Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Too tight? Vaginal dilators can help.

Women write to me that after a long period of celibacy, they find someone they want to have sex with again. Often they didn't think they would discover love/lust again after so many years. Their elation dims when they discover that they've become too tight for intercourse, or it's too painful.

There are several reasons that vaginal pain can happen (which I discuss in my new book, Naked at Our Age). With age, especially if you're sexually inactive, the vaginal tissues thin and there's less blood flow to the genitals. Without vaginal penetration and/or regular orgasms and internal stimulation, the pelvic floor can lose its ability to relax, and in its contracted state, the vaginal opening feels too tight to admit a penis or a larger-than-slim sex toy. If this is your situation, please download this Vaginal Renewal program from the wonderful folks at A Woman's Touch sexuality resource center, and put it into action for the sake of your sexual health and future joy.

Part of this program is at least one orgasm a week (you don't need a partner for that!) and internal massage using vibration. Yes, really. Internal massage with vibration brings blood flow to the vagina and helps strengthen the tissues. If you're so tight that insertion hurts, vaginal dilators will help. These are more wands than dildos, starting very slim and progressing in graduated sizes as your body adapts and is able to accept more.

It used to be a hassle to even find vaginal dilators, but now there are two different styles that are easily obtainable and will fill your needs:

The FeMani (formerly Oasis Dilator Set) is made of smooth, durable, ABS plastic and comes in three graduated widths: Slim (1/2"), Midi (1"), and Maxi (1.25"). Order the size or sizes you need for $25 each. If you've been finding insertion painful, the 1/2" size is a good place to start, then you can order larger as you're ready. Each has a dial to control vibration intensity, from very mild to moderately intense. Thank you, Babeland, for sending me this set for review.

The Berman Vibrating Dilator Set is a set of four graduated dilators that fit like nesting dolls over a base with a dial to control vibration, from very mild to moderately intense. You can start with the slimmest, which tapers from 12/16" to 14/16", and build up over time to 1-1/8", 1.25", and 1.5". You get all four sizes in one package for $46. It also comes with a stretchy, nubby sleeve that is supposed to increase sensation. (The sleeve didn't do anythng for me, but you might like it.) Thank you, Good Vibrations, for sending me this set for review.

Both brands do the job well. The FeMani is longer, an advantage for sending the vibrational massage all the way through your vagina. If you need super slim, the FeMani has the thinnest. If you don't have a problem with tightness and you like a fuller feeling, the Berman set has the thickest.

Using dilators is a process for your own sexual health and the health of a relationship you might have now or in the future--and it can be extremely pleasurable, besides! For optimal pleasure, pair your dilator with a clitoral massager (see an array of reviews in my other sex toy posts here).


  1. I bought the Berman from Good Vibrations -- it did help me dilate passively but when I used the two larger attachments as vibrators it was WAY TOO LOUD, like a two-stroke engine! I sent it bsck for replacement but GV sent it right back to me with a smug little note saying I was wrong. So beware the Berman and GV customer service. I won't order from them ever again.

  2. Anonymous, did GV say you were wrong about it being noisy, or wrong about that being a defect? It is loud. I hope you'll tell me what the note said. I know that GV would want to know that their customer service was unsatisfactory, so please give me more details, either here or privately to joan@joanprice.com. Thank you.

  3. Good VibrationsJanuary 30, 2012

    On this toy, the attachments stack on top of each other to make it bigger. If you use it with all the attachments on properly, the vibration will transmit though the attachments better and the noise of the toy will actually be a little quieter then with the attachments off. However if you use the 2 biggest attachments by themselves without the smaller ones under them, the hollow space will cause an echo and the toy will be VERY loud. Hopefully stacking all the attachments together as intended will solve the problem! Either way, we'll make sure Anonymous is satisfied.

  4. The dilator may be 1.25 and 1.5 inches acress, but if you measure the circumference, the 1.25 one is 4 inches around, and the 1.5 is 5 inches. An inch is a HUGE jump to ask that opening muscle to accomodate. There has to be sizes in between the 1.25 and 1.5.

  5. Lise, I'm not aware of a size between 1.25 and 1.5, but since they're tapered, you can switch between the 1.25 fully inserted and then, when you feel relaxed, the 1.5 partially inserted. I'm sure that pelvic floor therapists and maybe savvy gynecologists have additional sizes -- you might want to consult one of them. I'm sorry I don't know more personally, but I'll bet some of our readers will add what they've learned.

  6. The Berman dilator set is fairly typical in its set of sizes, and will work well if you are doing progressive relaxation and moving up once you can slip a lubricated finger along side the dilator size you are using. It's not a good choice for any kind of vibrating massage, as the vibration is the wrong kind of vibration, so we at A Woman's Touch recommend only using the Berman set for passive dilation, not for massage and conditioning of the vaginal skin or promotion of blood flow to replace the effect of estrogen once you are in menopause.

    The Femani Oasis Wands are sized a bit differently, 1.5 cm, 2.5 cm and 3.5 cm - so the jump is a bit more gradual, and the use is different, as these are able to be used as both passive (non-vibrating) dilators and also as internal vibrating massage devices to promote blood flow and skin health.

  7. I found the best thing for me was the vagi-wave because there was no stretching or pain, it was recommended by my midwife who has seen all her new mums get over vaginismus after using one for a month. For me it was the only thing that worked because all the things on the market hurt me, after night 2 I was unaware I was using it and fell asleep, thereafter it became easier and after my period my husband and I plucked up the courage to have sex and we did. I have had sex weekly now around the baby's sleep times and am so pleased I listened to my midwife because she knew about it more than my doctor did !

  8. I truly hope you allow my comment to be published because if my midwife had failed to speak up I would be in a worse place, but I am over it thanks to her knowledge and the product and because of this I feel I should be looking out for other lady's/mums like my midwife did for me. I am so grateful to her I feel a real need to share my happy ending with others.

    1. Happy to have you share your experience. The Vagi-Wave is not available in the US. How does it work? (I viewed the website, but it's unclear how it works.) Thanks -- Joan

  9. The Berman dilator set is great, BUT I used it in the shower for stretching and it's not really waterproof. The inside battery area was damaged (I've never submerged it in water, just used it while showering). I've been able to find this set online for a decent price, but just a caution that, in my experience, it isn't truly waterproof.


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-- Joan