Can using a vibrator make it harder to achieve orgasm with your husband?

Okay, I’m going to step on some toes in this post, and it’s honestly not my intention. This is seriously awkward to talk about.

But I had a lot of feedback last week when I shared a video talking about reaching orgasm with a vibrator, and I thought it was worth elaborating on.

The original question was: is it so bad if you can only reach orgasm with a vibrator? And I said, well, yeah, kinda. And then I had a number of commenters and emailers saying that this wasn’t fair, because this honestly was the only way to reach orgasm for them.

I’d like to talk more about this today, but it’s honestly not my intention to shame anyone or heap guilt on anyone. I just want to help women who are desperate to achieve orgasm and just can’t seem to.

Here’s the real problem to me: When you’re having trouble reaching orgasm with your husband, and then you use a vibrator, you’re actually reinforcing the reasons that the orgasm was difficult in the first place.

If you can orgasm with a vibrator, then you can reach orgasm. And I’m sure for many of you who have struggled with reaching orgasm, this was a huge relief to you. And I’m glad, too. I’m glad you now know, definitively, that your body isn’t broken. You honestly can get there! Yay!

So the question becomes: Why can you reach orgasm with a vibrator but not with your husband?

Some of that’s a given. Ummmm…..no guy can vibrate like that. And vibrations are a whole lot more effective at bringing a woman to orgasm than most other methods.

But I don’t think that’s the only reason, and so we need to take a step back and ask the question: “What is making orgasm with my husband difficult in the first place?” So let’s take a look at what an orgasm actually requires.

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What you need for orgasm physically

In order to reach orgasm, you need some stimulation. In general, women tend to find manual or oral stimulation more effective in bringing them to orgasm than intercourse (though once you’re comfortable and once you’ve figured things out, intercourse can work well, too). But manual or oral stimulation is a good place to start.

Now, women also tend to require a long time to reach orgasm. It isn’t something that tends to happen in the first 3 minutes, 5 minutes, or even 10 minutes. So they need focused stimulation for a drawn out period of time.

What you need for orgasm emotionally

But it’s not only the right physical stimulation. It’s also being in the right frame of mind. As I’ve said before, many women like being in control at all times, and orgasm requires allowing yourself to be carried along. It doesn’t work when you’re trying to be in control.

Orgasm also requires a healthy view of sex. It’s hard to reach orgasm when you’re ashamed of your body, ashamed of sex, or having flashbacks of sexual trauma that you’ve experienced.

Not just that, but orgasm requires a woman to understand what does feel good. She has to be familiar enough with her body that she recognizes what arousal is and what tends to feel better.  And she needs to feel very strongly that she is supposed to feel pleasure–that she’s not being selfish or broken for requiring more attention than intercourse alone will give.

Yup. We're talking about it. Here's an honest and awkward conversation about vibrators in marriage.Click To Tweet

Finally, orgasm requires being able to turn off all those pesky things running through your mind and just be able to focus on the here and now, and what is happening to you. For many women, that’s a big challenge!

What you need for orgasm relationally

Perhaps the biggest thing that you need to reach orgasm, though, is the ability to be vulnerable with your husband. You have to be able to tell him what feels good, and that’s difficult. Many men just don’t know how to stimulate a woman in a way that will arouse her, because men tend to be aroused by much firmer touch than women. And the clitoris is rather small, and many men’s fingers are rather big. It’s hard to get just the right angle, the right amount of pressure, the right spot.

In order for this to work, then, she has to feel confident enough in herself and in the relationship to guide him. That can be a challenge, especially if she feels like her needs don’t matter as much as his, or if she tries to “correct” his angle, she’s being pushy or unfeminine.

Not just that, but in order to “silence” all those voices in her head, and honestly relax with her husband, she has to know that he cherishes her, that he values her, that she is the only object of his affection. If she has a hard time trusting him because of his past porn use or behaviour towards women; if she feels like he often dismisses her feelings or doesn’t value her opinion; if she doesn’t feel cherished in any way it’s going to be hard for her to relax enough to achieve orgasm.

You see, what is often going on in a woman’s head while he is trying to stimulate her is something like this…

Oh, gosh, not like that. That’s too hard! That’s totally not the right spot. Okay, that kind of feels good, but is he getting frustrated with me? Shoot, now the feeling’s gone. I’m trying, why isn’t it working?

And if it DOES start to work….

This is taking too long. It feels good, but he’s taking too long. Is he getting frustrated? His arm must be falling asleep by now. Am I going to get there? What’s wrong with me?

Now, if that’s what’s going on in her head, don’t you think orgasm is going to be pretty difficult?

The issue with vibrators is that because stimulation is so intense, they make orgasm almost guaranteed.

What they don’t do is deal with any of these things that you need to reach orgasm with your husband. In fact, in many cases they reinforce the very things that are preventing orgasm.

If orgasm requires vulnerability and intimacy, a vibrator puts another layer between you and your husband, increasing the distance. (again, this is not to say that vibrators can’t be fun in a marriage; what I’m saying is that when orgasm is already difficult, this can reinforce those reasons).

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A vibrator makes it possible to not have those important conversations about what it actually takes for her to feel good, and can reinforce the idea that she really SHOULD be able to reach climax much more quickly, and really, what’s wrong with her?

It can reinforce any body issues that she has with herself, including feeling like there’s something wrong or dirty with her genitals that can make her embarrassed if he touches them.

It can short circuit the need for her to feel safe with him, because it isn’t “him” making her feel pleasure in the same way.

So what would I suggest for women who find that they can only orgasm with a vibrator?

First, rejoice that you know that you can reach orgasm! That’s great. And you know what? If you can reach orgasm this way, then you really can in other ways, too. The future is truly opened up for you!


Here’s More Guidance on How to Help Her Reach Orgasm–Together!

31DaysCover 120 - Can We Have an Honest, Awkward Talk about Vibrators?I wrote 31 Days to Great Sex as a challenge that couples can do together to work on all aspects of the relationship (including the emotional ones) that may stop her from being able to feel a lot of pleasure.

With exercises on how to be more affectionate, how to talk more, how to deal with trust issues, along with the super fun ones on how to figure out what feels good to her, how to stimulate her, and how to reach orgasm, you’ll find that your sex life really can move forward. And sometimes it’s easier to try these things when a “book” is telling you what to do, rather than you having to make the suggestion to your husband yourself.

I’ve kept the ebook priced really cheaply at $4.99 so that it can help as many couples as possible. It can help you, too!


A few years ago a woman shared her story of finally reaching orgasm when she was advised by an older woman to not stop until it happened. Just take the time! And so she did. And it took a LONG time. But after that breakthrough, things were a lot easier! I think what happens is that we often try, but we give up before enough time has lapsed. Let yourself take the time. Relax. Set aside a long stretch for this.

Too often we think that because a man can reach orgasm quickly, we’re supposed to as well. His experience is perceived as the “right” one, and we have to make our own response match his. But what if that’s just not true? Maybe God made it so that women take longer to respond so that making love becomes something that is drawn out and focused on each other, rather than just something that’s quick and automatic? Is it so bad if we need to pay attention to each other’s reactions and work at something? I don’t think so.

And then, when he is trying to pleasure you, be sure to guide him. Learn to pay attention to your body’s cues. Orgasm is as much feeding what is feeling good as it is having those feelings happen automatically. When something feels good, relax into it. Concentrate on it. And try to replicate it. Pay attention to what you’re feeling, because when something is feeling good, your body will often crave the next step. So listen to what your body is telling you it wants.

It may mean that you have to use your own hand, and guide his. You may have to teach him what to do. But don’t give up.

So to all of you who are so frustrated with the difficulty in achieving orgasm, please know, I do understand.

I do sympathize. It took me a while, too! I just don’t want to see you all reinforcing anything that can make reaching orgasm through your husband’s effort more difficult. Using a vibrator is definitely not a sin. It is not something to be ashamed of. But I do worry that it can compound some of the difficulties that you’re already having.

And finally, sex does feel more intimate when it’s him, without batteries.

What do you think? What are some of the big roadblocks that many women have to reaching orgasm? How can we overcome them? Let’s talk in the comments!

Boost Your Libido 720 2 - Can We Have an Honest, Awkward Talk about Vibrators?
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