Welcome back to Ask a Sexpert – Sinful’s monthly recurring column where we deep-dive into the questions sent to us by our customers and readers! This month, we’re debunking the myth of ‘dead vagina syndrome’ while addressing variations of the same question we’re often asked by customers with vulvas:
Will using my vibrator too often, or on the highest vibration setting, desensitise my clit?
Will I make myself permanently numb down there, or make it impossible to have orgasms without using a toy?
Ladykins, relax! Whether your weapon of choice is a clit sucker, a wand, a rabbit vibe or a bullet, getting off with a vibrator WILL NOT make your clitoris lose feeling, or damage it permanently.
Whatever you’ve heard about vibrators and desensitisation is garbage – in all likelihood, spouted by the patriarchy to keep vagina-owners fearful of having control over their own orgasms. If you happen to see the delightful term “dead vagina syndrome” being tossed around online to describe vibrator-induced clitoral numbness, unfollow, unlike, and unsubscribe because that source is not to be trusted!
What is ‘Dead Vagina Syndrome’?
See how we keep putting the term in quotes? That’s because ‘dead vagina syndrome’ is baseless myth. Not only that – it’s a non-medical, fear-mongering term invented by people who don’t really understand female masturbation, orgasms, pleasure, or vaginal and vulvar anatomy.
Essentially, the story goes that, if someone used a vibrator ‘too much’ (there go those little quote marks again!), then one day they could be enjoying a little self-love session and — poof! — their clitoris would go numb and stay that way. FOREVERRRRRRRRR.
See how dumb the whole thing sounds?
Until relatively recently (and in some parts of the world, even now) society has taught people with vaginas to feel uncomfortable with the idea that they can experience pleasure for the sake of pleasure. The bullshit idea that a vibrator will ‘ruin’ them for partnered sex, or that they won’t be able to orgasm in any other way, is just part of this toxic narrative. It’s stigma, not science, so toss your hair, pay it no mind, and get back to giving yourself as many orgasms as you damn well please.
Vibrators DO NOT Desensitise the Clitoris…
Rest assured, it’s a complete myth that you can desensitise your vagina or clitoris from using a vibrator. In fact, even toys that operate at high vibration patterns or intensities (like the MacDaddy of wands, the Hitachi) will not decrease sensation or the ability to orgasm long-term.
In fact, some experts even suggest that people who become more comfortable with vibrators and sex toys are ALSO more likely to gain a greater awareness and understanding of their own erotic responsiveness. In theory, this can assist with their non-vibe sexual encounters.
Vibrators are perfectly safe when used correctly. The only potential they carry for doing harm is if they’re used incorrectly or too aggressively, or shared between partners or playmates without proper cleaning.
FYI: TEMPORARY Numbness Can Sometimes Occur
Don’t freak out, because the operative word here is TEMPORARY!
Some people with clitorises can sometimes experience mild and (again) temporary numbness when using a vibrator, in the same way you might find your butt goes numb from riding a bike, or your foot goes to sleep if you sit on it.
If you use it for a while and start to go numb, just take a break – it won’t last forever. With any kind of intense stimulation, your body just needs some time to reset and recover.
If you ever experience temporary numbness and it bothers you, you can always use your vibrator on a lower setting, over your underwear or find another toy that’s less intense.
HAVE A QUESTION? EMAIL HELLO@SINFUL.CO.NZ WITH THE SUBJECT LINE: ASK A SEXPERT