The Vibrator in the Bedroom: Friend or Foe of the Straight Man?

Not featured: human beings.

In a noteworthy article on Salon today, Tracy Clark-Flory brings up a very cheering topic: straight men are starting to get less intimidated by sex toys. Granted, Tracy lives in San Francisco, where things tend to be a bit more sexually progressive than elsewhere, but it’s encouraging to hear coming from anywhere in America, really. For far too long, vibrators and other sex toys have been looked at as women’s liberation from the sexual ineptitude of men, and men have often learned to loathe and fear their “competition.” A vibrator by the bed, it’s been often thought, is a sign that a woman doesn’t need a man to get her off, and it’s long been assumed that a woman who doesn’t need a man is too independent, headstrong, or, well, lesbian.

Personally, I’ve been annoyed by this idea for a while now. Sure, a vibrator and the rest of its plastic and silicone ilk can be used in place of a man on sexy evenings in, and sure, they can get me off all by themselves, but any man who really thinks that a soulless piece of machinery is going to replace the physical presence of another living, breathing, human being has got confidence issues out the wazoo. And that, I think, is the thing gets me annoyed the most.
As far as I can see, whether a man can “measure up” to a vibrator or not is completely beside the point. There really is no basis for comparison between the two, nor should there be. And it annoys the bejesus out of me if a guy gets intimidated or frightened by the presence of a sex toy. I mean, sure, some people just don’t enjoy them that much, and as a matter of personal taste or preference, do whatever works for you. I won’t judge. But as a matter of principle, any man whose confidence in his ability to make a sexual, erotic, emotional connection with a female partner that will result in good sex is so low that he’s intimidated by a toy that can do something he never possibly could is in need of years of therapy before he should even go near a woman or her sex toys. Think about it: sure, vibrators are great. Women love them. They can provide external stimulation easily, proficiently, and effectively, and get us to orgasm pretty darn fast. But should a man feel his sexual prowess is being knocked down a few pegs by a vibrator, I’d say he’s a dolt. If there was any part of a man’s body that could vibrate with the speed and intensity of a vibrator, then of course that man should feel a bit of competition from his lady-friend’s Magic Wand. But since there is no part of the human body that can vibrate like that, there’s no competition.
Even toys that simulate oral sex with more tongue-like appendages can’t replicate what a real mouth feels like down there, and while dildos used for penetration are all well and good, the positions one has to wiggle oneself into in order to use them to replicate actual sexual intercourse are so ridiculous that I think one would be hard pressed to find a woman who compares her at-home, by-herself ministrations to what she experiences with a male partner. They’re just not the same. It’s not even apples and oranges; it’s bananas and the banana tree. Being jealous or frightened of a vibrator because it means a woman is having orgasms without you around would be the same as a woman being intimidated by her boyfriend’s hand: “I know what you do with that thing when I’m not around!”
But since both sex toys and hands can be used for the pleasure of both parties in a heterosexual romp, let’s just enjoy the added bonuses both bring to the table, shall we? And let’s get over this idea that the male penis is the be-all and end-all of the sexual experience. Because it’s not. Decades, nay centuries, of scientific inquiry have proven this idea over and over again. Sure, the cock is a main course on the menu of sexual satisfaction, but it’s not the only one. There’s also the appetizers–foreplay–and the primi course–oral sex–and the side orders–sex toys. And the penis. And the vagina. And the mouth. And the butt. And the all-around experience of another human being. That’s the intimacy part. And that’s where confidence in one’s ability to be a human being, not a disembodied penis that seems capable of superhuman feats–like much mainstream porn tries to tell us that men really are–comes in.
As Syd Blakovich said to me in a recent interview, “It’s not the penis that represents the man, but the man that represents the penis.” And the presence of a man in the bedroom, if that’s what you like, will beat the presence of a vibrator most times, because no matter how fast and how hard that thing vibrates, it’s never going to have a good conversation with you after the fact. It’s not going to be able to giggle with you about the stupid face you made when you had an orgasm. It’s not going to replace the human experience. Which, let’s please try to remember, is what sex is really all about.
So I say, “Go, you!” to the guys Tracy Clark-Flory is talking about. Vibrators are our friends, not anyone’s foes. They are enhancements to the repertoire of things you can enjoy in the bedroom. They are en expansion of sexual horizons. And they feel great on all erogenous zones, male and female, by the way.

 

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