I’m all for taking creative liberties, but when it comes to masturbation, I don’t want to suffer any accidental setbacks that could get between me and my orgasm. What I'm getting at is just because you can use random, everyday items to get off, doesn’t mean you should.
Things People Use to Masturbate (and Why You Shouldn't)
Here are 10 items people use to masturbate (but probably shouldn’t). File this under: The More You Know. (And thank me later.)
You know that saying that anything's a dildo if you're brave enough? Well, no. Clinical sexologist and certified sex coach Sunny Rodgers has heard many people say that they've used popsicles as masturbation devices. It might seem cute and harmless, but it isn't.
“While sugar should never ever go near a vagina because it can cause infections, there is also a possibility of getting an ice burn by placing a frozen popsicle on sensitive skin,” says Rodgers. Ouch. “An ice burn happens when the water in the cells in skin freeze. And this injury is quite possible if using popsicles for penetration masturbation.”
Chemical and Fragrance-Loaded Lotions
As a board-certified dermatologist, Jennifer T. Haley often sees male patients come in with an irritant contact dermatitis (similar to if you immersed your hand in bleach) from using chemical-loaded, fragrance-loaded lotions to masturbate. Instead, Haley recommends using coconut or sunflower oil with no fragrance. Because a rash on your junk can be very uncomfortable - not to mention embarrassing.
A Wooden Hairbrush
Anything made of wood (except high-quality wooden sex toys, which are specially coated) has several potentially unpleasant outcomes. It could splinter. “No matter how smooth the wood seems, splintering is not uncommon. Especially with exaggerated manual friction,” says Laurel House, a dating coach and the resident sex expert for My First Blush. “I can’t even imagine getting a splinter lodged inside of my vagina! With the number of nerve endings inside of you, that pain is not something that anyone wants to tempt.”
More of an immediate threat than a splinter is the delayed result of airborne or hand delivered bacteria that can cause harmful and painful urinary tract infections or yeast infections. “Wood naturally sucks in anything that is placed on it,” says House. “So if you handle your wooden hairbrush with dirty hands, or if it is located near a toilet that is flushed without the seat down, there’s a high likelihood of infection-causing bacteria infesting the handle. Stick that thing inside your warm, wet vagina and you are risking transference. But you won’t know that you have an infection until several days later, so you won’t know to blame it on the brush.” Best thing to do? Keep wooden items and beauty tools far away from your anal and vaginal openings.
The Vacuum Cleaner
If you’ve masturbated with a suction-based sex toy, a vacuum may seem like an intriguing next step. “All that suction may seem inviting, but using the vacuum nozzle to pleasure yourself can lead to serious injury and even an embarrassing trip to the ER,” says Antonia Hall, a psychologist, relationship expert and author of "The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life." Think damage to skin and blood vessels, not to mention a very messy afterglow cleanup. Umm, no thanks.
An Electric Razor
Angela Rosario, a relationship expert at TooTimid.com has heard stories of people using electric razors to get off more times than she can count. “Is it really worth putting something with a motorized blade so close to such a private area?” she asks. “Why risk cutting yourself?” Yes, razors vibrate, but not well enough to risk an injury to a very sensitive area.
Every year, numerous women get foods like hotdogs stuck in their vaginas and have to go to the emergency room. People figure if they're the right shape, they'll do the trick. But there is so much risk here, including infection, losing the item up there and even allergic reactions. Hall says wrapping food in condoms isn't the answer. “Foods should never go in the nether regions,” she advises.
Bathtub or Jacuzzi Jets
Water jets are the go-to method for many vulva-owners to get off – they're intense, efficient and 100% clit-focused. That said, you never know how often or whether or not the jets are actually being sanitized properly. This isn't the worst option, but it isn't the best one either. “Don't risk getting bacteria in your vagina,” says Rosario.
A Vibrating Toothbrush
“Yes, the vibration is similar to other vaginally designed vibrators, but there’s a big difference – the toothbrush goes in your mouth,” says House. “So, in addition to the possibility of plaque or bacteria removed from your teeth residing on the brush, there’s also the issue of the sharp areas where the toothbrush is affixed to the handle, as well as the buttons.” But what if you choose the bottom of the brush handle? “That is the spot where bacteria and mold often collect,” says House. “You don’t want that inside of you.” Eww, gross.
If you’re dead set on masturbating with an electric toothbrush, you could always buy a back-up just for that purpose. Lots of women swear by this method and buy a Tingle Tip, a small electric toothbrush attachment that delivers stealth results. (Or, you could get an Eroscillator. It's based on an electric toothbrush, but most users will tell you it'll blow any dental device right out of the water.)
Cell Phone Vibrations
OK, this one should be pretty obvious. “Think about how much bacteria is on your phone,” says Rosario. Basically, your phone is a breeding ground for germs and grosser than a toilet seat. Is an orgasm really worth contracting E. coli over? Or, think about it the other way: Do you really want to press something to your junk and then to your face? You could try using it outside of your clothes, but these buzzers are usually pretty weak. Get yourself a dedicated vibe instead.
We already covered food, but this one deserves its own section because it's just so common.
“While yes, the shape of the banana is extremely ideal for insertion, neither end of a banana peel is rounded and smooth,” notes House. “Both the top and the bottom are rigid and can easily cause cuts and bleeding inside of you.” In the heat of the moment, you may enjoy the in and out stimulation, but not feel the tearing that is occurring. “But once the pleasure is over, the pain will begin,” says House.
As enticing as it may be to MacGyver a homemade sex toy, some things are best when you don't DIY. If you wanna get off, go out and buy yourself a legit (and safe!) sex toy. And if you’re too shy to shop in person, there are plenty of online websites that’ll deliver every imaginable sexy plaything straight to your doorstep in a plain brown box.
We're all for creative paths to pleasure, but not at the cost of seriously harming yourself. It’s just not worth it.
Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. Over the past two decades, her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets including Marie Claire, Playboy, Refinery29, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, WIRED, and Thrillist.
She adopted a pseudonym and was AVN’s (Adult Video Network) first female porn reviewer – while penning children’s books at the same time. More recently, she is the author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating (2019). She lives in Seattle with her rescue dog, Mimi. You can find her on Twitter @rynpfeuffer or IG @ryn_says