There is a new rumor making the rounds online: the dead vagina syndrome. Women report of being unable to orgasm during masturbation or sex with a partner. The supposed cause of the crisis? Too much masturbation. Those affected speak of a ‘dead’ vagina. We wanted to find out if the dead vagina syndrome is just another rumor or a diagnosis to be taken seriously.
“Yes, the phenomenon is real,” says Munich-based sexual therapist Dr. Heike Melzer, who believes that heavy sex toy usage may play a role. Sex toys belong to the group of sexual super stimuli. “Once we become conditioned to them, it can be difficult to climax by means of touch with the tongue, penis or the hand during sex.”
As many as 86% of women in Germany practice solo sex. According to various surveys, 40% also own a sex toy, with some women owning as many as 2-3 sex toys. Users report that sex toys help them orgasm faster, often within just 10 minutes. Vibrators, for example, have powerful motors that can quickly boost sexual stimulation. In most cases, arousal of the clitoris is often the goal. After all, the little organ has 9,000 nerve endings (twice as many as the penis). When the clitoris is heavily stimulated, tension is created which after a while reaches breaking point and … bam! … that’s when a woman climaxes.
If it pops: Luckily, there is the Womanizer
The small and sensitive pearl is under so much heavy stimulation that at some point it just collapses. This can feel great, but can also have negative effects.
“The longer and more often a vibrator is used, the higher the chances that the body gets used to such heavy arousal,” explains Melzer, who reports extensively on the topic in her current book “Focus – the new sexual revolution” (“Scharfstellung – Die neue sexuelle Revolution”). In other words, women only climax when it really pops. Because the penis neither vibrates nor pulses and definitely doesn’t run on a powerful motor, the male organ just can’t keep up with the supernova of a vibrator. It’s almost like swapping from a Porsche to driving a Beetle.
“The clitoris receptors just can’t react powerfully enough to the natural stimulation,” adds Melzer. In some cases, touching, licking or rubbing is no longer perceived by the clitoral nerve endings. As such, natural touch may be perceived like a mere breeze compared to the ‘storm’ a vibrator creates. That’s why Womanizer invented the Pleasure Air™ Technology. It produces in an interplay sucking and massaging changes in air pressure. The sensitive region is stimulated completely indirect. This specific interplay makes the Womanizer unique and avoids overstimulation and effect of habituation as far as possible.
Fearing the syndrome: Should you throw away your vibrator?
“The dose and the intensity are important considerations here. For some women, the orgasm-to-go using a sex toy of their choosing has already become a rewarding habit,” says Melzer. Since the lipstick-size devices are small enough to fit into every clutch, therapists report that their clients’ frequently use such toys. For many women it’s a way to relax and unwind from their hectic daily schedule. Had a tough meeting with your boss? Never mind, thinks the self-confident woman as she briefly disappears for a pleasure kick with subsequent dopamine release. It’s not uncommon that in this way some women have 4-5 orgasms a day. Hardly surprising, then, that the clitoris may not react to soft stimuli anymore.
Melzer, however, isn’t happy about the term “dead vagina syndrome”. “Honestly, it’s just a badly chosen term, because the vagina is anything but dead,” she explains. She doesn’t demonize sex toys either. “Some women find it difficult to orgasm. For them, the vibrator is a little miracle.” That’s why she also advocates for their use when having sex with a partner. “All in moderate doses, so that the body doesn’t become too conditioned to the vibrator.”
What do you do when the vagina only reacts to super stimuli?
“Put the sex toy in a drawer and go on a sexual detox,” the expert advises. Just as one should take the occasional break from social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram and even the smartphone, it can be helpful to put the pleasure stick aside from time to time. It helps the nerves to wind down and consequently the syndrome weakens.
If you’re feeling aroused, just stroke yourself using your hand. It may not feel quite as exciting, but that’s also not the point. Just sense, feel and put away your expectations of a quick orgasm. In addition, Melzer recommends the “regular exposure to the living thing”. Grab your partner and enjoy his affection through his hand, lips or penis. After a few weeks of vibrator abstinence, concludes Melzer, sex with a partner begins to feel much better again.