by Anonymous Okay people with vaginas, let's talk about vibrators. Vibrators have a long, misogynistic history, rooted in the idea of female hysteria. But since then, they have been repurposed for a much more pleasurable purpose. Of course, this pleasurable purpose was shrouded in shame and taboo for a while. Some seem to think that because of their brief but revolutionary stint on "Sex and the City" vibrators cease to carry the stigma and confusion of 20 years ago. However, when I chat with my vagina-having friends, I find that this is frequently not the case. Many of my vagina-having friends don't even feel comfortable talking to me or others they are close to about masturbation. When they do feel like sharing, many have no clue where to begin vibrator shopping. They are overwhelmed by the number of options, confused about how to choose one, and unsure in what situations one would use a vibrator. What I hope to accomplish here is an expanded guide of what I learned while vibrator shopping, a task I found much more time consuming than it should be. As a Bay Area native, I started my search at the website for the Mission District's notorious sex toy store, Good Vibrations. They had a plethora of resources, and broke my shopping mission down into manageable parts. They advocated to first to determine what part of the anatomy one wants to stimulate. There are vibrators for clitoral stimulation, vaginal penetration, anal penetration, simultaneous clitoral stimulation and vaginal penetration, and G-spot stimulation. There are bullet vibrators for clitoris and vulva, different sizes and thickness of penetrating vibrators, Rabbit vibrators that both penetrate and stimulate the clitoris, anal vibrators, and curved, flatheaded vibrators for the G-spot. Every body is different and everyone has different ways to get off, so I encourage everyone that I know to get to know their anatomy, what turns them on, and what needs to be stimulated in order to make them feel good. If you know that you need both your clitoris stimulated and to be penetrated vaginally in order to get off (or that just feels the best), then limit your search accordingly. Many vagina-having people or their partners have a hard time locating the elusive Gräfenberg (G) Spot; G-Spot stimulating vibrators are an extremely effective way of ending that search. Think about your stimulation needs first and then your search will become more focused and less daunting. After considering the shape and purpose of your vibrator, a savvy vibrator shopper should consider the material a vibrator is made out of. As a person with a very sensitive vagina, I had to do some major research into the construction materials of sex toys. What I found was truly alarming. Unsafe chemicals are rampant in sex toys, especially in cheap ones from novelty shops. Manufacturers are not legally accountable for unsafe materials if they specify on the packaging that the toy is "for novelty use only". So it is important to buy from retailers or manufacturers that guarantee they use safe materials or to make sure you buy toys with pure materials like 100% Silicone. Materials are also important to consider because they will dictate how you use your vibrator and how you clean it. Porous materials require that one cover the toy with a condom during use to avoid trapping dirt and bacteria in the toy. More porous vibrator materials include plastic (also known as TPR, ABE or TPE), jelly rubbers, Elastomer, and Cyberskin/softskin. Vibrators made of these materials come in a range of qualities, with plastic and jelly rubbers being the most common materials used for cheap vibrators. Silicone and Intramed are both non-porous vibrator materials. They are desirable because they are easy to clean and are safe to use without a condom. However, they will be more expensive than their porous counterparts. The most daunting task of vibrator shopping is the purchase itself. You can buy from a brick-and-mortar store in your area, if you so desire. I've found that unless you have access to a metropolitan area, the majority of the adult stores will not cater to my specific, sensitive vagina needs. Instead, I choose to buy my vibrators online. I can read reviews, shop around for a good price. My favorite brand, Lelo, has sales on Amazon frequently, which have lead to me getting $100 vibrators for $50 including shipping. I would recommend online shopping to everyone because you can find specialized products and also ensure that the materials are safe. Some of my favorite manufacturers are Lelo, Leafvibes, and Minna. Some great sites for buying and for buying/cleaning guide: shopsarassecret.com, early2bedshop.com, goodvibes.com. Happy shopping!