Writer Katie Baskerville talks us through the benefits of non-gendered sex toys and offers some recommendations of the best toys on the market.
Language note: This article is for everyone in all of our infinitely varied beautiful bodies and experiences. The article and the terms used within are intentionally gender non-specific. The words penis, vulva, pussy, dick, vaginal, clitoral and prostate are used with absolutely no gender specificity assigned to any term. We would like to acknowledge that not everyone with these general demonstrations of physiology uses the same words to describe their parts and that not all bodies appear the same or function in the same way. We would also like to acknowledge that broad application of these words fails to account for and encompass the spectrum of human physiology including the widely varied experience of intersex folks. It is our intention to be mindful and inclusive of trans, enby, GNC and intersex experiences. We hope that you enjoy reading this article, and that it helps you to find new ways to experience self-pleasure regardless of what your body looks or feels like.
If there are ways in which this article failed to address your desires and needs pertaining to what we have noted above we would be very appreciative of any feedback you’d be inclined to provide us with – please email email@example.com
With more potential for ‘me time’ than ever over the last two years of lockdowns and social distancing, it’s unsurprising that many of us have found ourselves reaching for the big box of toys under the bed. The sexual wellness industry is booming. What has been particularly great to see is the uptake and response to gender non-specific sex toys hitting the market.
I spoke with Poppy Lepora, owner of Self&More, a sex toy boutique that almost exclusively sells non-anatomical toys. I asked her why she thought people were drawn to these types of toys.
“Sex toys function as more than just body-part replacements – they’re tools for pleasure and when we limit their design to simply replicating penises and vulvas we’re limiting our imagination and sexual creativity,” Lepora explains.
“When it comes to masturbation, many people are focusing on the sensation or a fantasy scenario in their minds, and a realistic toy doesn’t always add to the fantasy.” She goes on to say; “At Self & More we find that the weirder and more wonderful the toy, the more they elicit an excited response from the viewer. There’s something about being pleasured by an ice-cream cone, a screw or a tentacle that is quite thrilling. Our video of a sex toy shaped like an ice-cream recently amassed over 1 million views on Instagram and sold out within hours.”
Lepora explains that enjoying penetration absolutely doesn’t automatically mean that you enjoy phallus-likeness and this should never be an assumptive practice. This has been recognised by many dildo makers, and so they have adapted to the broader wants and needs of consumers.
“As sex-positivity makes it way further into the mainstream we’re seeing a trend towards décor-worthy toys that live proudly on the nightstand rather than tucked away in sock drawers (just look at the Queer Night Stands Instagram to see what I mean).” She encourages.
“For many people, [an anatomically evocative dildo] just doesn’t scream ‘art’ in the same way that a contoured glass pleasure object does. In the past toys for penises were limited to flesh-coloured disembodied pussies, but brands like Tenga are making geometrical designs that can hide in plain sight, such as the Geo Coral masturbator.”
Lepora recognises, however, that anatomical toys will always have a place in the sex toy world.
“A fantastic thing realistic toys can offer is gender affirmation, or the opportunity to have your very own dick. Realistic toys can also be part of making certain fantasies come to life, and for that reason they’re not going anywhere fast.” Says Lepora.
As someone who has always felt more comfortable using androgynous toys, seeing boutiques like Self&More on the up and up is both affirming and healing. Non-gendered and gender-expansive sex toys can be a lifesaver for sex trauma survivors, like myself. Non-gendered design, for me, makes sex toys accessible, because they look like tools for pleasure and comfort, and don’t resemble the anatomy of people who have been unkind to me in the past. But, even for those of us who may not have experienced abuse, but just prefer the aesthetic, they make masturbation more accessible, fun and easier to reclaim from shame and stigma.
Megwyn White, Director of Education at Satisfyer explains to me that;
“Gender-neutral toys give us the opportunity to explore the body without limitations regarding how erogenous zones can be [more traditionally] stimulated. When you look at a gender-neutral toy your curiosity is naturally piqued and you might say to yourself, ‘what can it do?’ or ‘where can it go?’”
But, there is more to it than just finding what feels good on ourselves, White explains.
“Genuine curiosity is at the core of developing erotic intelligence and unlocking deeper levels of intimacy. Gender-neutral products give us another opportunity to engage with the body in ways that go beyond the limitations of gender and can even serve as an exciting catalyst for sensual communication between partners.”
So, without further ado, here is my list of some of the best non-gendered and gender-expansive sex toys on the market, for solo and partnered sex.
Additional language note: while some of the language and imagery on the following websites is binary in construction and thus fails to address the incredibly vast spectrum of gender and gender experience, the author of this piece endorses the use and aesthetic of the toys as pleasure-inducing options for any and all genders.
1. Doxy Die Cast 3 (plus accessories)
The Doxy’s reputation exceeds expectations. It’s notoriously excellent at delivering on powerful vibrations and deep rumbles. But what really makes the Doxy special, in my humble opinion, are its accessories. Each attachment is secure when in place, meaning it’s easy to switch things up and you’re always in control of where your pleasure is being delivered.
In short, it’s the toy that just keeps on giving, with the varied attachments making it an accessible vibrator for all who are looking to have their mind blown.
The rabbit attachment is great for people with certain types of vulvas and vaginas, simultaneously stimulating the clitoris and the g-spot with those notoriously powerful, deep Doxy rumbles.
The beautifully designed prostate attachment promises nothing more than supernatural sensations, taking your orgasm to the next level.
And, last but by no means least, the masturbation sleeve attachment. Fully ribbed, the sleeve focuses on the penis to deliver an unrivalled ‘turbo charged’ experience.
2. Lelo Gigi 2
The Gigi 2 is perfect for those of us looking for a g-spot focused toy. It’s 5” length makes it a great toy for beginners and it has a range of pulses, rumbles and vibrations that make your orgasmic experience deeply fulfilling.
The end, though designed to help you reach that toe-curling g-spot orgasm, can also be flipped for external clitoral stimulation, too.
The design of the Nubby Rose Glass Dildo is nothing short of a work of art. Made from fracture-resistant, non-porous glass, it is safe, hygienic and easy to clean. The material makes it a fantastic toy for temperature play, too. And, as if that wasn’t enough to make you press ‘add to cart’, it can be paired with a multitude of lubes. My personal favourite is the Überlube Silicone-based Intimate Lubricant, which balances silky and thick like no other lube on the market.
The Multi-Vibrator from Satisfyer is a win-win for partnered and solo sex. The design allows for full creativity, for all kinds of sex with or without other people. The vibrating end is hard and doubles up as a fantastic toy for internal and external stimulation and can be used for vaginal and anal play. The design makes it easy to involve penis play too. Regardless of who you are playing with, this toy has adaptable use for all genders and body types. A fantastic all-rounder for anyone looking to tease, penetrate and or rumble. In fact, Satisfyer claims that there are over twenty-nine ways to use this ‘endless fun’ toy – hence the name!
The design itself is sleek and modern looking, with a full black exterior and gold accents. It’s a durable toy too, and as it’s made from ABS silicone it’s best partnered with a water-based lube. I’m currently switching it up between HANX and Knude Society’s Glide lube, which are both long lasting and non-sticky.
Last but not least Gwen, by Knude Society, is a subtle and joyful toy. For external use only, its shape makes vulva play nothing short of delightful. Though it may be little, don’t be fooled, as it packs a punch! Its combination of hard edges and soft marine silicone material make it a versatile toy, too. So, if you’re looking for a toy that delivers on clitoral and vulval stimulation, is discrete and has a range of vibrating settings then this is the one for you. Oh, and it’s fully waterproof, making it the perfect bathtime companion!