Sex Toys Beyond the Binary
The sex toy industry has a history of assigning gender and traditional gender stereotypes on sex toys as part of their marketing. Often the gender stereotypes follow ideas and imagery of porn made for the male gaze. Sex toys don’t have to be marketed only to cis men or cis women. In fact this marketing is exclusionary and misleading because most sex toys can be used on ANY body. Sex toys marketed to women, such as vibrators, can be used on nipples, penises, against anuses, and more. Understanding sex toys beyond the binary opens up innovation and more pleasure opportunities.
WHAT DOES HAVING SEX TOYS BEYOND THE BINARY MEAN?
Moving sex toys beyond the binary means:
- More representative and diverse imagery on packaging.
- More colours. More shapes. Not everything has to be phallic or shaped like vulvas.
- Busting relationship stereotypes that rest on ‘man and woman’ and traditional ideas of masculinity and femininity and giving and receiving. Sex toys can be used by couples (or groups!) of all genders.
- Expanded products for every body — busting the binary on sex toys means we can talk about sensations, functions, and creative uses of sex toys on all erogenous zones and not just ‘for men or women’.
- More accessibility for more bodies. Sex toys often center penetration in marketing, but penetration isn’t the only kind of sexual pleasure available and might not be preferred or available.
WHAT SEX TOYS GO BEYOND THE BINARY?
Powerful, rumbly wands. Wand-style vibrators are great because they can be used on many areas of the body: clitorises, labia, penises, testicles, perineums, feet, nipples, and anuses. Because of their power they can add indirect sensation to internal hot spots like prostates, G-spots and urethral sponges.
For couples play, wand vibrators are great for combined pleasure during all types of penetration or to grind against together allowing the vibration to travel between both of you. For a powerful wand, try the Magic Wand rechargeable vibrator and for a more compact wand without compromising power, try the Le Wand Petite rechargeable vibe.
Nipple sex toys. Nipple clamps and nipple pumps are great toys to use on a high-nerve endings area like the nipples. Not sure what to do with nipples? Read our blog post 10 Ways to Explore Nipple Pleasure.
Butt plugs. Every body has a butt, but not everyone enjoys anal play and penetration (there’s no such thing as surprise anal!). For some people, anal pleasure can feel affirming of gender and/or sexual orientation. Some sex toy marketing still stereotype receiving anal penetration as for ‘bottoms’, women, or sexually submissive people. Not true — giving or receiving isn’t attached to any of these things, read these tips for anal pleasure.
Using butt plugs for anal masturbation is a great way to train the anus for more penetration. For beginners, choose plugs with a soft-rounded tip like The Novice Plug. If you’re already a fan of butt play, try an intermediate butt plug like The Rimming Plug or a stainless steel butt plug: The Pure Plug 2.0.
Strap-on harnesses. Anyone can strap it on. Whether you want to penetrate anuses, vaginas, or mouths, you can strap-on a thigh harness, brief harness, or strap-style harness. For penis-owners, a dual harness like Spareparts Deuce Dual Harness works well. Read these tips for strap-on play.
Genital pumps. Sex toy pumps are used on nipples, clitorises, penises, and vulvas to increase blood flow to an area which can lead to enhanced sensation or erotic discomfort. Explore these pumps:
- Pistol Grip Manual Vacuum Penis Pump
- New York Toy Collective Trans Masc Pump
- Blush Temptasia Clitoral/Nipple Pump and vulva cup
Sensation play toys. Paddles, pinwheels, erotic wax candles, and feathers are examples of sex toys that help create tease, sensation and erotic excitement on any body. Experiment with contrasting sensations like temperature play.
Non-traditional sex toy shapes:
- Cute Little Fuckers’ sex toys are available in playful shapes and colours like a starfish and octopus. Not limited by the gender binary, these sex toy creators have made fun and effective toys for stimulating man erogenous zones on the body.
- Mini vibrators like the We-Vibe Tango X are small but mighty. The shape is close to a bullet-style vibrator but has both hard plastic and soft silicone ends making it versatile for getting into body crevices. Try it on the perineum, nipples, labia, behind the testicles, the frenulum, and on the sides of the clitoris.
- Vibrators that can nestle into the palm of your hand, like the Dame Pom Flexible Vibrator, can help you use them in flow with your body — not limiting you to genitals only.
- The We-Vibe Nova is a versatile dual-action vibrator. Unlike the traditional shapes and marketing of rabbit-style vibrators, this dual-action vibe has a flexible arm that creates opportunities in addition to G-spot and clitoral pleasure: penis stroking, perineum stimulation, nipple sensation and external anal play.
- Njoy Pure Wand. This smile-shaped stainless steel toy is great for stimulating G-spots and P-spots.
- Non-phallic Dildos. Dildos used to only be penis-shaped but now you can find interesting colours and shapes beyond the binary. Here are three non-traditional dildos:
The sex toy industry is finally listening and also changing language away from assumptions like ‘please your man’ to ‘please your partner’ or referring to body parts instead of gender. You can also explore fantasy-style toys, like tentacle or dragon dildos and get creative with your sex toy play. There’s still a long way to go, and we look forward to seeing even more expansion in toys that support the range of gender diverse pleasure there is to have!
Written for GFH by Luna Matatas