If it's your first time entering a sex shop, you might stand there, eyes darting from the rabbit vibrators to the purse-sized bullet vibes, with questions whirling around your brain. What vibrator is right for you? Is that one too big? Why does this one look like a lightbulb attached to a tree branch?

If you're able to make a snap decision and choose a toy off the shelf, once you get home, will you even know how to use a vibrator?

Take a deep breath, unwind with a bit of guided meditation, and then read on. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about what you're looking for and make sure you have enough information to ask questions about the selection.

Let us fill you in on the types of vibrators available and their functions. Then you can shop, empowered with information, so you can decide which type is most likely to help you achieve the orgasm of your dreams.

Learning how to use a vibrator can improve your sex life

Whether you have a vagina or a penis, using a vibrator can enhance your sex life. According to research in the journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy, vibrators have helped successfully treat sexual dysfunction such as an inability to orgasm, pelvic pain, or erectile dysfunction. But, even if you don't have sexual health concerns, more pleasure is reason enough to try a vibrator (or three!).

Because you’re in control, vibrators can provide just the right type and amount of stimulation to your genitals. They increase blood flow, enhance lubrication, and can help you figure out exactly how to get the orgasm you want.

According to the study, people who use vibrators report higher levels of sexual desire, and wanting sex is the first step toward taking charge of your pleasure. Women who use vibrators during masturbation report multiple orgasms during partnered sex more often than those who don’t.

The increase in orgasm potential could be because people with vaginas who masturbate regularly learn what sort of stimulation they like or because they start reaching for their favorite toy during partnered sex. The link between vibration and orgasm isn't wholly understood, but as long as everyone has more orgasms, we're down for some vibration.

The two main types of vibrators

Options used to be limited to battery-operated, phallic-shaped toys, but now vibrators come in as many variations as labia, and we couldn't be happier. The sex toy industry recognizes that every labia and clitoris are as unique as those who own them. We are all entitled to receive the type of sexual pleasure we desire. But, all that choice can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re just learning how to use a vibrator.

The first thing that differentiates vibrators is whether they provide internal or external stimulation. Many clitoris owners can only orgasm with direct clitoral stimulation, while others prefer internal stimulation in their vagina or anus (or both!). Once you decide if you want internal, external, or all of the above, you’ll want to consider the other available features.

Some simple vibrators offer one type of stimulation, but most companies recognize the need for various vibration patterns and different speed settings. Our sexual arousal and responsiveness change often throughout the month and across our lifetime. On Monday, you might want a vigorous flicking motion, but by Friday, you might be in the mood for a mode that changes intensity. Choosing a versatile toy can help ensure that you get what you want when you want it.

Many vibrators now offer remote control options that can free your hands up to touch your erogenous zones during masturbation or make dinners out with your partner a bit more exciting. Some companies have even created app-controlled vibrators that allow you and your partner to play together when you're apart.

Most vibrators are made of silicone or plastic, though bioplastics are entering the market for eco-conscious consumers. You'll also likely find that most are rechargeable instead of battery-powered.

External stimulation vibrators

Vibrators that provide external stimulation against your labia or clitoris give the direct stimulation many vagina owners need to achieve orgasm during solo or partnered sex. Sometimes, the strength of vibrations can feel a bit overwhelming.

If you're exploring how to use a vibrator, and the idea of direct clitoral stimulation is intimidating, try flipping it to the lowest setting and running the toy along your forearm, your wrist, and your thighs at first. Focusing on other areas can stimulate plenty of nerve endings and encourage you to try the vibrations against your vulva.

There are many types of external vibrators with varying degrees of intensity. Here's a non-exhaustive list of the types you're likely to encounter when you wander into a sex shop.

Bullet vibrator

A bullet vibrator is small and designed for external stimulation. Many are plastic or silicone, but some companies are making aluminum toys you can use with any type of lubricant or bioplastics that are eco-friendly. It's also important to check whether your toy is waterproof if shower or bath time play is important.

Some bullet vibes look like cosmetics, which is convenient if you're concerned about discretion. Maude offers a simple bullet vibe with three speeds. Others are egg-shaped, like the Drop, also from Maude.

One of the main selling points of a bullet vibe is its size. Most can fit snugly in your purse in case an orgasmic emergency arises.

Wand vibrator

Wand vibrators, such as the Hitachi Magic Wand, are designed for external stimulation, though many have available vagina- and anus-safe attachments. Flipping the switch on a wand vibrator produces a rumbly vibration that's powerful enough to satisfy every one of your nerve endings.

Sucking vibrator

Sucking vibrators have been around for a few years and use air pressure to simulate oral sex against your vulva. Many combine the suction with tiny pulses that cause intensely pleasurable clitoral stimulation. The suction and pulses are gentle though, so the only risk is passing out from orgasmic bliss.

Wearable vibrators

Wearable vibrators for women typically tuck into your underwear and provide discreet clitoral stimulation with the touch of a remote or an app. We-Vibe created the Moxie, which has both a remote and an app control option. You or your partner can control the vibrations from across the room or across the country.

Dame products offer wearable vibrators that tuck against your labia for hands-free solo fun or attach to your or your partner's fingers to enhance sensation.

Penis-having people benefit from wearable vibrators, too, since many fit around their shaft. Cock rings like We-Vibe's Verge provide vibration that nestles against your clitoris during penetrative sex. Your partner may also enjoy the sensation against their penis, and they'll especially like watching you react.

Internal stimulation vibrators

Internal vibrators provide a filling sensation inside your vagina or anus to simulate penetrative sex (with the added benefit of vibration). Some vaginal vibrators are straight like a dildo, while others are curved to provide g-spot stimulation.

Anal toys come in just as many varieties as those used for vaginas and you can use many toys both vaginally and anally. If you're using toys anally, it's a good idea to use a condom or keep your vaginal and anal toys separate. Sexual hygiene is important and having individual toys for specific types of stimulation will prevent irritation down the line!

If you're interested in exploring internal sex toys, here are some categories to help you choose the right one for you.

Vibrating dildos

Dildos are penetrative sex toys and are ideal for those who enjoy vaginal or anal stimulation. While many women struggle to orgasm with penetration alone, the vibrations can help increase blood flow and lubrication, making it easier to climax. You may also enjoy alternating between rubbing the dildo across your vulva and clitoris and then using it internally.

G-spot vibrators

G-spot vibrators like the Arc from Dame curve to reach the area just inside the front wall of your vagina, known as the g-spot. The g-spot is part of your clitoris, which is why it loves attention so much. Pressure and friction on this spot, either combined with or following external clitoral stimulation, can produce intense orgasms.

Vibrating butt plugs

For those who enjoy anal stimulation, a butt plug can intensify masturbation or partnered sex. Butt plugs come in various styles, from smooth to ribbed to remote-controlled ones or those attached to a cock ring.

If you're purchasing a butt plug, be sure it's made of a nonporous material, so it's easy to clean, and that it has a broad base, so it's easy to remove.

Combination vibrators offer more options and more orgasms

If you want to try out more than one kind of toy, we have some great news. Many companies create vibrators that are better at multitasking than most humans.

Companies like We-Vibe design vibrators that sit against both your clitoris and g-spot at the same time. You can even use them during penetrative sex to enhance your experience.

Rabbit vibrators provide internal stimulation through vibrating, rotating, or even thrusting, while an external clitoral stimulator works your genitalia into a tizzy. Most have different buttons to control each function, and many use a remote, so your hands are free to wander as you wish.

You can even find vibrators that provide anal and vaginal penetration at the same time while still stimulating your clit. No wonder masturbation often results in more orgasms than partnered sex.

Don't forget the lube and toy cleaner

Sex toys are typically made from silicone, plastic, or other easy-to-clean materials. Your best bet is to clean toys with unscented soap and water since it won't disturb the delicate pH of your vaginal area. You may also choose to use a spray cleaner specifically designed to inhibit fungal and bacterial growth like this one from Dame.

Our last bit of vibrator advice is: lube, lube, and more lube. Sure, vaginas are self-lubricating but adding a bit more can reduce friction and make it easier to orgasm (which is the whole point of using the vibrator in the first place). Using a water-based lube is best if your toys are silicone, since oils and other materials can cause the silicone to degrade.

Set the mood for your pleasure session

Many people find that fantasizing while masturbating inspires greater arousal and leads to stronger orgasms. If you find it difficult to keep you mind focused on the task (or toy) at hand, listening to erotic audio may help.

Dipsea offers erotic audio that includes vibrator play, which may be just the thing to inspire you to try your new toy. Lay back and relax as Jennifer teases you to orgasm with her necklace vibrator, or close your eyes and let your hands (and vibrator) wander as Quentin narrates how he'd like to tease you in public.