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.

Is This What a Submissive Looks Like?

Today’s post topic was chosen by my supporters over on Patreon. For as little as $1 a month you can support my work and, at the $3 tier and above, you can get a voice in the direction of the site and vote on future content ideas.

I’ve recently been watching online shibari tutorials in an attempt to start improving my extremely rudimentary rigging skills. It’s a way to entertain myself while I’m in COVID isolation, okay? (Oh yeah, I currently have COVID. So that’s fun.) I’m not expecting to be able to suspend people from the ceiling any time soon, but I’d like to be able to create ties that are sexy, secure… and, of course, safe.

But watching all these tutorials, and hunting around for bondage inspiration online, I kept running across something I have long known to be true but am now finding impossible to ignore: the online kinkosphere is still, broadly, ridiculously homogeneous in the images and representations it puts out. This isn’t just true in the world of bondage and shibari, but across the entire kink and BDSM space.

When you think of the word “submissive” as a noun, what type of person comes to mind? If the images we see again and again and again are any indication, you probably pictured a cisgender woman. She’s probably white, thin, impossibly flexible, under 25, entirely shaven from the neck down, and normatively attractive. She’s probably submitting to a man.

There are, of course, submissives who fit that description, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But this is the most common image we see by an absolute mile, despite the fact that it’s nowhere near accurate for the vast majority of submissives. It’s the image most commonly presented not just in BDSM porn, but also in educational contexts. And it’s a problem for a number of reasons.

I’m a cis female mostly-submissive, and even I feel alienated when teachers, presenters, speakers, and educators casually toss around she/her pronouns or talk about breasts and vulvas when referring to a hypothetical submissive or bottom. It makes me feel as though assumptions are being made about my role on account of my gender, and that doesn’t feel good.

If this feels bad for me, it must feel so much worse for male, trans, and non-binary subs. It requires such a small shift in language – changing “she” to “they” when you’re talking about a generic person, saying “chest” instead of “breasts”, saying “genitals” instead of “pussy” – to make so many more people feel welcome and included.

Once you start noticing this phenomenon, it’s everywhere. Take the “fetishes” function on Fetlife, for example. So many of the general fetishes are worded in such a way that assumes a male Dominant and female submissive, with absolutely no need to do so.

Recently, I tried to add a fetish to my profile that relates to a specific phrase I enjoy hearing from dominant partners during play. But the only version available was “When he says… [phrase].” But not all the people I submit to are hes! Why are we making this assumption about gender when there is absolutely no reason to do so? Why can’t my queer ass enjoy hearing that phrase from her or from them as well as from him?

Even hunting for stock images for the title header of this post, every single picture featuring a person that came up under “rope bondage” or “shibari” depicted a thin, young, normatively pretty white woman.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I am 1000% sure this issue is pushing people away from the kink community before they even find it. Think about it. For most people these days, the internet will be their first port of call when looking for information on any given subject.

Let’s say you want to get kinky with your partner in the bedroom, so you look for tutorials on rope or flogging or wax play. But no-one in any of the videos looks anything like you. Are you going to feel empowered, or alienated? Or let’s say you’re interested in going to a kinky party, but all the images you see of BDSM online look one very specific way. Are you going to feel excited to dive in, or worried that you’re not young or thin or hot or rich enough? Exactly.

And to circle back to those shibari videos that started me off down this train of thought: assumptions about who submissives are and what they look like are also, from an educational standpoint, just not very useful. It’s no use telling me that I will need two 10 metre ropes for a particular tie unless my bottom happens to be the exact same physical size and shape as your demo model. There’s no point teaching ties that will be impossible on anyone who isn’t an Olympic gymnast, when what people really need to know is how to safely adapt and customise those ties for the specific body they’re actually tying.

The reality of kink is so much more incredible than one type of image that happens to line up with the cisheteropatriarchy’s narrow beauty standards. Because there is no one way to be a submissive. Submissives can be cisgender or transgender. Male, female, non-binary, genderqueer, agender, or a myriad of other options. They might be straight, gay, bi, pan, or ace. Young, old, or middle aged. Fat or thin. Submissives can be of any race and from any background. They can be able bodied or disabled.

For that matter, so can Dominants.

The community is so much more beautiful, so much more varied, so much more infinitely diverse than the images you see in porn, in a lot of educational kink media, and on Fetlife’s dreaded Kinky&Popular page would have you believe.

So what does a submissive look like? Any way they damn well want.

FYI: this post contains affiliate links.

[Toy Review] Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration Masturbator

Satisfyer are really churning them out lately, aren’t they? A few weeks after receiving the now-infamous shipment of 7 new toys for vulvas, I received a parcel the other day containing two new penis toys. They seem very similar, so I got rid of one via a Twitter giveaway, and kept the other one to test make Mr CK test. Meet the Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration Masturbator (hereafter ‘Satisfyer Men Heat’).

Keep your gendered marketing

I’m opposed to gendered marketing of sex toys. Not everyone who has a penis is a man, and not all men have penises! Trans and nonbinary people exist! Unnecessarily gendering toys not only makes trans and NB folks feel ignored and sidelined, it’s also just bad business. Why would you want to alienate a part of your potential customer base? So I was already a bit “ugh” about this product just from the name. But I tried to keep an open mind, I really did.

“A stylish playmate for modern guys”

This is how the Satisfyer Men Heat is described in their marketing copy. I mean… okay, I guess? The colour scheme is black and silver, a minimalistic and stereotypically masculine aesthetic. At first glance, the toy looks like a cross between a portable coffee cup and a torch. One end is closed, and the other is a hole where you insert the penis. The outer is made of ABS plastic, and the fuckable end (sorry, I can’t think how else to describe it) is lined with soft, squishy silicone.

Fuck it, describing this toy is hard, here’s a visual.

The Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration on a white sheet

The Satisfyer Men Heat features a heating function, which warms the toy to three possible levels, the highest being 104F (about 40C, or slightly over normal body temperature). This is designed to make the experience “breathtakingly realistic” which, one assumes, means “it feels like a vagina”. Then there’s “like a blowjob… but BETTER!” as the box claims. I’m skeptical to say the least, but let’s move on.

Size-wise, it’s got about 2.75″ of penetrable depth (so if you like really deep penetration, this isn’t going to be for you). It’s about 3″ wide, and the hole that you penetrate is around 1.5″.

Close up of the Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration

The Satisfyer Men Heat is USB rechargeable and fully waterproof.

Settings & controls

The Satisfyer Men Heat has 4 buttons set into a control panel on the front of the toy. The on/off button is at the top and also changes the vibration pattern. Then you have the +/- buttons to change the speed, and lastly the temperature control button. You can set the toy warming without the vibrations being on, so you might want to give it a few minutes to warm up before playing. It starts getting warm very quickly and the instructions say it comes to temperature in five minutes.

This control panel is really where the problems started. The buttons are not raised at all, so you cannot feel for them with your fingers without a visual. They’re also not clearly marked – thin grey markings on a black background! This means it’s basically impossible to see the buttons properly during use unless you’re in very good light and have perfect vision. In low light, forget it. Mr CK also pointed out that this makes the toy really inaccessible to those with any kind of visual impairment.

Additionally, though you are supposed to be able to adjust the heating function, there is no discernible way to tell which heat setting it’s on. You just get the flashing thermometer icon to indicate that the warming function is on.

This toy boasts “70 different vibration combinations”. I’m not sure how the maths works here, given that by my count it has 8 possible speeds and 6 patterns, making a total of 48 possible options. But what do me and my D in GCSE maths know!?

Care and cleaning

About the best thing I can say about this product is that it is body-safe, which is still shockingly rare for penis toys. Standard masturbators like Fleshlights are all made from porous materials such as TPE, which harbour bacteria and are impossible to get completely clean. Fortunately, silicone is non-porous, phthalate-free and 100% safe. At least Satisfyer got THAT right.

As the Satisfyer Men Heat is waterproof, you can clean it with warm water and gentle soap. It’s a bit of a pain to get clean given the shape, but it can be done with a bit of extra care. If you want to share this toy with a non fluid-bonded partner, you can use it while wearing a condom. As always, I recommend water-based lube – and you’re going to need PLENTY of it if you attempt to use this thing.

So how did it work?

The Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration on a white sheet

“Badly” is, unfortunately, the short and sweet answer. Mr CK was able to fit his penis into the toy with the help of plenty of lube, but he found it uncomfortable. Anyone with a larger than average penis, especially if you’re quite girthy, should avoid this product – you just won’t fit or it’ll hurt! Despite the squishyness of the silicone, it doesn’t have much “give” to make extra room – and one side is completely rigid. This is really a “one size” toy, which doesn’t work at all because penises are so infinitely and gloriously varied. It also makes a squelching noise when you penetrate it, which – while giggle-inducing – is not sexy.

Additionally, the vibrations just didn’t measure up. Even at the highest setting, they’re pretty pathetically weak. Mr CK very quickly concluded that there was zero chance of this toy bringing him anywhere near to orgasm.

When the best your partner can manage is a shrug and an “it’s not… unpleasant?” you know you’re not on to a winning toy.

“But does it feel like fucking a vagina?” I asked. “No,” he said.

“And is it better than a blow job?” “No,” he said again. Never one to waste words.

The verdict

Unfortunately we cannot recommend this product. If you have a penis on the smaller side AND enjoy gentle vibrations, you might get something out of this toy – but otherwise we suggest you spend your money elsewhere. Check out the Godemiche OffBeat, the Hot Octopuss Pulse III or the Hummer wand attachment for some of my most often-recommended penis toys.

Sorry, Satisfyer – I still love you (you’ll have my heart for a while for that amazing flower thing) but seriously, please stop churning things out quite so quickly and develop them more rigorously first.

The Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration Masturbator retails for $59.95.

Thanks to Satisfyer for sending me this product in exchange for an honest review. All views are, as ever, my own. Pictures are by me. Affiliate links contained within this post make me a small commission if you use them to make a purchase.