Q&A- My Doctor Recommends a Vibrator, What Should I Choose?

Q&AI got a question from a woman in her mid-50′s who is having some issues with dryness and her sexual response time.  Elizabeth* saw a doctor who gave her a prescription for Premarin and suggested she get lubricant and a vibrator. The doctor didn’t give her any suggestions about vibrators or exactly how she was to use a vibrator to help boost her sex life! She turned to me for some advice on purchasing a new sex toy.

The great thing here is that Elizabeth and her husband, both in their 50′s and married for over 20 years, are working proactively to keep their sex life going as she experiences some aging, or menopausally, related changes. And, she has a doctor who understands that sexual health calls for a variety of approaches beyond medications. Though admittedly the doctor needs to do a better job of directing clients to good resources or having information in the office to help women get started with sex toys.

Elizabeth and I chatted several times as I got more information on what she really needed. My previous article on lubricants was in part directed to her questions.

I want to break her question down into a few parts and answer them separately.

Elizabeth relayed to me that “It takes me a while to get going. By the time I’m ready – he’s done. We’re trying to spice things up a bit and we’re thinking a vibrator would help me get ready faster. I’d like to try new things but I want to take baby steps – he seems to be willing to do anything.” Without knowing the intimate details of her sex life let’s talk about arousal and response time.

Women vary in the time it takes to become fully aroused and wet. Lubrication varies as does everything else about us—we are all unique. Menopause can cause some women to lose much of their natural lubrication. The vagina lubricates as a response to arousal. So, if a woman isn’t sufficiently aroused she is not going to be as wet as she might be when fully stimulated. When I hear that “It takes a while to get me going” I wonder if she and her partner are spending enough time getting each other excited and ready for a deeper level of intimacy. There is no standard ‘prep’ time and there is no reason not to extend the playtime before going to penetration. Adding lubrication can be part of the fun–get your partner to rub and massage you with lube; it should excite both of you and will ensure that you are slick and slippery enough to enjoy sexual activities without discomfort.

“By the time he’s ready – I’m done.” Maybe it’s time to add extra stimulation? Timing orgasms isn’t all that simple for many of us. Men have a muchvibrator, Lelo, Good Vibrations, sex toys shorter arc from arousal to climax, unless they’re able to slow down and time themselves to match a partner’s pattern. This is where a small vibrator, like a Lovelife Discover Mini Rechargeable Vibrator (I have several Lovelife toys and find them easy to use) or perhaps Lelo’s Mia 2 Rechargeable Vibrator. Both are relatively small and streamlined… they aren’t bulky or fancy, making them a suitable first vibrator. Plus their size means they can easily be used during intercourse or when receiving oral sex. Used on the clitoris this kind of vibrator adds the added stimulation needed to bring her to orgasm, or become fully aroused before moving to intercourse. Elizabeth, you can use this before or during intercourse to give you a boost. Ask your husband to wait for your signal as to when you’re reaching that point so he can try and time his climax with yours. (And for heavens no “are you there yet?”)

If you’re new to vibrators and want to improve your capacity to achieve orgasms, I would suggest you spend some time in self-pleasuring to learn more about your body’s response to touch. What turned you on 10 years ago may not be as effective today, so take a little “me” time, with a good lubricant and your new toy. Spend time touching and exploring with fingers and then add the toy in.  You’re learning how you like to be touched, how much pressure you like, where the vibration feels the best and so on. Then you can take that information and share it with your husband–show him how you like to be touched, guide his hands, or better yet have his sit back and watch–a huge turn-on for men!

As for lubricants to use with your sex toy–the Lovelife is made of silicone so you can’t use a silicone based lube on it. You can use water-based and oil-based lubes. Any of the water or silicone based lubricants can be used on the Mia, it is made of a hard plastic. If you’re going to be self-pleasuring without your sex toys (or condoms) you can use any lube–I love coconut oil. It’s organic and leaves your skin feeling very soft.

Elizabeth wants to take small steps and I applaud her for knowing her comfort level, so I’m not recommending fancy vibrators or sex toys and nothing too expensive. It’s important that she like this first vibrator and feel comfortable playing with toys. Then? The sky’s the limit.


*Elizabeth is not her real name.

The links are all to products on the Good Vibrations sex toy shop–one of the longest running and reliable sex toy shops around. I have an affiliate relationship with them; if you buy a product through my link I receive a (very) small percentage from the company.

Choose the Right Lubricant for Your Midlife Needs

 I was contacted by a woman recently seeking my advice on lubes and vibrators. I’ll do a Q&A post later this week addressing her questions but I wanted to talk about buying lubricants separately. So, I decided to dive into my stash of lubes and the nice selection of samples Andy, at Good Vibrations sent me upon request. I chose Good Vibrations for my lube review because they have a nice variety of products (and I have an affiliate relationship with them…buy through one of my links and I will get a little money from the company) and a great article in their how-to section with everything you need to know on How to Choose a Lubricant.

Choosing a lubricant is more complicated than you might think, not just any lubricant will do—particularly if you plan to use it with sex toys. Sure you could go to the grocery store and just buy some K-Y Jelly, but here’s what you’ll get : “Water, Glycerin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Chlorhexidine Gluconate, Gluconolactone, Methylparaben, Sodium Hydroxide”. Sodium Hydroxide is commonly known as Lye or Caustic Acid. Yikes! Use the product on your most sensitive skin and your body is absorbing all of those unpronounceable Chemicals. Chlorhexidine Gluconate is an antiseptic. Also not needed in your vagina or elsewhere. (Source)

Let’s back up and talk about why you might want to use a lubricant. Have you ever had a massage on dry skin? Know how uncomfortable it is to feel the tug of their hands on your bare skin? Massage oils allow the hands to glide over body parts. A good oil or lubricant eliminates the friction that can range from uncomfortable to painful. Lube also helps if your body’s natural lube isn’t as plentiful as in the past. The labia, clitoris and skin in the genital area are tender and deserve loving care. At any age, lube allows fingers, body parts and sex toys to glide across your skin. For older women who may have the thinning skin that comes after menopause with the depletion of hormones, the least bit of friction can cause discomfort. A lubricant will help eliminate or reduce that discomfort.

You can use the lube on your hands, sex toys and other body parts, but you need to be careful about which lubricant you pick. If your sex toy is made of silicone then a silicone based lubricant can damage the toy!  Oil-based lubes should not be used with latex condoms or products.

It’s worth the time and effort and expense to buy a quality lubricant that is safe for your body. Some women have sensitive skin or allergies and have a reaction to scented lubricants or other additives, so you might want to consider an organic product like Sliquid or GoodCleanLove.

Please, a line of lubricants developed by the people at Good Vibrations, comes in cream, silicone, liquid and water-based gel versions. I tried the water-based gel and the cream lubes to do a comparison. The cream version is very nice and seemed to last longer than the water-based gel. Neither had much of an odor or taste and would be fine for oral sex. The Please cream lube does contain some silicone but the description indicates that it is safe for use with silicone-based toys.

The Pink silicone lubricant was very nice, no taste at all! But as is common with all silicone products, it required a little more soap and water effort to clean up.

lubricants, silicone sex toysThey also sent me a small glass vial of uberlube, a silicone product that felt less sticky than some of the others. Gorgeous bottle and presentation!

If you buy a quality lubricant you really can’t go wrong. And if your main purpose will be for use during sex without condoms or sex toys then use anything you want. I love using organic coconut oil I buy at the grocery store. And, then as you branch out, buy a few different products and see which you like the most. But, I urge you to use a lube for self-pleasuring and couples sex–it will make so much difference.

Have a favorite you’d like to recommend?


Here are more articles on lubricants for your reading pleasure:

Sex Shaming Has No Age Limits

nudity, authenticity, aging, sexuality Why is it that some women feel compelled to shame other women? To label their activities as slutty and dismiss their stories? It has happened to me and other women writers I know; it seems to occur when we choose to be open about our sex lives.  There will always be some self-appointed know-it-all ready to shame, judge or blame and then tell women what they “should” do.  There are no shoulds when it comes to sex…unless we’re talking about protection from disease and safety. And, even then, who invested me or you with the power to force our opinions on someone else?

I’m fuming this morning over some of the conversations spurred on by an article Robin Korth wrote about a dating encounter. Things were going well until they got to the sex part and then 55 yr old Dave (she doesn’t share what he looks like) became completely turned off by the body of the similarly aged woman he was about to have sex with. Dave clearly has issues. He wanted her hair to be longer, he wanted her to wear the little black dress, he had to have sex with her in the dark so he could pretend she was young. A man with issues. She chose not to give into his demands and her story has provoked many people. Some people were irritated by her description of her size 6 body. One older woman said that mature women should never show their naked bodies to a man…we’ll never have sex again (what Kool Aid is she drinking?).  And of course there was male-bashing.

We live in an ageist culture, surrounded by myths, put-downs and advertising promises all designed to make us feel dissatisfied with ourselves at a given age.  This is really on my mind as I approach 60 in a matter of days–single and on a dating site. I’m not going to lie about my age and I’m not going to reach out for pills and injections or surgery to try to erase the years. Admittedly it’s hard to look in the mirror sometimes and see the changes in my body but I consider myself blessed to have made it this far in life, relatively unscathed.

I don’t intend to let anyone dictate how I show up for sex or work or walking down the street. And, I hope you won’t either.

We bring ourselves to every situation, every relationship just as we are. And, we’re accepted for that or we’re not. Those who can’t see our true beauty aren’t worthy of being in our lives. Isn’t it that simple? If any one person is judging us or telling us what we have to wear, or how to ‘show up’ they aren’t really seeing us. And clearly that person isn’t the least bit interested in true engagement. That’s where we get to exercise our choice–to pursue a fuller life, to find a more compatible partner, to let go of a ‘friend’ who no longer supports us. We can choose who comes into our life.  We can invite or deny access to our bed.

One of the conversations that got under my skin had to do with letting men see our naked bodies. It was suggested that mature women shouldn’t let a man see them naked. Why on earth would a woman want to have sex with a man who couldn’t bear to see her body? Should she hide in the dark, keeping her beautiful, aging body cloaked as if it were a thing of shame?

The best sex you’ll ever have is Naked Sex.

Naked Sex is sex where both parties are willing to drop their protective armor and allow themselves to become fully immersed in the experience. There is no subjugating our own desires to make sure he’s happy. No hiding because you fear he/she won’t like your body. No manipulation, no coercion.

Naked Sex is about showing the real you. You can be naked or sensuously draped in lingerie that excites your senses. Both of you take ownership of your own desires and needs. You are able to communicate with each other and willingly enter into a moment of sexual pleasure.  It’s when we find each other to be equally engaged and desirous that we have the most satisfying experiences.

Feel free to share your thoughts in a civil, sex-positive manner. No sex shaming here!

Image: Naked by George Grosz

Learn How to Step Into Your Desire

The Garden DCI’m going to be speaking in Washington, DC on July 23. I’d love for you to come join me if you live in the area. The presentation, sponsored by The Garden DC, is geared to the midlife woman, though the conversation about desire is ageless.  You can purchase a ticket for the event here
Step into Your Desire with Walker Thornton

When we own our desire and practice ‘being’ sexy it expands both our capacity and our interest in sex. Let’s talk about ways you can adopt a new attitude towards sex.

What does it mean to proclaim yourself as a sexual being? Are you ready to get more in touch with your body, your sexual needs and your ability to communicate with a partner? What changes when you step into your desire? How easy will it be to you find a partner or enhance your current relationship? Suppose you don’t have/want a partner/lover?

If you’ve experienced a loss of desire as you approach midlife and sex feel less ‘fun’ and sexy this is the right place for you. We’ll talk about ways to jumpstart your sex drive. How to feel more aroused, and specific ways to reconnect with your body.