Just because something buzzes, doesn’t mean it’s designed to get you off.

By Claire Gillespie
November 13, 2019

The vibrator industry is booming, and it’s got science on its side. Research carried out in 2018 on behalf of British sex toy retailer Lovehoney found that women can enjoy orgasms up to four seconds longer if they use a sex toy.

Which is great news for people who produce sex toys, as well as the women who use them. But—yes, there’s a but—it’s important to be aware that not every vibrator-like object makes a good sex toy. Just because something buzzes, that doesn’t mean it’s designed to get you off.

We’re talking about the electric toothbrush here. These oral health gadgets are super effective at getting rid of food bits and plaque. Thing is, they're probably best kept in the bathroom and not in the drawer of your nightstand or that "special" box under your bed, despite what some people would claim.

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According to various news reports, online forums are full of women raving about the sexual benefits of their electric toothbrushes, with both the brush end and the handle earning praise for their climax-reaching properties. Whether they were inspired by the scene in Orange Is the New Black, in which Lorna gets her rocks off with Black Cindy’s toothbrush, is up for debate. It’s less “oooh” and more “ewww,” to be frank. (Season 6, Episode 3, if you’re interested.)

But before you go digging out a replacement head for your electric Oral-B, is using it as a sex toy even safe?

Potentially not, says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine. “Using the brush part would be fairly irritating and potentially traumatic, due to the risk of scratching the delicate vaginal and vulvar tissue,” she tells Health.

Dr. Minkin says she’s less concerned about sanitary issues, although she points out that if you have an STI like herpes or chlamydia, there’s a chance you could transfer the infection to your mouth (if you still use your toothbrush the way it’s intended, that is).

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“All in all, I wouldn’t recommend using your electric toothbrush as a sex toy,” adds Dr. Minkin. “In any case, there are plenty of vibrators available with good vibratory activity for everyone.”

So you can add “electric toothbrush” to your list of things not to put in your vagina (along with steam and sugar), and invest in a new vibrator instead. Quality options are made from sterile material that don’t attract bacteria, hold bacteria, or change the pH of your vagina. And some models don't cost any more than your average electric toothbrush.

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