Vaginal dilators, also known as vaginal trainers, are medical devices that are designed to alleviate tightness and discomfort during vaginal penetration, as well as relieve pain during sex. Not all vaginal dilators are created equal, however, and with more and more women purchasing vaginal dilators online to practice regular dilation at home, it can be challenging to choose the right dilator from the numerous brands available.
To help, we’ll discuss Intimate Rose silicone dilators vs CalExotics dilators in this article. Read on, to understand how they compare and how they differ.
The main purpose of vaginal dilators is to minimize vaginal pain and tightness by gently stretching the vaginal tissues and pelvic floor muscles. Whether for pain-free sex, more comfortable tampon insertion, or less anxiety about pelvic exams, dilators increase blood flow to the vaginal tissues and promote natural lubrication, resulting in less tightness and more comfortable penetration.
The main reason women use vaginal dilators is to relieve symptoms like pain, tightness, dryness, and lack of flexibility in the vagina caused by a myriad of conditions, the most common of which we’ve mentioned below.
Vaginismus is described as difficulty with vaginal penetration that involves a tightening of the vaginal muscles to the point that the insertion of anything into the vagina is extremely uncomfortable or excruciatingly painful. The condition is often linked to pelvic injuries, previously painful sexual experiences, past sexual abuse, or the expectation that sex will be painful due to a lack of sexual education.
By becoming more accustomed to the feeling of pain-free vaginal penetration with a set of vaginal dilators that progressively increase in size, the fear of penetration subsides and the idea of vaginal penetration no longer causes anxiety.
Vaginal Atrophy & Dyspareunia
Women suffering from vaginal dryness with loss of muscle and tissue (atrophy) after childbirth, while breastfeeding, or during menopause, due to a drop in estrogen levels, typically feel immense relief from painful sex (dyspareunia) after using vaginal dilators. See our resource on dilators for atrophy.
After undergoing radiation treatment in the pelvic area, the vaginal walls often become thinner, dryer, less flexible, and sometimes painful (vaginal stenosis). Regularly practicing vaginal dilator therapy, once your surgeon has given the all-clear to begin, helps to slowly stretch the vaginal tissues and improve elasticity so that vaginal penetration and sex are enjoyable again.
Vaginal stenosis can also arise after any type of vaginal or pelvic surgery due to the development of scar tissue in the vagina during recovery, and result in a narrowing or shortening of the vaginal canal. Breaking down this scar tissue with the help of vaginal dilators helps to widen and lengthen the vagina, allowing women to return to pain-free penetration and sex.
Additional conditions that are helped by the use of vaginal dilators include; chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, lichen sclerosis, vulvodynia, and vaginitis.
Although both brands produce dilator sets made from silicone and they both ship globally using discreet shipping, there are numerous differences between Intimate Rose and CalExotics dilators. Perhaps the most obvious difference is that the focus of Intimate Rose centers around pelvic health products designed by a pelvic health physical therapist, whereas CalExotics describes itself as a producer of adult toys and pleasure products with “all products intended for use as a novelty”.
While adult toys and pleasure products provide valid stimulation and added arousal to sexual experiences, they typically do not provide the health benefits or effectiveness derived from specifically-designed medical devices to treat vaginal conditions. In addition to finding medical-grade dilators at Intimate Rose, customers will also find instructions, support, answers, and solutions to all types of pelvic health issues.
Additional differences between Intimate Rose and CalExostics dilators are outlined below under the four most important factors associated with vaginal dilators – size, material, comfort & price.
Although both brands sell dilator sets, the number of dilators included as well as the range of sizes differ greatly. At Intimate Rose, for example, vaginal dilators come in sets of 8, with a wide variety of sizes starting at 0.45 inches in diameter and 2.8 inches long to 1.5 inches in diameter and 6.5 inches long.
Although the set of 5 vaginal dilators from CalExotics offer similar sizes when it comes to the smallest and largest dilators in the set, the lack of sizes in between often results in too large of a diameter difference when graduating from a smaller dilator to the next size in the set. Although fewer dilator sizes in a set might cost less initially, pelvic health practitioners warn that it’s not worth cutting corners when it comes to healing painful vaginal conditions.
An added factor that patients mention when it comes to the different sizes in a dilator set is that choosing the correct size dilator is much easier when each dilator in the set has a different color. Although CalExotics dilators come in slightly varying shades of pink, customers report getting confused as to which one they are currently using. In contrast, Intimate Rose customers do not have this issue, because each dilator is a different color.
Dilators are designed to relieve pain inside the vagina and are ideally made from comfortable, body-safe materials. In this case, CalExotics describes their silicone dilators as being made from soft ‘premium silicone’, which could be or could not be medical-grade silicone - it is not categorically stated. Intimate Rose dilators, on the other hand, are made from silky smooth, soft, body-safe, non-sticky, BPA-free medical-grade silicone. The soft feel is still firm enough to be advantageous in dilator training, however the smooth finish maximizes the comfort of the person using them. This is particularly important for people who have had radiation treatment for cancer or surgery. Additionally, Intimate Rose dilators are one of the few vaginal dilators to be registered and compliant with the FDA.
Intimate Rose dilators are also designed with matte-finish silicone to further protect the delicate skin or sensitive scar tissue inside the vagina.
Comfort is of the utmost importance when it comes to inserting something into the fragile vaginal environment, particularly when pain is present. According to Intimate Rose customer reviews, their silicone dilators feel soft, smooth, flexible, and ‘life-like’ inside the vagina. In contrast, CalExotics reviews mention that they feel hard, pointy, poky, and too curved for comfort. The smallest dilator in their set also receives feedback as being “too stabby because the tip is so thin.”
When it comes to vaginal dilators remaining comfortably in place once inserted, the feedback is positive for Intimate Rose due to the protective lip at the end of the dilators. On the other hand, many CalExotics customers mention that holding the finger ring on the end of their dilators to keep the dilator in place hinders their ability to relax while dilating. Given that relaxing the body and mind are of key importance during vaginal dilation, holding the dilator in place with the finger ring appears to be counterproductive for many.
A set of 8 Intimate Rose dilators, in incrementally increasing sizes, is priced at $179.99 compared to $83.99 for a set of 5 dilators from CalExotics. Although the price of Intimate Rose dilators might seem more costly, most patients agree that the investment, and the extra sizes of dilators, are well worth the pain-free outcome. In fact, one customer at CalExotics stated that they “would have spent a little more money and bought a different set.”
As a budget-friendly option, Intimate Rose also offers the option of purchasing two sets of 4 dilators, priced at $79.99 for the four smaller dilators, and $99.99 for the four larger dilators.
Vaginal dilators are medical tools designed to relieve painful sex and anxiety during penetration by gently stretching tight vaginal muscles and gradually restoring flexibility to the vaginal tissues. There are many brands and types of vaginal dilators available in today’s market, with some proving more effective than others, as per our research above concerning Intimate Rose silicone dilators vs CalExotics.
That said, it is important to understand that although comparisons between different types of dilators are useful for research, it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider before purchasing to ensure the dilator to ensure it is the right one for you.
Very Well Health – Vaginal Dilators: What You Need to Know - https://www.verywellhealth.com/vaginal-dilators-5220401
Mayo Clinic – Dysapeurnia - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/painful-intercourse/symptoms-causes/syc-20375967
Medicine Journal & Research Articles - Vaginal dilator use to promote sexual wellbeing after radiotherapy in gynecological cancer survivors- https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/Fulltext/2022/01280/Vaginal_dilator_use_to_promote_sexual_wellbeing.46.aspx
Health System, University of Michigan - Vaginal Lubricants, Moisturizers,
Dilators & Counseling - https://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/PMR/SexualHealth/lubricants.pdf