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Bulletins from the Bedroom

Oh No! My Vibrator Is Way Too Loud!

Maria had just gotten her new vibrator. She and her boyfriend, Matt, were excited to use it. They'd heard that using vibrators during foreplay could be exciting and sexy, so they'd bought one and were anxious to see exactly what it could do. That night, after some arousing kissing and touching, Matt reached for the vibrator, twisted the bottom to turn it on and...

Suddenly Maria was yelling "OH MY GOSH! THAT THING IS LOUD ENOUGH TO WAKE UP THE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD. TURN IT OFF!"

Needless to say, the mood was killed.

Sound familiar? Believe me, I've heard every complaint, every story and every imaginable version of what happens when a vibrator is simply too loud to be erotic. Truth be told, some vibrators are high on the volume scale and could easily be confused with a lawnmower or a race car, giving new meaning to the term "loud sex." However, many are more quiet than you'd expect, and often even when a vibrator is loud there are steps that can be taken to lessen the effect of the mechanical rumblings of lust. Here are some tips and advice on the noise level of your electric love toy.

The First Rule of Vibrator Volume: Have Realistic Expectations
Firstly, let's settle exactly what the term, "quiet," means when we're talking about vibrators. Does it mean that if you're in your bedroom using your vibrator, the person in the room next door won't hear you? Well, to be honest, it depends on how thick your walls are! Chances are, no matter how quiet your vibrator is, unless you're playing your stereo or making noise over top of it, people in close proximity will hear at least a light buzzing sound, not unlike an electric toothbrush or electric razor. While great strides have been made in taking vibrating love toys from sounding like a farm tractor to sounding like the hum of a microwave, we're still talking about devices with engines, and engines and motors make a degree of noise. While it's reasonable to purchase a vibrator that's marketed as "quiet" or "whisper quiet" and expect that the vibrator's noise level won't be heard if you have your stereo on low, it's not reasonable to expect that you'll turn the vibrator on and not hear it at all.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not everybody's idea of "loud" is the same. We've tried to generally comment on the loudness factor of vibrators on this site using the collaborated opinions of four different staffers, but the reality is that what we think is quiet is what you may think is loud, and what we think is amazingly loud, you might think isn't so bad. Short of everybody learning the decibel scale and agreeing to rank vibrator noise based on decibel metrics, there's a subjective element to rating the sound of a vibrator. What we do encourage you to do, though, is submit product reviews for products you've used on this site and let others know how loud or quiet you found it. We don't pretend to be perfect here!

What Kinds of Vibrators are Usually Louder?
The reality is that generally one type of vibrator isn't louder or quieter than another kind, but there are some general guidelines you can follow:

  • Remote control products will be as quiet as a vibrating product can be. Thankfully, because we all know half the fun of those is wearing them in public!
  • Vibrators that are made entirely from jelly or jelly vinyl will tend to be slightly quieter because the jelly will sometimes muffle a degree of the sound from the motor.
  • Vibrators that use C size batteries are often louder than their counterparts; however, they're often a little more powerful, too.
  • Smooth plastic vibrators can be quiet, but beware. Often the vibration of the batteries in the battery chamber will cause the batteries to vibrate against the plastic tubing and lead to extra noise.

Ways to Overcome the "Noise Factor"
The easiest way to overcome the noise factor with a vibrating toy is to turn on your radio while you're using it! Not only will the music cover up the vibrating noise, but you can use the music to set the mood for your solo or partner play as well. However, if the melodic stylings of Air Supply aren't in your future for vibrator cover up detail, here are some other suggestions:

  • If you're using your vibrator entirely for external stimulation, try muting the noise by placing a towel or blanket over the part of the toy that encases the engine.
  • Operate your vibrator on low power only. It won't give you as strong of a vibration, but it will be quieter.
  • Keep your vibrator under your covers with you. You'll be warm, snug and happy and the sound will be muffled!
  • Cover your vibrator with a jelly sleeve or a hollow extender (see our Extenders section for examples). Not only will this add nubs and a different feel to your electric love toy, but it will lessen some of the noise.

Always Remember -- Water Makes Loud into Louder!
A very valuable piece of advice-no matter how quiet your vibrator is outside of the water, if you take it into the bathtub, pool or hot tub it will be roughly four times as loud. It's all about how sound is transmitted. Sound travels in waves, and water amplifies those waves. Be very aware that if you're taking your vibrating toy into a tub or pool of water, people around you will be able to hear it!

Does Louder Mean More Powerful?
Does louder mean more powerful? I get asked that question all the time, and the answer is: Sometimes. Yes, I know, that's not the answer you wanted, but here's the truth. The bigger the vibrator's motor and the more power it runs off of, the more powerful it will be, but with 21st century innovations with smaller batteries and micro chips, that's not even always true. However, with standard traditional vibrators, more powerful engines often mean louder engines. But often a less powerful vibrator is just loud, sometimes for reasons we've discussed already like the material it's made of or a poor design in the wiring, and sometimes with seemingly no reason at all!

What About Remote Control Products?
Most manufacturers have done a great job toning down the volume level on their remote control products because they know these products will be used in very public places. Here's the general rule: You can take your remote control toy into a bar, movie theatre or restaurant where there's a general cover of background noise, but the drop dead quiet of your boardroom meeting or a wedding ceremony will probably get you caught at play! Remote control toys are silent, but they are mechanical, and the well-tuned or refined ear can hear the buzzing if it's being used in the most silent of surroundings.

Why Would I Ever Buy a Loud Vibrator?
The long and short of it is that some of the louder vibrators out there, while they may sound like they're powered by rocket fuel, offer fantastic features that their quieter counterparts may not, including ultra powerful vibrations, unique designs and newly developed materials. If you're willing to trade off the noise factor, some louder vibrators can treat you to sensations that you'll never find in a more discreet toy.

Variations in Vibrators: Some Things are Never the Same Twice
Another thing to bear in mind when evaluating the noise level of your vibrator is that variations do occur within individual vibrators. The truth of the matter is, a vibrator that you bought once that was extremely quiet may be as loud as a freight train if you buy a replacement. Just one loose wire or badly sized or fitted battery casing can cause a normally reasonably quiet vibrator to turn into a rocket engine at takeoff time. Be aware that any vibrator can turn loud the longer it runs, the more it's used or for simply no reason at all. If you're friends with a mechanical engineer, chances are they can work on quieting the revving of the engine down, but otherwise you may want to consider a replacement.

So there you have it, the ins and outs, the low and the down, the whole scoop on vibrators and noise. You may have learned to let go of the idea that vibrators should be as quiet as butterfly wings, or you may have decided that the most important thing to you is how quiet your toy is. Either way, go out and enjoy your vibrating toy. If it's too loud, put your favorite sexy music on the stereo and set the volume as high as it will go! But whatever you do, don't be a Maria! Check the volume level of your vibrator before you let it loose on a lover!

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