“I have been using my vibrator for a long time during sex and masturbation and I am worried that I have become dependent on it, or that later, without it, I won’t know how to reach orgasm. I’ve tried it without and it makes me despair because it’s harder for me to get “there”. Is this because the vibrator has made me insensitive or am I hooked on it?”
As a practicing sex therapist, this is an example of one of the most frequent fears among people who use vibrators, or those who don’t but have heard this rumour, that I hear. Even though the use of vibrators has become much more socially acceptable, their use is still clouded by myths and paranoias.
But what worries people the most is if there is a limit to how much you can use them, or that if you use them too much, it will end up being harmful. Do you remember that chapter in Sex in the City where Charlotte becomes absolutely addicted to her Bunny vibrator and doesn’t want to leave the house? Well, that’s fiction. Even though the scene is very funny, this doesn’t happen in real life.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a vibrator to masturbate or introducing it as another element in your sexual encounters. What can happen sometimes is that we become “passive” or “comfortable”. When using a vibrator it can be very easy to reach orgasm (believe me…): all you have to do is rest the toy in the right place with the right vibrations and you can come. Plus, we have thousands of variants of vibration: intense, soft, strong, sucking, intermittent … Almost a morse code in itself …
None of this is a problem (if we can call it that, because hello, since when is enjoying something and feeling pleasure a problem?), but what can be a difficulty is when a person stays stuck in this habit. But what if the same happens with sexual positions or any other facet of a person’s sexual life: if I always put myself in the same position because I know that this way I will reach orgasm, should I then stop myself from doing so in case it’s somehow harmful? No, the answer is not prohibiting yourself.
It’s about getting to know yourself, discovering yourself, opening new avenues and exploring self-pleasure in many ways. And of course yes, using a vibrator whenever you want. If you only reach orgasm with the toy, the issue isn’t really the toy: rather, it might be that you are searching for an immediate orgasm in the same way you experience with a toy. You need to try moving away from always repeating the same techniques, for increased pleasure and innovation.
And now to address this “anaesthesia” worry, or rather, the fear that a toy will make you less sensitive. Again, it’s nothing to worry about. You may experience a little insensitivity immediately after using a toy, but this is only momentary. You just have to let the area rest and everything returns to normal. Don’t believe me? It’s even been studied. The results of an investigation carried out in the University of Indiana speak for themselves: 70% of the women did not present any negative effect on their health or their sex life due to the fact of using vibrators, and the remaining 30% declared having some infections or minor pain caused by not having good hygiene with the toy (a very important issue always, that deserves not to be forgotten). In no case did the use of vibrators prove to cause loss of sensitivity. So even if you have two, four or six orgasms in a row with your vibrator, the only thing that will change is your pleasure and so … Why not?
There is a stigma about vibrators, maybe caused by fear or ignorance, by some people who see these objects as somehow unsafe. This probably has more to do with self-esteem than a toy – because a toy is not a competitor, it is an ally. Toys can introduce new kinds of pleasure that are more difficult to experience without. In fact, toys greatly help with all manner of sexual dysfunctions, and so as a sex therapist, I often recommend that singles and couples try to use them. For one thing, it can bring much more pleasure into your lives, and so, because the sex gets more enjoyable, you want to have more of it – and so their use can inadvertently increase your sex drive.
So, to conclude: sex toys (made with quality control in their materials) are totally harmless and will not steal sensitivity from you or cause you problems. The only thing they are going to do is give you orgasms and the freedom to play and innovate.
Mia Sabat, sex therapist