So you've decided it's time to start using vaginal dilators to help treat your vaginismus. Great first step — you've got this! But now you're probably wondering how the heck you're supposed to choose between all the different dilator options out there. Don't worry, we've got you covered.
When choosing a dilator set, consider factors like material, number of sizes, included accessories, and your budget. Silicone and plastic are popular options–silicone tends to be softer but more expensive. You’ll want a set that starts very small, around the size of a pinky finger, and gradually increases in size to suit your needs. Don't forget lubricant, instructions, and a discreet storage case. With some research, you can find an option for you that won't break the bank.
The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and supported throughout the process. Don't hesitate to speak with a doctor or pelvic floor therapist if you have any questions or concerns about purchasing or using vaginal dilators.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the different types of dilators, how to find the right size and set for you, and tips for getting started with your treatment plan. By the end, you'll feel fully prepped and ready to take this important next step in overcoming your condition and reclaiming your intimacy. Let's dive in!
Types of vaginal dilators
When it comes to vaginal dilators, you have a few options to choose from:
- Plastic dilators: Hard, rigid dilators made of plastic. These are very affordable and easy to clean, but some find them uncomfortable.
- Silicone dilators: Softer, more flexible dilators made of medical-grade silicone. Silicone is non-porous so it's hygienic, and many find it more comfortable than hard plastic. However, silicone dilators tend to be a bit pricier.
- Vibrating dilators: Battery-powered dilators that vibrate, which can help relax the pelvic floor muscles. The gentle vibration sensation is pleasurable for many and helps make dilation therapy more engaging and effective.
- Graduated sets: Most dilator sets come with multiple sizes so you can start small and gradually progress to larger sizes at your own pace. Look for a set with at least four to six dilators of increasing width for the best results.
Dilator sizes: How to choose the right size for you
A dilator kit (or a self-expanding dilator, depending on what you choose) comes in multiple sizes, so you don’t actually have to “choose a size” until you start using it. With that in mind, here’s an example of a dilator kit with four sizes and how you might use them.
- Size 1 (1.25 inches diameter): For beginners. Gently insert just the tip to start, only going deeper as your body relaxes.
- Size 2 (1.5 inches): Once Size 1 glides in and out with ease and comfort, you're ready to size up. Take your time and listen to your body.
- Size 3 (1.75 inches): Keep using lubricant and focus on your breathing to stay relaxed. Don't rush into Size 3 until you've truly mastered Size 2.
- Size 4 (2 inches): The final size to work towards, but there's no need to rush. Stay at a size that feels comfortable for you. Every body is different.
Remember, you should never experience pain, just slight discomfort or pressure at most. If at any time a size causes pain, decrease to the previous size. Your comfort and progress are the priorities here.
Vaginal dilating is a journey, not a race. Go slowly, be kind to yourself, and celebrate each small win. If needed, take breaks in between sizes to allow your body and mind to adjust. The keys are patience, practice, and persistence.
What to consider when buying vaginal dilators
The most important things to consider when buying vaginal dilators are the material, size range, handle or base, ease of cleaning, and cost. Focus on a high-quality set that you feel fully comfortable using and that will support you through each stage of your progress.
When choosing vaginal dilators, consider the material they’re made of. Silicone dilators are non-porous, easy to clean, and gentle on sensitive tissue. Plastic dilators can work too but may feel less comfortable. Avoid dilators with rough seams or edges that could irritate.
Look for a set that offers dilators in a range of sizes so you can start small and gradually progress at your own pace. A set with three to five sizes is typical, ranging from about 1 inch to 2.5 inches in maximum diameter for most users. Be sure the sizes increase in small increments, around 0.25 inches at a time.
Handle or Base
Dilators with a wide, flared base or handle are easier and more comfortable to insert and remove. A base also ensures the dilator does not slide in too far. Some dilators come with a string or strap for extra safety.
Choose dilators that are non-porous and easy to sterilize after each use to prevent infection. Silicone dilators can be boiled or soaked in a 10% bleach solution. Plastic dilators should be washed with soap and water and then wiped down with isopropyl alcohol. Allow all pieces to air dry completely before storing.
Vaginal dilator sets can range from $30 to $200 or more, depending on the number of sizes, materials, and brand. Silicone sets tend to cost a bit more but also tend to be higher quality and last longer. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more for a comfortable set of dilators that meets all your needs. Your comfort and progress are worth the investment.
Best vaginal dilators
The best vaginal dilator brand for you depends on your specific needs and budget. Any of these reputable brands will provide you high-quality, body-safe dilators to get started. Be sure to look for a set that includes multiple sizes for gradual progression, premium materials like medical-grade silicone, and comes with proper instructions for use.
VuVa produces innovative magnetic and plastic dilators with vibration features. Their vibrating dilator sets include five sizes that gently pulsate, which can help relax pelvic floor muscles and make the stretching process more pleasurable. The vibrations have variable speeds so you can start slowly and increase intensity over time as you become more comfortable. VuVa’s vibrating dilators are rechargeable and waterproof. They do tend to cost a bit more, but the vibration feature can be helpful for pain relief and enhanced sensation.
Milli is a popular, high-quality brand that produces silicone dilators in a range of sizes. Their dilator sets come with everything you need to get started, including detailed instructions and a carrying case. The silicone material is non-porous, phthalate-free, and easy to clean with soap and water or a sex toy cleaner. Milli dilators have a tapered tip for gentle insertion and come in a variety of widths so you can progress at your own pace. They also have an expandable dilator, which is great for taking along when you’re traveling or when you don’t have a lot of space.
Soul Source is another reputable brand that produces high-quality vaginal dilators. Their dilator sets are made from ABS plastic, which is non-toxic, phthalate-free, and easy to clean. The dilators have a tapered shape to make insertion easier and gradual, as well as a flared base to stay secure and offer users better control.
These dilators are available in different sizes, ranging from 0.75 inches to 2.25 inches in circumference. To help users progress through sizes, the dilators come in color-coded sets. Each color represents a different size, making it straightforward for users to monitor their progression.
Intimate Rose is another reputable brand that offers affordable dilator sets made of medical-grade silicone. Their dilators have a slightly curved shape that mimics the natural curve of the vagina. This ergonomic shape can feel more comfortable for some. Intimate Rose’s sets include multiple sizes so you have everything you need for gradual progression and come with a discreet storage pouch. The high-quality, non-toxic silicone is body-safe and simple to sanitize after use.
Where to purchase vaginal dilators
While you can purchase directly from the brands listed above, you can also go to any sex positive sex shop in your area to see them in person. Try to aim for women-led shops, like Babeland in New York City, for example.
However, you might prefer the privacy and convenience of ordering them online. Several reputable websites offer dilator sets at affordable prices.
- Pure Romance is a popular intimate accessories company. They offer high-quality dilator sets in both silicone and plastic. Their sets include four to five sizes and a storage case. They also provide helpful resources and videos on how to properly use the dilators.
- Amazon and similar major retailers offer a variety of dilator options from different brands. Be sure to check reviews to find a highly-rated set made of body-safe, non-porous materials. These retailers often have the best prices, especially if you have a membership like Prime. However, the selection can be a bit overwhelming.
- Some pelvic pain organizations like the Pelvic Pain Foundation and the National Vulvodynia Association provide recommendations for reputable dilator brands and retailers. Their advice can help point you in the direction of a safe, effective solution.
So there you have it: Everything you need to know about buying vaginal dilators to help treat your vaginismus. The most important thing is to start slowly, be gentle with yourself, and stay consistent with your dilator therapy.
Don't get discouraged if it takes time - every small success and millimeter of progress is something to celebrate. The key is simply to start. You've got this! Now go forth and dilate–your vagina and sex life will thank you.