Can You Really Get Addicted to Your Vibrator?

Illustration by Amber Vittoria

by Gigi Engle

One recent morning, while doing an Ask Gigi Q&A on Instagram, I received three different questions about vibrator addiction. 

Why can I only have orgasms when I use a vibrator?

Is it possible to damage my clit with my vibrator?

Why do I have stronger orgasms with my vibrator, but don’t have orgasms through oral sex?

I wish I were more shocked. No matter how many times I write about vibrator addiction and the almighty glory of sex toysthese questions endure. 

The truth is that vibrators were invented to make clitoris-owners have orgasms. The myth is that this form of buzz-tastic stimulation is addictive, thus further perpetuating the falsehood that sex toys can make sexual partners—particularly men—irrelevant.

Because that’s the real root of the fear surrounding vibrator addiction, isn’t it? We’re so afraid of threatening men and bruising their egos that we fear the pleasure derived from our sex toys. 

“Vibrator addiction is "likely rooted in age-old notions trying to shame people for enjoying sex,” says Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, primary care physician at One Medical. “Particularly, cis-gender females have historically faced stigma around engaging in sex for pleasure.” 

It is time to say “enough” to this nonsense. Let’s kill this common myth once and for all.

Is vibrator addiction a real thing?

The short answer: Hell no. “There is no evidence to support the idea that a vibrator can become physically or psychologically addicting,” Bhuyan tells me. “It's perfectly normal to use a vibrator to reach an orgasm, as about 70 percent of cis-gender females require clitoral stimulation for an orgasm.”

You cannot be addicted to a vibrator. But is it possible to be so accustomed to vibration that other stimulation doesn’t compare? Well, sure. 

A routine is a routine. Once you’ve set yourself staunchly upon one, doing something different doesn’t offer the same result—at least, not right away. We know this about a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, and developing a consistent sleep schedule. Why would it be different for a masturbation routine?

So are you desensitizing yourself?

Vibrators offer consistent, clit-centric/G-spot-centric stimulation that was literally designed to make you come. You might be used to intense stimulation, but the idea that you’re destroying your clitoris and will never have orgasms from a partner again is completely bogus. “Using sex toys won't change the sensitivity of our nerve endings in the genital region, or our blood flow,” Bhuyan says. 

Actually, the opposite might be true. “It's been shown that the more a woman self-pleasures and climaxes, the easier it is for her to climax again,” says Lucy Rowett, a certified sex coach and clinical sexologist. 

Sometimes when you use a super strong vibrator (such as a wand vibrator like Le Wand or The Magic Wand), the clitoris can get a bit numb. But there’s a difference between temporary numbness and desensitizing or causing permanent damage. You know when you sit on your foot for too long and it gets a weird, pins-and-needles sensation? It’s like that. So, if you think you’re ruining your clitoris for all eternity, rest assured it will go back to normal if you take a break.

Why are people so terrified of vibrator addiction?

There is zero evidence that a vibrator is addictive, so why are people so insanely scared of this lie? 

It could come from our fear of anything ‘artificial’ and our obsession with being ‘natural,’” Rowett says. “Natural food, natural hair, natural makeup, natural beauty. It makes sense that it freaks some people out that we use machines [for] our sexuality.”

Orgasms are not scarce commodities, and using a vibrator to maximize your pleasure is not a sin. We should be celebrating sex toys, not demonizing them.

What if you don’t want to use a vibrator anymore?

Listen, if using a vibrator during sex or masturbation is something you no longer want to do, that’s completely fine. Just quit vibration for the right reasons: because you want to experience pleasure and orgasm in other ways, not because you think you’re addicted to it.

“If you prefer not to use a vibrator, the most important thing you should do is have honest and open communication with your partner(s) about your sexual preferences,” Bhuyan says. “Giving your partner verbal cues is a good start to a healthy sexual relationship.”

In order to clue in your partner, you need to intimately acquaint yourself with your body and with other forms of touch. Be patient and don’t try to rush to the finish line. Be prepared to face the fact that vibrator might be an essential tool. And above all, stop looking for reasons to make yourself miserable.

“Is there such a thing as ‘too much pleasure?’ Or ‘too many orgasms?’” Rowett asks. Clit-owners “are already are suffering from the orgasm gap where we're socialized to believe that our pleasure doesn't matter. So let's rip that idea to shreds and claim your orgasm and your pleasure for yourself, however you experience it.”

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, sexologist, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.