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Grupo Harmony DJ Academy

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Natsu Dragnel
Natsu Dragnel

Is It Healthy to Use a Vibrator?

Curious about using a vibrator? You’re not alone. While research on the prevalence of vibrator use is slim, studies suggest many women turn to vibrators to achieve the big O. According to data published in 2017 by the market research company Statista, nearly 80 percent of female sex toy owners have a vibrator, making it the most popular sex toy in the United States. An older study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that 53 percent of women ages 18 to 60 had used a vibrator, and one-quarter of them had used it in the past month. Plus, those who use a vibrator regularly were more easily aroused and better able to “get wet” and achieve an orgasm.

So should you try a vibrator? Absolutely. Here’s why it’s healthy, and how to incorporate it into your sex life — whether you want to do it solo or with a partner.

It’s Good for Your HealthThe benefits of the battery-operated device abound. If you choose to try it solo, you can discover what turns you on without feeling any pressure or expectations from your partner. If you know what feels good, you can give your partner more guidance and make sex more pleasurable.

For many women, a vibrator can bring on orgasms more quickly and efficiently, says Lisa Lawless, PhD, a clinical psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience specializing in clinical psychology, relationships, sexual health, and sexual products. “This can relieve stress by releasing feel-good endorphins as well as mood-enhancing chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin,” she says.

During intimacy with a partner, a vibrator can be used to assist with arousal, enabling the vagina to relax and increasing natural lubrication, making penetration easier and more pleasurable, Dr. Lawless notes.

Plus, researchers like Karyn S. Eilber, MD, a urogynecologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, are studying the potential medical uses of vibrators. In research published in the January 2023 Sexual Medicine Reviews, Dr. Eilber and her coauthors concluded that vibrators not only enhance women’s sexual pleasure but can improve pelvic floor muscle function and treat vulvar pain. The review cites a study published in 2018 in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica that included 60 women and determined that the addition of vibration to pelvic floor muscle training reduced urine leakage by 77 percent and 92 percent after four and six weeks, respectively. An older study looked at 49 women with chronic vulvar pain who were instructed to apply a vibrator to their vulvas for 5 to 10 minutes per day for four to six weeks, along with stretches meant to loosen vaginal muscles. Over the course of the study period, the women were also told to gradually progress toward inserting the vibrator into their vaginas. The therapy had a positive effect, with 73 percent of the participants noting an improvement in pain, 74 percent reported increased sexual enjoyment, and 83 percent said they were satisfied with the treatment.

Eilber is currently working on a clinical trial that has yet to be published but notes that “preliminary results indicate that regular use of a vibrator improves pelvic health conditions such as incontinence, pelvic pain, and pain with intercourse.”

How to Get the Most Out of Your VibratorWhile vibrators are considered generally safe to use, there are a few things to keep in mind.

If you use a vibrator for an extended period of time, it’s possible to become temporarily desensitized to it, and some women may even experience some numbing, Lawless says. “While this will only last for a few hours, it can make it difficult to orgasm,” she notes. “Using a vibrator directly for shorter periods or intermittently is recommended to achieve the ideal stimulation from it.”

Eilber says she’s seen patients in her practice who used a vibrator for clitoral stimulation on too aggressive settings for a long period of time, which caused pain that hung around a few weeks. “It’s likely because the clitoris has so many nerve endings it was overstimulated, but this could happen to any nerve in the body,” she says.

Finally, you’ll want to clean your vibrator between uses with soap and water and pay attention to the material to avoid infection. Lawless recommends nonporous materials like silicone or hard plastic (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). “These materials allow the vibrations to be conducted well, allowing for powerful sensations, while the nonporous surface will not easily harbor bacteria, mold, fungi, and viruses,” she says. Once it’s clean and completely dry, store your vibrator in a cool, dry place.

Bringing a Vibrator Into the BedroomIf you’re feeling anxious about your partner’s reaction to using a vibrator together, there’s a good chance you’ll be pleasantly surprised. According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 45 percent of men have used a vibrator, and most said they did so with their female partner. What’s more, men who used vibrators had higher scores for erectile function and reported more satisfaction during sex than those who didn’t.

So how do you introduce a vibrator into partnered sex? Eilber recommends having a conversation before things start getting hot and heavy. “Tell your partner ahead of time instead of surprising them,” she says. You don’t want your partner to think they aren’t satisfying you, she notes.

It can be helpful to tell your partner that the vibrator has nothing to do with their performance, Lawless says. “Reassure them that you love when it’s just the two of you, but you would like to explore some new sexual adventures together and encourage them to consider using toys as well, as there are various types for all genders and sexual orientations.”

When you’re both ready, go shopping for a vibrator together so you can find one that you’re both comfortable with. Then, play around with it to figure out what feels good. Use it on yourself or each other — and don’t be afraid to let your partner take the lead.v

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