Over the past decade, adult toys have become more popular. Research indicates that taboos around vibrators and other devices meant to increase individual pleasure or mutual enjoyment are eroding as more people (and couples!) seek out a more intimate form of technology.

Enhancing physical pleasure is a sure way to increase sexual enjoyment. How does sex toy use impact the relationship satisfaction of both partners? This question was answered by some new research that looked at the demographics and prevalence of sex toys. The results showed that partners’ pleasure in bed and their relationship satisfaction may be affected by their gender.

The prevalence of vibrator use in heterosexual men in the U.S. was examined by Michael Reece (Ph.D.), in a large national study. It was found that heterosexual men who used sex toys with partners had lower sexual satisfaction levels than those who hadn’t. Researchers couldn’t determine why this group had lower satisfaction. However, it is possible that the men were not satisfied with their sexual pleasure after using vibrators together.

However, some heterosexual men have shared vibrators with their partners because they felt it would improve their sexual enjoyment. It would be understandable if their sexual satisfaction was low if this were true. (No one wants to feel unat ease in bed.

One of the most common misconceptions about sex toys is that using a rose toy for women can make your partner a less loving person. Dr. Kat Van Kirk, a licensed marriage and family therapist and resident relationship and sex expert at AdamandEve.com says, “Using a sextoy can mean your partner isn’t a good enough lover.” Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D.

This is not to say that all men who use vibrators with their partners are inferior or unsatisfied. Reece also found that vibrators are more effective in enhancing sexual pleasure, erectile function and orgasm function than vibrators used on men.

This same study also showed that gay and bisexual men are more likely to use vibrators and other sexual toys than straight men.

According to a 2011 study by Vanessa Shick, Ph.D., women are also more likely to use sex toys than those who identify as straight. Although 53 percent of heterosexual women have used a sexual toy in the past, 86 percent said they had used one and reported a significant increase in sexual satisfaction. Shick et al. wrote in their study that vibrator-using women and queer women had less pain than women who have not used vibrators.

The Fundamentals of Sex


Couples who are able to explore new ways to be intimate, such as trying one or more sex toys, tend to have a better chance of maintaining passion and desire over the long-term. A 2016 study by Chapman University’s David Frederick (Ph.D.) found that couples who felt satisfied with their relationship and their sex were more likely than those who didn’t feel fulfilled to use sex toys together.

The nature of openness as well as communication between partners will determine whether sex toys enhance a relationship or cause conflict. A 2013 Guttmacher Institute report shows that the Guttmacher Institute’s 2013 report has shown that the Guttmacher Institute found that the more positive individuals in relationships rate their interactions, the more they are likely to rate their desire and satisfaction from their relationship.

Sex Essential Reads

Positive communication is important in the context of sex toys. It allows partners to feel safe and secure, to share their concerns and to feel validated. The partner who wants to use a sexual toy should, again, be able communicate their desire to do so without being shamed or judged. Reece and Debra Herbenick, Ph.D., conclude that it may be possible to communicate freely and feel that your partner accepts your sexual interests and pleasures.

Van Kirk believes that toys can increase the intimacy and sexual satisfaction of those who are open to listening and respecting their partner’s inclinations and boundaries. People can become more open to new elements if they have a healthy sense of non-judgment and openness. It can help to dispel any myths that your partner may have about sex toys. It is always a good idea to have some education. A sex toy should not be considered a purchase if a woman does not orgasm via her penile/vaginal.

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