Over the past 30 years, I've answered thousands of sex questions for magazines and Web sites. Many women have asked: "How can I get my man to welcome a vibrator into bed with us?"
This question comes as no surprise. Since the 1980s when vibrators became popular, most men have considered them the lonely gal's friend, solo toys for women. Indeed, vibrators are marvelous solo sex enhancers, but because most men view them only as women's masturbation aids, few men have considered welcoming them into partner sex.
That continues to be the case, according to the first survey of men's vibrator use, a 2008 University of Indiana study. The researchers interviewed 1,047 men, age 18 to 60. Forty-five percent said they'd been involved in partner vibrator play at least once. But only 14 percent said they'd played with a vibrator during the last year, and just 10 percent during the previous month.
Men generally have two objections to adding vibrators to partner sex. Some believe they are "unnatural." Others fear "being replaced by a machine."
There's nothing unnatural about vibrators. They are as natural as candlelight, music, lingerie, champagne, and lubricants.
As for being replaced, consider power tools. They don't replace carpenters. They just get the job done more efficiently...while adding pleasure and spice. Vibrators can't hold a woman close, kiss her, make her laugh, share her joys and heartaches, or say "I love you." They do just one thing, and many women enjoy that one thing very much as part of lovemaking. Some need it to have orgasms.
So I'm on a little mission to promote more buzz in the bedroom. In addition to enhancing many women's partner sex pleasure, vibrators also help men. In the survey, men who used vibrators regularly reported improved sexual function: more desire, better erections, more intense orgasms, and greater overall satisfaction.
Now, it's not clear if vibrator use, per se, improves sex for men, or if men who are sexually satisfied are simply more open to using them. My guess: Some of both. But with only 14 percent of men playing with vibrators in the past year, many women are probably wishing that men would welcome them into partner lovemaking.
Ladies, I have a suggestion. Rent the DVD The OH! in Ohio, a sweet little under-appreciated independent feature from 2006 starring Parker Posey, Paul Rudd, Danny DeVito, and Liza Minnelli. Posey plays Priscilla Chase, a successful Cleveland advertising executive who has never had an OH! She wishes things were different, for her sake and for the sake of her marriage. Her husband (Rudd) considers the marriage a failure because she can't come. A friend sends Priscilla to a women's sexuality workshop led by an inspired Liza Minnelli, who introduces her to vibrators. For Priscilla, it's love at first buzz, and when she sets her phone on vibrate and slips it into her underwear before an important business meeting, hilarity ensues. Meanwhile, her husband fears he's being replaced by a machine. He confides in a friend who assures him that vibrators rock partner sex.
In some ways, The OH! In Ohio is a silly romantic comedy. But it's also the best pro-vibrator movie ever made. If your man feels reluctant to welcome a vibrator into bed, The OH! In Ohio just might change his mind. It's available through Netflix.
The study: Reece, M. et al. "Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Men in the United States," Journal of Sexual Medicine (2009) 6:1867.