Will using a vibrator desensitise my clitoris?

Will using a vibrator desensitise my clitoris?

When we started Flossy, it was hard to keep track on both hands the number of people who expressed interest in our vision but there would be the inevitable hesitation where people would say something like, "I don't want to become reliant on a vibrator," or, "Won't it desensitise my clitoris?". These comments got us thinking - is there any truth in this or have we been conditioned to believe that this is the case?

Do vibrators cause a loss of sensitivity? 

The short answer is no. The long answer is also no and it's scientifically backed. According to professional sexologist Jill McDevitt, PhD, “Society feels and teaches women to feel uncomfortable with the idea of women experiencing pleasure for the sake of pleasure and getting themselves off." As a result, “Folks with vulvas are told that a vibrator will ‘ruin’ them for partnered sex and that they’ll be unable to orgasm in any other way,” she adds. But this is stigma, not science, speaking.

Dr. Carolyn Delucia, M.D., FACOG says, "It’s a complete myth that you can desensitise your vagina or clitoris from using a vibrator.” In a small study published by The Journey of Sexual Medicine, most women reported having never experienced negative genital symptoms, including numbness, associated with vibrator use. On the contrary, vibrator users were significantly more likely to have had a gynaecological exam during the past year and to have performed genital self-examination during the previous month. Vibrator use was also seen to be significantly related to increased desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm and overall function. It was also seen to be linked with decreased pain. 

It's also important to note that in the same study, there were a few who reported numbing sensations, only to follow up that this feeling went away within a day. Temporary numbness can occur but it's important to realise that in most cases the body just needs a little time to recover. The same would occur for manual masturbation and stimulation during sex without a vibrator. 

Will a vibrator make it harder to orgasm without? 

For people with vulvas, the #1 biggest roadblock for not being able to orgasm starts in the brain. Anxiety and stress have long been linked to the inability to get aroused during sex as it impedes your ability to create the hormones needed to become aroused. When you're aroused and when you orgasm, the body is flooded with dopamine and oxytocin, which promotes the feeling of tranquility, closeness and pair-bonding. When you're stressed, your body releases cortisol, which completely squashes oxytocin and dopamine, therefore impeding your ability to orgasm. 

So next time you or your partner try to point the finger at the vibrator for your inability to orgasm, it's important to consider what other factors might be impacting your overall wellbeing. Yes, our brains are much harder to unpack but it's also the most worthy thing you can do for your sex life. Oh, and did we mention that masturbation is one of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety? Positive feedback loop here 👏 we 👏 come 👏. 

If you are experiencing numbness, desensitisation or inability to orgasm...

Okay, so we've debunked the fact that for most people with vulvas, using a vibrator is not the root cause of numbness or desensitisation, however if you're still unsure or wondering what could be causing it, it's important to seek professional support. Stress, depression, medication or other underlying health conditions are all factors that can impact your pleasure potential.

Some final thoughts.

For far too long, society aka the patriarchy has taught us that the only way to have sex is via penetration. Not only is this heteronormative, but it doesn't address the fact that most women cannot orgasm through penetration alone. So when women started turning to vibrators, society shamed us into thinking it would desensitise our bits (*cough* not true *cough*) therefore taking away our only means to get-off during penetration. On top of that, we have also been dragged into the narrative that using one would make our partners feel "less than" for not being able to give us an orgasm without the aid of a sex toy. So you become caught in the middle of choosing pleasure over "shame" which sadly leads to our pleasure potential taking a hit. 

We reckon it's time that we start breaking out of the tiny boxes society has constructed for us to fit in. Pleasure is a fundamental human right and we hope by proudly admitting that we use a vibrator (if that tickles ya fancy), it's one step closer to breaking that stigma. 


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