dead vagina syndrome

Dead Vagina Syndrome: What is it? And is it real or just a myth?

Masturbation in both men and women has long been a source of disagreement among specialists. Prior to the twentieth century, the majority of professionals felt that this practice was pathologic, and that it was a direct cause of a variety of diseases and ailments. There have been numerous statements made concerning the various outcomes of masturbation among people during this time period. A portion of these assertions were debunked through research on the issue. They were considered as myths created to keep individuals from the act of masturbation, which was viewed as unhygienic, disturbing, and even devilish by some societies. Some of these myths continue to be widespread in modern society, and many people still believe in them despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

One popular item used during female masturbation is the vibrator. While some experts advise women to use it to increase or enhance their sexual arousal or to boost their orgasmic capacity, others, on the contrary, fear that the woman may become too reliant on this sex toy. They claim that if women depend too much on vibrators, they may lose the ability to experience orgasm in other ways.

What is the dead vagina syndrome?

The dead vagina syndrome is the “female version” of the “death grip syndrome” in men. It is an online term that describes a condition in which females feel numbness or desensitization in their vaginal area, typically after frequent use of vibrators, and therefore find difficulties getting sexual arousal from sexual simulations and achieving orgasm. Scientists conducted research in order to determine whether this condition is accurate or just a myth, in other words, whether the use of vibrators is associated with sexual dysfunctions in women or not.

What are the causes of this syndrome and how does it happen?

Women who use vibrators often do so in order to enhance their sexual experiences. Using a vibrator is shown to be more effective than other types of sexual stimulation in initiating orgasm and, for the majority, produces a more deep or intense pleasure. For some, the vibrator is used to help them in achieving more than one orgasm during one single session of masturbation.

According to online blogs and sexual health-related websites, the dead vagina syndrome is caused by frequent use of vibrators by women. As a result, some women are concerned about vibrators becoming a sexual addiction or reducing their sensitivity, and they avoid using them.

The research addressed this matter and concluded that it is possible that the nerves of the genital area may become used to the high intensity of vibratory stimulation induced by vibrators and thus become less responsive to other types of genital stimulation or lower intensity stimulation, but this state is temporary and improves quickly over time or with the introduction of new types of stimulation. Interestingly, while psychological dependence on the simple nature and intensity of vibrator stimulation is possible, physiological dependence is improbable. Similarly, given the fact that female genital nerves, like other types of nerves, undergo an ongoing remodeling process, vibrator use is unlikely to result in long-term genital desensitization.

In simple terms, the likelihood of developing a dependence on vibrators or what is referred to as the dead vagina syndrome is low. Research has shown that the numbness felt after vibrator usage is just transient and vanishes within a few minutes.

Do all women experience this condition?

Research has shown that feeling numbness in the vaginal area right after using a vibrator is normal and has been reported by 16.5% of women, but this feeling is likely to be temporary and usually fades after a few minutes to an hour.

Can women experience this syndrome from other types of genital stimulation?

The vibrator’s stimulation was compared to the manual one by certain specialists. In their research, they came to the conclusion that the eventual sensitivity reduction caused by manual stimulation may be similar to that caused by vibrator stimulation. Both of these acts result in a similar dampening of sensitivity effect. Thus, the numbness induced by the stimulation of the vaginal region is not exclusive to vibrator use.

How can women prevent this issue from happening?

Although, as already explained above, this condition of genital numbness or desensitization is only transitory and goes away within a few minutes to an hour after the stimulation of the vaginal region, some women prefer to avoid it or minimize it for certain reasons. In order to prevent this syndrome, it may be helpful to:

  • Use of a vibrator with variable vibration in order to control the frequency of the vibrations.
  • Introduce sex toys into partnered sex.
  • Discuss one’s interests and preferred methods of sexual stimulation with the sexual partner(s).

When to seek help from a healthcare professional?

It is important to seek professional advice in these cases:

  • When the feeling of numbness or desensitization of the genital parts persists longer than usual.
  • If there are any other problems such as pain, unusual discharge from the vagina, abnormal vaginal bleeding, sore spots, etc: Vibrators, as well as other types of sex toys, when used by numerous people or when improperly cleaned, can lead to various sexual or general health concerns, including sexually transmitted infections which should be treated well in order to avoid complications.
  • In the situation of a decreased capacity of attaining orgasm or anorgasmia.
  • When sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual stimulation become ineffective and the use of a vibrator becomes a necessity in order to elicit sexual arousal, orgasm and sexual satisfaction.


Although using vibrators might cause numbness/desensitization of the female vaginal area, this is considered typical and transient because it normally fades after a few minutes. As an outcome, the term “dead vagina syndrome” is misleading, as research has shown that the risk of it developing from the usage of vibrators is negligible.


  1. Prause, Nicole & Roberts, Verena & Legarreta, Margaret & Cox, Liva. (2012). Clinical and research concerns with vibratory stimulation: A review and pilot study of common stimulation devices. Sexual and Relationship Therapy. 27. 1-18.
  2. Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Sanders, S., Dodge, B., Ghassemi, A., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2009). Prevalence and characteristics of vibrator use by women in the United States: results from a nationally representative study. The journal of sexual medicine, 6(7), 1857–1866.
  3. Rullo, J. E., Lorenz, T., Ziegelmann, M. J., Meihofer, L., Herbenick, D., & Faubion, S. S. (2018). Genital vibration for sexual function and enhancement: best practice recommendations for choosing and safely using a vibrator. Sexual and relationship therapy : journal of the British Association for Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 33(3), 275–285.
  4. Edwin G. Belzer Jr. (1981) Orgasmic expulsions of women: A review and heuristic inquiry, The Journal of Sex Research, 17:1, 1-12,
  5. Clive M. Davis, Joani Blank, Hung‐Yu Lin & Consuelo Bonillas (1996) Characteristics of vibrator use among women, The Journal of Sex Research, 33:4, 313-320,


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