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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!
Welcome 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 email@example.com.
To send Joan your questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.”