That Vibrator: A Him and Her Thing

In the first post about our survey of MiddlesexMD readers regarding their vibrator use, we examined the topic by age. Turns out, you guys are way ahead of the curve—or at least of the commonly cited 52 percent of women under 60 who have used a vibrator, according to a study by Dr. Debby Herbenick, director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University.

In this post, we’ll break down the numbers according to how you use your vibe—alone and/or with a partner (neither being mutually exclusive). Using those little gadgets with a partner opens up a new world of exploration, so we’ll dig into that in future posts.

Vibrators have gone mainstreamFirst, we just want to focus on your reported vibrator habits. In our survey, as opposed to the Herbenick study, respondents mostly cluster around the 50 to 70 age range; 10 percent are under 40 and about the same are over 70. So your responses are a peek into vibe use in the peri- to post-menopausal years. Since you are all MiddlesexMD readers, you’re probably interested in learning about and improving your sex life.

About a quarter of you reported never having used a vibe by yourself. Obviously, that leaves three-quarters of you use a vibe at least “rarely.”

Over half of respondents of all ages (54 percent) have never used a vibrator with their partner. When we broke the numbers down by length of relationship, a couple of interesting points emerged. Of those in a new relationship (less than a year), about 90 percent use a vibrator alone at least “rarely,” yet almost 60 percent “never” use one with a partner. So, this “new relationship” group appears comfortable with solo use but very shy about partnered use.

By comparison, about 65 percent of those in longer-term relationships (over 10 years) have used a vibe alone at least “rarely” and half have used one with their partner at least “rarely.” 

There isn’t a lot of national research on vibrator use with a partner. Of the 52 percent of women who use vibrators in the Herbenick study, 80 percent have used them with a partner. According to this New York Times article, vibrator use is growing fast among menopausal-aged boomers as well as the 35-45 year age group, who use them to inject a little fun into a middle-aged relationship.

So what’s the takeaway for MiddlesexMD readers?

Well, for one thing, you’re in tune with the times when it comes to vibrator use. This is good because using a vibe is linked to positive feelings about sex and also to improved sexual performance and enjoyment.

However, if you’re open to adventure, a little more creativity and experimentation could be in order for using them with a partner. We’ll continue to talk about this because a vibrator could be a terrific aid to the particular issues involved in sex after menopause.

No doubt about it, vibrators have gone mainstream. We may have resistance to using them from the unsavory associations that linger from our youth, but there’s no reason to perpetuate a bad rap, especially when there are a lot of great reasons to use a vibrator at this stage of the game. 


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