Forrest Andrews was 44 when a prostate massager called the High Island Health Pro-State gave him the orgasm that would change his life forever. After reaching out to the company that made it to inquire why a little plastic butt device such as theirs would have made him see God, he started working for them as a product tester. Eventually, that company became Aneros, makers of what are the most popular and beloved prostate toys in the world (not one of which went to market without being personally tested and approved by Andrews himself).
For years, he was their one and only tester, which means, in a very real way, that his specific butt is responsible for creating generations of prostate toys that not only changed the way millions of men around the world experience pleasure, but the way our culture views male sexuality.
This is the story of the behind, well, behind the world’s most popular prostate toy.
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Most men think they know everything there is to know about the male orgasm: it comes from the penis; it’s brought on by some combination of stroking, thrusting and elbow grease; and at its pinnacle, it’s accompanied by some volume of milky white fluid whose appearance signals release, euphoria and an inexorable descent into slumber. For the vast majority of men, this version of orgasm is the version of orgasm. It’s the only one they’ve ever known, and it makes sense why — thanks to a heady concoction of porn, misleading sex education and rampant historical phallocentrism that still has our culture by the balls today, most guys are taught their penis is the premier centerpiece of male sexuality, and that anything north or south of it is extraneous to the ever-important thrust-cum-sleep cycle that makes them men.
However, when you’re a 44-year-old man suffering from debilitating and chronic prostatitis like I was in 2002, you don’t always get to use your penis for such a purpose. Prostatitis is a painful condition that the National Institutes of Health estimates affects 10 to 15 percent of the male population in the U.S. alone. I was in pain all the time — there was always a dull ache in my abdomen, right behind my scrotum and around my taint, a sensation that was made infinitely worse by peeing, passing bowel movements, and you guessed it, ejaculating. Basically, if a normal bodily function took place anywhere near my pelvic region, it would hurt. I had to watch what I ate in order to avoid irritating it further, and I avoided sex and masturbation when I could help it to keep my prostate from flaring up.
I’d tried every treatment out there, including years of antibiotics that did little more than help me develop an allergy to Sulfa drugs and make me a familiar face at the pharmacy I refilled them at. Nothing was helping, and so, unsatisfied with my urologist’s proclamation that I just needed more drugs, I took to the then freshly minted World Wide Web to hunt for a more natural antidote. Somewhere along the way, I’d heard something called “prostate massage” being the established treatment for prostatitis before the advent of antibiotics. Curious, I typed the search term into Google and began to poke around the results.
One of the first things that came up was a product page for something called the High Island Health Pro-State Massager, a modified butt plug made of white plastic that the company’s website promised would drain my prostate and enhance my sexual functioning with an “effective, hands-free self-massage.” That piqued my interest, and while I hadn’t been drawn to this for improved sexual function, I was certainly in no place to reject a little help in that department. Plus, a further tour of the website revealed the product was invented by a man named Jiro Takashima specifically to improve prostate health, so I figured what the heck — I put in an order and waited for the package to arrive.
When it came, I was a little hesitant to give it a try. Though my chronic prostatitis meant my rectum was no stranger to medical exploration — and I’d dabbled in ass play a bit on my own — I was by no means experienced with prostate stimulation, nor was I aware of what prostate stimulation with a hands-free device might entail. Nevertheless, buoyed by the tantalizing promise of a drug-free solution to what ailed me, I lubed it up, gently inserted it and began to pulse the muscles of my anus around it as directed.
As I did, I remember the product taking on a life of its own, rocking back and forth inside of me and massaging my taint and prostate at the same time. Strangely wonderful, yet unexpected sensations welled up inside of me. Ironically, this was intended to have been a therapeutic session, but with a quickly developing erection, I realized there had been a change of mission. As it turned out, I didn’t even have time to reach for my penis — within seconds of inserting the massager, I had the orgasm that would change my life.
It began as a series of exquisite tickling sensations that I could feel simultaneously from my prostate, penis, rectum and taint. Suddenly, I became aware of something building deep within my abdomen. Out of nowhere, the feelings increased in strength, like a surging wave overtaking me. My abdomen and penis became rock hard, and my anus began contracting involuntarily, and in an instant, I was climaxing.
It felt amazing, and was, without a doubt, the most intense erotic experience that I’d ever had. Surprisingly, the orgasm was cum-free, and far deeper inside my body than anything I was familiar with. As it continued, the sensations began to spread, radiating out to every point in my body. My legs began shaking. My toes curled. My fingers searched frantically for something to grab on to. I even found myself yelling involuntarily, making sounds I’d never knew existed. Meanwhile, inside my head, I felt like I was tumbling in space; like I’d ascended to some astral plane far outside my body.
It was the most blissful state I’ve ever known, and it went on like that for two full minutes. Afterward, I felt relaxed and yet totally invigorated at the same time, with no drowsiness or fatigue. It was a shocking contrast to the orgasms that I’d known all my life.
It was right about then that I had the WTF moment, thinking how little I knew about my own body. The experience I’d had was completely out of my frame of reference. What was that? How could I have cum so hard without ejaculating or even touching my penis? How could I have lived so long and never experienced this before? I’d never heard of this in sex ed or seen it in porn, and I wasn’t even entirely sure what part of my body the orgasm had come from.
Even more surprising, my prostate, which had felt sore and inflamed just minutes before, suddenly felt much better. I was flabbergasted, confused and elated all at once. Over the next few days, I tried it again and again, always with the same mind-blowing result. Furthermore, to my astonishment, I discovered I could have more than one of these orgasms without any pause in-between! As I would later find out, since there was no ejaculation, there was no refractory period (the male “time-out”). I had discovered the world of multiple orgasms!
However, I had no one to talk to about it. At the time, the stigma against anal play for heterosexual men was real, and it showed in the complete lack of both in-person and online resources that might explain the prostate orgasms I was having. Though I was eager to connect with other guys to see if they’d experienced the same thing, I couldn’t tell my friends (“Wow, Forrest has gone gay”); I couldn’t tell my doctor (he was more into pills than pleasure); and I definitely couldn’t tell my family (“Hey dad, I just had a life-changing prostate orgasm, how about you?”). I even tried probing the depths of AOL chatrooms to see if any men were talking about prostate orgasms or the Pro-State massager anonymously, but, no dice — I came up empty-handed, certain my gobsmacking orgasm had to have been some sort of freak aberration.
Just to be sure, I reached out to High Island Health to see if they’d had any similar reports. As it turns out, they had. Lots of them, actually. In speaking with their customer service staff, I found out they’d been overwhelmed with responses from men like myself who’d initially used the product for therapeutic purposes only to find this life-changing side effect. In the weeks and months that followed, I had many such conversations with the folks at HIH and developed a rapport with their staff. Ultimately, they put me in contact with Mr. Takashima, the inventor of the product and owner of the company.
It was an interesting process; he had many questions about how I was using the product, which I was only too happy to answer. After a time, he indicated that he had new designs that he was working on and asked me if I’d be interested in testing them.
I told him I’d be honored, and we began to correspond regularly. He’d send me prototypes, I’d give them the old college try and then I’d report back with rigorous field notes on everything from how agile a toy felt to its ability to replicate the amazing orgasm I’d had the first time around. We’d go through round after round of A/B testing until we perfected the design, a process that would sometimes takes months — and even years — to complete. Along the way, I’d provide my own suggestions on changes to improve the products, and they’d implement them. All the while, I was getting my rocks off and treating my prostatitis at the same time. In fact, much to my amazement, my once-crippling prostatitis completely disappeared after six months of regular prostate massage, never to return again.
While testing these prototypes, I began to experience my own sexuality in new and different ways. I was learning my body was a wellspring of pleasure zones outside of my penis. I was discovering that sensation had a “currency” about it, one that could be activated by any number of different stimuli creating pleasure and arousal, and ultimately orgasm. The devices were essentially training my body to be orgasmic on its own. This was certainly satisfying, but tremendously empowering as well. In a short time, I’d not only expanded my sexual repertoire, but changed the way that I viewed sexual fulfillment entirely.
Once High Island Health started marketing their products under the name Aneros, they tapped me to become their sole product tester. I spent years moonlighting as their willing guinea pig after I punched the clock at my day job in IT. It was hard work, and the taboo of it all meant I had to keep what I was doing a secret from my friends and family for a long time, but it really paid off. I now have the strange and wonderful honor of being the only person in the world who has tested and approved every single Aneros product on the market today. It’s funny to think about, actually — if you see one of our prostate products online or on a shelf in a store, it’s because I spent hours and hours meticulously crafting every minute detail of its design — with my own ass — to make sure it delivers as much orgasmic pleasure as humanly possible.
However, while that thought makes me smile, I’ve always taken my job very, very seriously. From the get-go, I’ve always been aware that these products could be about more than just health and pleasure — they could also be used as a tool to change the conversation around male sexuality and to break the narrow confines of how it’s expressed. Most of all, I didn’t want anyone to feel like I did after my first prostate orgasm: lost and confused, without any resources or community to let them know that what they’d felt was both normal and healthy.
So early on I encouraged Mr. Takashima and his staff to create a community forum on the Aneros website where men could openly discuss prostate health and pleasure. The concept was a learning and sharing center for Aneros users to get accurate information about the prostate and have sense of belonging to a larger movement. In providing this place for open discussion, I also hoped to combat the stigmas against male anal exploration and prostate play. I have to admit, I got really evangelical about dismantling the idea that these are things only gay guys do (they’re not), that all gay men enjoy anal sex (they don’t) and that enjoying the feeling of having something inside your ass has anything to do with your sexual orientation at all (it doesn’t).
In order to start discussions around these things, I wrote a tremendous amount of content on the forum, created a Wiki and began to espouse the idea of the “Super O,” which is the type of full-body, non-ejaculating multiple orgasm I had that first time with the Pro-State. Everyone wanted to know how they could have one as well, and as more and more people chimed into conversations around it, it became this oddly unifying and democratic pursuit. People who might not have spoken to each otherwise — or shared the same sexual orientation or gender identity — all had something to say about it, which I was excited to see. It meant that the forum was having the intended effect — it was actually changing people’s minds about who was “allowed” to put things in their butts.
Tens of thousands of people have jumped in on the conversation since we launched the forum in January 2003, and we now have more than 60,000 registered users and an untold amount of unregistered ones taking part in what has become one of the largest, most centralized discussions about men’s anal pleasure on the internet. It’s even been cited by some academics like Roy Levin of the University of Sheffield as a place people can get information about prostate pleasure when academia fails them (though there’s some research on the health benefits of prostate massage, there isn’t a ton on prostate orgasms or the people who have them).
At one point, our Aneros members even started to mentor each other. More experienced users would take newer ones under their wing and through any fears or hold-ups they had about trying our products. I was a mentor myself and found it to be extremely rewarding — it’s always a trip when someone you’re working with finally crosses over the threshold into the realm of the Super O.
One case was particularly extraordinary. Back in 2010, I was contacted by a forum member (a nurse) from the Midwest on behalf of a neighbor friend of hers. Apparently the friend’s husband was a veteran who’d been injured in the Gulf War. The man was a paraplegic, had restricted sexual function and was only able to attain an erection through “unusual measures.” As a solution, the Veterans Association had (somewhat disturbingly) instructed him to stimulate his prostate with a crude, dildo-like device in order to become erect, but the process was terribly uncomfortable, almost to the point of pain. The situation was even worse for the couple: his erectile dysfunction had destroyed their sex life and had all but eliminated their dream of having a child.
In her email, the nurse asked me if I thought an Aneros device might help. I said I wasn’t sure, but I arranged to have several sent to him free of charge anyway. Over the next several weeks, I kept in contact with the man, instructing him on the use of the product. Within weeks, he was having erections without pain or discomfort. Within a month, he was experiencing some of the strongest ejaculations of his life. Within a year, I got an email from the nurse telling me the couple was having a baby, and that they’d decided to name it after my username on the forum, Brian. That blew me away.
Nor was I prepared for how much our products would impact the culture of male sexuality as a whole. During the 13 years I was product testing for Aneros, the currents of stigma around male sexuality shifted in a big way, and a lot of that had to do with the increasing acceptance and proliferation of prostate toys like ours. Back in 2002, the only prostate toys available other than Aneros were repurposed butt plugs, women’s G-spot devices and the roving fingers of a willing partner. Two years later, there were half a dozen prostate-specific products on the market, and that number has doubled every year since. In fact, a spokesperson from adult retailer Adam & Eve recently said their prostate toy inventory grew 13 percent in just one year (from 2015 to 2016), and that they’ve had to expand their anal category and how they market their products to keep up with growing demand.
As a result, once-taboo acts like anal play, prostate stimulation and pegging are now being discussed in much more positive, gender-neutral terms in the media, too — there are mentions of these things everywhere from Broad City to Deadpool to Psychology Today.
Obviously, this isn’t the life I planned for myself, but it’s been a great ride. Once I joined Aneros full-time in 2016 and began to head up the product development team, I knew I had to come out to my friends and family about what I did. Honestly, that was the hardest part about all of this. Even in today’s more accepting climate, I was worried I’d be judged or alienated by the more straight-laced men in my life, and it took me a long time to fill them in on what I’d been up to (or rather, what had been up in me).
Fortunately, that fear turned out to be unfounded. Not one person, including my parents, reacted negatively when I told them what I was involved with. If anything, the response I got was that people were grateful that someone was finally starting to speak up about this. So as we move into this new era where men feel secure enough in their masculinity to experiment with new, more diverse forms of sexual exploration, I truly believe we’re also moving toward the world being a better, happier place for us all.
I’m just happy my ass could play some small part in that.