They sell vibrators in drug stores now.
It’s true! They do! They have for several years. I remember learning about them, upon their release – my first thought was “well, that’s interesting.” My second thought was, “I look forward to never using any of these.”
Politically, I am all for drug-store vibrators. Considering the fact that vibrators are still illegal in some parts of the United States, even for medical use, it’s absolutely worth noting how radical drug store vibrators truly are. They’re not hidden by black out curtains, or disguised as “back massagers”. They’re not made lurid by explicit or raunchy packaging. They’re tools for pleasure, frequently female pleasure, presented plainly under fluorescents as a fact of life.
However, everyone I’ve spoken to who spends time and money on vibrators has had disdain for them since learning of their existence. It’s nice that they exist, obviously! But they’re… entry level. I mentioned the idea of trying drug store vibrators to the friendly salesperson at my local sex-toy emporium, and he looked as though I’d suggested eating raw sewage. “That sounds awful,” he said.
With all due respect, that’s some bullshit. Speaking for myself, I am a snob. We are all snobs. We need to get over ourselves. Thus, drugstore vibrator reviews. Let’s go.
I enlisted the help of my boyfriend for this endeavor, and we decided on CVS for the acquisition phase. Initially, my plan had been to buy a few things, and then we’d try them whenever we got around to it – that is, until Boyfriend asked me a well-intentioned question that happened to include the word “procedure”.
Boom. Done. Pseudo-science streak triggered. “We need one from each condom company!” I yelped, like a mad scientist suturing together a creature from chicken parts. “We can only use one per day! Do we need to choose a set of positions? Do we need to regulate our diets? CAN WE STILL GO TO WORK OR WILL THAT THROW IT OFF? WHY ARE YOU WALKING AWAY FROM ME?”
The doors of the pharmacy slid open to reveal rows of metal shelves, lit by buzzing fluorescents; our cavern of sin.
“The vibrators will be with the condoms, do you think?” I said to Boyfriend.
“I have no idea,” he said. “I’ve never bought a sex toy before.”
I squealed. Fireworks shot out of the cash register. The unkempt gentleman attempting to steal Listerine two aisles over broke into a Puccini aria. A SEX TOY VIRGIN. I GOT TO GO SHOPPING WITH A SEX TOY VIRGIN. He had, of course, seen my collection, examined a few things and stared inquisitively at a few others. But this would undoubtedly be the greatest thing that had ever happened, because NOT ONLY would we get to buy and test vibrators, I would also get to see his untainted, off-the-rack reactions.
I dragged him down the aisles, past the pregnancy tests and stacks of adult diapers. As we reached the vibrators, crammed into their tiny plastic racks, I was painfully aware of the other pharmacy patrons – for instance, the youth soccer team running up and down the aisles, or the senior citizens bickering over their prescription details twenty feet away from us. I’ll say one thing for sex shops – your great aunt doesn’t buy her heart medication there.
“Okay,” I said, with the energy of a cruise director on Adderall. “If I just turned you loose in here, and asked you to buy something for us to use, what would you get?”
His face blanched. “No other direction?” he asked. “No price range?”
“Cost is as much of a factor as it is ordinarily,” I said.
We went down the line, and he responded to each product individually. Here were his impressions:
After this experience, I need to give a quick PSA: penis brain is so real, you guys. So. Real. Boyfriend is a person who has witnessed a Hitachi in action, who knows his way around a clitoris, and yet was still thinking only in terms of penetration for like 90% of this exercise. I love him very dearly, so I am going to unashamedly blame this on penises worldwide. Penises, you’re on notice.
We purchased the LifeStyle A:Muse His & Hers vibrating ring and finger massager. We decided to order the Trojan Vibrations Triphoria on Amazon, because it was 50% cheaper there and we weren’t going to spend $44.00 on that thing. From Durex, we had the option of a vibrating cock ring, or the mystery vibrator.
Much to Boyfriend’s chagrin, I insisted on the Durex Play Allure mystery vibrator because yeah, maybe we could just Google the contents, but life is for living and for god’s sake we were going to live it.
We also purchased an electric toothbrush, because we’ve got a sick sense of humor. Sup, Oral B.
We began with the mystery vibrator (BECAUSE I ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT WAIT).
To Durex’s credit, there was a flap on the front of the box that was meant to give a sneak peek of the contents, but in the interest of decency it had been sealed shut with some kind of infernal plastic duct tape that could only be opened by the one true king of England. After sawing away with a cheap pair of scissors, we wrestled open the box to reveal… a fairly plain white dildo. Nothing special. The kind of thing you’d expect to find in your mom’s underwear drawer.
Rather than having a specific number of settings, the Allure has a gradient of intensity – the base is a dial that can be turned to increase or decrease the speed of the vibration. There are no pulsation modes – it’s a constant humming vibe, and it’s a pretty high frequency buzz. The plastic is pearlescent (which is nice) and hard, rather than soft silicone.
For partner sex (initially missionary with the vibe sandwiched between partners, and then woman-on-top with the vibrator in the same position), the Allure is well designed – it’s slim, and can be held comfortably and maneuvered with little effort. The fucking dial, though… This is absolutely just my problem, I know this, but I could not work that goddamn dial while I was enjoying myself. Post-coitus, I fiddled with it in an attempt to get familiar with the little fucker, but continued to have difficulty. During solo use, the monotony of the vibration didn’t really do it for me – it’s certainly a matter of personal preference, but it was a little repetitive for my liking.
RATING: 2 out of 5 Electric Toothbrushes
Next, we tried the LifeStyle A:Muse His & Hers. Has anyone ever intentionally bought LifeStyles condoms before? I know I’ve used them, but only ever in college, and only during one-night stands. They’re the official brand of free STD prevention baskets and creepy dudes who “don’t remember” to actually buy condoms.
Anyways, LifeStyles’ vibrators seem to be targeting a similar market. This pairing was the least expensive of anything we purchased, and was also cheaply made (the toy is only meant to last for 45 minutes, and then it peters out) – this said, they’re a great first-time sex toy, and they’re perfect for one-time use. Both the cock ring and the finger sleeve come with vibrators that have three settings (a low, medium, and high), though the differences were minimal. For my body, the finger sleeve was pretty much a non-starter. The cock ring also didn’t feel like much for me – Boyfriend, however, enjoyed it immensely.
This toy is, in my opinion, perfect for drug stores. It’s ideal for spontaneous use, and it requires little set-up. I could see a young, somewhat intoxicated couple picking up this toy on an impulse from Duane Reade and having a great time with it.
This toy is designed for P-in-V pairings – use as you wish, but something to be aware of!
RATING: 3 out of 5 Electric Toothbrushes
Finally, we tried the Trojan Vibrations Triphoria. Trojan has clearly been investing a lot of resources into its vibrator designs. I was initially skeptical of the Triphoria – interchangeable tips seemed like a gimmick, and frankly, not a good one. The widened base makes it difficult to use during partner sex, so that’s a big point against this toy. However, with multiple speeds and pulsation settings, the vibration is more sophisticated than the products from the other two companies, and to my body, felt more pleasurable. The different tips made a substantial difference.
Friends, I am going to be real with you. This toy has entered regular rotation in our collection. Granted, it’s not comparable to a high-end vibrator – it’s foolish to expect it to be. This said, you can buy it for $35.00, and it’s worth every cent. This is the perfect example of the populist vibrator; it’s cheap, it’s effective, it’s available anywhere. There’s something to be said for removing the novelty from the vibrator, and making sexual pleasure accessible to more people.
Rating: 4 out of 5 electric toothbrushes