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Clit Vibrator: A Vulva-Haver’s MVT (Most Valuable Toy)

Alexandra Fine, Credentialed Sexologist, M. Psych | Written by Dame

Dildos. Wand vibrators. Anal plugs and vibes. Fingertip and palm toys. G-spot vibrators. Rabbits. Suction toys. Bullets. Eggs.

Some vulva owners (or their partners) shopping for sex toys might climax even before hitting the “add to cart” button – just from seeing the enormous range of toys on the market, and imagining the sensations they’re capable of delivering.

It’s understandable, though, that others could easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of dildos and vibrators they can choose from.

Here’s the thing about sex toys, though: most are designed to stimulate different parts of the body. Narrowing the choices can seem like a relatively simple task.

So where to get started?

If you’re like most people, you’ll immediately focus on clitoral vibrators. Clit vibrators are the most popular type of sex toys for those with vulvas, and there’s a good reason why.

Let’s discuss, and then sort out the options.

The Lure of Clitoral Stimulation

It’s easiest to play with things that are well within reach.

You might think that’s why vulva-havers are likely to go straight to the clitoris when they want to rub out a quick one. Reaching orgasm with clitoral stimulation is much easier and faster (and if necessary, more discreet) than doing it with penetration. And most sex toys created for vaginal penetration are large and unwieldy, to put it nicely.

But that’s not the primary reason why so many vulva owners spend so much of their masturbation time playing with their exterior genitals.

It’s because most of them prefer clitoral stimulation and orgasms. In fact, that’s the only way that many can climax.

Research and surveys continually show that fewer than 20% of vulva-havers can climax from vaginal penetration alone. The vast majority either need – or prefer – simultaneous vaginal and clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm. And that’s largely due to physiology.

The sensations that characterize sexual pleasure, and eventually lead to climax, occur when sensitive nerve endings are stimulated. There are very few nerve endings in the vagina, so it’s extremely unusual when penetration – all by itself – can produce an orgasm. It’s believed that almost all vaginal climaxes occur when a penis or sex toy contacts and stimulates the internal clitoris through the vaginal wall, most often by hitting the g-spot.

Wait, what? Isn’t the clitoris the “pleasure button” on the outside of the body?

Not exactly. We just call it the “clit” for convenience. Its full name is the glans clitoris, and it’s only the tip of a much larger organ. The rest of the clitoris extends deep inside the body, wrapping around the vagina and urethra.

The internal clitoris is quite sensitive – but not as sensitive as the glans clitoris, which contains about 8,000 nerve endings. That’s why it’s not surprising that so many vulva owners need or prefer clitoral stimulation during sexual activity.

As you probably know from experience, vibrators aren’t required to reach clitoral climaxes. Fingers work, too.

Then why are clitoral vibrators so popular?

It’s because fingers can’t come close to providing the intensity, strength and consistency of stimulation that a well-designed vibe can deliver. Quite simply, many vulva-havers think it feels better. And many others have trouble generating the sensations needed to reach orgasm just by letting their fingers do the walking.

That’s the “why.” Let’s get to the “which ones.”

How to Shop for a Clit Vibrator

Vibrators vibrate. That’s their job.

That doesn’t mean, though, that they’re all equally effective for clitoral stimulation. For instance, think about that monster penetrative toy that caused you to recoil in horror when you saw it on Amazon or in a sex shop. It certainly vibrates, but it isn’t exactly a user-friendly way to stimulate the tiny glans clitoris. Something smaller might be nice.

Thanks to the wonders of design imagination and modern engineering, modern clitoral vibrators come in a terrific variety of shapes, sizes and functions. The “right one” for you depends on the type of stimulation you prefer and how you plan to use the vibe.

We’ll look at the different types of clit vibrators shortly. But first, let’s discuss some of the features you might find important.

Frequency, Speed and Vibration Patterns

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of trying several different vibrators, you probably noticed that they vibrated differently. Some were “buzzy” and some were more “rumbly.” That’s because the motors in vibrators operate at different frequencies. It’s largely a matter of personal preference, of course, but most vulva-havers prefer “buzzy” vibrations on their sensitive glans clitoris and deeper, “rumbly” ones for toys they plan to insert.

Well-designed (and usually pricier) vibrators can run at many different intensity levels, which allow you to tailor the stimulation to the sensitivity of your genitals (and how close you are to orgasm). Many good vibes also let you choose from a number of vibration patterns like steady, pulsing and throbbing, providing a variety of different experiences. Some will even alternate the vibration modes, constantly changing the type and intensity of stimulation you feel.

Materials

Manufacturers use many different materials to make the outer shell or “skin” of vibrators. Some are better (and more expensive) than others.

The safest are non-porous materials, because they don’t contain pores where bacteria, viruses and “gunk” can accumulate. The material most commonly used for clitoral vibrators is silicone; not only is it not porous, it’s softer than alternatives like pyrex, stainless steel and ABS plastic. The only downsides are that silicone toys can’t be boiled for cleaning, or used with silicone-based lubes.

Vibrators covered with (or made from) porous materials like cyberskin, PVC and jelly rubber are likely to retain body fluids and bacteria even after they’ve been washed thoroughly. Use them at your own risk. These toys, particularly ones made of jelly rubber, may also contain hazardous phthalates.

Always be sure that any sex toy you purchase is “body-safe.” If you choose a vibrator made from silicone, the safest choice is medical-grade silicone.

Other Features and Factors

One important choice you’ll have to make is between plug-in, rechargeable and battery-powered vibrators; they each have their pros and cons. Plug-in vibes are often more powerful, but they restrict your range of motion because you’re tethered to the wall. Battery-powered ones are convenient but the least powerful, and they may run out of juice at the worst possible time.

That’s why rechargeable clitoral vibrators are best sellers. They run for a predictable amount of time before needing a charge, they’re portable, and the best ones are as powerful as some plug-in models.

If you enjoy playing in the shower or swimming pool, you’ll probably want a waterproof vibe. Water-resistant models won’t be ruined by a good cleaning, but they may be destroyed if you take them into the tub with you.

Vibrators from high-end companies often come with a one-year, five year or even a lifetime limited warranty, so that’s one more thing you might look for.

Finally, we won’t say that the appearance of a clit vibe doesn’t matter – that’s up to you. Just don’t pick the coolest or prettiest option before making sure its other features are up to par.

Types of Clit Vibrators

Some websites lump all clitoral stimulators into a single category, even though they are vastly different in their design and function.

We won’t make the same mistake. Here’s a rundown of the different types of vibrators designed specifically for clitoral stimulation, and how they’re best used.

Wand Vibrators

These are the huge ones with big heads, most often plugged into the wall. The grandmother of wand vibes was the Hitachi Magic Wand, which believe it or not, was originally designed and marketed as a neck and back massager. Sex educators and end users alike found a much better use for it, though, and has been a go-to clit stimulator for decades.

Some of the most-popular models are the Lelo Smart Wand, the Le Wand (yes, we know “le” means “the” in French), the Doxy, and the Lovehoney Mini. Many now come in rechargeable models as well as plug-in ones, they’re all powerful and versatile with numerous intensity and pattern settings, and they’re all quite pricey. And the Hitachi is still around and still powerful, but now simply called the “Magic Wand.”

Bullet Vibrators

Bullet vibes are small and discreet, easy to use and much less expensive than wand vibrators. Oh, and you can probably guess what they’re shaped like.

These rechargeable clitoral vibrators are designed so you can apply pinpoint stimulation to the exact spot that will get you going. Most people use the tip to target the glans clitoris, the clitoral hood or the labia, but those who are more sensitive can also hold a bullet sideways and let the entire vulva absorb the pleasurable vibrations.

The majority of cheap bullet vibrators don’t have a wealth of speeds and patterns to choose from, but costlier ones provide more options – and the sensations you can get from a bullet are usually more than sufficient for the “job.”

The Dame Products Zee and the We-Vibe Tango are among the best bullet vibes for bedroom play. There are also variations on this vibrator, with models that can be inserted and used in couples’ play; the Lelo Lyla 2 comes with a wireless remote control, and the Lovense Lush can be controlled long-distance with a Bluetooth app, from anywhere in the world.

Finger Vibrators

Finger vibes fit, obviously, right onto your fingertips. Their small size allows even more targeted stimulation, they can feel even more intimate – and as a bonus, they save your fingers from cramping up just when you’re about to reach pay dirt. Most offer just a few selectable speeds, but their size, flexibility and intimacy outweigh that drawback for most users.

The rechargeable Dame Fin and Adam & Eve Finger Vibe lead the pack in terms of design and features, but you easily can pick up cheaper models on Amazon.

Palm Vibrators

This newer style of clit vibrator is small enough to fit comfortably in the palm of the hand, but flexible enough to use anywhere in the vulva (or elsewhere) for immense sexual pleasure. Check out the Dame Pom or the powerful We-Vibe Touch, two great options for your first time experience with this sleek and sexy type of vibe. They also provide exciting stimulation for two partners when the vibrator is nestled between them.

Lipstick Vibrators

Even more discreet, you say? What you’re looking for is a lipstick vibe.

To be fair, they’re not all designed just like a tube of lipstick. The stylish Crave Vesper masquerades as a slim and chic necklace that you can wear until the mood strikes you, and the Dame Kip is comfortable, powerful and shaped like a small prism. But most of these toys, like the Lovehoney “Oh! Kiss Me,” look so much like lipstick that even a sexual partner won’t know what you’re handing them until you turn it on.

Wearable Vibrators

You might consider some of the bullets we’ve discussed “wearable,” but we have a hands-free vibrator that’s sexier and lighter in mind for this category. Some of these vibes, like the Dame Eva, have flexible wings that tuck under the labia; that way the vibe can stay out of your way while it does its work as you enjoy penetrative sex or other types of play. Others, like the Adorime Buckle Stimulator, strap onto your panties so you can pleasure yourself in public without anyone knowing.

Rabbit Vibrators

We’ve mentioned the enormous number of vulva-havers who can’t climax vaginally without clitoral stimulation simultaneously. That’s why rabbit vibes are so popular. They have a vibrating shaft for vaginal and G-spot penetration, and two attached “bunny ears” that stimulate the clitoris at the same time. Most have dual motors, so the vibrations can be rumbly inside and buzzy outside, and some have vibrating or rotating nubs for extra stimulation.

The We-Vibe Nova 2 and Lelo Soraya 2 are among the best rabbits on the market, with lots of variable settings and features. The We-Vibe can even be controlled with an app for partner play.

Suction Vibrators

These toys have been revelations to vulva owners who’ve tried them. Instead of vibrating, they use suction and air pulses to create pressure waves around the clitoris, mimicking the feel of receiving oral sex – and the good ones do it quite well.

The Womanizer was one of the first suction vibes on the market. But the popularity of these toys has soared in recent years, and most high-end sex toy manufacturers have jumped in with their own models. The Dame Aer and the Lelo Sona 2 (which uses sonic waves instead of air pressure to do its work) are two of the best, and the Satisfyer Pro 2 goes to the next level with vibrations added to the pressure waves.

Other Types of Clit Vibrators

There are many other clitoral stimulation toys to try. For example, the Lelo Gigi 2 is a g-spot vibe with a handle that delivers vibrations to the clitoral area. And the Dame Arc can function either as a terrific clit stimulator or g-spot toy, depending on how you angle it.

There are also great couples’ vibrators that can take foreplay to a whole new level. The We-Vibe Sync looks sort of like a stapler; the bottom half is inserted into the vagina while the top half stimulates the genitals of both partners. Then there’s the Mystery Vibe Crescendo, which can do much the same thing, but is so flexible it can contact any erogenous zone you’d like.

Of course, we’ve already mentioned toys like the Dame Eva. And we’re not even mentioning toys that penis-havers can wear, like cock rings, which can ensure that both partners experience intense orgasms.


Most people don’t need a clit vibrator – or any sex toy – to achieve sexual satisfaction. But anything that can add to sexual health and wellness is well worth exploring, and millions have found that clitoral vibrators are well worth their relatively-small price.