A Sexologist’s Top Tip for Making Your Old Vibrator Feel Like a Brand-New Toy

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So now that you and your go-to sex toy have been in a long-term relationship for the better part of a full year (thanks, human-touch-limiting global pandemic), you have a go-to thing that really works. There are no lies, no drama, and you love how it makes you feel—like, in a very literal, multiple orgasms kind of way. But one day, you’re playing with your vibrator and…nothing. You’re rolling your eyes during your routine masturbation sesh, and not out of pleasure. Is the honeymoon over, you wonder?

Sure, it might feel heart-wrenching when Old Faithful isn’t doing it for you like it used to, but that’s no reason to panic. When you overuse the same vibrator in the same way, you’re bound to tire of it eventually… or even desensitize yourself to it, right? Well… kind of.

“The reason that stimulation gets duller the more we use a sex toy is because our nerve endings actually adjust to the stimulation we’re being presented with,” says Caitlin V, MPH, resident sexologist for sexual-health company Royal. “Have you ever put on a scratchy shirt and, over time, noticed that it itched less? It’s not because the fabric has changed; rather, it’s because our body’s response to the sensation has changed. As humans, we have highly adaptive nervous systems that are always attempting to regulate us, and using sex toys is no exception.”

“The reason that stimulation gets duller the more we use a sex toy is because our nerve endings actually adjust to the stimulation we’re being presented with.” —Caitlin V, MPH

And look, that sensory shift is swell if you bought an adorable but unbearably itchy wool crop top. But if you’re investing close to triple digits on a sex toy and it’s losing it’s buzz factor, yeah, you may be a little upset. So how on earth can you rectify this situation?

Well, first have some peace of mind in knowing that a vulva won’t be perma-numb from too much vibing. As Myisha Battle, sex and relationship coach and Allbodies partner practitioner previously told Well+Good, “regular use of a vibrator will not impact a person with a vulva’s ability to experience sexual pleasure. Even if you use a vibrator every day, multiple times a day, your body will return to baseline a few minutes after each session or orgasm.”

Love to hear it. Nonetheless, there’s clearly an issue with your vulva being at least bored with the same old, same old. In that scenario, V suggests you  get out of your masturbatory rut by changing a couple of variables at a time. And not frantically in the heat of the moment, either. Instead, be mindful in switching up two, maybe even three components per session.

“This includes the position of your body, the hand that you hold the vibrator in, the way that you breathe, the place in the house where you are using it, playing in the bathtub or the shower,” says V. “You also can try different patterns if your vibrator includes those in its programming, or you can experiment with different vibrators that have different shapes, strength, speeds.”

So let’s say your go-to masturbation flex is to get in bed, put on “After Hours,” use a straight-line vibration on the second-lowest speed directly on your clit, and immediately go to sleep. To get out of your masturbation rut, perhaps you try this: On Monday, hop in the shower, put on “After Hours,” and use a more wave-like sensation setting. On Tuesday, you stay in bed, put on “After Hours,” dial your vibrator to the highest setting, and spend 20 minutes on other erogenous zones before moving down. On Wednesday, you get on the couch, put on “After Hours,” work with a penetrative vibrator, and hope don’t have roommates walk in on you.

There are a lot of different ways to do this, the only thing that needs to be a constant is The Weeknd. And if after a series of switch-ups you’re still not feeling it, you two might just need a break. “You can abstain from using your vibrator for a couple weeks and see how that changes the way that your body responds to its sensations,” says V.

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