Sex Toy Companies That Don’t Use Gendered Marketing

Gendered marketing is one of my biggest bugbears in the sex toy space, and it’s almost impossible to get away from. Everywhere you look, you’ll see sex toys categorised as “for men” or “for women.” But we should all know by now that body parts don’t define gender. Not everyone with a vulva is a woman, not everyone with a penis is a man, and myriad genders exist between and beyond those two binary options.

(If you think gender is binary or that physiology alone defines gender, then erm… you’re probably in the wrong place.)

And look, I even understand why companies do this, up to a point. For many, it’s primarily an SEO concern. “Sex toys for men” gets almost half a million Google searches per month at the time of writing, while “sex toys for women” gets close to 100,000. “Sex toys for penis” and “sex toys for clit” get a relatively paltry ~5000 and ~500 searches, respectively (and “vulva” doesn’t even get a look-in, but that’s a rant for another day.)

Even so, though, continuing to aggressively gender sex toys contributes directly towards exclusion and inequality in an industry that is already… not great on those things a lot of the time.

With that in mind, I wanted to tell you about some of my favourite adult retailers and manufacturers that do not use gendered marketing.

SheVibe

I love SheVibe’s playful, comic book-inspired aesthetic, and I love their gender-neutral approach even more. Toys are categorised by type and body part, not by gender. So you’ll find categories like “vibrators”, “dildos”, and “penis toys”.

SheVibe has a huge and extensive product catalogue so whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find something for you here.

Godemiche

This small, UK-based purveyor of colourful silicone sexiness categorises their toys by type – dildos, hump toys, masturbators, and so on – rather than by gender. The Grind Ring products (some of my all-time faves!), for example, are described as being for “anyone with a clitoris.”

If you’re looking for quality body-safe silicone sex toys in a bigger range of colours and blends than you’ve ever seen in your life, then look no further.

Peepshow Toys

Peepshow Toys logo

Peepshow Toys has been a major player in the body-safe sex toys space for a long time now, and their extensive range just keeps going from strength to strength.

They divide their toys by type and then sub-divide them below that. So for example, you’ll see “dildos” then sub-categories of “realistic”, “non realistic”, “suction cup”, and so on. It’s easy to find exactly what you want with no gendered marketing to be seen.

Arosum

Arosum logo

I’ve only recently started working with Arosum, and I’m a big fan. They categorise their toys by body part (vulva, penis, or anus) then sub-categorise them by type (“clitoris vibrators,” “masturbators,” etc.)

Arosum puts the LGBTQ+ community front and centre and designs their products with us in mind. It’s so refreshing to see diverse images of smiling queer people and blog content covering topics like the history of Pride and LGBTQ+ workplace discrimination.

The Pleasure Garden

The Pleasure Garden is a small business and the UK’s inclusive sex shop. They believe that everyone deserves pleasure and they only stock body-safe products. Products are categorised variably by type and by body part (“vibrators”, “cock and ball toys,” and so on.)

They even have a separate “gender expression” category filled with products designed specifically with trans and non-binary people in mind!

Le Wand

Le Wand understand that wand vibrators are for everyone, and sell wands (and their attachments) without gendering them. Their blog posts and guides are de-gendered for the most part, too – you’ll see topics like “Anal Play for Vulva Owners.”

In 2019, they were even awarded “Progressive Company of the Year” at the Xbiz awards.

Love Not War

Love Not War is an innovative sustainable sex toy company selling quality silicone vibrator heads that all work with the same interchangeable battery base. This means you only need one set of electronics to enjoy all their toys. They use FDA-grade silicone, recycled aluminium, and eco-friendly packaging.

Love Not War doesn’t gender their toys, instead indicating what body part they are most suited to – the clitoris or G-spot, for example.

Stockroom

Stockroom is actually primarily known as a BDSM gear supplier, but also offers an impressive array of sex toys in their catalogue. You’ll see wording like “cock and ball toys” rather than “toys for men.”

Annoyingly, some of their kink gear – most notably their extensive range of chastity devices and suction pumps – is categorised by gender rather than body part. For this reason, I debated whether or not to include them. But their sex toys, at least, are de-gendered.

FYI: this post contains affiliate links.

What Does Inclusive Sex Toy Design for the LGBTQ+ Community Look Like?

I believe, and have believed since the first day I started working in this industry, that sex toys are for everyone. Unfortunately, sex toy design and marketing often fail to live up to this ideal. Toy retailers are often unintentionally exclusionary at best, and outright offensive at worst.

But what does it actually look like to create and market inclusive sex toys? Today I want to look at this question specifically through the lens of LGBTQ+ experiences.

No Toy Will Suit Everyone

There are so many reasons I cringe when I see phrases like “best ever sex toy for women!” and “orgasm guaranteed!” in sex toy marketing copy. The main one, though, is that sex – and bodies – simply do not work that way. We’re all different. Our bodies, minds, and relationships have diverse needs. This means that it is absolutely impossible to create a toy that will work for everyone or to guarantee that a product will work for any particular individual.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few different ways that sex toy design can become more inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community. Hint: I love colourful Pride-themed things as much as anyone, but this issue is much more complicated than just slapping a rainbow on something during the month of June.

This post is by no means meant to be exhaustive, but includes some considerations for sex toy designers and makers who want to be LGBTQ+ inclusive to think about.

Design for Diverse Bodies and Preferences

LGBTQ+ people’s bodies can look and function in a whole myriad of different ways, and inclusive sex toy design accounts for this beautiful variety.

Arosum has recently released two new products, the G-Snuggle and the LushVibe, that are specifically crafted for people with tighter or narrower vaginal canals. This might include trans women who have undergone gender confirmation surgery, some intersex people, and cis women, trans men and AFAB non-binary people who suffer from conditions such as vaginismus. These toys feature a slim design with a unique hooked tip shaped like a bean sprout that applies gentle pressure to the vaginal walls.

To be honest, even as a cis woman who simply prefers slimmer toys for penetration most of the time, I think I’d enjoy these products. It’s really nice to see companies breaking the “bigger is always better” narrative when it comes to toys. (The LushVibe, by the way, is also suitable for anal use.)

Toys that are useable when flaccid are also popular amongst some trans women and non-binary people who take estrogen, which can affect erections. I’m eternally disappointed that one of the best toys in this category, the Hot Octopuss Pulse, is marketed with the cringeworthily-gendered term “Guybrator.” Wand vibrators are another great gender-neutral option, because high-powered vibration feels awesome for most genitals.

Highly versatile toys, in general, are wonderful and there should be more of them.

Sex Toys and Gender

Sex toys can play a role in gender affirmation, too. Simply de-gendering your toys entirely is a step in the right direction and can help you to avoid inadvertently causing gender dysphoria.

There are even toys specifically designed with gender affirmation in mind. For example, there are strokers designed specifically for trans men and transmasculine people who have experienced bottom growth due to taking testosterone. And pack-and-plays allow wearers to both pack (create the look and feel of having a penis) and have sex with the same cock.

Toy Kits for Couples

Something that’s tremendously popular in the sex toy industry is bundles or kits for couples. These typically include two toys, one for each person. Sometimes the two products will link up or work together in some way (such as through an app. Isn’t technology marvellous?)

But these bundles are, with very few exceptions that you really have to go looking for, incredibly cisheteronormative in their marketing and design. I’d love to see LGBTQ+ toy manufacturers designing sets and kits for couples with the same genitals… and for couples with different genitals but without the “his & hers” marketing.

Be Aware of Other Intersections

Privilege and oppression exists as a huge and complex system of intersecting identities. This means that, when designing products with the LGBTQ+ community in mind, it’s important to consider other intersections of identity and experience as well.

For example, the sex toy industry has a huge and ongoing racism problem. “Historically, “flesh” dildos and vibrators were the color of Caucasian skin,” writes Hallie Lieberman. This is still a common occurrence and, when toys are available in other skin colours, companies often market them using problematic or even outright racist language. In the same article Shani Hart, CEO of the Hart’s Desires boutique in the D.C. area, calls out the “racist and derogatory” packaging and marketing copy that still appears far too often in this industry.

Disability inclusion matters, too, and it’s important to remember that disability doesn’t look just one way. Disabled writer, advocate, and sex worker Ruby Rousson writes in this article that “Nearly every toy I’ve come across has not been designed with accessibility in mind. Whilst we’re slowly getting there, we’re not there yet.” Size, weight, shape, button size and placement, positioning, care and cleaning, and noise are just some of the factors you’ll need to consider when it comes to disability-friendly sex toy design. Even then, you should probably avoid claiming that your toy is “good for disabled people” without specifying what that actually means.

The Words and Images You Use Matter

Okay, this is a sex toy marketing issue rather than a sex toy design issue, but it’s all intricately connected. Think about the language and images you’re using when you market your toys. Are you using a lot of images of cisgender, heterosexual-presenting people and couples? If so, your LGBTQ+ audience is unlikely to see itself represented and will probably feel excluded by your marketing.

Are you using gendered language? If so, that should be the first thing to go. For example, not everyone with a vulva is a woman and not all women have vulvas, so marketing a clitoral vibrator as a “toy for women” is exclusionary and alienating.

Think about language around sexual orientation and gender identity, too. I advocate against categorising toys by sexuality because, well, inanimate objects don’t have sexual orientations. You might think it’s inclusive to categorise a strap-on, for example, as “for lesbians.” But people of a huge array of sexualities, genders, and relationship configurations can and do use these toys.

If In Doubt, Ask

Remember that, when designing and marketing products for the LGBTQ+ community, you should actually ask us for feedback! Even if you and your team are part of the community, you probably don’t have every single identity under the LGBTQ+ umbrella represented and your experience won’t be someone else’s experience. Always seek the direct input of the individuals and communities you’re looking to serve.

Thanks to Arosum for sponsoring this post. Check out their range of products designed with LGBTQ+ people in mind! All writing and views are, as always, my own.

[Toy Review] Arosum Vibratwin Strapless Strap-On & Kegelator Kegel Exerciser

Arosum, who both sponsored this double review and recently came on board as a site sponsor, is a rare beast in this industry: a sex toy retailer that does not use gendered language in its marketing. You won’t find Arosum toys grouped into limiting and cissexist categories such as “for women” and “for men.” Instead, toys are categorised by type and body part.

This is such an easy change to make if you want to make your sex toy marketing more inclusive, and yet so many retailers fail.

Arosum kindly send me the Vibratwin Strapless Strap-On and the Kegelator Vibrating Kegel Balls to review.

Arosum Vibratwin Strapless Strap-On

Arosum Vibratwin strapless strap-on vibrator

Strapless strap-ons are a divisive topic in the sex toy space. Some love them and others hate them. I’ve always been quite indifferent. I had a mediocre experience with one in my twenties, and haven’t really bothered again since. So I was curious to see how I’d get on with the Arosum Vibratwin Strapless Strap-On.

Fun fact, as I discovered when doing Google keyword research for this post: Vibratwin is also the name of a dual-action floor cleaning machine!

Vibratwin strapless strap-on details

The Vibratwin is a classic strapless strap-on vibrator, with one arm to go inside the wearer and then a protruding arm for them to fuck their partner with. The main shaft measures 5.35″ in length and 1.57″ in diameter at the widest point, and the shaft for the wearer measures 5.51″ in insertable length (but is very curved) and 1.26″ in diameter at the widest point.

The Vibratwin is made of body-safe silicone in a pretty shade of green. In the box you’ll also find a remote control and a storage bag (though, weirdly, the bag isn’t really big enough for the toy unless you squish it in at a weird angle!)

The Vibratwin is IPX7 waterproof and rechargeable. The battery life – around 45 minutes on a full charge – isn’t great, but is anyone really doing penetrative sex for longer than 45 minutes at a time anyway?

In use: what I liked

Arosum Vibratwin strapless strap-on vibrator

I really like the curved shape of the wearer’s shaft on the Vibratwin, for two reasons:

  1. It helps the toy to actually stay inside me
  2. It presses very pleasurably against my G-spot

Other things I like about this toy:

  • The “come hither” motion of the main shaft. It feels great and it means that, if you want to have strap-on sex without a lot of thrusting, you can just slide the shaft inside your partner and let the toy do the hard work. There are 3 different speeds.
  • The versatility. You can control the come-hither motion and the vibrations separately. Or, if you’re not in the mood for either, just leave them switched off.
  • It takes much less set-up than my regular strap-on, which I love but which always requires several minutes of futzing with straps and rings before it’s ready to go.
  • The remote control is a really nice addition, making it easy to control the toy in use with a partner. It’s fast and responsive.
  • There’s no reason you can’t also use it as a solo toy, if you want.
  • The silicone is really soft and smooth.

Anything I don’t like?

  • The inevitable squeaky whine that accompanies the “come hither” motion. This isn’t really Arosum’s fault, it’s probably almost impossible to make a toy that does this motion without it, but I still hate it.
  • The ridges on the main shaft. These will work really well for some people but for me, that level of texturing is more likely to be painful than pleasurable. As such, I think I’d prefer to use this toy when I’m Topping (assuming my partner enjoys that texture) rather than bottoming.
  • The vibrations are quite weak and buzzy. I don’t really like internal vibrations anyway, though, so I’ll just keep them turned off when using this toy in the future.

Verdict

Surprisingly great! I really like this one and will definitely use it again.

The Vibratwin Strapless Strap-On retails for $99.

Arosum Kegelator Vibrating Kegel Balls

Arosum Kegelator vibrating kegel exerciser

I’ve written about kegel balls and their purported benefits before. Some proponents claim that they can strengthen the pelvic floor, reduce incontinence, or enhance (or make it easier to have) G-spot orgasms. The actual evidence, though, doesn’t really stack up. The data supporting the bladder control claims is minimal and contradictory, and I could find no evidence (beyond the anecdotal) to support the orgasm claims.

Kegel exercises themselves are good for you, helping to prevent incontinence and other pelvic floor problems. It’s a good idea to do them regularly. But do kegel balls or other exercisers really help? The jury is out on that one.

Due to the lack of evidence to support any health claims, I choose to look at kegel balls and kegel exercises purely as sex toys.

With that in mind, how does the Kegelator stack up as a sex toy?

The Kegelator measures 8.27″ end to end, of which 4.33″ is insertable and the rest is the tail. The insertable portion is 1.54″ wide at the widest point, and 0.79″ at the narrowest point. It’s made of body-safe silicone in a dusky pink shade and is the classic “two connected balls with a long tail” shape.

As well as vibrating, the top part of the Kegelator moves in a “come hither” motion to stimulate the G-spot.

What I liked about the Kegelator

Arosum Kegelator vibrating kegel exerciser

  • The main thing I like about this toy is its shape. The size and slight curve of the head is ideal for seeking out my G-spot and targeting it with precision.
  • The remote is fast, responsive, and allows you to move between the 10 patterns and settings in either direction.
  • It’s comfortable enough to wear for quite a while, if you want to.
  • The silicone is silky soft.

Anything I didn’t like?

  • That whining noise again!
  • The fact that you can’t control the vibrations and come hither motion separately. I don’t like internal vibrations and would really like to turn them off while still using the other function!
  • 60 minutes battery life isn’t great, especially for something you might theoretically want to wear for longer periods.
  • The vibrations are weak and buzzy.

Verdict

Unlike the Vibratwin, I think the Kegelator is just okay. It’s really let down by the lack of dual controls, and the buzzy vibrations will be a downside for anyone looking for powerful internal vibes.

The Kegelator Kegel Exerciser retails for $79.

Thanks to Arosum for sponsoring this review. Sponsors help to keep the site going! All views, as always, are mine.