plastic vs. silicone dilators

Which is Better- Plastic or Silicone Dilators?

Dilators, sometimes called Vaginal Trainers, are graded cylindrical tubes that are used for those experiencing vaginismus to help retrain the vaginal wall muscles to better accept and respond to insertion.

They’re not primarily used to stretch out the vagina (although they can be used for this purpose with a few physiological conditions, of which vaginismus isn’t on) but are rather used for muscle re-education as a gradual exposure tool.

There are various types of dilators- plastic, silicone, with a handle or without, vibrating, temperature technology, etc. We’re going to explore the main differences between plastic and silicone dilators.

But first off, I want you to know that the best dilator is the one you like. Dilators are all pretty similar so what you and your body feel comfortable with matters more than maybe the nuanced details. But please do make sure you invest in dilators that are made of medical-grade materials that are safe for your vaginal canal.

And for more detailed information on specific dilator and lubricant recommendations, as well as a free dilator log and habit tracker, check out my free Dilator 101 Guide!

But here are my thoughts:

Plastic Dilators

Personally, I used plastic dilators for my vaginismus recovery. Mostly because I silicone dilators weren’t quite a thing yet (there probably were a few brands but access was limited). I actually had to order my plastic dilator set from a sex toy website because back in 2013 dilators weren’t cool yet.

So if you’re using a plastic dilator, that’s perfectly okay! It is possible to heal from vaginismus using a plastic dilator. I would just make sure you’re not applying too much pressure to the vaginal walls because it is possible to be a little too rough (think of jamming a hard object into your shoulders while getting a massage- you’ll be sore, and not really the “good kind” of sore).

Plastic dilator pros:

Smooth Surface: Plastic dilators typically have a smooth and non-porous surface, which can make them comfortable to use and easy to clean. But can make them feel more like medical devices.

Provide deeper pressure: this can help more with trigger point therapy and muscle release. For some, this pressure may be a little too intense and could cause vaginal bruising.

Cost-Effective: Plastic dilators are usually more cost-effective compared to silicone dilators. This can be an important factor for individuals who are looking for an affordable option.

Plastic dilator cons:

They can be a little too intense: Because they’re not as yielding, plastic dilators can be a bit firm for more tender pelvic floor muscles. If you’re using plastic dilators, just be aware of this and try to exercise a bit more gentleness in applying pressure.

The plastic can break down over time: with repeated use and washing, the plastic can eventually degrade or yellow. Ideally, you’re long healed from vaginismus before this point, but it is something to consider. My dilator from 2013 doesn’t look too great anymore and I would no longer consider using it on my sensitive vaginal tissue.

Silicone Dilators

As a pelvic health therapist, I recommend silicone dilators to my clients (although again, it’s more about client preference). Dilator technology isn’t really that complicated, but silicone dilators do make the dilating experience a bit more enjoyable.

Silicone dilators tend to mimic the feel of a penis a little better- which is ultimately what many women are trying to train their vaginas to be able to accept.

Silicone dilator pros:

Natural feel: Silicone dilators tend to feel more like natural skin, which can make the transition from dilator to penis a little easier. Silicone also adjusts to your body temperature faster for more temperature control.

Gentler approach: Silicone dilators are more yielding and can move more within the vaginal canal when inserted, which again, can be more comfortable and feel more natural.

Silicone dilator cons:

Must use water-based lubricant: Okay, maybe this isn’t so much a con, but something to note. In order to keep the integrity of the medical grade silicone, silicone dilators require a water-based lube. It’s vital to not use latex or oil based lubes.

Aren’t as great for focal point release: Because their a bit softer and more flexible, they don’t provide as firm of pressure as a plastic dilator if you’re looking for more of a trigger point release. For this I recommend using a pelvic wand to aid in release.

Tend to be more of an investment: because of the quality of materials, silicone dilators do usually cost more.


But at the end of the day- both types of dilators will do the trick! Both will help your vaginal wall muscles relax and retrain around an object being inserted, and if you’re facing vaginismus, that’s what we’re going for!

Again, please do make sure you’re going with a brand that offers medical-grade materials. This is going inside your vagina- which is pretty absorbent and sensitive, so investing in a safe, medical-grade material that doesn’t break down quickly is worth it.

For more information on dilators (how to use and advance them) check out my Dilator 101 Guide!

And if you’re looking for an awesome silicone dilator brand, I recommend Intimate Rose. Use the code JESSICA110 for $5 off!

I also use a unique and neuro-based approach to walk my clients through dilators to make sure we’re preparing for the transition to penetrative sex starting at day 1. If you’re looking for a proven method that gives you the results you want, schedule a free 30 minute consultation today so see if this program would be a good fit for you!

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