Use of vibrators common, surveys show

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Two Indiana University surveys suggest that vibrator use during sexual encounters is common among American men and women and is linked to better sexual health.

Dr. Debra Herbenick and colleagues surveyed 2,056 women between 18 and 60 years old and found that more than half of the women (52.5%) had used a vibrator, with nearly 1 in 4 having done so in the past month.

Women who used vibrators were more likely to have had gynecologic check up within the past year and were also more likely to have performed a genital self-exam within the past month.

In addition, women who used vibrators, and particularly recent users, reported more desire, arousal, lubrication, and orgasm, and less pain.

Most women (71.5%) said they never had any side effects associated with vibrator use and side effects that did occur were generally not severe or long-lasting.

Dr. Michael Reece and colleagues surveyed 1,047 men, also between 18 and 60 years old and found that, for both solo and partnered sexual activities, 44.8% of the men had used a vibrator at some point in their lives, with 10.0% having done so in the last month, 14.2% within the past year, and 20.5% at some point more than a year ago.

“Men who used vibrators, particularly those with recent use, were more likely to report participation in sexual health promoting behaviors, such as testicular self-exam,” Reece and colleagues report.

In addition, men who reported recent vibrator use scored themselves higher on sexual desire, erectile function and satisfaction with sex and orgasms, than men who did not report recent vibrator use.

In an Indiana University-issued statement, Herbenick said: “The study about women’s vibrator use affirms what many doctors and therapists have known for decades -- that vibrator use is common, it’s linked to positive sexual function such as desire and ease of orgasm, and it’s rarely associated with any side effects.”

“The study about male vibrator use,” Reece added, “is additionally important because it shows that vibrator use is also common among men, something that has not been documented before.”

“Also, both studies help us to further understand the way in which American consumers are turning to the marketplace for products that promote their sexual health,” Reece said.

The surveys, which were sponsored by condom manufacturer Church & Dwight Company, appear in the latest issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

SOURCE: Journal of Sexual Medicine, July 2009.