Picture this: a person walks into a sex store, peruses the products – scouring the aisles full of vibrators, dildos, anal toys, and cock-rings. They collect the items that pique their interest, or maybe they’ve done their research and found exactly what they are looking for. They stroll on over to checkout, toys in hand, and with a smile, they leave with their bundle of pleasure.
Now that you have the picture mapped out, who is the person in the sex store? Is it a woman or a man?
Don’t be shy. This is a judgment free zone!
If you’re like me, the first face who popped into your mind was probably a woman’s. Considering, at least culturally, women are often depicted as the possessor of sex toys, the seekers of these pleasure-inducing gadgets, it’s unsurprising this was the first thing that came to mind.
However, according to our recent survey, my first reaction (and maybe yours too) may not be accurate.
A couple of weeks ago, we sent out the Ultimate Sex Toy Survey across our social media channels, hoping to shed some light on who is using sex toys and how. Before the responses were in, we already came to some presumably obvious results… but what was waiting for us in the “analyze” survey docket took most of us by surprise. More men (53%) took our survey than women (47%).
While the discrepancy between men and women wasn’t huge, we immediately questioned why we assumed women would make up the bulk of our respondents. The answer, this time, didn’t surprise us. It’s the sexual stigma dogging male sexuality, and subsequently, our understanding of who uses sex toys.
Sex toys are so culturally linked to women, the Yas Kweenin’g duo of Broad City, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, recently launched their own sex toy line. Included in their line of sex toys is the infamous “Rabbit” Vibrator (called The Vulvarine Silicone Rabbit Vibrator), which received its wide recognition from the Sex and the City episode where the modest Charlotte York discovers the rabbit and quickly develops an all-consuming addiction to it; the episode ends with her friends staging an impromptu intervention to get her to put the rabbit down.
When thinking about pop culture references to sex toys, not a single show with men using them came to mind. Whenever a man’s involved in the discussion, their typically female partner is guiding them through the world of toys, trying to coerce him to try them with her. Take, for example, a newer Netflix show, Love, with Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust. When Jacobs and Rusts’ characters have sex for the first time, Jacobs whips out her handy vibrator, assuring Rust she needs this to reach climax. He hesitatingly accepts what she’s saying.
Yet, interestingly, our survey results challenge this idea of men solely and apprehensively using sex toys with their partners. When asking our survey participants if they used toys with their partners, by themselves, or both, 48% said both, with only 27% exclusively using them with their partner(s), and 25% using them alone. Meaning, quite a few men are using toys by themselves and enjoying them without their sexual partner(s).
Breaking down this false social stigma surrounding men and sex toys even further, according to this globe and mail article, sales for male sex toys has skyrocketed since 2013. Toys specifically for men, like the Fleshlight, have seen a spike of up to 25% in sales in the last five or more years. Additionally, Women’s Health magazine conducted their own survey about sex toys, with over 300 Men’s Health readers, whose results mirrored ours – 66% of male participants have purchased a sex toy. 70% said they have used them in bed.
Although many of our survey participants responded to our question –why do you like your favorite sex toy— saying they like them because of how it makes their wife, girlfriend, or partner feel during sex, the point is men are buying and liking sex toys.
And they’re using them, frequently. When asked how often you use sex toys, 42% of responders said they use sex toys a few times a week, with 36% using them a few times a month. Suggesting, the toys men are buying are not sitting on a shelf or in a cupboard collecting dust.
The most popular toys amongst our surveyors were vibrators (64%), dildos (52%), anal toys (32%), and couples toys (22%). Male sex toys (cock rings, masturbators) came in the top five at 21%.
While our survey debunks the myth that women are the primary benefactors of sex toys, the next step for you, society and me, is working on openly and outwardly changing the stigma about male sexuality. Men should be using sex toys, and we should be encouraging them. Not only do toys help people experiment and discover their bodies and sexual preferences, they give people confidence when masturbating or engaging in sexual activities with another person. Feeling comfortable and confident with your body and sexuality opens up a ton of doors, directly and indirectly related to the bedroom.
So, here’s what I want you to do. Go grab a man, it can be a friend, partner, or acquaintance, and ask him about sex toys. Ask him what he thinks of them and watch how the responds. Are they comfortable? Uneasy? Squirmy? Inquisitive? Let us know in the comments below!