Commercial categories: gay sex toys

[TMI Warning: The following posting contains information, opinion, or reflection that some readers might find uncomfortably or unwelcomely personal, private, or intimate in topic or content: too much information, as the saying goes. As a general observation, I’m willing to go almost anywhere in my postings, including some places that some readers don’t want to go.]

A while ago I came across the section of the TLA Video on-line catalogue devoted to gay (male) sex toys, which is quite extensive. It’s organized as a taxonomy with two levels of categories, each level arranged (more or less) alphabetically by category label. From the content of the entries, it’s possible to discover some further structure in the system.

(What follows is all from a gay male viewpoint, but of course almost all of the items can be used by straight guys or by women.)

The top level:

balls, bullets & beads; BDSM & kink; butt plugs; cock rings; dildos; enemas/douches; enhancements; lubes; masturbators; probes, prostate stimulators; pumps; sounding/urethra insertion; toy cleaners

This is a jumble of stuff, and the labels will be unfamiliar to many: a couple are TLA coinages, but the others are technical terms (in certain sexual subcultures and the businesses that make and sell items for people in those subcultures) for things that have no names in ordinary English.

It’s important that the taxonomy is supposed to be *useful* for people in search of gay sex toys; it’s not a conceptual analysis for scientific purposes. That means that particular items will be offered in several different categories — the categories overlap quite a lot — on the grounds that a man searching for something under one label might actually want something related, which properly belongs under another label. For my purposes that’s useful, since these overlaps expose some covert further category structure.

First weeding-out: there are SEX TOYS proper, designed to provide pleasure to participants in gay sex, and ADJUNCTS, accompaniments to sexual acts (when I want to be clear about these things, I’ll put my names for the categories in all caps, to make it clear that we’re not talking about expressions of English, but mental categories):

cock rings (rings around the base of the penis, the penis and scrotum together, or sometimes just the scrotum, designed to slow the flow of blood away from an erect penis and so to maintain erections longer);

enemas/douches (for cleansing the rectum before anal intercourse; the term douche has been extended from its use for vaginal douches, to provide an alternative to enema that has cleansing rather than medical associations);

enhancements (enhancement is an ad-hoc term used for vitamins, minerals, and herbs in formulations purported to enhance sexual performance);

lubes (lube is the street name for a lubricant for masturbation and for anal intercourse); and

toy cleaners (a transparent noun compound).

SEX TOYS proper fall into four categories, according to the sort of sexual pleasure they serve. Two of these are on the TLA list:

BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Sadism & Masochism) TOYS, serving the pleasures of dominance and submission, pain, humiliation, and/or bondage (for those who derive pleasure from engaging in these scenes); there are many subcategories. From TLA (with mostly self-explanatory labels): ball stretchers and weights; blindfolds, masks and hoods; cock and ball play (esp. cock cages); collars, ankle and wrist restraints; gags and muzzles; handcuffs and irons; nipple play (esp. nipple clamps, nipple pumps); whips, paddles and slappers (specialized items for puppy play/dog training, in which men are fantasy-transformed into dogs and trained as such, and pony training) aren’t listed in the TLA catalog; on puppy training, there’s a book — Michael Daniels’s 2003 Woof! Perspectives into the Erotic Care and Training of the Human Dog — and a surprisingly engaging porn flick — Kennel Master, from Titan Men);

and SOUNDING TOOLS for urethral insertion: penis plugs (allowing for urination while wearing the plug) and urethral probes (slim rods) — essentially, catheterization for fun.

The other two categories are higher-level. At this point I’ll start to move away from medical/formal language, as above, and into street language. Now I’m talking about devices designed to provide pleasure to the cock (JO) or the asshole (UP THE ASS).

JO: jackoff toys, of two types: masturbators (sleeves or cock extensions, often modeled in fleshjacks as the butts or mouths of pornstars) and (penis) pumps (which supply suction, either manually or via batteries);

UTA: at least five sorts of toys providing anal pleasure:

1. BBB.  TLA’s fancifully named category “balls, bullets & beads” (BBB): anal balls, bullets (aka eggs), and beads, all for inserting in the ass (and then — this is important — withdrawing from the ass). The label is a play on “Baubles, Bangles & Beads”,

a popular song from the 1953 musical Kismet, credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest. Like all the music in that show, the melody was based on works by Alexander Borodin, in this case the second theme of the second movement of his String Quartet in D. (link)

Depending on their size, BBB toys can be sources of gentle anal pleasure or challenges to the user. Here, from the first sort, I’ll recommend the Colt Xtreme Turbo Bullet:

Xtreme power! Take this ergonomically designed universal silver bullet attached to a waterproof power pack with 2-speed push button controls, and stick it where the sun don’t shine! You will be glad you did. Requires 2 AA batteries (not included).

review by Jack Frequenton: [The three different Colt vibrating anal bullets] are all quite effective in creating anal chills for the user; bullets are not like prostate probes or dongs as they are gentler. For me – an anally reluctant gay boy – bullets are much more fun; they tickle rather than pound.

(Quick review: very sweet. But then I’m into anal pleasures, and not much into the challenge of massive objects up my hole.)

2. ANAL PROBES. These are thin devices, designed to be very easy to insert and to tickle your prostate. My very first UTA toy, from many years ago, shown here in black:

3. BUTT PLUGS. These are designed to be inserted into your asshole and then hold there. They often come sized; the Colt small is 4.75″ long x 1″ diameter, large is 6″ x 1.5″. Here’s a set:

4. DILDOS/DONGS. Dildos are usually cock-and-balls replicas, dongs just cocks. Both often have suction-cup bases, so you can sit on them. And both can come sized; the Rascal small dong is 5.5″ long x 1.5″ diameter, the large 8.5″ x 2″. Here’s the set:

My toy box includes a definitely small dildo, which suits me very well.

5. PROSTATE MASSAGERS. All UTA toys stimulate the prostate, but there are C-shaped devices specifically designed to do this. No first-hand report in this case.

There turns out to be a pretty rich category structure here, involving a number of categories that (not surprisingly) have no ordinary-language labels. A category structure devised for the users of these items, by their designers, manufacturers, and sellers.

6 Responses to “Commercial categories: gay sex toys”

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