DIY Sex Toys

Why does the purple Magic Marker smell like ass?

"How big a salami (or similar meat roll) can a woman fit in her vagina?"

"I read that someone made a dildo for anal penetration using mashed potatoes stuffed into a condom which was tied at the end. Can you give me the instructions for such a device?"

"Is it safe to stick candles up your ass? If so, how many?"

I get at least one letter a week asking me about making homemade sex toys or using household objects and food for libidinous purposes. People have queried me about the penetrative possibilities of marbles, high-heeled shoes, bottles, squash, cucumbers, carrots, Popsicles, and even M&Ms ("Do they melt in your mouth, not in your ass?"). One of the first columns I wrote ("Hot Potato Sex," December 22–28, 1999) was a profile of a woman who carved dildos out of potatoes; she swore that no store-bought cock could compare. Lots of people have told me their childhood stories of shoving Magic Markers and other innocuous yet phallic objects into various orifices. I understand the curiosity that impels one to find other uses for that Crayola eight-pack and the knowledge and satisfaction it can bring. But it always puzzles me when grown-up folks seem just as interested in doin' themselves and their partners with do-it-yourself dongs.

Porn may have popularized the baseball-bat-as-diddling-device (thanks, Belladonna), but I blame the crafting craze and home improvement TV shows for turning everyone into an amateur sex toy inventor. Perhaps the best collection of non-store-bought items can be found on a site called Homemade Sex Toys (homemade-sex-toys.com). Can't afford one of those masturbation-assisting penis sleeves like the Fleshlight? Click on instructions for creating a "fake pussy" out of a melon or several water balloons! There are also details on making a blow-up doll using trash bags and a vacuum, a jerk-off device that involves a condom and a paper towel tube, and one that requires only a plastic bag and couch cushions. Then there are similar uses for PVC piping (is this the realreason why Christopher Lowell is so obsessed with making everything from table legs to curtain rods out of PVC piping?), shampoo bottles, sponges, bars of soap, and bubble wrap. I still don't understand the benefits of the one with the sock and the latex glove, and the three barstools just seems stupid.

The passages, which come illustrated with black-and-white cartoons, were obviously written by a guy since nearly all of the stuff you can make is for cocks. It's baffling, though, that whoever put the site together couldn't come up with anything better in the "Toys for Women" section than a banana or a blanket. With all that's phallic in the world, I'd expect a longer list. Girls fare better in the reader's-advice section with anecdotes about electric toothbrushes and a how-to guide in which dildo plus pumpkin equals poor man's Sybian (sybian.com).

When I first found homemade-sex-toys.com, I was sure it was a joke. I still think it might be. While the writing can be cheeky and goofy, some of it is also remarkably detailed, sometimes including photos of step-by-step instructions (the one for how to turn your PC into a fuck machine is the strangest by far).

Don't get me wrong: I am all for everyone masturbating more and being inventive while you do it—you know, changing up the ol' jack-off routine. And I love the idea of using your imagination to pervert everyday items, like turning the Oral B Sonic Care toothbrush into a great clit-stimulating vibrator. But what, besides a creative imagination, is behind the desire to use things that aren't sex toys as sex toys? There are certainly financial considerations and lack of access to sex toy purveyors for some. Other people may be embarrassed to purchase something whose only purpose is to get you off. If a nosy friend finds an oversize hairbrush with a smooth rounded handle on your nightstand, you can say you love to detangle before bed, but a dual-action rabbit pearl vibe with a ring of rotating beads, well . . . Fantasies that involve nonsexual items being used sexually indulge the idea that you're so horny, you just had to grab whatever was around. I also think that some people like the sheer naughtiness of using something ordinary and innocent in a dirty and perverted way.

But before you raid the medicine cabinet or the fridge for your next orgasm, realize there are some risks involved with sticking stuff in your holes that wasn't meant to be there or sticking your dick in places it wasn't meant to go. If you're gonna put your pecker somewhere, make sure it's clean and made of a non-irritating material; if you're allergic to latex or rubber, skip the bubble wrap. Same goes for anything you're considering putting in your pussy or ass—no need for solo sex that requires an antihistamine. When it comes to your butt, don't put anything in there that could get lost (sorry, candle lovers); stick to objects with a flared base. And remember that the tissue of the rectum can absorb substances quickly, so those champagne-soaked strawberries are not a good idea.

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