Written by Sexual Wellness Institute Therapist, Eric Anfinson, MS LMFT
For the segment of our population that constantly talks and jokes about masturbation and sex, there is a surprising lack of discussion about male sex toys. It's seen as expected, normal, and even healthy for men to masturbate and enjoy sex. However, as soon as you bring up male sex toys, you’re suddenly in the realm of weird, even bordering on fetishistic. Women, on the other hand, are just now starting to be more accepted as people who masturbate, making the idea of owning a vibrator or dildo pretty normal.
For all people, sex toys are a normal and fun way to either increase or change up your pleasure when alone or with a partner. Let's talk through a few of the taboos about male sex toys before we dive into the specifics.
It's Not Weird For Men to Use Sex Toys
Many people feel that buying a sex toy is a difficult and awkward experience. While the advent of online shopping, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis, has opened up a lot of options for buying virtually, it can still be hard to know what you're buying, it's quality, or where to start.
While their in-person store is currently closed, Smitten Kitten in Uptown Minneapolis (smittenkittenonline.com) has a fantastic online store packed with high quality toys. They also offer curbside pick-up. Another great online store is good vibrations (goodvibes.com), which offers a wide selection of all of the toys we'll talk about in the blog today.
The real problem at play here is the general worry that enjoying sex and wanting to increase that pleasure with toys is, in some way, bad. As a nation we hypersexualize just about everything in the media, but when it comes to actually having sex, we're made to feel shameful. This standard is wholly unfair, and I would challenge each person to decide on their own level of comfortability. Regardless of your outward comfort, what you do in your bedroom is up to you and you deserve to feel good about it.
Sex Toys = Instant "Gay Panic"
One of the biggest issues I hear about with sex toys for men is that many are oriented towards anal and prostate stimulation. The combination of homophobia and toxic masculinity has led a large number of men and their partners away from improving their sex lives because they don't want to "catch the gay." Not only does this fear imply that being gay is a bad thing-- which is awful-- it's also completely the wrong way of looking at the situation.
Our sexuality is defined by who we are attracted to, not by what physically feels good to us. I've read horror stories about men who don't even wash their own butts because they don't want to be seen as gay. Or men being called gay for having anal sex with a woman. (That's right, a man having sex with a woman is gay.) I also commonly hear from women who are concerned that their male partner might be gay, or at least bisexual, if he wants to engage in anal/prostate stimulation.
So, let’s get a couple things clear before moving forward. First, being gay isn't a bad thing, and obviously all of these toys are just as awesome for gay men to use. Second, what feels good feels good, and has nothing to do with your sexuality. Again, your sexuality is determined by who you're attracted to. With that out of the way, let's actually talk about some of the most popular sex toys for men.
There is a wide range of sex toys out there for men. You have masturbation sleeves, automatic blowjob sleeves, cock rings, butt plugs, prostate massagers, and many more. Let's talk through the basics and get an idea of what we’re dealing with.
Where to Start When Exploring Sex Toys for Men
Male Sex Toy #1: The Masturbation Sleeve
The most common starting place for men is a masturbation sleeve. (These get called all sorts of names but are effectively the same thing.) This is a soft sleeve, usually made of silicone, plastic, and other rubberlike materials designed to feel like the real deal. These toys can feature openings shaped like vulvas/vaginas, mouths, butts, or just a simple hole. They can also have a large variety of internal shapes and grooves to increase stimulation and make it more interesting. With a little bit of lube, these can certainly take you to the moon. There are even models with small motors built in and moving parts to simulate vaginal or oral sex. You get to just lay back and enjoy.
Just be sure to clean them out right after, using cool water and isopropyl alcohol. Hot water denatures the proteins in semen and makes it incredibly sticky and hard to clean (This is a good tip in general: always clean it up with cool water). Soaps can often damage silicone and other materials making them become more porous and decompose faster. Using at least 70% isopropyl alcohol will make sure to keep your toys clean.
As an endnote, this is one I like to recommend to people's partners. If you're not in the mood, or too tired, whip out one of these toys and your man won't be complaining. They feel fantastic and get the job done.
Male Sex Toy #2: The Cock Ring
Next let's take a look at cock rings. These little things can bring a big punch of excitement to your partnered sex. A cock ring alone can be designed to trap more blood in the penis, making you feel like your erection is bigger and stronger. (Note: This is not a cure for difficulties with erection -- Come book a session with me for that.) Feeling like your erection is big and strong can be a positive boost to ego and feeling sexy, but don't expect your partner to notice too much of a difference. If we get fancy though, many cock rings come equipped with all sorts of gadgets to really spice things up. Primarily, this means small vibrators attached to the ring that can feel good for you, but when placed correctly during penetration can directly stimulate your partner's clitoris, making for mind-blowing sex. The vibration added to the penis in this way can also work to increase stimulation to the prostate if your partner is male. There are even prostate massager/cock ring combos to really get things going for yourself. However you want to use one, these can be a fun way to improve sex or masturbation.
Male Sex Toy #3: Anal & Prostate Toys
Lastly, let's take a look our anal and prostate toys. For those of you who don't know, the prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. It helps produce fluids for semen, is located right up against the wall of the rectum and is covered in super sensitive nerves that can pack a punch. Many men use stimulation of these nerves to achieve powerful orgasms. It's often compared to a woman's clitoris and it's just in your butt. Butt plugs and anal beads can feel pleasurable on their own, and more so when directly stimulating the prostate. Both can often include movement or vibration functions to increase this stimulation. Prostate massagers are toys designed and shaped to directly stimulate the prostate and help you achieve mind blowing orgasms. These kinds of toys can certainly feel a bit more adventurous, but if you're looking to really add some spice to things, they won't miss the mark.
As with all forms of anal play, hygiene is hugely important. (Anal hygiene is its own entire article, however, so if you decide to explore here check out a guide first. Sextoyeducation.com has some great resources.)
Overall, I feel it's time for people to really start enjoying and exploring what they want to. Sex, either alone or with others, is an amazing and bright spot in our lives. (Particularly now while the rest of the world seems so dark.) So why not try something new and spice things up. We're all stuck at home anyways!
Interested in Starting Sex Therapy for Men in Plymouth, MN?
Don’t wait any longer to get the sex therapy you deserve. Our sex therapists want to help you address sexual concerns here in Plymouth, or anywhere in the state with online therapy in Minnesota. Get started by following these simple steps:
Other Mental Health Services in Minnesota
In addition to sex therapy, our LGBT & polyamory friendly sex therapists provide a wide range of mental health services at our Plymouth, MN counseling office. Other services include couples therapy & marriage counseling, EFT, evidence-based couples therapy, EMDR & sexual trauma therapy, as well as, teen therapy. In order to help serve the mental health needs of all those living in Minnesota, we also offer online counseling & sex therapy. We also provide a variety of helpful tips on our mental health blog. Please feel free to reach out with questions, or if you would like to schedule an appointment to begin working with a skilled sex therapist! Your sex life can be amazing. Sex therapy can be a part of that process for you.