I WANT TO BUY A VIBRATOR BUT...

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Hi Alice,

Lately I was thinking about buying myself a vibrator. My only problem is fear of my parents finding it, and actually buying it. I'm scared to go buy one. There is a place near by that I can go purchase one, but I'm too scared to actually go in the room to look. LOL! Sorry, I feel ridiculous asking this.


Dear Reader,

Your question is not ridiculous — it's healthy to explore and expand one's sexuality. Plus, you are not alone — walking into an adult toy store is unsettling for many people. You've already taken the first step — thinking about buying a vibrator. Here are some possible next steps.

Think about what makes you uneasy about looking at vibrators at the store. Perhaps you are intimidated that there are many to choose from and that you may not know what you want. Maybe you anticipate having questions that you are too embarrassed to ask. Realize that these stores exist because people are interested in what they are selling. Generally speaking, the salespeople are friendly and encourage questions — they want their customers to be satisfied.

Researching the different types of vibrators before you go to the store can help alleviate your anxiety. You can do this by looking at online adult toy stores or perusing mail-order catalogs (by the way, these are two options you can consider if you desire more privacy and/or feel too uncomfortable or embarrassed to make a trip to a shop. You can order their products to be sent to you in discreet packaging.). This way, you will know what to expect when you go to the store.

Once you have an idea of the types of vibrators that are available, you can narrow your choices to find one that will suit you. Purchasing a vibrator is similar to buying a new car. If you are getting a car, you may consider mileage, comfort, features, and color. Now, think of what is important to you when buying a vibrator — here are some questions that will help you decide what kind of toy you want:

Here are three additional questions to think about:

Do you have to be concerned about the noise?
If the walls are thin, or if you are nervous that your parents or roommate(s) might hear things that go buzz in the night, coil-operated electric vibrators may be your best choice. These are the most silent of them all. If you purchase a different type of vibrator, using it while you are under the covers will help muffle the buzz.

Is this discreet?
The shape and size of some vibrators look more discreet than others. For example, purchasing a vibrator advertised as a "personal massager" will be easier to explain if your parents or roommate(s) stumble on your electric or battery operated friend. These vibrators look like a wand and often come with several attachments that are great to use on "sore muscles," such as on your shoulders or back. Aside from buying them at adult toy stores, they can also be purchased at neighborhood drug or department stores.

Where will you keep it?
You mention your fear of your parents finding your vibrator. Is there a "secret" place in your room where you keep personal items, such as a journal or special cards and letters? A reverse psychology approach may work, too. Keeping it in a place where you store other things that aren't worth hiding might not draw attention.

You've done your research and have answered useful questions — now, get ready to go to the store and test drive the merchandise. Walk in the store, with your head held high, as you have every right to be proud — you are taking control of your sexual pleasure! Go to the shelves with the vibrators, check out the selection, and pick up the ones that interest you. Feel the texture and shape with your hands. Turn them on and feel the vibrations. This is a great way to check out the buzz factor and get an idea of how good it will feel.

If your local shop does not have a web site or a catalog, Good Vibrations is one sex-positive company in the United States that sells adult products at 800.BUY.VIBE. There's also Eve's Garden at 800.848.3837 and Toys in Babeland at 800.658.9119. Both businesses are sex toy shops created specifically for women and run by women.

For more information about vibrators, look for Good Vibrations: The New Complete Guide to Vibrators by Joani Blank. Another good guide to take a look at is Betty Dodson's, Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving. These books can be purchased at local bookstores.

Happy buzzing!

Alice

 

Reader's Response

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Updated June 7, 2002 / September 8, 2000

FUCKING
MACHINES
HOG TIED
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Copyright © 2002 by The Trustees of Columbia University

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