The V-Spot: Finding a Less-Intense Vibrator

Bad Vibes

Dear Yana,

I want a new vibrator. The problem is that my body is SO sensitive that even the first setting on all of them are way too intense for me. I could do it manually, but I’m lazy. Advice?
— Vibrators Can Buzz Off

Dear Buzz Off,
First thing’s first: your body and how it experiences pleasure is never a problem! The various accoutrements available to us via the adult industry are there to enhance our pleasure and amusement, not rate us on a scale of normal-to-freakshow or perfect-to-broken. We all just need to learn how to find the right products for us.

For a long while one of my dirtiest secrets was that though I wrote about and sold vibrators for a living, I actually didn’t much like them myself. For the longest time I thought to myself “I’m just too sensitive,” as my clitoris would recoil from the slightest brush of a cutesy lil’ pink plastic vibe like a dental filling biting down on a ball of tinfoil.

Then I was benevolently gifted the rechargeable, wireless Hitachi Magic Wand. (#blessed.) This sleek beast of a toy is anything, but dainty — if the Hitachi is a grizzly bear, for example, that lil’ pink thing is a beanie baby. The Hitachi is an old-school sex toy made famous by its settings that range from Jackhammer to Jackhammer-Plus. The Magic Wand is not for the faint-of-clit. And yet, my “oh-so-sensitive body” loves it.

Though I generally like to think that I’m special, I’m certainly not in this case. It’s not that my body has changed or that my clitoris has somehow become a tougher bad-ass. It’s more that I finally understand the difference between a “buzzy” vibrator and a “rumbly” vibrator. And twat a difference it is.

This brings us to second things second: Not all vibrators are created equally. And this is especially true in the motor department. A “buzzy” vibrator versus a “rumbly” vibrator isn’t about the strength of the vibration, but the quality of it.

Most vibrators are buzzy. Cheap motors operated by batteries tend to characterize these guys, with a vibration frequency that feels like a fly buzzing in your ear or when you lightly push your lips together and hum. Clitorally, this can translate to numbness, over-intensity, one-note sensation and yes — the feeling that you might just hate vibrators. Put with the perfect bluntness sex toy blogger Hey Epiphora ( is known for: “Buzzy vibrators are a menace to society.”

Rumbly vibrators, on the other hand, have a lower frequency and a satisfying complexity in the variation of sensations they provide. Rumbly vibrators are like listening to hip-hop instead of a violin solo, like straddling a motorcycle instead of an electric toothbrush, like — oh, I don’t know — having a deeply satisfying orgasm instead of a numb clitoris.

So, how can you tell the difference when you’re shopping, Buzz Off? Opt for vibrators that are rechargeable or plug into the wall like the FunFactory rechargeable G5 line, nearly all toys made by WeVibe or JeJoue, and of course the Hitachi Magic Wand (corded or rechargeable and wireless). Less expensive rumbly options do exist, but may require a little more hunting — preferably in a brick-and-mortar store rather than online so you can check out the floor models.

A great test is to turn on the vibrator floor model and set it down on the counter. A buzzy toy will frantically jump around and you might even struggle to catch it. A rumbly toy will sway back-and-forth and oscillate more. If you ever find yourself in the heat of a sex toy race at a bachelorette party, the rumbly vibrator would likely come in last. Between the sheets, though? Oh, that baby gonna finish first.

If you do your research and find that a perfect rumbly vibrator still has you feeling sensitive, try building an underwear or sheets buffer between your body and the toy to increase sensation while dulling vibration. And please remember that your pleasure is always worth the effort. Whether it’s manual, buzzy, or rumbly finding the best, newest, or most exciting way to get your rocks off is never lazy.

Yana Tallon-Hicks is a pleasure-positive sex educator and writer living in the Pioneer Valley. She has a website with sex advice, resources, and workshops at

Yana Tallon-Hicks

Author: Yana Tallon-Hicks

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