Perhaps there’s a shame attached to male sex toys because of the way society has traditionally presented sex and masturbation. For hundreds of years, masturbation was seen as a firmly ‘male’ activity – something that women either didn’t or couldn’t do. What’s more, sex itself was presented as a universal good on the part of the blokes: if you get your end away you should be happy. That leads to an assumption that men will chase whatever orgasms they can get, and should be pleased with whatever happens. Saying ‘I actually want something a bit special when I masturbate’ would sound strange, and asking for male sex toys would be met with cries of ‘what’s wrong with your hand?’
When female sex toys enjoyed an explosion in sales (in part boosted by the phenomenal success of the Ann Summers rampant rabbit, which featured on Sex and the City) male sex toys were still sold in a hush-hush way. To this day, sex toys for women are often touted as a brilliant addition to couples sex – either watching her use it or getting him to use it on her. How often do you see the same advice given to men?
It’s rare, no? Well, it shouldn’t be. Part of our mission to promote sex not stigma involves giving guys the message that there’s nothing shameful about sex toys for men. There’s no need to hide them away or whisper about them in secret: they can be as much a part of a healthy sex life as sex toys for women can. And that includes solo sex as well as coupled sex.
Sex toys for men: challenging the stigma We know as well as anyone that this message isn’t always easy to get across. The problem with cultural norms is that they’re often deeply ingrained. It’s not just a question of putting out a press release that says ‘Sex Toys For Men Are Acceptable – No More Shame Now!’, change takes time.
Luckily for us (and men everywhere), there are plenty of awesome people out there challenging the stigma surrounding sex toys for men. Here are a few of our favourite articles.
Nichi Hodgson recently spoke to Dazed about sex toys for men, explaining that:
In June last year, the Independent published a great article which examined attitudes towards sex toys for men, including a couple of fascinating insights:
This question’s a rhetorical one, because obviously we think the answer is yes! While there are plenty of articles out there which talk about the progress we’re making in terms of embracing male sex toys, many men are still unsure of their status. Should they show their partners what they have in their sex toy drawer? Is it OK for them to drop massive hints about getting PULSE Sex Toy for Valentine’s Day or Christmas? Our answer is hell yes. When we’re challenging outdated attitudes, it always takes a few brave souls to speak up and tell their own stories. The more who do it, the easier it becomes for the next person to say ‘we do!’