vibrators

Sexperts Say You’re Never Too Old to Start Using Vibrators

Key Takeaways

  • Vibrators might help stimulate and lubricate the vagina for people who struggle with vaginal dryness.
  • Researchers are examining whether vibrator use can affect the pelvic floor, urinary tract, and bowel function.
  • Although conversations about masturbation have increased in recent years, self-pleasure remains a taboo topic for many women.

Sex can hurt with age. Are vibrators the “magic wand” for maintaining sexual pleasure?

Most women aged 50 and above experience vaginal dryness because of decreasing estrogen levels. Sex toys like the magic wand or bullet vibrator can stimulate and lubricate the vagina, which may increase comfort and ward off pain during sex.

“As we’re going through perimenopause and menopause, our bodies are naturally declining in the production of our estrogen, which impacts libido, mood, and the vagina,” Wendasha Jenkins Hall, PhD, a sex educator, told Verywell.

As a result, women who are going through menopause are not always easily aroused or lubricated on their own, she added. Vibrators can help with that—and have benefits beyond the bedroom, too, she said. If vibrator use helps induce an orgasm—which releases serotonin and dopamine—it may help alleviate certain mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

“When we’re masturbating—whether using a vibrator or a dildo or something that can penetrate—we’re actually keeping our vaginas healthy and functioning,” Jenkins Hall said.

Alexandra Dubinskaya, MD, a researcher leading an ongoing study on vibrator use among women, said vibrators should be able to increase blood flow to the vagina and facilitate lubrication—or “wetness”—which can enhance the quality of sex life.

Dubinskaya chose to only evaluate the impact of external vibrators to be inclusive of people who are struggling with vaginal dryness during menopause. The study participants are asked to use a bullet vibrator externally, on parts of the vulva like the clitoris, for five minutes or until reaching an orgasm, three times a week. They have to keep a journal of their usage throughout the study, which could help assess how vibration impacts the pelvic floor, urinary tract, and bowel function, Dubinskaya said.

Many of the participants are first-time vibrator users, she added, and some have orgasmed for the first time because of the study.

“Our study allows women who have never used a vibrator permission to start,” Dubinskaya said.

Masturbation can be a touchy subject. “Not that long ago, our grandparents—especially our grandmothers—were taught that self-pleasure was something taboo, that only men did,” Jenkins Hall said.

A 2017 study found that women in particular struggle to talk about solo sex because of stigma or fear that doing so would make their partner feel inadequate in the bedroom. While conversations about masturbation have increased in recent years, the topic remains “far from becoming a component of women’s sexual repertoire which is as normal as it is for men,” the study researchers wrote.

This type of messaging, or lack thereof, may hold women back from living out their sexual desires.

“Even though we see sex everywhere, a lot of times people are uncomfortable talking about sex as it relates to them, especially in an open space,” Jenkins Hall said.

Easing into a solo sex routine can be a good way to discover (or rediscover) wants and needs in the bedroom, she added. The sexual experiences that aroused someone in their 20s may no longer be appealing in their 50s or 60s, or may be physically out of reach, she said.

“But that doesn’t mean that we still can’t enjoy our sex, or that we can enjoy those things, we just have to make some adjustments,” she said.

For instance, people who feel intense dryness or tightness in their vagina may not like penetrative sex and should start with external vibrators on a low setting. Others may want to avoid toys altogether and start with their fingers. Whatever they start with, Jenkins Hall said, they can increase the intensity or upgrade toys with time as desired.

“You don’t age out of sex,” Jenkins Hall said. “If you want it, and if it’s something that brings value to your life: pursue it. Whether you’re 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90—if you can still do it at that age—go for it. Your pleasure is not exclusive to youth.”

What This Means For You

People who struggle with vaginal dryness may benefit from using a vibrator to help stimulate and lubricate the vagina.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Wise NJ, Frangos E, Komisaruk BR. Brain activity unique to orgasm in women: an fMRI analysis. J Sex Med. 2017;14(11):1380-1391. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.08.014

  2. Kraus F. The practice of masturbation for women: The end of a taboo?. Sexologies. 2017;26(4):e35-e41. doi:10.1016/j.sexol.2017.09.009

By Claire Wolters
Claire Wolters is a staff reporter covering health news for Verywell. She is most passionate about stories that cover real issues and spark change.