How Common Are Vibrators, Exactly?

If you have at least one, you’re in the majority.

The science is clear: Vibrators are more than a “sex toy,” but rather an essential tool for sexual wellness. This is why the fact that 53% of American women between the ages of 18 and 60 use one isn’t surprising. It seems surprising that the number isn’t even higher.

This percentage comes from researchers at Indiana University, who published their findings in 2009, releasing the first-ever reported data about vibrator use from a nationally representative sample. Since then, no larger studies have shown a change in this percentage, though as sexual taboos have shifted and online shopping has made vibrators more accessible, it wouldn’t be out of bounds to assume that it’s increased at least a little since then.

According to data published by Statista, as of 2017, vibrators were the most commonly owned devices amongst women, with nearly 80% of sex toy owners above the age of 18 owning at least one — even more than the six out of 10 who own at least one form of lubricant.

Vibrators can (and should!) be used by people of all genders — and the researchers at Indiana University found that almost 45% of men between the ages of 18 and 60 use one during sex, too (again, as of 2009). This research found, across the board, that vibrator use was associated with better sexual function and better diligence with sexual health, with users more likely to have their annual gynecological check-ups than those who didn’t use vibrators.

A 2004 survey, which used a random sample of about 1,600 women aged 18 to 60, found that women ages 25 to 34 were most likely to ever have used a sex toy of any kind, and women ages 55 to 60 were equally likely to have tried one, but half as likely to currently use one. The survey also found, interestingly, that sex toys were more commonly used by women in relationships over single women.

Of course, over 15 years have passed since 2004 — so that data should also be viewed with a healthy shake of salt. What we do know is that attitudes to vibrators have shifted, as has accessibility (thanks to online shopping, for one). Today, we know there’s no age cut-off for vibrator use and there’s no shame in using one whether you have a partner or not. Pleasure is a right for everyone, and with this simple tool, it’s easier to prioritize your sexual wellbeing. That’s something we can all stand for.

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