Sexplanations: Put It On Vibrate

I have been asked many times, “if I use a vibrator to orgasm, will I be able to orgasm without a vibrator?” or “my partner says a vibrator will ruin me for sex without one.”

Vibrators have been around for many years — since the late nineteenth century. The first vibrators were used to treat ‘hysteria.’ Once a common medical condition inflicted predominantly upon women-identified folks, hysteria is now thought by some to be the greatest false diagnosis ever made in the history of Western medicine, but silver lining, it did bring us the vibrator.

Before vibrators, physicians, and sometimes midwives, treated hysteria by manually bringing a person to orgasm by bending down and reaching under layers of skirts and fabric. Not only did they have little information about the clitoris, vagina, vulva and pleasure, they could not see what they were doing. This was a tiresome and time consuming practice that became very popular, making the vibrator a big hit from the start, as physicians could not wait to pass this chore onto someone, or something, else.

Vibrators are often useful in bringing a person to orgasm, bringing a person to orgasm faster than would manual stimulation and stimulating people who, for various reasons, need stronger stimulation or consistent stimulation for a long period of time. They can be used alone, or with others, no matter your gender.

They can be large or small, used externally or internally, expensive or inexpensive. They can have batteries or plug in and some even have a remote. If you are able to orgasm while using a vibrator, this does not mean you will not be able to orgasm without one. For some people, it may take patience and experimentation, but usually if you are able to orgasm with a vibrator you are able to orgasm in other ways, as well.

We tend to forget the power of the mind. Fantasies, thoughts, desires, can go a long way in preparing our bodies for touch. Mentally preparing for sexual pleasure and ample foreplay that does not involve the genitals is not given enough credit. When the mind and body is ready and anticipating, orgasms come more easily and frequently.

If we are having orgasms with others, I cannot say enough about the importance of communication, consent and respect. If we want our partner(s) to orgasm, we have to make them feel respected, comfortable and safe. Not feeling this way could be preventing them from climbing that mountain and getting over the top. We can’t blame their lack of orgasm on a vibrator. And if you like your vibrator, introduce it to your partner(s). They may like it too. If you have a resistant partner, try showing them what a vibrator can do for them.

Many people with vaginas cannot orgasm from vaginal penetration alone, such things as clitoral, breast or anal stimulation are often needed. This is where a vibrator (or more partners) can come in handy as one person cannot do it all. So if you are feeling up to it this cold February, take the time to fantasize, communicate, foreplay and put it on vibrate.


Stacey Jacobs has been a Sex Educator for almost 2 decades. For 13 of those years she worked as a Sexual Health Educator at Planned Parenthood. She teaches in the Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies Program at the University of Waterloo and when not educating, she enjoys reading, walking her dogs and eating good food. The life of a Sex Educator is usually not as interesting as people assume.