One day, my parents came home with a dark grey bag with a pink heart on it.
It was a pivotal-event in my life…
In a “Shh, no one else needs to know”-kind of way, they said they bought something for me.
I was confused…
I hadn’t expected that literally a day after I shared with my dad about vaginismus, he and my mom would willingly go to a sex store…
To ask for a recommendation of what their daughter can stick up her vagina to help her stick her boyfriend’s penis up her vagina.
I mean, it’s not something parents typically help with…
Well, I reached into the bag and pulled out a box that said Dr. Laura Berman in small letters and then in huge font Intimate BASICS.
Right, I was starting from the BASICS. Ground zero.
As I said “Thank you” and slowly slipped the box back into the bag, my mom nodded her head and looked hopefully at me, while my dad quietly said “Good luck”.
I would sure need it.
When I opened the box and noticed these 4 tampon looking sticks, each larger than the first (and pink, of course…), I was in disbelief that I would ever be able to fit any of these in my body.
*If you’re asking yourself “What are dilators?”, you might first want to read about how dilating can help on your journey in healing vaginismus.
Then, I closely examined the one item that REALLY scared me. The “sleeve”, which looks like my now-fiancé’s massive Ford truck’s tire… But see-through.
A humongous, rugged and hard-rubber contraption that I was sure meant to give me nightmares.
That THING is included in a dilator set that is SUPPOSED to give me HOPE? Who designed it? “Definitely not someone who has experienced vaginismus”, I thought.
After that first encounter I kept those dilators hidden in darkness for weeks. First impressions really are important. (Yes, I judged based on looks…)
But my first impression in practice with my new dilators was also not very promising.
Yes, I confess. I dreaded dilating.
Little did I know that I was doing it 80% WRONG! I had a poor technique with dilating (I just didn’t know better). On top of that, plastic dilators aren’t the best kind to use.
There are more comfortable dilators!
Because of the not-so-fun experience I had, I want to warn you and explain why you might want to use silicone dilators as opposed to plastic.
They just FEEL better.
Friendlier. They’re flexible and forgiving, as opposed to stiff and rigid.
Once I decided to spread my knowledge about vaginismus with women like you, I made it a point to explore what tools are out there so I can recommend only the best.
I came across Dr. Amanda, a Pelvic Floor Specialist and President at Intimate Rose, who entered this field after a life-changing personal accident.
She was already a paediatric neurology specialist when the downfall of her life (literally jumping into the water) had her shift gears completely.
During her own healing of her pelvic floor, she thought the tools on the market were lacking, so she helped create a dilator set that she would feel comfortable using herself.
It looks like this!
I tried these babies myself and I WISH my parents had gotten me silicone dilators like these instead!
This is what I have to report about the Intimate rose set:
Number of Dilators
This set is made up of 8 dilators.
That’s 8 different sizes which is the 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.
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: 0.45 inches (Another dilator manufacturer, Soul Source has its first size advertised to start at a diameter a little bit larger at 0.5 inches).
*I actually took the liberty of measuring this first size with a ruler and found that BOTH dilators were 1.2 centimetres in diameter, which is 0.47 inches. I didn’t measure the rest of the sizes so I have included their measurements as advertised.
Size 2: 0.7 inches (compared to Soul Source’s size 2 dilator at 0.75 inches)
Size 3: 0.83 inches
Size 4: 0.95 inches
Size 5: 1.0 inches
Size 6: 1.07 inches
Size 7: 1.3 inches
Size 8: 1.5 inches (compared to Soul Source’s Size 8 dilator 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.
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 a smooth, body safe, medical grade silicone that’s 100% BPA 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 Intimate Rose 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.
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.
This seems logical 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.
Women who have sustained tears giving birth and who have undergone radiation to the vaginal tissue have highly sensitive and delicate skin respectively.
In fact, I inquired with Dr. Amanda and she shared that the matte-like finish of the Intimate Rose 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 results 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 have sensitive and delicate skin for any reason and you’re not using an iso-osmolar lubricant, you may find the the matte-like feel of the Intimate Rose dilators to be the less risky and more comfortable choice.
Feel of Material (Flexibility)
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!
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!
Although aesthetics don’t seem to be very important, there are a few practical aspects of nice-looking dilators.
This set has a different colour for each dilator, which 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!
I personally like these colours most out of all the dilators I’ve tried because they’re fun and bright and give you the much-needed hope that dilating can in fact be pleasant!
The dilators also have a nice Intimate Rose logo on both the shaft and the base, which is a cute aesthetic touch.
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 urge you to pay special attention to any contours in the silicone, like the Intimate Rose logos, to make sure the entire surface is dry before you store them away.
Place of Manufacturing
The Intimate Rose dilators were designed in the USA and manufactured elsewhere.
The set comes with a dark purple velvet pouch to store them in!
Price (in USD)
The full 8-piece dilator set is $180.
The small set (sizes 1-4) is $80 and the large set (sizes 5-8) is $120, which means you save $20 if you go ahead and buy the full set instead of waiting to purchase the large set separately when you need it.
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…
But if you did want to get each size individually, you’re looking at between $15 and $40 per dilator.
Because I like this dilator set very much, I partnered with Dr. Amanda to spread the word about their products AND get you a discount!
By clicking here, you’ll automatically get a $5 discount from any product you purchase from them. Also, you can use the code KATRIN at checkout to get the $5 discount.
And 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)
It’s safe to say that I WISH I used silicone dilators in my vaginismus journey.
That choice would have made my experience more pleasant and I would have probably achieved my goal of having a limitless and pleasurable sex life SOONER than I did!
What do you think about silicone vs plastic?
Please comment below with your thoughts, questions or objections about anything I shared!
As part of the Pain Free and Intimate Recipe, I’ve put together a detailed guide designed to take you through the process at the right pace, to avoid pain and finally break the cycle of pain!
Also, 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… Book a nice relaxing massage maybe? (That is my go-to!)
And if you haven’t gotten your hands on my free online course yet, get “Putting Vaginismus In The Past” now.
A Surprise For You
Before you go, I want to tell you about a gift set aside for YOU! Don’t worry, it’s not from my parents…
Dr. Amanda from Intimate Rose was kind enough to offer a set of 4 dilators to send to one lucky winner!
If that’s you, she will help you pick the sizes according to your needs, so that’s a value of between $80 and $120, depending on the sizes you choose.
Oh, and although I live in Canada and would love to include my fellow Canadians, you are eligible for this giveaway only if you live in the US. Sorry! Intimate Rose has been having some difficulties recently with shipping to Canada and are working on fixing this!
BUT I’ll make sure the next dilators giveaway I do includes Canadians!
How wonderful is that?!
To your sexual freedom! To your happiness!
– Katrin, with Love