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Rubbed the Wrong Way: Can You Masturbate ‘Too Hard’?

Today we’re going to talk about the sensitive topic of sensitivity, or rather, maintaining sensitivity.

For women, we are going to center the topic around using vibrators and the persisting notion that strong vibrations and vigorous masturbation can desensitize your genitals permanently, and for men, we’re going to broach the subject of the ‘death grip’ but let’s just get this out of the way right now:

There currently exists no convincing evidence that vibrators – used properly, mind you – will damage or desensitize the nerves in your clitoris in a permanent way.

The ‘Fine Wine’ Answer

If that was the answer you needed, then you’d be forgiven for closing this page right now, but still this idea persists, and we get why this is.

As they get older, some women find that they require more stimulation or even stronger vibrators in order to achieve orgasm.

As this threshold for stimulation rises, some might assume that they have done something to damage the nerves in their clitoris, but this slight decrease in sensitivity is actually natural to the aging process and sometime a part of the menopausal effects to sexual response.

And One for the ‘Power Queens’

For those worried about currently enjoying a vibe with robust vibration power, don’t fret: while your clitoris may need a bit of a ‘breather’ after a more rigorous session, it’s no different than your butt getting a little numb from the bike seat after a heavy spin class.

Remember that your clitoris has more than 7,000 nerve endings, and it’s there to receive all of the pleasure that you deign to give it. Stimulation is what it’s for, and it will always return to normal, so breathe easy and drop the misconception.

However if it’s an issue that keeps nagging at you, follow some simple steps that we hope can push these worries out of your mind and facilitate gentler masturbation that won’t leave you feeling overwhelmed.

1.Take it Slow. Start with your vibrator on the lowest possible setting, and don’t press very hard (pressure is the leading cause of temporary desensitization), then work your way slowly to an intensity you enjoy best. This slow ramping up of stimulation will allow you more time to get fully aroused, and it’s likely that you’ll decide on a vibration and pressure level that isn’t the absolute maximum.

2.Lube Up. Using a water-based lubricant, you can greatly reduce and minimize the amount of friction you’re applying to your genitals during masturbation, as a slick surface will allow your toys to gently glide over the area.

3.Take 5. When you feel like you’re getting overwhelmed with stimulation, stop for a moment and focus elsewhere, allowing your clitoris to take a short breather. We feel that this is a great place to bring up the sensual practice of ‘edging’, where you take yourself to the brink of orgasm but then stop, prolonging your pleasure while also allowing yourself a short break.

However even with these tips, you really don’t need to worry about numbing or gradually losing sensation in your clitoris through use of a vibrator. As long as you know you body and take proper care of your favorite toy, everything will continue to work as normal.

Okay Guys, Stop Scrolling

Let’s talk about this ‘Death Grip’  phenomenon As a brief explainer for those unaware, Death Grip is when some guys masturbate  with such a tight grip that it becomes the only way they can achieve orgasm.

As far as we see it, however you take your self pleasure is A-okay, and while an extra-tight grip can result in some pretty horrific penile injuries  if you’re totally careless, it’s not actually considered a medical problem.

The issue – and again, only as far as we see it – begins when that ultra-tight grasp on your penis becomes the only way you can come. Some of these death grippers might find that when they want to enjoy intimacy with a partner that the stimulation isn’t what they are used to, and they don’t get off.

The solution we have to posit, while anecdotal, is one to try before examining things like your diet and personal habits and how they affect your sex life: you’ve gotta change it up.

Refrain if you can from masturbating in the normal way that you’re used to: try lighter or simply different kinds of stimulation in an effort to recondition yourself to enjoying new sexual responses.

In fact, this advice can apply to all of us: learning to take pleasure in a wide variety of ways (think pornography as well as imagination, manual self pleasure as well as self pleasure with sex toys) leaves us all more well-rounded sensual people, meaning we all should be mixing it up from time to time.

About Donna Turner

Donna is a Volonté contributor and freelance writer who lives in San Francisco with her husband and two sons. Her work has appeared in Psychology Today, Go! Magazine (Australia) and is regularly featured in the San Francisco Herald.

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