Who's using all the sex toys? (NSFWish)
February 13, 2010 8:13 AM   Subscribe

Help me solve a minor conundrum. Gay man here, had lots and lots of sexual encounters over the course of 14ish years. And in all that time, I've had exactly one guy pull a sex toy on me to use in the bedroom. (I was 18, it was a butt plug bigger than a raccoon's head, and yeah was never gonna happen). So just who is using all the sex toys?

They're obviously huge in the culture, and there's a hundred questions about them here on AskMe. Is it just a statistical quirk that I've run into 100+ partners who've never had one or wanted to use one? Or do people only bring them out in the course of marriage-like relationships?

Or (and this is what I suspect) are they perhaps more of a lesbian thing/straight-woman-thing/male-masturbation-thing and gay men (outside of the fetish/leather community) are just not all that into them?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Many women turn to vibrators because they have difficulty reaching orgasm without them; I suspect this accounts for a lot of the "sex toy" usage out there. I don't know if they are like a "gateway drug", though, and lead women and their partners into use of other toys...

And I think that yes, many people are more likely to explore toys within the context of a committed relationship where they feel very secure. Jibes with my own personal experience, anyways.
posted by wyzewoman at 8:24 AM on February 13, 2010

In my (very limited) experience toys come out to play after being in a relationship for a bit and gaining mucho trust.
posted by kthxbi at 8:30 AM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think there are plenty of gay guys out there using them (based on my own experiences and cross-section of study) -- and though I'm not sure they are any more popular among guys in long term relationships than not -- I think it's probably not something guys are going to pull out the first, second, or even third time. Like anything even remotely kinky, if you don't meet over that thing (like on a sex toy message board or at a leather club), it's hard for some guys to pull stuff like that. There's more than one kind of closet -- lots of guys who would never think of being closeted about their choice in partner's gender still live in a "vanilla sex closet."

(I don't mean to say that these particular closets are remotely similar. Just an observation.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:31 AM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

A lot of lesbian couples use sex toys. Of the couples I knew during college, I think I would say most. However, I don't think the toys were used during one-night stands - just during relationships or solo.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:31 AM on February 13, 2010


I first heard this term in a meeting with Philippe Kahn, the founder of Borland and creator of Turbo Pascal. He explained that the vast majority of Turbo Pascal sales went to people who were turned on by the idea of being programmers, but didn't end up in practice wanting to do any programming.

Same thing here. Often the hottest thing you do with a sex toy is purchase it.
posted by alms at 8:35 AM on February 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

Lots and lots of women use sex toys, alone or with partners. I know very few women who don't own at least one vibrator.
posted by decathecting at 8:50 AM on February 13, 2010

Kinky people.

I've got a suitcase full, and they all get used.
posted by newpotato at 9:03 AM on February 13, 2010

+1 to shelfware -- at least that's generally true for me, a single charming and available gay guy.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:05 AM on February 13, 2010

Define marriage-like relationship. Sex toys are not exactly something I'd bring out with a very casual partner, simply because of concerns over a) safety and health, and b) intimacy.

It can be difficult to properly sterilize some toys and I wouldn't want to potentially expose myself or my partner to anything. It also can be difficult to merely bring up the subject of sex toys, sometimes. Some men have preconceived notions about the nature of dildos and vibrators and feel threatened, some women are not comfortable using a toy that has been used to penetrate someone else, some toys I just would not share with others because they're just for me. These are all concerns over penetrative toys, though, and possibly smaller vibes. Cuffs and the like I have never had any issues with.

I don't speak for all bi women, obviously, and I find it hard to believe that you could honestly generalize to all gay men.
posted by lydhre at 9:05 AM on February 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

Fingers are easier (and often less intimidating).

That said, my ex used one on our second meet-up. Make of that what you will.
posted by Solomon at 9:39 AM on February 13, 2010

Straight woman here. Several years ago (I was single at the time), I had a friend who worked at a sex toy boutique and let me use her employee discount. During that time, toy shopping was a fun, impulse-buying, ooh-what's-new-this-week experience, much like shopping for cute shoes or Kate Spade bags. And like all my cute shoes and bags, I only really needed a couple, but it was just so much fun to get more.

A year or two later, I moved, and I was in the position of having a box full of sexy equipment I almost never used and no longer wanted, and I was too embarrassed to give them away on Craigslist, so I tossed them. I'm sorry, sex toys.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:23 AM on February 13, 2010

Straight woman. I mostly use my sex toys for solo play.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:39 AM on February 13, 2010

Kinksters looooooove the sex toys like we had a karmic connection in a past life. So there's that.

Straight dudes tend to have anal toys (in my social circle)

Women, definitely.
posted by kathrineg at 11:42 AM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

...100+ different flavours of vanilla

Possibly, or possibly just in the context of their one-on-one encounters. In my experience, guy at parties and group activity, especially with fisting or other non-vanilla activities, were much more likely to display, use, or solicit the use of sex toys. Over the many years and many guys, I'd only had one one-on-one encounter where this was on the menu.

Then again, that's just one data point, ymmv...
posted by Robert Angelo at 12:54 PM on February 13, 2010

I'd be very surprised if it wasn't women buying an overwhelming majority of the vibrators being sold.
posted by jokeefe at 12:58 PM on February 13, 2010

I love sex toys, but I probably wouldn't pull one out to use during an early encounter with someone new. 3-4 dates in, when it's clear we're going to continue boinking and after we've discussed likes and dislikes is probably when that sort of stuff is going to be incorporated into sexy time.

I have an arsenal of toys that I've accumulated over the years. There are a few tried-and-true that live on my bedside table for solo fun and are occasionally put to use on me during partner sex. There are a few others that live in a drawer and get used on hubby when we're in the mood for something different than the usual.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:46 PM on February 13, 2010

Kinksters looooooove the sex toys like we had a karmic connection in a past life. So there's that.

I can't favorite katherineg's comment hard enough. Kinky people fucking LOVE toys, and they don't necessarily wait until the 3rd-4th date range to pull them out.
posted by palomar at 3:09 PM on February 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

It may disagree with stereotypes but I haven't observed sex toys as being a big part of gay sex. The number one sex toy purchased by gay men (at least where I worked) was the cock ring. Gay men rarely purchased penetrative toys and when they did they were almost always to use on themselves, not a partner. My experience is that more men buy dildos or buttplugs to use on a female partner than a male partner.
posted by irisclara at 3:22 PM on February 13, 2010

I generally think of myself as pretty vanilla, and I own a dildo. I bought it several years ago. I'm not sure if its a fetish or feng shui, but over the years I have attracted an inordinate number of men with very large penises. And because they have all been tops, that's left little old me trying to figure out how to accommodate them without ending up in the emergency room. Of course, with anal sex as with anything else, practice makes perfect. Hence, my dildo.

I'm not really sure if we're supposed to be helping you connect with other sex toy kinksters or not. But in case we are, let me share this little bit of advice: don't "spring" it on someone; be straightforward about it. (I suspect this will have the added benefit of attracting some sex toy kinksters who want to play like that! If that is actually what you're looking for.)

Last fall I moved back to Texas and found myself on a date with a guy - we went to dinner and to see the Terra Cotta Warriors at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. He was charming. We went back to his place. He played Joni Mitchell for me. He excused himself from the living room and when he arrived back, he was naked. And he didn't have to ask twice before I was naked and... fade to billowing curtains and trains going through tunnels or whatever imagery we're using today to allude to the fact that then we had sex. And, hey, this date was pretty much a total win up to that point! But nowhere in our nerdy, flirty banter did he mention what was about to happen. Cause that's when things took a turn for the kinky. Mid-sex was about when he slapped me across the face and then suggested that I asphyxiate him with his gas mask. o_O?!

Now. I know I called myself vanilla up there. But I'm an open-minded vanilla. I read Savage Love. I'm not an idiot. I know that people out there have diverse sexual wants and needs. And I'm totally cool with that. GGG. Great. Whatever. But having something like that sprung on you with no fair warning? That's just... tacky. Also, not particularly fulfilling for him, because that's about when I said, "Aw hell naw," and hit the road.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:41 PM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mid-sex was about when he slapped me across the face and then suggested that I asphyxiate him with his gas mask. o_O?!

Uh, what? That sounds horrible and creepy (in the bad way).

The best way to find people who are into what you're into is have an elevator speech about your likes and kinks, meaning you can give it to someone* in the time it takes to ride to the 5th floor.

Vanilla people don't have to do this because people assume everyone is vanilla. They don't have to go around telling people "Oh, I like to have penis-in-vagina sex. Are you into that?" Instead, they can hit on people and initiate sexy times with almost anyone; there is an unspoken expectation that everyone is sexually compatible

You don't have that freedom; you have to make your expectations known up front, lest you end up like creepy gas mask guy or remain unsatisfied. When you talk to someone, when the chemistry starts happening, say "I really like feeling like I can't breathe. What do you think? Would you want to try that with me?" and if they say yes, then you can discuss and negotiate. Maybe they'd be willing to use a pillow but not a gas mask, and you'd like that too and then you can get it on and everyone is happy. Maybe they think that's creepy in which case you move on and try again.

A script: "I really like using toys. What are you into?"

*I'm talking about the speech, you pervs!
posted by kathrineg at 12:30 AM on February 14, 2010

went to people who were turned on by the idea of being programmers,

This concept is hilarious. That is all.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:37 PM on February 15, 2010

Women use toys all the time, including on first dates, and people in the kink "scene", in my experience, almost always use some kind of toy or other.
posted by serazin at 8:25 AM on February 26, 2010

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