Dilator training is an effective integrative therapeutic treatment for vaginismus, vaginal pain or tightness, female penetration disorders and GPPPD. Sexual well-being products such as dilators, vaginal trainers, kegel trainers and pelvic floor trainers continue to improve with technology and innovation. Thankfully, the traditional dilator has also evolved into a product women can feel more comfortable using.
Innovative femme technology for female sexual well-being has improved significantly from the traditional medical-grade, hard plastic straight dilators, which, while functional, to be perfectly honest, would put many off being invested in long-term dilator practice. Dilators are specifically used to help expand, stretch and tone the vaginal and pelvic floor muscles – they are not for sexual pleasure.
Modern dilators used for dilator training are now available in various designs, materials, textures, colours, and size ranges providing women with much freedom and variety when choosing their preferred dilator. You may have already been provided a set of dilators by your OB-GYN and feel comfortable starting with those, if that is the case then these suggestions may provide you with options for later progression.
Take your time exploring the various dilator products available. By choosing the right dilator that both looks and feels personally appealing to your senses, you are sure to feel more invested in regular self-practice, which will help you develop confidence in yourself and your body as you progress through your dilator training programme.
Should dilator training feels outside of your comfort zone right now, that is absolutely okay! You might, instead, consider working towards that goal with an experienced sex therapist and explore the blocks that are holding you back right now. If you have just learned of dilator and would like to know more about incorporating them into an integrative treatment plan, then here are some considerations when choosing the right dilator.
Luxury modern dilators are produced with high-grade body-safe silicone and are ergonomically designed with soft curves to reflect the female body contour. Unlike basic plastic dilators, silicone-based dilators are soft and warm when held in the hand, making them feel comfortable to use, and the soft silicone texture is smooth and silky for easy insertion, which allows the pelvic floor muscles to gently relax. These silicon products provide a more natural sensation and feel when compared with standard plastic dilators.
A dilator set typically comes in a range of five graduating sizes, which increase in width and length. You begin by using the smallest size and slowly work your way up through the dilator sizes as you progress with your training over time. These sets encourage and help the vaginal muscles to relax, loosen, and stretch with ongoing regular practice. There is an important strong psychological and psychosexual component to dilator training, which takes time to develop as you get more comfortable and confident in your body, mind and through the experience.
The NHS provides a downloadable information guide for patients called ‘Vaginal Dilator Exercises for Psychosexual Therapy‘, which you can click on if you are interested in learning more about effective dilator exercises and training.
Every woman will have different goals and motivations when it comes to dilator training – these may or may not relate directly to sexual intimacy. For some, the purpose will be to get to a point of being able to comfortably use tampons during menstruation or overcome fears such genital touch or Genophobia. For others, it will be to progress to more comfortably use other sexual wellbeing products, aids or femme stimulators to develop and enhance sexual health and wellbeing, either alone or with a partner. And for others, the primary goal will be exclusively focused on successful outcomes relating to resolving vaginismus, sexual pain and penetration pain.
Working with a psychosexual therapist will help you understand and define your goals and motivations while mapping out an holistic programme designed specifically for you.
Postnatal women who have experienced difficult vaginal births resulting in vaginal and perineal tears during childbirth causing pain and discomfort, may choose dilator training as part of her recovery process. Here, dilator exercises will help prepare the body and mind once again for enjoyable sexual pleasure and intimacy.
A key aspect of resolving vaginismus or sexual pain is to set goals and work through an integrative holistic approach. You might be interested in reading my related sexual wellbeing articles Embracing an Integrative and Holistic Path for Resolving Vaginismus and Getting Help For Vaginismus and Moving from Powerlessness to Empowerment.
If, like many women, you have the traditional non-ergonomic plastic dilators kit somewhere at the back of your drawer left unused, then it might be time to upgrade your dilator set and start feeling motivated and empowered again to make progress.
Basic plastic dilator sets start from as little as €25, increasing in cost based on product, quality and design to around €125. Watch out for products which are plastic but coated in silicone, these are not the same quality or flexibility as 100% silicone. It is worth investing in the more innovative ergonomically designed medical grade silicone dilator kits which you will feel psychologically more motivated and comfortable using on a regular basis. Choosing the right dilator for your dilator training is a very personal decision, choose quality over cost and go with your gut instinct when visually browsing the range of products.
SexSiopa.ie and BodyGra.ie are two Irish online stores owned by Shawna Scott, a female award-winning business owner since 2012. Shawna is a passionate expert in quality sexual wellbeing products for men, women, and couples. She believes that sexual satisfaction is a human right and that pleasure should be attainable for everyone and every body – her sex positive attitude and business website vibe is so refreshing and liberating. Her online business www.bodygra.ie is Irelands first sexual wellness store for people experiencing sexual pain conditions, sexual dysfunction, illness, and disability.
Both websites are the perfect place to start exploring the different range of products, devices, and aids available to women and couples experiencing a range of sexual problems or who wish to embrace a sex positive attitude and enhance sexual pleasure.
I love the full range of dilator sets and sexual wellbeing products that bodygra.ie have to offer. They stock a variety of luxury 100% silicone-based dilator sets available for home delivery in discrete packaging. If you are starting dilator training or want to purchase a new modern silicone based dilator set then here are some of their great products to check out.
Let’s look at three different types of silicone dilator sets
First, we have the Calexotics Inspire Silicone Dilator Kit, which comes a soft pink colour, velvety smooth silicone, and an easy-to-use finger loop for control, comfort, and confidence. The finger loop will provide reassurance to the more anxious or nervous female starting dilator training.
Or consider the Vagiwell Vaginal Dilator Set made from 100% medical grade satin smooth silicone, suitable for clinical and home use. This dilator set is available in slightly larger sizes then the Calexotics and She-ology ranges. While they are not so curved in design like these other two products, they have a wide ergonomic base and bendable shaft making them comfortable to hold and insert. This set comes with a 50ml water-based lubricant and dilator pouch.
Finally, the She-ology 5 Piece Wearable Silicone Dilator Set, which comes in a variety of colours and graduated sizes, 100% body safe silicone, and a soft ergonomically curved design for comfort. What I love about these wearable dilators are their wide round bases and shorter lengths making them easy to use. These are a good option for women who are just starting out and want to try a smaller dilator size range or alternatively, women who have progressed their dilator training and wish to expand on their exercises and wear them for longer periods of time.
Don’t forget about natural organic lubricant for dilator training
And, of course don’t forget about this other beneficial effective sexual wellbeing product… lubricant! When choosing lubricant, consider opting for a good quality pure natural organic lubricant such as YES OB oil based organic lubricant or YES WB water based organic lubricant, which will help make your dilator exercises more comfortable. You can now also purchase organic natural lubricant that is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The YES range is both pure and hypo-allergenic for the most sensitive bodies.
Many women choose and use lubricant during sexual intimacy to make touch sensation, foreplay, and penetration more comfortable. It can help at any age and stage with vaginal tightness, dryness and discomfort by moisturising and lubricating the sensitive vaginal tissue. Apply the natural lubricant to the dilator and your body if you wish before insertion for ultimate comfort and ease. A good natural organic lubricant is worth the investment and may cost around €20, but will last a long time.
Using these available sexual wellbeing products and making these simple changes will help to create a positive and relaxing experience for you each time you practice dilator training. Someday, when you are ready you may feel comfortable to progress to exploring other sexual wellbeing products.
Always follow the leaflet guidance that come with the dilator set. It is advisable to seek out the guidance and expert advice of a medical professional, OBGYN, psychosexual therapist or sexologist for advice and best practice recommendations for dilator training.
If you would like to book an online consultation with me to discuss sexual problems, sexual health or resolving vaginismus and sexual pain, visit my online therapy page or read more articles on my blog.
You might be interested in reading these other interesting articles about vaginismus;
Getting help for vaginismus and moving from powerlessness to empowerment
The impact of vaginismus on the women, her partner and the couple
Embracing a holistic and integrative path for resolving vaginismus