More Shame About Guys and Toys

There's a video that's been making the rounds, and was passed on to me by one of my facebook friends, called 'Men Try Sex Toys for The First Time'. It's done by buzzfeed. I'm not entirely sure if the guys in the video are actors or not, or if perhaps they're just people that work at buzzfeed. Their reactions and comments are just a little too polished for me to believe this is entirely real. However, the video is supposed to be funny but mostly it just annoyed me.

I will admit that a lot of it is funny. I particularly like the guy who sticks his finger in the fleshlight while turning up his nose and saying it's gross and he doesn't understand it and then suddenly stops and says 'okay, maybe I get it now'.

There are some positive reactions. Two of the men are pretty pumped about their experience. I love the guy who says 'It was awesome!' But several of them are extremely negative about the idea of using the toys and about the experience. Even some of them who enjoyed it say that they would never do it again or felt wrong about it.

I certainly don't think everyone has to use toys and I do fully support everyone's right to like or dislike anything they want. If these guys honestly did not enjoy the toy, that's perfectly fine. What I'm so tired of is this pervasive idea that men should feel guilty or shameful about using sex toys - and that mens' awkwardness and shame about it is hilarious.

We seem to have come far enough in our culture now to accept that most men masturbate and that that's normal and expected. But somehow we haven't come so far as to be so accept or be open to the idea of them really really enjoying it. It seems to me that we're okay with it only insofar as it's a necessary thing that guys do when they're stressed out and/or don't have someone else to have sex with. It's all right if they kind of need to do it, but not all right if they're doing it just because it feels great and they just want to. Indeed there are a lot of people around who think that a man who has a partner should never want or need to masturbate. If that's what we believe, then of course the idea of men buying something meant for them to use alone, being completely unashamed and open about that purchase, and saying clearly and openly that it's fucking awesome, is hard to handle.

But my world is filled with guys like that. Because I own a sex shop, I see men every single day who are looking for something new and fun that feels different and cool. Certainly we get men in store who have some shame about it and are hesitant to talk to us. But we also get a lot of guys who have no shame or hesitance whatsoever. They play with themselves. They like it. They're not afraid to admit it. They want a fun toy to make their solo play time even more fun.

If we stopped framing male sexuality and masturbation through this lens of guilt and shame, I think we would see fewer and fewer of those guys who are hesitant and ashamed when they come in and so many more of the second variety. We can make jokes and funny videos but the guilt, shame and awkwardness doesn't need to be the payoff of the joke. The guy who looks at the autoblow and says 'I cannot wait to use this' is hilarious. Somebody like that who's eager to have a good time is really funny, but the joke isn't really on him, it isn't at his expense, it's just about appreciating his enthusiasm.