The words sex toy usually bring to mind women using vibrators like the beloved Hitachi Magic Wand, or gay males wearing nipple clamps. But when a hetero friend of mine shared his history of sex toy play (even confessing to having a stash of vibrators, and waiting for the right woman to use them with) I began to think about the ways that straight men get off with sex gadgets too. When I asked a few guys to share their toy stories, I expected to hear tales of boyfriends sharing in their girls' vibrator play, but what I got were hot missives about bend-over boyfriends, solo anal penetration, bondage, and more.
"Neil" and "Claire" attend college in the Midwest, but when the adventurous couple wants a new sex toy they head to New York's Babeland, where they bought their first strap-on. Neil has been sticking things up his ass since he was eight years old, "before I even knew what masturbation was," he says. But it wasn't until he started dating Claire and they both confessed their interest in sex toys that his fantasy became reality. Now, they have six dildos of varying sizes and a collection of vibrators. They like to take turns being the one getting "done" with their toys, which they put into play about a third of the time they have sex. "We try to do everything to each other, because neither of us wants to miss out," Neil explains. "The first few times she used the strap-on on me, I came harder than I ever had. It was just amazing; I think it has to do with being the person getting fucked; that was new for me."
Neil's not the only hetero male seeking out women-friendly sex toys. According to Carolyn Riccardi, Education Coordinator for Babeland New York (babeland.com), 35 percent of their customers are men, and their most popular boys' toys are the Sonic Ring, a vibrating cock ring, the Blossom Sleeve, and the Aneros prostate stimulator. She recommends vibrators that men and women can both use, together or apart. "One of the best ways to incorporate a sex toy into your play is using a vibe as a massager," says Riccardi. "Tease out stress by using the Blueberry Buzz to give your guy a delicious back massage while tantalizing him with where the vibrator might go next." Writing team Em & Lo (emandlo.com) have just authored an A-Z guidebook, Em & Lo's Sex Toy (Chronicle, 2006), which covers all the bases.
Even I learned a lot (there's a set of anal beads marketed as the "Grapes of Writhe") about what's currently on the market. "We often hear guys whine that there are no sex toys out there for them," the authors explain. Their top picks? Penis vibrators like Babeland's Hugger, the Fukuoku finger vibrator and glove, and the Aneros plug, "which is like a butt plug except it's designed for solo play because it's totally controlled by the guy's ass muscles," they explain. If you're looking for a prostate massage that'll leave your hands free to roam, the Aneros may be for you.
One of the best-known boy-centric toys is the Fleshlight (fleshlight.com), a sleeve filled with soft, squishy material that guys can thrust their cocks into to mimic the sensation of fucking a woman's pussy. I've seen the basic one at sex toy stores, but had no idea they come in all sorts of varieties (mouth, butt, lady, and "non-descript"). One "soccer dad" told me he's experimented with cock rings and masturbation sleeves, even attaching one to his computer to try out some virtual reality software, but he much prefers a woman than an object in his bed. "Why mess with those things when I have a real pussy in front of me?"
Sonic ring: A pliable cock ring
photo: courtesy of babeland.com
That's a perfectly valid attitude, but it's not an either/or situation. Sex toys can be a stimulating addition to a partnered or solo sex life. Just as a guy shouldn't be threatened by his girl's pocket rocket, a girl can expand the sexual possibilities with her man by taking a few friends (of the non-talking, battery-powered variety) into bed. One friend, "Bill," discovered the thrill of backdoor action after he deflowered a girlfriend's "starfish," as Em & Lo delicately call the anus. "She fucked me just like I fucked her, ramming it in and out of my asshole while alternately masturbating me and administering little slaps to my hanging balls," he details. This may not be for everyone, but there are a variety of styles and sizes out there, from the little flirt butt plug to the masterpiece of my fellow columnist, the Tristan 2.
Violet Blue (tinynibbles.com), author of The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Sex Toys (Cleis, 2006), has a recommendation I can totally get behind: lube, lube, and more lube! "More guys need to experiment with different kinds of lube, even if just for jacking off. It's surprising how few men use lube, when there's this whole fun, slippery world of creams, butters, and different kinds of gels and super-slippery silicones," says the San Franciscobased author. "Playing with this stuff will inform their next partnered encounter as well." She's also a fan of stretchy jelly rubber rings that can go over the cock or balls. "You can layer them from tip to base to make your cock fatter and for different sensations; you can lube up and stroke yourself with a fistful."
While sex toy use and masturbation are generally personal rituals, the voyeur in me can't help but perk up at the idea of a guy showing off his masturbation techniques, even inviting me along for the ride. I don't know if others share my proclivities, but I'd be all about drizzling some lube onto a lover's waiting cock and then watching him slowly, sensually jerk himself off. Masturbation isn't necessarily a solo act, and whether you get by with a little help from some lube, a sleeve, plug, clamps, or even a video camera, or just your hands and imagination, letting a lover get a sneak peek could transform your relationship.
Quality toys can be pricey, but there are many simple household items that do the job just as well. I'm not talking about fucking fruits or veggie dildos, but judicious use of ice, rulers, wooden spoons, and clothespins can add sizzle to your sex life. A quick, not so sexy PSA: Beware of softening-agents phthalates in your toys; they're toxic, and can cause liver or kidney damage, and possibly cancer. Remember that toys are meant to add pleasure, not cause you to stress out because you like the smaller version or the "girlie" vibrator rather than the monster dildo. It's not a competition, and sex toys aren't for everyone. It's not about having the most toys, but about having the most fun with your toys.
Please visit rachelkramerbussel.com.
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