Fox on Sex: Vibrators - A Girl's Friend or Foe?

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"Can I interview you about vibrator addiction?"

I had to crack a smile when I got this request from a journalist. What’s the angle for this story? The usual drill involves questions like: Are only the sad and lonely susceptible? Does using this sex toy pose the risk of partner replacement? Can a woman truly become out-of-control with this ground-moving wonder?

When it comes to vibrator use, many worry or wonder if it will be a gal’s ultimate sex demise. Sure, it’s providing her with plenty of pleasure now. But what if she can’t get enough? What if she becomes addicted? What if she wants nothing else but that vibrator — with or without a lover?

It’s hard to fault a woman for wanting her vibe. Not only is it a reliable date that’s all about her pleasuring, but the orgasms induced can be more intense and quickly attainable. It’s also time efficient, doesn’t require getting all dolled up and can’t break her heart.

Still, it’s those very benefits that invite the scrutiny. The vibe is seen as a substitute, a vice that will cause her to retreat into the depths of bed, only to surface for new batteries or another source of energy supply. Surely, addiction is inevitable, right?

First, let’s be clear. There is nothing harmful, bad or unhealthy about using a vibrator. That said, there may be cases where a woman has a difficult time reaching climax – solo or during partnered sex – without this gadget. There are a couple of major reasons for this:

— Clitoral stimulation. The vibrator provides direct and powerful sensations to the 8,000 nerve endings in her crown jewel. This area is often not given enough attention or stimulated effectively during other types of sex play.

— Body response. You have trained your body to respond in a certain way. Vibrator or not, when you engage in the same type of stimulation, you habituate your sexual response. Your body learns to respond in a certain way to a specific pattern. It can be difficult to elicit a response, like orgasm, doing anything outside of that routine.

To avoid vibrator "addiction," you want to avoid getting into a routine. As is the case with coupled sex, don’t let yourself get into a rut. Change up what you’re doing. Get creative. Try different positions. Or give the vibe a rest and use your hands, or lose yourself in fantasies instead of physical sensations.

But only if you want to ...

After all, there’s nothing wrong with using a vibrator every time you have sex. Why should using a vibe religiously be any different from using lube every time you’re intimate with yourself or another? Who says that you shouldn’t?

Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "The Better Sex Guide to Extraordinary Lovemaking."