Sex Toys

There is something about vibrators and dildos that always disturbed me. I can’t come across a photo of one without recoiling. For a time I chalked up my discomfort to perhaps being uncomfortable with sex and not realizing it, a possibility I was distraught about as a feminist, and often considered conditioning myself to view vibrators as tools just like anything else.

But then one of my friends reviewed a massager xie was using as a vibrator, and it didn’t disturb me. My immediate, automatic explanation was that it’s because it doesn’t look like a vibrator–but if it was the function I had issue with, it shouldn’t matter. I decided it must have been the discretion, that I’m okay with vibrators after all but that I don’t want it to be obvious that something is a vibrator. This, though seemingly less negative, I was still not happy about either; while I don’t use or own sex toys (or masturbate at all, really) I don’t think people who use sex toys, men or women, should be at any degree ashamed.

And then I realized it was not the apparency of an unmistakable vibrator that disturbs me, but the phallic shape itself. It looks like someone else’s body part. This would also explain why I associate them with some level of sexual violence. And that disturbs me, the same way that very realistic detached arms or fingers or legs would. And of course, being that it’s meant to resemble a penis, something is probably triggered in my brain that makes the shape appear closer to what it resembles in viewing than it is in actuality–and then the discomfort, because I am not okay with dismembered body parts. I have especially been not okay with dismembered body parts recently, since certain women seem to find the unwarranted castration of someone’s defenseless husband hilarious.

It’s a little funny, I think, that I assumed some type of unrealized sex negativity on my part, possibly because I’m so used to it blatantly from other people on a societal level. I’m relieved and happy however, to have uncovered the true cause of my discomfort, and for it to have been something understandable and not weirdly hypocritical.

18 thoughts on “Sex Toys

  1. You've just made me realize I feel this way too, notably with the ones some manufacturers go out of their way to make look as close to dismembered penises as possible, with flesh-color and everything.

    Like

  2. Not all vibrators. But the flesh-colored phallic-shaped ones that Kels described? Yeah, I do kind of find that misandric.Maybe it's in my head. I don't think about sex often at all, and I haven't exactly explored how I feel about anything, but I can't help but draw a connection between digitally dismembered female body parts and vibrators that look like severed penises.

    Like

  3. I don't think it's in your head. However, I do believe women are capable of perceiving phallic objects without objectifying/acting out violently toward men. It may be a misandric act to manufacture these vibrators just as robot women are misogynistic, but I doubt it has misandric effects. Though it does seem to convince a lot of men that they are now useless.

    Like

  4. I don't think manufacturing robot women is necessarily misogynistic. Making things to look like humans is usually about creating a fantasy, but it's the psychology I think that makes the act misogynistic… which sounds an awful lot like intent being magical. What I mean is, if I want an alarm clock that tells me "Good morning!" in an excited voice, or a toaster that is really friendly to me, I'm purchasing objects that simulate human qualities because the fantasy that my toaster really does care what kind of day I had is something that makes me feel good.I think this can be extended to really advanced approximations as well. I read a sci-fi once where the main character's husband sent 2 robots to rescue her and he made them look/behave like Joan of Arc and Eleanor of Aquitaine so she'd know she could trust them (she had a thing for both of those figures). Whether or not that becomes toxic in regards to a /sex/ robot I think depends on societal context as well as whether the user extends that attitude toward (in this case) human women.All of that I think it pretty irrelevant to a body part like a dildo or penis-shaped vibrator. I think this is about men believing they have an entitlement to the very concept of a penis and, by extension, penetration. This is not quite the same women believing they have an entitlement to the concept of a vagina (given the way penises have been weaponized in our cultural narratives) and it's also not really correct either, given some people don't fall neatly into one of these two overlaps.There's an article, maybe I can find it later, about how the state of Texas restricts owning dildos because the idea of women being able to penetrate themselves without a man is something that offends heteronormative sensibilities. It actually made a lot of sense when I read it, because there really is no other reason to outlaw their sale, or to put more emphasis into conducting "raids" on sex toy shops than the cops put onto investigating violent crime (I can attest to this from personal experience as well).tl;dr I don't think there's anything appropriative about using a sex toy that allows you to objectify something that is actually an object, and I think having access to even fleshlights is good if it encourages men to objectify things that are actually objects instead of people.

    Like

  5. I agree with Nahida. I can see how this is misandric, too. However, your desire for discretion isn't sex negative. It should be respected as a boundary, as feminism respects comfort levels. That is very closely related to consent.

    Like

  6. Yes, I know. I was only considering a possibility, something to be crossed off as I keep myself in check. Prude-shaming is as vile as slut-shaming; both are forms of harassment and profoundly anti-feminist, and neither should be tolerated. No one should be forced to be comfortable with what disturbs them.But misandry: Debora had a point in examining effects. Advertisements in which women's body parts are dismembered, and sexist advertisements in general, are mainstream, and therefore easily have a negative impact on society. This, however, is probably just my own personal issue. I find phallic vibrators repulsively and violently sexist against men; it doesn't necessarily mean it is I suppose. I wouldn't outlaw something just because I have a strong distaste for it and infringe on the private freedoms of others.

    Like

  7. Nahida, the phallic shape is necessary in reaching the G-spot.But yeah, the rest of it with the flesh color and making it look as close to a penis as possible… I don't blame you for finding that misandric.

    Like

  8. All of that I think it pretty irrelevant to a body part like a dildo or penis-shaped vibrator. I think this is about men believing they have an entitlement to the very concept of a penis and, by extension, penetration. This is not quite the same women believing they have an entitlement to the concept of a vagina (given the way penises have been weaponized in our cultural narratives) and it's also not really correct either, given some people don't fall neatly into one of these two overlaps.This. Repeated for emphasis.

    Like

  9. "I find phallic vibrators repulsively and violently sexist against men"This is a rather interesting sentiment, one that I'm not sure I actually understand (even as a man myself). I think the key here would be to elaborate what exactly we mean by sexist: i.e. whether in terms of its implications for sex-differences, or in terms of it actually affecting men qua men, etc. If anything, I would be more inclined to think that one would find dildos sexist against women, for their overt phallocentrism and the underlying assumption that women can't get off without a phallus, real or representational.That said, it's probably not surprising that sex toys can be a cause for anxiety or at least confused thoughts. But why that would is so may be worth thinking about. Maybe it has to do with whatever concepts of sex/uality a person has to begin with. I do remember being utterly…disturbed by the very idea of dildos when I first heard about them as a teenager. At the time I believed it to a particularly modern perversity if not depravity. Of course I realize now I was totally off, and at least my attitudes have changed a lot since then (even if not my understanding of why humans do all the kinds of things they do!). Historically speaking, for example, there is nothing specifically modern about dildos, and the sex toys and their rather acrobatic uses depicted in Mughal erotica are amusing if nothing else.

    Like

  10. I find them sexist because they resemble a dismembered gendered (male) body part that is then used for the woman's uses. I'd have just as much discomfort the other way around, for the same reason.

    Like

Discuss.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s