Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use among Women who have Sex with Women


Vanessa Schick, PhD, The Center for Sexual Health Promotion, HPER 116, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA. Tel: (812) 856-0790; Fax: (812) 855-3936; E-mail:


Introduction.  Research suggests that vibrator use may be more prevalent among lesbian/bisexual-identified women. However, previous research has been limited by small samples of lesbian- and bisexual-identified women and has not focused specifically on the characteristics of vibrator use between women.

Aims.  The present study was designed in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of women's use of vibrators with their female sexual partners and to understand the extent to which vibrator use is related to their sexual experiences.

Methods.  Data were collected via a cross-sectional web-based survey from 2,192 women living in the United States and the United Kingdom. All participants reported engaging in sexual behavior with only women in the previous year.

Main Outcome Measures.  Sociodemographic characteristics, vibrator use history, vibrator use perceptions, and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI).

Results.  Over three-quarters of women in the sample reported a history of vibrator use during solo masturbation/with a female partner and over a quarter of the sample reported use in the previous month. Participants who were older, white, and in a long-term relationship were the most likely to use a vibrator with a female partner in the previous year. Vibrator use lifetime history was unrelated to all FSFI subscales with the exception of pain for lesbian and queer-identified women. In contrast to lifetime use, participants who used a vibrator with a female sexual partner in the previous month scored higher on several of the FSFI domains than women who reported no vibrator use or vibrator use only during solo masturbation in the past month.

Conclusions.  Vibrator use was common among this sample of women who have sex with women. Women who reported recent vibrator use with other women had higher mean sexual functioning scores than women who reported no vibrator use or vibrator use only during masturbation. Implications for health-care providers are discussed. Schick V, Herbenick D, Rosenberger JG, and Reece M. Prevalence and characteristics of vibrator use among women who have sex with women. J Sex Med **;**:**–**.