Trans visibility has never been as high as it is right now — a reality that has created a slew of positives and negatives for trans folk around the world. On the one hand, the homicide rates of trans women, particularly women of color, are higher than ever, and the bizarre trans-bathroom-rights debate is still at a fever pitch. But on the other — much lighter — hand, trans celebrities are being profiled in the media and, slowly but surely, the existence of trans people is becoming more widely understood and — dare we say? — accepted. Trans people are finally being considered a consumer market unto themselves in an unprecedented way. From shirts for trans men to undergarments for trans women to devices made so trans men can stand and pee, the marketplace is beginning to open up to the trans community. And now, finally, so is the sex toy market.
While plenty of already-available sex toys can be repurposed for a variety of body types, the vast majority of existing products are marketed to cisgender folks. A few products, like the Njoy wand and almost all anal play toys, are relatively gender-neutral. But Buck Angel, a trans man who has worked for years as a trans rights activist via porn films, a dating website, educational and motivational speaking, and much more, wanted to make a sex toy specifically for his community. Angel has been trying to sell the idea of a masturbation sleeve for trans men for years, he says, “but no pleasure product company would touch it. They said there was no market.”
Buck wanted to make a stroker to suit the bodies of men like him — men who had begun to transition via hormone replacement therapy, and whose genitals were changing. “There are products out there that we [trans men] use that are not made for our unique bodies,” he told MEL. “I personally have had to cut up these products in order to make them work, and some of my friends have done the same, so that makes me assume many guys are doing that.”
After many failed attempts, he finally met with Steve Callow, president and CEO of Perfect Fit Brand pleasure products, about his vision. “We have the privilege of having a trans man working in our company who helped us understand that there were needs in the trans community that were being overlooked by sexual health product manufacturers,” says Callow. “When Buck told us about his vision, it was a no-brainer for us. We immediately started to develop the Buck-off.”
The Buck-off is the world’s first pleasure product geared specifically toward the transitioning bodies of trans men. The smallish stroker looks very much like a black butt plug with a hole in it, but it’s made for exactly the opposite purpose: you insert your anatomy into it, not the other way around. “It enables you to ‘jack off’ or masturbate your trans genitals,” Angel explains. “It has a slight suction and the material . . . is so soft and beautiful that it also gives you full control of the product.”
The Buck-off’s design helps to meet a need that’s particular to the trans market. “There are many men like myself who have a vagina,” says Angel, “yet they do not necessarily want to interact [with] or touch themselves,” as a result of body dysmorphia that sometimes plagues trans folks. “This stroker will let you experience a sexual sensation that you would not get otherwise,” Angel explains. “I am hoping to inspire guys to start masturbating with the Buck-off.”
Callow tells MEL, “The Buck-off was carefully designed around the needs outlined by Buck himself. As you might expect, everyone is different, but one thing can we say is that our SilaSkin is an extremely pliable material and will be enjoyable for most trans men to use.”
Other models are soon to follow in different sizes, Angel adds. “Really, I think anyone can use it,” he says. “The great thing is that the SilaSkin” — a soft and pliable latex- and pthalate-free blend of silicone and TPR — “is so pliable that you can squeeze and use it to where it fits your body.”
The fact that trans men are being seen not as a market for products made specifically for them is groundbreaking, but even more so is the idea that these men are deserving of pleasure. “I feel so excited and accomplished right now,” Angel says. “This has been something very important to me and my community for a very long time.”
The Buck-off is currently available for pre-order, to be shipped on September 15 and due on retail shelves shortly thereafter. Angel adds that it was important to him that it be priced modestly: “I know my community does not have a lot of money and it was very important for me and Perfect Fit to make sure that this was accessible to all.” It seems to be working: Pre-orders have been pouring in so fast that the Perfect Fit Brand website was inundated with traffic and shut down temporarily on August 15. If demand for the product continues apace, perhaps the Buck-off will be just the first in a more welcoming sex toy market for people of all genders.