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Vibrator myths debunked: addiction, desensitisation and anorgasmia

Vibrator Myths

Concerns around vibrator addiction, genital desensitisation and even the loss of ability to orgasm (anorgasmia) are widespread. While there is limited scientific research out there, we dug deep to uncover some of the myths around the negative effects of vibrator use!

Can my vibrator induce anorgasmia?

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In recent years, fears of vibrator induced anorgasmia resulted in an online trend: “Dead Vagina Syndrome”; or more technically “Dead Clitoris Syndrome”. 

While those concerns may be based on true experience, people diagnosed with “primary” anorgasmia, those who cannot or have never experienced an orgasm, are commonly recommended a vibrator as effective treatment. 

Those claiming to have lost the ability to climax (at least without the aid of a vibrator) would be diagnosed as having “secondary” anorgasmia, where you can only orgasm in certain circumstances, or now have difficulty. 

There can be many physiological reasons for anorgasmia, including sexual side effects from medication (typically anti-depressants designed to numb sensation, illnesses, pelvic floor problems, surgical operations, hormones and ageing. However, the many common reasons are linked to the psyche. Stress, anxiety, mental health issues, and, when it comes to vibrator use, a psychological dependency: the belief that you cannot orgasm without it. 

In this case, inability to orgasm is very likely to be overcome. More on how a bit further down.

Can I become addicted to my vibrator? 

According to the data, there is no known evidence to support this, but the social stigma around female pleasure creates a fear around masturbation, causing many to believe they are “addicted” to orgasms or their vibrator, when in fact they are enjoying a healthy amount of self-pleasure.  

Recurring social concerns were reported in this study by women who’d never used a vibrator before, and then used one at least once a week for a month:

Of course, if masturbation or your vibrator use becomes “excessive” to the point that it is causing you significant distress, getting in the way of your relationship, or even in the way of your everyday life, this would be considered as a detrimental dependency and you may need to speak to a psychosexual therapist.  

Can my vibrator desensitise my clitoris?

When it comes down to vibrator use in relation to genital desensitisation, this study in 2009 found that vibrators don’t actually have any long term numbing effect. 

Though there’s naturally a temporary decrease in sensitivity to tactile stimulation of any kind (imagine scratching the same spot over and over again), sexual psychophysiologist and founder of Liberos, Nicole Prause, Ph.D., has also found zero data to back up claims of ‘Dead Vagina Syndrome’ in relation to vibrators.  

What are some benefits of using a vibrator?

This study, that compared women who never used vibrators to those who did, found “greater likelihood of orgasm, greater sexual desire, easier arousal, more self-lubrication (meaning less discomfort during intercourse), and equal or better sexual satisfaction.” 

Ultimately, vibrators should be considered tools to enhance your pleasure, whether that be solo, with a partner, or multiple partners. Smart vibrators can also be used locally, or long distance to add more intimacy into your sexual relationships.

Can’t climax without a vibrator? Here’s what to do:

Firstly, it’s okay if you need a vibrator to orgasm. Especially in partnered penis and vagina sex, whereby approximately 75% of vulva owners need added clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex to climax – vibrators can help. 

Nevertheless, if you really want to experience non-vibrator orgasms as it has become difficult to climax from manual masturbation, just teach yourself to orgasm again without one. Here’s a few tips we’d recommend:

Slow down
Slow down the experience, be patient with yourself by enjoying non-goal oriented pleasure.
The old fashioned way
Use fingers, or other non-vibratory toys.
Easy does it
Taper off dependency by using the vibrator through underwear, then thicker clothing.
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Alternative erogenous zones
Try indirect stimulation, building yourself to orgasm without even touching the clitoris, via the rest of the vulva, nipples and other erogenous zones.
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Once you’ve regained a sense of control over your pleasure, know that vibrators are a great part of the diversity of achieving orgasms. Diversity is key. We recommend you regularly experiment with changing the input of your pleasure. Particularly when using a vibrator, explore different speeds, intensities and types of vibrations (buzzy versus rumbly). This will teach your body and brain to enjoy a multitude of pleasurable inputs. 

Read Next: Vibrator Guide: Clitoral, G-Spot, Combined Toys, Vibrating Eggs and Kegel Exercisers

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