January 19, 2023
7 Minutes of Sex: Desensitization?
It’s time to debunk the myth of the “dead vagina syndrome” and overcome hangups about vibrators – so that; we can all enjoy more pleasure!
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This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health, or other professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.
7 Minutes of Sex: Desensitization?
You’re listening to the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast, sex and relationship advice you can use tonight. Welcome to the sex with Dr. Jess Podcast. I’m your co host, Brandon Ware, here with my lovely other half, Dr. Jess. Hey. Hey. We are three weeks in to 2023, and I’m seeing all these Instagram posts about the word of the year. So 2023. What’s your word? It’s an expletive to where I’m at so far. It’s anal. Not that anal is an expletive, but fisting. It’s my word of the year. I like it. I’m seeing ones, like, perform, take action. I think if I had to pick one, I need calm. Calm. That’s what I need right now. Great. What? Relaxation. That’s not happening. No. What are we we’re about 20 days in right now, and it’s the farthest thing from that. So if I could pick a word for 2023 and as the kids say, manifest, I’m picking calm. But we we’ve had a we’ve had a crazy week, a wild week, but we have big news, and I don’t I think we’ve maybe alluded to it, but we’ve never actually talked about it. But B and I got our Spanish EU residency this week. Hola migos. I’m learning Spanish, and it’s not going well. It’s actually really funny. Brandon’s using some sort of an app to learn Spanish. What’s the app called? I need a code here. No. It’s Pimsler and duolingo. Okay. And my neighbor yeah, not the app, my neighbor. We have a neighbor named Carlos who’s helping Brendan to learn Spanish. Yeah, he’s awesome. He’s incredibly patient, thankfully. But the app, I just see Brendan kind of walking up and down either the street or the beach or wherever we are, and he’s just talking to himself on this app. Yeah. People think that there’s something wrong with me as I speak random sentences and words and repeat them multiple times. Los gatos. How many times you have to learn about the cat drinking? The cat’s drinking? Many times. Anyhow, really good news? We’re super excited. We’re here in Barcelona, where we have been since last year, actually. Half time Barcelona halftime. Toronto. Splitting our time just because so much of my work is over on this side of the world. So it makes it so much easier for me and for some of my clients and some of my events. But I’m loving it here. It’s sunny out. It’s a lot warmer than Toronto. The food is amazing. The wine is amazing. Got a vibe. That’s what it is. It’s got a great vibe. Do you mean the fact that there’s a parade down our street pretty much every other weekend? Always a celebration here. Spanish people love to celebrate, and I love it. I love the desire to celebrate life. Or Tuesday mornings or another public holiday. Yes, there are a lot of public holidays, it would seem. Anyhow, that’s some good news on our end for 2023, and it actually happened last year, but we finally got our official documentation just a couple of days ago. Today we’re going to be talking about something called dead Vagina syndrome, because I’m not spending any time on Reddit, but I keep receiving emails about vibrators and perceived desensitization and diagnoses, usually from partners around dead Vagina Syndrome. I’ve got to ask, is there a dead penis syndrome and how do I avoid it? How do I order one? Can I buy it on Amazon? Well, I think that’s a great point that I don’t think we would speak about penises that way. So we’ll get into that. Quick shout out to our sponsors at Love Honey, because this is a really, really good week, in my opinion, because two of my favorite products and a bunch of whole a bunch of other products are also on sale. So the Womanizer Starlet Two, which is more of an entry model, womanizer is on sale for 50% off. Plus I have a discount code for 15% off dr. Jess 15. And then my favorite Rabbit Vibe, what I really believe is the best in class, best in the market, the Nova Two. But specifically, it’s the we vibe times. Love, honey. Nova two. And there are two that I think are exactly the same, but they’re branded slightly differently. So I’m going to make sure that I put the links in my Instagram and in the show notes so that you get the right one that is 20% off. And then if you use code Dr. Jess 15, you can get an additional 15% off. And that’s the most I’ve ever seen discounted for we vibe to be able to get the 20% off plus 15. So lovehoney.com code. Dr. Jess 15 for pretty much for everything. But also they’re having all these 50% off sales and then 20% off the We Vibe times. Love, honey. Nova Two is amazing. And then the Love Honey Rose, which is a similar technology to Womanizer, is also on sale for 50% off it. So if you want something a little bit more accessible that doesn’t cost as much, that’s a good option. And Dr. Jess 15 definitely works with the 20% off sale, so you’ll get the extra 15. I actually didn’t check it on the 50, but I think it’ll work. Go check it out. Lovehuney.com code, Dr. Jess 15. And one more thing. We are heading to Toronto next weekend. Or is it next weekend? Yeah. And I have a really cool event that I’m excited for at Oasis aqua Lounge. If you happen to be in Toronto, come check it out Saturday, January 28, at Oasis, which in my opinion, is the coolest ex club I’ve ever been to. They just have so many different things going on. They have women’s night, they have student night, they have Serve a lady night. They have threesome nights. And this one, coming up on the 28th, is unicorn night. Don’t they have a van inside the house that you can go and do whatever you want to do in. It’s almost like a shaggy wagon. There is a shaggy wagon in one of the rooms. Yeah, the rooms are really cool. It’s in kind of an old house house, which is a mansion for Toronto. Probably a tiny little condo for people from Texas, but it’s really, really cool. There’s a pool, change rooms, all that jazz. And I’ll put that in the show links as well. But if you are in Toronto, come check it out. Sounds like it’s going to be a blast. Okay, what’s not a blast is dead vagina syndrome. Great segue, right? So I received a note from a guy who says that his wife has dead vagina syndrome, and I’ve received several emails like this over the last couple of weeks. So sometimes when I start to see these themes arise, I think, okay, it’s time to get to these questions. So I’m not going to read his entire email because it’s long, but the summary is basically okay. My wife doesn’t like to have sex even when I last a long time. I think she has become desensitized because of this vibrator that she has been using for the last year. And she seems to enjoy it more with a vibrator than with the real thing. I’ve read about dead vagina syndrome, and I think she has it because she’s really not responsive to real sex. Okay. She does seem to like fingering and when I give her oral sex, but I’m not really into those things. I just want to have regular sex without the pressure to compete with a vibrator. Okay. I hear this part about competition and he finishes with we fight about how often she uses the vibrator because it’s every single weekend, and I know it’s desensitizing her and affecting our sex life. So there’s a lot here I’d like to talk about desensitization. I’d like to talk about the language around dead vagina syndrome. And then of course, I want to talk a bit about competing with a vibe and where that comes from and what we can do about that. And I was thinking about our sex life. We’ve been using sex toys for 20 years because when you met me, I worked at the sex Ed Center at the university that I was going to, and so we got bought sex toys at Cost. So I had like a whole box of it. So I guess they’ve just always been in your life as a guy. I don’t know how you feel about them. I mean, I know you like them, but was there ever a point when you felt like a little bit intimidated or anything like that? I don’t think I ever felt intimidated. I was always very curious because I was like, OOH, a box of things that are going to vibrate and make my penis feel good. This is awesome. And growing up going to sound like I’m old where I just didn’t have a lot of access to sex. Sex number one. Number two, there just wasn’t a lot of porn, man, like online porn. I feel like people have it so easy today. It’s just you type in anything, door, porn comes up. You know what I mean? So anyway, I was very intrigued by them. I always looked at them as well as something that could complement sex. It was something that was going to bring me a lot of pleasure. It was also going to facilitate you having an orgasm. So I looked at them from the perspective of, oh, this is great, this is going to be easier for us both. And then I like things that vibrate on my penis. It feels good. And on the taint and everywhere, you know what? It feels good. So no. So it’s interesting because you’re framing it about you. You’re making the vibrator about you. It’s always about me, right? Well, no, I think that’s a good thing because I guess he’s seeing it as the vibrator being just for her, so oh, man, there’s so much here. Okay, first I want to start with desensitization. So when we talk about desensitization, we are usually referring to some sort of permanent damage, intervening damage, which is not going to occur with the regular daily use of commercial vibrators. Okay. It’s possible that the stimulated area could become desensitized for a few seconds or a few minutes right after stimulation, or even during stimulation. But this sensation doesn’t last, so it lasts, like I said, a few seconds, a few minutes. It’s similar to having a massage. Your skin kind of gets a little bit red after, and then it disappears quite quickly. And I know that you’ve even noticed some desensitization on your own penis when you’re wearing a vibrating ring. Absolutely. When I’ve worn a penis ring, the vibrations sometimes are a little too intense. And the head of my penis. Yeah, no, for sure I’ve felt a degree of Desensitization. But the nice thing about these sex toys is that you can turn the vibrations down, you can take it off, and as you said for me, almost immediately thereafter, the sensitivity returns. Right. But you still seem to love it because I always see you reaching for the we vibe. Pivot. Yes, I do. Pretty much. Okay, so I think the other thing is that sometimes people start using a vibrator and then they find that they can actually reach orgasm more easily with a vibe, and then they kind of blame it on Desensitization, like, oh, other things don’t work as well, but it’s likely unrelated to physical desensitization. It’s just that you’ve found a method of stimulation vibrators that really, really works for you. Right. It might be that she really just enjoys the sensations of a vibrator and finds maybe that vibrations make orgasm come more easily. She may find that orgasms feel more intense or satisfying or just pleasure, not an orgasm alone with a vibrator. And really, you can be a part of this experience, and I would love for you to kind of reconsider the notion of competition. Why do you see a vibrator as competition? I think about vibrators like a pair of glasses, right? So they help you to see more clearly. I think we’ve all had this experience, not all of us, but if you have a very light prescription, you might feel like, oh, I see really clearly, I don’t need glasses. But then they go and test you for glasses, and they give you glasses, and all of a sudden you’re like, oh, 2020 vision. That’s something entirely different. And then if you take off the glasses, you realize it’s not as clear. So it’s just this thing that helps us to enjoy life in a smoother, clearer, more exciting way. And when we use that language of dead vagina syndrome listen, when I started reading these emails, I was thinking, okay, I better go and read it and find out what’s going on, or I need to go into like, four chan. And honestly, oh, man. Really? No, I don’t have any emotional bandwidth for that this week, so I didn’t okay, I didn’t go read about what people are saying about dead vagina syndrome, but I do wonder if this term is rooted in expectations of what sex ought to be, right? So penetrative orgasm focused, always attend, always exhilarating. And some of these expectations are really tied to this heteronormative notion of one type of sex. And all bodies must respond universally to specific acts. And again, if we’re talking about inserting things in the vagina, that’s not the most direct path to orgasm for most people, right. It is external stimulation that tends to be more likely to lead to orgasm if you’ve got a vulva, if you’ve got a clit. So I think the important conversation here around suppose a dead vagina syndrome is that if you’re doing something that doesn’t feel good for her, maybe that’s not the thing that she’s into. Sex can be so many different things. So if something doesn’t feel good for her, don’t you want to do what feels more enticing and exciting and pleasurable and kind of discover new and pleasurable experiences together? Right? I know that you see the vibrator as competition, but there are so many benefits to both of you. Considering a vibrator, I mean, a big one, is pleasure, right? And then also, some people will just say that the the lull of a vibrator helps them to relax, and relaxation encourages sexual response and pleasure. We have a wealth of data, too, showing that people who use toys report higher levels of desire, arousal, satisfaction, and orgasm. And especially if you use them together, right. They can kind of inspire more creativity in the bedroom. They can encourage new conversations about what you like and what works for your bodies. And so when we think about all those benefits of using a vibrator. I’m curious as to why you don’t consider that real sex and if you’d be open to reconsidering. Along with that goes another important piece, which is that, yeah, there’s all these benefits to a vibe, but there are so many benefits to having sex with you. You a caring partner, right? You’re going to cultivate connection and intimacy and relaxation and exploration, and you can play roles and deepen what you feel for one another. So a vibrator could never compete with you because it could never, ever replace you, right? So I would like you to consider, have you tried using the vibrator with her so that you can be a part of the experience? Have you asked her what she likes about the vibe, how she uses it? Have you watched her? Have you tried it yourself? Boom. Right there. That’s what I was thinking this whole time. I’m like, you obviously know what you’re doing to help please her. You’ve talked about it a couple of times. Grab that put on your taint, man. Go to town, enjoy it a little bit for you, too. Exactly. So I don’t think it has to be here’s real sex, here’s vibrator sex. Let’s put it all together, because if anything brings you pleasure and if you can share that pleasure together, all the better. And I’m curious that in light of seeing the vibrator as competition, are you getting enough positive feedback from her? Right? Is she letting you know what she enjoys, and are you doing the things that she likes? You mentioned that she likes oral and she likes fingering, but you don’t really like doing those things. So is that a conversation you can have? Is that an exploration? You can kind of uncover it together? Is there something about fingering or oral that makes you physically uncomfortable or do you feel emotionally uncomfortable with it? Do you consider those things not real sex, and where do those ideas come from? So I don’t think this is like a one time conversation thing. I think that this is really about exploring what sex means to you, perhaps going back to an earlier episode and looking at your sexual values, right? How do you define sex? Why is it important to you? What are the physical, relational, emotional, erotic, perhaps spiritual, practical benefits you like to derive from sex? What are you hoping your partner will derive from sex? Where did you get your early messages about sex, and do you value those sources? I think that there’s a little bit of shame here that’s probably tied to this notion of competition. But I know that you’re great. I know that you took the time to write this email. I know that you’re already listening to the podcast, so you’re here to learn. And so we already know that you can be a great lover. And I think that you’ll be even better if you’re open to exploring more options. And again, maybe you keep the vibrator separate from the two of you. I’m not saying you have to use it together, but I hope that you’re approaching her and approaching this conversation without judgment, really with curiosity. And if you bring in that language of dead vagina syndrome, I don’t think you’re going to have a very fruitful conversation. I was speaking with a friend of mine. I was saying the other day, and he was saying to me, kind of rolling his eyes over, oh, having all these conversations, I just want to have sex. I just want to get off and do this. And I said to him, I hear you. At the same time, it requires effort. It requires you or me or us to think about some of these things so that the sex does get better. And I’m like, there is an onus of responsibility that I think you need to take, and you don’t need to ask yourself 15 questions all at once and go super deep. But asking yourself these questions, having these conversations, is important to improve it. And yes, it requires work. And if it’s too much, I’m like, let’s reach out to all of our incredible therapists who are out there doing wonderful work to help us work through these issues and make things better. Yeah, that’s a big one, right? If you have some maybe hang ups and shame that you need to work on, you don’t want to put that onus of responsibility on your partner working you through those things. Like, really, if you can, please talk to a professional, talk to a therapist. And it’s interesting. People don’t want to put the effort in, and they say sex shouldn’t be work. Sex actually is easy. Sex is not the issue. It’s all of our sociocultural hang ups around sex. It’s the fact that so many of us get into relationships where you’re having sex with one person for the rest of your life, and that person is also the person with whom you are financially bonded and socially bonded, and you live together and you raise kids together and you go out for dinner together. You do everything together. That’s what makes sex require I don’t even want to call it work, but a little bit of cultivation, right? A little bit of effort. So I think you’ve taken the first step, even though maybe my reaction to the whole email wasn’t one of, oh, I totally get where you’re coming from. I’m trying to see your side, and I think you’ve taken that first step, and I just encourage you to keep opening your mind. And for folks who maybe wouldn’t think this way in the beginning, I think there’s still something to be taken away from this situation, which is that we’ve we just need to keep talking about it. We need to expand our definitions of sex, and we need to think about where negative and shameful messaging around sex come from and do a little reflection there so that we can move away from it. I love it. All right. Okay, we have to go because my parents are coming. There’s something about every time we talk about vibrators, my mom is, like, knocking down the door. So just a reminder, lovehoney.com code Dr. Jess, 15. To save an extra 15%. Got a huge sale right now. Head on over to Sex Withdrawjust.com, and I’ll put the links in the show notes as well as the links in my Instagram sexwithdocherjust.com. Thanks so much, folks. You’re listening to the sex with Dr. Jess podcast. Improve your sex life. Improve your life.