Sex Toys: Difference Between a Dildo and a Vibrator

When we think of sex toys, the first thing that comes to mind is often the colorful, silicone, penis-shaped toys that we’ve grown to know and love. The evolution of sex toys has spanned thousands of years, with the first recorded toys being discovered over 30,000 years ago. While sex toys have been around since the Dark Ages (literally!), the toys that we have now look very different from those our ancestors used years ago.

Original sex toys were sometimes carved from siltstone or jade or crafted out of silver and bronze. The toys were often expertly made, but simple in design – a reflection of the times in which they were created. It can be tough to imagine our ancestors self-pleasuring. However, the presence of old-fashioned sex toys at multiple global archeological digs paint a clear picture of what our forefathers were really doing with those stones during the Stone Age. Namely, carving them into 7-inch dildos and butt plugs. 

What Is a Sex Toy?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a sex toy is defined as “an object or device used for sexual stimulation or to enhance sexual pleasure”. Although the term ‘sex toy’ is used to broadly describe the range of products marketed as sexual pleasure enhancers, there are currently countless categories of toys with their own sub-groups and personalizations. With so many different toys on the market, it can be difficult for a potential user to understand the differences or similarities between items. So, let’s try to narrow it all down a bit.

In this article, we will breakdown the differences between a dildo and a vibrator – the two most popular sex toys available on the market.

Dildos – the Ins and Outs

If you ask the average person to name a type of sex toy, ‘dildo’ will likely be the most prevalent answer that you receive. A dildo is a blanket term, much like the term sex toy. It essentially refers to a sex object (usually penile shaped) that is intended for vaginal, anal, or oral insertion during sexual intercourse or masturbation. 

Most of us can conjure up a mental image of what a “traditional” dildo looks like, but with the relatively new introduction of the sex toy industry came incredible innovation to its design. As the sexual revolution grew, so did the aesthetics of the dildo. Historically phallic in appearance, presently, dildos are available in just about any shape, size, color, and function imaginable.  

The materials from which dildos are constructed can range largely depending on the function of the dildo and how it is intended for use. For those who desire toys that are more sturdy and have less of a ‘real feel’ texture or appearance, dildos made of stainless steel, glass, and crystals or stones may be the best option. These toys can often be heated with warm water or body heat before use to aid in stimulation while inserted.  Additionally, these toys can be cooled in the freezer for a different type of sensation.

If you’re interested in a boyd-safe and softer approach, silicone toys or toys made with TPE (plastic) might be what you’re looking for. Dildos made of these materials are usually flexible and are often preferred by users who desire a gentler feel when inserted or used on the skin for added sensation.

Dildos are traditionally phallic shaped, however, over the last decade there has been an emergence of ‘non-sexually’ shaped dildos that do not mimic the human penis in design. In some countries this is done to avoid discriminatory sex toy sales regulations, but for some, these toys are sexually desired specifically for their non-sexual appearance. 

Vibrators – What’s the Real Buzz?

Similar to dildos, some vibrators can be used inside of the body. While there are vibrators created for insertion, such as those made to stimulate the G-spot, prostate, or anus, there are many vibrators that are intended for external clitoral stimulation.

As the name suggests, vibrators are sex toys that use vibration as the basis for stimulation. These toys first emerged in the medical field as a tool for doctors to cure ‘hysteria’ among women, who were believed to only receive relief from their illness through orgasm. While the idea of doctors stimulating their patients to orgasm as a cure may seem laughable, the idea that ‘genital massage’ was the answer to hysteria was introduced as early as 200 A.D. by the philosopher Galen. Following his writings, doctors were convinced of this therapy as a solution and developed vibrators to manage the volume of female patients that checked into their clinics claiming to be unfathomably hysterical. 

Initially, these devices were hand-operated, but after doctors were unable to maintain these treatments by hand, they designed devices that could be plugged in via cord and electronically-operated. The rest is vibrator history. With the development of technology, the size, shape, and material of these devices morphed and grew into what we know today as modern-day vibrators.  

While vibrators all essentially have the same mechanics, there are a wide range of sizes and shapes that help to differentiate the function of different types of vibrators. For example, the LELO Isla Vibrator is fashioned with a handle that allows for a comfortable hold and easy use, Isla can be used for exterior and clitoral stimulation or internal G-spot stimulation. Other toys, many of which are labeled ‘luxury vibrators’, are designed to only stimulate the vulva and clitoris such as the Clandestine Devices Mimic Plus Vibrator. For users comfortable with bigger sized toys, vibrating wands and wand massagers are the go-to toy, such as the Doxy Die Cast Wand Massager.

Meanwhile, a toy such as the LELO Ina 2 Vibrator is a perfect example of a toy intended for both internal and external stimulation. It provides users with the best of both worlds, boasting a two-pronged designed that allows for a blended orgasm.

All in all, sex toys are made to be enjoyed – whether alone or with a partner. Regardless of whether your preferred style of sex toy falls more within the dildo or the vibrator categories, sex toys were created for sexual release and to promote sexual freedom. Don’t forget – even our ancestors did it!

Featured Image Credit: RobinHiggins  / Pixabay