I Got Addicted To My Vibrator (And WHY I Finally Quit It)

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addicted to vibrator
Sex, Self

A woman and her vibrator: a love story?

It wasn't meant to go this way.

It was meant as a fun assignment. A lot of women would dream of being asked to test drive every vibrator on the market and write about their experience for Playboy. And while it wasn't something my parents would brag about—or even admitting knowledge of—anytime soon, I loved the idea of covering the sex business from a first-person perspective without having to sell myself or make porn.

Almost as an afterthought, it occurred to me that the research might also be informative.

At first, unwrapping packages of vibrators in every shape and size was exciting—unwrapping packages of anything is exciting!—and the fact that these anythings were also going to be getting me off only added to the thrill.

Rabbits of every color imaginable, USB-powered bullets, G-spot stimulators, dildos complete with real hair, eggs with microscope attachments that allowed you to look inside as you came (surely appealing only to future gynecologists) and many others began piling up.

And like any good researcher, I gave each sex toy a go.

Some left me cold (especially the many dolphin-shaped ones—apparently considered an erotic animal), some caused awkward moments (take my advice: don't ever try to carry on phone conversations about work while wearing a pair of vibrating panties) but none brought me as much pleasure as The Wand.

You know about the Hitachi Magic Wand, right? It's the one orgasm-expert Betty Dodson swears by, the medical-looking one that you might spy near someone's bed and hear them say it's only for those terrible kinks they get in their shoulder. Vibrator aficionados know better; they also recommend that you put a towel between it and you so that, I assume, you don't burn your clitoris off—it's that powerful.

If the wand can't make you come, nothing can.

My relationship with my wand got off to a relatively slow start. It initially terrified me, as anything that's meant for sexual pleasure, plugs into the wall and is roughly the size of your arm should. The first time I tried it, I kept the towel between us.

But it gave me what I can say without hyperbole was the best orgasm of my life.

Coming had become increasingly difficult over the years—anti-depressants and age had conspired to make climaxing more something I sought out and got near rather than something I actually experienced. But the wand rubbed that elusiveness away. Suddenly I was coming—sometimes two and three times in a row—without even having to cook up any fantasies.

By the time I'd finished the assignment, I'd thrown all the other vibrators out so that I could focus solely on my relationship with the wand. I'd also long since abandoned the towel.

I don't believe it's a coincidence that my love affair with the wand coincided directly with a dark period in my love life. And I don't mean dark period in the sense that it was negative; I mean in the sense that it was essentially non-existent. Men, who came with baggage and occasional bad moods and far less of a guarantee of sexual pleasure than my plug-in, began to seem not terribly necessary. 

I was a little afraid I might never be able to get back to men, but according to Jamye Waxman, sex educator and the author of Getting Off: A Woman's Guide to Masturbation, "If you use a vibrator it might be more difficult, or take longer, to orgasm from other forms of stimulation like a hand or tongue, but if you stop using the vibrator then after a week or two all systems should be go. Also, you can downgrade the power of your vibe, so say you're using a Hitachi magic wand, switch to a pocket rocket to help regain some sensitivity."

Well, I neither wanted to downgrade nor go cold turkey, so instead I just tried to introduce the guys I was dating to the wand.

Their reactions varied from what appeared as feigned enthusiasm to outright disdain. The men who claimed they wanted to watch me use it seemed to go limp when they heard its lawnmower-like noise. And with an audience, the wand and I couldn't seem to get into our groove, anyway. During these threesomes, my orgasms, when they happened, were wholly unsatisfying.

Then I entered a period where using the wand began to make me feel incredibly guilty.

I'd orgasm, and find myself overwhelmed with the type of shame I would imagine a Catholic priest might have. I'd tell myself I had to quit or find another vibrator or get into a relationship that left me sexually satisfied but instead, when the urge hit, I'd give the golden wand another ride and go through the same shame spiral again.

We tell ourselves all sorts of things when we become dependent on something. Like that we're not dependent, that we can stop at any time but we just don't want to. Or that we are but there's no harm in it. You're going to tell me that coming is bad?

I was as devoted to my wand as other women are to abusive lovers, and even when I started getting lacerations near my clitoris (those towel recommenders, it turned out, had a point), I covered for my beloved, going so far as to ask my gynecologist if perhaps the little cuts were evidence of a disease. If you'd rather believe that you have an STD than cut down on using your vibrator, I think it's safe to say your relationship with that vibrator probably isn't healthy.

As an alcoholic in recovery for over nine years, I know that an addiction isn't determined by how much you do something but by how unmanageable it makes your life.

And while the wand wasn't interfering with my career and I wasn't obsessing over it the way I used to obsess over cocaine, it caused me to continue doing something that ended up making me feel bad. Plus, as relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle points out, I wasn't really getting everything I need.

As she says, "Use of a vibrator is momentarily satisfying. But it doesn't answer the need for a partner to hold you, converse with you, commiserate with you, and love you. Psychologically, a woman may believe she's being satisfied, but she's losing out on the essence of true interchange. Vibrators are great fun for the short term, when a woman is between loves. But she should never be fooled into believing that her vibrator IS her love!"

Well, whether or not I thought of it as my love is debatable; all I know is that after a few years with the wand, it was time to say goodbye.

So I decided to throw it out—not just in my kitchen garbage but down the chute (I learned through my relationship with cocaine that I haven't actually gotten rid of something if I can still retrieve it).

And my journey back to the world of people-generated orgasms has been shockingly easy. It's re-introduced me to the pleasures of erotica, a lover's tongue and my own right hand. It's taught me that getting off isn't only about the orgasm but about what I'm thinking and feeling, climactic or not, before, during and after I come. It's about connecting throughout my entire body and not just my clitoris, about one time being plenty and another person a treat rather than an inconvenience.

Still, I do sort of miss my friend from Japan.

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