On inclusiveness in marketing sex toys

This week I got a Twitter DM from a small, newer sex toy company looking for bloggers to help them build their customer base. At first it was kind of exciting, like it was evidence I was starting to “make it” as a sex blogger, but then I checked their website.

Their products were separated into two categories: “For Him” (penis sleeves and prostate massagers) and “For Her” (dildos and wand massagers).

Oh. Oh, no.

Close-up of wedding cups

Maybe I’m just hopelessly optimistic, but I expect people in the sex and adult toy industry to be more LGBTQ+ aware and friendly than the average cishet person. I expect that my first thought upon viewing your website is going to be something, anything, other than Wow, way to alienate queer people.

Take Tantus, for example. They’re a major name in the sex toy world—for good reason, even if I personally don’t like the rigidity of their silicone—and their website presents their products in an accessible, inclusive way that doesn’t reinforce the tired gender binary. Categories include “Dildos,” “Wands,” and “Plugs,” a system that seems so much more intuitive to me than “For Him” and “For Her” that it genuinely baffles me why anyone would prefer the latter.

Firstly, something I thought was more well known than perhaps it is, people with prostates sometimes enjoy putting things up their asses that aren’t specifically designed to stimulate the prostate. So, even if we’re ignoring the existence of non-cis people, “For Him” should include dildos.

Similarly, people with penises can get pleasure from vibrating massagers—on their penises, on their nipples, on their balls, you know, on basically any part of their body where they’re sensitive to vibration. So, again even if we’re ignoring trans and nonbinary people, “For Him” should also include vibrators.

Then, imagine a trans woman landing on your company’s website in search of a prostate toy for herself. She is going to look at your “For Him” and “For Her,” see that the prostate toys are under “For Him,” and there is no way she is not going to respond negatively. Your company has just joined the ranks of ignorant, condescending assholes who treat her like they know her identity better than she does.

Congratulations. Aren’t you so proud?

But, I suppose I’m making some assumptions here about the company in question. I’m assuming good intentions but poor thinking on their part, but perhaps their lack of inclusiveness was intentional.

Perhaps this is a website for cishet people who want to shop for sex toys without confronting the uncomfortable reality that their worldview is limited and flawed—for people who can’t bear to acknowledge that there is a whole spectrum of sexual expression that they’ve closed themselves off to. After all, god forbid you risk accidentally encouraging a cishet man to put something up his ass that looks like a thick, veiny cock with balls.

And if that’s the case, believe me, you don’t want me blogging about your company.

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