Are vibrators dangerous?
Given that my blog address and title both contain the word “dangerous” I get hits from google searches on sexual things being dangerous (or not). Since I talk about vibrators and blow jobs a good bit, these are the two questions that seem to lead the pack.
The Short Answer:
Generally speaking, no.
Oh wait, you want my opinion? Well it won’t exactly be pulpit-pounding preaching, sorry to disappoint ;)
The Long Answer:
Generally speaking, no. The “research” done saying it has long-term harmful effects or harmful effects of any kind are largely based on speculation and opinion. If a woman has it in her mind, wondering, worrying, that maybe the vibrator she’s using is going to bite her in the ass then it will. At least that’s my opinion on some of the reasons why women can think that their vibrators ruined them.
I’m nobody. I’m just a blogger who happens to review sex toys, and use them. I happen to also be a woman who is largely inorgasmic during intercourse. I don’t have a degree in sex education, I’ve not conducted any highly scientific experiments. All I have is my opinion (opinions are never fact) and my common sense.
Carol Queen, however, has a little more wiggle room to weigh in on the topic. She recently wrote a post for She makes a lot of great points throughout the article but I wanted to point out these two:
The fact is, for many women, in particular (though I know men for whom this is also true), using a vibrator is the surest and quickest route to orgasm, to the extent that women who are very orgasmic with a vibe are sometimes not at all (or certainly not reliably) orgasmic with a human partner. People then sometimes assume that the reason is the vibe “desensitizing” the woman to the charms of human erotic interaction.
There’s a big catch here, though, that’s rarely addressed. Lots of the women who don’t come with partners but do come with vibes didn’t stop responding orgasmically during partner sex once they got the vibrator — they were never reliably orgasmic to begin with! The vibrator didn’t change anything, except to make them more able to come when it was used.
Is it possible to engage in, and appreciate and orgasm from, both kinds? Absolutely! And the more orgasmic sexual experiences a person has, the more s/he can learn to respond in both/all ways. The answer to this dilemma isn’t to stop one kind of sexual sensation, it’s to engage in more of the other kinds you want to respond to. Your body actually grows new nerve pathways when stimulated (or when you learn any new skill based in motion or position), so keep engaging in the kinds of partner sex that please you the most — the likelihood that, with time and sufficient arousal, an orgasmic-through-vibration woman will become able to transfer this ability to partner sex is really pretty good.
Every clitoris is different. Some stick out more, some are barely visible. I happen to know a woman whose clit is SO sensitive that she’ll orgasm in less than a minute of any sort of manual/tongue stimulation – she doesn’t exactly view this as a good thing because she’s then maddeningly sensitive for a while thereafter and cannot tolerate more stimulation.
Some women are not as dramatically sensitive but nonetheless have little trouble orgasming from the pressure a pubic bone exerts against her clit during intercourse. Some women, like me, are not very sensitive. That isn’t to say that we don’t enjoy the stimulation….I can be enjoying it massively but it’s just not “enough” to push me over the edge. When I say that I require a vibrator that’s more rumbly and deep and powerful? It’s not the portion of my clit that’s visible that needs it.
It’s the other 90%.
The Glans clitoris is the only portion of the clit that’s visible and able to be stimulated by tongues, fingers, gentle vibrators, etc. So when I say that I need the power of the Hitachi or the Wahl or even the Climax Twist, or the rumbly deep power of the Harmony Bullet….it’s not that my “poor little clit” needs to be rattled beyond comprehension. Its that I need the stimulation to travel to the rest of it.
A recent diatribe against the power tool vibrators listed a sex toy store owner as Exhibit B stating that a number of women returned the powerful vibes saying that they’re overkill, too much power, etc. Ok, but does every *satisfied* customer come back and tell them they’re satisfied?
They’re at home having orgasms.
I’ve reviewed a lot of vibrators that were very nice for other women, but not quite right for me. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to steer everyone clear of those vibes. Nor will I recommend the Hitachi or Wahl for someone’s first vibrator. MY OPINION is just that…… an opinion. I think I can make pretty good educated guesses because I read and listen to both sides. But in the end, all my recommendations have one end result: helping others have orgasms. I will only say “Avoid that vibrator” if the toy overall is of poor quality. But in the end, I don’t care if you orgasm from a toothbrush, your mattress, your finger, a vibrator, or rubbing your thighs together like a cricket.
I wrote recently about how I think that my use of vibrators has made me MORE sensitive and has allowed me to eventually experience orgasms that weren’t attainable before. Given what Carol wrote, that I quoted above, it makes sense. By using vibrators I’ve brought much-needed bloodflow to the area which can help grow and foster more nerve endings over time.
Sure, a vibrator can be dangerous just like a kitten could be dangerous. i.e. by using it improperly: to extreme circumstances, plugged in while in the bathtub, etc. Just employ common sense and you’ll always be fine. Always start out your vibrator-buying journey by reading a lot of reviews from bloggers like me who actually give opinions and not just reiterating specs (You’ll find a ton a reviews to reference over at Pleasurists) and start out slow. Buy a vibrator that most rank as medium and that has more than one power level.
ETA: I found this article on My Pleasure by Dr. Gardos who confirms with his opinion and some research that says (if you read through his kinda confusing overuse of “not only not”s) vibrators are not dangerous and can, as I and Carol Queen there stated above, lead to MORE orgasms. Hey there IS research! Look:
As I have stated before, research (Davis et al., 1996) has definitively shown that the use of sex aids is not only not detrimental to an individual’s sexual functioning or satisfaction, but that, actually, those individuals who use such devices alone also have more frequent and satisfying sex with a partner.