Will I Get Addicted To My Vibrator?: Debunking Myths About Sexual Pleasure And Sex Toys
Image via MyMuse

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a collaboration with MyMuse India


Posted by Nazma Kazani

From art to culture, education to cinema, the feminist perspective is slowly but surely starting to gain prominence in all walks of life. Even when it comes to sex, women are finally taking pleasure into their own hands by filling their online carts with chic and sleek massagers thanks to homegrown brands like MyMuse. Gone are the days of sleazy hot pink dildos that were only good for shock value. Orgasms and good vibes are now accessible (discreetly and conveniently), to every Indian vulva-owner with just a few clicks.

But as with all good things, it’s human nature to question whether they might be too good to be true. When things are going really well, most of us are left looking for ‘the catch’ or the fine print to burst our bubble. So even when we read review after mind-blowing review about vibrators that have changed the way women approach pleasure, many of us still come back to years of trained reluctance: “Will I get addicted to my vibrator?” ,“Will too much toy time lead me to a literal no-man’s-land where I can’t climax minus electric aid?“, “Will using a vibrator make me numb down there?

In short, the answer to all the above is a resounding No. These are all just additions to sex myths that need serious debunking. 

Survey Of Female Sexual Pleasure Reveals What Women Really Want
Image: Forbes

Before we get to the physical aspects of pleasure, it’s important to understand what ‘addiction’ really means. According to The American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is characterised by “the inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioural control, craving… and a dysfunctional emotional response.” I don’t know about you but I’ve never heard of someone being late to work because they just couldn’t unglue themselves from their massager. Also, I love my full body massager, but there’s no way I’m replacing Friday night plans with my buddies for a vibe sesh. 

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In India specifically, the combination of inadequate sex-education and unnecessary moral policing tag team to distort the truth about women’s bodies and their pleasure. The effect on their cis-male partners is prioritised over their pleasure, leading to questions like, ‘If a woman can orgasm using a vibrator, what will happen to her partner?

Another important element of addiction is withdrawal. “Scientifically, addiction is often defined by tolerance and withdrawal. You might feel that you have a tolerance for a certain level of vibration, but you are not going to suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you stop using it,” explains sexologist Nikki Goldstein, host of the podcast The Connection. Withdrawal is common for frequent smokers and drinkers, but if a vibrator loses charge, you can get off in a host of different ways that could end up giving you even more pleasure. In short, you cannot get addicted to a vibrator.

Also read: The Orgasm Gap: How Body Shaming Affects Women’s Sexual Experiences

So where does this notion come from?

It starts off with the idea that there’s a hierarchy of pleasure where partnered orgasms and mechanical ones. Here, pleasure is perceived through the widespread heteronormative and misogynistic lens where penetrative p-in-v intercourse is meant to be optimal for pleasure. The idea that there’s a pure, good, “natural” way to have an orgasm and a wrong, bad, unnatural way to have an orgasm is a cultural pigeonholing of experience shaped by the usual suspects, or what Emily Nagoski refers to as the 3 Ms- moral, medical and media. 

In India specifically, the combination of inadequate sex-education and unnecessary moral policing tag team to distort the truth about women’s bodies and their pleasure. The effect on their cis-male partners is prioritised over their pleasure, leading to questions like, ‘If a woman can orgasm using a vibrator, what will happen to her partner?

Worried partners tend to feel at odds with toys often raising concerns of feeling useless and redundant. While vibrators can help vulva-owners reach orgasms quickly, they will never replace living breathing humans who can provide emotional support, cuddles, and buy pizza on the way home. It’s best not to pit vibrators against partners, but rather combine their best bits for good vibes all around!

Vibrators these days are designed to make you come. So you might get used to the stimulation, but the idea that you’re harming your body or 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

Image via MyMuse

What does science say?

According to Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, there is no evidence to support the idea that a vibrator can become physically or psychologically addicting. Vibrator use is normal because more than 2/3rds of cis-gender females require clitoral stimulation for an orgasm. Orgasms with vibrators occur relatively quickly for many women because they provide the right kind of targeted stimulation, almost instantly. Some vulva-owners get very comfortable with how quickly they orgasm with their vibrator, which leads them to forget how long it took without one. And when they get frustrated by how long that takes, it results in a feedback loop that draws out the process. 

But that’s just the catch – Taking a little bit longer to climax doesn’t mean the absence of the ability or loss of sensation. Our instant gratification craving systems need to understand that pleasure is what we’re after. As Nagoski says, “It might be fruitful to change the goal, change the effort and change the criterion velocity. Pleasure, not orgasm, is the goal. If it takes five minutes, that’s five minutes of pleasure. Hooray! If it takes thirty minutes, that’s thirty minutes of pleasure.”

Changing narratives and exploring the diversity of pleasure

Contrary to popular belief, research actually suggests that frequent usage of massagers like Pulse or Breeze aids in treating sexual dysfunction and facilitates proactive reproductive health care.

Vibrators these days are designed to make you come. So you might get used to the stimulation, but the idea that you’re harming your body or 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.

These days, you can find a vibrator to suit your mood, no matter what you’re looking for or your level of experience. Try interchanging between petite massagers instead of relying on one massive vibe to do the job. Variety is quite literally the spice of your sex life here, so remember to switch things up and don’t hesitate to involve your partners when it comes to using toys.

Also read: Can The Art Of Faking Orgasms Be Theorised?


Nazma Kazani is the lead content writer at MyMuse India. MyMuse is India’s first homegrown brand dedicated to crafting products for intimacy, sexual wellness, and self-care. You can find more about MyMuse on their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram

​​Featured Image Source: My Muse

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