How gross is it for a man to get a sex toy for himself?
September 21, 2020 5:11 AM   Subscribe

I, a man, am mostly friends with women, and they've pretty much to a one told me that they use solo sex toys. Even my partner has shown me her sex toys. But is it odd that I'd like one? None of my male friends do (or they keep it to themselves).

I've thought about getting a male sex toy for myself for a while but it always made me feel "gross", I guess? There was something about the Fleshlight or its brethren that just seemed a little more lewd than the Rabbit, in some way.

But I'm now eyeing a penis sleeve for use with both myself and my partner and I don't know how to feel about that.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I, also a man, vote for Not Gross.
posted by rd45 at 5:19 AM on September 21 [7 favorites]

Not gross at all.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:24 AM on September 21 [3 favorites]

Its gross but that's a hypocritical double standard. Woman with sex toy is hot, empowered and sexually liberated. Men with sex toys is incels, neck beards and living in your mother's basement.

But the reality is, only you can decide how you feel about it and only you and your partner can decide if its something that fits into your relationship.
posted by missmagenta at 5:27 AM on September 21 [9 favorites]

Not gross at all.

It's your body and sex toys help you to both enjoy solo pleasure and explore new sensations.

Some say the prostate is the 'male G-spot' and without toys (various) I would never have discovered just how amazing it can feel.

Don't be shamed, don't feel awkward. Embrace what they can give.
posted by I shot a fox in Skyrim and it made me sad at 5:30 AM on September 21 [8 favorites]

It's not gross! And it's also no one else's business, if you're worried some of your friends might judge you.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 5:33 AM on September 21 [5 favorites]

Not gross. What's gross is men who treat people they date or sleep with like Fleshlights, but I guess somehow the wires get crossed in the court of public opinion around this.
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:33 AM on September 21 [45 favorites]

Gross is a concept that only exists in the human mind so the answer is entirely up to you.

How would it be more gross than your hand? Either way imagination is doing most of the work.
posted by Awfki at 5:45 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Not gross. Go for it!
posted by bighappyhairydog at 5:50 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Not gross, this is healthy play and exploration. Enjoy.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 5:57 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Did you ever see the weekly comic Oh Joy Sex Toy? They do sex toy reviews (linked) and a number of them are by the straight average dude in the partnership. It's a bit cutesy and may not be to your taste, but it's very matter-of-fact (and has lots of recommendations, for that matter).

The "beautification" of sex toys for women (all the high-design ones, for instance) and the shaming about sex toys for men are basically "sex toys are sexy when we can voyeuristically imagine a heteronormatively beautiful woman using them, because in that scenario the sex toy is just a prop in our fantasy about a heteronormatively beautiful woman, so it's unthreatening" and "masculinity is supposed to be 'natural' and self-sufficient, so using a sex toy reveals both calculation (not "natural" expression of sexual urges) and non-self-sufficiency because of a supplement to the body and therefore is effeminate or a sign of masculine failure". Both these things are stupid and bad.
posted by Frowner at 6:12 AM on September 21 [53 favorites]

Not at all from my point of view (a heterosexual, or at least distinctly-hetero-end-of-the-spectrum, male). I see where you're coming from, that there's a cultural perception that while every woman* of course has a vibrator, only weirdo deviants** have sex sleeves.

For solo play, what you do is your business, and only something to discuss with others to the extent you and they feel comfortable doing so. Maybe men should talk about sex toys more, to destigmatize them, but a lot don't, and you have no idea what your friends have in their nightstands that they're not talking to you about.

For partner play, obviously how they feel about it matters, and a nonzero number of partners will be put off by the fact that you have such a thing at all (this would be, I feel, their problem, not yours), and a significantly larger number might be uncomfortable with taking part in it (this is a big problem for women as well; plenty of men are cool with their partners having vibrators, but insulted by the notion that their own impeccable cocksmanship should require such aids).

So, it's good to know your partner, and have a sense of where they're at adventurewise, and how judgmental they are. It's probably good to go in with some fairly concrete vision, particularly for this one (I'll admit that I'm a bit hazy myself on how to incorporate a sex sleeve into partnered play, but this is a failure of my imagination, not a problem with the idea --- but your partner my be similarly unimaginative), and a good amount of flex for how they feel about the idea either in general or in the specifics.

* This is not true.

** This is also not true.
posted by jackbishop at 6:12 AM on September 21 [8 favorites]

There is a stigma but it's a dumb one that doesn't make any sense. Nothing wrong with toys at all, regardless of your gender.

You're also not obligated to discuss your sex toys with your friends if you don't want to - I (female) certainly don't. So who knows what toys your friends may have, and who cares.
posted by randomnity at 6:20 AM on September 21 [5 favorites]

Hello! I've been out of the industry for a while now, but I spent a bit north of a decade selling men sex toys of all types.

Every conceivable type of dude buys sex toys. We had long haul truckers who'd take a Fleshlight on the road, uni boys finding their prostates, cishet men using textured sleeves with their partners one night and a bullet the next. Old dudes. Young dudes. Straight dudes, queer dudes of every rainbow colour. Rich dudes buying top of the line sculpts from limited releases and poor dudes checking the sales tags for a big ole bargain. We had collectors always after something new to connoisseurs who knew exactly what they needed down to the colour of the silicone.

There are tidy dudes, and unkempt dudes, friendly ones with good social skills and shy dudes who need a friendly smile before they'll come to the counter. Every type of dude.

There are toys that are graphic sculptures of human anatomy in very realistic materials that can be confronting if you're working through those feelings. If you are a sensitive guy, your distain for objectifying women is probably part of what's going on, given so many toys for men are literally just objects designed to mimic women. It's not always a sign of double standards around sex. For a lot of women too the depersonalisation and literal objectification of disembodied rubber cocks bring about the same feelings you're experiencing, but a sleek more ergonomic toy often doesn't. Something simple in a clear TPE might be a better option for you, or the very highly regarded Tenga Eggs. Those are designed as single use, so if some of the gross factor is tied into cleanup you may find them a better starting point from a hygiene perspective.
posted by Jilder at 6:22 AM on September 21 [54 favorites]

Not gross at all. Go for it!

There is, unfortunately, a stigma in our society against male sex toys, so it’s true you may encounter some people who find it gross. But that’s 100% their problem.
posted by mekily at 6:36 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Nothing wrong with men having sex toys. How you should feel about it is, well this will be a fun experiment. Now as you have a partner involved & it might be a "couples" toy a well as a solo toy, you might want to talk with them first if only to make sure you're both on the same page & also they might want a different style, bigger or smaller or whatever. Buying sex toys together can be fun and maybe thinking of it as a couples toy you are both using together, that you sometimes use solo might help you remove that mental road block.

Side note my husband has a bigger collection of toys than I do & my collection isn't small & even he had the same mental road block with the fleshlight & sex toys when he started out We had to kind of sneak up on the idea with other brands of masturbatory aids that didn't involved fake mouths, penises & labia etc on. There are a lot of brands out there that are more sleek & sensual & less obviously body part replacement looking & they really helped him get over that block to seeing it as a toy that you used as well as not a well replacement.
posted by wwax at 6:40 AM on September 21 [2 favorites]

Definitely treat yourself!! I wish (even) more men felt comfortable purchasing and using sex toys! Solo sex is the safest around, and I want to believe that greater body autonomy and solo pleasure for men (yes, men!) will make the world a safer and happier place in general. Also, in this time of COVID social isolation, we gotta be more creative and open than ever!
posted by smorgasbord at 6:56 AM on September 21 [4 favorites]

Totally okay! Be curious, explore, enjoy! And if they’re not for you, you’ll know! That’s okay too. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. You might love it and expand your collection towards other pleasure centres too.
posted by nathaole at 7:15 AM on September 21

So other folks have covered "it's not gross." I'd add that what you're really looking at here is trying to unlearn some shitty cultural associations that say otherwise. I wonder if the right question to ask yourself isn't "is this gross?" but something like "how do I make myself feel less gross about this?"

(In which case, things you might try: Take a really nice shower before or after. Keep your toys stored someplace nice instead of crammed in a messy spot under your bed. Start out by using them when you're feeling good about yourself instead of when you're feeling bad. Make a point of reminding yourself of things folks said in here. If you're going to go to someone you know for reassurance, make it the gentlest, most sex-positive person you know, and not someone you're pretty sure will give you grief.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:31 AM on September 21 [14 favorites]

Please clean them promptly, thoroughly, and correctly! That's the only thing I could think of that would make it gross, vs. culturally burdened. (I do think there's a not ENTIRELY baseless assumption that men roll over and fall asleep don't clean their sex things, viz. the crusty sock, which may contribute to the perception that there's an ick factor here. But biology is not destiny in that, or any, regard.)
posted by babelfish at 7:35 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

I (cis, straight F) have bought male (cis, straight) partners solo sex toys for their pleasure.
posted by biggreenplant at 7:36 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Not gross to me, but that's not my way. Sure, I've experimented -- but my kink involves a common fetish which people wouldn't characterize as a toy (and no, you can't see my collection!)
posted by Rash at 8:12 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

As a general rule, the most generous, sex-positive, and tremendous-fun-in-bed men I have had the pleasure of dating not only owned a sex toy, they had entire sex toy chests (for both their own personal use and for use with partners). I strongly encourage you to go forth and explore and enjoy.
posted by anderjen at 8:15 AM on September 21 [4 favorites]

Not gross at all. FUN! Really, I see sex toys as just that - toys. It's an adult version of play - something we don't get to do nearly enough. It's something to be celebrated. Speaking from a woman's perspective.

You might want to check out femdom videos also where women are instructing men to use various toys in various ways. I won't share any more detail than that but there are some creative ideas on how to use them which could make your sex life look very interesting all of a sudden. Memail if you want a specific name of a person you might like to follow on this.
posted by starstarstar at 9:02 AM on September 21 [4 favorites]

Make sex toys can literally be gross if you don’t clean them enough and thoroughly.. Soooo I vote for physically gross. But psychologically not gross!
posted by katypickle at 9:44 AM on September 21

My CIS male partner showed me (CIS female) the toys he had purchased prior to our relationship and I was not grossed out at all. In fact, I use his on him now. Fun times!
posted by brookeb at 10:01 AM on September 21

I know at least two straight, cis men who have purchased and used sex toys. Never occurred to me it was gross.

None of my male friends do (or they keep it to themselves).
Have you specifically asked? I wouldn't presume based on this. If they feel the same stigma as you, perhaps they just don't share.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:44 AM on September 21 [2 favorites]

There's a stigma especially among heterosexual men to be sure, but it absolutely not gross for men to use sex toys for their own pleasure. The main categories are sleeves, prostate stimulators, cock rings, and magic wand-style vibrators.

The way that sleeves in particular are marketed can get pretty ickily objectifying, it's true. But hey, toys designed for vaginal or clitoral use also often have utterly insulting, sexist marketing. You can learn to ignore it and/or lean toward companies that don't do this.
posted by desuetude at 11:20 AM on September 21 [3 favorites]

I'm male. I'll add a personal recommendation for Tenga's sleeves, especially the Flip Zero and Flip Orb variants. Each variant comes in different colors which have different patterns of material on the inside. Some people have preferences for different patterns. Personally, although I can say they feel different, I can't say I have ever had a strong preference. Tenga excels in clean-up since the toys flip open. I just put their sleeves in my dishwasher, although that's not actually recommended and does reduce the life span of the toys.

You may also enjoy Fleshlight Quickshots because they allow you to focus more on your partner than the toy itself. They're also significantly easier to clean up (and cheaper!) than Fleshlights.

I suggest The Big Gay Review for male sex toy reviews, regardless of your sexuality. Here's their review on the Tenga Flip Orb Orange Crash and Flip Orb Blue Rush.
posted by saeculorum at 11:44 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Try it and if you like it, keep it. If using it or simply having it around makes you uncomfortable, then it's not really for you.
posted by SPrintF at 12:00 PM on September 21

Your sex life, which does not cause harm and is private, is no one else's business, unless you invite them to make it so. Buy toys, whatever sort you fancy. Toys can be made without a weird exploitative industry. Just keep in mind that anything inserted in your ass can migrate way more easily than you think -that's why butt toys have flared bases.
posted by theora55 at 12:03 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Not gross at all, and valid to wonder
posted by glaucon at 12:53 PM on September 21

Sex toys can definitely enhance one's self pleasure. Just remember to clean them well.

If you're looking for a sleeve and have a bit of coin to spare, the Tenga Flip Zero is pretty damned amazing. Especially warmed up.

Super easy cleanup.
posted by porpoise at 1:38 PM on September 21

My sister had a sex toy party for her bachelorette night. There were multiple women who showed up with a shopping list from their husbands of the various toys they wanted for themselves and for the couple. Go for it!
posted by JennyJupiter at 4:10 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]

One things I'd suggest: teens and older kids are curious and could possibly go through your belongings without your knowledge. If you have kids in the house and don't want to have to explain what you own, consider a locking chest or safe to store things.
posted by tacodave at 7:12 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]

We would be in a better place if more men could see sex as a constellation of various pleasurable activities with or without the inclusion of accessorization and with or without partners, instead of either a dick-conquest of another person or just a shameful pantomime of same.

Oh Joy Sex Toy mentioned above has recommendations and discount codes. I say fuck it!
posted by churl at 8:21 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]

I (cis male) don't think it's gross and I have a few myself. Other people might, and I do think there is at least some cultural stigma surrounding men using sex toys, though what I've observed is that it's less that people think it's "gross" and more that they think that a man that uses them must be unable to get the 'real thing' and has to settle for toys, which, to be clear, is patriarchal horseshit. Sex toys can be awesome for anyone.

That said, unless you plan to volunteer that you have one to people, I don't see how it'd matter much what other people think.
posted by Aleyn at 12:02 AM on September 23

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