An article in today’s Sunday Times quotes a Relate counsellor as saying that ‘mechanically-induced’ orgasms can alter brain circuitry such that response to another person ‘has to be relearnt’. How real is that danger?
A study of 2,000 American women who used vibrators found that:
- 71.5% never experienced any side effects
- 16% reported numbness
- 10% reported irritation
- 8% reported swelling
- 3% reported pain
- 1% reported tears or cuts
The key point is that none of those who reported negative side effects judged them to be either serious or long-lasting.
But people do have accidents with sex toys as Russell Griffin and Gerald McGwin from the University of Alabama School of Public Health discovered when they examined reports from American emergency rooms. They found that from 1995 to 2006:
- 6799 people aged 20 and up were treated in U.S. emergency departments for sex toy injuries
- There was an overall doubling of the number of injuries, from 2.41 per million in 1995 to 5.46 per million in 2006
- Men had higher injury rates than women, and rates were highest for people between 30-39
- 74% of injuries involved a vibrator, 13% involved dildos, 2% rings, and 11% other,
- 78% of injuries were anorectal, 18% vaginal/penile, and 4% other
It seems, then, that the greatest danger comes from the use of vibrators in the anal canal and rectum. Not many people realize how powerful the muscles are. It’s very easy for a sex toy to be sucked inside the rectum where it could heat up. The best advice is only to use a vibrator in the anal canal or rectum that has a sufficiently wide base to stop it slipping all the way in. But if you are unlucky you should be able to expel it from the rectum in the usual way. And remember that the anal canal and rectum (unlike the vagina) have no natural lubricant. So never attempt any kind of anal penetration without a good dollop of a suitable commercial lubricant.
Scouring the internet, I have found some claims of permanent numbness due to overuse of sex toys. But they seem to be pretty rare. If you’ve had a problem I’d like to hear from you. Just click on ‘Comment’ and have your say.