On sex toys & the stuff of things:
Sensoaesthetic engineer Mark Miodownik of London’s Institute of Making gave an interview in Psychology Today that I found fascinating; his thoughts on the materials that make up our daily lives carry over so well into the world of sex tech. Toy materials – glass, silicone, stainless steel, thermoplastic rubber, plasticized polyvinyl chloride, the stuff this stuff is made of – say a lot about the person purchasing the item and the act(s) the item’s purchased for.
Bathrooms are really indicative. People are naked in there; we exist as raw animals. What, then, makes you comfortable? We choose hard materials. It’s bizarre: Why reflect back to yourself the sense of being in a place where you are vulnerable? The only thing I can come up with is that people, above all things, want to feel clean in the bathroom. So it needs to be shiny, but stainless steel and metal feel too institutional.
If this is true (and it rings true to me) it helps me understand the reactions of my customers to certain sex toys. Above and beyond color or shape or size or even function, the first and most immediate reaction is almost always to the material of the toy.
Glass and steel are the most polarizing; for every mad scientist whose eyes twinkle when confronted with something like the njoy Eleven, there’s someone who balks at even the most seductive of glass dildos. There’s the fear of breakage, yes, but apart from that glass is just too hard for some people – too shiny, too institutional, too divorced from the squishy softness of human flesh.
But silicone, oh, beautiful silicone! Let us sing the praises of this magical material –
squishy or firm,
glossy or matte,
Done right, it’s durable and sterilizable and body-friendly and dishwasher-safe and lovely. It’s accessible – usually not realistic-feeling enough to enter the Uncanny Valley, but not totally unfleshy like glass. Silicone rocks. I am a fan. I guess the toybox proves that.
Note: my Little Toy Garden may once have been hip, but is now unquestionably out of date. Most of my toys were acquired between 2007 and 2012, before I took a baby-havin’ sabbatical, and I have more than a few discontinued, old-hat items in this list. Please feel free to laugh.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Sire by Tantus, in red
- Goddess by Tantus, in pearl purple
- Buzz 1 by Tantus, in midnight purple
- Bandito by Fun Factory, in black
- First Mate by Good Vibrations, in caramel
- Dai-Do #4 by Big Teaze, in black
- The Mystic Wand by Vibratex, in pink
- Siri by Lelo, in purple
- The Sasi by JeJoue, in black [discontinued]
- The Cleo by ONO in purple
- The 7 Function Wireless Remote Egg by Doc Johnson, in blue
- The Eaze by Tantus, in cocoa
- The Ripple by Tantus, in midnight purple
- The Li’l Flirt by Tantus, in copper
- The Sidekick 1 by Good Vibrations, in blue
- Hard Candy by Blush Novelties, in pink
- The Kama Diva Bubble Plug by Don Wands, in marbled pink
Strap-ons and harnesses
- The Share by Fun Factory, in rose pink
- The Gal Pal by Doc Johnson, in purple
- The Sysil Edge by Mantric, in pink and purple
- The Joque by SpareParts Hardwear, in blue
- The Curve by Fun Factory, in purple and blue
- The Sui by Blush, in pink
- The Reflections: Serenity by Doc Johnson, in pink
- The Pure Wand by nJoy
Of these 24 toys, there’s one each of stainless steel, glass, hard plastic, urethane, unidentified plasticized jelly whatever, and aluminum. The other 18 are silicone.