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Sexual Wellness

No Penetration Needed: An Introduction to External Vibrators

| 01/27/2022

External vibrators

The wind whispers across the neck, our lips flush when pecked, the ears prickle when licked, the nipples firm when caressed. Our arousal lies right beneath the surface of our skin begging for consensual touch. 

Considering the body houses a glorious web of nerve endings, heightened sensitivity cannot solely be a genitalia game — erogenous zones respond with titillation and sexual stimulation when embraced. And while external sex toys have principally been commercialized as genitalia-only products, the body and its multiple erogenous zones welcome an exterior buzz-buzz everywhere that tingles on the surface. 

Fact: External vibrators are so much more than one-trick ponies. As you explore all the fresh and lively sensations along your sex toy journey, take a dip into the joys of external vibrators and their dexterous use in erogenous and sexual pleasure. 

The external vibrator is an all-encompassing utility toy spanning across the arousal spectrum to tease and please all those who come in contact with its blissful rumbling. It’s a come as you are (read: cum) toy whether possessed by a novice looking to dip their toes in the vibe pond, or ridden by an advanced user who has yet to miss a pleasurable moment with their vibey best friend. 

Truly, the external vibrator is a 360, All-Star team player here.

And if you’re unclear of where you are on the scale, Andy Duran, education director for Good Vibrations and Babeland suggests starting with a vibe that’s simple in operation to make exploration a piece of cake: There are wonderful nerve endings all around the body that enjoy the sensation of vibration. Why limit yourself to just one area of external play?”

When taking the time to find the sensations that work for your body, the external vibrator becomes an extension of the hand giving the user more control as they explore pleasure from both genitalia and erogenous zones i.e. any area of the body with greater responsiveness to physical touch. Nipples, lips, vulva, penis, butt are the more well-known of the erogenous zones, however, a little love to the lower stomach, inner thighs, fingers, armpits, neck, and scalp can go a long way to build sexual desire and anticipation. 

Wand vibrators, in particular, hold a special place on the sex toy leaderboard as their bulbed head covers more genitalia surface area and reverberates across many nerve endings with that range. While humble with their round heads and ultra-powered handles, the wand allows the user to play with intensity, speed, positions, hands-free pleasure without having to solely rely on arm’s length to reach your or a play partner’s bits, nips, butt, inner thigh, etc. 

As an example, The Com takes on the classic wand signifiers with the round head, wand grip, and powerful vibration, but has been made even more distinguished with its flexible neck, curved handle, and matching five patterns with five intensities to provide the user with a comfortable and pleasurable experience. 

These are made to withstand the gamut from pressing the head into your genitalia, mounting it, caressing your partner’s torso, or tapping the lightweight vibe on the vulva. When exploring erogenous zones, the nipples are a great place to start for some instant responses but consider fleshly areas along the thighs or butt where nerve endings are present yet less dense. 

A hand-sized or more pinpointed external vibrator can pack a punch for those seeking more acute stimulation on a small area. Although compact, these pithy vibes propel their power forward to be absorbed by the clit, penis, nipple, erogenous zone, etc it comes in contact with. They are the espresso coffee of the sex toy world — providing a plucky jolt when powered on. 

Let’s connect with some ways to maximize that tension, that excitement, that pleasure. 

Products like the Aer are designed to soft seal around the clitoris to deliver rhythmic pulses of air for focused, intense pleasure. These, as well as bullet-type vibrators, serve a more travel-friendly function than that of their broader sister sex toys. These are great to use on smaller yet impactful erogenous zones like the lips, the ears, the nipples, or the fingers and feet. Test this tiny but mighty force by placing the tip of an external vibe on a wet lip after a deep make-out session, run in along the length of the earlobe, or slowly circulate the chest area getting closer and closer to the nipple, and then back out again. 

Although a smaller external vibrator delivers on stimulation, the wand or bellied vibrators have an upper hand over more compact pieces when comparing power and functionality. A larger-by-scale wand vibrator not only holds more power because of its lengthy design but can also deliver turbocharged oomph based purely on the wand’s head range.

And while all of this is well and fine, external vibrators are often marketed as ‘clit-only’ toys with the ability to unleash an orgasm no matter the design or functionality or human person using it. Vibrators and sex toys of all kinds operate at the guidance and knowledge of the user. So, even if the toy has all the bells and whistles and purring patterns, it doesn’t guarantee a pleasant experience simply because it’s a marketed pleasure toy. 

It’s easy to cast aside that errant pocket rocket because “it didn’t work” — or even internalize that less-than-orgasmic experience into “I don’t work” — but it’s truly a matter of sexual exploration and finding the right sex toy for you. “Navigating the sex toy industry can be a daunting task when buying a first vibrator, there are so many choices out there to choose from,” says Linnea Marie, a certified sex educator, and self-titled Fairy Clitmother. “Starting simple can be great then you can move up to more complex products and settings. Individually, we can all enjoy different things so knowing your body and what your genitals look like is important when looking for the right one.”

Find Your Vibe

  • Keep in mind accessibility and how this product works with your body. Again, smaller, more handheld external vibrators only have the length of your arm to get you to where you’re going but could prove dexterously difficult when holding onto the entirety of an object that is vibrating. Wand vibrators centralize that sensation in the head so the user can hold onto or prop up the stem with ease. 
  • Are you a direct or indirect stimulation person? Direct stimulation on the clit, the head of the penis, a nipple is more of an intense spark rather than indirect stimulation over the vulva, the shaft, the breast that can feel deeper and a more encompassing pleasure. Pending on where you fit, consider a toy with a shape that will work best for you. This is where Marie’s note knowing what your genitalia looks like comes in handy — some people are more sensitive, less pronounced, more engorged by nature. Knowledge is sexual power when you can make good decisions for your body and how a toy will work with you.  
  • Get nerdy about the toy material. Your body deserves a product that will not only provide sexual anticipation and release but is also body-safe! Silicone vibrators are nonporous, they don’t hold bacteria, are easy to clean, and transmit a smoother vibration (plastic might feel more jarring than a softer, more polished material). 
  • Not sure about the vibration? If you have a chance to take a trip to your local sex toy shop or pop up, ask the professional about the different vibration intensities among their selection. Most shops have display products on hand to feel the power behind the toy. If you and they are comfortable with it, place the vibrating toy on the tip of your nose to feel the range of force. The nose is incredibly sensitive and an excellent barometer for how strong the toy will feel in other areas. 

Of course, there are so many variables to take into consideration when purchasing: How are you positioned when you’re pleasuring yourself? Where does the top or bulb of the toy lay on the body? Are we not having a good day? Are you dealing with a ton of stress? Physical positioning, as well as emotional state, play a role in how we experience pleasure. It’s easy to view this as pragmatic experimentation  — a study of what gets you off. Instead, it’s refining your sexual bag o’ tricks. “Rather than viewing any individual purchase as trial and error, I like to think of trying out pleasure products as more of a buffet. You get to explore various types of things, some familiar and some new to you, and develop both new desires and understanding as you go,” says Duran.

So instead of looking at what an external vibrator can’t do if it’s not working for your body, ask what can it do? Add it to your collection and try erogenous zone stimulation! “Vibrators can be used on a plethora of areas on the body, so experimenting with different areas can awaken pleasure that you didn’t even know was there. You don’t have to be monogamous with sex toys, so you can have as many as your heart, penis, or pussy desires,” says Marie

Vibrator + Erogenous Zones Exploration

Of course, our bits will be thrilled to get some attention from an external vibrator. But where else on the body can we use our randy, external sex machines to kick the party up a notch? Let’s connect with some other ways to maximize that tension, that excitement, that pleasure. 

  • An oldie but a goodie: Use a wand external vibrator to give yourself or a lover(s) a massage. This is a great time to take stock of pressure points, intensity, and new sensations that all parties can enjoy. For example: Place a low-setting vibrator gently at the top of your lover’s back and slowly move it down and on the sides of the body. From there, ask about how good it feels on a scale of 1-5 — with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest — adjusting intensity and patterns as you go. Play with pressure, tapping, caressing, and gliding the toy, checking in with your partner(s) as the ferocity climbs. Now you have a mental map of sensitive areas to return to on the next playdate. 
  • Play a little game of keep-away while you and your lover(s) become mentally stimulated with erotic podcasts, audiobooks, pornography, sexy photos, etc. As the erotica plays, place the external vibrator on the lower stomach or inner thighs. Softly brush at first, then let the intensity linger while the anticipation climbs higher and higher.
  • Explore how vibration reacts to new sensations! For example, apply lubricant to the tips of the nipples then glide or hover the vibrator over that area. Or skate an ice cube across the buttock, nips, backs of thighs, labia, or penis shaft and feel how the icy effect changes the sensation on all of these sensitive areas.
  •  Take a dive into sensory play by consensually removing one of your or your partner(s) senses when tapping into those erogenous areas. Blindfolds will magnify the suspense of when or where the vibe will target. On a low setting, buzz across the tips of the toes, lightly trip on the fingers or play with the tops of the ears. 
  • External vibrators are excellent tools when engaging in anal play. The pad of the anus is filled with nerve endings — a rumble right up against it or placed on the base of a butt plug will transfer that sensation through the toy’s material and deep inside. Not only does this feel amazing, but the vibration can also help the sphincter muscles to relax if engaging in internal anal play. 
  • How does the vibrator sensation feel when clothing items are a buffer to our sensitive areas? Try playing with the intensity of an external vibe on the vulva or penis head while wearing underwear — the physical buffer will change the way the vibration is carried, allowing the participant to experiment with the toy’s power.

Truly, the external vibrator is a 360, All-Star team player here. Even when it’s not getting you all hot and bothered on your bits, it can still participate in sexual stimulation on our most tingly areas. “The intended effect of vibrators is pleasure not necessarily orgasm. And when we understand that, it can change our perspective on them. They are teammates and tools for our life toolbox which can be loads of fun to use with, on, and during sexual activities,” says Marie.  As always, take your time, test out your sensations, and simply enjoy the play when we put a vibe on our bodies.

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