DOI: 10.1093/jsxmed/qdae001.103 ISSN: 1743-6095

(109) Characterization of Traditional and Household Items Used Globally for Sexual Pleasure Amongst Adults

I Ikedionwu, DH Jung, J Sun, A Pearlman, OA Raheem
  • Urology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Psychiatry and Mental health



Sexual health is an important aspect of overall health. Though sex toys are commonly used by people of all genders, little research exists to explore their safety and efficacy when it comes to optimizing pleasure and improving sexual function in various patient populations. Global barriers to use of sex toys, including limited access, legality, and cost, also have important implications on people being able to use these devices. Household devices have been used, likely as they provide more accessible, cost effective means of optimizing pleasure, though no research exists to assess safety and efficacy of such items.


The purpose of our study is to categorize the demographics, usage, behaviors, and safety concerns of adults who use traditional and household items for sexual pleasure.


An electronic survey was distributed across several Reddit forums, including r/sex, r/menshealth, and r/womenshealth. People who consented were 18 years of age or older and those who answered “yes” to having used household item(s) for sexual pleasure were invited to participate in the survey. Demographic information was collected about survey respondents. Types of traditional and household tools used for sexual pleasure were also recorded along with degree of satisfaction, cost, and safety concerns for each item used.


Two hundred thirty-four people responded to the survey over a 72 hour period. Seventy-five percent of those who started the survey, completed it. Participants were most commonly from the United States (40%), Canada (7%), and the United Kingdom (5%). Forty-eight percent did not specify their country of residence. Fifty-five percent of respondents were between the ages of 18 and 45, with an almost even split between men (30%), women (36%), and not specified (35%). The most popular traditional sex toys used were vibrators (n=112), dildos (n=90), and anal toys (n=70). Showerheads (n=92), pillows, (n=52), and electric/pulsating toothbrushes (n=50) were the most common household items used for sexual pleasure. The leading safety concerns were cleanliness and hygiene (n=87) followed by allergies and insensitivity (n=50).


The global sex toy market is a multi-billion dollar industry. The sexual medicine literature is expanding to now include the use of sex toys and tools in various patient populations, though much is still unknown, particularly when it comes to the use of household items used for pleasure. Our study suggests that use of traditional and household items for sexual pleasure can be both safe and effective. When considering global barriers to the use of sex toys, understanding the safety and efficacy of household items is critical, as these may expand our armamentarium of tools to offer patients.



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