Humping the Uncanny Valley: The Sexiness Gap in Men’s Sex Toys

Charles Emrich looks at the state of sex toys for men and plumbs some pretty distressing depths.

Note: This article is mostly about sex toys. As such, most of the links will be to sex toys. Every link in this article should be considered NSFW. Also, there are a bunch of pictures of pretty worrisome sex toys. Unless your workplace is pretty progressive, these too will likely be NSFW.

Around the Genderfight Privilege Manor, we’re pretty big on sex toys. We’ve got great piles of the things lying around. Cleaning up when the family comes to visit is always an adventure. I left out some clothespins one time and we only realized after one of Olivia’s siblings was fidgeting with them that they’d been freebies from a con and prominently displayed the branding of the “modern erotic gear” manufacturer who’d been giving them out. Adventures!
It was my birthday recently, and Olivia gave me basically the coolest gift. Olivia gave me a cock ring. She’d been eyeing it for months and not because I’m some card-carrying fan of cock rings. I’m neutral to positive about cock rings. But this was not just any cock ring: this was an obscenely gorgeous cock ring. It’s a single piece of stainless steel, teardrop-shaped and weighing in at just shy of half a pound. It’s up there in the header. The thing has the contours of a Moebius space ship. It looks like something a mathematician would design. I love this cock ring. And lest you think I’ve been typing the preceding paragraph one-handed, let me reassure you: I just really love good design. And where sex toys marketed to straight men are concerned there’s vanishingly little of it.

All the charm of a mannequin head slowly drowning in the sea of your bed.

This right here is a pretty great example: A yawning, awful mouth set in a weird, inhuman face. Flat, dead doll eyes. With no disrespect intended to Bree Olson, this thing is monstrous. The mind recoils. And it gets worse.There’s the toy that Olivia and I took to calling the  “sex maggot.” A fist-length tube of pinkish silicone with an eerily realistic vulva at one and a sort of nondescript not-quite-anus at the opposite end, it was a fairly standard entry in the field of objects that you put your penis in except for one detail: Whoever designed this thing had decided to grid-cut the sides of the thing like a Christmas ham. The overall effect was of an over-large grub with genitalia for a face.

A face that manufacturers expected me, or someone with desires like mine, to want to fuck.

 

A face only a mother could love.

These are not isolated incidents. I’ve seen rather a lot of male masturbation aids in my day. And pretty much all of them are like this. Every time someone sits down at the drawing board to come up with something they imagine a dude might want to masturbate with, what emerges is a body-horror version of an orifice. Sex organs excised and depersonalized. And no one I’ve known has ever found that a particularly appealing proposition.

Now look, I understand that sex toys are fundamentally functional items. But sex toys are also personal, even intimate. And like any personal, intimate item they’re designed to speak to the consumer. Everything about them—their design, their advertising—says that this object reflects on you. Take, for instance, Fleshlight’s Orientalist exhortation to “be a self-gratification samurai.” Whether you buy into that narrative is up to you, but the fact is that Lelo and nJoy and Jimmyjane keep making high-fashion, low-drag sex toys that look more like Bird in Space than the hideous chunks of pseudo-meat that are marketed to men like me. How did things get to this place?

The best part is the don’t-call-it-an-Avatar-tie-in marketing copy.

Here’s a sentence I only expect to write once: the problem is feminism. Somewhere on the road to modern sex-positivity, men got left behind. Not totally, of course. In fact, there’s a big caveat to my whole argument: The further removed sex toys get from plain old PIV humping, the better their designs get. Butt plugs? Usually pretty inoffensive looking. Bondage gear? Often ugly but usually not actually creepy. It’s really the toys designed to be used alone that are mired in Cronenbergian nightmare territory. And it’s feminism’s fault.

I’m joking, mostly. Feminism is pretty great. But sex-positivity didn’t get to trickle down to everyone equally. And while lady sex and lady desire and lady masturbation were all getting brought into the light of day, male desire actually got left out. Not out of malice, certainly, but sometimes feminism is about la femme. It’s not anyone’s “fault,” really. It’s just a side effect of how things went down

Male sexuality, the unmarked case, languished in the benighted past. We unlearned our fear of masturbation. Female masturbation, in particular, went on to become a pillar of modern, liberated sexuality. And male masturbation never caught up. It became commonplace to acknowledge that we men liked jerking it, but our faps never got elevated or valorized. Critically, it never became an act seen as valuable in and of itself.

The narrative we have now is this: When a girl masturbates, she’s claiming her pleasure. She’s engaging in self-discovery. Male masturbation, by comparison, is viewed variously as a grim necessity, an object of jocular shame, or a mere fact. There’s nothing honorable, nothing transgressive, and barely even anything fun about the narratives of male masturbation in culture. When a girl masturbates, the story goes, she does so in order to masturbate: pleasure for its own sake because pleasure is good for you. For men, the story is that masturbation is a pale replacement for “actual” fucking.

The second force giving us terrible sex gear is a lingering hangover from Olde Patriarchie: the male orgasm is taken for granted. While it took arguments and fighting to get people to believe that female orgasms mattered (or even existed), males’ were so obviously necessary to the Preservation of The Human Race that no one questioned whether they might enjoy some coaxing too. Notions that lady pleasure was mysterious and complex spawned whole new genres of sexy machine, while notions that men might benefit from such devices remained radical. Men don’t need “toys.” Men are self-sufficient. Men are rugged. Spit in your hand and get it done, son.

Taken together, these twin forces have left a really weird fixation lingering in the straight male-targeted corner of the sex toy industry. Specifically, a fetishistic devotion to recreating PIV sex in masturbation. The presumption is that the function of masturbation for dudes is just passing the time until they can actually be having “real” sex so the goal of out masturbatory equipment should be to simulate the sex that these men aren’t getting to have. Rather than forcing masturbation into the image of PIV sex, we might do well to acknowledge what female sex toys already understand: masturbation and intercourse need not particularly resemble one another.

The website for the“best selling male sex toy,” the Fleshlight, exemplifies the attitude. They make austere black furniture for you to stick your dick in. And unapologetically portray their own product as essentially just a way for you to imitate a much better act even when they’re marketing it as a partner toy. They want you to jerk off with “the next best thing,” which is apparently a lovingly recreated copy of a particular porn star’s orifice to drive home the fact that you’re not having sex with a living human being.

It’s got an “end orb,” a “wing gate,” and a “quattro wave.” Don’t even try to pretend you’re not turned on.

Surely, we can do better than this. And to an extent we already are, with companies like Tenga making abstract expressionistic devices that do brand collaborations with Keith Harring’s estate and win red dot Design Awards. It’s not all meat-sheaths out there. But the state that things are in tells us something about the way that male pleasure, for all that it’s the default case for sexual pleasure and imagery today, is still saddled with baggage.

Once we’ve gotten rid of that baggage, maybe they’ll stop assuming that what a man wants when he goes to jerk off must definitely be a squishy imitation vagina. And with the fall of Sexy Meat Crammed In A Can school of sex toy design, maybe male masturbation will finally get to stand on its own as a sex act. Plus, maybe we’ll get some cool toys out of the deal.

(Additional Note: In the time since I wrote this piece initially and when I’m posting it now I actually encountered a full display of Lelo “pleasure objects” in the Charleston, NC airport Brookstone. Were any of them for men? Of course they were not.)

NOW TRENDING ON GMP TV

Super Villain or Not, Parenting Paranoia Ensues
The Garbage Man Explains Happiness
How To Not Suck At Dating

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

Comments

  1. Male sexuality, the unmarked case, languished in the benighted past. We unlearned our fear of masturbation. Female masturbation, in particular, went on to become a pillar of modern, liberated sexuality. And male masturbation never caught up. It became commonplace to acknowledge that we men liked jerking it, but our faps never got elevated or valorized. Critically, it never became an act seen as valuable in and of itself.
    I don’t know but to me it seems like it’s not just a matter of male plesure not catching up but an active choice (if it’s a conscious or not is up for debate). It’s like folks don’t want guys to really embrace such pleasures. Male sexual pleasure is often played up as being greedy by default. Maybe that is an illusion meant to keep guys from really seeing how to truly make it about themselves rather than just following a script that that is damn near foced onto them at an early age.

    • Charles Emrich says:

      “Folks don’t want guys to really embrace… pleasure” is a pretty strong statement. Who are these “folks” you speak of?

      Also, what script are you thinking of? The one I got was just that “sex is about everyone involved” and I’m not sure that there’s anything particularly progressive about trying to “make it about themselves.”

      • That would be folks that simultaneously complain that guys only think about themselves but shame guys that try to move beyond that.

        Also, what script are you thinking of? The one I got was just that “sex is about everyone involved”….
        I’m glad you got that one early on. I, and it would appear other guys, weren’t so lucky. For it was about making sure you made her orgasm her brains out or it means you’re doing something wrong.

        … I’m not sure that there’s anything particularly progressive about trying to “make it about themselves.”
        You’re right it isn’t. Which is why I didn’t say anything about such a thought being progressive.

        Hey I’m glad you got the real skinny on sex as early on as you did but everyone wasn’t so lucky. There’s a lot of shame, rigidity, and borderline intolerance when it comes to sexuality.

  2. wellokaythen says:

    “The narrative we have now is this: When a girl masturbates, she’s claiming her pleasure. She’s engaging in self-discovery. Male masturbation, by comparison, is viewed variously as a grim necessity, an object of jocular shame, or a mere fact. There’s nothing honorable, nothing transgressive, and barely even anything fun about the narratives of male masturbation in culture….”

    Yes, indeed. I’d go even further with the masturbatory double standard. Women masturbate because men are just not good enough. Men also masturbate because men are just not good enough. She does it because her sexuality is bigger than any single partner. He does it because he’s not good enough to get a partner. Her masturbation is a sign of success. His is a sign of failure.

    See Pink’s song “You and Your Hand” for an example. (She’s a little hard on herself – if she won’t have sex with him, no one will? Not a very self-respecting statement.)

    • wellokaythen says:

      P.S. The second one looks like one of the aliens from Starship Troopers. No judgment, just not my cup of tea.

    • Charles Emrich says:

      I actually really like the turn of phrase that (luckier, liberated-er) women are taught that their sexuality is “bigger than any single partner.” I think that’s absolutely true. And I do think that men often aren’t given this message. We’re told over and over that our sexuality is basically about the acquisition of partners. Sometimes in really creepy ways.

      That’s a really long way of stating my top-to-bottom agreement with your points, but there you have it.

      Also, is Pink just the worst Self-Appointed Feminist Hero of all time? I was unaware of “You and Your Hand” but I’ve forwarded it to my partner whose exegesis of Pink’s “Stupid Girl” is right over here: http://goodmenproject.com/gender-fight/image-swiped-from-popsugar-femmephobia-is-a/

    • FlyingKal says:

      I just want to say B-R-A-V-O to wellokaythen for the post about double standard.

  3. Men, what would you do if you learned that you had your own special pleasure spot? This article just barely mentions, with fear almost, butt plugs. Helloooo?? Someone needs to break the ice and start talking about pleasure derived from prostate stimulation, so it might as well be me. I’m talking about the “P-Spot.” There are toys designed for use by yourself or with a partner that greatly enhance pleasure by gently stimulating your prostate through gentle anal penetration. OH MY GOD, I mentioned anal penetration. HOW TABOO AND GAY! Nope. Not gay at all. If my entire culture denied me knowledge of my G-spot, shamed me or anyone else for mentioning it, let alone getting anywhere near it, frankly I’d be pretty pissed off and motivated to discover its … secrets.

    Hetero Men, you’re absolutely not committing a homosexual act because you derived some pleasure from either you or a woman getting anywhere near your anus, or in your rectum. There is no specific part of your body being stimulated that says, “You know, you’re really kind of gay.” Who you like doing it with does. Granted, it takes a lot of boldness to overcome that brainwashing. Strangely enough, I often feel most like a feminist when I’m advocating for hetero men to try obtaining pleasure via their prostate, as it requires being penetrated. Gentle prostate stimulation for pleasure can be achieved with a single (gloved & lubed is much nicer) finger, or wider if someone wants to feel more. Even gentle pressure on the outside, on the perineum (your ‘taint’) is a start.

    Actually a good nitrile or latex glove and lube is by far one of the best sextoys for both men and women, by yourself or on another person. It gives a little bit of tactile sensory attenuation on the hands, so the feedback loop to the brain makes it feel a little like the stimulus is coming from someone else when you’re pleasuring yourself, while maintaining the active and beautiful work of the human hand. For more hand sensory deadening, put on another glove. For penetrating any area, gloves nullify every jagged nail, hangnail, callous, etc. It removes fear of “getting dirty.” Do some research on anatomy and how to get there. Take a shower. Put down a towel. Turn out the lights. Get a glove, get lube. Start with one finger, very gently, slowly. It should not hurt. When you’re done. Turn the glove inside out. Toss it out. Wash your towel. Take a shower again if you need. Everything is fine. If you are lucky enough to have a woman to do this with, it may be easier and frankly feel “less gay” to try it first with some oral sex.

    There is a fantastic book called, “The Multi-Orgasmic Man.” Check it out.

    Important note: Many soft sex toys have a family of extremely toxic chemicals in them: Phthalates or pthalate esters. These are chemicals put into plastics to keep them soft & flexible. They are proven to cause cancer. Ever see an old sextoy kind of get sticky and dissolve? That’s a ton of nasty shit just oozing out. Blech! The sextoy industry is pretty much unregulated, and sextoys are a direct vector of chemical distribution to tissues that are quite permeable and close to organs greatly affected by these chemicals. Choose wisely. If you have a toy that you love that is questionable, use a condom with it.

    I’m not an employee nor mean to directly endorse or advertise this vendor, but the article is speaking to the lack of good stuffs out there, so I’m motivated to share. If you’re looking for a great toy to simulate PIV or stimulate your P-spot, I highly recommend the vendor babeland.com. They have an excellent selection of toys specifically for men, books, other pleasure supplies, and if you are lucky enough to live in a city with a store you can visit, you can go in and get questions answered honestly without judgement from not so freaky people. Many of their toys look more like tools, as in they are gender specific for what area they’re intended to pleasure, not representational of the disembodied genitalia or crazy mannequin head you’re (not really) dreaming of penetrating. It is an excellent place to go with a partner, probably the classiest sextoy store I’ve ever been into…I’ve been into a lot. They even offer workshops now and then. They are aware of the toxic types of toys, and will be able to help you pleasure yourself better, healthier and more personally satisfying.

    Good luck.

    • FlyingKal says:

      Men, what would you do if you learned that you had your own special pleasure spot? This article just barely mentions, with fear almost, butt plugs. Helloooo??

      Well, for starters, everyone’s wired differently.

      Actually, I think that’s all.

    • Well, gee, as a bi man I have no problem with things being “gay.” however, as a man with chronic IBS I’m not thrilled about things in my anus.

      • Having had IBS I realize the situation isn’t funny, but your phrasing still got me laughing. XD

        • No problem. I found the original comment rather condescending.

          • I knew that comment might rub some bi and gay men the wrong way, but many hetero men say those things. The intent is to advocate against that kind of thinking. If you take that sentence out of the rest, I agree that it’s completely offensive.

            • No, the whole tone was condescending. I’m well aware of my prostate, and I hav been since I started getting infections in my 20s.

  4. I think you could probably look at sex toys marketed to gay men and see this isn’t true. There is so much more to sexual pleasure than just rubbing your penis until you orgasm. Toys that rub your perineum and ones you stick IN your penis and ones for your nipples and toys that stimulate the prostate and many others. Vibrators are not just for ladies either since you can easily use one on yourself. I masturbated with a back massager as a kid holding it on my dick until I orgasmed and it was a great.

    • Charles Emrich says:

      You probably could, and I probably did. It’s not an accident that I mention that the further you get from toys marketed to presumed-hetero masturbating dudes the better things get. It’s really the toys targeted at run-of-the-mill dick-rubbing that enjoy peculiarly horrifying designs.

  5. Thank you once again for making me think about something I’ve never thought about before. I really do think that male masturbation should be viewed as a more valid and valuable act.
    On a slightly different but still related note, I find that even those companies that do make beautiful sex toys for men tend to slack a bit on the marketing side. For example, after visiting the website I realized that my partner and I had actually encountered Tenga products a couple of months ago. We examined a Tenga Egg with no real clue what it was (even after attempting to read the tiny-print label), decided it was a high-end lube, and moved on. Now I wish I had picked one up for him. You can’t really expect the customer to buy your products if they’re not sure what they’re looking at.

  6. I’ve tried a Tenga egg, it’s ok but not that great. I’ve tried one of the Tenga fleshlight style devices, has a soft silicon interior and I have to say it feels great especially over the head of the penis, probably better than plain ol hand but takes quite a bit of effort and getting lube everywhere over your groin requires a fair bit of cleanup vs just a few strokes with the hand.

    An artificial blowjob device would be awesome, or a vibrating fleshlight but they’re also pretty damn expensive any that I’ve seen.

    • Archy, have you ever heard of AccuJac?
      By now, it’s ancient tech and probably out of production. But Google it and take a gander.

      • Hah, from the 70’s? Looks interesting. I think we’re close to a semi realistic blowjob toy, just lie back n let it do it’s work.

  7. FlyingKal says:

    Alright, someone’s gotta step up to the plate, and it might as well be me.
    Maybe I missed something in the text, but, that thing in the first pic, what is it?
    No not the spaceship, that other thing?

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wartenberg_wheel

      It’s used for sensation play/pain in kink circles.

      • Charles Emrich says:

        It’s a legitimate medical device…. *shifty eyes*

      • Dolores Haze says:

        The Wartenberg wheel is fantastic. Tons of sensations in one little package! (Medically it was used to test for nerve response as it rolled across the skin.) You really can be quite gentle and delicate with it; it’s not designed to be pressed into the skin until you bleed. It doesn’t have to be relegated to medical fetish play, or even fetish play in general. It looks scary, but it falls under sensation play, the same category as using ice cubes, silk, and other feel-y things.

        • Olivia Davis says:

          And if you bind people’s wrists, sometimes it’s nice to have one around so you can use it for its on-label use, since the nerves in wrists are wibbly and can feel delicate and distressed after being bound.

    • That stainless pinwheel thing is called a Wartenberg Wheel. It is a wheel of evenly spaced, sharp pins rolled along the skin. In medical use, it’s a neurological diagnostic device usually used to determine if amount of sensory input on the skin. If you happen to see one in a medical office now, they’re usually plastic, single-use, disposable. I don’t know how this made it into this article. As a sextoy, it’s something to provide strong stimulus to an area of the skin. It’s a typical tool in the medical play fetishists toy bag. There are a few other fetishes that will use that tool, but going into that may just hijack the topic.

      Honestly when I first saw this image, I thought the tear drop-shapped thing was actually a male chastity device, another fetish item, rather than a weighty cock ring, and this article was about confusion regarding finding these things. Then I didn’t quite understand how the penis would have fit in to prevent an full erection. I don’t understand the purpose of the long teardrop, if it’s hollowed out on the other side and not solid, I guess it’s just for backlighting the family jewels and hurrah for that. The way cockrings usually work, the ring goes around the base of the penis and behind the balls, preventing the testicles from raising up into the body before ejaculation, so it can prolong an erection. It also gives a little bit of pressure around the penis for a firmer erection. Many men say they have stronger orgasms with it. They are typically round stretchy bands as it’s important to be able to take it off if you don’t ejaculate. In fact, if you wanted to try one out, a perfect type of rubber band is the large, not small diameter, ones wrapped around the base of broccoli at the grocery store, that is probably the widest rubber band easily found. (Wide is very important) One of metal has to be the absolutely exact right fit. I have not been stainless steel cockring shopping, I don’t know what the experience of fitting a metal one for your man is like, but kind of sounds like fun.

      • Charles Emrich says:

        Hey, sorry I haven’t responded to your epic comment up above. It’s really good, and deserves a full response. I’ll note very briefly, though, that any “fear” in the mention of butt stuff for straight dudes is something you’re reading in rather than something I intended. I am a man who has been pegged by more than one partner and owns butt toys that he bought for his own use. That having been said, a skittishness about “gayness” is definitely a thing in the larger discourse so I don’t think you’re wrong to engage with it.

        As for the space-ship-y cock ring: The teardrop part rests again your perineum during sex, and pressure there can feel pretty good. Alternately, you can face the “tongue” forward and it’ll interact with your scrotum in a pretty pleasing way.

        And yeah, fitting it is kind of a bear. The one pictured is the one we got after we had to send the first one back.

      • Olivia Davis says:

        The pinwheel made it into the article because it’s “a beautiful, seamless object made of stainless steel.” And a sex toy. Basically, Charles thought it was pretty and made a good photo. =)

        As for the stainless steel cockring… You lube up the inside edge and go ball, ball, shaft. Usually, Charles does it himself since I have these long fingernails and don’t want to accidentally tug him wrong.

  8. Hmmmm, Equality at last is on the horizon.
    Oh it’s going to get ugly when men’s mags start touting generation 4 or 5 fleshlights as more pleasurable than a vagina……

    Thoughtful articles will appear in womens’ mags about how to cope with an honest mate who explains:
    “Honestly honey you really turn me on, but frankly intercourse with you is like tossing a hot dog down a hallway”.
    “Sweetheart it’s just that grinding your button just doesn’t get me where i want to go”.
    “I know you’re trying baby, but this is better than any head you can give”.

    I predict:
    1- Battery sales will increase.
    2-The myth of the vaginal orgasm will go down in flames. (Is it still a myth, I’ve been off the front lines for a while?)
    3- KegelMasters will become a sacrament..
    4-Women will practice masturbating with a chapstick
    5-Every BJ will include deep throat, a humming rendition of “Dirty Deeds” & swallowing.

    Yes I apologize to my gay buddies, but then I don’t comment on playing the piano either.

    • Some vibrators probably give a better physical sensation than a penis, but they aren’t attached to a warm loving body and there are additional hormones released I believe during sex with a partner, the bonding, feeling them against you, etc won’t be replaced by a sex toy anytime soon.

      The android sexbots in A.I however will probably be close to as good, although people knowing they aren’t fully human might interfere with the overall enjoyment.

    • Charles Emrich says:

      That’s a pretty… wacky… fantasy you’ve got for yourself there. Even keeping in mind that you’re obviously shooting for humor, the Laffs rest on some weird ideas:

      1) Sex toy “equality” would be a world in which both sides of the divide have found things that are just plain better than sex, and widely acknowledged as such? I’m not sure if you think that this has already happened for women or not, but it seems like you might?

      2) As a consequence of both sexes having sex toys that are better than sex, women will suddenly jump through all kinds of demeaning and shameful hoops in order to get men to actually touch them ever? And most of these hoops will have something to do with vaginal tightness because apparently the principle advantage that sex toy orifices have over human ones is that they’re marginally smaller.

      Also, the dudes are gonna be pretty gigantic dicks to their partners about this. For reasons, I’m sure.

      What I’m saying is that I’m not sure I understand the thrust of your parody, here. Most parodies take the actual state of things and transpose it to show off some absurdities. These absurdities, to my eyes, bear no particular resemblance to the real world. Consequently, I feel a little lost here.

      • @charles

        in re 2-
        Demeaning? How?
        I ‘m obtuse this am.
        Is it demeaning for the male partner if the woman can’t finish without the assistance of a mechanical device?
        Or is it a statement on our penile- centric culture?
        Or is it a consequence of the woman in question, often, being lazy.

        • Charles Emrich says:

          It’s demeaning because of the suggestion that somehow women have rendered themselves insufficient and must change themselves or train themselves in order to uphold a standard of desireability for the sake of their male partners at the risk of being discarded as obsolete.

          In the meantime, you’ve actually answered none of my questions. I’d be obliged if you would.

          • in re- sex toy equality… I’m not sure, but can envision a world where competition gets women working a little harder.
            Me I prefer sex with a woman who has vaginal orgasms and who’s cunnie has a Kung Foo grip. A woman who puts her back into sex like it is piece work rather an hourly sinecure.
            A,woman who is turned on by my pleasure rather than a bright plastic toy..

  9. Well been on the road since 0630, but from a phone @ a pit stop I think you’re hitting the salient points. Will circle back if I have anything left later

  10. andintoit says:

    Personally, article aside, I appreciate the reflection in the teardrop. This is possibly one of the sneakiest, sexiest self shots on the interwebs.

    • …you mean the guy holding the camera?

      I think you are seeing what you want to see… kind’ve like a Rorschach test ;p

      • Charles Emrich says:

        Nah. That’s definitely me. I actually wanted to use one where I wasn’t caught in the reflection but all the ones where I’d managed to dodge reflection had terrible light.

  11. “For men, the story is that masturbation is a pale replacement for ‘actual’ fucking.”

    This idea – that men and male sexuality are defined by sexual conquests (of women, esp) and that anything else is “less than” – comes out of “macho” male culture, not feminism. If feminist sex-positivity hasn’t been able to *ahem* penetrate into ideas about male masturbation, that’s hardly feminism’s fault (and, yes, I realize you disclaimed the “it’s feminism’s fault” narrative, but you would have had a better narrative if you’d just not gone there).

    • Charles Emrich says:

      Sorry for the posting delay, it looks like you got caught in our spam filter. I’m still getting the hang of it.

      I obviously disclaim the “feminism is the problem” narrative. I know you you’ve noticed that. I’m not entirely sure, then, why you seem to be holding me to it anyway? Particularly the argument “male ‘conquest culture’ comes from feminism” that I never made and would emphatically deny.

      The point I”m trying making is that there’s something sad about the fact that the rising tide of sex positivity has demonstrably failed to lift all boats. And, yes, I am doing it by making a joke at the expense of feminism’s shortfall. And I do want to go there, because I think there is something there to talk about. One of the recurrent questions about feminism is whether it is better figured as a striving for greater equality and egalitarianism among people + certain sorts of attendant sexual liberation or whether it should remain a movement distinctly focused on women and women’s issues.

      After much thought, I believe the former is correct. And I think that the state of male sex toys and male masturbation in culture stands as a convincing symptom of the failures of the latter approach. So, yes, I can in fact blame feminism. Because most of feminism never even tried to solve this problem. And when this problem goes unsolved it means that other problems that even women-only-all-the-time feminism wants to solve will remain intractable.

  12. I too believe that men got left behind – or maybe even let themselves get left behind – when it comes to feminism and sexuality, although it has to be said that women are not there yet either. Yes, more attractive looking toys – without dangerous substances and of good quality – for women are being designed. You have mentioned Lelo and that is a very good example, if not the best. But female masturbation and the sexual exploration of the female body is still a big issue. Don’t let the glossy magazines fool you.
    Eventhough I have my ‘Naked Men, Happy Women’ blog and do write articles there about male sexuality, I have never given male masturbation that much thought. But I guess I also always figured it is mostly a substitute for ‘real’ sex, which is stupid to say the least. Considering all the horrific masturbation toys that are available, I have to believe I am not the only one being stupid. Good thing though that there are also attractive looking products out there. And: a specific toy may be meant for a woman, but it does not mean
    a man can’t use it as well…
    All this being said, I guess there is still a lot of work to be done :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] This is a comment by wellokaythen on the post “Humping the Uncanny Valley: The Sexiness Gap in Men’s Sex Toys“. […]

Speak Your Mind

*