Times sure have changed since I started my Vaginismus recovery program. At the time the only dilator set that seemed easily accessible to me was made from hard plastic, looked very clinical, and didn’t exactly scream ‘sexy’. While I’ll never stop loving my original dilators for the freedom they helped me achieve, I am so happy that there’s an increasingly broad range of dilators on the market, and even more overjoyed that the London-based, sex positive store Sh! Now has their very own range.
Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium launched their range last month and it’s clear that a lot of consideration has gone into the design and release of these toys. Not only does Sh! Have its own blog post highlighting the benefits of these dilators, but they’ve also done a Q&A about dealing with Vaginismus and hosted a launch show in which resident psychosexual and relationship therapist, Sarah Berry spoke about her experiences with the condition.
Needless to say, Sh! take the sexual health and well-being of their customers very seriously and these dilators reflect this perfectly, offering hope while dealing with the uncertainty of sexual pain.
That being said, if I were to be honest with myself I don’t think that I would have personally purchased these dilators when I was going through treatment. Don’t get me wrong; this set offers some amazing benefits and will be life changing for some, but personally I know that the Sh! Dilator Vibe Set would have just left me wanting more but feeling unable to achieve it.
I’ll elaborate in the brunt of my review, but first the specs.
The Sh! Vibrating Silicone Vaginal Dilators Set
The Sh! Dilator Vibe Set is a set of four dilators, which are accompanied by Sh!’s own brand bullet vibrator and a selection of lubricant (my set came with Sh! lubricant and Probe). As a testament to Sh!’s dedication to its customers, each dilator set is hand-crafted in Sh!’s London studio, making the whole process very intimate and thoughtful. At the end of the day, unlike factory-line sex toys, you know that each dilator kit has been given the care and attention that it deserves and that you deserve.
The dilators themselves are made from silicone and, while this isn’t as uncommon as it once was, Sh! does boast the world’s first vibrator soft silicone set on the market. The dilators themselves don’t vibrate, but at the bottom of each dilator is a sturdy base designed to hold Sh!’s own brand bullet vibrator. All you need to do is turn the vibrator on, slide it in and suddenly you’ve got a vibrating dilator which can viably act as an enjoyable toy rather than just being a treatment device.
Silicone as a material is a very good choice for a dilator set, and the Sh! silicone is particularly well-suited for this task. The silicone used for these dilators makes them flexible while also being firm. They have a bit of softness and give to them but they’re also rigid enough to be reliably inserted. What’s more the finish on these dilators is a glossy one. This makes these dilators feel rather grabby at first, but add lubricant and you’ve suddenly got some of the slickest silicone dilators on the market; allowing for a much easier insertion then if they were made from matte silicone.
And, of course, let us not overlook the other benefits of silicone. Being non-porous, phthalate-free and hypoallergenic, silicone is a completely body-safe material which will not cause any unwanted reactions or sensations. Silicone also warms naturally with your own body temperature when inserted, resulting in a very accommodating dilation experience.
Now, even though dilation has a very promising success rate for Vaginismus it should be stressed that this process is not an easy one. Dilating takes time, patience, and a willingness to listen to your body and forgive it when it doesn’t recover as fast as your mind would like it to. Some people can start off with relatively girthy-sized dilators, others start with a tampon, or smaller, a Q-tip. It’s a very personal process.
Sh! seems to understand this very well, as this dilator kit provides some of the slimmest options that I’ve seen in a while. The smallest size in these dilators starts with a 0.3 inch diameter, as opposed to most other kits which typically larger (usually anywhere between 0.45 and 0.6). While it may seem strange to be making observations on 0.1 inches difference this really can be all the difference for some between finding the right dilator and feeling like you’re too broken even for the starting size of some dilator kits (I know when I first got my kit I felt a bit inadequate).
The boost that this can offer, and the gap in the market that it fills in terms of slender dilators, is fantastic and cannot be overlooked. What makes this even better is that Sh! sells these dilators individually too, so you can always start with a single dilator and work from there.
The full measurements for each dilator in this range (and their individual price) are as follows:
Dilator 1 – £19 – 2.8 inch (71mm) / 0.3 inch (12mm)
Dilator 2 – £21 – 3.9 inch (99mm) / 0.5 inch (16mm)
Dilator 3 – £23 – 4.75 inch (20mm) / 0.75 inch (18mm)
Dilator 4 – £25 – 5.75 inch (145mm) / 1 inch (24mm)
Compared to the previous silicone dilator kit that I reviewed, the Sh! Dilator Vibe Set also manages to provide practically designed dilators; which manage to provide a nice taper for users to ease into while also presenting the full girth of the dilator at a reasonable point down the shaft. If you didn’t read that review then let me just stress that it’s important that users can reap the full benefits of their dilator without having to insert too much in order to achieve this. Length can be tackled after girth is addressed in my opinion and you shouldn’t have to take the entire length of a dilator in order to feel that girth, but I digress.
The bullet vibrator used for this set slides into each slot incredibly well and the bases themselves can double as handles because of the design. However, I wasn’t overly thrilled with this set up. The bullet vibe itself was incredibly powerful—impressively so for its size—but this power manifests in a high-pitched buzz, which can be abrasive or even intimidating for some. Granted, this isn’t as much of an issue with the dilators (as the vibe stays in the base and applying it direct to the clit is an optional bonus) but the vibrations didn’t travel well up the shaft of these dilators anyway, so it seemed a bit ineffective to me.
Part of me almost wishes that Sh! Had simply left their dilators with a sturdy base/handle section that didn’t have a bullet slot. This is especially the case as once you turn this buzzy vibrator on you may not feel it a lot in the shaft of the dilators but you sure as hell can feel it in the handle and the sensation is numbing and distracting. Because of this I do feel like the bullet is a rather ineffective aspect of this kit, though the gentle vibrations it provides in the shaft may be enjoyable for some.
But the bullet vibrator isn’t why I probably would have avoided this Set as a young sufferer (in fact, I would have probably found the idea appealing). No. Instead I find that one of this set’s biggest strengths is also a firm weakness: namely it’s too slim.
Dilators are generally used to help Vaginismus sufferers build up to full PiV sex, or to using other, larger items. The average penis is approximately 1.5 inches in diameter. The largest Sh! dilator is 1 inch in diameter. Again, this may not seem like much but that’s actually a pretty large difference for a Vaginismus sufferer to transition up to unaided.
Yes: In theory, you could use this dilator set as a starting point and then transition to other dildos afterwards to continue progressing, but I maintain that you shouldn’t have to. A dilator set is supposed to provide a comprehensive recovery program. Each dilator should provide its user with a realistic set-up in terms of size with the eventual goal of reaching a realistic insertion point from the moment you transition from that last dilator (or even while you’re still using it, to provide a safe return point). In this regard I do feel like the Sh! Dilator Vibe Set is lacking, though this could be remedied down the line if they decide to expand the range.
Overall I really do like the design, material, and finish that the Sh! Dilator Vibe Set provides. I feel like the smaller sizes do offer something valuable and that the glossy silicone will be incredibly accommodating for some. This dilator set can and will change lives. I feel confident of that.
Still, I can’t help but feel like the vibrating bullet is redundant and poorly placed, with vibrations that don’t travel well-enough up the shaft to justify its inclusion or downsides. My personal sense of what a dilator set should provide means that I can’t help but feel like this set is kind of incomplete; a book without an ending.
Of course, at the end of the day, it is you, the Vaginismus sufferer, that will provide the end to your personal story, and just because these dilators may not guide you all the way through the process it doesn’t mean that they won’t have an important place in your journey. Sometimes the hardest part is to start, after all, and the slimmer size of these dilators certainly make those first steps seem a bit less daunting.
People who need smaller dilators to start.
People who want soft, silicone dilators.
People who want the option of vibrating dilators.
Do Not Recommend to:
People who prefer a larger dilator set.
People who dislike buzzy vibrations when holding a toy.
People who want deep, rumbly vibrations.
The Sh! Dilator Vibe Set was provided to me by Sh! in exchange for an honest review. If you liked this review then please do consider checking their site out. They are a truly amazing force for good in the world of sex toys.