Sex & Relationships

Vibrators for Older Women: How to Buy the Right One

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A reader writes:

I was looking at some of the sex toys you’ve reviewed on your blog. Can you recommend a vibrator that would not jar arthritic wrists or tire arthritic hands and that is in the range of $30 or less? I’m asking for my mom, who has been depressed since my dad died almost two years ago. Recently she told me she was feeling frustrated. It took me a minute to catch on, but I did. I really think a good orgasm would do wonders for her disposition.  

My mom and I have always been very close – even closer since Dad died. She knows nothing about self-pleasure. I know she will not talk to a doctor about sex, nor will she let me on her behalf. I have no problem giving instruction on how to masturbate, but she refuses, although her interest peaked when I said they make toys that would make her feel much happier. I also know that orgasms can decrease anxiety and give a sense of well-being. I believe this would help her.



Yes, orgasms are amazingly effective for reducing anxiety and depression, and increasing your sense of well-being – and vibrators can be the most powerful shortcut to a strong orgasm! A good vibrator gives us focused stimulation and increased blood flow exactly where we need it, as strong as we need it, for as long as we need it, with minimal stress to arthritic wrists and hands.

The reviews on my blog Naked At Our Age evaluate sex toys from a senior perspective – including the challenge of arthritis. I’ve recommended a few below, but please understand that there’s no “one-size-pleases-all” vibrator for older women just as there isn’t when you’re younger. Any woman shopping for vibrators for the first time needs to first figure out whether she wants it just for clitoral stimulation, or for vaginal (internal) stimulation as well.

Stimulation of the clitoris provides the easiest and strongest orgasm for most women, so a vibrator that’s designed for this is the best bet for a first timer – and especially for an older woman. If your mother enjoys the feeling of penetration as well as clitoral stimulation, she can always add a finger for now, and explore penetrating toys later on.

Our genital tissues become more delicate and sensitive as we age, all the more so if we haven’t had sex in a long time. Besides suggesting that your mother uses plenty of lubricant, you might explore a vibrator with a bit of softness, made of silicone, not plastic. And it’s good to pick one that has a variety of intensities – she may like a light vibration to start getting aroused, then stronger vibrations to get her to orgasm.

It’s also important that the product be made of body-safe materials. Here’s where the prices of the products I review – most run about $100 – differ from the $30 ones you asked about. You can get cheap vibrators, but most of these are made from inferior, even hazardous materials. You don’t want a product that leaches toxic chemicals anywhere near the delicate tissues of your genitals – yet there are no regulations to prevent the sale of these materials in sex toys. So please save for a high quality product from a manufacturer and retailer with a reputation for valuing the sexual health of its customers.

Because choosing a vibrator can be overwhelming – especially if it’s not for you – I suggest you start with one of these (links go to my reviews so you can learn more):

  • Palm Power  A superstrong yet superlight vibrator, ergonomically designed to be easy on hands and wrists. If you need a lot of power but want a lightweight vibrator, you’ll love this one. A personal favorite.
  • Iroha Cute and cushy vibrator that feels like a squeeze-toy. Unintimidating for the new user!
  • Minna Limon Another squishy toy that’s unintimidating and very cute.

If you live close enough to a woman-friendly, education-based, progressive sexuality shop (see my blog for a list), take her on an outing. The staff will be delighted to show the products that are the best fit for her and her preferences – and they’ll be respectful. Be sure to get her a good lubricant, too; pick water-based if her vibrator is silicone.

Once she’s comfortable with her first vibrator, she can expand with penetrating toys, different shapes, quirky qualities. You’ll see when you read my reviews what an amazing world awaits. The first step, though, is just to get her comfortable with using a vibrator. I’ll bet that her first vibrator-assisted orgasm will completely change her mind about the pleasures of masturbation!


Would you like to see more questions and answers? See all of Joan’s advice in Sex At Our Age.

Joan-Price-senior-planetWelcome to our new Sex at Our Age columnist, award-winning senior sexpert Joan Price! Every week during Senior Sex Month and monthly from June onward, Joan will answer your questions about everything from loss of desire to solo sex and partner issues. Nothing is out of bounds!  (Read our Q&A with Joan here.) To send your questions directly to Joan, email 

To send Joan your questions, email All information is confidential.
Joan Price is the author of the award-winning self-help book “Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex” and of “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.” Visit Joan’s  blog, “Naked at Our Age.”


31 responses to “Vibrators for Older Women: How to Buy the Right One

  1. I’m 55 and have almost never used sex toys. I’m quite healthy but it’s not easy for me to Orgasm. I want to get my vagina healthier for better vaginal Orgasms. I want to try something like a vibrating, heating dildo to bring more blood flow in there. Please reccomend something. I want good quality.

  2. I am a diabetic for many years. For the last 5 to 6 years,I have not had an erection but I can still climax after masterbating a soft one for a long time, over an hour.
    I have seen some adverts that explain that sound shocks could work to enable me to get hard. Is this true or just more B.S.

  3. Thanks, for the tip of choosing sex toys with silicon material for older women. I am choosing something for my mother’s second wedding and I want her to know that I support her. I hope she’ll like what I picked out for her.

  4. It helped when you mentioned that it is important that the product is safe. My wife mentioned to me last night that she is hoping to find adult toys shop for her friend and asked if I have any idea what is the best option to do. Thanks to this informative article and I’ll be sure to tell her that it will be much better if she consults a trusted adult toys shop.

  5. I just stumbled across your column, as I sit here in the middle of quarantine. I am fighting depression, even as I am working on a PhD, while realizing that I will not see my family at all during the holiday. My last relationship was nearly 10 years ago, and I am so lonely. I am thinking that I should do something for myself for the holidays. Would a toy help me? Which one? I don’t have anybody else to ask, and like I said, it has been so long since I had sex, so I don’t know what I want anymore. I used to like vaginal penetration, and I think I might even be dreaming about it from time to time. Can you help me find a direction?

      1. I have found it remarkably easy to get picked up by inexperienced 18 to 25yo men that want ‘bed time’. None are around more than a few visit but I enjoy it so much. I am 64! Other than the real thing I would recommend any of the following for immensely satisfying masturbation: Eroscillator, Satisfyer Pro2, Wahl 2 speed body massager, Lelo Smart Wand. These have proven themselves to me time and again while so many other toys have failed and been binned.

  6. I was told by my lady Gyn that women should have regular sex at least a couple times a week or use a vibrator . This keeps us healthy in many ways ! When women stop sex things start to change, and not for the better !! Do not be embarrassed about using a vib !! It will do wonders at keeping your body and attitude healthy !!! Still use mine faithfully at 76 years old !!

    1. I wish my wife had that attitude at 50s.
      She has lupus and arthritic like hands.
      Hands free or easy to handle would be best.
      Best thing in the world for me is seeing my wife orgasm. She is beautiful and I tell her that. Unfortunately sexual intercourse intimacy is 3 years+ past…

  7. My mother in law lost her husband eight years ago and I can see see is depressed and frustrated for her age she is very vibrant more so than my wife she never smiles and I know this is the problem . I was thinking of getting her a toy and just leaving it lying around in her house but I feel funny and out of place doing so especially handing it to her.. I always make her laugh when I’m there and I do kind of have a thing for her . I know this would be cheating and embarrassing if she denied my offer , it’s hard to see her so down when I would discreetly and gladly help . am I just to ease to please her? I don’t know what to do ?

      1. Keep in mind that some vaginas as very small, especially if you have had a pelvic reconstruction. Finding a vibrator that can be introduced in a small vagina can be quite the challenge, if not impossible. I would think that a tooth brush would be second best. I’m not speaking from experience as I never tried

  8. how exactly does this site work. ive been able 2 navigate once in a while but its hit/miss. frustrating/time consuming! i cant access a msg. that the site told me i had on here. i dont want people 2 think im ignoring them. thnx

    1. Hi Kayla, the comment notifications system on the site IS frustrating and we apologize. We’re currently working on an upgrade that we hope will be ready later this summer. Till then, you should be able to scan comments in chronological order – right now, notifications are not for replies to your comments, but for all new comments under the article.

  9. Still not sure which is the best vibrator to use. After undergoing a mastectomy at age 47, I have had no sex drive, and even if I do occasionally have one, I can’t bring myself to orgasm, even with a good vibrator. These are ones that I used before with no problem. I don’t know what the problem is. Help!

  10. Thank you for the answer you have provided. I have found it both insightful and helpful and well kinda fun. Until I had came across one of your columns that I had even considered toys for aging. And of course when mom hinted her frustration it seems you were the only person to ask. I discussed your answer in depth with my husband and now I can talk to mom in a more informed way and if nothing else I can gift her a toy that should help her out a bit. I am so very glad I could finally get an answer. ;)

    1. Vibrator-Curious, I’m so happy that you found this useful and that your mom will benefit. I hope you’ll share Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex with her, too. There are chapters on sex toys, self-pleasuring, and grief. I think they’d be very helpful to your mom, especially with what she’s going through now. My best to her — and to you!

      — Joan

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