Like Lily Allen, I’m Bad At ‘Analogue Wanking’

Georgia Aspinall explains why hearing Lily open up about needing a vibrator to orgasm is so important.

Woman reaching for vibrator

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

‘Why haven’t you read your book yet? It’s been six months, don’t you want to be able to masturbate? To orgasm with me?’

That was a quote from my ex-boyfriend, Nathan*, who after two years of being together was getting increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t orgasm during sex. And more than that, that I wasn’t proactively doing something about it by reading the book he’d bought me ‘Orgasms: How to Have Them, Give Them, and Keep Them Coming’. But the thing is, I could. I just needed a vibrator to do it.

Like Lily Allen, who recently told Cosmopolitan UK she’s not very good at ‘just wanking with my hands’, I too have always preferred vibrators over the more, as Lily puts it, ‘analogue’ option.

‘I’m not a good analogue wanker,’ she said. ‘It’s the digital or the tech elements that get me off. It's been very difficult for me to become intimate with myself. And yes, sex toys certainly helped kind of break that barrier for me.’

Lily’s admission came as part of her promotion for her new collaboration with Womanizer, releasing her very own ‘clit sucker’ called The Liberty. Detailing the ins and outs of her sex life in various interviews is of course causing much thrill for many intrigued by her love life. But for me, who has always felt slightly at odds with just how shit I am at wanking, her openness about also preferring vibrators is actually quite important.

Because, as evidenced by my ex-boyfriend's urgency to have me learn analogue wanking to completion (I knew what to do, in the main, it just didn’t really DO anything for me), being reliant on a vibrator to orgasm comes with stigma in partnered sex, and thus in your own sexual pleasure.

I received my first vibrator as a gag Christmas gift from a flatmate at university. Up until that point, I’d only tried to masturbate a handful of times and found zero pleasure in using my hands…or the shower head. I wasn’t a horny teenager, I didn’t particularly care about becoming sexuality active save for the pressure to appear ‘normal’, and I was far too scared of my naked body and what men would say about it to become involved in a sexual relationship with the boys at my school. I was also a closeted bisexual, so there’s that.

Then, I went to university and quickly became involved with said ex-boyfriend, whom I was with when I received the gift as part of our flat's first Secret Santa. Quite frankly, I was mortified. I laughed and joked about how great a gift it was, but inside I resolved never to use it. Not just because I clearly (looking back) had some sort of internalised shame surrounding masturbation, but because now I was becoming sexually active with my partner, it felt like something I should only do with him involved.

Six years on, and coming from someone that literally never stops talking about wanking, this concept feels not just foreign to me, but ludicrous. I started to learn that one a random summer day at home in Liverpool, when I decided out of sheer boredom to try the vibrator. Me and my ex had been having all kinds of sex for six months at this point, and while I enjoyed the intimacy of it all, I wasn’t climaxing and I didn’t understand why. On that random day in my teenage bedroom, 250 miles from my Essex-born boyfriend, I realised. I had my first orgasm with the clit-stimulating vibrator – in fact, I’m pretty sure I had three - and everything became clear. There was nothing wrong with me, I just needed some technological help. IT support, if you will.

Click through for the best vibrators and sex toys for women...


The Best Solo Sex Toys For Women

Womanizer Premium1 of 15

Womanizer Premium 2, WAS £169, NOW £139

Dubbed the 'Prada of sex toys', the Womanizer Premium 2 has more intensity levels than their other - already incredible - product line and an improved Autopilot function to take you on new, unpredictable adventures...

The Best Solo Sex Toys For Women - Grazia2 of 15

We Vibe Melt, £119

A connected and contactless clitoral stimulator, this sex toy features patented Pleasure Air technology which stimulates the sensitive nerve endings of the clitoris with pulsating air waves and gentle suction. The slim and ergonomic design makes it easy to slip between two partners during sex, or to use by yourself - whatever makes you happiest!

The Liberty Lily Allen3 of 15
CREDIT: Womanizer

Liberty by Lily Allen, £89

The upgraded Womanizer vibrator, Lily Allen's 'Liberty' has received rave reviews. It's no surprise coming from the mother of all sex toy companies, and at just £89 it's one of their cheaper options. Don't be deterred by the price though, the orgasms you'll be having with this are more than worth it.

Womanizer Duo4 of 15
CREDIT: Womanizer

Womanizer Duo, £179

The holy grail of vibrators, the Womanizer Duo has been remastered twice to create the ultimate solo sex toy. Combining the Pleasure Air technology of the Pro 40 - that stimulates your clitoris by mimicking oral sex (but better) - with a G-Spot massager intended to make you feel 'full', it's the definition of perfection. At £179 though, you're paying for it. But make no mistake, this is the best investment in yourself you'll ever make - you deserve it.

Doxy Extra Powerful Massage Wand Vibrator5 of 15

Doxy Extra Powerful Massage Wand Vibrator, £89.99

With 4.5 star reviews across the board and tons of Google search around the Doxy wand, this vibrator is proving popular. It has incredibly strong vibrations operated via large buttons for easy operation during play and an ergonomic body for complete control over pressure levels and angles.

LELO ORA 3 Oral Pleasure Massager Aqua6 of 15

LELO ORA 3 Oral Pleasure Massager Aqua, £130

On the even steeper side, the Lelo Ora 2 is the worlds only oral sex stimulator. For £130, you can only hope it fulfils expectations, but as the winner of the Cannes Lions award, we don't doubt it will.

Lovehoney Wand7 of 15

Lovehoney Magic Wand Vibrator, £49.99

With 4.5 stars and over 1300 reviews, you know this one has to be good. The mains powered wand means even stronger vibrations, which you can tailor yourself by increasing speed with the wheel function. For £49.99, it's a sex toy draw necessity (if you don't have a sex toy draw are you even human?)

womaniser8 of 15

Womanizer Pro 40, WAS £119, NOW £59

When this product launched, it caused quite the stir in the sex toy community. Taking away fears of over-stimulation and sensitivity loss, this toy doesn't actually touch your clitoris. Don't be fooled though, the suction and pressure waves do enough to give you your best orgasm yet. At £89, we'd bloody hope so.

Love Egg9 of 15

Lovehoney Love Egg, £12.99

A personal favourite, this Love Egg is the cheapest vibrator of the bunch but by far the most recommended. It's speed wheel means you can go from mild to intense in seconds. While it may not be the prettiest vibrator in the world, it's one I will forever stand by. The reviews speak for themselves, and the power will be the best surprise of all. Currently out of stock

Womanizer Classic10 of 15

Womanizer Classic 2, £119

A must-have in any sex toy draw, the Womanizer Classic 2 is discreet, simple and powerful. The new version comes with a unique and brand-new Afterglow feature which provides a relaxing end to an orgasm when the clitoris is the most sensitive. By short pressing the power button, the Afterglow feature allows the toy to quickly switch back to the lowest intensity level to finish your climax in a more comfortable way. Honestly, they think of EVERYTHING. Currently sold out

Bondara Rabbit11 of 15

Bondara Jessica Rabbit, £12.99

Luckily for you, Bondara's best-selling toy is also our cheapest rabbit on offer. At £12.99, you can't really go wrong with this one. Targeted towards beginners, it will ease you into vibrators if you're inexperienced. There's no time like the present to give it a try...

Thanks For Cumming, Wally, £7012 of 15

Thanks For Cumming, Wally, £70

Wally is a clitoral vacuum stimulator who will keep you cumming back for more. With eight settings there is something for everyone, but don't be fooled by its size, this toy packs a punch. This innovative waterproof vibrator replicates the sensation of oral sex. It does this by using suction to stimulate the whole clitoris leading to enhanced pleasure. Wally recharges fast so it can go all night, which makes it the perfect toy for every situation.

Aura Vibe13 of 15

Aura Vibe, £67.99

This vibrating 'personal massager' is perfect if you're looking for a more discreet option. The noise out of it is kept to an absolute minimum, even on the highest intensity setting (for which there are three, and seven vibration patterns).

Womanizer Scarlet 314 of 15

Womanizer Scarlet 3, £69

The Scarlet 3 packs the same clitoral stimulating punch as other Womanzier products, but in a smaller package. It fits in your palm nicely for easy placement, a perfect addition to solo or partner play for beginners... but make no mistake, the orgasm is expert level.Currently sold out

12 Nights of Pleasure Advent Calendar15 of 15

12 Nights of Pleasure Advent Calendar, £171 (worth £310)

Ann Summers are ahead of the curve this Christmas, releasing their sex toy advent calendar 12 Days Of Self Love with over £300 worth of products. From accessories to spice up your sex life to their most-beloved vibrators (we can confirm the mini rampant rabbit is just as effective as the large version, oh yes), this is a gift your friends will be thanking you for for years...

From then on, I was hooked. I probably used the vibrator around three times a day that summer, but as soon as I returned to university and regular sex with my boyfriend, it became my biggest shame. I had told him I could now orgasm with the vibrator, there was no longer anything physically or mentally stopping me from outright orgasming. But to him, that just made him more determined than ever to make me orgasm without it. And when he couldn’t – because I couldn’t, so why would he be able to? - he hated himself, and my vibrator, even more.

I don't blame him, really, you rarely see vibrators used during partnered sex in TV, film, or even mainstream porn. For a young person who has never learned about masturbation in school (In the UK, 9 out of 10 people did not learn about female or male masturbation, according to Womanizer's research), our knowledge of how to have sex and orgasm mostly comes from popular culture. So when you barely see any clitoral stimulation at all on screen, and yet somehow the woman involved is usually having a screaming-orgasm, I can bet we weren't the only young couple having this problem.

Alas, the pressure to orgasm during partnered sex mounted the longer this problem went on, and my vibrator became enemy number one. Using it when we had sex felt ‘lazy’, or so he said, like we weren’t trying hard enough to make me orgasm without it. Using it alone then, felt even more taboo, like I was cheating on him with the thing he loathed most. I read online that vibrators desensitise your clit, and I began to blame my own obsession with my vibrator as the reason our sex life has so many problems. Of course, the idea that vibrators desensitize your clit is a myth, according to Johanna Rief, Head of Sexual Empowerment at Womanizer. ‘Healthy nerve endings don’t ever change how they react to a certain stimulus no matter how often this stimulus occurs or is applied,’ she explains.

Using a vibrator is more efficient, less effort and has a 100% success rate.

By some cruel – or hilarious – twist of fate, I did eventually learn how to make myself orgasm with my hands, about a month after we broke up a year later. I call it fate, a therapist might say otherwise.

But even to this day, I still prefer using a vibrator over my hands. It’s more efficient, less effort and has a 100% success rate. I’m working smarter, not harder… right? Either that, or my pained history with analogue masturbating makes for a more mentally tiresome experience. Do I still have some internalised shame around it? Perhaps.

But there’s shame that comes with being so reliant on vibrators too. Because, while my ex-boyfriend was young and immature when he felt so threatened by my vibrator, he’s not the only man to flinch when I suggest bringing it into partnered sex.

‘I think this feeling results from old presumptions that sex toys replace the respective partner,’ says Johanna. ‘It can also bring up fears of not being “enough” or “good enough in bed” for their partner – for both women and men.

‘But this feeling is unfounded,’ she continues. ‘For one, masturbation and sex with another person are two completely different things. Second, there exist a wide range of sex toys that can be used during intercourse and which can enhance the experience for all partners. Third, sex toys are not meant to replace anyone but can be a fun addition to everyone’s sex lives.’

Women are shamed when they embrace their sexuality in any way.

And while there are plenty of men who agree, something I’ve learned comes with age and experience, it still takes a certain confidence to bring a vibrator into a sex with a partner. ‘I always want to use my clit sucker during sex,’ says Yasmin*, 30. ‘But sometimes you can just tell the guy you’re with will be put off. I think it taps into slut-shaming, women are so shamed when they embrace their sexuality in any way that bringing a vibrator or any sex toy into bed – especially a casual relationship – comes with that fear of being labelled a “slut”. Men say they want a “freak in the sheets”, but slut-shaming of our sexual exploits says otherwise, so even something as unfreaky as just wanting to orgasm with a vibrator can feel scary.’

It’s comments like Lily Allen’s then that make talking about sex toys more than just a salacious gossip about someone’s sex life but an integral conversation. According to Womanizer, eight out of 10 women prefer using a sex toy when masturbating. At the same time, sexual health company FPA has found that 80% of women do not orgasm through penetration alone and 72% report difficulty in achieving a simultaneous orgasm with their partners.

So, if 80% of us prefer using sex toys when we climax alone, the answer is simple. Bring them into your partnered sex too. As Lily says, it shouldn’t be taboo to bring vibrators into your sex life in all aspects, partner or not. If I’d of learned that sooner, I’d probably be 1000 orgasms up right now and THAT is the saddest conclusion of all.

Read More:

Apparently, Masturbation Is The Ultimate Self Care Activity For Most Brits... But We’re All Still Lying About It

Penetrative Sex Is Actually A Scam - Let Me Explain Why

Why Is Female Masturbation On TV Still The Biggest Taboo?

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