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Can You Desensitize Your Lady Parts from Using Your Vibrator Too Much?

fb-samantha-vibrator.gifThe stigma around female masturbation has been slowly slipping away (finallyyyyy), thanks to new tech (like this fitness tracker-sex toy hybrid and this sex toy with a 100 percent O guarantee) and TV shows like Girls. More and more women are feeling themselves (literally) and there is nothing but good to come of it. (Like these health benefits of masturbation.)

Unless... is it possible that all that quality time with your vibe could desensitize your lady parts? Obv, too much pizza isn't a good thing, and even too much exercise can be bad, but too much ~good vibrations~?! Say it ain't so!

To Vibe or Not to Vibe?

"The short answer is no, you can't desensitize any tissue with a vibrator," says Elizabeth Kavaler, M.D., a urogynecologist at Total Urology Care of New York. "With any kind of stimulation—manual, oral, with a device—the skin can get irritated. But there's no permanent damage that could come from a vibrator unless you're not using it right."

Thankfully, it's kinda hard to use one wrong; generally speaking, you're using a vibrator to feel good, so a simple rule is that if it's getting to the point where it doesn't feel good or hurts, then it might be time to take a break. (Same goes for vulvar pain from workouts like cycling class.)

"It's very hard to damage yourself with a vibrator, unless you're using it for hours on end on a super high 'RPM,'" says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., a New York City–based gynecologist and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V.

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What That Means for Your Sex Life

While there's no real risk of nerve or tissue damage, being too dependent on a vibe might have some mild repercussions for your sex life. "It's no surprise that one of the biggest sex organs—if not the biggest sex organ—for women is their brain," says Dr. Dweck. "If you're focused on the notion that you can only climax alone with a vibrator, it very well may end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy."

It makes sense that climaxing with a partner (especially a new one) may feel more difficult compared to your battery-operated bae: "If you're using a vibrator yourself, where you want it and the way you want it, then you become accustomed to that experience," says Dr. Kavaler. "If your partner tries to replicate that, it might not feel as good because a vibrator is fast and powerful and you're controlling it yourself."

No, your partner will never have the ability to buzz or come with 15 different vibe speeds and patterns, but good communication can help. Plus, trust in your partner is key for really letting go, says Dr. Dweck. (Here, one sexpert's tips on how to talk to your partner about what you want in bed.)

Still can't O with your partner? Try mixing the best of both worlds. "There are a lot of women who use vibrators with their partners," says Dr. Kavaler. Chances are, other women will be totally game to add a toy to the bedroom, and, it turns out, dudes are pretty open about them too. A small Canadian study of 49 men found that most weren't "threatened" or "intimidated" by incorporating a sex toy in bed, and were actually quite interested in the idea.

~Get Buzzing~

So there you have it: You can't OD on your vibe. Ready for more good news? Having one in the first place is probably better for your sex life and your health too. Women who use vibrators are way more likely to have had a gynecologic exam during the past year and to have performed genital self-examination during the previous month, according to a 2009 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The researchers also found that vibe use is linked to better sexual function (including desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, pain, overall function), most likely because "women find vibrators very helpful for getting in touch with exactly what feels good," says Dr. Dweck.

And guess what? Most women in the study (72 percent) reported having never experienced negative genital symptoms (like numbness, pain, irritation, inflammation/swelling, and tears or cuts) associated with vibrator use. So there, solo sex—with or without a vibe—is just about the safest way to play.

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