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Myths About Vibrators

5 myths about vibrators

Vibrators are some of the most popular, and yet most misunderstood, sex toys on the market. Here are 5 common myths about vibrators that are worth debunking!

1. You can get “addicted” to your vibrator

While it’s understandable that you might develop an emotional attachment to your vibrator – it’s seen you through a lot! – there’s no reason to think your relationship to a sex toy is doomed to become unhealthy. Vibrators don’t cause desensitization, except perhaps for a little mild numbness that’ll typically go away within minutes or hours.

2. They were popularized as a tool for giving orgasms to hysteria patients

“Female hysteria” was a catch-all diagnosis often given to women in the Victorian era to account for “symptoms” that largely really stemmed from simply living in a patriarchal and puritanical society, such as anxiety, irritability, and (gasp!) “sexually forward behavior.” A story presented in history scholar Rachel Maines’s book The Technology of Orgasm posits that doctors administered orgasms manually to their patients as a hysteria treatment, and that they started using vibrators – which were then steam-powered – to expedite the process. This story is so well-loved that it even inspired a Hollywood film, Hysteria (2011), starring Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

However, Maines was only offering a hypothesis – there is little to no evidence that vibrators were developed with sexual pleasure in mind. That said, if “hysteria patient and well-meaning Victorian doctor” sounds like an exciting kinky roleplay scenario to you, by all means, take it and run with it!

3. If you dislike one, you’ll dislike them all

Some people dismiss vibrators after trying just one – but not all vibrators are created equal. Some, especially inexpensive ones, are very “buzzy,” meaning that their vibrations are surface-level and may cause some of the aforementioned numbness when used.

Look, instead, for vibrators that sex toy reviewers laud as “rumbly,” meaning that their vibrations are low-pitched and stimulate deeper layers of flesh rather than just buzzing the surface of your skin. Rumbly vibes, like the We-Vibe Touch or Hot Octopuss Digit, may be able to thrill you even if others haven’t!

4. They’re only for solo play

How dreadfully limiting! While you’re welcome to use vibrators solely for masturbation if you prefer, many of them – such as the We-Vibe Chorus or Lelo Tiani – are explicitly designed for couples to use together. Any small handheld vibe is also a good bet for partnered play, as these can fit between bodies easily, adding an extra burst of pleasure to whatever else you’re doing.

5. They’re only for people with vulvas

Anyone can use a vibrator! People with penises may prefer vibes made specifically for their bodies, like the Fun Factory Manta or Lelo Tor 2. They may also want to explore the world of prostate massagers, which can create super intense orgasms. And don’t forget: wand vibrators are highly versatile and can be used on any type of anatomy!

What other myths have you heard about vibrators?


Kate Sloan is a journalist, blogger, podcaster, and educator who has been writing about sex online and in print for over five years. She writes about sex, kink, relationships, fashion, beauty, writing, and mental health. She has been voted a Sex Blogging Superhero for four years running, and her words reach over 22,000 sex nerds, weirdos and queerdos every month. As a journalist and essayist, Kate has written for Glamour, Teen Vogue, Daily Xtra, the Establishment, Maisonneuve, Herizons, the Plaid Zebra, xoJane, and more.

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