Savage Love

Hey, Faggot: A friend of mine has developed a sort of vibrator phobia. She read about some doctor who claimed that vibrator use has been linked to urinary incontinence in women due to electrical stimulation of surrounding muscles. To me, this sounds like baloney, yet another example of fear and guiltmongering surrounding this pleasant device. It would seem reasonable that continued vibrator use would result in better muscle control (i.e., stronger Kegel muscles). Have you ever heard anything about this? I wonder if this doctor was confused about female ejaculation; did he mistake ejaculation for incontinence?

My friend said that she never experienced any actual incontinence but threw her vibrator out due to her anxiety surrounding this possibility. I wish I knew who is responsible for this hooey. But perhaps you have access to someone who could set this record, well, straight.

Needs to Know

Hey, NTK: Whenever I need the vibration record set straight, I access one of my lady friends in the retail sex toy industry. Carol Queen works at San Francisco's Good Vibrations (1210 Valencia in S.F., 2504 San Pablo in Berkeley; 1-800-BUY-VIBE, www.goodvibes.com). GV is the 20-year-old grandmammy of the woman-owned, anti-creepy, sex-positive sex toy store movement. Queen has been pushing vibrators at Good Vibrations for the last seven years, and she says, "I've been using them for longer than that."

In all those years, Queen hasn't become incontinent herself, and has never heard from or of a single woman who became incontinent as result of vibrator use. And that's saying something: In 20 years, Good Vibrations has sold more than 300,000 vibrators. If even a tiny percentage of their customers were pissing all over themselves, you can bet Queen and Good Vibrations would know. And they would tell us, even if it meant going out of business. Because they're women. And women are better than men.

If the article did exist, Queen agrees that the doc and whatever female patients came to him complaining about wetting their beds may have mistaken ejaculate for piss. "When some women orgasm, a fluid gushes out, or dribbles out, from the urethra." It comes from a gland that surrounds a part of a woman's urethra, analogous to the prostate gland in men. "This fluid is not urine," says Queen. "It has a different chemical composition; though some women I know find that urine is sometimes mixed with their ejaculate, the ejaculate is not urine. Sex toys can get to the G-spot area, and a woman who's never ejaculated may experience it, and be confused. She'll go to a doc who doesn't know what he's talking about, and he'll tell her she's incontinent, and blame her vibrator."

Queen thinks the article was bogus for another reason: "The reference to electrical stimulation is very suspicious. Though electricity powers vibrators, it is not electricity that stimulates the 'surrounding muscles' -- it's the vibrations!"

Finally, Queen wants to praise your instincts. First for doubting the story that freaked out your friend, and second for your take on orgasms in general. "Her sense that more orgasms equals greater muscle control is right on. Vibrator use does not lead to worse muscle control, it leads to better."

Hey, Faggot: I have recently added the use of toys to my playtime. What's with the warnings about the use of vibrators and "unexplained thigh or calf pain"? Is there some kind of weird medical condition that could develop with the use of a vibrator?

Kid With a New Toy

Hey, KWANT: According to Mary Martone, who works at Seattle's sex-positive, woman-owned sex toy emporium, Toys in Babeland (707 E. Pike in Seattle, 1-800-658-9119, www.babeland.com), the warning is there to keep you from accidentally killing yourself. "You can get blood clots in your legs. If your calf is sore, you might go, 'Hey my leg hurts,' vibe it, and accidentally loosen up a blood clot. Then the clot zips up to your head, and that moment of calf-soothing pleasure is followed by a stroke, and then death." Martone thinks there must have been a dislodged-blood-clot lawsuit at some point in vibrator history. "Someone died massaging mysterious thigh pain and the family sued, got a huge chunk of change, and now every vibrator has to have that do-not-use-on-unexplained-thigh-and-calf-pain sticker on it. Tragic, but that's product liability for you."

Hey, Faggot: I'm 30, female, bisexual, and just started having orgasms three years ago with the help of a vibrator. I didn't masturbate a lot as a teen or a young woman and have never actually had an orgasm by simply stimulating myself with my hand. I have also never had one with a partner that didn't involve me using a vibrator to get myself off. When I discovered I could orgasm with the help of that miraculous tool, I got addicted. Furthermore, I have never actually been able to come while someone else is holding the darn thing.

I am shy to introduce my vibrator into the sex I have with partners, but my new girlfriend is into it. The sex with her is fantastic and fun; she gets me so worked up that I wonder if I could orgasm without the vibrator: a goal I'd like to work toward.

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