Vibrators, Sensitivity, & “Vibrator Addiction”

Even the most supportive friends can have misconceptions. “I don’t know how you still have sensitivity,” I frequently hear when I talk about my We-Vibe Tango. “Don’t vibrators numb you? I mean, a man can’t compete with that.”

My short answer is, “No.” My long answer is, “Not necessarily, but technique matters. People’s tastes can change over time, and that’s going to happen either way, whether you use vibrators or not.” And you don’t have to take my word for it. I’m just providing an informal perspective from someone who collects sex toys and is largely sensitive and orgasmic with a partner and without using toys.

For those who can get off via finger-on-clit rubbing, a vibrator isn’t a problem. The intensity of the vibrations isn’t a problem. Repetition is what can become a problem. A worried state of mind about a vibrator ruining your sexual response is what can become a problem. It’s only if you use one toy, on the same setting, in the same manner, every single time, that your body might get conditioned to respond to those one or two uniform methods, but that depends on how easily the individual gets caught in a rut.

If you have a vibrator that you use on many settings, moving it around your vulva, mixing it in with masturbating the way you did before you had toys, your body gets conditioned to respond to those vibrations AND what it responded to before. If you’re just focused on what feels good, instead of fretting about whether you’re going to orgasm, you’re in a more responsive state of mind. What’s more, using a vibrator can actually lead to long-term increases in sensitivity because, 1.) you get to know your body better, and 2.) you’re increasing blood flow to the area.

Sure, the uniform motion of a vibrator might cause TEMPORARY numbness as your body filters out repetitive sensory information it doesn’t need, similar to how you’re not aware of the sound of your air conditioner after hearing it all the time. But hardly anyone has their vibrator turned on and attached to them 24/7. You can start low and turn the toy up as you progress in the session. The numbing effect fades a few minutes afterwards and is not a problem in the long run.

What people think is long-term desensitization due to intensity, is more often an issue of getting into a rut and being habituated to one form of stimulation. That could happen when you masturbate to a very specific kind of porn and nothing else for a long period of time. That could happen if you get complacent with a partner and don’t mix things up, doing the same sequence and position every time. That could happen if you grow so extremely close to a partner that you orgasm at their command, but feel downright weird the first time you hook up with someone else. And yes, getting habituated could happen if you use a vibrator, but could the same could be said about attachment to any repeated stimulation.

For those who weren’t already able to get off via other forms of stimulation to begin with but can by using a vibrator, it’s really not the vibrator’s fault that the other methods didn’t work for their bodies that well. They’re just doing what they’ve discovered does work for them.

Let’s imagine you don’t fancy pistachio ice cream, but it was the only flavor served wherever you went. You one day find an ice cream parlor that also served mango, lemon, and raspberry sorbets, and they’re all friggin’ delicious. It’s not like the mango sorbet suddenly made you find pistachio unpalatable. It might raise your standards for how good ice cream can be, but you had always disliked pistachio to begin with. You’re still excited that you’ve found something different you like, and that’s totally okay. Not everyone has to like pistachio.

Maybe you’re on a date and your partner really likes pistachio, but you like mango. You can order separate bowls. You can use a vibrator while giving them oral. You can get one flavor to share this time and the other the next and take turns. You can get one small scoop of each in the same bowl and chow down. A straight couple with different tastes can use a vibrator during PIV and satisfy both parties.

And yes, some people like both pistachio ice cream AND tart fruit sorbets because they’re different. The small, uniform pressure changes from a vibrator don’t make the larger rubbing motions of a finger obsolete. A vibrator isn’t inherently more intense or better or worse than manual stimulation. They’re just different.

In the case of extremely powerful vibrators, it’s kind of like having a car. Having a car doesn’t ruin walking. Sometimes you have more time to get to a place close by and walking isn’t a big deal. Sometimes you drive to the corner store because you’re just feeling lazy. Some people have lifestyles where they need to take long commutes, while others can walk everywhere they need to go. Someone who walks less MIGHT be less physically fit, but there’s no inherent reason someone can’t drive AND stay in practice with exercise.

Finally, you can also spoon-feed your partner their favorite ice cream flavor. Sure, they CAN just enjoy ice cream on their own. But enjoying something already fantastic in the presence of someone who makes your heart skip makes it even better. Ice cream and vibrators are pleasurable things, and cars are useful to have, but they don’t replace human company. The tastiness and convenience of ice cream by yourself doesn’t mean ice cream dates aren’t fun, and having a car doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy taking a walk with someone.

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3 thoughts on “Vibrators, Sensitivity, & “Vibrator Addiction”

  1. “If you use one toy, on the same setting, in the same manner, every single time, your body gets conditioned to respond to those one or two uniform methods.”

    I might be a person who breaks this rule, but I’m even cautious to say that that much is true. I have gone months with using only my Tango, only in a certain way, on the same setting for every session and then was still able to easily get off with another vibrator once I finally got one to review that didn’t suck. I think some people could be more sensitive to a rut, though.

    I feel absolutely 100% certain that vibrators have made me more sensitive over time.

    Like

    1. That’s a very good point! I’ll edit the post to add that.

      I guess it’s not so much that doing something the same way every time causes problems, but that if someone is worried about desensitizing, mixing up the routine can give them peace of mind.

      I think vibrators made me more sensitive over time too, because I learned more about my body: things like what signals to expect and how to maintain an orgasm.

      Like

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