What Men Who Use Vibrators Know That You Don't

Vibrators are marketed almost exclusively to women and, for the most part, are seen as a female sex toy. As a result, relatively few guys use them.

A recent scientific survey found that about one-quarter of U.S. men say they have used a vibrator in the past year, with most of this usage confined to foreplay or sex with a partner. Interestingly, this study found that men’s use of vibrators was linked to reports of more satisfying sex and better erectile functioning.

Why is that? Is it because men who are more sexually satisfied to begin with are more likely to experiment with sex toys? Or do vibrators themselves actually yield sexual benefits?

According to a new study published in the journal Men and Masculinities, there are four important things that vibrators can potentially do for men’s sex lives. In this study, 49 heterosexual men were recruited from a 2010 trade show in Canada focused on sexual products. All of these men were in committed relationships, were having sex about twice per week, and were 40 years of age on average.

Participants were given a free couple’s vibrator (an early version of the We-Vibe,) and were asked to use it with their partner for the next two months. Specifically, they were asked to have sex at least three times as they normally do, but to also have sex at least six times while using the vibrator. Everyone was given instruction on how to use the vibrator properly before the study began.

In case you aren’t familiar, the We-Vibe is a “C-shaped vibrator that is designed to be worn during penetrative intercourse between two people, allowing both partners to experience a variety of vibrations externally and internally while simultaneously being able to be physically close and connected to a partner.” 

Men (and their partners) completed regular surveys about their experiences with the toy, as well as a more in-depth survey at the end of the study in which they were asked what they liked and disliked about the vibrator, as well as whether they would continue using it in the future.

In the end, most men (71.4 percent) liked the vibrator and said that it enhanced sexual pleasure, and even more (87.8 percent) said that they would keep using the vibrator after the study was over. Just three men said that they wouldn’t use it again, and another three said that they were unsure.

The main benefits of using the vibrator were:

Most guys said that using the vibrator simply felt good. Many enjoyed the vibrating sensation, but some also reported that the vibrator increased pleasure by creating a “tighter fit” and/or because it freed up their hands, thereby allowing them to experiment with other types of stimulation.

The majority of men also said that the vibrator enhanced their female partner’s pleasure, making it easier for them to reach orgasm and to have more intense orgasms. This, in turn, further enhanced men’s own pleasure. Several guys made comments along the lines of “I enjoy sex more when my partner does.”

Many guys reported that use of the vibrator made sex more fun and exciting. They liked being able to change up their routine, and many found that use of the vibrator allowed foreplay to go on longer than usual.

Finally, most men said that use of the vibrator enhanced intimacy and feelings of closeness with their partner. Some commented that it made for a more “couple-focused” experience, particularly by helping both partners reach orgasm at the same time.

There are a few important caveats to keep in mind about these findings. One is that the participants were recruited from a sex trade show, which means that they were probably more comfortable with the idea of using sex toys. Also, while most men reported benefits of vibrator use, the benefits were not universal. A few men did not like the sensations or felt that they decreased pleasure.

Using a couple’s vibrator, or any other sex toy for that matter, isn’t guaranteed to improve your sex life—but, then again, nothing is. Everyone is different when it comes to what feels good sexually.

That said, there’s never any harm in simply trying something new. And if you’re looking to spice up your sex life, experimenting with vibrators is an easy way to start that appears to have a lot of potential upside for both you and your partner.

Justin Lehmiller, PhD is a sex educator and researcher at Ball State University and author of the blog Sex and Psychology. Follow him on Twitter @JustinLehmiller.

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