Dr. Laura Berman dilator set - vibrator kit by Cal Exotics - review by freeport

Treated My Vaginismus in 6 Months!

This set is ideal for anyone who's treating pelvic pain on a budget or is looking for something they can actually use during sex. It helped me successfully self-treat my vaginismus in only 6 months, and because it's versatile, smooth, easy to clean, and easy to store, I still find myself reaching for it over the fancier vibes I now own.
Hard material
Large gaps in sizes
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review


This is a great dilator set, designed with vaginismus patients in mind. I was formally diagnosed with vaginismus (reflexive vaginal spasming) about a year and a half ago and spent a few months investigating options for self-treatment. After some significant set-backs, I finally decided to purchase an actual dilator set and settled on this one for a few reasons:

1) It's affordable. Most sets will run you $60-$100.
2) It doubles as a vibrator, which I hoped would make it easier to relax.
3) It's compact, so I wouldn't have to worry about fitting 7 dilators in a drawer (or explaining why I had 7 dildos laying around to the unfortunate roommate who stumbled on them).
4) The smallest size started just where my finger/largest tampons left off. (While I appreciate the thoroughness of other sets, I really don't need to spend $10 on a tampon-sized dilator when I've got boxes of them in my bathroom.)

Using these dilators to treat vaginismus requires leaving them in for extended periods of time. This allows your muscles to become acclimated to the size and your body to process that these objects aren't a threat. When you're becoming comfortable with a size, you'll want to leave it in for at least 10-20 minutes if possible (if you're in pain, take it out and try something smaller!). If you have a busy schedule like I do, you can try wearing the dilators while doing chores, while watching a movie, or while sleeping. If you feel pain at any point, remove the dilator immediately, as pain can set you back considerably. The great thing about these dilators is that you can also incorporate them in your sex life, so you can actually begin to associate dilation with pleasure.
  • Who / How / What
    [ ? ]
    Who might this product be best for? How is it best used? What are the best circumstances or situations for using this product?
    • Beginners
    • Couples
    • Solo
  • Features
    [ ? ]
    What kind of features does this product offer?
    • Compact
    • Travel friendly

Material / Texture

These dilators are made of hard plastic, so they are definitely not the most comfortable set on the market. Unlike an actual penis, there won't be any give to these, so moving to the next size will often be uncomfortable at first. Keep this in mind while practicing so you don't become discouraged or more anxious about graduating to actual intercourse.

These dilators are very smooth, but make sure you have a good lubricant. I used Astroglide and KY for the longest time because doctors recommended them, but Astroglide was much too thin for this kind of material and KY irritated my skin. I'd recommend finding a thicker lube like Sliquid and consider purchasing a lubricant applicator/launcher as well. This way, you can insert a small amount of lube directly into your vaginal opening and prevent your body from absorbing the lube on the dilator. The more slippery it is, the less likely your muscles will clamp down.

It's also a good idea to run the sleeve you're about to use under hot water for a few minutes before insertion. The plastic retains heat fairly well and it will take the bite off of a cold lubricant if that's an issue.

There is an additional textured sleeve included in the set. I've noticed a lot of people referring to this as a silicone sleeve; however, I'm a little wary of that. The sleeve has always felt and smelled like rubber to me and the box does not include any information on the materials. Also be aware that when people refer to this sleeve as "textured," they mean riddled with raised bumps. I tried this sleeve twice after successfully treating my vaginismus and found it excruciatingly painful. I may try it again one day, now that my body is used to full intercourse and my muscles may have relaxed more, but I definitely do not recommend it to anyone whose vaginal reflexes are still very strong. Your muscles will close over the first row of bumps and it will feel like something tearing into you when the second row is pushed through.

The Offending Soft Sleeve

The offending soft sleeve.

Design / Shape / Size

Because this set only contains four sizes, you should keep in mind that you will need to make some (possibly intimidating) size jumps if these are the only dilators you're using. This means that it could also take you months just to become comfortable with one size. I recommend keeping a journal of your practice sessions so you can keep track of how you're progressing. This helped me immensely, because even though I was still working on the same size after two months, I was able to look back and see that I was much more comfortable with it than I had been only a few weeks earlier. As much as you may want to go ahead and move onto the next one, don't do it until you're sure that you're ready.

Approximate circumferences, widest point and tip:

Size 1 (handle): 2.5", 2"
Size 2 (sleeve 1): 3", 2"
Size 3 (sleeve 2): 4", 2.5"
Size 4 (sleeve 3): 4.5", 3"

The thing that I really love about this set is its versatility. It stores easily, and the fact that the sleeves are removable means you can opt to use them without the handle. I frequently used the sleeves by themselves, either to practice in the bathtub or to practice for extended periods of time without the weight of the handle. I started by inserting them while in bed, then crossing my legs and watching a movie or working on the computer. Eventually, I decided to try wearing the dilator sleeves while doing things around the house. While a silicone set would be more comfortable, the first two sleeves are wearable with thick underwear (just avoid doing things that require you to bend or sit). I also began sleeping in the dilator sleeves, which probably sped up my treatment the most (this was approved by my gynecologist). It required me to sleep in very specific positions, and I often needed to remove the sleeves after about 6 hours, but it's a very simple way to get your body acclimated to the size.
    • Beginner

Functions / Performance / Controls

The vibrator function is located at the base and is very easy to control. There are only three settings, but I found that they worked well enough. The larger the sleeve, the weaker the vibrations will become. This toy is definitely not silent, but it's quiet enough on the lowest setting that a noise machine will cover it up. I've never had an issue with it turning on unexpectedly and it's still running on the first set of batteries I put in 8 months ago.
Vibrator function
Vibrator function

Battery compartment
Battery compartment
    • Easy to use
    • Long lasting power

Care and Maintenance

These dilators are extremely easy to clean using soap and warm water. The insides can be a little bit tricky to scrub properly, so avoid stacking used sleeves while practicing, or try to wipe them off before adding the next sleeve. After I've cleaned them, I usually slide the sleeves back into each other and store them in a plastic bag.
    • Easy to clean
    • Easy to store


This set doesn't come with any instructions or suggestions for treatment support, so I would recommend doing additional research for your own benefit. The dilators themselves are straightforward, but it's beneficial to read/participate in forums, blogs, and treatment sites while doing self-treatment. (Please feel free to PM me if you need any help finding resources or if you'd just like some personal support.)

The box itself is not discreet and features pictures of the dilators as well as some text about them as well as Dr. Laura Berman. However, it doesn't include exact sizes for each dilator or any information about the materials.
    • Not discreet

Personal comments

This was hands down one of the best purchases I've ever made. I began working with this set in October 2012 and was able to have intercourse with my partner for the first time in April 2013.

When I first started treating my vaginismus, I couldn't even fit a regular sized tampon inside myself, let alone a finger. If you're at that point, I would recommend buying a variety pack of sleek, plastic tampons and slowly working your way to the largest size (and masturbating/playing with a partner while doing it - you need to incorporate this with your actual sex life!). Move to fingers from there, or if you're squeamish about fingers (as I was due to a traumatizing doctor's visit), find a small object that you can clean or cover with a condom to fill the size gap (I whittled down a candle). Once you begin working with the dilators, use each size until it's not only comfortable but pleasurable. When I was breaking in a new size, I would be sure to orgasm with the previous size during each session, and I began incorporating them in my sex life as well. (If you have a partner and they're hesitant to help you, you need to sit down and have a talk right now, because you deserve full, dedicated support and you should not be working on an "us" thing all by yourself. It will only stress you out more.)

You may get to the third dilator and get stuck like I did. I worked on that size for about three months and I couldn't imagine how I would ever get comfortable with the fourth one (and that still wasn't even my partner's size!). However, after a month of setting aside time to dilate, wearing the sleeves to sleep, and improving the level of trust in my relationship, I was able to move to the fourth one. Shortly after that, I began incorporating slightly larger dilators I had purchased (from an anal plug set), and eventually I was able to fit my partner as well. I continued to use the dilators before sex and still often use them during (or we just use my partner's fingers), and I've been pain free for about two months now.

If you have the money to splurge on a different set or you know that you need very gradual dilation, the clinical ones have worked wonders for many women. If you're looking for something more affordable or you want to spice up the dilators you already own, I really can't recommend this set enough, and since my partner and I are currently long distance, I foresee getting a lot of continued use out of it.
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This review was edited by
  • PassionCpl PassionCpl
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  • PassionCpl
    Wow, what a fantastic review! Not only was this an absolute pleasure to edit (you're a very good writer, btw), but all of the relevant info is there AND it's a very interesting & helpful read.

    I hope we get to read more from you in the future!
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