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Buying your daughter a vibrator: What the parenting books don't tell you

Lisa Fogarty

by

Lisa Fogarty

Lisa Fogarty has written numerous articles for USA Today, The Stir, Opposing Views and other publications. She has covered everything from red carpet events to the discovery of toxic PCBs on school windows. She lives on Long Island, N.Y....

Yes, you do need a guide to buying your daughter her first vibrator

We already know that sex is a different experience for women. The movements and methods that bring women to orgasm don't often mimic those that give pleasure to men. While it's nearly a given that most men are going to orgasm every time they have sex, the reality is that only 25 percent of women consistently orgasm during sexual intercourse. As adult women, we already know the deal. Our daughters, on the other hand, may still assume all is equal and fair when it comes to sex and pleasure.

Rather than sit back and allow their daughters to learn the hard way that sex and orgasms don't always go hand in hand, many moms are taking a proactive approach and teaching their teen daughters about the amazing benefits of self-love.

More: 10 things I want to tell my daughter about sex while she's still a tween

The masturbation talk is becoming just another segment of the sex talk — but some are taking things one step further: They're purchasing vibrators and sex toys for their daughters so that they can educate themselves about their bodies and what makes them orgasm.

“At a time when hormones are raging and curiosity is at an all-time high, providing young women with every possible sex-positive resource is the best way to enable healthy sexual development," says Anne Hodder, Los Angeles-based sexuality educator and coach. "This can include, but is not limited to, providing them with beginner vibrators or mini vibes and some quick dos and don’ts for how to use them. Some people believe this will deter young women from looking to others for help with expending some of their pent-up sexual tension, but more importantly, this is the best and only way for young women to get to know their own unique bodies."

Hodder stresses the importance of providing young women with the tools and knowledge they need to discover which sexual sensations and activities they do — and don’t — like because, she says, it empowers them not to rely on partners to provide them with sexual pleasure. It even helps build the confidence they need as they start navigating dating and relationships, she says.

More: I can't stop my kid from having sex, so I'm doing the next best thing

But is it within the boundaries of a healthy relationship for a mom or dad to take matters into their own hands and introduce masturbation as (literally) a means to a happy ending? Hodder says yes, absolutely, and that doing so sends a healthy message to a young person trying to navigate her sexual identity.

"Masturbation is a healthy and normal part of growing up; however, female masturbation remains a taboo subject, with many young women growing up to believe that it’s actually wrong for them to enjoy it — or even do it," Hodder says. "Having a trusted adult or parent give their daughter a vibrator provides the level of permission she needs to reframe any negative ideas she may carry about masturbation, and can significantly reduce the level of shame she might feel surrounding her sexuality. It’s the first step toward raising a sexually healthy and aware young adult."

Okay, so you've decided to buy a sex toy for your daughter. Now what? With so many options and price points, do you spring for the very best? Do you bring home a well-endowed vibrator at the expense of scaring your daughter off of sex for the rest of her life? Where do you begin?

Hodder recommends affordable and easy-to-use mini vibes for young women and says there is no point in spending $60+ on a vibrator they’re not sure they’re going to like or that has too many bells and whistles to over-complicate the situation. Here are her top five recommendations: 

Vooom Bullets – "These are small bullet vibes made using hard non-porous ABS plastic," Hodder says. "They are different from your usual bullet because they are powered by a low-pitch motor that offers a deeper rumbling sensation rather than a buzzy zing. (Which feels much nicer against sensitive areas.) Plus they come in super-bright and fun colors." (Screaming O, $11.95)

My Secret Screaming O Lipstick – "This is an adorable mini vibe with three speeds plus pulsation (just enough variety to test out different sensations) that is cleverly disguised as a tube of lipstick," Hodder says. "You can leave it out on a dresser or in an underwear drawer and no one will know the difference. The vibrating tip is made of body-safe silicone and is soft and flexible, so it feels nice against the skin." (Screaming O, $14.97)

ColorPoP FingO Tips – "These are excellent beginner vibes thanks to their teeny tiny shape that straps around the tip of your finger," Hodder says. "Super easy to use and maneuver, and they come in bright, fun colors. They’re made using lab-tested and body-safe SEBS, a soft and stretchy material, and are completely disposable — so once you’re done trying it out, there’s no need to find a place to hide it. Simply throw it away and upgrade to its reusable counterpart, the ColorPoP FingO." (Screaming O, $8.50)

More: 7 things to do when you catch your daughter masturbating

Pocket Toyfriend – "These are a bit pricier but very cute and compact beginner vibes," Hodder says. "They have quirky shapes and colors and are made of body-safe silicone and ABS plastic." (The Pleasure Chest, $19.95)

Je Joue Ooh Pebble – "A more affordable version of Je Joue’s Mimi, a popular clitoral vibe, but this one would be considered a more 'luxurious' option due to its price point," Hodder says. "Users must purchase the Pebble and its motor separately because the Pebble is actually just one of several interchangeable silicone attachments that all connect to the same motor. This makes it great for exploring and pinpointing pleasure points for young women who want variety and options. And the motor is rechargeable, so no batteries required." (The Pleasure Chest, $24.95)

It's possible you're sitting there thinking, has the world gone mad? There's no way I'm on board with purchasing a sex toy for my teenager. You're not alone. Experts don't all agree that parents should have this much involvement in their child's sexual exploration and evolution — and it's important to know the other side of the argument before making an informed decision for your daughter.

Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child, parenting and relationship psychotherapist, author of The Self-Aware Parent and co-star of Sex Box which aired on WE tv, argues that there are pros and cons to today’s current trend of many parents opting to teach their teen daughters about masturbation to help prevent teen pregnancy, as well as getting them acquainted with their own bodies and how they can find pleasure through masturbation.

“I am a believer in open, honest communication,” Walfish says. “And at the same time, I believe just as parents need to set down and hold boundaries when disciplining kids, so is the opposite true. Parents must respect the boundaries of their kids’ bodies — including what goes in and what comes out.” 

Walfish says parents should take cues from our children when having "the talk," and if they sense they've had enough or are getting embarrassed, should take a break from the discussion. She says straight, honest and open dialogue works best and that as parents we should be aware of the tone of voice we use, because we don't want our children to associate sex with shame.

More: I don't want to think about what my son is doing behind that closed door

“Use correct terminology for genitals and functions including vagina, penis, orgasm, clitoris and so on,” Walfish says. “Let her know that many girls choose to pleasure themselves by touching their private spots when they are alone and in their bed(rooms). Add that this is perfectly natural and fine to want to feel pleasure and that penetration and intercourse are not the only way. Masturbation is a sure way to prevent pregnancy and STDs and preserve virginity, if she chooses to do that. That is ALL that needs to be said.”

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