Chances are you know a woman or three who owns a sex toy and isn’t shy about it. Vibrators and other sex toys are just as likely a topic of conversation among ladies as is what they had for dinner last night, if my own life and Sex and the City have any say in the matter. We even give them cute names, like B.O.B. (short for Battery-Operated Boyfriend). I know a woman who named her beloved giant rosy vibrator “Big Pink” in honor of the building of the same nickname in Portland, Oregon.

But what about men? How many men use sex toys? How many men do you know who are perfectly frank about their Fleshlight in the bedside drawer? Probably very few.

But why is that? Why is it that so many people think men who use sex toys are creepy while women who use vibrators are empowered? It’s a curious and completely unfair double standard that deserves addressing. Let’s take a long, hard look at the issue.

A Deep Look at Penetrating Toys

First, let’s take a look at toys traditionally designed for women. These would be toys that are made for penetrating, like vibrators, dildos, and strap-on harnesses. A 2009 study found that about 52% of American women use penetrating toys either alone or with a partner—and those are only the ones willing to admit it to researchers! That is a lot of women.

As a result, vibrators alone make up about 20% of sales for most sex toy shops (coming in second for most popular product after lube). The point is clear: women love vibrators and only the most pious of people would attach a stigma to their use.

But what about toys meant for anal penetration? This is where the data waters get murky, as everyone has a butt, but not everyone likes putting stuff up there. Because of the still-lurking stigma surrounding anal play, fewer people go around updating their Facebook statuses about their amazing new butt plug or prostate stimulator than about their trusty vagina-penetrating vibrator. Though people may shy away from publicizing it, sales of anal beads and other booty-friendly toys are proof enough that plenty of people in this country like a little backdoor action.

Sliding Down the Rabbit Hole of Penetrable Toys

Miguel Capilla, the CCO of Fleshlight International SL, spoke with erotic industry insiders EAN Online last year, saying, “Our company has experienced explosive growth in recent years due to a very good level of acceptance within the market of our male masturbators, because of its high quality material and the realistic sensation they provide to men… With each and every day passing, it becomes more and more socially acceptable and mainstream.” When he said explosive growth, he was serious: he reports that they’ve seen a 1,000% increase in men’s masturbator toy sales over ten years.

Toys that are made to be penetrated, however, are often unfairly seen as creepy or weird. These types of toys take many forms—from love dolls to Fleshlights to simple sleeves—but all generally are made to be penetrated by a penis.

How are toys like that “creepy” when they are doing the same job as vibrators, just in the other direction? Think about it. Both vibrators and sleeves:

✔️ provide a healthy outlet for sexual needs
✔️ enhance sexual play between partners
✔️ come in many shapes and colors.

No Buts About It

Despite all these similarities, the stigma behind sex toys traditionally made for men still exists because of bogus arguments. Let’s squash those!

False Assumption: But men who use anal toys are gay!
Fact: First of all, there is nothing wrong with being gay. Second, plenty of straight men and women enjoy anal stimulation and use toys to get it.

False Assumption: But look at that toy! It looks so gross with a fake vagina!
Fact: Penetrable toys come in many variations, with openings styled like vaginas, anuses, mouths, and more. This is no different from realistic vibrators shaped like penises. To argue that a realistic toy vagina is gross but a realistic toy penis isn’t is just genital shaming. We’ll have none of that!

False Assumption: But those are only for men who can’t get laid on their own!
Fact: Dudes all over the world are happily sexing the heck out of their partners while also enjoying some sexy toy time. And so are women! If women can enjoy a good shag from their trusted vibe now and then between love-making sessions with their partners, why can’t men?

Let people enjoy things!

Sizable Change on the Horizon

As we as a society enter what feels like another sexual revolution, more and more men are enjoying the pleasures of sex toys. Studies have shown that people who use sex toys are more likely to get tested for STIs, see a doctor for regular exams, and communicate with their sexual partners about their health. More testing and communication means healthier sex. We can all get behind that.

So what are you waiting for? Treat yourself to a toy from Taboo and see what all the buzz is about.