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Why Would a Doctor Prescribe a Vibrator?

Here's why.

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The Ethel
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More than half of women over the age of 55 report difficulty reaching orgasm. I have personally seen in my office hundreds of those women who are justifiably sad, upset and looking for solutions to their inability to climax.

Yet when I ask if they are able to have an orgasm when they use a vibrator, in almost every case they say, “Always.” More often than not, when I point out that they have the solution and don’t need me, they have a hard time embracing the idea that, going forward, a vibrator, along with a decent lubricant, is a necessary tool on the road to sexual pleasure.

And if my patient has not yet entered the wonderful world of vibrators, I launch into my explanation as to why I am now going to prescribe one. It's a fact. Although your friends may not mention it over lunch, many women routinely use a vibrator.

Why? For one, if you have no partner, no problem! A vibrator is an always good-to-go, low-maintenance, reliable accessory for self-love and the intense pleasure of an orgasm. But vibrators are not just for solo play. Even if you have an amazing, thoughtful, attentive partner who also vacuums and loads the dishwasher without asking, less than 20 percent of women orgasm during intercourse without simultaneous clitoral stimulation.

In one study, 69.7 percent of women admitted that they stimulated their clitoris with a vibrator or finger during penile penetration, a practice known as “pairing," to get where they needed to go. Same partner for 25 years? A vibrator can break the monotony by spicing up a sex life that has become predictable. In a rush? A vibrator can get you to the peak faster. But for many older women, it is not just a faster or more expedient route to orgasm, a vibrator is the only route to orgasm.

And if you fall into that category, there is a biologic, scientific, medical reason your clitoris wakes up with vibration but is completely unresponsive to other kinds of stimulation that used to do the job just fine. Here’s why. Skin (including the skin that covers the clitoris) is loaded with specific types of sensory receptors that recognize the difference between deep pressure, vibration, temperature, pain, light touch and stretching. Those receptors then communicate with nerves that travel to the brain.

All types of skin have these sensory receptors but not in the same concentration. The clitoris is loaded — loaded! — with receptors known as Pacinian corpuscles that detect vibration, along with Meissner’s corpuscles, the receptors that respond to light touch.

Any physical stimulation of these corpuscles will trigger signals that travel down one of the 10,000 tiny nerve endings in the clitoris to connect to the main clitoral nerve, known as the dorsal nerve. The signal then continues to the pelvic pudendal nerve and then up the spinal cord before ultimately hitting Nirvana, the pleasure center in your brain.

It sounds like a long journey, but all of this happens in a fraction of a second.

The speed of this transmission depends on the size of the nerve fiber. Type A fibers are the biggest and fastest, sending signals at up to 120 meters per second. In addition to having the largest diameter, Type A fibers are covered in a nice protective cushion, known as a myelin sheath. Type A fibers detect deep pressure and vibration.

Type C fibers, on the other hand, are smaller and slower, conducting a signal at only 2 m/s. Type C fibers have no protective myelin sheath. They detect soft touch, like a stroke of a finger or a tongue. I think you know where I am going here.

With time and age, and possibly accelerated by medical conditions such as diabetes or vascular disease, those nerve endings start to degrade and don’t function as well or, in some cases, at all. Type A fibers, because of their thick myelin sheath, are protected and degrade far more slowly than the very vulnerable Type C fibers.

Bottom line: Clitoral sensitivity to vibration lasts much longer than clitoral sensitivity to light touch. So, if your clitoris is unresponsive and apparently disinterested in stroking and licking — no matter how skilled and persistent the stroker and licker is, chances are excellent that a little vibration will get the job done.

If you have a roadblock at the idea of needing a device to have an orgasm, keep in mind that you also require glasses to read and a step stool to reach the top shelf. If you have any doubt about the need for a vibrator to have an orgasm, there are many scientific articles that prove that a vibrator will enable women to have an orgasm who otherwise cannot. Which is why, in 2013, the Food and Drug Administration classified the genital vibrator as a legitimate therapeutic device for the treatment of women who have difficulty having an orgasm.

So, what’s my prescription? Whether you are having solo sex or partnered sex, incorporate a vibrator into your repertoire as a welcome and necessary tool for pleasure. If you already own a vibrator, you are in luck. Use it. Every time. Without apology. If the only thing you own that vibrates is your cellphone, it is time to go shopping. And that is my next article!

What do you think of the above? Let us know in the comments below.

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