We’ve recently received a few emails asking about the use of vibrators for Christians in the context of marriage so I thought it would be appropriate to address the issue here as the question of the week. It is our hope and prayers that you will prayerfully consider what the Lord has for you as you consider your marital intimacy.
When I hear that a couple wants to enhance their sexual intimacy with sex toys I almost always have a split reaction. There’s a part of me that gets a little bit anxious at the thought of bringing something into the bedroom that isn’t “natural” to aid in the sexual experience. But there’s also a part of me that rejoices with couples that can have an open discussion and are willing to explore new ideas to keep their love life exciting and playful. Please bear with me as I flesh out the differences and hopefully shed light on some risks and benefits to vibrators for Christians.
First let me say that each couple is unique. There is no cookie cutter approach to this type of issue. Each couple should evaluate these types of questions according to their own unique circumstance and relationship – their relationship to each other and with the Lord. Second, let me re-assure you that, as a general rule, I don’t have a moral problem with the use of toys, such as vibrators for Christians. There isn’t anything (to my knowledge) in the Bible that speaks out against it (if there is, please feel free to correct me).
The first thought I usually have when someone asks about a sexual aid is a question that I would hope most sex therapists have: “I wonder what’s wrong that would cause this couple to want to use a vibrator?” This is a question that the couple should ask each other as a good place to start exploring the issue for their unique situation. Many times there isn’t anything “wrong” and some couples just want to enhance what’s already a positive experience. We see a lot of times, however, that the desire to use a toy, such as a vibrator, is an unspoken request to try and troubleshoot a problem.
So let’s think practically for a moment and do a mini risk/benefit analysis. There are risks to using sex toys. Vibrators in particular can become problematic over a span of time. A vibrator can do something that a penis can’t – vibrate. If used over time, a vibrator could cause a penis to lose all appeal. If the penis becomes boring, a vibrator could essentially become a surrogate sex partner driving a wedge between husband and wife. Granted, that’s the worst case scenario, but it should give cause for thoughtful reflection though. It could be very frustrating for a man to try and compete with a vibrator.
On the flip side of that coin, a vibrator doesn’t have what a penis does have – a man attached to it. So on some level a vibrator will also lose some appeal over time in that there’s loss of that human interaction and bonding that’s so intricately tied to sexual intercourse. This reduces the risk some, but not entirely since we are talking about using a vibrator as a couple. Using a vibrator for masturbation is an issue for a different article.
Some women find it very difficult to be aroused to the point of orgasm on a consistent basis during intercourse. Whether the couple is rushed due to life stressors or the man has struggles with premature ejaculation or the female has delayed orgasmic response or a host of other reasons, the reality is that women typically take much longer to climax, needing much more stimulation and friction, than a man. This can detract from the experiences together and if not addressed, resentment and disappointment can set in leaving room for bitterness and reduced sex drive.
Vibrators for Christians can lead to a greater sense of intimacy and closeness. As a couple discussed the issues and enjoys the experience together during a lighthearted time of play and intimacy, a vibrator can certainly do wonders for enhancing sexual intimacy. If a couple is having open dialogue about these issues and making sure that there is healthy communication, then you will be able to sit down, brainstorm a larger listed risk/benefit analysis and come up with a plan of action.
There’s just something about climaxing together that strengthens the bond of sexual intimacy. A vibrator, if used properly, can help a couple enjoy that moment together. Of course, as with any sexual issue, if the female is having trouble with climax or arousal, it’s always a good idea to get checked out by a physician to rule out any physical abnormalities. If there aren’t any physical problems and the couple still has questions or if you are having trouble getting the discussions going as a couple, seek the help of a trained Christian sex therapist.
Christianity as a whole by history has, unfortunately, typically been a bit prudish regarding the topic of sexuality in general. It can be very difficult for some couples to express their needs and desires with each other, even in the context of a committed, loving and Christian marriage. My advice… don’t settle for what you know could be better. If one of you is uncomfortable with vibrators than be respectful and considerate. But if you are both willing to explore the issue and do a risk/benefit analysis together then you will be a step ahead of most Christian couples in this area.
Dr. Santan is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in marriage therapy and sex therapy. He does counseling from a Christian world view and is located in Chattanooga Tennessee. You can find out more about Dr. Santan through his listing in the directory.