There’s still a lot of shame around sex toys.
Women hide away their vibrators in boxes, or are too put off by the misconceptions around masturbation to even give toys a go.
Men, meanwhile, face even bigger shame. While sex toys are slowly becoming an acceptable thing for a woman to own, men are deemed creeps and weirdos for wanting to enhance their masturbation experience.
Consider it – how many mainstream sex toy shops are angled at men?
It’s all a bit miserable, really, because your gender really shouldn’t dictate the frequency and quality of your sexual pleasure. We shouldn’t need to make it ‘okay’ for men to buy sex toys by making them super masculine, and anyone of any gender identity shouldn’t feel excluded from the potential joy of a great sex toy.
When we divide our sex toys by gender, we limit what’s ‘acceptable’ for people to use to pleasure themselves. Pink vibrators are for women, we say, and chunky fleshlights or dildos attached to guns are for men.
One man is trying to break down those barriers and open up sex toys for everyone.
31-year-old George is the creator of Hicurious, a soon-to-be-launched online store that’ll sell sex toys without categorising them by gender.
The entire website is gender neutral, and products will not be categorised by ‘for him’, ‘for her’, ‘for couples’, or ‘solo play’. Rather than restrictive categories, the website will instead offer advice, tricks, and techniques for the safe use of toys, from a panel of sex educators, thinkers, and writers.
It’s all about encouraging exploration of sexual pleasure, free of gender boundaries, shame, and awkwardness.
‘I came to the realisation while shopping for some toys earlier this year that the sex toy market in the UK is in real need of a different way of presenting and selling pleasure – too much of it is either really impersonal, or sleazy, and sexual pleasure should be neither of those things,’ Hicurious’s founder, George, tells metro.co.uk.
‘Pleasure really has no gender! When it comes down to it we all just have bodies – it doesn’t matter if what works for you is “male” or “female”… if it works, then you’re meant to use it!
‘We really try to give as much advice as we can on how something can be used, but at the end of the day it’s your body, and your imagination.’
George is hopeful that Hicurious will work to get rid of the shame and embarrassment of buying sex toys – for all genders. By ensuring nothing is off limits, the brand will make it okay for people to try something they like the look of and ask questions about how to use it instead of being put off by a label.
‘There seems to be an interesting effect where a lot of sex toys designed for “male” bodies are really unsexy, or really scarily technical looking – both of which put me off,’ says George.
‘I think it’s important that we have a conversation about “male” pleasure (especially heterosexual “male” pleasure) that goes beyond just what you can do with a penis – it’s now becoming more acceptable to talk about things like pegging for example, which I think is really great.
‘Also, some sex toys really just improve your sex life. Lots of people with penises often struggle with things like maintaining erections – doing things like using a cock-ring can definitely help with that, and it seems silly, to me, that it’s not just ordinary to own something like that.
‘It’d be great to get more men to talk to each other about the ways they get off. I think we’d all learn something that way.’
If you’d like to browse some body-safe sex toys without being restricted by gender-specific labels, Hicurious will be launching online this winter.
And if you’re new to the world of sex toys, George has this advice.
‘I’d say to start with what you like already – if you like a particular feeling, or if you already get off in a particular way then start there,’ George tells us.
‘It’s really easy to do that without being overwhelmed with options (unless you want to be, of course) and really easy to find things that can be quite unthreatening.
‘You really don’t have to go out and buy a BodyWand if it scares you – start with a little pocket vibrator and then see if you like it before you buy all the things.
‘If you’re coming to Hicurious, then feel free to talk to us before you buy anything – we’re really trying to stock things that “work”, so we’ll give you as much advice as you need!’