Sex toys for women are in vogue, with lots of very interesting and sexy options on the menu. But for blokes - well it's a little bit harder to find the prize.
What do you buy for the man who has everything? Toys, of course. My boyfriend, like many men, is a gadget geek. In the last month, he has acquired a Sony PSP and one of those super-dooper mobile phones that connects to the Internet, accesses your email, organises your life and is enabled to do just about anything except make a decent cup of coffee.
Thomas is not alone in his desire to purchase anything that is operated by remote control, has flashing lights, or a completely useless, but technologically advanced, function. It seems to be genetically wired into the male brain, like their appreciation of breasts. Anything built with arcane nanotechnology sets most men drooling in a way generally reserved for glamour models. So, given their love of all things hi-tech, isn’t it a little odd that all the best sex toys are for girls?
Any woman who has bought a sex toy will tell you that the options are endless. For the vibrator virgin, the choice can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are almost as many websites dedicated to reviewing the goods as there are toys themselves. Sex toys for women come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and materials. With so many choices, why restrict yourself to just one? Like shoes, handbags and lingerie, a woman can never have too many toys.
The marketing of women’s sex toys, combined with TV shows like Sex and the City, Sex Tips for Girls and The Sex Inspectors, has made the vibrator socially acceptable. Not that long ago, sex toys were seen as the last resort of the lonely and sexually frustrated. Not any more. Au contraire – these days a vibrator is practically a badge of empowerment. Most women would be embarrassed to admit to not owning at least one. Orgasm has become every woman’s right, and being able to sort yourself out with the help of a plastic fantastic bedroom companion means you are a strong, modern woman who is capable of looking after herself without need of a man, thank you very much.
Posh sensuality boutiques have taken the vibrator upmarket. Rich girls no longer have to shop for their kicks with the riff-raff because, if you’ve got the cash, you can splurge on a designer toy. Whether or not a designer vibrator results in a designer orgasm, I couldn’t tell you, as these toys can sell for well over a thousand euro. However, these high-end sex shops, as well as the omnipresent Ann Summers, have taken woman’s sexual pleasure out of the alleyways and onto the high street.
Men’s toys have been much less successful in this regard. It would be a very brave man who would admit to owning anything for his own amusement. True, watching porn is no longer the guilty pleasure it was once considered, but admitting to shagging anything inflatable is still a no-no. Toys that can be used with a partner are OK, but anything used for solo sexual activity is stigmatised as a sign that a man can’t get laid. It's not that men don’t buy sex toys. Of course they do – but most prefer to keep quiet about it.
When I showed Thomas my collection of vibes, he was fascinated. So I decided to buy him a toy of his own. I trawled the Internet in search of the perfect gift, but it wasn’t easy. What I wanted was something just for him, not a toy to use as a couple – and one that would appeal to his love of gadgets.
Compared to women’s sex toys, the bottom line is that men’s are rather disappointing. There are a number of great anal toys, but these can be used for both sexes, and appeal only to the minority of men who actually enjoy foreign objects entering their rectums. Since he vetoed the idea of anything of this nature, I was rather limited in what I could buy. Other boy’s toys are more about pleasing a partner than enhancing a man’s own pleasure. After that, there is not a whole lot to choose from.
The current best seller for the boys is called the Fleshlight. This sneaky little toy looks like a flashlight, but the top unscrews to reveal a latex vagina. I thought this might be the one, but Thomas was less than impressed. Since he spends every evening with me, he said he wouldn’t have any use for it. In desperation, I suggested an inflatable sheep. I was grasping at straws, but seeing as he grew up in the countryside, you never know. This idea was met with a withering look – so I was back to square one.
I think that part of the problem with men’s sex toys is that they don’t pander to men’s love of gadgets. While they may do the job for which they are intended, they don’t have enough bells and whistles. If they did, men would feel a lot more comfortable with them. Just imagine pubs, awash with men comparing the merits of their purchases, each bloke trying to outdo the other.
Sex toy manufacturers need to be far more creative to capture the male imagination in the way that the Rampant Rabbit has captured the female one. What’s needed, I’d say, is a combination of cutting-edge technology and personal pleasure. Perhaps a toy that uses Wi-Fi technology to bring a man to orgasm? How about the iCum, a hand-held device that to can be used to store their favourite porn? All that’s needed is an enterprising young inventor to take advantage of this glaring gap in the sex toy market.
I eventually found the perfect toy for Thomas. He was so pleased with it that I got plenty of red-hot action by way of thanks. It walks, talks, and has flashing lights: he’s in gadget geek heaven. Unfortunately, it’s a remote-controlled Dalek, so it’s more likely to exterminate him than give him an orgasm.
It’s not exactly what I had in mind, but like a good sex toy, it gives him plenty of fun when he’s alone. I just hope he’s not shagging it on the side…
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