Only recently, the stigma of women using vibrators for sexual pleasure has started to fade; however, it still remains a societal taboo and is surrounded with anxiety despite a variety of potential health benefits from its use. Due to the sensitive nature of the conditions Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS) specialists treat, they are best suited to recommend vibrators to women as a health maintenance intervention. The aim of this study is to review the literature on women specific health benefits of vibrator use.
We performed a systematic review of PubMed, clinicaltrials.gov, Ovid and the Cochrane databases from inception to July 2021. The search was based on the keywords: “sex toy woman”, “pelvic vibrator”, “sexual stimulation vibrator”, “vaginal vibrator” “vibrator pelvic floor”, “vibrator incontinence”. Five hundred forty-nine relevant articles were identified. Studies that met inclusion criteria (original research, female subjects, vibrators studied for health benefit) were reviewed. Exclusion criteria included expert opinion or content was not related to our aims. A total of 18 original studies met the criteria and were reviewed in depth.
The identified studies were categorized into four themes: sexual function (9), pelvic floor muscles (2), incontinence (6), and vulvodynia (1). 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. Vibratory
stimulation improved pelvic floor muscle strength, vulvodynia, and improved incontinence.
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. Considering the potential pelvic health benefits of vibrators, their recommendation to women should be included in our pelvic floor disorder treatment armamentarium.