Introducing Sex Toys into Partner Sex

How can I get my man to feel okay about bringing a vibrator into bed with us?  Many women ask this question. On the one hand, no one should ever have to do anything sexually that they don’t want to do. If a man (or woman) is dead-set against incorporating a vibrator or other sex toys into the couple’s lovemaking, then that person’s wishes should be respected.

But on the other hand, many men (and a few women) express knee-jerk opposition to vibrators born mostly of unfamiliarity with the idea that they can enhance partner lovemaking.

A 2009 survey shows that 45 percent of American men have incorporated a vibrator into partner sex at least once and that 10 percent have done so in the past month. So some men are perfectly happy to bring vibrators into bed with them. But most are still not. That’s a shame because vibrators are a fast, easy, inexpensive way to increase the sexual pleasure of both women and men.

Vibrators Enhance Women’s Pleasure 

Chicago psychologist and sex researcher Laura Berman, Ph.D., is director of the Berman Center, which specializes in women’s sexual health. The Berman Center surveyed a random sample of 1,656 women of all races (white, black, Hispanic, and Asian), from all parts of the U.S. on their use of vibrators. This research stands as the most comprehensive study of women and vibrators to date.

One key finding is that vibrators are widely used by women from all walks of life:

  • Almost one-third of women age 18 to 60 currently use vibrators.
  •  As women’s educational level increases, so does their likelihood of vibrator use.
  • Children, income, and sexual orientation play no role in women’s likelihood to use vibrators.
  • Contrary to conventional wisdom, rural women are almost as likely as urban-suburban women to use them.
  • Contrary to conventional wisdom, single women are considerably less likely to use vibrators than women in couples.
  • Among women in couples, only 9 percent say their lover knows they own one. Of these partners, two-thirds actively support women’s vibrator use.

Other key findings are that vibrators enhance women’s sexual satisfaction.

  • Vibrators make it easier for women to become highly aroused.
  • They make it easier for women to have orgasms.
  • And they improve women’s overall sexual satisfaction.

In other words, when men welcome vibrators into partner lovemaking, men benefit. They gain lovers who become very turned on, and are more likely to have orgasms.

These simple facts should be enough to persuade many men to welcome vibrators into bed. Still, a considerable number or men (and a few women) raise objections.

“It Should Be Just You and Me” 

One objection men raise is that your twosome suddenly becomes a threesome—you, me, and IT, that thing. Taking a vibrator to bed with you certainly introduces a new element into partner sex, one that requires some getting used to. But most men don’t really believe that partner sex should involve just the two lovers. Most men feel comfortable with all sorts of erotic enhancements: music, candle light, lingerie, porn. Vibrators are just another enhancement.

“Nobody Else Uses Vibrators in Partner Sex”

Not true. According to a 208 survey, 45 percent of men have used a vibrator in partner sex and 10 percent have used one during the past month.

“I’m Not Good Enough?”

This is a big fear for many men, the idea that they’re being replaced by a machine. But the best carpenters use power tools.

 It’s true that vibrators deliver more intense stimulation than a man’s hands or tongue—or the woman’s own hand—can provide. But that’s all vibrators do. They can’t kiss, hug, snuggle up in bed, tell a joke, carry on a conversation, say “I love you,” or support a woman through the ups and downs of life. A woman who wants to introduce a vibrator into partner sex should make a point of distinguishing between the one thing the vibrator does well, and all the many things her lover does for her, both in and out of bed. Vibrators are toys, not replacements for men.

“Why Do You Need It?”

Many men are in the dark about why a woman might like to use a vibrator. There are several possible reasons:

  • Variety. Many women who enjoy other forms of sexual contact—and are orgasmic in other ways—still enjoy the special sensations vibrators provide. It’s like ice cream flavors. Why limit yourself to just a few when there are more to try?
  • Difficulty becoming aroused. Until around 40, most men become sexually aroused quite ealy. After 40, and especially after 50, things change. Men begin to experience what many women deal with throughout life—trouble becoming sexually aroused. Men need to understand that it’s normal for women to take quite a while to begin feel erotically aroused. That’s why the most fulfilling lovemaking is based on leisurely, playful, whole-body massage. It gives women the time they need to warm up to genital sex. Many women feel badly that they take “too long” to get turned on, or to have an orgasm. They fear the man will get bored or tired or disgusted. Vibrators help many women become highly aroused.
  • Can’t come without it. For some women, no amount of direct clitoral stimulation by hand or tongue can trigger orgasm. The only thing that does it is the intense stimulation a vibrator provides. Women in this situation typically feel inadequate, like something is wrong with them. Some women in this situation have histories of sexual abuse or emotional problems that might account for their inability to come without a vibrator. But for many others, there is no discernible cause. That’s just the way they are. They might be wonderful women in every other way. They just need a vibrator to come. That’s fine. It’s normal. The situation is similar to those who need glasses. Usually it’s not clear why their eyesight weakens. It just does. Fortunately, we have glasses for them—and vibrators for women who need them.

“I’m Afraid I Might Hurt You”

Vibrators deliver intense sensations, so intense that some men become concerned about hurting the woman. Many women are also concerned about this, and prefer to use the vibrator on themselves, even in bed with their man. That’s fine. The man can still hold the women lovingly, caress her, kiss her, and make her feel comfortable, safe, and loved. And many men enjoy watching as women use vibrators on their own vulvas and clitorises.

Begin with Lube 

If a man enjoys sex with music, candles etc., but not a vibrator, a good way to introduce vibes is to begin with a sexual lubricant. For most men, lubes are less intimidating than vibrators, and they instantly make sex more pleasurable. It’s a rare man who doesn’t like the feeling of a well-lubricated hand stroking his penis, and a well-lubricated vagina is easier for an erection to enter, especially erections after 45 or so that are not as firm as they once were. Once a man experiences the added pleasure lubricants provide, he often becomes more willing to try other sexual enhancements, such as vibrators.

If All Else Fails… 

You might buy the vibrator you want, leave it in plain sight, and gently mention that it helps you get turned on enough to have orgasms or enhance orgasm. Adam & Eve offers a wide variety of vibrators.

Or you might suggest a brief course of sex therapy. A sex therapist can help you both clarify your positions on this issue and work toward mutual accommodation. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, or the American Board of Sexology.


Berman, L. “The Health Benefits of Sexual Aids and Devices,” Berman Center, Chicago, 2004.

Reece, M. et al. “Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Men in the United States,” Journal of Sexual Medicine (2009) 6:1867.


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