Pleasure and orgasms, we love them! Vibrators are a fabulous tool that can make pleasure and orgasm much more accessible to vulva owners during both solo and partnered sex. Yet, even in all their wonder, myths and misunderstandings surrounding them continue to circulate. BUT don’t let that kill your vibe!
Pleasure & Peach recently had the privilege of speaking with Dr Laurie Mintz to address some of the most common myths and misunderstandings surrounding vibrators.
For over 30 years, Dr Mintz has been providing scientifically accurate, sex-positive information to enhance female pleasure. She is a world renowned sex educator, university professor, has been published in over 50 research articles in academic journals, written in 6 chapters in academic textbooks, is the author of 2 popular press books including ‘Becoming Cliterate’.
We are here with evidence-based information to set the record straight. We want to reassure vulva owners that vibrators are both a safe and wonderful way to explore pleasure, if you choose to use them. Everyone deserves to make choices about their pleasure based on what works best for them, rather than being informed by fear, misinformation, or outdated stigma.
Myth #1 - Using a vibrator can cause desensitization of the clitoris and vulva, and have lasting negative effects on those nerves. Dr Mintz - “This is a complete falsehood. Here's the truth. A small percentage of vibrator users report occasional numbness (this is from over-
stimulation NOT desensitization). It's not permanent or harmful—this type of numbness can last from a few minutes to a few hours. It's no different than one's rear end feeling numb after a long bike ride. There are also simple solutions, including taking a break, using a lower speed, using the vibrator through your panties, and not pressing as hard. Also, just the opposite may be true. Rather than harming clitoral nerves a vibrator may enhance them. To explain, a recent study found that vibrations on rabbit's clitorises increased the number of clitoral nerve endings. Since, apparently, rabbits and women have similarly structured clits, some scientists have speculated that this could apply to humans as well. And, indeed, many sexual medicine health providers (physicians, psychologists, pelvic floor physical therapists) actually prescribe vibrators, based on the rationale that they increase blood flow and nerve sensitivity in the clitoris!”
Myth #2 - Using a vibrator can cause dependence or 'addiction'. You should limit vibrator use. Dr Mintz - “Absolutely not! There's no evidence of vibrator addiction or of vibrators causing harm. Again, the opposite is true. Studies show that women who use vibrators have better sexual experiences, including more lubrication, less painful intercourse, and more orgasms.”
Myth #3 - Frequent vibrator use will stop you from being able to orgasm by other means. Dr Mintz - “Here is what I say in ‘Becoming Cliterate’ about this MYTH! Once you start reaching orgasm from a vibrator, it's true that you might get used to reaching orgasm that way. But, this isn't specific to vibrators—it goes for sex in general. If a person gets used to reaching orgasm one way, it can be harder to reach orgasm in other ways. The solution is simply mixing up your routine once and a while (e.g., hands sometime, vibrator others). However, most heterosexual men get used to reaching orgasm primarily from intercourse, and we don't tell them to give this up and try new ways. So, there's no need to tell women to give up their vibrators if they work! In fact, some women simply need a different kind of stimulation than a partners' hands or tongue can provide. Quoting sex educator and author Corey Silverberg:...if you always like to have sex with your vibrator, why not always have sex with your vibrator? Many people hold this belief that "real sex" has to be somehow without any outside influence (no lubricant, no sex toys, etc.) This is a socially constructed idea whose time has passed. Real sex is precisely whatever we say it is, and good healthy sex is anything two (or more) consenting adults engage in for sexual satisfaction. There is no reason not to bring your vibrator into the bedroom and make it a regular part of your sex life.”
Myth #4 - Using a vibrator during partnered sex can negatively impact a couple's ability to connect with each other and with themselves.
Dr Mintz - “When you incorporate a vibrator into sex with a partner, you're still having sex with that partner—not with your vibrator. Your connection is to the person, not the object you're using with the person. Think of this akin to a couple in a pool together. One gets on a raft to float around and the other hangs on the raft, talking, teasing, and kissing. The person on the raft is still swimming with the other person—she's just using the raft to float. She won't go home and tell her friends, "I had an awesome day swimming with my raft. Oh, and my boyfriend was there someplace too." Instead, as she tells her friends about her day, the raft wouldn't even come up, since it wasn't about that. Like rafts help people float (sometimes when someone else is in the pool and sometimes not), vibrators provide the intense stimulation some women need to orgasm.”
When it comes to vibrators, the science confirms its good vibes only. They are a wonderful and perfectly safe tool for exploring pleasure if you choose to use one, so feel free to use them as much or as little as you like! There is no wrong or right way to experience pleasure or connect to your body or with a partner. When choosing a vibrator we always recommend using a quality product made from body-safe materials like high grade silicone. Happy Vibrating!