Sex Toys & Transgender People: How to Use Sex Toys to Cope With Gender Dysphoria
Written by Betty Butch
Sex toys are pleasure tools that can be used for sexual exploration, unique masturbation experiences, and to compliment the sex you have with partners. Generally, their methods and sensations can’t be replicated by hand. This allows you to interact with your body and others’ bodies in unique ways.
Transgender people who experience dysphoria during sex can often benefit from using sex toys for these very reasons. When the expected strokes and pokes aren’t appealing and affirming to us as individuals, sex toys offer alternative routes to pleasure and connection that are no less intimate.
To be clear, sex toys are not a solution to gender dysphoria. But they can be part of our coping toolkit!
In this piece, I’ll be covering:
- How do I choose what kinds of toys to use?
- Where are the sex toys for trans people with dysphoria?
- What about sex toys as barriers?
- What about sex toys for better sex?
- How do I cope with gendered sex toy marketing?
- I’m still experiencing dysphoria with a toy, what now?
How can sex toys best serve you and your sex life?
It’s important to remember that discovering the most affirming ways to seek pleasure is about so much more than just picking up a vibrator. As useful as any tool is, it can’t build something on its own. We need a blueprint too!
Finding sex toys that suit the masturbation and sex you’re having – or want to have – will be a process. Exploring our own ever-evolving capacity for pleasure is half the joy of masturbation and sex, so try to look forward to the adventure instead of letting it intimidate you.
Start by asking yourself: what sex acts feel pleasurable and affirming to me? Trans people are not a monolith, and our relationships with our bodies – and with sex and masturbation – are deeply individual. Forget what you’ve heard about what you “should” enjoy. What kinds of flirting, self-care, foreplay, sex positions, and sensual stimulation do you, personally, enjoy?
(Other important questions to consider: What about these acts makes you feel like yourself? How can you better center the things that make you euphoric in your solo and partnered sex life? Have you communicated with your partners about what does and doesn’t sexually affirm you?)
You might not have answers to these questions right now. Many of us don’t; and even when we do, the answers are rarely set in stone. Our bodies, interests, and tastes shift and change over time, and what we’re intrigued by or comfortable with can vary from partner to partner.
Sex toys can be used for the betterment of the sex you find the most gender euphoric. They’re also great tools for trying out new sensations and stimulation methods. As you consider what to add to your tool box, ask yourself: what sort of sex toys can provide or enhance the kinds of pleasure I find the most appealing and euphoric?
Different strokes for different folks: where are the sex toys for trans people?
Technically speaking, a sex toy for trans people is whatever sex toy a trans person owns and enjoys. But when people ask me this question, they’re usually asking because they assume all the toys designed for their anatomy don’t provide sensations they enjoy. Maybe they don’t like stroking or pinpoint vibrations, and that’s fine! But there’s so much more variation and innovation out there.
For example, while few, there are sex toys designed specifically for trans folks:
- Starsi by Cute Little Fuckers: This star-shaped vibrator is multifunctional, but one of its potential uses is being cupped over a phallus as a pleasurable buffer.
- The ShotPocket Pleasure Sleeve and Packer Gear FTM Stroker by CalExotics: These strokers are made for folks who have experienced bottom growth from HRT.
- Jack 2-In-1 Stroker by New York Toy Collective: This body-safe stroker for trans men and nonbinary people doubles as a soft packer.
- Exo Hands-Free Wearable: This device is worn for manual, hands-free phallus stimulation.
More plentiful are sex toys designed to break the mold set by their normative counterparts. These can take some digging to find! Here are a few toys of potential interest:
- Air Pressure Wave Stimulators: These toys encircle the clitoral glans with puffs of air in a suction-like sensation. (Note: because of their narrow sizing, pressure wave stimulators can’t accommodate bodies that have experienced notable bottom growth from HRT.)
- ArcWave Ion Penis Air Stroker: This toy wraps around the phallus and uses air to stimulate the frenulum.
- Clitoral Pumps: These can be used on clitorises, t-dicks, meta cocks, etc. The intense suction sensations are pleasurable on their own, but pumping can also create temporary engorgement.
- Hot Octopuss Solo, Solo Lux, and Duo: These sleeves clasp phalluses both erect and non-erect and provide pulsating, oscillating stimulation.
- Hot Octopuss Jett: Two rumbly bullet vibrators that strap beneath the head of a phallus for hands-free pleasure.
- (Muffing with) Small Dildos, Dilators, Bullet Vibes: Many trans women and nonbinary people enjoy muffing, the act of penetrating/stimulating the inguinal canals (where the testicles descend from.) Because these canals are small and delicate, smaller toys are ideal for exploration after fingers!
- Nexus Eclipse, Sir Richard’s Cock Teaser, and Fun Factory Cobra Libre (Penis Head Stimulators): This style of stimulator focuses vibration on the tip of the phallus.
- Dame Pom, and Iroha Temari (Palm-Sized Vibes) & Vedo Izzy and Romp Wave (Lay-On Vibrators): These broad-faced vibrators limit hand contact with your body and provide a wider delivery of vibrations. With lube you can use them for stroking, rubbing, or slick grinding.
- The B.J. Dildo is a realistic silicone schlong that has a unique feature - it has a hole from the tip to the base. This allows the wearer to receive a strong blow job like suction from their partner. Firm enough to use for penetration, but with realistic flexibility.
- Urethral Tuners: Toys for penetrating the opening at the head of the penis.
- Zumio, Eroscillator (Pinpoint Oscillators): As someone with a clitoris, I enjoy using the Zumio’s fine point to stroke the underside of my length. Treating minute details as worthy of attention helps me associate the penis likeness of the clitoral glans.
Using sex toys as a physical buffer.
Another method of coping with genital-based dysphoria during sex or masturbation is to create a sense of detachment. Toys with handles allow you to maintain some distance – literally – from your body, if that’s something you need or desire. Wand Vibrators and G-spot Vibes (used externally), for example, can be used externally on any body.
- California Dreaming Palm Springs by CalExotics
- IQuiver Clitoral Vibe by Doc Johnson
- Manta Stroker by Fun Factory
- Optimum Power Masturwand by CalExotics
- Penis Wand by Satisfyer
- Satisfyer Pro 2 Clitoral Stimulator by Satisfyer
- Ultimate Pleasure by Pipedream
- Volta External Vibrator by Fun Factory
- Wand Style Penis Vibrator by Man Wand
Similarly, although small, vibrators designed to fit on or around the user’s fingers are useful in creating a buffer between one’s sense of touch and body shape. That tactile ambiguity can be very affirming for some people.
- Fin by Dame
- Fingerific by Evolved Novelties
- Mini Marvels Marvelous Finger Tickler by CalExotics
- Mini Marvels Marvelous Massager by CalExotics
- Yumi Finger Vibrator by Vedo
Using sex toys to enrich the sex you’re already having.
Sometimes the easiest way to explore gender affirming sex and masturbation is to take stock of the pleasures you already enjoy. If you experience gender dysphoria during some of these acts, are there toys that can help ease that discontent?
Perhaps you’re someone with a vulva who enjoys wearing a harness with partners, but the lack of stimulation for yourself brings you out of the moment. Toys like the Sili Saddle or Banana Pants’ dildo base buffers create pleasurable friction that might better tether you to strap-on sex.
Or maybe you feel the most euphoric when you leave your underwear or lingerie on during sex and masturbation, but it’s difficult to feel anything through the fabric. Powerful wand vibrators like the Doxy or Magic Wand provide stimulation over a broad surface and can be felt through multiple clothing layers.
If anal is your favorite way to self-pleasure, but having to reach past your genitals to touch or readjust takes you out of the moment and gives you dysphoria? A remote-controlled butt plug (like the Thump It 7X Curved, Doc Johnson A-Play Thrust, or Vedo Bump Plus) can give you the opportunity to enjoy it hands-free.
Similarly, sex toys intended for non-genital stimulation – like nipple clamps and pumps, spanking toys, and ticklers – can be used to keep your focus on the things you enjoy most.
So how do you find these kinds of sex toys? You’ll have to do some exploring! SheVibe makes this pretty easy. Their entire inventory is sorted into easy-to-navigate categories like Remote Control Vibrators, Cockrings and Cages, and Thrusters and Pulsators. Take your time browsing, you’ll be surprised at what you find…
If you need an introduction to different kinds of toys, you can check out Samtastic’s excellent Sex Toy Tips videos. You can also read sex toy reviews to learn more about how other people are utilizing sex toys’ many uses. I’ve been inspired more than once by another reviewer’s sexual creativity.
How do you handle sex toy gendering?
If this isn’t your first time shopping for sex toys, you’ve probably already noticed how cisgender-centric sex toy names, packaging, and marketing can be. SheVibe doesn’t gender the categories on their site, but the products they carry are made by a multitude of manufactures, many of which don’t put the same value on inclusivity. Things are changing, but change is slow.
If gender neutral or trans-inclusive packaging is a top priority for you, there are numerous manufacturers that are pretty consistent about it:
- Cute Little Fuckers
- Dame Products
- Funkit Toys
- New York Toy Collective
- Uberrime Handmade Dildos
- Pris Toys
But what if the product you want is named something like “HornyDudeBusiness’s Steely Masculine Man Sucker For Him”? How do you combat the creeping dysphoria every time you interact with it?
Transform or discard the packaging. If you intend to keep the box to store your toy, you can take ownership of it by turning the outside into an art project. Paint it, cover it in vinyl stickers, or scribble out the offending marketing language or imagery. Alternatively, you can instead buy separate sex toy storage. If your toy’s functionality is particularly complicated, you might want to alter the instruction booklet or write a new, condensed version using language that affirms you.
Give the toy a nickname. People name their cars, boats, and potted plants. Vibrators are no different! My “Fantasy For Her Ultimate Pleasure” pump is nicknamed The Stark. Giving it a new title has helped me separate my experiences with it from its very cis-favoring origins.
Reframe its use by prioritizing your narrative over their marketing. It’s like death of the author, but for sex toys! A company’s short-sighted ideas of who can/will use their toy (and how) doesn’t negate your experiences with it. They don’t own the product’s realities after it’s in your hand. In your possession, the Satisfyer “Men Wand” becomes a girlcock teaser or a clit stroker.
Normalize and eroticize its uses for trans bodies. Take nudes featuring the toy’s use, write some erotica featuring the toy, chat with sex positive friends or other adult toy enthusiasts on Twitter about how you like to use it.
Like many of my peers, I’ve felt alienated and even dysphoric over product gendering. But I’m not any less of who I am because I use something that a company lazily labeled “for women.” I’m even more of who I am because I reclaim space for myself.
How can you modify your experience with a toy to make it more affirming?
If you’re struggling to find a toy that suits you, or you’re trying to make the best of the toys you already own, there are ways you can change up your experience with “the basics.” I’ve found that sometimes, something as small as holding a toy differently can alleviate the dysphoric discomfort it was causing me.
Set the mood. It can be tempting to pick up a toy and get right to it, but that puts the burden of the whole experience squarely on how you feel about the toy. What turns you on and makes you feel like yourself? Music, candles, slow caresses on your skin? Watching porn in first person point of view? Dressing up (or dressing down)? Having a partner dirty talk in your ear? Bondage, impact play, a thorough massage? Sex toys are just one component of a satisfying sexual experience.
Seek euphoric settings and positions. Sitting on the couch with your legs splayed. On your knees in bed with your face against the sheets. Swaddled by cherry blossom-scented bubbles in the bathtub, one leg hooked over the side. Where and how do you want to receive pleasure? How can you situate your body to feel the most at home in it? Lounging on my back with one knee bent makes me look and feel masculinely cocky; it feels natural, and that affirmation carries through the rest of the experience. The toy I’m using becomes a prop instead of center stage.
Try different motions. How does your body want to move when you’re being pleasured? Do you feel more affirmed by moving your arm in stroking motions, or rolling your hips, or by thrusting? Consider what your sexual instincts draw you towards, and follow their lead. Maybe that means situating your toy on a pillow (or Liberator toy mount) and rutting against it, or rubbing it in constant motion against your body, or holding it still and wiggling up against it. Maybe that means having a partner manage the toy instead.
Remember that there’s no wrong way to use a sex toy (unless you’re using a toy without a sufficiently flared base for anal – that’s dangerous.) Don’t get discouraged trying to use a toy how you think folks of your gender (or body type) “should” use toys. You should use toys however you want!