Sex toys for men?

Hi Alice,

Are there toys that guys can use for masturbation and how do they work?

Dear Reader, 

If your masturbation routine has lost its spark or if you're simply curious about trying something new during your "me time," there are plenty of sex toys out there! Many sex toys on the market are specifically designed for people with penises. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved some sex toys to treat sexual conditions such as erectile dysfunction and delayed orgasm. There are also some toys that while traditionally marketed towards people with vaginas, can be used by others as well. There’s something out there for almost every penis, and with a little bit of thought and experimentation, you’re likely to find a toy that works for you. 

It sounds like you’re interested exclusively in masturbation toys. However, keep in mind that many “masturbation” toys can also be used during foreplay or intercourse with your partner(s). Some examples include: 

  • Masturbation sleeves and strokers. These toys surround the penis with silicone or other rubbery material and imitate the sensations of penetrative sex. These toys are sold in various shapes and sizes, including those designed to resemble an anus, mouth, or vulva. You might consider using a generous amount of lubricant when playing with masturbation sleeves to reduce friction and increase stimulation. 
  • Cock rings. These toys are designed to hold blood in the penis, making an erection feel harder and slightly larger for a longer period of time. Cock rings may also be worn around the testicles to prolong pleasure and delay ejaculation. They come in various materials, such as adjustable leather and plastic, stretchy silicone, and non-adjustable metal. Some rings vibrate, adding extra stimulation to the area below the testicles (as well as the clitoris when used during vaginal intercourse). If you decide to use a cock ring, it’s recommended that you not wear one for longer than 20 minutes as this could damage tissue in the genitals. It also may be a good idea to shave or trim your pubic hairs to avoid them getting suck in the ring and causing discomfort. 
  • Prostate massagers or stimulators. Many people experience intense pleasure from stimulation of the prostate. Butt plugs are well-known for prostate stimulation as are dildos, u-shaped prostate massage vibrators, and anal beads. In any type of masturbation or sex where the anus is involved, lube is highly recommended to reduce friction and potential damage to sensitive tissue. 
  • Penis pumps. Like cock rings, penis pumps trap blood in the penis to make your erection harder and slightly bigger for a longer period of time. In fact, penis pumps are often used in combination with cock rings. However, you should keep in mind that the “pump” effect is short-lived. Eventually the penis will go back to its regular size. Penis pumps work sort of like a vacuum: as air is pumped out of a cylinder, blood rushes and engorges the erectile tissue. Some people also find the suction pleasurable. When buying a penis pump, consider one with a vacuum limiter as this stops pressure from getting too high and causing possible injuries. 
  • Vibrators. These toys can be found in a variety of sizes, materials, and shapes with different speeds and intensities. Vibrators are commonly used on either the genitalia or the anus. You may decide to use them either by yourself or with a partner(s). Scrotal rings in particular can provide vibration around the penis (and stimulate the clitoris during vaginal intercourse). 
  • Dildos. These toys are phallus-shaped and can stimulate the anus or prostate. Like vibrators, these come in a variety of materials and sizes. Dildos are useful for people with limited penile function and can also be used by people without penises! 
  • Teledildonics. These are remote-controlled vibrators and penile sleeves that can be manipulated from a distance. 
  • Fetish toys. Cock cages, electronic stimulation toys, nipple clamps—the list goes on and on! A vast universe of fetish toys exists and possibilities for experimentation are limitless. A well-stocked adult store might help customers explore what kind of toys interest them as well as explain how to use these toys. Think about what you already like as a starting point for fetish exploration. 
  • Torso toys. These are toys that represent a larger part of the human body (such as the buttocks or labia). While some people enjoy the stimulation they provide, some researchers worry that torso toys may lead individuals to treat their sex toys the same way that they would treat a human partner. Activists and researchers have particular concern over female-bodied sex toys, as people who objectify or abuse these devices may begin to mistreat real sexual partners. 

Sex toys come in all shapes, sizes, materials, and price ranges. Many people prefer buying online due to increased privacy and discretion. However, if you’re interested in seeing how a toy works in person before buying it, consider going to your local adult store to check out demo models. If you choose to examine your potential toy in person, consider its size, texture, intensity of vibration, and control options. Once you’ve purchased and used your toy(s), the cleanliness of the toy is also something to consider. Items made of non-porous materials, such as glass, silicone, and metal are preferable for sex toys because they can be sterilized. That being said, proceed with caution when using glass toys, as they could cause lacerations to the body if used while broken. A potential option for ensuring the safe use of toys made of porous materials is using condoms with the toys. Take care to understand how your toy was made and whether it’s safe and non-toxic. For example, plastics with bisphenol A (BPA) are considered less safe for use. To clean your toy, follow the instructions on its packaging—most are cleaned with mild soap and water. Avoid using germicidal soaps, as they’ve been known to irritate genital tissues. Similarly, it’s important to note that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be spread from person to person through shared sex toys. 

If you decide that sex toys aren’t your thing, you still have options! If searching for a toy doesn’t seem like something you’d like to do or maybe you're simply looking for something to intensify pleasure, you might try out a new hand trick or add different types of lubricant into the mix. 

Happy (s)experimenting! 

Last updated May 12, 2023
Originally published Oct 11, 2013

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