One of the perks of working for HotOctopuss is that you get to see all the latest gossip and chat about sex toys. Every day we get to see the latest tweets, videos and news stories about the latest gadgets and gizmos for your dick, and as a result we get to be ahead of the penis-pleasure curve. So to speak.
Sadly that comes with a couple of down-sides: we often come across some very bad sex advice, not to mention countless articles advising men on how to ‘make your own sex toys’ (protip: don’t do this. Before you even think about it go check out these DIY sex toy fails, then put down your gaffer tape before you do yourself some damage). Alongside these facepalm moments, one video in particular has been cropping up in our Twitter timeline with more regularity than others, so we wanted to address a few concerns.
What’s wrong with the ‘men try sex toys’ video?
Reinforcing sex toy stigma
The tricky thing about challenging stereotypes and stigma (as we know all too well from our #SexNotStigma campaign) is that you often have to state up-front what it is you’re fighting against. And this video has stereotypes in abundance. Within the first thirty seconds there are plenty of examples of the kind of sex toy stigma we’ve been trying to crush for years. For example:
“I don’t think men need sex toys.”
“Women have more specific sexual needs than men do.”
“For me I can bump into a table and have an orgasm.”
“Dicks aren’t complicated.”
It’s fair enough – these are real people with opinions, and sometimes you have to ask for people’s opinions before you can start (hopefully) changing their minds. But these opinions are often the result of people not understanding the sheer possibilities of male sex toys. Sure, it might be great for some guys that they can have an orgasm really easily, but there are many people for whom orgasms are hard to come by – people with erectile dysfunction, for instance, or those with limited mobility. For many of these people, those stereotypes will ring as untrue as a claim that everyone can dance the macarena without having to look up the moves on YouTube.
They picked deliberately weird looking toys
Let’s be honest: if someone has never seen a Fleshlight before, they’re going to get a bit of a shock when they’re first confronted with one. We hope the people at Fleshlight won’t take any offence when we explain that their toys are – to the untrained eye – basically simulated genitals in a can. Fair enough that the men trying them for the first time were shocked.
But on top of that, the team making the video seemed to go out of their way to pick the ‘niche’ toys – bright blue, ‘alien’-style Fleshlights that look like sci-fi vaginas, or ‘vampire’ ones with sharp (if technically safe) canine teeth. In their defence, they did also include the Cobra Libre, which isn’t a toy designed to look like something you’d find bagged and labelled in a mortuary, but there was little evidence of the brilliant and sexy design that categorises many male sex toys today. To swing things back the other way, they also included the ‘autoblow’, a male sex toy that is so unwieldy you might as well have made a date with a giant anteater.
When you go out of your way to pick sex toys that look ‘weird’ or ‘freaky’, you immediately put all your testers on the back foot – making it harder for people to enjoy themselves as they wonder ‘does this make me weird?’ and even less likely to admit they’ve had fun afterwards. One guy describes the whole thing as ‘humiliating’, and you have to wonder if part of that was because he was being asked to shag one of the more ‘niche’ toys, rather than something that looked appealing to the eye.
Perpetuates shame around masturbation
“I don’t know if I’m a feminist any more. I don’t know if I can call myself that,” says one poor bloke after being subjected to the ‘weird’ treatment. Understandably perplexed, as a first-time user of male sex toys, to be confronted with a big vibrating bum, he worries that the ‘objectifying’ nature of some sex toys doesn’t say good things about him.
Firstly, we’d like to reassure this gentleman that masturbating with a sex toy is not ‘anti-feminist’. Sure, some sex toys are fairly realistic – in that they look like genitals. But if that doesn’t appeal to you, please don’t sweat it – there are plenty that don’t look like that. PULSE II SOLO, for instance, has been in turns described as ‘a Daft Punk helmet’, a ‘Darth Vader helmet’ and ‘like something Batman would wank with.’
Never ones to end on a negative note, we wanted to point out that the video isn’t all bad – more discussion of male sex toys can only be a good thing – encouraging men to take a punt on something they may never have tried before, and showing them that different kinds of orgasms can be had with toys that do new and exciting things to your junk.
Good things about the ‘men try sex toys’ video
9 million people have watched it
That means there are potentially 9 million people out there who have been turned on to a new thing!
They have inspired people to try new stuff
Shoutout here to the guy who said ‘I could see using this with a partner as a way to change things up.’ Oh, my friend, you can do so much more – check out the PULSE II DUO (designed for couples use) and a few of our favourite smoking hot couples’ vibrator tips.
It may help challenge some of the sex toy stigma
One of our favourite participants actually ends by saying ‘the experience took away a lot of the stigma for me.’ And another just throws his arms wide, grins broadly, and says:
“AWESOME. It. Was. Awesome.”
We’re with you, friend. We’re with you.
If this video has sparked your curiosity about the joy of sex toys, then now’s as good a time as any to pick up a PULSE II SOLO (or a PULSE II DUO for couples) and see what all the ‘AWESOME’ fuss is about.
And to all those who worked on the Buzzfeed video – we love you really. Thanks for creating the video, and giving us another opportunity to push for #SexNotStigma.