Anyone who has bought a sex toy will know there are a lot of options. Some toys are designed for solo play, others for couples; they come in all shapes and sizes (and colours). However, there are noticeably more toys designed for vaginas than for penises, and these toys are marketed toward women.
It may seem refreshing that a woman’s sexual pleasure is finally being considered, but the gendering of sex toys is not the feminist move we wish it to be. Instead, creating sex toys for vaginas feeds into age-old ideas of hypersexuality in men. Simply put, the sex toy industry has less demand from people with penises because they are expected by society to not need sexual aids. In fact, even the sex toys that are made for men are designed to increase pleasure during penetrative sex and are not designed for masturbation.
The sex toy industry is making huge changes in its product lines, but there is still a huge emphasis on heteronormative sex. The most produced, and well known, toys aim to emulate penetrative sex and stimulate orgasm in this way. Although, this narrow view of orgasm is becoming less popular, as sex toys branch out to cover a range of fetishes and preferences, the industry still has far to go in denormalising straight sex.
Sex and pleasure are fundamentally genderless, and all people have the potential to enjoy sex regardless of their genitals. Sex toys designed for vaginas can also feel good for penises and anuses. Toys can also be used to explore our own bodies, figure out what we like and don’t like, and get to know ourselves better, which promotes good sexual health. The sex tech industry needs to forget the traditional marketing schemes of the past and celebrate the queering of sex and sex toys.