Body Parts Aren’t Gendered. So Why Are Sex Toys?

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Visiting a intercourse store, in particular person or on-line, is usually a dizzying expertise. There are a whole bunch of various toys—completely different manufacturers, completely different shapes, completely different supplies, completely different transferring components—and it may be laborious to determine how every of them is meant to stimulate your biz. The intercourse tech trade virtually universally organizes toys by gender, with very clearly delineated males’s and ladies’s sections. 

These distinctions are dangerous to curious clients and the trade itself. When I’m shopping for a toy, why does it even matter what my gender is? Sex toy makers don’t know what’s in my pants. They don’t know what’s in your pants both. But after they divide toys alongside gender traces, they’re making some robust and invasive presumptions about what ought to be in there. Better than anybody else, the intercourse toy trade ought to know that genitals do not equal gender.

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Pleasure Doesn’t Have a Gender

Making distinctions alongside gender traces would possibly’ve made sense 100 years in the past, however it’s 2022. We all know that there are males who’ve vulvas and ladies who’ve phalluses, and that there are individuals who don’t establish with the gender binary in any respect. They all (shock, shock) have genitals, and in addition prefer to buss it down sexual model. There are loads of of us on each a part of the gender spectrum who would possibly take pleasure in toys they don’t even know exist as a result of gendered boundaries information them away. 

Look, I’m a queer trans girl. Even earlier than I began testing sex toys professionally, I had an especially, for instance, different sexual historical past. (Basically, I used to be a veteran slut lengthy earlier than I used to be knowledgeable one.) In my expertise, there isn’t a such factor as a toy that works solely with one gender. While vibrators and suction toys are typically marketed to ladies, they can be utilized by individuals with phalluses, anuses, and extra. The identical goes for toys historically marketed as being for males. Buttholes don’t have a gender, of us! And strokers work on clits, too!

A intercourse toy doesn’t simply get you off. They will be instruments that you simply use to discover your physique and discover out what feels good to you. They may help you see your self in a unique mild, or reclaim your private company. Testing new intercourse tech has helped me respect my physique as an alternative of hating the issues about it that I can’t change. It makes me unhappy to consider different individuals being disadvantaged of these experiences as a result of corporations are invested in upholding outdated gender norms. 

Skipping Steps

That’s the opposite downside, and it is a a lot greater one. Sex tech has turn out to be extra current in mainstream publications, together with this one. Increased publicity has served to de-intensify the taboos round intercourse and sexual well being, and that is good for everybody (particularly the businesses themselves, however I digress). 

But making and selling closely gendered toys mainstream skips a vital step. Dispelling the social taboos round intercourse means you additionally need to deconstruct what gender means in a sexual and social context. By utilizing gendered language and labels on intercourse toys, these corporations aren’t simply adhering to anatomically inaccurate and trans-exclusionary concepts like “all males have penises” and “all ladies have vaginas.” They’re actively reinforcing them.

That’s particularly dangerous to trans, nonbinary, gender fluid, and gender nonconforming individuals who already need to navigate a world that reminds us each single day that we aren’t a consideration, we’re irregular, and we’re an inconvenience. It’s heartbreaking that the overwhelming majority of intercourse toy producers are utterly unconcerned with excluding us—and that they’re actively reinforcing arbitrary boundaries which might be so typically used to harm us.

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