IU researchers find vibrator use to be common, linked to sexual health

June 29, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Two Indiana University studies conducted among nationally representative samples of adult American men and women show that vibrator use during sexual interactions is common, with use being reported by approximately 53 percent of women and 45 percent of men ages 18 to 60. Not only is vibrator use common, but the two studies also show that vibrator use is associated with more positive sexual function and being more proactive in caring for one's sexual health.

The studies, led by researchers at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, are the first to publish data about vibrator use from nationally representative samples of the U.S. population. This lack of data has existed despite a longstanding practice by many physicians and therapists to recommend vibrator use to help treat sexual dysfunctions or to improve sexual enjoyment.

One study surveyed women. The other surveyed men. Both were published this week by the "Journal of Sexual Medicine," a leading peer-reviewed journal in the area of urology and sexual health.

"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 Debby Herbenick, associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion.

Michael Reece, director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, 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."

The studies are the first to document insights into how and why people use vibrators, examine side effects and to explore associations with sexual health behaviors, sexual enjoyment and quality of life measures.

The studies were funded by Church & Dwight Co. Inc., maker of Trojan® brand sexual health products. Here are some of the findings from the studies, which involve survey responses from 2,056 women and 1,047 men ages 18-60.

For women:For men:The study specifically sought to establish nationally representative rates of vibrator use among men and women in the United States. Vibrators are electrical devices that produce pulses of variable amplitude and frequency to enhance sexual arousal in men and women by stimulating the genitals. Marketed widely to women through the Internet, women's magazines, boutiques and in-home sex toy parties, they also are available in drug stores and other mainstream retailers.
-end-
Reece is the lead author of "Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Men in the United States." Co-authors include Herbenick; Stephanie Sanders, The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at IU and the Department of Gender Studies; Brian Dodge, Center for Sexual Health Promotion; Annahita Ghassemi, Church & Dwight Co., Inc.; Dennis Fortenberry, IU School of Medicine.

Herbenick is the lead author of "Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Women in the United States: Results from a Nationally Representative Study." Co-authors include Reece, Sanders, Dodge, Ghassemi and Fortenberry.

Reece can be reached at mireece@indiana.edu. Herbenick can be reached at debby@indiana.edu. For additional assistance or copies of the studies, contact Tracy James, University Communications, at 812-855-0084 and traljame@indiana.edu. To speak with someone at Church & Dwight, contact Adrienne Hayes at 212-704-8228.

Journal citations: Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Sanders, S.A., Dodge, B., Ghassemi, A., & Fortenberry, J.D. (2009). Prevalence and characteristics of vibrator use by women in the United States: Results from a nationally representative study. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6, 1857-1866.

Reece, M., Herbenick, D., Sanders, S.A., Dodge, B., Ghassemi, A., & Fortenberry, J.D. (2009). Prevalence and characteristics of vibrator use by men in the United States. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6, 1867-1874.

Indiana University

Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.