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18 Aug 2023 (Last updated 18 Aug 2023)

How many people use sex toys and should I buy one?

Vibrator Guide 6 min read
Smile Makers Author
How many people use sex toys and should I buy one?

60% of us use and own vibrators so it is about time that the taboo of owning one flew away! Let’s chat about how and why they exist and which one is a good starting point.

The world can’t stop vibing, and we are here for it. Seriously, if you’re yet to buy a sex toy, vibrators are a good place to start. Vibrators are the most popular sex toy and with so many shapes and sizes for all types of stimulation, it’s no surprise. Is it healthy to use a vibrator? Should you buy a vibrator? Where do I even buy one? We’ve got your vibrator curiosity covered.

Prevalence of sex toy usage.

According to a 2022 Statista survey, 82% of women own at least one sex toy, which checks out. In 2020, our own sexual wellness study reported that 3 in 5 women worldwide use or are curious to use vibrators - let alone all the other toys such as dildos, anal beads, pillows etc. Our favorite fun fact?

In the UK, more households own a vibrator than a dishwasher.

The popularity of vibrators suggests that they are the perfect first-time sex toy. For those that are vibrator curious, our survey found that more than half of women would like to buy vibrators in mainstream or beauty stores (since then, we have launched in two of the biggest global retailers - Sephora and Ulta). 

Making sex toys more accessible and removing the pressure to enter a space that could be intimidating helps welcome more women and vulva owners to explore their sexuality. Sex shops and adult stores are great, but they can be intimidating for many people. Buying a vibrator should be a comfortable, exciting experience, and breaking down this shopping barrier makes for a whole lot of pleasure to be found.

This begs the question: if you haven’t already, should you buy a vibrator?

Benefits of trying a sex toy for the first time.

In short, yes. We can go on and on about the benefits of masturbation, from better sleep to a boost in mood; the positive physical and mental impact on wellbeing means vibrator users are more likely to see sexual wellbeing as important. In the same way that having a class membership can help people feel more in control of their fitness, having tools to help nurture self-pleasure can boost a vulva owner’s focus on their sexual wellness.

Time spent exploring our pleasure anatomy and erogenous zones, the better our confidence and relationship with ourselves, two things that studies show are contributing factors to better sexual satisfaction.

And it’s not just solo sex that vibrators make a difference! When women understand their pleasure and what gets them off, the more they value their pleasure in partnered situations - especially the importance of clitoral stimulation in reaching orgasm.

Common concerns and misconceptions.

Sex toy popularity shows that, far from being solutions to disappointing sex life, vibrators are something most people use to enhance pleasure. In fact, they lead to a happier and more satisfying one - a better and more playful sex life.

Of course, there is a first time for everything, and you never forget your first vibrator. Many people before you may have had to dive into dark sex shops or buy a dubious vibrator from Amazon, but buying a vibrator has never been as easy as it is now! You can find first-time sex toys in everyday places, helping remove the social stigma - because masturbation is normal and very healthy, and people with vulvas want pleasure too!

The best part? Finding vibes on reputable retailers, such as Beauty Bay and Boots, means your first pick is going to be a body-safe one. When choosing a vibrator, it’s super important to consider the material it is made of. Think about it like you do skincare; the vulva is one of the most sensitive parts, after all!

choosing first time sex toy

Tips for a positive first-time experience.

The first time you have sex with a vibrator - solo or partnered - is all about pleasure and exploration. Here’s how to ensure you vibe with your vibrator from the beginning…

  1. Get to know all the different types of vibrators. Remember, they are not the same as dildos, and unlike dildos, come in lots of forms for alll kinds of stimulation - internal and external.
  2. Think about your personal preference. We all have unique desires and ways we enjoy being stimulated; what works for our bestie might not work for us. So, whilst we LOVE a friend’s vibrator recommendation - don’t assume it’s going to be the one for you, too. Instead, take the time to really think about what you like. Do you have extra clitoral sensitivity? Is vaginal penetration painful? Do you like gentle motions? The Smile Makers’ vibrator quiz gives a personal recommendation on what you like.
  3. Partnered up? It’s a common confusion that when we’re in a relationship, we stop masturbating. False false false. No matter our relationship status, we should continue to explore our sexual selves - me-time helps us learn about our bodies and builds our confidence. More so, if you want to use a vibrator with your partner, as cliche as it is, communication is key.
  4. Start with a beginner-friendly sex toy. Something that is unintimidating and going to get you excited to play. The best come with handy, user-friendly manuals that give you a step-by-step guide on how to use the vibrator for the first time, plus extra inspiration on how to experiment further.

Recommended first-time sex toys.

As mentioned, vibrators are a popular beginner-friendly option. Especially as they are easy on the eyes and the bank account.

Choosing a budget-friendly vibrator doesn’t mean scrimping on quality; Brands like Smile Makers are working with world-renowned manufacturers to produce body-safe and beautiful sex toys that are affordable. The cheapest vibrators are often bullet or lipstick vibrators, these small ones are designed for clitoral stimulation. 

Clit vibrators are a go-to for vi-curious people, as the direct touch is how most women reach orgasm. The Firefighter vibrator provides a unique spin on this type of stimulation whilst also staying low-budget.

the firefighter first time vibrator

The best way to feel comfortable about becoming a first-time vibe owner is to secure a discreet pleasure investment. Think silent and rechargeable; that way, the people you live with will not suspect a thing (missing remote batteries can be a dead giveaway).


There’s a first time for everything, and looking at the sex toy stats, using a vibrator is a pretty universal experience. We are all vibrator rookies once, and the knowledge we gain from that point is hugely impactful in creating a good sex life for ourselves, the pleasurable sex life we all deserve. So, we hope this is the sign you were looking for to go forth and vibe.

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