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Can You Ever Get Too Dependent on Your Vibrator?

Truly, the sex toy is a wonderful thing—but can overuse deaden your clit? And can the damage be reversed? Two sex therapists fill us in.
February 20, 2017, 2:50pm
Photo by Aleksandra Jankovic via Stocksy

Too much of a good thing—and a deficiency of lube—can have powerfully damaging effects. Just ask any bro who's ever suffered from death grip as a result of too much vice-like masturbating and is unable to come through regular sex.

But can an over-fondness for the mechanical pleasures of your vibrator have a similar effect? The female orgasm is a strange, powerful thing, and women get off in all kinds of unexpected ways—from root vegetables to the mythic orgasm-inducing musical note. But will using a vibrator too often essentially destroy your ability to orgasm through non-aided sex? Will your clitoris become as numb as a Real Housewife's freshly-Botoxed face?

"You can't harm your vagina by using a vibrator," explains sex therapist Sarah Berry, "but you can desensitize it, particularly if you're having a bit of a session." She tells me this is a common concern amongst her patients. In characteristically British fashion, Berry recommends tea as a way to treat a deadened vagina.

"If your clitoris is feeling numb," she explains, "you might want to wait and have a cup of tea and then start again." But don't be afraid, your unresponsive clit won't stay that way forever. Lay off the vibrator for a bit, and sensation will return.

"If you're used to using the vibrator every time on a really high setting, it might be when you go to masturbate or have sex that you're so used to the strong vibration that you're kind of reliant on it," Berry warns. "But you can retrain yourself to take something more gentle."

Read more: How Sex Toys Penetrated Television

First off: Stop jackhammering your clit with the highest vibe setting. Adjust it to a lower setting, or keep it in a drawer and go analogue—just use loads of lube. (Every single sex educator I have ever spoken to loves lube for its sex-enhancing effects.) Also, forget about orgasming.

"Just slow down a little bit and take time to touch around your vagina," Berry advises. "There are lots of different parts of the vagina that feel happy to the touch. If you feel orgasm too quickly, maybe without a plateau, or if you need what feels like a lot of focus—and a distraction means you go back to 0—you may want to slow down, touch around your clitoris, think about what is sexy. You may find the orgasm, and the journey to it, a more relaxing and enjoyable experience."

Photo by Chelsea Victoria via Stocksy

Basically, chill the fuck out and stop chasing immediate orgasmic relief. And just like a romantic relationship, curbing your psychological attachment can be harder than the physical addiction to your vibrator.

"You need to believe you have the ability to orgasm without your vibrator," explains psychosexual therapist Kate Moyle. "If you only believe you can orgasm with a sex toy, when you don't have it there you'll feel like it's not possible."

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Believe that you don't need a battery-powered piece of plastic to orgasm, Moyle advises. "The physical ability to orgasm is likely there, it's just that you might not believe it's possible. Like anything if you don't believe it will happen, then you will struggle to achieve it."

Also, lube. Use lots of lube.