Culture

A Guide to Gender-Neutral Sex Toys

| 05/19/2021

abstract shapes representing gender neutral sex toys

The sex toy industry has become a lot more progressive in recent years. Companies are waking up to the growing need for gender-neutral options for trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming customers – who might be put off by overly gendered language, design, even colors (e.g. pink for “girls”). Everyone deserves to enjoy sex and solo play, no matter how they identify. 

Here’s a guide to exploring gender neutral sex toys, and some of the ways the sex toy world is changing to become more inclusive for all.

Gender-free Language 

Some sex toy companies have taken steps to ensure the language they use is non-gender specific. Instead of “men” or “women’, they say “people.” Instead of “penis” or “vagina” they say “body part” or “sensitive area.” For example, Maude describes its signature Vibe’s shape without discussing body parts at all. Its “shape and flutter tip are designed for focused stimulation” – which could be anywhere.  

Some online stores offer a completely gender-free shopping experience. Enby is a sex toy marketplace designed specifically with queer and gender non-conforming people in mind. Vibes of all shapes and sizes, from Dame’s Pom to VeDo’s Bump Anal Vibe, are presented together – without gender specifications, so you can choose based on sensation, not specific body part. The site frequently uses its own product descriptions, so even if the original company uses gendered language to describe the toy, Enby often rewrites it. Also, a portion of all profits are donated to a rotating list of small underfunded organizations focused on improving the lives of queer and trans people of color, like J-FLAG Equality Jamaica. Keeping gender neutrality at Enby’s core provides people with a more inclusive space to shop – focusing on the stimulation the toys provide. 

Rumbly Vibes

The great thing about vibrations is that they can stimulate any part of the body, so the sky’s the limit when it comes to the shape. One great addition to the GNC sex toy closet is a wand massager like the Magic Wand or Doxy. These large handheld vibrating machines were initially marketed as back massagers – until people realized another use. You can use the vibrations directly onto the body, or you can press it against a hand or another toy to make that vibrate, perfect for exploring alternative areas and different sensations. 

Cute, alternative shapes signal a shift away from “his and hers” sex toys, making solo and partner play more, well, playful.

More recently there has been a move towards more playfully shaped vibes, as opposed to the typical dildo or bullet shape. Tenga’s Iroha range is an adorable collection of tiny round vibrators that look more like ornaments than sex toys. Fin by Dame is a small square vibe meant to be worn on the finger, to allow for extra sensations from your hands. Cute, alternative shapes like these signal a shift away from “his and hers” sex toys, making solo and partner play more, well, playful. 

Bend It Yourself

You can also experiment with toys designed to be re-designed for your own specific needs. 

Lelo’s Picobong Transformer is a long, thin, bendable toy with a slim vibrating bulb on each end, made to be twisted, coiled, unfurled, used together, used apart, whatever you like. The range of possibilities is near-endless. MysteryVibe’s Crescendo is more traditionally dildo-shaped, but totally flexible, meaning you can mold it into a totally new shape depending on where you want the stimulation to focus. The Hand Solo is a unique “open sleeve masturbator,” like a vibrating hand mitt with ribbed contours, so you can stroke, grip or rub anything you like. For people who want to pack or wear a strap-on for a long time, New York Toy Collective sells posable dildos alongside their range of packers, so you can wear them with a strap as you walk around and reshape as needed. 

Insertables

While a lot of traditional sex toys focus on dildos “for women” and “for men,” in reality, insertable toys can be for anyone. We all have butts! (Always make sure you’re using a toy with a flared base though if you’re using it for anal.) The Satisfyer Partner MultiFun 3 has a vibrating insertable stem and a curved pincer-like head with two vibrating endings that can be used to go around or pinch sensitive areas, so you can use it both inside and out. You can also try alternative shapes, like the popular NJoy’s metal ball-bearing style massager or twisted/ribbed shapes that feel more sensational and less anatomical. 

Gender-free Fantasies

You can also delve into the weird and wonderful world of fantasy sex toys – where the companies are too busy coming up with exciting sci fi, magical and monstrous shapes to bother getting distracted by gender. Cute Little Fuckers is a range of toys shaped like adorable monsters, each with their own names, pronouns, and webcomic stories, like Princette Puppypus (“pronouns: they / them or the royal we, loves: pizza and butt stuff”), or Twin Tails, all based around imaginary monster tails and body parts. Etsy is also full of fantasy sex toys, often with customisable options so you can truly make them your own.

Inclusive Futures

Gender neutrality isn’t for everyone. Many cis people may prefer to have more direct body descriptions; more classically feminine or masculine designs; or romantic his/her stories around their toys. But for trans and gender non-conforming people, it’s wonderful to have options that include our identities and needs. Body and gender dysphoria is so often a problem for us, and “his/her” language, imagery, or assumptions can make it worse. This way, we can enjoy ourselves just as much as everyone else, free from boxes and labels, doing it our way.

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