If you ask any man in America to define what a vibrator is, he’ll probably say something along the lines of, “Well, it’s a brightly-hued hunk of oblong plastic.” He’ll also probably note that vibrators are meant for women.
To an extent, this is true: historically, vibrators have been marketed to and used by women. Although an estimated 51% of men have copped to owning some sort of intimacy product (per a 2014 survey), they tend to be cock rings or Fleshlights – rarely, if ever, vibrators.
Part of the reason for this has to do with basic anatomical differences (and we probably don’t need to draw you a picture to explain why). But there’s also an undeniable stigma associated with guys using sex toys to get off.
“For men, any kind of [self-pleasure help] feels like a direct piercing of their masculinity,” Alexandra Katehakis, clinical director of the Center For Healthy Sex, told MensHealth.com. “The attitude is, ‘I can do this myself, and if I can’t there’s something wrong with me.'”
That attitude, however, might be changing. Sex tech companies are increasingly starting to market products like vibrators to dudes — and they’re into it.
While most sex toys for men are aimed at replicating the senation of a penis going in and out of an orifice, the truth is that lots of guys find the sensation of vibrations on their penis (particularly around the frenulum, or the sensitive strip of skin underneath the head of the penis) incredibly pleasurable. In fact, according to one 2012 study, 44% of heterosexual men admitted that they’ve enjoyed using a vibrator at one point or another.
To that end, vibrating cock rings, sleeves, and penile extenders have been on the market for years. But few toys have been marketed specifically as vibrators for men. The latest is the Tenuto from MysteryVibe, which started taking pre-orders last month.
Design-wise, the Tenuto might throw you for a loop: it’s a small, black clip that attaches to the base of your penis, and it looks more like a tiny car seat than a sex toy. The device is controlled by an app, which powers six hyper-sensitive vibration motors that the company claims can help increase blood flow for stronger erections while also stimulating your pleasure centers. It can be used both solo and during intercourse.
According to Stephanie Alys, who has the (awesome) title of Chief Pleasure Officer at MysteryVibe, for too long men have been told that the pleasures of sex are largely fricative (i.e., through the friction produced by inserting a penis into a vagina). Most guys don’t even know how awesome vibrations can feel on their penises, particularly if they have trouble getting aroused in the first place.
“[For men, vibrations] provide such a distinct orgasm,” Alys told MensHealth.com. “With Tenuto, we really target the entirety of the male sex organs, so it can be life-altering, particularly for guys who have had a harder time getting aroused.”
“There’s a hundred different ways to achieve orgasm. Why should us guys just have one?”
The Tenuto is far from the first vibrator designed for men. In 2015, the sex toy company Hot Octopuss introduced the Pulse, a vibrating sheath that was marketed as “the world’s first guybrator.”
The inventor of the Pulse, Adam Lewis, told the Daily Dot that he actually adapted the Pulse’s design from a similar product used in the medical field, which used deep oscillations to to stimulate the frenulum of the penis and help victims of spinal cord injuries achieve orgasm. Lewis said he hoped the Pulse (which is now in its third incarnation) would kibosh the lingering stigma attached to male sex toys.
“There’s a hundred different ways to achieve orgasm,” he told the Daily Dot. “Why should us guys just have one?”
Alys has similar aspirations for the Tenuto. While she says that most male sex toys are shoddily designed and cheaply made, similar to “what you’d expect to find in the backroom of a dirty bookstore,” she wants to push the industry to develop sex toys for men that are more similar to what we’d expect from the more upscale and sophisticated women’s sex toy market. “
“Rather than design a product that would be a substitute for a real-life partner, we wanted to build something that would make men better lovers,” explains Alys.
The Tenuto is available for pre-order right now for $129, but if you’re looking for something that’s on shelves right now, check out a few recs below.
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