The Positive And Potential Negative Side Effects Of Using A Vibrator

Using a vibrator is generally safe with minimal side effects as long as it is made from body-safe material, you keep it clean, and practice common sense.
Close Up Photograph Of Woman's Hand Holding Bullet Vibrator Pointed At The Vagina On Illustrated Diagram Of Female Reproductive System

Yes, vibrators do have side effects, but thankfully, they’re much more positive than negative.

And there’s scientific research to prove it.

Things To Know
Positive Vibrator Side Effects

Positive Side Effects Of Using A Vibrator

Photograph Of Hand Touching A Variety Of Internal Vibrating Sex Toys

Although vibrators are not heavily studied in scientific circles, research is being conducted to explore how — and why — vibrators can benefit those who use them.

As it turns out, there are plenty of favorable side effects associated with using a vibrator, including:

  • Improved pelvic floor function
  • Reduction in vulvar pain
  • Improved symptoms associated with urinary incontinence
  • Increased levels of sexual arousal
  • Increased amounts of natural lubrication
  • Reduction in time to reach orgasm

A study led by Dr. Alexandra Dubinskaya and her team from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found evidence that supports several benefits in women who regularly use a vibrator.

During the study, those who used a vibrator were shown to have improved pelvic floor health, reduced vulvar pain, and better sexual health overall.

The study showed that vibratory stimulation correlated with a notable reduction in urinary symptoms and pelvic floor muscle tone improvement in women with stress urinary incontinence and urine leakage.

According to Dr. Dubinskaya, the study also focused on vibratory stimulation, which was shown to relieve the pain and associated symptoms of vulvodynia.

She concluded that after four to six weeks of vibrator use, women reported reduced pain levels and increased sexual enjoyment.

Additionally, the study established positive changes in blood flow during vibrator use.

Increased blood flow improved multiple aspects of sexual arousal and satisfaction, resulting in increased orgasmic response and decreased sexual anguish.

This is good news, especially considering that vibrator use is so common — among men and women.

An Indiana University study concluded that 52.5% of women used a vibrator at some point, with close to 1 in 4 doing so within the past month.

The study found that women who used vibrators took better care of their sexual health: They were more likely to have visited their gynecologist during the past year and to have performed a self-examination of their genitals within the last month.

Not only that, but 71.5% of women who participated in the study reported having never experienced any negative side effects from vibrator use.

Of those who did, the reported side effects were rare and short lasting.

That same Indiana University study discovered that 44.8% of men had used vibrators during sexual activity; of those, only 10% had done so within the past month.

What’s notable, however, is how they used them while still experiencing benefits, as 91% of men who reported using vibrators had done so with a female partner.

Although the study doesn’t mention the incidence of men using vibrators on themselves (alone or with a partner), those who had used vibrators in any capacity were more likely to practice positive sexual health behaviors, like performing testicular self-examinations.

Additionally, they scored themselves higher in areas relating to erectile function, including sexual satisfaction, desire, and orgasm.

As these studies have shown, vibrators offer myriad benefits — regardless of gender.

Some people experience body shakes after using a vibrator, however, that’s the result of an orgasm’s effects on the body, rather than the vibrator itself.

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Negative Vibrator Side Effects

(Potentially) Negative Side Effects Of Using A Vibrator

Photograph Of Unsure Redheaded Woman Holding A Rabbit Vibrator

For all of the good that can come from using a vibrator — pun not intended — there are a few potentially negative side effects associated with vibrator use.

These include:

  • Temporary numbness or desensitization
  • Emotional turmoil or shame over using a vibrator
  • Braxton Hicks contractions (during pregnancy only)

A vibrator provides sexual stimulation — for as long as you need it — but you might wonder if you can use one for too long or, even worse, cause numbness or desensitize your vaginal area entirely.

The truth is that you could, but it’s extremely rare.

As we read from the Indiana University study above, using a vibrator is linked to positive sexual function with seldom adverse sexual side effects.

Any numbness or desensitization is generally very temporary and can be alleviated by taking a break from the activity.

If you’re nervous about the prospect of numbness or desensitization, you can always switch off and play with sex toys that don’t vibrate.

Another potentially negative side effect of vibrator use is the stigma associated with it, and with masturbation in general.

Masturbation comes with its own set of health benefits, as we talked about in this article, however, it is a subject often considered “taboo” or “shameful.”

There is nothing “dirty” or inappropriate about using a vibrator for sexual stimulation — alone or with a partner.

It’s heartbreaking to know that some people feel as though they’re doing something “wrong” by exploring their sexuality through the use of sex toys.

Having orgasms — and enjoying them — is perfectly natural.

Vibrators just happen to offer us an easy way to achieve them, whenever we want.

Finally, if you’re pregnant and using a vibrator, one notable side effect — Braxton-Hicks contractions — can occur during the third trimester of pregnancy.

These “warm-up” contractions are common during late pregnancy and can be caused by any type of sexual activity or orgasm — with or without the use of a vibrator.

In the absence of complications, however, they are harmless and perfectly normal — and are generally not cause for concern.

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Health Risks Associated With Vibrators

Health Risks Associated With Vibrator Use

Closeup Of Woman's Pelvic Area Covered By Small Chalkboard With Wavy Lines Signifying Vibration

The health risks associated with using a vibrator are minimal — as long as you’re conscientious about what type of toy you choose and you always practice proper maintenance.

Risks associated with using a vibrator include:

  • Infections
  • Potential exposure to dangerous chemicals (porous, low-quality materials only)
  • Pain and discomfort

To avoid the risk of infection, you need to clean your sex toys before and after every use, but you also need to clean them between partners AND orifices, too.

An unclean vibrator can harbor bacteria, including those responsible for bacterial vaginosis and UTIs, along with yeast, viruses, and STIs that can be passed between partners.

Proper cleaning of your vibrator is mandatory.

You might even want to try one of our highly researched, recommended sex toy cleaners, although mild soap and water work just as well.

Additionally, you also need to make sure you use a vibrator made from body-safe materials.

Many sex toys are made from toxic materials, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, and jelly rubber, some of which can potentially leach harmful chemicals during use, due to their porous natures.

Finally, pain and discomfort can occur during vibrator use — for several reasons:

  • Inadequate amount of lubrication
  • Vibrations that are too strong
  • Suction that is too powerful
  • Patterns or settings that are too “rough” against the skin
  • Improper size and/or fit (particularly in vibrators that are inserted)

Many times, pain or discomfort associated with a vibrator can be mitigated by adjusting its application: Choosing a lower vibration setting, applying less (or indirect) pressure on sensitive areas, or using more lube.

Other times, the pain and discomfort are due to the toy’s design not vibing with your anatomy — for instance, a G-spot vibrator with a girth too wide to fit comfortably inside your vagina.

In such cases, it’s best to stop what you’re doing and choose a different vibrator altogether.

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Conclusion

In Conclusion

Using a vibrator is generally safe — plus it can even be good for your health.

Vibrators positively impact many aspects of sexual function and response, including desire, arousal, orgasm, pain relief, and overall sexual satisfaction.

As long as your vibrator is made from body-safe material, you keep it squeaky clean, and practice common sense during use, there is minimal cause for concern regarding negative side effects.

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.

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