If you follow me on twitter, you probably saw a smattering of angry tweets recently pop up in your feed in response to a Womens Health Mag article (originally posted on Your Tango) that @FemmeReviews shared: “Why I Had To Break Up With My Vibrator: It’s not me, it’s you“.
For those that haven’t read it, the author pens a tale about taking a gig reviewing sex toys for Playboy and getting addicted to her Hitachi Magic Wand in the process.
Um, okay. Sounds simple enough…
Here’s where things get convoluted; the author readily admits to a previous obsession with cocaine and a nine year battle with alcoholism, yet rather than writing about a struggle with addiction that eventually affected her sex life, the article ignorantly became a condescending, fear based piece, filled with generalizations and misinformation, further purporting the stereotype that sex toys are bad and unnecessary if you want to live a healthy happy life.
Spoiler alert: she tosses the Hitachi down the garbage chute and finds herself again. Yay!
Don’t get me wrong, knowing all too well how debilitating a disease addiction can be, I sympathize with the author and her efforts to remain sober. I even respect the experience, we all have our own sexual situations to grow through. However, the apparent inability to accept responsibility for her actions, instead placing blame on a sex toy, is both infuriating and intolerable.
On that note, had this article been about someone ‘breaking up with a sex toy‘ because they learned it was toxic (as pictured above right) – giving Women’s Health Mag the opportunity to teach and empower its readers about making responsible decisions when it comes to choosing a sex toy – I could have supported it. The fact that the mag/author went the sensationalized “sex toys are bad and addictive” route just disappoints me.
Just so I’m perfectly clear: sex toys aren’t bad, THE UNDERLYING MESSAGES IN THE ARTICLE ARE.
Reading Between The Lines: Debunking The Bullshit
I expect that many who read the article won’t give it much thought, let alone notice any of the sex negative insinuations, but as someone who’s devoted much of the last ten years to helping people become comfortable in their sexuality and encouraged self exploration via the use of body safe sex toys, they simply can’t be ignored.
She assuredly writes…
If the Hitachi doesn’t make you orgasm, nothing will.
Not only is this statement a complete load of horse shit, it’s ridiculously discouraging for anyone that has struggled to orgasm, bought a Hitachi, and had lackluster results.
Speaking from personal experience, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve had an orgasm with something that wasn’t a Hitachi, I’d be hella rich by now. Granted, my experiences weren’t all amazing. In fact some were down right shitty. But the point is I did finish… and do you know why? Because I’ve taken the time I needed to explore my body, likes/dislikes, including the type of touch I prefer, how much pressure is required, which side of my clitoris is the most sensitive, and everything else that’s important when one wants to master the art of cumming.
So, just because the Hitachi won’t make someone orgasm, it doesn’t mean NOTHING ELSE WILL.
Again, this comes back to knowing one’s self: Some people need strong vibrations, others need something muted. Some people need direct stimulation, others need a subtler touch. Some people regularly use vibrators because it’s a far more rewarding experience (not to mention, being necessary), some never do. Regardless of what a person requires, it’s normal, natural, and nothing to be ashamed of. The key is to experiment until you find something that works. And yes, at some point something will work. You just have to keep trying.
And then there’s this:
Vibrator aficionados know better; they also recommend that you put a towel between it and you so that, I assume, you don’t burn your clitoris off—it’s that powerful.
Followed shortly after by,
I was as devoted to my wand as other women are to abusive lovers, and even when I started getting lacerations near my clitoris (those towel recommenders, it turned out, had a point), I covered for my beloved, going so far as to ask my gynecologist if perhaps the little cuts were evidence of a disease.
I can see the headline now: WOMAN BURNS CLITORIS OFF WITH ULTRA POWERFUL SHOULDER MASSAGER!
Ugh. Can we please just stop the fear mongering already?
First things first, the Hitachi WILL NOT burn your clitoris off. It is not that powerful. If it was the case, mine would have burned at the stake years ago.
Yes, many will advise placing a towel or layer of clothes between you and it, but that isn’t because it’s going to set your genitals ablaze. Instead, we know that for the inexperienced user the 600rpms offered by the Hitachi may be too much. Rather than overwhelming you from the get go, we suggest dampening the vibrations so that you’re able to ease into the experience, allowing the necessary time to get accustomed to something so strong. Admittedly, there are days when I’m extra sensitive and have to use it over pajamas or jogging pants. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just the way my body works.
As for the lacerations, clearly that’s a sign of overuse and not indicative of the Hitachi itself. And comparing ones devotion to a sexy toy to an abusive relationship, I refuse to even allow this to be a thing. No. Just fucking no.
But I digress…
Regarding introducing the Hitachi to her partners, she had this to say:
And with an audience, the wand and I couldn’t seem to get into our groove, anyway. During these threesomes, my orgasms, when they happened, were wholly unsatisfying.
I don’t think I should have to say this but… sex toys are not people.
They aren’t meant to be replacements for partners. Using one with a partner is not the same as having a threesome. And there is no point in time when they should be referred to as such. It’s this type of off the cuff statement that creates insecurities within relationships and often leaves partners feeling inadequate. Not to mention feeding the stereo-type that if a woman has a sex toy she doesn’t need a man/partner, and vice versa. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
As for the admission that her orgasms were “wholly unsatisfying”, our lovers are not mind readers, we cannot expect them to know what we need to get off. If you can’t orgasm with your partner it’s your responsibility to teach them how to get you there. It’s not an excuse or reason to ditch them for a vibe. Well, you could, but that’s on you. Not your partner. Or your sex toy for that matter. And to be honest, it’s kinda lazy and shitty.
She then goes on to quote relationship expert, Gilda Carle:
Vibrators are great fun for the short term, when a woman is between loves.
When we speak of the gendered cultural ideals around female sexuality, there’s the ever present notion that a woman in a heterosexual relationship shouldn’t need a vibrator, and if she does, there’s something wrong with her, her partner, or the relationship. There’s also the idea that if a woman has to use a sex toy during intercourse she mustn’t know how to experience pleasure with another person. Thankfully, both of these concepts are often completely false.
Like sensual massage, a playful smack on the ass, or some good foreplay, sex toys can be used as tools to help encourage intimacy, open the doors for honest communication, and enhance orgasms for both partners, among other things.
Aside from all that, whether it’s learning to orgasm, relieving aches and pains, releasing stress and tension, or rebuilding clitoral nerve endings (so that orgasms are possible), this statement completely ignores and downplays the therapeutic use of vibrators before, during, and after a relationship ends.
And don’t even get me started on the use of the word “loves”. Look, I know she’s just using it for effect, but we’re living in a time where sex often happens without ‘love’. So long as people are being responsible and respectful, there’s nothing wrong with that.
As far as I’m concerned Dr. Gilda Carle can take the entire sentence and stuff it up her ass. #sorrynotsorry
Sex Negativity – Just Say NO To Sensationalized Media
After reading Trust Me, I’m Lying I can look online content for what it is – a sensationalized piece/title designed around click-baiting, fear mongering, and/or a crappy attempt at entertainment – however that doesn’t mean I’m not highly offended when content like this, who’s seeming intent is to fill readers heads with the type of unnecessary nonsense many of us within the sex positive community have fought to destigmatize, pops up in my news feed.
My suggestion, forget crap like this even exists, and read Rachel Kramer Bussles “Is My Vibrator Ruining My Relationship?” or the informative “Are Vibrators Addictive or Numbing?” instead. While both articles cover similar elements found here, the underlying tone is one of acceptance, understanding, and sex positivity. You’ll thank yourself for it later.
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