Toys, Toys, Toys

June 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Posted in Sex | 5 Comments
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Yup, you heard me. Toys.

And I bet you can guess what kind of toys I mean. Yeah, those kinds. Get that mind in the gutter. Farther down. Yeah, there. ‘Atta girl.

I often get promotional emails and whatnot from a certain site where I’ve ordered some, well, necessary supplies in the past. (Don’t try telling me a vibrating egg isn’t a necessity. Keeps me from gettin’ cranky, and you won’t like it when I’m cranky. So it’s necessary.) The site is TooTimid.com.

I like them because they often offer new products completely free, just pay shipping and handling, so customers get a chance to try a new stock item and post some reviews. It’s a great way to get the occasional $30 piece for just the $6.95 shipping fee. And that’s what I use that site for: affordable new vibrating things. Sure, they don’t always last forever, but heck, I paid less than $10 for the thing, and some of them do last a while (and oh, have they lasted!) and it’s often worth a shot.

What I don’t usually use the site for: advice or reviews.

(I should mention now that many links that will follow are definitely NSFW. Wait until after 5 pm to look at them if you’re an office-desk jockey.)

Why? Because, seriously, take a look at some of the articles on the site. They’re patronizing, they’re cutesy, they’re juvenile, and they make assumptions about their readership, mainly that they’re upper-middle-class married women who are ashamed to talk about sex but are  simply looking to “spice things up” in the bedroom. There’s the occasional foray into the “for the single gals” line of thought, but they often are just… dumb. And irrelevant. They use the word “hubby” in too many reviews, use dumb stories to open up a line of thought, treat gay people like they’re trying to trick people, use CAPS FOR EMPHASIS (seriously, is the HTML for italics, bold, or underline really that hard?), or even when they do give weight to a topic that can empower women, it’s just… badly written. (You don’t need to be a grammar geek like me to realize that it’s just written like a 12-year-old girl, not a grown woman who essentially writes for a living. Though I’m sure even that is an insult to some 12-year-old girls out there who write better than that.) So, I ignore them.

But one article popped up in the newsletter this week, and while yeah, it’s also not written terribly well, I was intrigued and mildly impressed:

Sex Toys for Threesomes

Did you read it? Yeah? Good. (Before you judge me, remember I said “mildly” before “impressed.”)

I was also a little frustrated with it.

Why, you ask?

Well, let’s start with the good things. First of all, the article includes all combinations of genders (within the binary, at least) as possibilities: FFM, MMF, FFF, and MMM. Second, it recognizes that threesomes are, in fact, more “work” than coupling: you have to keep all three people engaged as much of the time as possible, and that can be difficult, since many sexual acts are simply not easy to alter to accommodate a third body. (Not impossible, mind you, and perhaps not even terribly difficult, but some are not easy.) And it even hints that keeping someone “engaged” could also mean having them watch, which is a role which several people, myself included, enjoy taking on in multi-person playtime. Third, and most importantly, it emphasizes safety! Condoms and dental dams are good, good, good things to mention. Threesomes can be sexy, they can be liberating, and they can be exciting — but it’s important not to let safety go amidst all the excitement. It’s particularly good to mention safety in the case of a third joining a couple (as opposed to three singletons coming together): the couple may have moved beyond using protection and be certified-safe with each other (tested, on birth control, etc.), but the newcomer? Who knows what his or her situation is. If the couple isn’t used to thinking about protection, then they might not think about it in the heat of the moment with this new, exciting presence in the room. So I’m very glad that the author mentioned safety — and so early on in the article, too.

But yes. Frustrations. There are frustrating elements.

First off, sure, FFM threesomes are perceived to be the most common combination, with MMF running a close second. But really? Only one paragraph for MMM and FFF combined? Come on, people. I’ve participated in all three combinations which allow a woman into the mix. With two other girls, it felt even more conducive to toys than the other two. We wimmins like our vibrating thingies. And there are some combinations of toys which work so well in an FFF situation which aren’t as exciting as in others. (Try combining a butterfly, a vibrating egg, a double dildo, and a blindfold or two… or three… and damn. That will do things that simply aren’t going to happen if there are any fewer than 3 women in the playroom.) Sure, the toys I mentioned were also mentioned earlier in the article for other combinations, but the author glosses over the same-sex threesomes so much that if someone were truly trying to figure out what to bring into the bedroom with his or her two same-sex paramours, it wouldn’t really speak to them at all. All she says is “look at the other combinations and pick and choose from there!” She could have done a much better job at making gay and lesbian triples feel like they had a place in the sex toy world. After all, she’s really just trying to sell the toys on the site, so she really should be giving equal weight to all the groups mentioned.

Second: “MMF = bondage” puts me off a bit. Sure, I can see it happening quite easily. But why so much more so than FFM or same-sex triplets? My MMF experience didn’t involve bondage at all. It was more in the “playful romp” category than the “whips and chains” sector. It’s fine, good, and great if a MMF triplet wants bondage to be a part of the experience, but why can’t thoughts of bondage also permeate into the FFM, FFF, and MMM combinations?

Third: Why separate out the groupings by gender combinations in the first place? All the toys mentioned could add to the experience regardless of the gender(s) involved. (Okay, fine, the double-dildo might not be so useful in MMF or MMM, but that’s the only exception, really.) Vibrating bullets, listed under FFM, are good for anyone: male, female, or in between. It’s essentially a catch-all toy. You’d have to be slightly messed up in the head not to enjoy the vibrations of a good ol’ basic egg. Edible body gels, mentioned in the MMF section, are just as good in FFM. Or FFF. Or MMM. Or MMFF. Or FFFM. Or MF. Or…. you get the picture. Some of these are generically useful for mixing things up; while it’s great to be offering information on threesomes, and thereby “normalize” the use of toys in such situations, it’s also good to keep in mind that toys don’t have just one purpose. Just like a paperclip can not only hold pieces of paper together, but can hit reset buttons on phones, get the gunk out from under a key in your keyboard, be clipped to a dozen other paperclips for a necklace, or be turned into a spring-toy for playing tiddly-winks, most of the toys mentioned don’t have just one purpose. I think this may be the point she’s getting across — but instead, she ends up pigeon-holing the toys even further: “When you’re in X situation, you can use Y toy!” will actually sound like “You can use Y toy in X situation, but not in any others!” And just like gender and sexuality, toys are flexible.

And there you have it. I just queered the sex toy.

Not the most cohesive post I’ve ever written, and I hope to whatever deities are out there that my parents aren’t reading this, but whatever.

What do you think? What did I miss? What do you agree with? Or disagree? Or want to smack me upside the head for?

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5 Comments »

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  1. try edenfatasys for better reviews– they also have some things for testing, but aren’t nearly as generous. Using a pop-up window, you can see the toy in its actual size, and they include a “safety rating” of the materials– and explain what each of the materials are, and why they are or are not safe. The site’s been featured in SexIs magazine.

    “Just like gender and sexuality, toys are flexible.”
    YES.
    I think it’s also important to realize that not every sex toy site can cover everything– sex toys still carry a certain stigma in many areas of popular culture, and perhaps the cutesy stories and heteronormative language can engage certain folks into a sphere they might not otherwise be comfortable in.

  2. I totally agree that different sites have different audiences, and that certain language can reach out to different groups of people. And I should have put a disclaimer somewhere in there: there’s a reason this site is called “TooTimid.” It’s for the chicks who are just getting started in the talking-about-sex business. Which is why I find it irrelevant to myself and dislike the articles and whatnot. I found it refreshing that the threesome article did, in fact, give voice to four different threesome combinations — that’s a few steps forward from the rest of their articles. But the article has two goals: (1) give advice to those who want to experiment in threesomes and (2) sell sex toys. Regarding point (1), the author has already made the step of recognizing the various gender combos, but is limiting in what each combination “means.” The MMF formation reeks of bondage to her merely because there are two men, which makes for all that much more “aggression” (in quotes because, with all good bondage play, the aggression is consensual and fun), while MMM doesn’t have any hint of bondage because those three are all queers and why would they be aggressive? And as for point (2), she’d sell more if she offered either more concrete suggestions for the MMM/FFF triples, for which she just says “yeah, see the above, I don’t have time to come up with something original for y’all,” or should make it clear that any of the toys could add to any of the combinations. 🙂

  3. Where are the “free” toys on the website? I would LOVE to take part in that.

    I have to agree. As someone who tried to handle 3 men at once, I think a couple toys could have helped. Or at least made things easier–I was completely overwhelmed and they could have smoothed out some of the action.

  4. Beth, you have to sign up for the mailing list — they’re email-only specials. 🙂 They don’t send too many emails, and one out of every 2 or 3 emails has a free item. (The others are other discounts usually, like 20% off or something.) Just go to http://www.tootimid.com and sign up where it says “Receive Special Exclusive Offers” in the top-right.

    As for the MMMF situation… yeah, it can be totally overwhelming. Especially when the men are all straight and not interested in each other.. if they were bi, they could entertain each other and all the pressure wouldn’t have been on you. 😉 And this is why flexible sexuality is the best! Ha.

  5. LMAO I loved this! I agree wholeheartedly that toys are so often geared towards couples and more specifically women looking to spice up their sex lives and get “him” interested again. Honestly, it’s depressing. I’m a single lesbian. I love my toys! I think there is a bit of a quiet revolution going on where you have toy boutiques and more and more those toy boutiques are realizing that selling to straight people isn’t going to get them the business that the shop wants or needs. Though….it would be pretty funny to see a conservative christian sex toy shop. *grin*


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