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29 June 2009
Vibrator use during lovemaking surprisingly common
by George Atkinson

It's not just single women who use vibrators. New surveys show that around half of all adult couples have used a vibrator during lovemaking. Interestingly, the Indiana University (IU) research also showed that vibrator use is associated with more positive sexual function and being more proactive in caring for one's sexual health.

Led by researchers at IU's Center for Sexual Health, Physical Education and Recreation, the new study was composed of two surveys; one surveying women, the other surveying men. The results from both were published this week in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

"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," said IU researcher Debby Herbenick.

Co-researcher Michael Reece said the studies are important for the contributions they make to an understanding of the sexual behaviors and sexual health of adults in today's society. "The study about male vibrator use is additionally important because it shows that vibrator use is also common among men, something that has not been documented before," Reece said. "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, and that has important economic implications."

Key findings from the men's survey included:

  • The prevalence of men who had incorporated a vibrator into sexual activities during their lives was 45 percent, with no statistical differences between the rates of vibrator use between men who identified as heterosexual and those who identified as gay or bisexual.
  • Heterosexual men most commonly reported having used vibrators during foreplay or intercourse with a female partner, with 91 percent of those who had used a vibrator reporting that they had done so during such activities with women.
  • Of men who have used vibrators, 10 percent had done so in the past month and 14 percent in the past year.
  • Men who reported having used vibrators, particularly those with more recent use, were more likely to report participation in sexual health promoting behaviors (eg. testicular self-exam).

Key findings from the women's survey included:

  • More than half of the women (52 percent) had used a vibrator with 25 percent having done so in the past month.
  • Vibrator use was positively related to several aspects of sexual function (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, pain and overall function) with recent vibrator users scoring themselves higher on most sexual functions.

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Source: Indiana University

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