Cautious

Friday, January 27, 2006

Question

I've heard that if a woman masturbates too often with a vibrating device on the clit that it can become desensitized to manual stimulation, thus leaving her dependent on the vibrator over a flesh-and-blood partner for orgasm. Is there any truth to this? Is it medically documented?

Answer

I am not able to locate any published research on this topic, but over the years I have gotten several letters from women (and a few from men) who state that using a vibrator provides such intense orgasms that they are having trouble coming with a partner. I don't think this is because the sexual organs become desensitized; it's just that a vibrator provides a firm, fast touch that a hand or tongue can't duplicate. Vibrators are often popular with women who have not been able to have an orgasm any other way. If this is her situation, she can understandably be reluctant to give up a tool that works in exchange for a type of caress that may not get her all the way to a wild climax.

In these situations, I encourage people to remember that there are also things a partner can do for you that a vibrator cannot, like hold you in their arms. The feeling of a wet tongue is heavenly and can't be had with a sex toy. A partner who is stroking your clit to prepare you for intercourse is right there next to you, kissing you, biting your neck, touching your breasts, switching between a little finger-fucking and some careful manipulation of the clitoral hood. You can smell your partner, feel their breath upon your body, and run your hands over them. That's a sensation the vibrator can't duplicate.

My value system says it's important to have as many sexual options as possible. Once a woman has experienced orgasm with a vibrator, I encourage her to continue to experiment with touching her clitoris with her fingers. Pressing too hard or too long with the vibrator will numb the clitoris or even cause abrasion. So it's a good idea to alternate a little machine action with some hand work. Using a little water-based lube can make masturbation feel better.

It helps if the woman's partner isn't threatened by her use of sex toys. There's no reason why the vibrator can't be brought into bed with the two of you. You can use it as a prelude to intercourse, or she can use the vibrator while you hold her so she can have additional orgasms after fucking. I like sitting between my partner's legs and fucking him or her with a dildo while he or she uses a vibrator or masturbates with their hand. This way I get to actually see the whole sexual response cycle, and I can more easily pleasure somebody else if I'm not being distracted by stimulation of my own genitals and a hunt for my own orgasm. Of course, I like to get off as well, but I think a good sexual encounter can include a lot of different sources of pleasure.

A woman who is able to masturbate without a vibrator is more likely to be able to come with her partner's hands on her body. It's a good idea to continue to work on being able to do this after getting off with a vibrator. In the beginning, she should get herself as excited as possible by hand, then use the vibrator to come. Eventually, she will probably experience orgasms without the vibrator. Then she can show her partner how she likes to have her clitoris rubbed. The knowledge that we get about our bodies when we masturbate is important to share with our partners. This goes for men as well as women