If you've ever thought that men are threatened by women using vibrators, a new national survey out of Indiana University may prove you wrong.
According to the survey, which polled over 3,000 Americans ages 18 to 60, the idea that vibrators are intimidating to women's sexual partners is largely held by, well, women: while 70 percent of men professed they had no problem with the buzzing sex toys, 37 percent of women either agreed or strongly agreed with the idea that using a vibrator would be upsetting to their partners.
This level of acceptance of vibrator use among men shouldn't come as a total shock; a 2009 survey, also conducted by Indiana University, found that 45 percent of men owned up to using a vibrator -- most to please a partner -- and half of all Americans use vibrators.
To go beyond usage statistics and gauge perceptions of women's vibrator use, male and female participants in the more recent study were given identical online surveys where they were asked to agree or disagree with positive statements like "[vibrators are a] healthy part of many women's sex lives" and negative ones like "[using vibrators] makes women too dependent on them for pleasure," Live Science reports. The results? Nearly half of participants either "agreed" or "strongly agreed" with all of the positive belief statements and less than 10 percent of those surveyed endorsed the negative statements.
While Debra Herbenick, lead researcher and associate director at Indiana University's Center for Sexual Health Promotion, claims her study is the first to examine beliefs about vibrators, there has been much buzz in the press about the prevalence of these personal (and interpersonal) devices. Scientific American recently reported that sex toys are a $500-million-per-year industry in North America alone, and a 2009 worlwide survey by Durex found that the U.S. ranks 2nd in vibrator use worldwide.
With the upcoming release of "Hysteria," a film about the early medical usage of vibrators to treat women, vibrators appear to be going even more mainstream -- if they haven't already achieved mainstream status. As we noted previously, low-cost vibrators manufactured by condom brands like Durex, Trojan, and Lifestyles can now be found in your local pharmacy’s personal care aisle.
But with public acceptance on the rise and falling prices, are vibrators the magic solution to a better sex life? Not so fast, Herbenick says: While there may be a connection between vibrators and more satisfying sex, women who use vibrators may already be more sexually comfortable and confident -- an idea she's not alone in suggesting. As Diana Wiley, Ph.D., a Los Angeles- based sexologist, recently told Men's Health: "Women who masturbate know their bodies, and they're often able to reach orgasm with a partner more easily than those who don't."
Whatever you do with the findings of the survey, it seems it's one more reason for women to be less afraid of hiding things in the bedroom -- and more focused on verbalizing (and getting) what they want.