How Sex Toys Impact Relationships

Do they always increase satisfaction?

The popularity of adult toys has increased over the past decade. Research suggests that the taboos surrounding vibrators and other devices intended to increase individual or mutual pleasure are dissolving as more individuals (and couples) reach for a far more intimate type of technology.

Enhancing physical pleasure undoubtedly enhances sexual enjoyment. But how does using sex toys impact the satisfaction that both partners derive from their overall relationship? Some novel research into the prevalence and demographics of sex toy use sheds light on this question — and the results indicate that pleasure in bed and pleasure in a relationship may differ slightly for partners depending on their gender.

Source: Pexels

A large nationally representative study led by researcher Michael Reece, Ph.D., examined the prevalence of vibrator use among heterosexual men in the U.S. Intriguingly, heterosexual men who had used sex toys with their partners reported lower levels of sexual satisfaction than men who had never used a sex toy with their partners. The researchers couldn’t say for sure why satisfaction was lower in this cohort. But given that most heterosexual men who had used vibrators with a partner reported doing so to increase their partner’s pleasure (as opposed to their own) it’s possible that these men’s sexual satisfaction was unchanged by the introduction of a vibrator and may have already been lower, to begin with.

That said, it may also be the case that some heterosexual men who have used vibrators with their partners (either because their partner suggested they do so or because they organically thought it could improve their partner’s enjoyment of sex) felt that having to use a vibrator reflected poorly on their own sexual ability. If this were the case it would make sense that their sexual satisfaction remained low. (No one likes to feel they’re not good in bed.)

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