Thrusting Vibrators: How Close Are They to the Real Thing?

Published: MARCH 16, 2023
While thrusting vibrators won't replace the sensations of full-thrust intercourse, if you love the sensation of any movement at your entrance or love constant movement near your innermost spots, a thruster might be right for you.

If you've been around any sex toy stores or advertisements in the last five years, you've probably seen the new toy "holy grail": the thrusting vibrator. Featuring relatively new, innovative technology, companies have been all over each other to release the best -- and fastest -- thrusting toy to complement your previously manual play sessions.

A toy that....moves itself? Is that even possible?

In an industry that famously overpromises and under-delivers, is it actually possible that a sex toy can do all of the work for you -- and entirely replace your favorite dildo that gives you hand cramps during marathon sessions?


READ: Tips for Having Awesome - and Pain-Free - Hand Sex.

What is a Thrusting Vibrator?

Sex machines are awesome -- but sex machines are expensive and pretty freakin' big. So, thrusting vibrators attempt to take the magic of an automated thrusting machine and bring it into a hand-held version at a fraction of the cost.

While "thrusting vibrator" may lead you to mental pictures of phallic objects, the thrusting vibrator's popularity has led to a renaissance of thrusting sex toys. You can even find the same type of technology in anal plugs and bullet vibrators!

Your typical thrusting toy accomplishes this movement in one of two ways:


1. The Moving Shaft

Cloud 9 Wireless Remote Control Eggs

If you see folds in the material near the tip (like in the gif above!), your potential thrusting vibrator probably uses this method. For this design, the toy's tip literally raises up and shrinks down for each thrust. There is a motor inside the toy that makes the tip expand and contract.

Think of it like a much-more-powerful version of those motorized holiday decorations you've seen that move side-to-side or wave at you.

Because the movement is literally built into the toy design, thrusting vibrators with moving shafts usually have a wider range of motion than their moving-ball counterparts. However, they are also more prone to jamming -- especially if any rings of musculature are positioned on top of the expanding area.

2. The Moving Ball

Making a distinct tip that separates and pulls together from the rest of the shaft is expensive -- and complicated!

Instead, the "moving ball" alternative goes a different route. In this type of thrusting vibrator, your sex toy has a hollow, long, interior chamber inside it built to the exact specifications of a heavy ball that lives inside this chamber.

XR Thump-It! Thumping PlugXR Thump-It! Thumping Plug.
At rest, because of gravity, the ball's weight simply rests at the bottom of the toy. However, there's a motor at the bottom of this hollow chamber that forcefully shoves the ball to the top. When it does that, because the ball is so heavy, it forces the toy to move along with it, providing a thrusting motion.

Honestly, it's pretty neat -- and until you see it in action, you might not think it would do much, but the XR Brands Thump-It uses this exact method:


XR Thump-It! Thumping Plug

How to Use a Thrusting Vibrator

If you've never tried a thrusting vibrator before, a good place to start may be to take advantage of the walls and pillows you already have in your home. They can provide e a firm, unmoving, surface to keep the thrusting sex toy pushed snugly into your body without using your hands.

To use a pillow, slide the thrusting vibrator into your body. Then take your pillow, squish it up into a ball, press it up between your legs and hold it in place with your thighs. It may take a bit of trial-and-error to find the right spot, but once the base of the sex toy is met with resistance from the pillow, you've found the right spot. It should help keep the thruster from sliding out!

You can also take the same approach with a wall or piece of furniture. Position your body where the base of the toy makes contact with the wall or furniture once it's fully inserted. (This can be a serious flexibility challenge!) Now the object will act as a stopping point for the vibrator, "holding it" for you while the thrusting toy stays snugly within your body.


READ: Why You Need to Add a Thruster to Your Sex Toy Collection.

Do Thrusting Vibrators Actually Work?

Let me get this out of the way first:

Literally none of these toys will replace the sensations of full-thrust intercourse.

I don't want you to feel misled. Some manufacturers have spent marketing dollars trying to convince you that thrusting vibrators are this magical alternative that replaces a full-thrusting partner or hand-held dildo.

They don't. They simply don't have the range of motion.

If you take a look at some of these toys, they're offering movements in the one-inch (or less) range. Considering most full-length thrusts are at least a couple of inches in length, these toys really don't replace that sensation.


Fun Factory Sundaze

However, thrusting vibrators offer a few benefits other options don't. These include:

  • No Muscle Fatigue. There's a minimal amount of human strength required here. Simply hold the thrusting vibrator in place and go to town. You don't have to worry about a cardio-exhausted partner or hand cramps.
  • Multiple Stimulation Options. If you can build more on your thrusting vibrator, why not? Many thrusting options are also equipped with other types of stimulation -- like added texture, clitoral vibrations, perineum stroking and more.
  • Added Vibrations. Your partner or your standard dildo doesn't vibrate. Most thrusting vibrators offer vibrations in addition to the thrusting sensations.
  • Targeted Designs. Many thrusting vibrators are specifically crafted to hit a specific spot. If that's the g-spot or the p-spot, it might be located within a deep curve inside your body. If that's the case, the angle at which you need to hold your favorite dildo can be uncomfortable (or impossible). With a thrusting vibrator, you simply insert it and it will do all of the awkward reaching for you while you get to hold it in a neutral position.

How Do Thrusting Vibrators Compare to Sex Machines?

Sex machines cost a pretty penny, but they offer two big benefits over thrusting vibrators:

  1. Hands-free functionality.
  2. Full-length thrusting.

See, most people forget that thrusting vibrators still need to be held. While the vibrator does the thrusting for you, it still needs to be kept in place by a human with a semi-stable hand. Depending on your grip strength and your need for thrusting power, you might actually need to activate your forearm muscles and hand to keep the thrusting vibrator in place to hit the spots you want it.


Sex machines don't require that. With their big-ass bases and heavy size, they offer a structure that can "hold" the dildo on its own. You can simply get into position and let the sex machine do all of the thrusting for you. If you're lucky enough to have a sex machine with remote control, you can adjust the depth and speed with your hands, but if you have a manual-only option, pulling your hips further away or closer to the machine can help adjust the depth of penetration too.

Sex machines also offer the full-stroke thrusting you're probably after when trying to replicate the "real thing." Their large size and metal construction lets them cover much more ground than a simple hand-held option. Some sex machines even offer adjustable stroke length to further customize your experience.

On the opposing side, thrusting vibrators win out on the "bonus stimulation" side of things. Virtually no sex machines offer vibrations. So if you want added vibrations with your thrusting, thrusting vibrators are the way to go.

Thrusting vibrators are also the winner if you enjoy creative sex positions. You simply pick up the thrusting vibrator, turn into a sex-position-pretzel and you can go about your business. Sex machines will require a lot of back-and-forth finagling to figure out the best angle for penetration while laying in the sex position you had in mind.

A cost-effective middle ground may be a sex toy mount. This sex toy mount will "hold" your vibrator in place allowing for hands-free use. Simply tuck the thrusting vibrator into a sex toy mount, climb into place and enjoy! The Liberator BonBon can hold it upright for easy "receiver on top" sex positions while the Liberator Humphrey can be a good fit if you're someone who likes spooning pleasure.

READ: Love Life Need a Boost? Sex Furniture Will Put You In Position.

How Much Is This Pleasure Going to Cost Me?

While the phrase "you get what you pay for" applies to most things in sex toys, it especially matters with thrusting vibrators.

Pay attention next time you're close to orgasm. You'll probably notice that your body tenses up. If you're penetrating yourself, you also probably notice that it became more difficult to thrust the toy in and out of yourself because of that tension.

This is what the thrusting vibrator must combat. Larger motors offer the power needed to fight against squeezing -- but larger motors cost money.

This means that your $50 thrusting vibrator might thrust when you hold it in the air, but when you put it into a human body, it may start to slow, or stop, when it encounters resistance.

With that in mind, if your budget allows, expect to spend at least a $100 on your thrusting vibrator. Thrusting toys with special features -- like remote control, hands-free use or interchangeable dildos -- typically float around the $150 to $300 range.

Yep, this one's a pricy one (though using something like Sezzle can help).

If you've been around the sex toy industry for a while, you can easily draw some comparisons between thrusting vibrators and the rotating rabbit vibrator shafts of ol'. The rotations could definitely be there -- and feel amazing! -- but you'd find that your vibrator would jam up regularly if you didn't own a high-end option.

If you're curious about thrusting technology but haven't given it a try, I recommend looking for an option in the low $100s. If you love the movement but find a bit of frustration if/when it locks up, consider upgrading to a stronger option (or going all out with a sex machine!) when you're ready.

Even with a high-end option, if you're someone with an extremely strong pelvic floor, you may find there are days on which you jam up your high-end thrusting vibrator. It is a hand-held machine, after all. Consciously loosening your grip can help the thrusting vibrator restart. Sex machines may also be a better option for you too. Their larger size allows for larger motors, longer thrusts and more torque.


So, should you get a thrusting vibrator? That's up to you! It's all about you and your preferences.

If you find that you love the sensation of any movement at your entrance (be it anal or vaginal) OR love constant movement near your innermost spots, the thruster might be right for you. It isn't going to replicate a sex machine's full-stroke thrusts, but it can automate pleasure and movement in a way that vibrators don't -- and that's pretty freakin' awesome.

Mistress Kay

Mistress Kay has a fondness for all things sexual. With a house that's quickly running out of room for all of her reading and vibrating pleasures, she spends her free time reading, writing, and learning about the sexual universe with her partners. She can be reached at Kinky World.

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