Prevalence, Comfort With, and Characteristics of Sex Toy Use in a US Convenience Sample using

Main Article Content

Emily Fippen
Dr. George Gaither


Although Döring and Poeschl (2020) have presented findings on the use of a broader range of sex toys from a German national sample, little is known about the prevalence and characteristics of users of a broad range of sex toys in the United States. The present study aims to examine the prevalence, characteristics of, and comfort with sex toys among a sample of American adults (n = 231). Within this study, the term “sex toy” refers to any object used directly on the body (e.g., vibrator, dildo, handheld masturbator), while “sexual aids” refers to items that may enhance sexual pleasure or libido (e.g., lubrication, aphrodisiacs). We used survey data that was previously collected in 2020 using and Ball State University’s Communications Center to solicit participation. Using data from Döring & Poeschl (2020) to assess sex toy use, we added questions regarding participant comfortability using sex toys in the past. If the participant had never previously used sex toys but would be willing to do so in the future, we asked about the perceived comfort of using a sex toy. We also asked about the perceived positive and negative effects of toy use, as well as a number of possible predictors of use including personality, sexuality, mental health, and trauma-related experiences (sexual assault, sex problems/dysfunctions, being diagnosed with PTSD). Our findings revealed that a significant portion of Americans have previously used sex toys. Among our participants who have never used a sex toy, a significant portion said they would be willing to try doing so in the future. Future research could examine prevalence, comfort with, and characteristics of sex toy use among a more sexually and racially diverse sample. Implications for sexual health will be discussed in terms of the Positive Sexuality and Positive Technology frameworks.

Author Biography

Dr. George Gaither, Ball State University

George Gaither, PhD, is an associate psychological science professor at Ball State University. Dr. Gaither works in private practice, and contributes to research regarding human sexuality and LGBTQ issues. 

Article Details

sex toys, sexual aids, sexual dysfunction, sexual assault, convenience sampling
How to Cite
Fippen, E., & Gaither, G. (2023). Prevalence, Comfort With, and Characteristics of Sex Toy Use in a US Convenience Sample using Graduate Student Journal of Psychology, 20.