By: Swan Huntley
Sexuality is a spectrum. As we strive for visibility, equity, and inclusion of all sexual identities and orientations, the sex industry needs to catch up! This historically male-dominated heteronormative space is in the midst of a serious makeover, and we’re here to highlight the brands and products created with a wide range of experiences in mind.
So, you might be asking, why should pleasure products for the LGBTQ+ community be any different than mainstream product lines?
The most compelling answer to this question has to do with point of view. Straight-identifying folks and queer folks don’t necessarily have the same conceptions of what is sexually pleasurable, and their ideas about what it means to use sex toys in a partnership are also not necessarily the same.
As Dr. Kat Van Kirk, PhD points out in this Psychology Today article, the most popular misconception about sex toys is that using them means your partner isn’t good enough in bed, and therefore needs to be replaced with a battery-operated tool.
Obviously, the use of pleasure products is not a failure, and the ways in which all people conceive of desire is incredibly nuanced.
According to surveys conducted by the female-owned sex toy company Wet For Her, 72% of women stated they needed clitoral stimulation to achieve vaginal orgasm, and 78% of women preferred non-realistic sex toys in comparison to realistic ones. So, giant penis-shaped dildos are not what most women want. They also reflect a history of a sex toy industry dominated by men. In other words, patriarchy is everywhere, and that includes our ingrained beliefs about what is pleasurable and what is not.
Here’s the good news: things are changing, and there are now a ton of pleasure products geared specifically for the queer community. If you’re an LGBTQ+ person, it’s a great time to be alive. If you’ve made the decision to invest in your sexual health with toys, how will you go about choosing the right ones? What’s going to suit your needs when you’re alone versus when you’re with a partner? What arouses you? And how can you make this fun?
There are so many options that it might be hard to choose, but you have to start somewhere, and that “somewhere” might be a tool that is super versatile and able to meet many needs. The Mystery Vibe Crescendo, otherwise known as the “Rolls Royce of vibrators,” is the ultimate shape shifter. It literally can be bent into different shapes. What? Yes. Also, this is a Bluetooth vibrator so you can control it from your phone, or your partner can do that for you! The best part about this toy is that it’s meant to be used on all types of genitalia, so all sexes are welcome.
Along with the pleasure products that are great for both sexes, there are also those specifically designed for each. Popular toys for LGBTQ+ men include butt plugs, anal beads, penile rings, prostate massagers, and dildos. Side note: If you’re a queer man and you’ve never heard of a sounding rod, Google it.
The majority of women need clitoral stimulation in order to achieve an orgasm, and so it would only make sense that the most popular tools for queer women support that need. The Melt is a gorgeous device that not only arouses the clitoris with vibrations. It also offers light suction meant to mimic the sensation of oral sex. If you’ve never experienced this, you haven’t lived fully.
For the smaller percentage of women who achieve orgasm through penetration, there’s the GPop2, which looks like a poetic wisp of smoke with gold embellishments. Designed to arouse not only the G-spot but also the P-spot, this toy is suitable for anal insertion and features six speeds. Plus, it’s just beautiful to look at. You could almost use this luxury sex toy as a wall hanging when you’re not using it in bed.
A wonderful little friend to the GPop2 might be the sleek and streamlined Bellatrix, which features a suction-cup base that can be stuck to a number of surfaces, including a shower wall, a window, or a tile floor! Amazingly, this fun toy can also be used as a strap-on, so it’s great to use with a partner when you’re not flying solo. To increase comfort and pleasure, rub some water-based lubricant on your Bellatrix before use.
The list of queer-friendly vibrators and other pleasure products could continue for a long time and many scrolls, given our enormous variety of options these days. Of course, the most important thing is figuring out what your unique body wants and taking it from there. Whether you’re single or plan to share your toys, adding them to your repertoire is ultimately a choice that’s meant to support sexual self-care.
So, dear reader, if you haven’t bought a new sex toy for a while, it’s time to get on it! Thanks to advances in technology and a rising cultural awareness around what people of all sexual orientations and identities need, there are zillions of new and exciting products to explore. Also, what better time to update your collection than in a pandemic?
And, if you’re still like, “wait, so what’s the right toy for me?” then there’s help! Book a one-on-one consultation with the Sensualist founder Arielle Aquino and she’ll lead you in the right direction.
Photo by Inna Shnayder