I think that, absent those of us who are working towards reconstructive surgeries, most people never expect to need dilators. I know I didn’t. When the folks at Crystal Delights first mentioned they were developing some I thought of friends who’d recently had constructive surgery done, not of myself. Fast forward a few years and here I am in a physical therapist’s office being given exercises and in need of a dilator set.

Dilators — which are a set of graduated therapeutic tools used to develop/restore vaginal capacity and elasticity and/or to alleviate sexual discomfort — are one of those things that I’ve always been marginally aware of but never really thought much about. I knew that friends who’d had vulvar-vaginal surgeries begrudgingly used them, and I knew that some folks would use the term as a veiled means of saying dildo. I have a feeling that most folks either have never heard of them or have a similar passing knowledge as I.

Dilator Sizes 4, 5 & 6Most sex shops, if they have purpose specific dilators, have the same purply-pink plastic dilator with interchangeable tops. Some still sell the old-school acrylic wands. Slim silicone dildos like Tantus’ Silk have been around for a while and I’m starting to see more shops carrying silicone dilators of varying sizes. I’ve somehow known of a weird self-lubricating dilator-cone-thing for as long as I can remember. I’ve never seen it in stores and have no idea how it came to be on my radar. But there it is.

Glass seems like such a perfect choice for dilators that I’m really surprised there aren’t more on the market. It’s a material that is already recognisably used in medical and scientific implements, so there’s that bit of clinical confidence. It’s easily cleaned, sanitised, AND sterilised, in the home environment. It is much less likely to look like (or be) a repurposed dildo and, unlike actual repurposed dildos (or dilators made by dildo companies), it has no friction. I’m sorry but silicone seems like one of the absolute worst material choices to me for dilators for the drag alone. That is just not a good feeling when you’re already dealing with chronic pain.

The fact that Crystal Delights made these dilators hollow means using them for stretching exercises is super easy. For the larger sizes I can just slip my finger inside like I’m wearing a little glass finger cot. I can just barely fit my (rather slender) finger into the smaller ones, but even just hooking the tip of a finger gives much more control than the cumbersome thing-on-a-stick style dilators. I also found that, with the help of some silicone stoppers, I can fill them with cold water which is super soothing for me.

Crystal Delights Glass DilatorsI also REALLY appreciate the combination of a shorter length and the gently flanged base. This combination means that, with the application of a snug-fitting pair of underoos, I can have a dilator in place and still DO things. I remember humorous stories from friends post-surgery who contrived all manner of ways to keep their dilator in place without having to hold it in- sitting in the best impersonation of dudespread while precariously wedging the protruding end against a table leg, or donning an oversized Borat-esque garment, which still meant being trapped in one position but at least you could still surf the web.

Look, I’m not thrilled to be in a situation where dilators are a reality for me. I’m really not. Writing about them is hard and awkward and emotionally challenging in a way I totally wasn’t expecting. But dear gd if I can help someone find dilators that aren’t puke-mauve, are easy to work with, and dare I say it- feel good to use, I will. And the Crystal Delights dilators fill that void.