Newsflash, Ladies! Your Vibrator May Be Ruining Your Orgasms

woman in bed No matter their relationship status, many women depend on their go-to, battery-operated buddy to get them to the big O. But what if your vibrator is actually taking a toll on your health?

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I know, I know! It sounds like crazy talk. If you've discovered that a vibrator is what gets the job done, how could there be anything wrong with it? Not to mention that it is obviously a time-saving, quick fix for a lot of busy women, moms especially.

But Alisa Vitti, holistic health coach, AADP, founder and CEO of FLOLiving.com and author of Woman Code, says that enjoying self-pleasure exclusively with a toy cheats you out of some seriously valuable physiological benefits.

More from The Stir: 10 Things Your Vibrator Does That Your Man Can't

She explains how sex researchers William Masters & Virginia Johnson (of Masters of Sex fame!) outlined the 4 stages of sexual response back in the '60s -- and after initial arousal comes the plateau phase, which is marked by "a continuation of arousal, when tissues continue to swell and breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure continue to rise. You may even make a moaning sound at this point."

"If you're using your vibrator, you're actually missing the orgasmic plateau phase, and you go really quickly into climax," Vitti tells us. "And you deprive your body of the health benefits of those self-pleasuring sessions."

Among the health benefits: Exposure to heightened levels of nitric oxide and oxytocin, which are linked with better immunity, improved cervical mucus (important if you're trying for baby!), and regular ovulation. Plus, bigger, better orgasms help flush stores of the stress hormone cortisol -- associated with adrenal burnout and blood sugar instability, etc. -- out of the system.

That said, there's certainly gray area. Emily Morse, sexologist, host of the Sex With Emily podcast explains, "It’s true that there are many healthy female hormones to be gained from orgasm, and that more of these beneficial hormones are released during extended orgasmic plateau than other phases. However, this does not mean that sex without an extended orgasmic plateau is entirely unhealthy or unbeneficial."

In fact, Morse notes that not all vibrators are made equal. "Some vibrators, like the Mimi by Je Joue, deliver more subtle deep vibrations that provide a nice build up and a lengthy orgasmic plateau," she explains. "Others, like the Magic Wand, are great for a masturbation quickie, but might take you through the plateau phase a little faster."

Shannon Chavez, PsyD, a certified sex therapist in Los Angeles, California agrees that many women end up passing over the plateau too quickly. "Most women will overstimulate the clitoris with a vibrator," she explains. "You should arouse and stimulate your [whole] body. You can really ride the plateau phase out by building up your arousal and slowing down and pulling back when you're close to orgasm. You will build up your orgasmic response and get more attuned to what your body needs to experience pleasure." 

More from The Stir: New Vibrator Lets You Program Your Own Pleasure

If that sounds like a lot of work to you, you're not alone. Many women refuse to trade their "30-second guaranteed masturbation tool," as Morse puts it, for a technique that's different and, well, slower. But there is such a thing as being stuck in a masturbation rut, Morse says. "I recommend finding the perfect balance between your hand and your vibrating buddy," she advises. "You can also try using both. You can start off with a vibrator, engage in a little self-teasing to get yourself through the arousal phase, and then, use your fingers to bring it home. Voila - best of both worlds!"

Of course, no matter how you're doing it, if you're busy and stressed like most of us are, it can be tough to unwind quickly, Vitti acknowledges. "Part of why the vibrator is so appealing is that you can let it do the work for you," she explains. "But when you're not using that device, you need to focus your thoughts way from your to-do list and to the things that turn you on, so that can be a really big shift to make. You need a technique to switch you from busy mommy mode into pleasure creature mode."

To do that, she suggests treating self-pleasure like meditation -- setting aside at least 20 minutes -- and doing whatever works for you to relax and get in the mood, whether that's reading erotic literature or watching female-friendly porn.

Chavez agrees: "The focus of self-pleasure should be exactly that, self and pleasure." And given the many benefits, it's certainly worth the investment of time and effort.

How do you feel about spending more time on self-pleasure? Worth it -- or not so much?



Image via iStock.com/YunYulia

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