Can You Become Addicted to Your Sex Toys?
The word “addiction” gets thrown around a lot, and there are a lot of things we’ve become dependent on that might not be healthy for us. (We’re looking at you, social media.) But the fear of sex toy addiction is misplaced. Sex toys provide sexual pleasure, a deeper understanding of ourselves, and a stress release for many people.
Loving your favorite sex toy and preferring it to other types of pleasure doesn’t mean you’re addicted. So…can you have a sex toy addiction? Here’s what you need to know.
In a Word, Probably Not
Spoiler alert: genuine addiction to a sex toy is highly unlikely. Addiction is often defined as an increasing dependence on something — a substance, a habit, a thing. You need more and more to meet a baseline of a fix. You start with a little, and before you know it, you increase your use of that thing you’re addicted to until you’re doing/consuming/using higher and higher quantities. Not getting your “fix” puts you in a bad place mentally and emotionally. You’re unable to function without it.
Using a sex toy, even an “excessive” amount (which is subjective), almost never leads to addiction like behavior. For people who worry that their enjoyment and time spent with a toy is somehow too much, think of it this way: Is your sex toy use interfering with your daily activities? Are you finding it difficult to go to work, spend time with family, or live your life? That could be an indication of a problem, and you may want to talk to a professional. But even this doesn’t mean you’re addicted. You wouldn’t be the first person to use sexual pleasure as an escape from a stressful life.
Enjoying Pleasure Isn’t Addiction
The first time you use a vibrator or jack off with a Fleshlight, you might experience sexual pleasure for the first time or in a whole new way. It could be an experience you feel compelled to re-live as often as possible. For most people, this is because we’re not taught to prioritize our pleasure or that it’s an important thing in many people’s lives. When we finally get some, we want more of it because it feels so good.
Finding pleasure in an orgasm or in touching yourself isn’t addiction. Nor is it shameful. For some people, it can be life-changing and mind-blowing. But too many people feel a sense of shame in their own sexual pleasure. When they want more, get themselves off again, and then worry they’ve become addicted. You haven’t — you’re simply learning how good pleasure can feel and making up for lost time.
Your Sex Toy Use Might Highlight Problems
If you find yourself reaching for your vibrator more than you reach for your partner, it’s not the sex toy’s fault. You didn’t become addicted to a sex toy that ruined your relationship. Something about your sex life or your relationship was off somewhere. Maybe it’s fixable, maybe it isn’t. But ditching your sex toy as the “problem” doesn’t actually solve anything.
What is it that you’re getting from your sex toy that you aren’t getting from your partner? Is it orgasms? Or are you feeling less pressure to perform when you use your toy? Do you have less stress when you masturbate alone? There’s a problem somewhere, and it’s time to talk about it — or ditch the partner.
Sex Toys Aren’t the Problem
Even if your sex toy use takes over your partnered sex life, the toy isn’t the problem. It’s common for people to say, “I really love my partner, but…” But they prefer their toy, the pleasure they feel, and/or the orgasms. You or your partner then blame the sex toy for ruining the relationship.
A lack of communication kills relationships. Societal views of what’s “acceptable” kills relationships and sex drives. Trying to be the person you think you’re supposed to be — instead of the freak in the sheets that your sex toy allows you to be — makes it harder to have healthy relationships and sexual experiences. Ultimately, sex toys aren’t to blame even though they’re the easy scapegoat. You’re not addicted to your sex toy; you’re just tired of not being sexually satisfied.
Too many people think they shouldn’t enjoy their sex toy so much. They worry that if they prefer it to other forms of sexual pleasure, they’re broken or addicted. None of that is true. Society has failed us by teaching us to be ashamed of sex and pleasure. It’s taught us that “too much” is a problem. You’re not addicted to your sex toy, and you’re not the problem — the way we think about sex is the real problem.