Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Gay and Bisexually Identified Men in the United States


Michael Reece, PhD, MPH, Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, HPER 116, 1025 East Seventh Street, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA. Tel: 8128550068; Fax: 8128553936; E-mail:


Introduction.  Recent reports indicate that vibrator use during solo and partnered sexual activities is common among heterosexual men and women in the United States. However, little research has comprehensively assessed vibrator use among gay and bisexually identified men.

Aims.  This study sought to document the extent to which gay and bisexually identified men report using vibrators, the sexual and relational situations within which they use them, and how men use vibrators on their own and their partners' bodies.

Methods.  Data were collected from 25,294 gay and bisexually identified men from 50 U.S. states and from the District of Columbia via an internet-based survey.

Main Outcome Measure.  Measures included sociodemographics, health-related indicators, sexual behaviors, and those related to recent and past use of vibrators during solo and partnered sexual interactions with other men.

Results.  Approximately half (49.8%) of gay and bisexually identified men reported having used vibrators. Most men who had used a vibrator in the past reported use during masturbation (86.2%). When used during partnered interactions, vibrators were incorporated into foreplay (65.9%) and intercourse (59.4%). Men reported frequent insertion of vibrators into the anus or rectum when using them during masturbation (87.3%), which was also common during partnered interactions (∼60%), but varied slightly for casual and relationship sex partners. For both masturbation and partnered interactions, men overwhelmingly endorsed the extent to which vibrator use contributed to sexual arousal, orgasm, and pleasure.

Conclusions.  Vibrator use during both solo and partnered sexual acts was common among the gay and bisexually identified men in this sample and was described by men as adding to the quality of their sexual experiences. Reece M, Rosenberger JG, Schick V, Herbenick D, Dodge B, and Novak DS. Characteristics of vibrator use by gay and bisexually identified men in the United States. J Sex Med 2010;7:3467–3476.