The parts of the body are not gendered. So why sex toys?

Visit a gender shopping, in person or online, can be a dizzying experience. There are hundreds of different toys – different brands, different shapes, different materials, different moving parts – and it can be hard to figure out how each of them is supposed to boost your business. The sex tech industry almost universally organizes toys by gender, with very clearly delineated male and female sections.

These distinctions are detrimental to curious customers and the industry itself. When I buy a toy, why is it even question what is my gender? Sex toy manufacturers don’t know what’s in my pants. They don’t know what’s in your pants either. But when they divide toys by gender, they make strong and intrusive assumptions about what should be in there. Better than anyone, the sex toy industry should know that genitals are not equal to gender.

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Pleasure has no gender

Making distinctions by sex might have made sense a hundred years ago, but it’s 2022. We all know that there are men who have vulvas and women who have phalluses, and that there are people who don’t identify as gender binary at all. They all (surprise, surprise) have genitals and also like to pass it off as a sexual style. There are plenty of people of all genders who might enjoy toys they don’t even know exist because gender barriers keep them away.

Look, I’m a queer trans woman. Even before I started testing sex toys professionally, I felt extremely, let’s say, varied sexual history. (Basically, I was a veteran slut long before I turned pro.) In my experience, there is no such thing as a toy that only works with a sex. Although vibrators and suction toys are usually marketed to women, they can also be used by people with phallus, anus, etc. The same goes for toys traditionally marketed as being for men. Assholes don’t have sex, folks! And caressers also work on the clitoris!

A sex toy doesn’t just make you cum. They can be tools you use to explore your body and find out what makes you feel good. They can help you see yourself in a different light or reclaim your personal agency. Testing new sexual technologies has helped me appreciate my body instead of hating the things I can’t change. It saddens me to think that other people are being deprived of these experiences because corporations invest in maintaining outdated gender norms.

Skip steps

This is the other problem, and it is much more important. Sex tech has become more featured in mainstream publications, including this one. Increased exposure has served to de-escalate taboos around sex and sexual health, and that’s good for everyone (especially the companies themselves, but I digress).

But making and promoting strongly gendered toys skips a crucial step. Dispelling social taboos around sex means you also need to deconstruct what gender means in a sexual and social context. By using gender-specific language and labels on sex toys, these companies are not just adhering to anatomically inaccurate and transproprietary ideas such as “all men have penises” and “all women have vaginas”. They actively reinforce them.

This is especially harmful to trans, non-binary, gender fluid and gender non-conforming people who already have to navigate a world that reminds us every day that we are not a consideration, we are unnatural, and we are a disadvantage. It’s heartbreaking that the vast majority of sex toy manufacturers don’t care to exclude us at all and actively reinforce the arbitrary barriers that are so often used. for prejudice we.

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