I’m laying on my bed with a wand resting in my vagina.
I grit my teeth and find myself holding my breath…
Then I remember to breathe through the discomfort and to allow my body to relax.
“This will be so worth it”, I think.
I already know that this technique has given me incredible pain relief before and is SO worth my effort!
This technique has created breakthroughs in my dilating practice, allowing me to increase dilator sizes much faster and more comfortably.
In the physical healing journey of managing the body response of vaginismus, dilating is a key practice and has 3 distinct benefits in how it can help on your journey in overcoming vaginismus.
Aside from experiencing overall tightness in your pelvic floor muscles though, you might also feel an intense tightness or burning in certain areas of your vaginal canal…
These are called trigger points.
And trigger point release is the technique I used to relieve these tight spots!
Similar to how a massage can help relax a kink in your neck…
Trigger point release is typically done with a tool separate from your dilators. Like an S-shaped wand which makes it easier to reach deeper trigger points because of its curved shape.
Typically, you can start to relax your trigger points at the end of your dilating practice using an S-shaped wand only once you can insert at least the second size dilator.
So how do you release the kinks in your vagina?
First, find which points are tender by using your finger or wand to gently press and release as you move clockwise or counter- clockwise along your inner vaginal wall.
When you come across a painful spot, apply only enough pressure to that point, as though you’re testing a tomato for ripeness.
Gently, not like this…
Then, hold the pressure there while moving your knee and leg towards and away from your body until the trigger point stops hurting. Then, stop the movement, release the pressure and move to another area.
But could you avoid needing a separate tool for trigger point release?
Although it’s not absolutely ideal for trigger point release, a curved dilator set is an option!
The Inspire silicone dilator kit is the only curved dilator set I’ve come across.
It looks like this:
I tried this set myself and this is what I have to report:
Number of Dilators
The Inspire set is made up of 5 dilators.
That’s 5 different sizes and 8 dilators is the most most you’ll find on the market, from all sets that I’ve tried.
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.
If someone tells you size doesn’t matter…
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 also has its Size 1 dilator have the same diameter at 0.5 inches)
Size 2: 0.75 inches (same as Soul Source‘s Size 2 dilator at 0.75 inches)
Size 3: 0.88 inches (I find it strange that Size 3 is advertized to have the same diameter as Size 2. Thankfully, it is in fact slightly larger!)
Size 4: 1.0 inches
Size 5: 1.25 inches (same as Soul Source‘s Size 6 dilator at 1.25 inches)
* The tip of each dilator in this kit starts off with a smaller diameter, and the full diameter listed above is reached at about a quarter length of each dilator. This allows for a gradual stretch effect with the insertion of each dilator, which I found to be comfortable and potentially less overwhelming.
* However, the tapered tip is not realistic compared to the penetrative sex experience you’re working towards. That’s why it would be important to use another rounded tip dilator or dildo as part of your transition to PIV sex – simply to help yourself get used to the realistic shape.
The Soul Source dilators I compared to have 8 dilators in the full set.
Its third largest dilator has a diameter of 1.25 inches, which is the same as Inspire‘s largest dilator. And the Soul Source set comes with two larger dilators to practice with (sizes 7 and 8), which have a a diameter of 1.4375 and 1.625 inches.
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.
That means that any larger dilator than Inspire‘s largest may or may not be necessary to you, since some people don’t even need to be able to insert such a large dilator. At the same, if your partner’s penis is larger than Inspire‘s largest dilator size, this set may not be sufficient for your training.
And 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 hypoallergenic silicone that is phthalate free.
This is what you should be looking for.
And it’s not plastic! Woohooo!
Feel of Material (Touch)
The 2 types of feel of silicone dilators are a matte-like feel and a glossy-like feel.
The Inspire 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.
It feels oddly satisfying…
On the other hand, 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.
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.
And I tested if this is the case in practice.
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 who also uses a matte-like finish of their dilators, it 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 Inspire dilators are the least flexible ones I’ve seen on the market so far (excluding any plastic dilators).
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.
Having said that, the Inspire kit wasn’t as comfortable for me, since it wasn’t as flexible.
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!
I haven’t yet run into a set that is too flexible to make trigger point release ineffective… SO the attribute of flexibility is important for comfort, but isn’t a deal breaker when it comes to trigger point release.
In summary, the Inspire dilator kit dilators are extra great for trigger point release, which is mostly thanks to their curved shape rather than their flexibility.
ALSO, this is the only dilator kit I’ve seen that has a loop at the base of each dilator, allowing you to put a single finger through and control the dilator this way. This is in lieu of having to hold onto the dilator base with a few fingers.
I found this to be pretty comfortable.
This loop also allows for the insertion of a vibrator, with the idea that the vibrations would extend throughout the entire dilator set. Although that is the intention, I found that the vibrations were limited to the base of the dilator and didn’t travel upwards the rest of the dilator well.
Although aesthetics don’t seem to be very important, there are a few practical aspects of nice-looking dilators.
This set has a different shade of pink for every dilator. Although different shades of pink are harder to distinguish from different colours altogether, the colour differentiation still makes it much 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!
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 Inspire dilators are fully smooth and do not have any added contour.
Place of Manufacturing
The Inspire dilators were designed in the USA and manufactured elsewhere.
The set doesn’t come with a fabric pouch.
If you want, you can neatly store them in their plastic packaging contoured exactly for their shape instead.
Price (in USD)
The full 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.
This set doesn’t come with the option to buy the dilators individually or in two separate groups (like a small and large set).
And I don’t see many reasons why you would purchase individual dilators when you’re trying to overcome vaginismus, except for if your goal is to insert a tampon and nothing larger…
If you did want to get each size individually from Soul Source for example, you’re looking at between $35 and $60 PER dilator.
This makes the Inspire kit significantly more affordable.
And in order to make sure the best value for your money…
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)
No matter where you first heard about dilators, I hope you are now more informed about the process and which dilators are best for you in your journey.
Please comment below with your thoughts about anything I shared!
I’ve put together a detailed online course designed to take you through the 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 sexual freedom!
– Katrin, with Love