3 Vibrator Myths to Forget

Since I’ve started working full-time as a sex educator, I don’t think a day has gone by where someone hasn’t shared a vibrator myth with me.

Sometimes they’re asking “hey, is this a thing?” and other times, they’ll talk about the myth as if it’s a fact. Either way, vibrator myths are pervasive — and no wonder! Mainstream sex education rarely mentions that sex toys even exist, let alone how to use them properly.

We’ve talked about sex toys a lot here in the pastbut today, I’m outright shutting down the three myths I encounter most often in my work as a sex educator.

Myth #1: “Vibrators and other sex toys are only for single people”

This myth is a layered one.

Sometimes, students will tell me that their partners feel threatened by their sex toys; like they don’t understand why they would want to use them when they have a partner right there. In these situations, the threaten partner will often tell the other that they aren’t allowed to use their toys (not okay, BTW). They might feel like the toy is replacing them in some way.

Other times, students themselves wonder why anybody would want to use vibrators, when…you have a partner right there. Either way, this myth boils down to perspective.

There are a lot of reasons why someone might want to use a sex toy if they’re partnered.

  • You might be partnered up in a long-distance relationship, and toys can help facilitate your sexy time in-between visits (and yes, long-distance controlled toys are a thing).
  • The vast majority of people with vulvas can’t reach orgasm from vaginal penetration alone — they need direct, external clitoral stimulation in order to cum. Vibrators can help with that!
  • If you’re having sex and using a strap-on, a vibrator can be tucked into the harness to increase sensation for the wearer.
  • Masturbation is a thing. People do it. Even when they’re in relationships!
  • Vibrators and other sex toys might also be used as accessibility items — if someone has a limited range of motion, body weakness, limited mobility, or reduced sensation in their genitals, vibrators can help make sexual pleasure easier to access.

And these are just five of the reasons! Each person is different and will have their own reasons for wanting to bring a toy into the bedroom, including just because they think they’re fun. The reality is that sex toys are for anyone, partnered or single.

But remember: Toys don’t replace partners.

Yes, vibrators have motors that probably have longer stamina than your fingers or tongue. But vibrators aren’t people. You can’t build shared intimacy with them, and they’re not going to replace skin-to-skin contact. You’re hopefully more than a sex object to your partner — so invite the toys in and let them complement all of the amazing things you already bring to the table.

Myth #2: “Using a vibrator will desensitize you forever.”

This question comes up every single time I teach. It doesn’t matter what the actual topic for the day is — inevitably, I’ll come to a folded up, anonymous index card that asks “I heard that if you use vibrators, it’ll make you unable to orgasm without them…is that true?”

These ideas are false — and I spent an unreasonable amount of time trying to track down the original source of it without any luck.

Here’s the truth: Using vibrators doesn’t sensitize your genitals forever. They can change your expectation of how long it takes to orgasm.

For example: Maria buys her first vibrator when she’s in a long-distance relationship. She uses it a few times a week, usually for 5 minutes or less, but sometimes for up to an hour. When her partner comes to visit and they start to have sex, she feels stressed. Shouldn’t she have orgasmed by now? Did the vibrator break her?

In myth number one, we talked about how vibrators do things that the human body simply cannot — they have motors specifically designed for precise, continuous movement, which is something that humans can’t maintain forever. It might take you just 3 minutes to reach orgasm with your toy, on your own, but with a partner, it might take 12.

See what I’m getting at? Your expectations have shifted. This happens usually when vibrators are only used in one context, and partner play isn’t showing up with any regularity. Your sense of “normal” has just shifted, and you can shift it back by reminding yourself that toys are not people, and there’s no such thing as “taking too long” to orgasm.

The second truth is that vibrators can’t numb you foreverbut they might number you temporarily. This happens when you use a high-powered vibrator (usually a wand-style one, like the Magic Wand, Le Wand, or Doxy) for an extended amount of time.

Those toys are really powerful, and if you’re going to use them for extended sessions, I recommend taking breaks! If you’re aiming for multiple orgasms, move the vibe to another part of your body or switch to another kind of stimulation for a bit before you bring it back. You can also practice edging, where you take yourself close to orgasm and then pause for a moment.

Both techniques can reduce the likelihood of your nerve endings getting overstimulated, which is what causes that temporary numb or fuzzy feeling. Using lube with your vibrator, and even using your vibrator over your clothing to reduce some of its power, can also lower the chances of vibe-induced numbness.

And if you do bring yourself to the point of temporary numbness, take a break, go commando, and let your genitals relax for a bit. Sensation will return, I promise!

As a side note: Some people use vibrators because they experience genital numbness and vibrators help them feel sexual pleasure. If this is you, or if you have genital numbness that lasts for more than a few days, talk with your doctor or consider visiting a pelvic floor physical therapist!

Myth #3: “Vibrators are only for people with vulvas”

When I say “vibrator”, you think…rabbit? Rose? Some other toy you saw go viral on TikTok?

The sex toy industry is massive and ever-expanding. And while the most ubiquitous of toys are designed for vulvar use, they aren’t the only types of toys that exist (and you can use those toys for other purposes, too).

Take a wand vibrator for example. Most of us look at a wand vibrator and think “clitoris.” But in addition to using a wand vibe clitorally, you can also use them on the nipples, on the frenulum of a penis, on the perineum, and all over the outside of the body. You can also buy attachments that let you use them both internally and externally.

This principle applies to pretty much every kind of vibrating toy, though some are more purpose-built for certain body parts than others. And, some toys should only be used externally for safety reasons — bullet vibrators or any vibrator without a flared base shouldn’t be used anally, for example.

The category of “vibrator” doesn’t tell you anything about the toy, who it’s designed for, or how to use it, other than the fact that it vibrates! There are also vibrating butt plugs, which can be used by anyone with a butt, and vibrating cock rings, which are designed for folks with penises. And that’s just thinking about three main categories of toy design — there are other vibrating toys that are less easily categorized.

Vibration can feel good on many different areas of the human body. So embrace the exploration and see what feels good! You just might be surprised.

If you’ve been misled by some sex toy myths, it’s time to upgrade your education! Take the time to learn how to find the toy that’s best for youhow to keep your toys squeaky cleanand explore our posts here on the Norx blog that dive deeper into all of the ways toys can show up in your sex life.

About the Author

Cassandra Corrado is an independent sex educator who teaches at colleges and universities across the United States. Formerly a victim advocate, she mostly teaches on topics related to un/healthy relationships, violence prevention, LGBTQ+ health, and sexual pleasure.

This blog provides information about telemedicine, health and related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.

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