What is your vibrator really doing to your body?

What is your vibrator really doing to your body?

WRITTEN BY ZOE LIGON

At 19, I bought my first vibrator — a slim, minimalist one that only cranked up to a low rumble on it’s top speeds. It didn’t do a damn thing for me, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that what I craved was POWERFUL vibrators. I’ve barely masturbated without a wand since. While I enjoy manual stimulation as well, I just can’t vibrate!

As someone whose sole career has been sex educator and sex toy salesperson, I am continuously confronted with the same question from friends, customers, and clients: Are there any negative effects that prolonged vibrator use can cause? Does a heavy reliance on vibration make it harder to orgasm in other ways, or lead one to need more and more stimulation to get off?

VIBRATORS DO NOT

DECREASE SENSITIVITY

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Applying vibration to the clit, or anywhere else on the body, does not cause desensitization. When the clit, or glans, is aroused, it swells with blood much like a penis — they’re analogous parts — and the increased surface area exposes more nerve endings. Vibrators can make this happen very quickly for some people.

Vibrators do not alter nerve function. It’s just that when our brains get used to the intense sensation they provide, other types of stimulation can feel less intense when applied in close proximity afterwards. After you’ve gotten some vibrator experience, you may find you like more intensity than you did when you were new to toys, simply because you have more reference points. It’s all about the relative perception of stimulation. Take massage chairs, for instance: if you sit in a powerful massage chair for an hour, then immediately get a shoulder rub, the shoulder rub won’t feel as intense as it would have if you hadn’t sat in that massage chair first. If you wait awhile, though, a hand massage will feel as good as it ever has (the placebo effect is a powerful thing, too — if you think vibrator use decreases sensitivity, you may in fact feel less sensitive.)

VIBRATORS WILL NOT

RUIN TOY-FREE SEX

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You don’t need to worry that the sex you have with body parts alone will lose appeal if you incorporate a vibrator in your sex life. This is an idea that has been perpetuated in part by folks who fear that vibrators are ‘replacements’ for people, which they are absolutely not. Can a vibrator cuddle you after it makes you come? Nope! Vibration is truly a blessing in that it makes achieving orgasm much easier with less physical effort than manual stimulation. Why not embrace a tool that brings more orgasms into the world? Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to make a partner feel less capable for using a hammer to place a nail instead of their hands?

IT’S ALSO OKAY

TO TAKE BREAKS

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If someone is pressuring you to take space from your toys, that is coercive and manipulative. If YOU are desiring a little break from your toys to reset those neural pathways, that’s a different story. It’s okay to think about the role you want your vibrator to play in your sex life, but make sure the impetus to do so is self-inspired. While frequent vibrator use doesn’t make it harder to orgasm in other ways, it can replace time you’d otherwise be spending trying to figure out what else brings you pleasure. This can be a great exercise in mindful self-exploration, and assist in helping you communicate your desires to someone else.

 THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY

TO HAVE AN ORGASM

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Look, you don’t need to even have orgasms to have an AMAZING sex life. Many adults are pre-orgasmic or struggle to become regularly orgasmic, but we can still experience extreme sexual pleasure without coming. And if you are only able to come from the most intense vibration known to humankind, then that is also amazing and awesome! You are in charge of the role that toys play in your sex life, and you deserve to make those decision free of mythologized fear.

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