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All About Dildos

Answers to Common Questions About Dildos

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Updated February 22, 2011

All About Dildos
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Who Uses Dildos?

The oldest sex toy that has been discovered by archaeologists is a dildo that’s over 26,000 years old. So, we know people have been using dildos for a very long time. Beyond that, however, there isn’t much we know about the demographics of who uses dildos. Most surveys either ask about vibrator use or more generally about vibrator/dildo use, confusing the two sex toys and providing us with little to go on. Research on lesbian sexual activities has documented dildo use and found that 65% of women have used a dildo in their lifetime.

How Common is Dildo Use?

Because surveys often use the term dildo and vibrator interchangeably, it’s hard to know numbers. Popular surveys about sex toy use usually put it at between 20 to 30% of adults (but a more recent study by researchers at the University of Indiana put vibrator use at about 50%). Depending on their clientele, sex shops usually indicate that vibrators are their top seller and dildos are in the top five. Based on what we know, it seems safe to say that dildo use is a consistent interest for people but is less common than the use of vibrators.

Why Use a Dildo?

Because many dildos look like real penises, people think of them as a penis substitute. This isn’t the case. People who have sex with men use dildos in addition to having partner sex, and people who don’t ever want to have sex with a man with a penis may still get a lot of enjoyment from using a dildo. The pleasure that comes from a dildo is primarily from penetration and secondarily from fantasy. Unlike vibrators, a dildo has no motor and won’t do anything you don’t make it do. There’s no “right” reason to use a dildo, but here are some of the reasons people use them:
  • Curiosity
  • Self-discovery
  • Spicing up a long-term sexual relationship
  • Enjoying a different size, shape, texture, or feeling of penetration with or without a male partner
  • Double penetration
  • Gender bending or role playing

How to Use a Dildo

Dildos, and sex toys in general, may be the last consumer product group to come with absolutely no instructions or manuals from the manufacturers. The basics of using a dildo may be obvious to you, but they also may not be. There are hundreds of different things to do with a dildo and, if you’ve never used one, a few pointers may be appreciated.

Different Types of Dildos

All dildos, provided they are safely designed to begin with, can be used for vaginal penetration. There are thousands of different dildo shapes, sizes, and styles to choose from. It can help to understand the different kinds of dildos available and what makes them unique in purpose, beyond solo use for vaginal penetration.

Double dildos allow two people to enjoy penetration at the same time, or may be used by one person for double penetration. Double dildos also offer a benefit of a longer handle if used for solo play or on one partner by another.

Strap-on dildos allow you to use a dildo without having to hold on to it. Most strap-on dildos are worn around the waist, but some are designed to be strapped on to other parts of the body or furniture. There are also hollow strap-ons, sometimes called PPD's which are meant to be worn over a flacid penis.

Anal dildos tend to be (though are not always) smaller, although they always have a wide flared base to make them safe for anal penetration. All anal dildos may also be used vaginally, but not all vaginal dildos are safe for anal use.

Dildo Materials

The quality and feel of a dildo is largely determined by what the dildo is made of. While better quality materials will last longer, be less likely to cause an allergic reaction, and be easier to clean, an inexpensive dildo may still feel great and can usually be made safe by putting a condom over it.

Rubber and rubber mixes are still the most common dildo materials. They are difficult to clean, are of unknown composition, usually contain phthalates, and don’t tend to last very long. But they are inexpensive and available in a wide range of colors.

Cyberskin is a trademarked material, but other companies have developed similar feeling materials (sometimes they’re called “Real Feel”). What distinguishes this material is its dual density feel, firm on the inside and soft on the outside. The drawback to this material is that it tears easily and is very difficult to keep clean.

Silicone dildos are by far the best quality, most functional and versatile of all dildos. They are durable, hypoallergenic, and easy to clean. Vixen Creations, one of the oldest silicone dildo manufacturers, has further developed this material and created a kind of silicone that feels similar to cyberskin but is more durable and easier to clean.

Glass and Pyrex dildos are available from a range of manufacturers, large and small. They are non-porous, so you won’t react to them, and they are easy to keep clean. They are also visually stunning and have a uniquely smooth and seamless, though weighty, feel. Properly made glass dildos will not break in the course of normal use. However, if dropped from a high height or onto a hard surface, they may chip or crack, requiring you to thrown them out.

Metal dildos are also great for people who may react to rubber, latex, or vinyl. Like glass, they have a unique look and feel, and they are by far the most durable of all dildos. Because they have no “give” to them, some people find metal dildos too intense, but the people who love them love them a lot.

Finding the Best Dildo

There’s never been a better time to want to buy a dildo. The selection and quality of dildos available has increased exponentially over the past 20 years. Your biggest problem now is deciding which one to buy.

Source:

Diamant, A.L., Lever, J., Schuster, M.A. “Lesbians’ Sexual Activities and Efforts to Reduce Risks for Sexually Transmitted Diseases” Journal of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Vol. 4, No. 2 (2000): 41-48.

Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Sanders, S.A., et. al. "Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Women in the United States: Results from a Nationally Representative Study" Journal of Sexual Medicine Vol. 6, No. 7 (2009): 1857–1866.

Reece, M., Herbenick, D., Sanders, S.A., et. al. "Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Men in the United States" Journal of Sexual Medicine Vol. 6, No. 7 (2009): 1867–1874.

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