Illustrations by Spencer Olson

Sex Toys for Men That Don’t Suck

At least, not in a bad way

Over the past few decades, the sex toy industry has come a long, long way. Once the peddlers of low-quality, often toxic wares predominantly found in seedy porn stores, sex toy manufacturers are now bona fide designers and engineers, with MIT graduates and award-winning designers creating products beloved by celebrities like Kate Moss, Beyoncé and even Oprah.

But that progress hasn’t benefited everyone equally; in fact, most of the classing-up has been of toys like vibrators and dildos. So if you happen to be rocking a penis, things aren’t quite as awesome. A variety of factors (including the silly notion that a real man doesn’t “need” outside assistance with his masturbation) have kept many men away from sex toy shops, which makes them less of a priority to the makers of quality erotic products. As a result, many men interested in switching up their dick-stroking routine find that many of the products available on the market aren’t nearly as stylish, high-quality, or well-designed as those created for vulvas.

But it’s not all toxic pocket pussies and comically oversized “flashlights”: though pickings are still much slimmer than they are on the vagina side of the aisle, the past few years have seen a rapid improvement in the quality and design of toys designed to pleasure penises. I reached out to a few sex toy pros (and proud penis owners) to learn a little bit more about the products they recommend to anyone interested in upgrading their masturbation habits. (Links below range from mildly to extremely NSFW.)

Tenga 3D Spiral: If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of sex toys, you might be tempted to keep things relatively simple (and, ideally, cheap). Matthew Nolan, co-creator of sex toy review webcomic Oh Joy Sex Toy, recommends the Tenga 3D spiral. I’ve been a huge fan of this simple sleeve for years,” he says. When not in use, the Spiral looks like a piece of modern art: a textured white silicone tower that gives no indication of its secret sexy purpose. (“It truly is a beautiful desk sculpture,” Nolan notes.) But once that high-design exterior is flipped to the inside of the sleeve, it’s a wonderful texture that’s delightful to, ahem, immerse yourself in.

The Spiral doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but that can be a feature, not a bug: “It’s only really a thin bit of silicone between your hand and cock, which… helps you stay connected,” says Nolan. “The toy doesn’t replace your hand, it becomes a new extension of your hand, a new flavor to your regular wanking.”

That said, the product isn’t perfect: If you’re bigger than average, it might be a tight fit, and clean-up isn’t always a breeze. Plus, that thin material isn’t built to last; after a few dozen uses, it’s not quite so pretty anymore. But, Nolan says, “The Spiral is a classic, and one I absolutely love, despite its faults.”

Hand Solo: Speaking of the mess factor, while close-ended sleeves can offer delightful sensations, they can be far less delightful once it’s time to open them up (or flip them inside out) and get them fresh and clean again. Enter the Hand Solo. A lightly textured silicone sleeve, the Solo’s designed to fit in the palm of your hand, enhancing your regular stroke session with some extra bump and grind — and seven speeds of vibration. Because it’s not a full-fledged sleeve, you get to choose where, exactly, to apply the action; when all’s said and done, clean-up’s a breeze (or at least no more of a hassle than it would be if you weren’t using a toy).

Blewit : If you know anything about sex toys for men, you’ve definitely heard of Fleshlight, the oversized flashlight-looking device that helped create a major market for male masturbation devices. There’s a lot to like about the Fleshlight, but also a lot that can be improved on. Enter Blewit, a brand-new toy that takes the same basic concept as the Fleshlight (hard outer shell, soft textured sleeve on the inside) and makes it much, much better.

What’s good about Blewit? It’s got an ergonomic design and non-slip grip (making it comfortable and easy to hold, even when you’re in the shower), and a thoughtfully designed interior that can just be rinsed and air-dried once you’re done. The device also comes with a pleasure training guide that helps users learn all about the many ways they can make themselves feel good — an essential part of Blewit founder CT Schenk‘s mission to de-stigmatize male masturbation and sex toys for men. Blewit encourages users to see masturbation not just as a cheap and dirty thrill, but an essential tool for learning about their bodies and sexual response cycle.

Cobra Libre II: When you think of a toy designed to pleasure the penis, you probably envision something that’s designed to embrace the entire cock — or, like the Hand Solo, wrap itself around the shaft. The Cobra Libre is not like that at all. A penis vibrator, the Cobra Libre is designed to focus its attentions entirely on the head of the penis, creating a unique stimulation experience.

Of course, “unique” isn’t always a good thing: If you enjoy a good deal of shaft stimulation, the Cobra Libre might leave you feeling cheated. But if you’re a fan of intense, focused vibration, it could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Vorze: Want a toy that does all the work for you? A number of products claim to simulate the sensations of oral, vaginal and anal sex, even going so far as to link the action with specially coded porn clips. Of this category, Vorze is a standout: “I didn’t believe the hype, and I totally do now,” says Jon Pressick, editor of Best Sex Writing of the Year Volume 1.

What makes the Vorze special? It’s got seven speeds, going from very subtle to incredibly strong. “It’s definitely stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced in any toy I’ve ever touched,” Pressick notes. It’s great on its own, but to up the experience you can wirelessly connect it to specific porn scenes and sit back and enjoy as the toy mimics the onscreen action. At present, the available porn clips are pretty limited (just few white porn performers and some animated clips) and exclusively heterosexual, but there’s a great deal of potential for an expanded experience — and since those clips are more a bonus than the main selling point, it’s not a total dealbreaker if they’re not up your personal alley.

Lux Alptraum is a writer, consultant and comedian with one thing on her mind. She previously wrote for MEL on why porn isn’t ruining your sex life. Follow her on Twitter at @luxalptraum.

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