Since the work of Alfred Kinsey and his team of researchers in the mid-twentieth century, sex researchers worldwide have devoted their careers to contributing to a better understanding of human sexuality. One important, yet still underdeveloped, area of research is the influence of society and social norms in determining what people do (and do not do) sexually, and whether such influence varies across time, place, and social groups. One example of this type of research is investigating who uses sex toys, when, and for what purposes.
Researchers at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University published an article in this month’s issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior on the use of sex toys among gay- and bisexual-identified men in the United States. In their internet-based study of over 25,000 men, they found that the majority (nearly 80 percent) reporting having used at least one type of sex toy. In order, the most commonly reported sex toys used were dildos, non-vibrating cock rings, vibrators, butt plugs, masturbation sleeves, and anal beads or balls. Use of these toys were found commonly for solo sexual activity (i.e., masturbation) and activity with one’s sexual partner.
A Note On Safety
It would appear that the taboos against the use of sex toys are lessening. Indeed, sex toys can be a healthy part of one’s sexual activities, whether solo or with a partner. However, if you have questions about your personal use of sex toys in the context of your own health or medical questions or concerns, please check in with a healthcare provider such as a nurse or doctor.
Reviewed and updated July 2017.