Most dilators sets are PRETTY pricey!
A wonderful human recently commented on a post of mine on my Instagram:
“I wish I was able to afford dilators… I wish dilators were more accessible and less of a huge privilege.”
And if that’s you, I’m sorry they’re not in your budget right now.
So are there alternatives that could help you on the vaginismus journey?
Some people choose to use other tools to engage in a dilating practice. But this comes with its risks around hygiene…
One example is that you can use different sizes makeup brushes, or something similar, but make sure it’s rounded, has no pointed edges or scratchy sections on the surface! Also that it’s non-porous and thoroughly cleaned with warm water and non-abrasive soap before use.
As I wrote about here though, it’s not my recommendation to use a hard material dilators or dilator alternatives since silicone is SO much more comfortable!
The best case scenario is to find a silicone dilator set that is ALSO affordable!
Introducing the Blush Novelties dilator set!
It looks like this!
I tried this cute set myself and this is what I have to report:
Number of Dilators
This set is made up of 4 dilators.
That’s 4 different sizes which is the least you’ll find on the market for a full dilator set, from all sets that I’ve tried.
Yes, this is probably the main reason that contributes to it being more affordable!
The set includes dilators that gradually increase in size to allow for a comfortable and a smooth experience as you progress with your dilator training.
This is THE most important attribute when it comes to dilators.
Diameter is the most important measure when talking about size because it determines how much your pelvic floor muscles need to stretch in order to allow the dilator into your vaginal canal.
The difference in length of the dilator isn’t AS important since you can choose what length of the dilator to insert.
The diameters of all sizes are as follows:
Size 1: 0.5 inches (Another dilator manufacturer, Soul Source has its first size also exactly at 0.5 inches).
Size 2: 0.75 inches (also the same as Soul Source‘s Size 2 dilator)
Size 3: 1 inches (this is the same as Soul Source‘s Size 4 dilator!)
Size 4: 1.25 inches (this is the same as Soul Source‘s Size 6 dilator!)
It’s really great that this set’s smallest dilator is as small as possible (the same size as the industry standard of an 8-piece set).
And after size 2, the Blush Novelties set graduates sizes faster than the Soul Source dilators. The Soul Source dilators I compared to have 8 dilators in the full set. The Size 7 dilator has a diameter of 1.4375 and the Size 8 dilator has a diameter of 1.625 inches.
If you go with the Blush Novelties set, to practice at the larger sizes you could perhaps use a small insertable vibrator instead!
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to be able to insert all dilators to achieve success with your dilator training. The largest dilator you should aim to insert, if sexual penetration is your goal, is the size of your partner’s penis.
If inserting a tampon is what you’d like to achieve, then you may only need to practice with the first two sizes of the dilators.
This is the second most important attribute.
The dilators are made from body safe silicone, with no fragrances, phthalates, paraffins, or latex.
This is what you should be looking for.
And it’s not plastic!
Feel of Material (Touch)
The 2 types of feel of silicone dilators are a matte-like feel and a glossy-like feel.
Glossy-like feel of the silicone makes the dilators a bit sticky to the touch. It feels as though you’re holding a tennis racquet, the grip of which is designed to avoid it slipping out of your hand. Or as though you’re letting a slip-proof phone case rest on your palm – as you angle your hand slightly, it doesn’t slip out easily.
The dilators by Soul Source have this glossy-like feel.
On the other hand, the Blush Novelties dilators have a matte-like feel of the silicone, which makes them silky smooth and soft to the touch. When you run your fingers along the surface, it’s as though you’re touching a silk-like texture. The dilator can slip around your palm and fingers effortlessly.
When running your fingers along the bare dilators, this difference IS significant to the touch.
With this tactical experience of both types of dilators, you may already make some assumptions.
You may assume that having a silk-like silicone will be smoother and more comfortable during insertion into your vaginal canal, rather than the glossier, stickier alternative.
This seems logical…
And I tested if this is the case in practice.
Okay, not quite like that!
The first step was putting lube on the dilators.
When you cover both dilators with a liberal amount of lube (highly recommended for dilator training), pre-insertion, the difference between the dilators disappears fully. You only feel the lubricant that covers the surface of the silicone, so both the glossy and matte-like silicone feel the exact same.
It’s important to note that as the dilators are being inserted and remain inside your body, the lubricant naturally gets absorbed by your skin and therefore comes off of the dilator. As the lubricant layer rubs off, the matte vs glossy-feel of the silicone becomes prominent once again.
I know this because after I took out the dilator from my vaginal canal, I sensed the matte-like and glossy-like feel again, this time just unevenly covered in a thin layer of lubricant (whether the original one, or my body’s natural lubrication).
But is there a difference in the two textures of the dilators while inside the body?
During insertion, in and out movement and trigger point release, I personally didn’t notice the matte-like vs the glossy-like feel of the silicone to feel much different while inside my body.
HOWEVER, whether you can tell the difference between the smooth and silky textures depends on a few major factors, like what lubricant you’re using, whether your body creates enough additional natural lubrication and EVEN how delicate your skin is.
You may notice that the glossy-like feel of the silicone is less comfortable if you are using a hypo-osmolar or hyper-osmolar lubricant instead of an iso-osmolar one, you don’t have enough additional natural lubrication, and if you have delicate skin.
Vulva owners who have sustained tears giving birth and who have undergone radiation to the vaginal tissue have highly sensitive and delicate skin respectively.
As per Dr. Amanda, President of Intimate Rose, the matte-like finish of their dilators was specifically used to protect delicate skin and sensitive scar tissue in the perineum and inside the vagina.
I haven’t yet given birth and other than having had vaginismus, I haven’t had any other injury to the pelvic floor to result in tearing, sensitive scar tissue or otherwise delicate skin. So I’m afraid I cannot vouch for this myself.
I can only say that if you have sensitive and delicate skin for any reason and you’re not using an iso-osmolar lubricant, you MAY find the the glossy-like feel of the Soul Source dilators uncomfortable.
At the same time, Soul Source actually had the matte-like finish of their dilators in the past, but switched to the glossy-like finish as they found that people prefer it for its appearance and ease of cleaning.
Feel of Material (Flexibility)
The Blush Novelties dilators are THE most flexible ones I’ve seen on the market so far.
The BioMoi set I’ve tried is the second-most flexible.
So what kind of flexibility should you be looking for?
More flexible dilators increase your comfort during dilator training. That’s why the rigid plastic set I used was extremely uncomfortable and unforgiving.
On the other hand…
Since dilators are meant to create some resistance against your pelvic floor muscles (and can also be used for trigger point release), it’s important that they are firm enough to be able to effectively apply pressure.
In other words, you can’t put pressure on a tomato using a feather!
It’s just too delicate!
I haven’t yet run into a set that is too flexible to make dilating ineffective… SO the attribute of flexibility is important for comfort, and isn’t a deal breaker when it comes to efficacy!
Okay, heart-shaped bases?
I love that – the Blush Novelties set has character!
Although aesthetics don’t seem to be very important, there are a few practical aspects of nice-looking dilators.
This set is entirely purple.
Other sets have a colour differentiation between sizes which I find makes it easier to identify and remember which one you should pick up during your dilator training.
The worst would be trying with a size too large and getting disappointed with yourself, only to realize that you were trying to insert the wrong dilator!
Unfortunately, the Blush Novelties dilators don’t have an indicator of size on them, to help you avoid such mistakes (like a little number on their base for example).
This just means you’ll have to keep track of the sizes, visually. With a set of only 4 dilators, this isn’t TOO difficult to do.
Ease of Cleaning
I find these dilators easy to clean.
When it comes to cleaning, it’s important to clean and dry any intimate tool or toy thoroughly, as bacteria CAN grow on damp surfaces.
In your drying, I recommend that you to pay special attention to contours in the silicone, if any. The Blush Novelties dilators are fully smooth and do not have any added contour.
Place of Manufacturing
The Blush Novelties dilators are designed in the USA and manufactured elsewhere.
The set doesn’t come with a pouch to store them in, so you may want to find ideally a cloth pouch to keep them cool and dry.
Price (in USD)
The full 4-piece dilator set is only $55.
If you did want to get each size individually from a company like Soul Source for example, you’re looking at between $18 and $55 PER dilator.
Coming in for a close second-most affordable set, the Inspire 5-piece dilator set is $60.
And I’ve partnered with Betty’s Toy Box to provide you with a 10% discount! Just use code KATRINWITHLOVE at checkout.
Also, I’ve been sure to do my research thoroughly and objectively, so you can read about my reviews of other dilator sets here:
VuVa (these ARE plastic, but also magnetic so I felt that I needed to share my thoughts on the tech behind these dilators)
So it’s safe to say that…
Dilators can be pretty pricey, BUT comfortable and relatively affordable options DO exist!
Please comment below with your thoughts about anything I shared!
As part of the Pain Free and Intimate Recipe, I’ve put together a detailed online course designed to take you through the dilating process at the right pace, to avoid pain and finally break the cycle of pain!
AND, I want to congratulate you for committing to your healing journey by doing your research and reading this!
Starting is the hardest step and that means you’re well on your path to healing! Celebrate that fact today… How about a massage?
And if you haven’t gotten your hands on my free online course yet, get “Putting Vaginismus In The Past” now.
To your affordable, sexual freedom!
– Katrin, with Love