The elegant Gigolino holds such promise. Swathed in slightly squishy silicone with a suede-like surface, shaped for broad or focused external stimulation as well as internal stimulation, made in non-traditional shades of soft French blue and deep red-orange, it speaks of streamlined sophistication. And it’s made by Fun Factory, a German brand with a well-deserved reputation for high quality.
For those who are on the high end of the clitoral sensitivity scale, or who want a slender-ish, flexible, vaginally insertable vibrator with gentle g-spot stimulation and gentle vibrations, it may even fulfill that promise. (It does not have a flared base, so it isn’t safe for anal use.) Its vibration frequency is fairly rumbly, there are six speeds and six patterns to choose from, about 6″ of the total 8″ length is insertable, and the shape of the tip gives a choice of g-spot sensations.
The Gigolino feels lovely in my hands — the velvety-suedey texture combines with that hint of squishiness to create an almost plush feel, and the upper half flexes easily. It’s sitting on the desk next to my laptop as I write, and I keep reaching over to squeeze it or run my fingertips along its length.
However, the first time I inserted a pair of fresh AAA batteries and powered it on, I was a bit disappointed. Fully half of this toy is nothing but solid silicone, which gives it flexibility, but also means the vibrations are severely dampened by the time they travel through all that semi-soft silicone and reach the tip. The hard ABS plastic housing that holds the motor is only about 4″ long, including the battery cap, which leaves 4″ of silicone to transfer the vibrations as best they can. Which, as previously noted, is not all that well.
Because I have a very sensitive clitoris, I am able to orgasm with this toy. If it’s been at least a few days since my last orgasm, and I use it on the first three speeds, and I use the semi-pointy tip fairly lightly and directly against my clit, it does work for me. The first couple of times, it was far from the most powerful orgasm I’ve ever had. Maybe three times really is a charm, though, because using lube and moving the tip in small ovals directly on my clit on the lowest speed resulted in a very intense orgasm just now. As in, I yelled for about eight seconds straight, then continued to moan loudly in short bursts with each pulsation of my genitals. When I finally stopped coming, I looked at the vibe and said, “Well then,” and got up to amend my review with this info.
The lower speeds transfer through the silicone better, so they feel more powerful. But applying pressure still doesn’t work well, as it dampens the vibrations more. The Gigolino’s lowest speed is pretty nice for me, because of the aforementioned Very Sensitive Clit and because it feels rumbly and not buzzy. But if I can put it directly on the tip of my clit with no discomfort, it is not going to be enough for someone who craves powerful vibrations.
About those speeds: I didn’t even figure out that the Gigolino has more than one speed until I had carefully examined the Ikea-like user manual. The controls are different from any I’ve previously encountered. There are two buttons, one with a raised plus symbol, the other with an indented minus symbol. Holding down the plus button for half a second powers it on at the fifth-highest of the six steady-vibration speeds. From there, clicking the same button will go to the sixth speed, then cycle through the six patterns, but clicking the minus button instead lowers the speed of the steady vibration. Once at the lowest speed, clicking the plus button goes back up through the speeds, then through the patterns, and the opposite happens when clicking the minus button from the patterns.
I picture it like this: | P6 | P5 | P4 | P3 | P2 | P1 | S6 | *S5* | S4 | S3 | S2 | S1 | — in which S5 is the default upon powering on, the minus button takes you to the right, and the plus button takes you to the left. Oddly, when you reach P6, clicking plus again takes you back to P1, but minus will take you back to S6. However, clicking minus again from S1 won’t take you to P1 or P6, you’ll just stay on S1 until you click plus.
I appreciate that I can move through the settings in either direction rather than having to go through all 12 of them to get to the one I want. It’s a little inconvenient, though, to have to power it on and then carefully click four times to reach the lowest speed — carefully, because if I press the minus button a little too long (0.5 second), it powers off. This isn’t an absolute deal-breaker, but it’s counter-intuitive, and I think it’d be easier to use if it powered on at the lowest speed as most vibrators do.
Another minor annoyance in regard to the controls is that the click of the minus button is less audible and less easily felt than that of the plus button. This has caused me to hold the vibrator near my ear so I can tell if I’ve depressed the minus button far enough, whereas with the plus button, I can easily feel and hear the click with the toy sitting in my lap. This detail creates the possibility of accidental shut-off at the wrong moment — which is any moment one doesn’t intend to shut it off, of course. The plus and minus symbols on the buttons are not super easy to feel, but as there are only the two buttons and they’re arranged vertically with the minus closer to the battery cap, it’s easy enough to remember which is which during use.
One positive aspect of all that silicone, aside from the bendy-ness, is that it keeps the noise level low. This vibe is nice and quiet for its size. On high speed it sounds similar to the hum of the Nespresso machine beginning to make my coffee, only about half as loud; on low speed it’s barely audible and I can’t hear it through the comforter.
As far as penetration goes, the Gigolino is shaped well and gives my vagina pleasurable sensations. The tapered tip results in a more gradual stretch of my PC muscles as I insert it, and combined with the small-ish girth (4.25″ circumference, 1.35″ diameter) of the first swell, it means I don’t need to do a lot of warming up with smaller toys. The suede-like texture of the exterior increases friction, so I do need a lot of lubricant, though — water-based, just to be safe, as some silicone lubes can interact with some solid silicone formulations and cause damage. If you really want to use your high-quality silicone or hybrid lube, particularly since this vibe is waterproof, be sure to do a very small spot test first on the silicone near where it meets the plastic.
Once I have the end well-coated in Sliquid and have gotten that initial bump slowly worked past my muscles, the hooked tip feels mildly stimulating with some shallow thrusting. It sort of gently tugs on my g-spot area, or “g-zone” as Vibrant more precisely calls it, and while it isn’t an intense sensation, I do enjoy it. If I rotate the toy so that the rounded bump on back is uppermost, the feeling is less of a tugging and more of a gentle pressure, which also feels nice, if not mind-blowing. Just past the bump, the shaft narrows to 3.5″ circumference/1.1″ diameter, then swells back out to 5″ circumference /1.6″ diameter a little past the midpoint.
Fun Factory uses attractive, sleek, all-biodegradable packaging, and the inner box can be used for long-term storage. The fold-out user manual shows images of two other toys in the SmartVibes Mini Vibes line, the dual-stimulation Flash and the rippled Meany. I suspect that since they’re shorter, but appear to have the same inner plastic housing and therefore probably the same motor, their vibrations are likely to feel more powerful without the extra length of solid silicone which dampens the Gigolino’s vibes. The Ocean is another shorter toy in this line, also a dual stimulator. If you’re extra-sensitive like me, and seeking a gentler, non-buzzy, pretty vibrator that can be used clitorally or vaginally, I think you’ll like the Gigolino. It’s available from Vibrant for $59.99. If you want something similar, but shorter and a bit stronger, one of the other Mini Vibes may be right for you.
Vibrant is a new online sex toy retailer which I’m excited to support and endorse. Vibrant is inclusive, ethical, and sells only body-safe products from ethical manufacturers, with a small but growing selection. The website offers current and accurate information on sexuality, anatomy, sexual health, and related topics on its blog. Perhaps best of all, this company also donates 100% of its proceeds to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Yes – 100%. Vibrant was founded “with the sole mission of supporting” the organization, in view of concerns about whether Planned Parenthood will continue to receive federal funding with a new Republican administration in Washington.
And besides, look how cute their tissue-wrapped, logo-decal-sealed inner packaging is.
My thanks to Vibrant for sending me the Gigolino in exchange for my unfiltered and uncensored written thoughts.