'I can’t go a day without it': How I got addicted to my vibrator

They use it 4-5 times a day, take it with them in their purse even when visiting their parents, miss it during sex with their partner and struggle to climax without it; Women who've developed a dependence on their vibrator share their experiences (and also, how to wean yourself off, at least temporarily, from the beloved device)

Lori Stadtmauer|
It’s 1998 and in a prophetic scene, way ahead of its time, the four heroines of Sex and the City are sitting in their favorite café talking about pleasuring themselves. Miranda boldly declares: “In 50 years’ time, men will be obsolete. You don’t even need them for sex.”
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She tells her friends all about the pink toy that made her fall in love – a rabbit-shaped vibrator. Prudish Charlotte is quick to dismiss this new piece of technology: “It’s so sad. I couldn’t replace a man with a battery-powered device.”
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Sex and the City
Sex and the City
Sex and the City
(Photo: HBO)
Charlotte’s rejection disintegrates when she familiarizes herself with the aforementioned wonder. She updates Carrie: “I think I broke my vagina. I’m afraid that if I keep using the rabbit, I won’t be able to enjoy sex with men anymore.”
When Carrie asks why, Charlotte replies: “With the Rabbit, it’s ‘boom’ every time. I once orgasmed for five minutes straight! No man has ever made me orgasm like that, but what can I do ?” Later on in the episode, Charlotte’s friends are forced to hold a “Rabbit Intervention”, confiscating the vibrator after she cancels two dates to spend quality time with her new friend.
This episode, which launched worldwide Rabbit vibrator sales made millions of women experiment with sex toys. It also launched one of the greatest concerns of women who were already using sex toys: Becoming addicted to them to the point they can’t enjoy either masturbation or regular sex with a partner.
The good news is that no scientific research has proven that addiction to a vibrator is actually possible. On the other hand, women I spoke to admit that they are completely addicted to their pink toys. Some say they can’t experience the same kind of pleasure either on their own or with their partners – and that they definitely can’t naturally reach the level of stimulation they experience with the aid of the “Rabbit”, “Pocket Rocket”, “Satisfyer” or the “Magic Wand.”
"I reached the stage that when it needed recharging, I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact it wasn’t working. I’d pray for it to work. I only realized how bad it was when I started dating someone“
Madori Meitar, 30 from northern Israel, is one such woman. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she realized she had become addicted. “I wasn’t sexually active with anyone at the time and for a year and a half, I found myself attached to my vibrator. I was just with it all the time. Non-stop. I reached the stage that when it needed recharging, I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact it wasn’t working. I’d pray for it to work. I only realized how bad it was when I started dating someone.“
What happened there? “I’d be thinking about my vibrator when we were having sex. We’d be in the act, and I’m just thinking to myself: ‘Okay. Let’s stop for a moment and I’ll go get the vibrator.’ That’s the only way it’s really good for me and it’s the only way I’m satisfied. When I wasn’t meeting up with the guy, the vibrator was the only thing I’d use. I wouldn’t pleasure myself manually.”
When did you realize you were addicted? “I showed my collection of sex toys to the guy I was dating and there was a moment when it dawned on me that I was addicted. I couldn’t reach any high level of orgasm without it, its strength and the vibration feeling inside my body. I suddenly realized that I couldn’t masturbate anymore. My stimulation threshold had become so high. This was my comfort in life. The vibrator was the only thing that fulfilled me.“
Did you try incorporating the vibrator into your sex life? “No. Playing with the vibrator was very intimate for me – just me and the vibrator. It was my time to pleasure myself. After we talked about it, I realized that this addiction made no sense. I had to put an end to it. I realized I couldn’t derive pleasure from being touched. The vibrator was controlling me. If it was out of power, I became anxious and if I tried pleasuring myself, I just didn’t feel anything.”
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מאדורי מיתר
מאדורי מיתר
Madori Meitar
(Photo: Shahar Amergui)
How did you wean yourself off your vibrator? “I just stopped. I put all the sex toys into a bag in the wardrobe. At first, I’d think about it all the time. I really struggled with it. I’d say to myself ‘Not now. Use your fingers.’ When that didn’t work, I’d say ‘just one more time with the vibrator and I’ll be a good girl and put it back in the bag.’ It was really hard to let go. I still have the bag in the wardrobe, but I haven’t opened it since. It was like giving up smoking for me: I remember what it was like, but I don’t go near. I’ll get rid of the bag soon.”
How are you getting along with vibrators? "I can now pleasure myself without it. I think getting to know your own body is a beautiful thing. It pained me to be so distant from my own body. Yes, I do have a certain pleasure threshold that I can only reach with a vibrator, but when you pleasure yourself, you can find more pleasure points and get to know yourself at a much deeper level.“

From 0 to 60

Dana (assumed name), 42, divorced, mother of three from the center of the country was a late bloomer when it comes to self-pleasure. She tells us she’s been addicted to her vibrator for two years: “For 15 years, I was in a marriage with almost no sex.” For us, sex was for procreation. We just didn’t have sex. We led separate lives. Like roommates.“
Didn’t you have sex at the beginning of the relationship? “Before we had children, we’d have sex every few months. I told him it hurt and he let it go. We simply put sex aside. He worked very hard and I was busy with the children. We each became entrenched in our own roles. Then, at the age of 40, I discovered my own sexuality. It’s a cliché, I know.“
How did that happen? “I met someone I had gone out with 20 years ago. We only went on a couple of dates and we never slept together. Then, two years ago, we reconnected on Facebook and it quickly turned into a passionate affair that ended quickly and eventually led to the divorce.”
What happened there sexually? “I suddenly had the kind of sex I’d never had in my marriage. He had a suction vibrator that he would incorporate into our sex. So, I bought one for myself and started pleasuring myself on a daily basis. Although the affair didn’t last long, I was inspired. I broke up the home as I realized that there was never going to be anything sexual there. My husband isn’t sexual and I am – just not towards him.”
"I tell men not to even bother. I know it won’t make me orgasm. I know no man can compete with a vibrator that keeps going for 20 minutes at 60 miles per hour"
"Since the divorce, I’ve been exploring my own sexuality – both with men and by masturbating, but I can only actually orgasm with a vibrator. I watch porn as I masturbate. I can’t orgasm without something visual.”
What makes you think you’re addicted to your vibrator? “Because I can’t go a day without it. Sometimes I do it several times a day. Vibrators are very strong. No tongue or hand can do what a vibrator does. I very much enjoy sex, but for a good clitoral orgasm, I need a vibrator. It can take me quite a long time to reach orgasm and I need to change over the porn movies to keep stepping up the stimulation. My body keeps needing it more and more extreme.”
Would you say you’re also addicted to porn? “Yes. It’s Pavlovian. I can’t orgasm without porn.”
What bothers you? “On the one hand, I tell myself at least I’m orgasming. On the other, I find it hard to orgasm when a partner is with me. I find the audience embarrassing. There’s a formula to it and I think that’s a shame because I know there’s much more to sex than this and it’s not supposed to be dependent on external objects. I’d like to stop. I think I’m missing out - on oral sex for example. I tell men not to even bother. I know it won’t make me orgasm. I know no man can compete with a vibrator that keeps going for 20 minutes at 60 miles per hour,” she laughs.
Do you want to stop using the vibrator? “Yes, I definitely want to stop in the very near future. I want to put the toys aside for a moment and try to experience more pleasure either with myself or with a partner without the surrounding media. I sometimes ask myself why I broke up my marriage. I could have just masturbated at home on my own every day.“
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(Photo: Shuterstock)
Michal (also assumed name), 35, is a married mother of two living in the center of the country. Three years ago, during a visit to Japan with her husband, they stayed at a “love hotel” (a zimmer designed for couples seeking alone time). This is where she first encountered the “magic wand”, the world’s most famous vibrator.
“They had single-use magic wands in the room. I tried it and I loved it. As soon as we got back to Israel, I ordered myself one,“ she tells us. “I’ve been partying ever since – but it's become an addiction. It’s suddenly very easy for me to reach orgasm. And if I want multiple orgasms – it’s only with the vibrator. My sexual energy is sometimes so strong that I can masturbate with the vibrator four or five times a day.“
Does it bother you? “Yes. I’d like to learn how to have multiple orgasms without the vibrator. So I try ‘decreasing the dosage’ or sometimes not using it at all for a few days, but it's hard for me to enjoy myself without it. I just can’t reach the intensity the toy does. It can sometimes interfere with sex with my partner. He does things that used to make me orgasm, that doesn’t do it for me anymore. Sometimes, when he’s really trying for a long time and I’m not feeling much, he’ll say ‘have you been playing with your friend too much?’ or ‘okay then, go bring your friend’ just so that we can finish up. It’s not even in the drawer anymore. It’s on my bedside table, and I have a mini version in my purse at all times. You never know when you’ll need it.”
Do you use it when you’re not at home? “Yes. Like if I’m at my parents and I want to play with it. I do know how to touch myself, but I’ve gotten used to a certain speed, a certain touch. Fingers just do it like the ‘wand’ that can go from zero to a hundred in a matter of seconds. You have a goal and you want to reach it fast. If the vibrator’s not fully charged, I’ll wait 20 minutes for it to charge rather than try without it.”

Get this thing out of the house!

So, are vibrators addictive? Tal Izak (35), occupational therapist and alternative sex therapist believes the answer is a definite yes - but that women have a hard time admitting it. In October, Izak will be opening Israel’s first online course that aims to help women liberate themselves of their dependency on vibrators and expand their sexual range both in self-pleasure and with their partners.
“The course was born out of my own process of liberation from my addiction,” she tells us. “I started group tantra therapy five years ago. One of our first assignments was to stop masturbating for a month. I was using a vibrator for masturbation at the time. I suddenly realized how hard it was to give it up. I also understood that it wasn’t about being horny or the desire for pleasure, but rather it was about release. I realized I had a problem.”
"It becomes a compulsive, uncontrollable pattern. We won’t necessarily use a vibrator because we want sexual pleasure, but rather to release tension, relieve boredom, deal with some kind of pain"
What causes addiction to vibrators? “Vibrators give us instant intense sexual gratification. But over time, the brain demands more intensive and more frequent stimulation. So, you use the vibrator more and more. Overusing it can make you numb and it makes it harder to experience pleasure from natural sexual encounters. It becomes a compulsive, uncontrollable pattern. We won’t necessarily use a vibrator because we want sexual pleasure, but rather to release tension, relieve boredom, deal with some kind of pain or as an escape from some emotional problem.”
How can a woman know if she’s become dependent on her vibrator? “She should ask herself whether she reaches orgasm on her own or with a partner without the vibrator, and whether the stimulation and orgasm satisfy her like they used to. I advise women who think they might be addicted to check the regularity with which they use their vibrators and their reasons for using them.”
What should I do if I want to put an end to my dependency on my vibrator? “Firstly, you must recognize you have developed this dependency and that it has ramifications on yourself and your relationships. Try and understand the emotional pain behind it. What are you escaping from? What are you finding hard to deal with? Are you feeling any kind of tension, anxiety or depression that should be addressed? And obviously, get rid of the vibrator. That’s what I did. To pleasure myself without the vibrator, I needed to learn my own body and rewire my pathways to pleasure. It’s an entire process in which we learn what pleasures us. It takes time.“
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 טל איזק, מטפלת מינית
 טל איזק, מטפלת מינית
Tal Izak
(Photo: Dana Ofir)
How would you define your relationship with your vibrator today? “I’m now aware of my use of sex toys. I also use non-vibrating devices. I sometimes don’t use any vibrating devices at all as I feel I’m weak and I wouldn’t be able to control myself.”
Unlike Izak, Efrat Ziv, a sex educator who presents the “Feminists” podcast believes there is no such thing as addiction to vibrators. “It’s very trendy right now to talk about addiction to vibrators. I’m happy to say that it has no basis. When we use sex toys, we generally receive a much higher level of stimulation. So, it can shorten the time it takes us to reach orgasm and we get used to the simplicity of the short time frame – in the same way we get used to the time we save by using a dishwasher.“
“We encounter the feeling of ‘addiction’ at those times when, for some reason, the toy is not available to us and we suddenly remember that it takes time to orgasm. But this time hasn’t changed. The body isn’t broken and nothing’s happened, apart from the brain getting used to a shorter time span and it’s now frustrated that the time frame is back to what it was in pre-technology times.”
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אפרת זיו, מחנכת מינית
אפרת זיו, מחנכת מינית
Efrat Ziv
(Photo: Nadav Meir)
“No one’s concerned about addiction when we talk about dishwashers replacing washing plates by hand or electric mixers replacing manual ones. Why? What scares us about intense, or occasional quickie, orgasms? Maybe it’s because it’s female orgasms. I suggest we stop being so judgmental and that we should always be sure to have some kind of toy, charged and ready.”
What would you say to women whose stimulation threshold increases and they can’t reach orgasm without a vibrator? “Women can indeed get used to a very high stimulation threshold, but you can also get used to certain kinds of masturbation – even without toys. We can do one of two things: either chose high intensity and make sure we can provide it whenever we want, or we can learn how to vary our stimulation with or without toys - with the left hand, then the right, with a toy that vibrates then a toy that uses suction, in the morning using fantasy, in the evening using porn. The main thing is to stop being afraid of using sex toys.”
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