I first heard about dilators at an appointment I really wasn’t looking forward to…
You see, I was lucky enough to be able to have the opportunity to see a sex therapist, thanks to my boyfriend at the time’s parents (and their employment benefits).
Although I can’t say my experience at the sex therapist’s office was incredibly beneficial for me…
She did introduce me to dilating!
Unfortunately, this introduction to dilating was in the form of a worksheet with a few diagrams of how to insert the dilators.
But not so much how they really work, any of the preparation stages, or how to use the dilators properly!
Like how to set myself up emotionally, so I could have the best chance at having an experience that was painless and would actually help me make progress…
(To this day, I’m baffled by the dilating instructions vulva owners are given, or lack thereof.)
Without following the proper steps, you could be making your pain worse.
And that’s EXACTLY what happened with me at the start.
When I first got my hands on my first (plastic!) dilator set (which is a story in itself), a weight was lifted off my shoulders.
But very soon, the weight came right back!
Although I now had control of the very thing that I would be penetrating myself with, I still found myself bracing for a painful experience.
And with that fear, I kept tightening my muscles at the attempt of penetration.
Which then created the pain I was already expecting, as explained by The Cycle of Pain!
A sense of SAFETY needs to be created for dilating to be effective. At the beginning of my journey, I found myself learning how to do this all by myself through trial and error.
I share one particular tip on how to make dilating a pleasant experience here, and when I work with individuals, I provide complete step by step guidance on the entire process.
All of this, I ended up learning myself, thankfully because I didn’t give up on it.
Now that I help vulva owners in their journey to being pain free and intimate, (both with the emotional and physical healing that’s necessary), I also share my thoughts on the dilators and other tools out there to help in that.
One of the dilator sets on the market is by BioMoi and it looks like this!
I tried this set myself and this is what I have to report:
Number of Dilators
This set is made up of 6 dilators.
That’s 6 different sizes and 8 dilators 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: 0.68 inches (Another dilator manufacturer, Soul Source has its Size 1 dilator have a diameter at 0.5 inches)
Size 2: 0.83 inches (compared to Soul Source‘s Size 2 dilator at 0.75 inches)
Size 3: 0.98 inches
Size 4: 1.13 inches
Size 5: 1.23 inches
Size 6: 1.43 inches (compared to Soul Source‘s Size 7 dilator at 1.4375 inches)
The Soul Source dilators I compared to have 8 dilators in the full set.
Its second largest dilator has a diameter of 1.4375 inches, which is about the same as BioMoi‘s largest dilator. And the Soul Source set comes with one larger dilator to practice with (size 8), which has a a diameter of 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 BioMoi‘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.
On the other hand, 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 US platinum silicone that is BPA free, latex free, and phthalate free.
This is what you should be looking for.
And it’s not plastic!
Now the unique thing about these dilators is that they also have an antimicrobial component that ensures elimination of 99.99% of harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses, so you do not risk contaminating your vaginal flora.
The benefits of antimicrobial silicone are:
– Long lasting protection against the negative effects of microbes
– Minimizing the risk of product degradation
– Eliminating the risk of cross-contamination
– Reducing the risk of odours or staining caused by microbes such as bacteria and mold
This added level of protection is especially important IF you don’t do thorough cleaning of your dilators before and after each use.
But would the antimicrobial component kill the good bacteria as well?
BioMoi notes that “the antimicrobial does not discriminate and does eliminate a wide range of bacteria, good and bad. However, it only eliminates the microbes that come in direct contact with it and does not disperse into the surrounding area. A lubricant for example would provide a barrier between the silicone and vaginal wall which the antimicrobial will not be able to penetrate.
As well, it takes 2-6 hours to fully eliminate 99.9% of the microbes, so if one is using the dilators for 10-15 minutes, there is very minimal chance of negatively affecting the good bacteria in the vagina.”
Feel of Material (Touch)
The 2 types of feel of silicone dilators are a matte-like feel and a glossy-like feel.
The BioMoi 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.
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)
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.
The BioMoi set is entirely red.
Can you spot the one that doesn’t belong?
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!
However, each BioMoi dilator DOES have a little number on its base, to help you avoid such mistakes. It then becomes a matter of differentiating the dilators by number instead of by colour.
AND they will actually be coming out with different colours soon, to make telling apart the sizes much easier.
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 pay special attention to contours in the silicone, if any. The BioMoi dilators are fully smooth and do not have any added contour, except for the tiny number at the base of each dilator.
Place of Manufacturing
The BioMoi dilators were designed in the USA and manufactured elsewhere.
The set comes with a nice pink pouch to store them in!
Price (in USD)
The full 6-piece dilator set is $180. BioMoi sometimes has sales, like its current summer sale that drops the price down to $140.
AND I’ve partnered with BioMoi to provide you with a 10% discount! Just use code WITHLOVE at checkout.
You can look to Amazon for a price comparison as well.
The small set (Sizes 1-3) is $120 (potential sale price being $100) and the large set (Sizes 4-6) is $140 (potential sale price being $110), which means at full price, you save $80 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 $35 and $60 per dilator.
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 or questions.
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!
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 relaxing bath?
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
I want to tell you about our giveaway!
The team from BioMoi generously offered their full set of 6 dilators to send one lucky winner!
That’s a value of $180.
Want to win this set?
To your pain free and intimate life!
– Katrin, with Love