Masturbation has many benefits, but new research has found that the use of sex toys may carry benefits beyond the perks of self-pleasure for females. The findings come following a review of existing research into the use of vibrators and their influence on female health and found that, if we could all learn to ditch the taboo, they could even be prescribed as part of a treatment plan.
“Only recently, the stigma of women using vibrators for sexual pleasure has started to fade,” wrote the authors on the paper published in the American Urological Association’s Journal of Urology. “However, it still remains a societal taboo and is surrounded with anxiety despite a variety of potential health benefits from its use.”
Whatever revolutions take place between the sheets, issues pertaining to the pelvic area are likely to remain a sensitive subject between patients and their health providers. It could be, then, that employing the use of vibrators for improved health outcomes is a suggestion that needs to come from specialists in female pelvic health.
Of course, for health professionals to back such therapies there needs to be robust, scientific evidence that their benefits exist. So, the study authors went looking for them.
In search of the perks of vibrators, they waded through papers from PubMed, clinicaltrials.gov, Ovid and the Cochrane databases written between their inception and July 2021. They were on the lookout for anything that pertained to a rich variety of keywords: "sex toy woman", "pelvic vibrator", "sexual stimulation vibrator", "vaginal vibrator” "vibrator pelvic floor", and “vibrator incontinence”.
Their search yielded 549 results, of which 18 were found to meet the criteria for their specific research purposes. They surrounded issues such as sexual function, pelvic floor strength, incontinence, and chronic pain at the vulva known as vulvodynia.
The promising results found in the (albeit small) sample of 18 relevant papers, the researchers say, is indicative of vibrators’ potential as therapeutic devices.
“Among the identified studies, vibrators were considered as an accepted modality to enhance a woman’s sexual experience and positively correlated with increased sexual desire, satisfaction, and overall sexual function,” they wrote. “Vibratory stimulation improved pelvic floor muscle strength, vulvodynia, and improved incontinence.”
While heading to the drugstore with a prescription for a vibrator may remain a prospect for the future rather than now, the study authors hope their findings demonstrate that this is a worthy avenue for further research hoping to uncover new therapies for a range of female health conditions.
“Vibrators are not well studied and given the promising benefits demonstrated in the articles identified, more research efforts should be directed towards investigating their utility,” they concluded. “Considering the potential pelvic health benefits of vibrators, their recommendation to women should be included in our pelvic floor disorder treatment armamentarium.”
(Oh, and in case – like us – you’re not familiar with an “armamentarium”, it basically means a therapeutic tool kit, but we liked the way it sounds a bit like preparing for war with vibrators.)