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Is It Possible To Use Your Vibrator Too Much?

As a teenager, I remember believing that if you used a vibrator “too much,” you could do irreparable damage to your lady parts. One day, you’d be enjoying a little masturbation sesh courtesy of your favorite sex toy when — poof! — your clitoris would go numb and stay that way. And just like that, you’d kiss orgasms goodbye forever. (Because, you know, roughy 37% of women need clitoral stimulation in order to climax, according to a 2017 survey.)

In internet parlance, the idea that overusing a vibrator might cause permanent desensitization of the clitoris is known as “dead vagina syndrome” (charming, no?). But is this actually a thing or just another B.S. sex myth? We talked to sex experts to get the buzz.

So, can a vibrator desensitize the clitoris?

Using a vibrator can numb the clitoris — but only temporarily.

“There is no empirical evidence that vibrator use can cause a lasting desensitization of the clitoris,” Nan Wise, a sex therapist, neuroscientist and author of“Why Good Sex Matters,” told HuffPost.

Typically, the diminished sensitivity down there, if it happens at all, won’t last long. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that roughly 71% of women who have used a vibrator have never had any side effects — which include genital numbness, pain, irritation, swelling or inflammation and tears or cuts. Of the roughly 16% who had experienced genital numbness, only 0.5% reported that the numbness lasted a day or more.

“Think of it this way: You know when you sit on your leg for a while and your foot becomes numb? After a while, it returns to normal and everything is fine,” said Gigi Engle, a sexologist and author of “All the F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life.” Similarly, give your clitoris a little time to recuperate and you should be back to normal in no time.

If the temporary numbness bothers you, you can always put the vibrator on a lower setting, use it over your underwear or find another toy that’s less intense, said Nazanin Moali, a sex therapist and host of the podcast “Sexology.”

OK, but can you become “addicted” to your vibrator?

The short answer is no. Clinical research doesn’t support the claim that a person can become physically or psychologically addicted to a sex toy. Another related concern is that women who use vibrators for solo sex will become so hooked on their toys that they’ll lose all desire to have sex with partners, namely male ones.

“This is an old myth that continually gets perpetuated to shame female sexuality,” Engle said.

One thing to note: People who use vibrators regularly may grow accustomed to orgasming quickly and dependably, which could create unrealistic expectations around climaxing other ways — like by rubbing the clitoris or during vaginal or oral sex. That’s why it’s good to change things up by taking different routes to orgasm so you don’t get too reliant on any one way.

“Depending on the intensity of stimulation with vibrators, many women would be able to reach orgasm in under five minutes,” Moali said. “However, we also should keep in mind that it is perfectly normal and healthy for a partnered sex to take longer if they choose not to incorporate sex toys.”

But if you feel your vibrator use is interfering with your daily life — you start showing up late to work, skipping social obligations or isolating from your partner, for example — then it might be worth examining the habit.

“Some people who struggle with emotional regulation might use sex as their primary way of coping with difficult emotions, which might lead to developing a pattern of out-of-control sexual behaviors,” Moali said.

What about other health concerns?

Although you don’t need to worry about doing permanent damage to your clitoris, there are a few potential health-related issues to be aware of. You could irritate the vulva if you’re not cleaning your vibrator properly (follow the directions from the manufacturer, as different materials may need to be handled differently).

“And if you are using a vibrator that’s inserted into the vagina, make sure the device is properly designed for such usage and is sufficiently lubricated by an appropriate device-compatible lube to minimize irritation of the lining of the vagina,” Wise said.

Wise also cautioned against using a toy that was inserted into the anus on other parts of the body, like the mouth or vagina, as the device could spread fecal matter and bacteria to those areas.

If you’re sharing sex toys with your partner or other people, you could potentially spread or contract sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia and herpes. Practice safe sex by covering the toy with a new condom and then properly cleaning it after each use.

And if you’re experiencing lasting numbness in your genital area, see a doctor. The culprit could be a medical or psychological issue, not your vibrator.

“It may be due to hormonal changes associated with menopause or other medical reasons,” Wise said. “Feel free to speak up to your doctor if anything seems amiss in your sex life.”

Are there benefits to using a vibrator?

Heck yeah, there are. Remember that the vibrator is a tool of pleasure that’s meant to be enjoyed, not something to be scared of or demonized. In fact, using one may offer a host of benefits physically, mentally and emotionally.

For one, vibrators teach you about your body and what feels good to you.

“They can show you how to have orgasms if you’ve never had one before,” Engle said.

That knowledge can also help you feel more confident and empowered when it comes to sex with a partner, too.

“Developing a solo practice in which a woman brings herself to orgasm could potentially increase her confidence to show their partner what they need to feel pleasure and orgasm,” said Sari Cooper, sex therapist and director of the Center for Love and Sex NYC.

Not to mention that the orgasms you get from a session with your vibrator can boost your mood and help you relax and unwind.

“It’s a mindful experience that keeps women in the present moment and stops worries from intruding on a full body-mind relaxation,” Cooper said.

What’s more, vibrator use seems to be correlated with a bunch of good stuff, Wise said, including better overall sexual functioning in terms of desire and arousal, vaginal lubrication, less pain and more orgasms.

Need we say more? Now let the good vibes roll.

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