Good Vibes Only: Could Vibrators Actually Help With Painful Sex?
Recent studies have shown that vibrators could help with several conditions, such as GPPPD and vulvodynia.
We’re used to thinking of vibrators as just sexual devices. It’s often hard to see them as anything else.
However, research shows that vibration may help with sexual health conditions, including Genito-Pelvic Pain & Penetration Disorder (GPPPD). GPPPD can cause painful sex and difficulty with penetration, and while it affects one in ten women, there are limited treatment options.
Could vibrators be the answer? According to a new medical study on pain, they might be.
“480% improvement in pain scores”
The study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that a vibrator helped to deliver a 480% improvement in pain scores among people with GPPPD.
Beyond GPPPD, the device claims to work well for other conditions such as vulvodynia, dyspareunia, or urinary incontinence.
CEO and MysteryVibe co-founder Dr. Soum Rakshit explains further:
“We started Crescendo in 2013 intending to help people bring the mystery back into the bedroom, especially after childbirth, menopause, aging, surgery, or cancer recovery. All of those things have a major impact on sexual health,” he says.
“We decided to focus on the medical side of sexual health by working with doctors, gynecologists, urologists, and pelvic floor therapists to figure out what vibration could clinically offer.”
Designing a vibrator to relieve pain
Crescendo 2 is an impressive piece of kit in that it contains six motors and a series of joints that helps the toy to bend. The intelligent design can be bent into a series of shapes but can also mimic a finger. This helps the device to place vibrations on certain points to relieve pain or help with blood flow or arousal.
“The NHS will tell you, as post-childbirth care, to use two fingers to massage the area in your vagina. The doctors we worked with said it would best to mimic that but try to improve it,” Dr. Rakshit says.
“Crescendo 2 bends like a finger so not only can a clinician use it to massage a painful area but the patient can also use it themselves to do things that the hand cannot do to deliver precise vibrations where it is needed from a pain or medical perspective.”
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Vibrations and sexual health is an emerging science
The medical study was conducted by a Spanish clinic, ISEMU, which studies vibration in pain conditions. The Crescendo 2 was used three times a week for twelve weeks before the results showed average pain scores improved by over 5x—a significant quality of life improvement.
The area of vibrations and sexual health is an emerging science with the potential to create a new field in the sex tech industry, especially given the vast numbers of patients with painful conditions. It could create relief for patients who depend on medications that have negative side effects.
“This is a very rare, nascent area where not many doctors consider vibrators yet although some do. Using devices with or without a tablet is at an early stage of adoption,” Dr. Rakshit says.
The company reaches out to clinicians or doctors to run independent studies but provides their devices for free. In the past, this has included studies on period pain and vibration application which resulted in interesting feedback for MysteryVibe designers.
“The feedback revealed that because period pain lasts maybe for hours, it’s really difficult to hold Crescendo because it’s not designed for that. The feedback was to create a different type of vibrator, which could be a belt that fits on the abdomen, then we could run a study,” he says.
Feeling the effects
According to Dr. Rakshit, when it comes to doctors and vibrations, those who have seen the effects are often evangelistic about it:
“Although very few doctors currently use vibrators for sexual health issues, the ones who do are extremely evangelistic about it because what they are always looking for is solutions with no side effects. Whenever they find something, they want to tell the world about it.”
Image sources: RODNAE Productions
Edited by Carolyn Stransky