The Complete Field Guide to Male Sex Toys

Navigating the increasingly diverse, competitive and tech-forward world of self-stimulation

Updated August 22, 2022 9:39 am
field guide male sex toys
The LELO Earl is perhaps the world's most luxurious butt plug.
Keith Hamshere/Getty/Lelo

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At a glance, the male sex toy landscape is scarce. A motorized cock ring here, a pocket pussy there and you’ve essentially covered half the category. If you’re a modern man undeterred by toxic masculinity, you might even indulge in some anal sex toys and experience the male equivalent of a G-spot orgasm

But while the categories of male toys haven’t changed all that much over the years, the attitudes toward them and technology behind them definitely have.

Not too long ago, butt stuff was mostly regarded as a gay sexual activity, but statistics show men of all sexual orientations are finally opening their minds (and other things) to the idea. A massive analysis of 1,000,000 sex toy sales and more than 300,000 reviews found that butt plugs account for 40 percent of male sex toy purchases and that single men buy more dildos than any other demographic. Moreover, a survey from Men’s Health and Women’s Health found that 66 percent of men have purchased a sex toy. Even the stars are getting behind some good, old-fashioned rimming.

“Men are becoming increasingly comfortable purchasing products for themselves as opposed to products for their female-identifying partners,” says Erica Minor, LELO’s Marketing & Communications Manager, North America. “Generally speaking, as cultural attitudes about sex become more relaxed and information about men’s sexual health is becoming more prevalent, the misconception that sex toys are primarily for queer men and/or men who can’t find a partner is dissolving.” 

Today men represent at least 11 percent of the sex toy market (though it’s probably a lot more, considering this figure doesn’t include the men who buy anal toys, lubes, etc.) and these numbers are growing fast, especially during the pandemic. As a result, innovation in male sex tech — that is, a technology designed to enhance the human sexual experience — has experienced a similar rise, with companies racing to revolutionize the way men engage with sex toys

Minor tells InsideHook the goal in sex tech is to create a customizable experience for the user that most closely resembles real-life interactions. At LELO, two recent innovations have proven particularly successful.

First is the HEX, which has been deemed “one of the most important business advances in condom technology for decades” by numerous reputable publications. Launched in 2016 via a crowdfunding campaign, LELO’s engineers spent nearly a decade upgrading the structure of the condom using 350 interconnected hexagons to create a rubber both stronger and thinner than the competition. Next is the F1S V2, the second iteration of LELO’s “male sextech console” that uses patented SenSonic technology to massage your member using sonic waves for a sexual experience unlike any you’ve experienced. 

“What’s truly revolutionary is that F1S utilizes ten sensors to generate data, which can be manipulated by the user through the SDK library allowing the end-user the opportunity to design and customize their own personal pleasure,” Minor says. “In layman’s terms, this means that apps can be built to utilize the data from the product to create new sensations, develop new patterns and give different readings.”

The F1S, like most innovations in sex tech, leverage “teledildonic technology,” a blanket term often used to describe tech that mimics sexual interaction via Bluetooth. So far, teledildonics have been used to create more immersive experiences with webcam models by controlling their toys, manipulate a consenting partner’s toy via their phone, or synchronize with porn movies and VR headsets for a truly interactive experience. 

European sex tech company KIIROO has taken things even further. Their male masturbator, the Onyx+, sends and receives tactile sensory data by contracting and expanding over your shaft. The masturbator has a corresponding device for vulva-owners, the Pearl2, and the two interact with one another, meaning you have sex penetrative sex with someone without being in the same room — or even the same country. 

A similarly innovative toy released this year is the Arcwave Ion from WOW Tech Group. The highly anticipated toy touts itself as the “world’s first-ever air stroker for the male body,” and uses air pressure to stimulate nerve endings in the head of the penis to give an orgasm the company describes as similar to those of someone with a clitoris might experience.

Lovehoney’s Blowmotion line was also released this year, promising penises everywhere new sensations by sucking, vibrating, heating, thrusting, and pulsating the shaft using “the most advanced sex tech currently available.” 

Some sex tech is less sexual and more medical in nature. Eddie, for example, is a wearable FDA-Registered Class II medical device by Giddy that treats erectile dysfunction, a category that hasn’t witnessed innovation in over two decades. The device is scientifically sized and uses tension bands for a custom fit that can be adjusted based on the severity of ED the wearer is experiencing. 

In nearly every press email announcing these products, brands like to declare that the male market has been “left behind” in sex tech and they’re here to save our penises from the monotony of manual stimulation. But have our cocks been rescued, or are these new innovations unnecessarily complicated? 

“I definitely think we’re heading somewhere,” says Zachary Zane, sex columnist, and brand ambassador for Promescent, a sexual health, and wellness brand. “I don’t think every single tech advancement is mind-blowing and worth the steep price, but I do think that every three or so makes it worth it.” 

For that reason, Zane recommends you resist buying every updated release of your favorite toy. Rather, wait until version 3.0 is released. By that point, there will be significant technological advancements and differences. 

If you or your wallet is skeptical of pricey technology that use air or soundwaves to make you come, there are plenty of other quality toys to choose from in every price bracket, offering varying degrees of sex tech. See our favorite selections below. 

Oxballs Screw’d Super Squishy Masturbation Sleeve
Spectrum Boutique

The Best Strokers

Strokers are squishy sleeves with textured interiors that offer added stimulation when stroking your penis. Many attempt to mimic the sensations of a vagina or mouth. Just apply some lube and slide on in. 

We recommend: The Hot Octopuss Pulse Duo or Oxballs Screw’d Super Squishy Masturbation Sleeve

Fun Factory’s Manta Vibrating Stroker
Fun Factory

The Best Male Vibrators

Male vibrators are strokers on steroids. Guys tend to like them because vibration reaches deep within the body, stimulating nerves that hands can’t reach. These come in all shapes and sizes, offering different vibration settings, patterns and intensities.

We recommend: The LELO F1S V2 or Fun Factory MANTA

Fun Factory’s Bootie Butt Plug
Fun Factory

The Best Butt Plugs

Butt plugs are tear-shaped sex toys with flared bases designed to stretch and fill the anus, which is full of nerve endings. They can be worn while doing chores and running errands; some even wear them to work! (Because it’s the bum, just be sure to make liberal use of lube.)

We recommend: The b-Vibe Peace & Love Tie-Dye Rimming Plug Set or Fun Factory Bootie

LELO’s LOKI Wave Vibrating Prostate Massager

The Best Prostate massagers

Prostate massagers are toys with an intentional curve designed to stimulate the prostate, the male pleasure center located two to four inches inside the anus. Orgasms from prostate stimulation are often described as “full body” and more intense than a standard genital orgasm. (Again, since this is anal, use plenty of lube.)

We recommend: The LOKI Wave or njoy Pure Wand

LELO’s TOR 2 Cock Ring

The Best Cock Rings

Cock rings are worn for a number of reasons: to maintain an erection, make an erection harder, heighten sensation, help you last longer or to make you have a temporarily larger, thicker-looking penis. Just stretch it over your shaft and balls and don’t wear one for longer than half an hour. 

We recommend: The Eddie by Giddy or LELO TOR 2

Optimum Series’ Rechargeable Stamina Pump

The Best Penis Pumps

Penis pumps are vacuum-sealed devices that use suction to encourage blood flow to the penis. Like cock rings, these toys temporarily produce longer and thicker erections and feel great. Pumps are often used to treat people with erectile dysfunction. 

We recommend: The Optimum Series Rechargeable Stamina Pump and Zero Tolerance Sucking Good Stroker

And there you have it. Now take this knowledge with you out into the world, explore your boundaries and always read the instruction manual.

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