I was inspired to write this post by Dangerous Lilly’s rant about abstaining from vibrators and the (lack of) effect on her sensitivity. Lilly shares her perspective on vibe shaming and the myth of vibrator addiction as someone who has always had difficulty reaching orgasm without vibration. If you haven’t read her piece, go do that now…especially if you or your partner struggle with this issue.
Me? I’m on the other end of the spectrum. I can reach orgasm pretty quickly with manual stimulation alone. Three to five minutes is probably my average, but if I’m particularly aroused, under a minute is not unheard of. I am also capable of getting off during sex without direct clitoral stimulation, and can experience hands-free solo orgasms via kegels and strategic grinding/thigh clenching.
Now you might be wondering why someone as orgasmically blessed as myself is getting up on her soapbox in support of vibrators. First of all, I recognize that I’m an outlier. I’m the exception, not the rule. About 75% of women need direct clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. My unusual circumstances don’t negate the needs and experiences of others. I’m here to support everybody getting what they need in their sex life, which makes me 100% pro-vibrator.
Second, I like sex toys. They’re FUN. I enjoy using them, on my own and with partners. And I think it’s important to say that “because I want to” is a valid and complete reason to use a vibrator. Nowhere is it written that sex toys are only acceptable if they are absolutely necessary to get off. You don’t need a rationalization, an excuse or a prescription.
Unfortunately, not everyone understands this. Having the vibrator conversation with a partner who knows you can and do come without one can present extra challenges. Some partners are accepting, eager to see what new heights can be reached with the addition of toys to the bedroom. Others, well…not so much.
I’ve had it implied that I should be ashamed of wanting more when things are already good, as if there’s a cap on how much people should be allowed to enjoy sex, as if adding something new will ruin what we already have. Personally, I’m not clear how exactly more pleasure constitutes a problem. It’s a renewable resource, the world is not going to have an orgasm shortage if I indulge in a few more. And having new experiences doesn’t mean you lose your appreciation of what came before. Eating pie a la mode has not ruined my enjoyment of pie on its own. Learning to ride a bicycle did not kill my desire to go for walks. Making new friends has not led me to abandon my old ones. Think of vibrators are one more “friend” for my genitals…fingers, tongues and penises are still very much loved and appreciated.
There’s also the idea that sex toys come between you and a partner, that they take something away because “the vibrator is doing the job, not me”. Which is kind of like saying “That guy’s a terrible architect because he used a computer to draft those blueprints.” No. The tools involved are incidental. That architect used his imagination and skill, combined with input from the person he’s designing for, to create something awesome. The computer helped him achieve the goal, it didn’t replace him or lessen his importance. Humans use tools to do all kinds of things better…why should sex be off limits?
And finally, the dreaded risk of desensitization. You’ve probably heard the rumors, seen the panic about “vibrator addiction”. That by using a vibrator to get off, the clitoris becomes desensitized to less intense forms of stimulation. Articles and posts on the subject come in a variety of flavors. Some are thought pieces based on one person’s experience, some are written to sell self-help/sexual wellness books. Some are written by concern trolls, inventing problems to shame people who do things they don’t approve of. Some even come from “sexperts” and sex ed professionals, which is maddening and a little bit scary.
Despite owning a ridiculous number sex toys, I will sometimes send myself off to sleep with a simple, lazy hand down my pajama bottoms. And it still works just as well as it always has, even if I used a vibrator earlier the same day. But you don’t have to take my word for it. This article talks about a study linking vibrator use to improved sexual function. Are there women who experience numbness or difficulty reaching orgasm after vibrator use? Yes, there are. Is it the case for the majority of women? Nope, and among the small percentage who do have reduced sensation things generally return to normal in short order. For a nuanced look at what really drives the “addiction” panic, have a look over here.
So, to vibe or not to vibe? That’s really up to you. Vibrators aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no reason to be afraid or ashamed of using them. If you want to give one a try, don’t let scary or pearl-clutching clickbait articles keep you from exploring your options. If you already use a vibrator and enjoy it, feel free to ignore the hype and rock on.