Vaginal dilators are used to expand or mobilize the pelvic floor muscles and vaginal tissues. Usually recommended by a medical professional, these vaginal trainers can help patients suffering from dyspareunia (pain during sex), vaginismus, or readjust to vaginal penetration after surgery, childbirth, menopause, or trauma. But with so many brands out there, it can be challenging to understand which are the best vaginal dilators.
In this article, we’ll discuss important tips to keep in mind when choosing a vaginal dilator, the differences between plastic and silicone dilators, and which are the best vaginal dilators on the market today.
The main purpose of a vaginal dilator is to minimize pain during vaginal penetration, whether for more comfortable tampon insertion, easier gynecological appointments, or more pleasure during sex. Essentially, by slowly stretching the vaginal and pelvic muscles with dilator therapy, tight muscles are trained to gradually relax with time, making vaginal penetration less painful and more enjoyable.
Women recovering from a pelvic injury, vaginal surgery, gender reassignment surgery, cervical cancer, or those coping with vaginal dryness (atrophy) also benefit from using vaginal dilators. In addition to conditions such as endometriosis, interstitial cystitis (IC), vaginal stenosis, and vulvodynia.
Teenage apprehension about the first sexual experience, or psychological trauma due to sexual abuse can also tighten the vaginal muscles, leading to a fear of vaginal penetration (vaginismus) or painful intercourse (dyspareunia).
First of all, it's best to garner some guidance from your pelvic floor physiotherapist or gynecologist concerning the best size dilator for you to start with. Your chosen healthcare practitioner will also instruct you as to how often you should use your dilator and for how long.
Similar to many other products, there are lots of brands and types of vaginal dilators to choose from and it can be difficult to understand the differences between them all. There are some tips that you can follow, however, and below we’ve outlined the most important factors to consider when choosing the right vaginal dilator for you.
When purchasing your dilators, keep the following tips in mind:
While many vaginal dilator kits include only one dilator, some brands produce vaginal dilators in a set of ascending sizes, or with the option to buy incremental sizes individually. Purchasing a set of ascending dilator sizes is incredibly beneficial when the goal is to relax tense vaginal muscles, prepare for penetration, or deepen your sexual pleasure.
With only one dilator in a kit, there is no possibility of gently stretching the muscles in ascending sizes, plus the one size might be too big for you to start with, so your newly-purchased dilator might not be helpful at all. On the other hand, having a variety of sizes available means you can start gently stretching and strengthening the vaginal muscles with the smallest size dilator first and move up to the next size once you feel comfortable.
Vaginal dilators are typically made from either plastic or silicone and each feels different in the vagina. While the plastic dilators feel more rigid and hard within the vagina, silicone dilators are described as smooth, soft, bendy, and feel more ‘life-like’ than plastic.
Because lubrication is a vital part of using vaginal dilators, many women find that plastic becomes very sticky once lube is applied and it can be hard to wash off too. Silicone on the other hand feels less sticky with lube and is much easier to clean after each use.
Some vaginal dilators come with a handle to ensure it stays in place, and other dilators simply have a base at the end to indicate that it is fully inserted (once the base touches the entrance of the vagina). These types of dilators are considered hands-free and allow women to relax while the dilator does its work.
Although it might seem more functional to have a handle on your dilator to hold it in place, some women feel that it simply gets in the way.
When it comes to the price of plastic or silicone vaginal dilators, plastic dilators are usually cheaper. However, in this case, cheaper does not mean better. Even though it is healthier in the long term for women on a budget to purchase a plastic dilator than no dilator at all, if you can save and spend a little more, your vagina will thank you for going with silicone dilators.
Considering that a vaginal dilator enters an extremely tender and vulnerable part of your body, it is important to understand exactly what you are placing in there. In that respect, silicone is described as body safe, whereas some plastics are made with phthalates or Bisphenol A (BPA), which can be harmful to the body if used at high levels.
Through our extensive research and feedback process, we found that silicone dilators, especially those made with medical-grade silicone, have a more natural feel than those made from plastic, and because of this, women find them easier to use and see more effective results.
In addition to how they feel inside the vagina, silicone dilators tend to have a more natural weight, which allows for more realistic proprioceptive feedback; meaning your body can recognize the feeling of the dilator and learns to relax despite its presence. This type of relaxation and release of muscle tension is one of the most important aspects of vaginal dilator therapy.
Another benefit to using silicone dilators over plastic dilators is their ability to handle high and low temperatures. Silicone dilators can be chilled in the fridge if that’s what feels good for your vagina, or they can be heated to a warm temperature in warm water.
Lastly, silicone dilators are more hard-wearing than the plastic versions and are very easy to clean with warm water. Water-based lubricant is also recommended for silicone vaginal dilators so as not to damage the silicone, and water-based lubricant is also much easier and less sticky to clean than the oil-based counterpart.
Customers, pelvic floor physiotherapists, and female health experts have described Intimate Rose Vaginal Dilators as the best vaginal dilators on the market today. In addition to that, Intimate Rose Vaginal Dilators are not only recommended by the American Physical Therapy Association but also used by the official Academy of Pelvic Health for training purposes.
Designed by Amanda Olson, a physiotherapist who specializes in pelvic health, the Intimate Rose Vaginal Dilators are made from medical-grade silicone, are BPA-free, and come in a set of 8 ascending sizes. They are also available in a smaller set of 4 ascending sizes, or for the budget-friendly shopper, they can be bought individually to add more sizes as you progress through your therapy.
When it comes to size, customers appreciate that Intimate Rose dilators start at 0.45 inches in diameter and 2.8 inches long, increasing incrementally to 1.5 inches in diameter and 6.5 inches long.
Women also mention that Intimate Rose Vaginal Dilators are firm enough to hold their shape, yet they’re velvety smooth to touch and have a more natural or ‘life-like’ feel than dilators made of plastic or even other silicone dilators that have a stickier finish.
Despite being the best vaginal dilators on the market, Intimate Rose dilators compared to VuVatech or Soul Source are cheaper than other silicone dilators, costing just $189.99 for a full set of 8 dilators.
Designed to help stretch, restore, and relax tight pelvic floor muscles and vaginal tissues, vaginal dilators are primarily used to reduce the fear of vaginal penetration (vaginismus) and pain during sex (dyspareunia). Also known as vaginal trainers or vaginal inserts, they also provide as well as provide pelvic and vaginal muscle training for those recovering from pelvic surgery, cervical cancer treatment, gender assignment surgery, or trauma linked to sexual abuse.
If your pelvic floor physiotherapist or gynecologist recommends vaginal dilator therapy to treat your condition, consider the above-mentioned tips before choosing the best vaginal dilator for you.
Very Well Health – Vaginal Dilators: What You Need to Know - https://www.verywellhealth.com/vaginal-dilators-5220401
Intimate Rose – Vaginal Dilators; Frequently Asked Questions - https://www.intimaterose.com/pages/frequently-asked-questions-vaginal-dilators
My Health Alberta – Female Sexuality & Cancer – Vaginal Dilators After Radiation Therapy - https://myhealth.alberta.ca/cancer-and-sexuality/female-sexuality-and-cancer/vaginal-tightness/vaginal-dilators
My Cleveland Clinic – Vaginismus - https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15723-vaginismus