What is the difference between a Dildo and a Vibrator, and which is better?

As the stigma surrounding sex supposedly decreases with each passing year, sex positivity continues to grow. Yet, we still haven’t managed to eradicate a few obvious and fundamental truths in our society, namely that sexual education is seriously lacking, and openly discussing sex is still frowned upon. 

Despite the wealth of information available these days, confusion and bashful looks abound when certain (dare we say, risqué) topics are openly discussed. Heaven forbid we bring up the topic of masturbation! And yet, while sex toys have been with us for eons, the lack of knowledge about these nifty little gadgets is glaringly obvious. 

From the assumption that sex toys are only used by females to not knowing the difference between dildos and vibrators, we totally understand why people are inclined to get their wires crossed. As sad as that is – don’t despair – we’ve got you covered!

So, what is the difference between a dildo and a vibrator?

Let’s start with what makes them similar: they’re both sex toys, they’re both used for masturbation, and they’ve both been around for a while! 

The main difference between a dildo and a vibrator is that a dildo does not typically vibrate unless it is accompanied by an extension, such as an insertable bullet vibrator

Dildos have also been around for a far longer time than vibrators. In fact, the oldest known dildo dates back 28,000 years. Humans have always enjoyed a little Ménage à moi, so it makes sense that we’ve been carving stuff into penises for a very, very long time.

It also stands to reason that humans being humans, we were bound to vibe things up at some stage. Despite the legendary tale that Cleopatra had the first vibrator created for her (which comprised a gourd holding trapped bees), the first officially documented vibrator was invented as a medical device (reserved solely for men!) in 1883. 

What is a Dildo?

Although the etymology or origin of the word is unclear, it is thought that dildo could come from English diddle which, in the 16th Century meant “to trick” and then “masturbate” from the 1950s onwards. A more likely explanation is that the word comes from the Italian diletto which means “pleasure” and “beloved”.

Dildos, which generally do not vibrate on their own, are most often used for sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth. However, they can be used in an array of ways—everything from general arousal to strap-on play to pegging. Dildos also can serve as both a prosthetic and/or extension. 

But a dildo isn’t battery operated, so it doesn’t pulsate, vibrate, or move in any way. While this can encourage sexual arousal, it basically leaves it up to the user to find their way to Pleasure Town.

While most dildos are phallic-shaped, some come in other rather unusual shapes. In fact, recent trends show that the freaky flag continues to fly high when it comes to the vast selection of dildos currently on the market. 

With everything from crocodile dildos to inflatable dildos to ice cream dildos you can put in the refrigerator for temperature play, if you can imagine it – it probably exists! Double dildos are also popular, providing an opportunity for dual penetration either for one person or single penetration for two people.

And since we’re talking about all-things-dildo, did you know that the phrase “How to make a homemade dildo” is an extremely popular search on Google? Obviously, this is something we’d fervently discourage. 

Firstly, any porous material can harbor bacteria and other nasties which could result in a rather unpleasant infection. Secondly, having to rush to the ER, only to explain to medical staff why you have a household item (like a bottle or a toothbrush) stuck in your vagina or rectum could be slightly awkward. Thirdly, the only place edible items like bananas, cucumbers and pineapples need to be shoved is in your mouth.

Our advice? Don’t get creative here…. DIY is great – but in this case, the only thing that you should be doing yourself – is yourself.

Although dildos were initially made from wood, teeth, stone, and ivory during the Paleolithic era, the good news is that we’ve (thankfully) progressed since then. 

Dildos are now available in a range of sizes and materials, providing maximum comfort and pleasure. However, since phthalates and parabens may be present, it is always a good idea to check the components of a dildo. 

As a rule, stick to dildos made of nonporous (read: fully cleanable) body-safe materials such as medical-grade silicone, ABS plastic, or stainless steel.

Dildo vs Vibrator - Realistic Sex Toys

What is a vibrator?

Unlike a dildo, a vibrator does exactly what the name implies – it vibrates! 

B.O.B, Buzz Nightgear, Pocket Rocket, Chick Stick, Faffy Buzzer, the vibrator goes by many a name, the list of which is endless – and for good reason!

Vibrator use has become increasingly mainstream thanks in part to popular culture. One of the most famous vibrator pop culture moments was an appearance of a rabbit vibrator on a Sex and The City episode aired in 1998. 

Charlotte, who is introduced to the rabbit vibrator, soon finds herself unable to do anything other than drown the bunny, and her friends decide to stage an intervention. That one TV episode was responsible for the massive surge in rabbit vibrator purchases across the globe in the early 2000s.

With almost 53% of women admitting to using one in this survey, the adult vibrator market is projected to expand by $5.22 billion between 2021 and 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 12%.

Vibrators come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, textures, and densities. With vibrators the options are endless! While it’s true that some vibrators can be shaped like a penis (in other words, it’s a dildo that vibrates), but certainly not all. Instead, vibrators come in different shapes to target erogenous areas and vibrate to produce scream-into-pillow-type orgasms.

Offering a variety of benefits and features that help to physically stimulate and sexually arouse the user, some vibrators can be used:

  • Externally (for example, FemmeFunn’s Ultra Bullet which is designed to stimulate the clitoris). 
  • Internally (such as Femme Funn’s Cadenza),
  • Dual purposes for blended orgasms (like the legendary booster rabbit) are designed to provide direct clitoral stimulation on the outside whilst also stimulating within.

Cadenza

Ultra Bullet

Booster rabbit Vibrator

Booster Rabbit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With just 18% of women having an orgasm via penetration alone, no wonder why research indicates that half of the women in the US have used a vibrator! A vibrator provides the necessary clitoral stimulation required for most individuals with clitorises to climax.

Vibrators “act as power tools for intense orgasms,” sexpert Jenni Skyler says, “Especially for busy, tired, stressed, or lower-libido women, a vibrator kicks arousal into gear way faster than most any other means.” 

More than just providing excellent bean maintenance, they are also reliable and never get tired, as long as you have a charging cable or new batteries!

Our verdict

Both vibrators and dildos are fantastic sex toys, particularly when you consider the plethora of functions and limitless potential for orgasms each one offers.

While dildos are ideal for those who desire deeper penetration that they can physically control, the absence of vibration and external features may make it more difficult for some individuals in their quest to achieve the perfect, toe-curling orgasm. 

Vibrators, on the other hand, have pulsing or vibrating features that can provide deep stimulation anywhere they are used. 

Even though dildos and vibrators differ in their origins and functions, both play crucial roles in the history and future of human sexuality. One thing’s for certain though — no matter which toy you ultimately decide to go with, you’re guaranteed to elevate your playtime and own your sexual pleasure.

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