When you think of male masturbators, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Probably a long plastic container with a soft, textured sleeve inside – maybe modelled on the vagina or anus of your favourite porn star. The aim of the original male masturbators – including Fleshlight and other brands – was to try and recreate the sensation of a vagina or anus, as well as some of the visual appeal.
But not all male masturbators are designed to do the same thing – PULSE SOLO ESSENTIAL, for instance, isn’t trying to replicate anything, rather it’s designed to give you the kind of sensation you probably couldn’t get from having sex.
So how do you choose the best masturbator?
There’s no good answer to this question – it’s a bit like asking which is the best kind of cheese, or the most exciting TV series of all time: it depends a lot on your preference, as well as your mood at the time.
‘Realistic’ masturbators like Fleshlight are designed to feel similar to a vagina or anus. They’re usually made from a kind of squishy, skin-textured material. Fleshlight has a number of patents on their ‘SuperSkin’, but similar masturbation sleeves are often made from thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) or silicone. The internal textures and tighnesses vary depending on the design, and the external ‘visual’ element could be a mouth, an anus or a vagina. Fleshlight has even released special ‘halloween’ editions before, with a vampire mouth at the entrance complete with fangs. Perfect for Twilight fetishists.
However, other toys – what we’ll call here ‘abstract’ masturbators, don’t look anything like anyone who’d hop into bed with you on a Saturday night. The aim with these is to create an incredible sensation on your penis and make something that looks visually appealing without being too biological. Tenga, for instance, is a Japanese company that makes masturbators similar to the Fleshlight, but instead of decorating them with a mouth or an anus, they instead give their toys abstract patterns to make unique sensations as you use them.
Then there are toys like the PULSE SOLO ESSENTIAL: these are technically masturbators, in that you masturbate with them. But that’s where the similarity with toys like Fleshlight end. PULSE SOLO ESSENTIAL has ‘wings’ which wrap around your penis rather than a sleeve for you to penetrate – this makes the toy much easier to use at any stage of play, even before you have an erection. But the main event is the oscillating PulsePlate: originally used in medical technology to help men with spinal injuries orgasm, we’ve embedded the PulsePlate in the PULSE SOLO ESSENTIAL so that it sits tight up against the most sensitive part of the penis, just below the head. When you turn it on, the deep, oscillating vibrations travel through the head and right down through your penis, giving you an orgasm that’s like nothing you’ve experienced before.
So which is better? Well, it depends on what you’re after at the time. We definitely think that if you’ve got the money, getting different toys for different times is a great plan.
Realistic male masturbators like the Fleshlight are particularly good if you enjoy the visual aspect – or if you have a favourite porn star and you want to support their work (and shag something that’s modelled on them). Cheaper, unbranded masturbators (such as those available from Lovehoney) are also great starter toys if you want to experiment with male masturbators but you don’t have much cash to splash.
The PULSE DUO is a completely unique toy – the oscillation will give you sensations you can’t get elsewhere, so it’s particularly good if you’re feeling adventurous. The fact that it can be used hands-free (no, really!) means it’s also great for using while you’re browsing porn – we’ve even had someone tell us he likes to wear his PULSE SOLO ESSENTIAL in the shower: he washes his hair while he has an orgasm! On a more serious note, the ‘hands-free orgasm’ factor means that PULSE is particularly good for people with mobility issues. We’ve heard from plenty of PULSE users who have arthritis, or spinal injuries that mean they don’t have the motor control to use a traditional masturbator. It’s also great for those with erectile dysfunction, because PULSE can be used whether you have an erection or not.
What’s more we’ve heard from plenty of people who enjoy both – sometimes they want the vibrating sensations, and other times they prefer the sensation of a sleeve-style masturbator. What’s more, with a choice of more than one masturbator, you can mix it up in one session – switching from manual stimulation, to a sleeved texture, to vibrations, creating a smorgasboard of sensation.