When vibrators are mentioned in pop culture, they’re usually discussed as masturbation aides—something people (particularly women) use to pleasure themselves. You don’t typically see people whipping them out during couple’s sex scenes.
In reality, though, vibrators are often used during partnered sex—and they have the potential to provide more satisfying sexual experiences for everyone involved. And as sex toy technology has advanced, it has become easier than ever to incorporate vibrators into partnered activities.
However, among heterosexual couples, men in particular are sometimes very reluctant to incorporate vibrators and other sex toys. For example, some men see vibrators as threatening or intimidating because they think their penises alone should be capable of satisfying their partners—but research suggests that men who think like this may be missing out.
In a study of 49 heterosexual men in committed relationships published in the journal Men and Masculinities, participants were given a couple’s vibrator to try out with their partner. Over a two-month period, participants were asked to have sex with and without the vibrator a certain number of times—and they were given detailed instructions on how to use this toy (note that this was a wearable couple’s vibrator designed to provide sensation and stimulation to both partners during penetrative intercourse).
Participants were surveyed several times about their feelings on the vibrator, and the researchers found that most (71%) said it enhanced pleasure and, further, the vast majority (88%) planned to keep using the toy even after the study was over.
The main benefits of using the couple’s vibrator were as follows:
1.) Physical pleasure
Most men said that using the device felt good. For example, many enjoyed the extra sensation caused by vibration, while others liked being able to have their hands free so that they could explore other types of stimulation.
2.) Appreciation of partner pleasure
Most men said the vibrator enhanced their partner’s pleasure—for instance, it was easier for their partners to reach orgasm and, sometimes, to have more intense orgasms. Seeing their partner satisfied boosted men’s own pleasure, as evidenced by comments from participants such as “I enjoy sex more when my partner does.”
3.) Novelty and variety
A lot of the men felt that using the vibrator itself was fun and that it increased excitement by adding a novel element to sex. Many also said that using the vibrator offered an easy opportunity for foreplay to go on longer than usual.
Lastly, most men said that vibrator use enhanced intimacy and made them feel closer to their partners. For example, some said that it made sex a more “couple-focused” experience, in part, because it helped allow both partners to reach orgasm simultaneously.
Of course, it would have been nice to have data from both partners here, which is an important limitation of this research. Although men clearly seemed to think that using vibrators benefitted their partners (e.g., by facilitating orgasm), it would have been useful to see if women reported unique benefits that men did not. It would also be worth exploring the benefits of vibrator use among sexual and gender minorities.
With all of that said, the results of this research tell us that couple’s vibrators can potentially enhance sex in several ways and, further, that the taboo surrounding men’s sex toy use may be holding men back from unlocking more pleasure for both themselves and their partners.
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To learn more about this research, see: Watson, E. D., Séguin, L. J., Milhausen, R. R., & Murray, S. H. (2016). The impact of a couple’s vibrator on men’s perceptions of their own and their partner’s sexual pleasure and satisfaction. Men and Masculinities, 19(4), 370-383.
Image Source: 123RF/bespalyi
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