Sarah Ruhl's much publicised 'vibrator' play is a historically accurate drama set in the late eighteen hundreds which describes how the medical profession used 'vibration' to treat a mysterious female complaint known as 'hysteria'. We've come a long way since then. In the last decade, state of the art materials and NASA technology have revolutionised the vibrator market, but the choice of products is now so overwhelming that it can be hard to know where to start. So, here's 10 things you need to know before you deliver her ultimate Christmas gift. An orgasm.
1. Women over 40 need stronger vibrators so mains powered toys tend to be more effective. The Hitachi Magic Wand was the original gold standard, delivering 6000 vibrations a minute, but sadly, it is no longer available in Europe. Luxury brand Lelo say their Smart Wand (£110) is more powerful than any other rechargeable massager on the market. Lovehoney's mains powered Bodywand (£49) is significantly cheaper, but it is very effective and you can buy additional attachments to turn it into a penetrative toy.
2. How a vibrator feels to touch is very important. The Tenga Iroha range has a soft spongy texture which emulates the properties of skin. The outer covering is FDA approved silicone while the squishy inner area is Polyurethane Elastomer. Uniquely cool and soft to the touch, it also has an anti-dust coating which is more hygienic. Its also latex and phthalate free.
3. Some women prefer toys which pulse rather than vibrate. The Pulsator Stronic Eins Powerful Thrusting Vibrator (£128.99) pulsates back and forth in 10 different non-vibrating modes of stimulation. It uses a weight in the core of the vibrator to match the natural movements of lovemaking.
4. The Crave 16GB Duet Lux Multispeed USB Rechargeable Vibrator (£242) has a split silicone tip which is designed to stimulate the clitoris from all angles. Waterproof, with a gold plated base and a leather storage case, it also functions as a USB flash drive, with 16GB of portable storage
5. Couples vibrators are increasingly popular and the idea, in theory, is that they can be worn during sex to give pleasure to both partners. In practice, using them can be quite complicated but the We-Vibe 4 (£124.90) and Lelo's Tara and Tiani (118.99) are the models to look at.
6. Buy products that are phthalate free. Phthalates are chemical compounds which are often used to soften cheaper jelly, or rubber vibrators. Although the link between phthalates, infertility and cancer has not been proven, its safer to stick to toys that are made from elastomer, silicone, metal or glass.
7. Don't forget the lubricant, but make sure to avoid anything containing glycerin and parabens. These ingredients can cause skin irritation and yeast infections and some parabens partially mimic estrogen, a hormone known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. Astroglide, Sliquid organics, Yes and Lovehoney's own brand are all glycerin and paraben free.
9. Somewhere to hide sex toys is always important. This faux white leather lunch boxxx (£15.99) comes in a range of colours with contrasting lining and crucially, a lock and key. They also make a travel version (£12.99)()
10. Never put a regular vibrator where the sun doesn't shine unless it has a wide flared base. Its a suction thing and A&E won't believe she "fell onto it".
In the Next Room, (or the Vibrator Play) runs at the St James Theatre in London until 4 January 2014