figure I should do a review of 'em as I see 'em. Actually, as we see 'em, since Omaha's reading this over my shoulder.

That being the case, let us first discuss what we all think when the word vibrator comes to mind. That is, a penis-shaped, batterypowered shaft of plastic. My general recommendation on these is, don't bother. Batteries do not have much power, die unexpectedly, and besides, they're environmentally unsound. The general object of vibration, from a woman's perspective, is that it is most effective around or, when close to orgasm, directly on the clitoris. The phallic shape is symbolic and amusing, but not functional, and it generally limits the size of the motor. And, depending on where you shop, the price could run from five to over forty bucks.

This is NOT to say you should never buy one. An SM bottom who's used to having his/her ass stuffed full of butt plug might be pleasantly shocked from hir familiarity when the thing starts to hum. The same, I imagine, is true of vaginal insertion. But in terms of vibration for sexual satisfaction, they aren't terribly effective; more of a distraction than anything else.

The second type of vibrator is the 'wand' vibrator. These come either as plug in or rechargable models. Major manufacturers of these include Con-Air, Oster, Panasonic, Hitachi, and Sears, as well as lesser known brands. Wall current and a functionally large base provide all the power one could ever wish for; the one I purchased (Hitachi) was for a young woman who, in my personal opinion, could have used one. Not because I thought her SO was lacking (he's a handsome brute (sigh)) but because I wanted to add something to their play. Omaha did get her to admit that it worked as I intended, and both accepted it in the manner I wanted. It's all in the way one gives them.

The disadvantages to the wand are few. Generally, the buzzing of head of these models is large; so much so that sometimes it's difficult to aim it properly. In the case of the Panasonic variety, it is impossible- the damned thing looks like it was designed specifically so that it could NOT be used as a sex toy. The nickel-cadmium batteries in the recharable models have the one major disadvantage of suddenly cutting out and stopping, but this can be alleviated by conscientious recharging and some models can be used while plugged in.

In general, wand type vibrators are fine. Most have a high/low speed setting. They run from about fifteen dollars to thirty, and most will stand up to years of abuse.

And finally, the third most common type is what I refer to as the 'handle' type. This consists of something that looks vaguely like a small hairdryer with a small, perpendicular shaft out of the thicker end, to which is attached a variety of heads. This is my preferred vibrator (with exceptions... see below), and is the most common type I've given away. The heads are generally of soft plastic or latex. Among the collection there's usually a small semi-spherical nub or 'spot' head, intended (on the box of the Oster type) for 'tight muscles.' Uh-huh. Sure it is. There's also usually a larger semi-spherical head, and a flat, rounded head: both of these are useful for more general therapeutic use. Made by Oster, Con-Air, all the usual. I have yet to see one of these as a rechargable model.

The advantages to these are simply legion - they're small, easy to hold, come with a high/low setting, never die (unless someone pulls the plug), and come with a lot of choices. All of them are quite quiet unless they've a glass to the door, nobody next door will know what you're up to. About the only disadvantage I can think of is the possible need to invest in an extension cord. The Con-Air unit's motor sometimes heats up after extended use, and it usually becomes uncomfortable to handle long before motor burn out. Before you automatically exclude the Con-Air from you list though, the heat does NOT run down the shaft to the nub, but becomes evident in the handle first- Con-Air designed it at least that well- and of all the handle type's I've purchased, it is the most powerful. The Sears model is the weakest, and in cheap black and chrome, the ugliest, I've ever used. The Oster is the one I usually buy. At $18.00, it has good power, is very small and fits comfortably in one hand, and doesn't have severe overheating problems.

The 'handle' types are available in sex shops, but don't buy them there. If you want something your mother won't worry about when she comes to visit, you don't want one that says "DOC JOHNSON'S LOVE MACHINE" on the side. Also, they're usually overpriced and, should one ever break down, they don't come with warranties. Buy one at JC Penny, Service Merchandise, Target, K-Mart, whatever. Usually they're near the home appliances, like hairdryers, curlers and such. And for Goddess's sake, don't be afraid to buy one. Sure, you know why you're buying, and the guy behind the counter may suspect, but he don't know you from Adam, and why should you give a damn anyway? (Of course, after number eleven, the guy at Burdines (that's where I bought mine) said, "Who's this one for?" I thought it was funny.) At fifteen to thirty dollars, they are absolutely worth it. And how embarassing can something be that's made by the same people who put together The Salad Shooter?

Finally, in a similar but different vein, the Shower Massage. Do not buy the Teledyne model if you can avoid it; it's far too large and ungainly to handle comfortable. The model I have installed in my home is by a company called Great Vibrations, out of California; I had to order replacement parts by mail when Ames went out of business. They're small, light, and it's easy to vary the pressure. And they're useful, too.

Shower massages are fun, but they have their problems. The hose tends to be too short, unless you install it to operate from the bathtub spout, for which there are adapters, but these usually involve taking a wrench to some of the works. Hoses tend to die quickly, as well, and if you use one, you may well have to replace the hose every other year or so. Also, the pressure can be difficult to control, but there are valves to help with that problem. The most common complaint is splashback; being gently sprayed with a distracting mist while masturbating. This can be especially annoying to SO's who aren't distracted themselves by rising orgasm.

But, if you like the warmth and fun of the shower and bathtub, I'd recommend the Great Vibrations general-purpose shower massage.

There are three specific models of vibrator I'd like to mention, one in detail. That one is the ACCU-VIBE 6000 or 6001 models, a two-speed wand-type vibrator available only through the Sharper Image. At $90 to $100 (depending on whether or not you buy the plug-in or rechargable model) they're pricey, but I bought one for Omaha, and it was worth every last cent. A thick handle topped with an almost mace-like head, it would seem to contradict my preference for 'handles.' But the head has a soft, rounded 'point' at one end (almost like the 'spot' head that comes with 'handle' type), and the long wand/battery housing provides her with ease-of-reach when it's used during manfrom -behind intercourse. The battery lasts 40 minutes, but for those 40 minutes it's the most powerful hand-held vibrator I've ever had the pleasure of handling. I've seen women scream and pray under its influence. And it can be used plugged in if the session goes longer. For the truly mischevious, I've seen places with appropriate adaptors so it can be powered off of an automobile cigarette lighter.

The second is the Sybian. I'm sure at least some of you have heard about this monster. I cannot speak authoritatively about it, because at $2155 it's a bit out of my price range. It was supposedly developed by therapists specializing in helping inorgasmic women, and it's guaranteed to work. Two .05 HP motors, the Sybian is a small, rounded bench with a small phallus sticking up out of it that buzzes and vibrates. I've read two reviews, and both give it high marks. Make of it what you will.

The third is Harley-Davidson. Actually, Omaha says motorcycles aren't that interesting to her as vibrators- too rough and overwhelming to be sexy. But they're fun in their own right.

Before I close, I need to put these absolute caveats: BEFORE USING ANY MECHANICAL VIBRATOR ON THE GENITALIA, APPLY LUBRICATION! THERE ARE FEW THINGS MORE PAINFUL THAN FRICTION BURNS ON LABIA, CLITORI, AND PENISES.

The vaginal opening is functionally quite distant from the clitoris, and in the beginning is unlikely to produce the lubrication you need- use a sexual lubricant (KY is always recommended). Oil-based lubricants are adequate, but the water-based types are best. The lubricant made by Parke-Davis (the name escapes me... It's the one in the green tube) breakes down quickly under vibration. This doesn't apply if you're using the vibrator for general therapeutic use- usually you're just gliding over dry skin and don't need lubrication. But for long-duration, high-pressure activities on sensitive areas, for your own sake use some sort of lubrication.

Similarily: DO NOT PURCHASE OR USE VIBRATORS THAT ARE SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO DELIVER HEAT TO THE BODY.

Several manufactures (Oster, most notably- Be Careful In What You Buy!) make "deep-heating massagers." I can't tell you how dain-bramaged these things are! If they work on muscles, great, but don't use them on your cunts and cocks. They're not fun, and I know of at least case of hospitalization from a woman who burned herself because she was so busy climaxing to notice the damage she was doing to herself. SM is one thing- That's quite another.

Now that I've the warnings out of the way, a few idle thoughts to pass the time.

"But sometimes, the vibrator and/or the lubricant is cold." This is one of the reasons I like the handle-types. The head is removable. Take one of those SUPER BIG GULP plastic cups and fill it with the hottest water you can get from your tap. Do NOT heat water on the stove! Drop in your tube of lubricant and vibrator head. Wait three or four minutes. Drain. The head of the vibrator and the lubricant should be warm enough. The Accu-vibe's 'nub' is also removable, a notable exception to most wand-types. Of course, if you're the impish sort, you could put your vibrator heads in the fridge or freezer before play.

One of the biggest pluses of KY and similar pharmaceutical lubricants is that they come in aluminum tubes. The plastic bottles of lubricant that come from sex shops do not conduct heat at all, and I've never found a way to satifactorily warm them up. Besides, the pharmaceutical types are generally cheaper and have better quality control.

THE PERFECT VIBRATOR? Easy! Analog speed control. Battery powered for at least two hours. Rechargable. Small, hand-held, one unit (no extraneous battery-packs on wires or the like). At least as powerful as the Oster model I like. And most definitely, waterproof. I can't think if the number of times I've wanted one I could take with us into the swimming pool. I figure it'll come from Sony someday. What I'd like is the slap-in type batteries that Black & Decker use on their portable tool shops. Come to think of it, the neodymium-magnet motors the Black & Decker uses for those things would be perfect for the Perfect Vibrator as well. Maybe B&D will make the damn thing.

Speaking of B&D, one of my favorite things to do with a female bottom is tie them to a wall with one hand free and the other limbs spread-eagled. Put a vibrator in the free hand, and plug it into a wall outlet controlled by a switch. On. Off. On. Off. The Accu-vibe 6000's handle is ungainly enough that it's hard for them to masturbate with that hand, and if they drop it, they'll never get it back. The 6000's power cord plugs into the base, so you can't hold it by the wireit falls off. With a decent collar, can't hold it under the chin, and it's too big to hold in the teeth. Oh, the fun I've had! Kris (my favorite) may never forgive me for it. Omaha won't let me do it to her. But she'll gleefully run Kris' switch.

And, going back the the subject of phalluses- if you like the sensation of penetration, I recommend buying a soft dildo and holding a good, strong vibrator against it. Just as effective, if not more so, and although I have no evidence either way, probably safer. Most dildos are soft latex, not rigid plastic. Unlike a good vibrator, one has to go to a sex shop to find a good dildo. And remember- In Texas, owning more than five dildos is 'possession with intent to sell!'

Now that "STD" has replaced "VD" in our language, "VD" has sometimes been jokingly said to stand for "Vibrator Dependant." On "Donahue" Phil once asked the question, "Is it possible for the vibrator to replace a man?" The response was "Nothing will ever replace a good vibrator." The audience booed at that. But, right after that, the speaker continued, "And nothing will ever replace the warmth of a good partner." The audience similarily recovered. And I've never met differently. The types of vibrators I buy and recommend wil never replace the sensations of hugging, cuddling, spanking, or intercourse. Nor, really, is it a replacement for cunnilingus. The sensations (or so I'm told) are so radically different. Besides, it's a very different head-space, holding a machine between her legs, or actually being there, between your love's thighs, licking her very private places.

But, now that I've mentioned it, let's discuss STDs. (Oh, no... what could vibrators have to do with STDs? "Are we gonna get another AIDS lecture? Am I excused now?" The Hell you are! Sit down and listen!) If you are going to share your vibrator with a friend, know this: No matter how much lubrication you use, a vibrator can cause microscopic abrasions. If, for any reason, you or your partner is unsure, use some sort of latex sheeting between yourself and the vibrator. If you're going to pass the vibrator on, clean everything (except the motor, of course) with an immersion in 10% bleach for at least 20 minutes. It sounds like a small thing, but I know of three women who round-robined a rather nasty yeast infection on a Con-Air several times before tracking down the one thing they all had in common.

So. There you have Elf's Vibrator Review. Hope it was educational.

VIBRATOR REPORT UPDATE:

Two things come immediately to mind as I write this update. The first is that many people wrote me last year to tell me that they used 'Wand' type vibrators and found them quite acceptable. I didn't pan them, I just don't use them. At twenty dollars per, most people can afford more than one buzzer, and if the 'Handle' don't do it for ya, the 'Wand' is a perfectly viable alternative.

The other thing that comes to mind regards my comment that pharmaceutical jellies are preferable to the "Motion Lotions" sold in sex shops because they are (1) pharmaceutical grade and (2) come in metallic containers, thus making them easier to warm to body temperature.

Although nobody can argue with pharmaceutical grading, there are problems with many pharmaceutical jellies. Being water-based, they do dry out quickly and often need replenishing. Although Omaha and I continue to use PJ's rather than sex-shop lubes, you may well want to try alternates yourself.

The reason I'm backing off from my previous full-stance on PJ's is this: Johnson and Johnson switched to a plastic tube. The plastic tube is harder to use; the plastic doesn't stay to form, and thus getting your money's worth out of it is difficult; the plastic tube IS NOT SAFETY SEALED, and while I'm not fond of the idea of cyanide in my Tylenol, I'm also not fond of caustics in my KY, either; and the tube is plastic, and has the same heat-transmission problems the sex-shop tubes have.

And, finally, my ACCUVIBE has died. But, being mechanically inclined and resourceful, I have already soldered new batteries into place. It's better than buying a whole new $100 vibrator.

Happy Buzzing!

Elf !!! elf@halcyon.com


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