Can Vibrators Cause A Loss Of Sensitivity Or Nerve Damage?

While there are health issues that can lead to a desensitized clitoris and vaginal area, using a vibrator regularly shouldn’t cause any permanent damage.
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It is highly unlikely that a vibrator will hurt or desensitize your clitoris or vagina, even if you use one daily (or multiple times per day).

Here’s why:

  • Medical conditions and life stressors are more likely to contribute to clitoral desensitization than your vibrator.
  • Any clitoral desensitization you experience from using a vibrator is almost always temporary.
  • Taking a break from your vibrator or changing the settings can usually correct clitoral overstimulation.
  • Vibrators don’t automatically cause nerve damage — not even if they’re used on their strongest settings.
  • In extreme cases of daily, excessive use of a vibrator, nerve damage is possible — but it’s incredibly rare.

Before you toss your expensive sex toys in the trash, rest assured that vibrators do not typically cause clitoral desensitization — and we’ll tell you what actually can.

(Editor’s note: for our purposes, the term “women” encompasses both binary and non-binary women.)

Things To Know

Do Vibrators Cause A Loss Of Sensitivity?

Honestly, vibrators can cause a loss of sensitivity, but it’s very, VERY rare.

Short-term clitoral desensitization can be caused by excessive vibrator use but all you usually have to do is take a break from using that toy for a while and the sensation will come right back.

(You can check for sensation again as often as you like.)

If you find that you experience a loss of sensitivity after using a particular vibrator, you can also try a different one — and there are plenty to choose from.

Can Vibrators Damage Nerves?

While clitoral nerve damage from a vibrator is also exceedingly rare, it can technically happen but again, only if you’re using a high-powered toy to excess.

One Redditor reported that after using a Hitachi Magic Wand on his penis every day for months, he suffered permanent nerve damage — to his fingers — from gripping the thing so often and for so long.

The effect is similar to the potential health problems that people who work with heavy machinery and equipment often suffer.

It’s important to note that it wasn’t simply vibrator use that caused the problem.

It was excessive use of a high-powered vibe over months of daily use — but happily, he reported that the sensitivity of his penis remains intact.

As long as you’re not masturbating like this, you’re unlikely to cause actual nerve damage to your vulva, clitoris, or vagina.

Similarly, a vibrator isn’t likely to cause a buzzing sensation in your vagina after you’ve finished using it.

Does Using A Vibrator Affect Sensitivity?

Not really — a vibrator can sometimes affect sensitivity to a degree — whether through temporary desensitization after use OR from becoming overly accustomed to reaching orgasm from a specific type of vibration.

But overall, a vibrator won’t decrease or increase the sensitivity of genital nerves in any permanent way.

Can You Use A Vibrator Too Much Or For Too Long?

Unless you’re forgetting to go to work or feed your children, it’s rare to masturbate with a vibrator too much, or for too long.

If you’re experiencing soreness or a decrease in clitoral sensitivity, however, you can try some other alternatives.

Sonic, clit-sucking vibrators offer a different sensation altogether, and these are a fun and pleasurable alternative to traditional vibes.

You can also play with toys that don’t vibrate at all.

Alternately, you can use your hands and get in touch with your clit both literally and figuratively.

  • Why Is My Clit Sore After Using A Vibrator?

A few factors contribute to clitoral soreness when you use a vibrator, including:

  • Not using enough (or any!) personal lubricant
  • Using a too-high setting on your vibrator
  • Using your vibrator too often — for hours at a time or daily use
  • Some combination of these factors

For most people, the lack of lube while masturbating is likely the biggest culprit.

Personal lubricant reduces friction so hands, fingers, and vibrators can glide across your skin.

Vibrators, by their very nature, cause friction against your clit but not all of that friction will make your toes curl while you scream in pleasure.

So if you find that your clit is sore after using a vibrator, try adding lube first.

If you’re still feeling sore with the application of vaginal lube, it may be time to pull back on the intensity of your vibrator or how long you use it.

Clitoral soreness doesn’t mean you’re losing sensation or that your vibrator is causing nerve damage.

But it does mean you may need to take a break from your vibrator for a while.

You might want to turn down the settings to something more gentle or use your vibrator for a shorter amount of time.

If clit soreness persists, however, definitely talk to your doctor.

Can Using A Vibrator Make It Harder To Orgasm With A Partner?

No — vibrator use will likely not make it harder to reach orgasm during sex play with your partner.

Myriad things can impact our ability to orgasm with a partner.

Mood, stress, hydration, positioning, stimulation, and a zillion different physical factors all play into our ability to hit that O.

While it’s true that getting used to vibration or sonic stimulation can make you miss it when it isn’t there, there’s no evidence to suggest that awesome masturbation leads to a lack of enthusiasm for sex.

Vibrators are not bad for you.

In fact, they’re probably good for your sex life in a myriad of ways.

The more often you practice self-pleasure and reach orgasm, the easier it will be to reach orgasm in the future.

Knowing your body is the first key step to finding your own pleasure.

Using sex toys is also correlated with better health outcomes in women.

Being able to get off on your own — with or without a vibrator — will help you have more orgasms with your partner.

What Causes Clitoral Or Vaginal Desensitization?

While there isn’t any singular cause of clitoral or vaginal desensitization, it can be the result of many things — with either physical and/or psychological roots — that might include:

The clitoris has about 7,000 nerve endings.

That doesn’t change with frequent masturbation — not even with vibes.

So what really causes a desensitized vagina or clitoral desensitization?

As women age, menopause can cause a decrease in genital sensitivity due to hormonal changes and reduced blood flow to the vaginal area and clitoris.

The pudendal nerve is the primary nerve that runs through the pelvis. If this nerve is damaged through childbirth, surgery, or other injuries, numbness and a loss of sensitivity can occur as a result.

Additionally, systemic afflictions like diabetes or autoimmune diseases that can cause nerve damage may potentially affect genital sensitivity to varying degrees.

If you’re experiencing any sustained numbness in your vaginal area, my best advice is to schedule an appointment with your doctor to find out why.

Sometimes known as “dead vagina syndrome,” a woman with a desensitized clitoris or vagina may notice a reduction in the amount of physical sensation in that region.

In a worst-case scenario, she may even experience complete numbness.

  • How To Recognize Clitoral Desensitization

The first signs of clitoral desensitization are pain and/or numbness.

If you notice any part of your body going numb during a masturbation session, stop immediately — but don’t panic.

Short-term desensitization is not the same as nerve damage; neither one means you’d have to stop masturbating permanently.

But if you experience a loss of sensitivity that doesn’t return with time, notice a decrease in the amount of sensation you feel during arousal or sex, or experience pain in your genital area with no apparent cause, see your doctor.

In Conclusion

While there are some legit health issues that can lead to a desensitized clitoris and vaginal area, using a vibrator regularly shouldn’t cause any lasting or permanent damage.

So if you’re wondering, “Can your clit become desensitized?” or “Can vibrators damage nerves?” you can rest easy knowing your bits are likely safe from harm.

With that in mind, feel free to enjoy yourself whenever (and however often) you want!

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Complete Guide To Vibrators and Everything Vibrators hub, in-depth and evolving resources that comprehensively explore all aspects of vibrators from the different types and how to use them, to materials and safety — created to help you achieve the sexual pleasure you deserve.