Mind
Women and sex toys

Women and sex toys

Once considered taboo, the availability and use of products for enhancing sexual pleasure (i.e. sex toys) is becoming increasingly common in North America (Novak & Reece, 2012).

 

Nationally representative surveys in the United States indicate that 52.5% of women report having used a vibrator in their lives (Herbenick et al., 2009) in various sexual contexts, including masturbation, sexual intercourse and preliminary with a partner (Rosenberger & Reece, 2011). Academic interest in the use of sex toys has increased with their spread and use within sexual scenarios (Rosenberger et al., 2012). However, much of the research has focused exclusively on the use of vibrators, with few studies examining additional types of sex toys that women use to improve their sex life. Learning more about this topic can be extremely helpful in providing important information to doctors and educators about sexual pleasure and sexual health. It is also essential to understand the health implications of hygienic behaviors associated with the use of sex toys: previous research has revealed a relationship between vulvovaginal problems and the use of sex toys (Fethers et al., 2009) precisely because of incorrect cleaning of them or sharing between partners.

A recent study has aimed, in a sample of Canadian women (N = 1408), to (1) investigate the prevalence, frequency and type of sex toys, (2) investigate socio-demographic and behavioral predictors the use of sex toys, (3) describe the prevalence and frequency of sharing and hygiene behaviors and, finally, (4) examine whether the sharing of sex toys and the frequency with which participants clean their toys are related to the onset of medical conditions, such as HPV, bacterial infection (BV) and candida infections. Specifically, the participants had to complete an online questionnaire on: demographic information, orientation and sex education; questions aimed at investigating the use of sex toys specifically investigated the use of homemade or shop-bought sex toys (they could answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’), the frequency with which the toys were used (7 response options from ‘never’ to ‘every day’) and finally, an open question in which participants could specify the type of toy used; some questions deepened the participants’ sexual habits (vaginal, anal and oral intercourse), the sharing of sex toys and the hygiene practices used, finally, questions aimed at exploring the health of the participants, that is, if they had been diagnosed with HPV in the last six months , BV, candida and other infections. an open question in which participants could specify the type of toy used; some questions deepened the participants’ sexual habits (vaginal, anal and oral intercourse), the sharing of sex toys and the hygiene practices used, finally, questions aimed at exploring the health of the participants, that is, if they had been diagnosed with HPV in the last six months , BV, candida and other infections. an open question in which participants could specify the type of toy used; some questions deepened the participants’ sexual habits (vaginal, anal and oral intercourse), the sharing of sex toys and the hygiene practices used, finally, questions aimed at exploring the health of the participants, that is, if they had been diagnosed with HPV in the last six months , BV, candida and other infections.

The results showed that 52.3% of participants use or used sex toys: 24.7% use them once a week, 26.4% use them once a month or more, 14.7% use them less than once a week. year, and only 7.8% do not use them at all. As for the types of toys used, the most common is the vibrator (54.5%), 21.3% use the dildo and 9.3% have used toys related to BDSM activities (bondage, discipline, sadism, mascochism). Among the items reported less frequently are home – made toys such as the shower head, electric toothbrushes and others. The use of sex toys does not vary based on the age or status of singles or couples. In addition, the participants who most frequently use toys of this type, they are those who have a higher level of education and those who have declared that they are lesbian or bisexual. The results also show that the use of sex toys is significantly associated with the practice of oral and anal sex, in addition to the vaginal one, suggesting in turn an association of the same with a wider repertoire of sexual practices. 78.3% said they did not share their toys and 87.7% revealed that they do not use disposable cases. 96% of participants wash their toy, 71.5% of which before each use or after each use. The most commonly used disinfectant is water and the common intimate soap (69.7%). Among those who are used to sharing their sex toys, 25.5% had vaginal infections, of which 75.2% had candida infections, against 16.

In conclusion, the results of the study indicate that the use of sex toys is common among Canadian women and that participants use a variety of sex toys to improve their lives. Furthermore, the results have further implications for educators and professionals so that they can promote the use of sex toys in a way that is pleasant and at the same time recognizes the importance of the hygiene behaviors associated with them, in order to reduce the possibility of transmitting infections between partners. Of great interest for future research would be to investigate the contextual and motivational factors that influence women’s hygiene behaviors.