What Is A Vibrator And How Does It Work?

Vibrators are sex toys that use internal motors to create unique vibrations that when applied to erogenous zones like the clitoris, are used to reach orgasm.
Aerial Photograph Of Open Box Filled With Colorful Array Of Vibrators

The simplest definition of a vibrator is that it’s a sex toy that vibrates and stimulates erogenous zones, usually to the point of orgasm.

Vibrators can be used on a number of erogenous zones, including the:

  • Clitoris
  • G-spot
  • Nipples
  • Perineum
  • Anus
  • Prostate
  • And anywhere else a vibrator feels good

Back in 2009, more than 52% of American women reported using a vibrator at least once.

It’s safe to assume that number has only grown since then — and for good reason. Vibrators provide sexual pleasure and release in a way that’s revolutionary, convenient, and easily accessible.

We’ll explain everything you need to know about what a vibrator is, but if you’re thinking about trying one, click here for our top recommendations.

In this article, we’ll talk about:

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our How To Use A Vibrator and Everything Vibrators hubs, in-depth and evolving resources that comprehensively explore all aspects of vibrators from the different types and how to use them, to materials and safety — created to help you achieve the sexual pleasure you deserve.

What Is A Vibrator?

Vibrators are sex toys that use internal motors to create buzzing, humming, thrumming, throbbing, pulsing, and other unique sensations that can’t be produced by a hand, tongue, or penis alone.

That said, many vibrators are designed to mimic the stimulation from a mouth or genital area, often in a very realistic way.

One of the biggest benefits of using a vibrator is this: Once you find the right spot and the right setting, you rarely have to worry that the sensations will stop before you’ve reached climax.

The right vibrator feels amazing on your body and maintains the intensity of the stimulation in a persistent manner.

Hands, tongues, and penises get tired eventually.

But as long as you have enough battery life, your vibrator can last as long as you need it to.

Most vibrators generally operate for at least 45 minutes and sometimes as long as 4 hours on a full charge or fresh set of batteries.

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How Does A Vibrator Work?

Vibrators have come a long way since they were invented in the late 1800s – and trust us when we tell you that some vintage vibrators were downright scary.

Modern vibrators use a motor to create the stimulation — buzzing, humming, pulsing, and even suction — while the shape of the vibrator determines where you place it and how it feels during use.

Some vibrators use replaceable batteries while others are rechargeable with a USB connection. One of the most popular vibrators of all time — the Original Hitachi Magic Wand — and other wands like it, even plug into an electrical outlet.

No matter what style of vibrator you choose, it will have buttons for its power and settings, if it offers any.

The settings determine the level of intensity and whether the vibrations you feel are constant or in a pattern.

Some use a remote control or function through an app on your phone.

Vibrator designs and styles vary, as do their features. Some features you’ll find on high-quality vibrators include:

  • Waterproof
  • Small size
  • Quiet and discreet
  • Remote control
  • Multiple settings
  • Thrusting motions
  • Wearability
  • Mobile app functionality

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What Vibrator Types Are Available?

The reason there are so many possible features for vibrators is that there are a lot of vibrator types available to suit the individual needs of a growing user base.

While many people need clitoral stimulation to orgasm, not all vibrations feel good to everyone. More importantly, not everyone needs clit stimulation alone — or at all.

Vibrators have been designed to fulfill the different needs and desires of the people using them.

Types of vibrators include:

No matter your anatomy or preference for reaching orgasm, there is a vibrator capable of providing stimulation right where you want — and need it.

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  • The Difference Between A Dildo And Vibrator

One clear difference between a dildo and a vibrator is the internal motor — or lack thereof.

Dildos provide stimulation upon penetration but not at the same level or in the same way a vibrator can because dildos are not motorized.

On the other hand, vibrators can be used in a variety of ways — all over your body — providing stimulation of the vulva, clitoris, nipples, penis shaft, testicles, and anywhere else that feels good.

When a vibrator penetrates the body, the sensations are strong enough to be felt internally.

Although some dildos are hollowed in the center to accommodate a bullet vibrator (also known as a vibrating dildo), they are rarely able to provide the same level of stimulation a vibrator can.

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  • How Much Does A Vibrator Cost?

Just as vibrators range in style, size, and use, they also range in price depending on where you purchase your vibe.

You can buy a bullet vibrator for less than $10 or you can buy a high-end clitoral sucker for $200 or more.

In general, the higher-priced vibrators tend to be made by well-known brands using high-quality materials and with better technology. These can be excellent toys that are an investment in your sexual pleasure.

Read reviews first, check to make sure it has features you want, and buy it if it fits your budget. And remember that you really can find vibrators at every price point.

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In Conclusion

Vibrators are one of the most popular sex toys for good reason.

They provide the stimulation and sensations many people need to reach mind-blowing orgasms, and you can find them in a variety of styles and prices.

They’re not difficult to use, though it can be hard to decide what to try first.

Whether you shop online or in person, pay attention to the features listed and look for reviews to help you decide what to buy. You can find a good vibrator no matter your budget.

If you’re searching for your perfect vibrator, check out our Everything Vibrators guide to discover what’s out there. And if you don’t know what type of vibrator to try, take our vibrator quiz to find the perfect one!