If you’ve been roaming the internet to find the best vibrators for beginners, you probably noticed the selection is basically infinite, and that can be overwhelming and intimidating. But props to you for taking this time to focus on your sexual health (reports show that sex toy sales were through the roof back when the COVID-19 quarantine first started). Orgasms are one of the best forms of self-care, and while you can totally get yourself there for free, a little extra help can take the experience to the next level.

One important thing to pay attention to when you’re shopping around is the materials — especially when it comes to dildos, butt plugs, or anything else that you’ll be putting inside your body. Sex toy safety is not well-regulated, and as a result, cheaper products are often made with concerning materials that are porous (aka a breeding ground for bacteria), irritating, or even toxic.

Most of my picks below are made with silicone or stainless steel. Both materials are durable and nonporous, which makes for sex toys that are easy to clean and disinfect between uses (an essential part of sex toy maintenance). If you do use a toy made with silicone, just remember not to use it with a silicone-based lubricant, as this can damage it; instead, stick with a water-based lubricant, if you choose to use one.

There’s no one-size-fits-all vibrator, and many have to experiment with different toys until they find what feels awesome for them. Just because one friend—or even thousands of people—swear by one (hii, Womanizer), that doesn’t mean the same toy will get you off, so make sure to do your research and pinpoint what you want to get out of a vibe before you click on the purchase button.

First: Get to know the five types of vibrators.

  1. You’ve got internal vibrators, which are meant for penetration; some are designed especially to stimulate your G-spot.
  2. There are external vibrators, which focus on the clit and labia.
  3. There’s the best of both worlds—the rabbit-style (combo)—which gives you both external and internal stimulation simultaneously.
  4. Then you have anal vibrators, which have a flared base (so nothing gets lost up there).
  5. And last, there are penis vibrators (or cock rings).

No one type of vibrator is “better” than the other; it just depends on what you like and what you’re in the mood for.

The rabbit-style vibes (which Good Vibrations calls Twice as Nice) are insertable and have a clit stimulator that branches off so the device can stimulate both areas at once. But note that a rabbit-style vibrator might be overwhelming for vibe newbies at first. Carol Queen, Ph.D., staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, tells Glamour, “Note to novice vibe shoppers: This sounds great, right? It can be really great! But many people find it’s a lot to focus on all the body parts all at once while you’re also learning to enjoy the vibration. We generally suggest people start with a vibrator or two that they can explore. If you get an insertable one and a clitoral one, you can use both hands and have a comparable experience that you have more control over.”

Second: What kind of sensations are you looking for?

Last but not least, look into what sensation you want your vibrator to provide. There are buzzy vibes and rumbly vibes. A lot of people prefer rumbly vibrators for levitating orgasms, because the vibrations are more low-pitched and go deeper into the body, which helps stimulate the outside and inside of the clit, hitting as many nerve endings as possible due to its frequency. “Buzzy vibes provide more of a high-pitched hum, comparable to the vibrations of an electric toothbrush, which focuses stimulation more on the surface of the clit,” sexual health educator Navy Bastiaans explains to Glamour.

Here’s what to watch out for.

While there are some great mini vibes out there (and we’ll suggest a few), note that although they’re small, they can be quite mighty. “Because they are so small, all their power is focused to, usually, a pretty small surface area. For some people, that just feels too intense! Something with more surface area, all other things being equal, might be more enjoyable. Think about the difference between a palm over the vulva and clitoris, versus just one finger on the clit. The latter can be too focused compared to the former—for some people; others are happy with focused stimulation,” Queen says.

Psssst: Use lube!

If you’re new to sex toys, try them out with lube.
“Whether you are a newbie or a pro, I always recommend trying different lubrications with your vibes. Lubes not only offer extra lubrication, but they also allow for different sensations and can really intensify your play. Keep in mind that any lubricant that is flavored, or has sugar or sugar-substitutes in the ingredients, should not be used internally,” advanced sexual health and pleasure educator Micki Allen tells Glamour.