Ask the Doctors: My Vibrator is Irritating

I am a 68 year old married woman. I have 2 vibrators which I have often used. One looks like the Wahl and one is the Hitachi Magic Wand. But I am finding recently that the vibrators tend to cause irritation to my skin and tissues. I have tried using a lubricant (Liquid Silk) and have tried using fabric between myself and the vibrator. Both help a little but not enough. This is very disappointing. Is it due to lack of estrogen? Should I use an estrogen cream? A gentler vibrator?

From your description, I’m guessing that the irritation you’re experiencing is because your vulva and/or vagina have become more friable, which means that they’re more easily damaged. This is pretty common in women after menopause due to hormonal changes.

Since I’m not an MD, I’m not one to suggest estrogen creams, although some women have found them to be very helpful. But there’s another option, which might be worth checking out first.

The folks who created the Femani Intimates Wand Massagers/Vibrators are experts around this issue and they wrote a brochure about their Vaginal Renewal Program. That link will give you the whole thing, but here’s a short version so you can get a sense of it.

Decreased estrogen often leads to the tissues of the vulva and vagina getting thinner, as well as reducing vaginal lubrication. While using a lubricant during sex can help, it doesn’t address things the rest of the time. Their suggestion is to use a moisturizing lubricant (such as Liquid Silk, Pink, or Sliquid Organics Silk). You can use them externally, just like using a moisturizer on your face. And you can also insert small amount into the vagina at night. Note: see their brochure for more complete directions.

They also recommend massaging the vulva with your hand to help increase blood flow and increase the health of the tissues. Rather than rubbing or making circles, it’s a press-and-release technique to help squeeze old fluids out without stretching the skin. Five minutes per day should do it, but you want to cover the entire vulva and perineum.

Lastly, they suggest using a vibrator internally, but for massage rather than pleasure, for the same reasons. They invented the Femani Wands to give women a more slender vibe that has a deeper vibration than some of the buzzy toys.

These techniques should help the skin of your vulva gain tone and become less fragile, which will make using your vibrator (or anything else) feel a lot better. After all, when the skin anywhere on our bodies gains moisture and tone, touch feels a lot better.


We’re dedicated to getting you the information you need about sex, pleasure and your health. If you have any questions, please email our staff experts, Dr. Carol Queen and Dr. Charlie Glickman, at education@goodvibes.com! For product-related questions, please email or call our customer service staff at customerservice@goodvibes.com.

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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