D.I.Y Sex Toys: Self-Love Edition
Pop Quiz: What activity can help you de-stress, fall asleep, and, for most people, also feels quite nice?
If you answered "masturbation," congratulations, you are correct! Yay! Now, for a bonus question, can you tell me: which off the following can be used during masturbation?
A) An electric toothbrush
B) Your hands
C) Back Massager
D) All of the above and so much more
If you picked D, then you win again! And what you win is an explanation of where this increasingly odd quiz is going. (Sorry, we're all out of oversized stuffed animals this week.)
We commonly have users asking about ways to acquire sex toys for masturbation. For many young people, finding a vibrator or other sex toy can be difficult, as not everywhere has a sex toy store near them (many cities have zoning laws that either forbid places that sell sex toys entirely or keep them on the outskirts of town). And, even if there is a sex toy store nearby, if you're under 18 it's likely that the law prohibits those places from selling their products to you in the first place.
There are some other factors that might make you uncomfortable with buying or having something explicitly marketed as a sex toy. If you're living at home with your parents or other guardians, you may not feel comfortable with the possibility that they'll see that you got a delivery from an online sex toy distributor. Or maybe you're even nervous about having to explain what, exactly, is in that nondescript package you just got. And, some people simply aren't comfortable with having something that is obviously a sex toy in their house where their parents (or sibling, or dog) might find it. So, what's a person who wants to explore vibrators and other toys to do?
Get savvy about the ways to safely D.I.Y your own!
Do-it-yourself sex toys have many potential benefits. They can be a way for you to experiment with vibration and other sensations if you don't have access to a sex toy store. D.I.Y is often cheaper than buying a toy made specifically for sexy purposes. And who doesn't love a two-for-one? For instance, one of the options we're going to discuss can actually serve double-duty as both a sex toy and a massager for relieving aches and pains in the rest of your body. And, if you happen to live in a space where some might find (or deliberately going snooping for) your sex toys, it can help to use things that are innocuous, everyday items.
Now, with that last comment, I don't mean to imply that masturbation is anything to be ashamed of. Quite the opposite. But some people do still view masturbation as wrong or harmful, and sometimes those people may be the ones you have to live with. Those views are often based in ignorance over how bodies work, or are spread by religious institutions that believe masturbation is sinful and thus want to discourage people from doing it.
Sometimes, people look down on masturbation because they think it's only for people who can't find a partner. First off, this is ridiculous because a persons value is not dictated by whether or not they have sex with a partner. But more importantly, it ignores the fact that masturbation is something that most people engage in regardless of their relationship status. Because even if you have a partner, sometimes they're not around when you're aroused, not up for sex when you are, or partnered sex just isn't what you're after that day. Or you're someone who wants to wait to have partnered sex, or doesn't want partnered sex at all, but you still want to enjoy and explore your won body. In any of those instances, and many more besides, masturbation is an option that many people choose.
So, once more with feeling: there is nothing wrong with masturbation. Zip, nada, nunca, nothing. Masturbation is harmless, can feel awesome, and is something that many, many, many people engage in. It doesn't mean you're desperate, or that you're not satisfied by any partners you do have, or that you lack self-control. It just means that you're feeling desire that you want to relieve or that you simply want a way to feel good. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Now, time to get into the nitty-gritty of making your own sex toys. Of course, most of the objects we'll discuss are not just for solo use. They can be incorporated into partnered sex as well. And, as with anything that has to do with sex, there is no one size fits all approach. You might be comfortable with some of the methods we'll discuss and uncomfortable with others, or you might try one out and find that it doesn't really do it for you. And that's totally okay. Different bodies are going to enjoy different things.
Okay, this may seem like an obvious one, but it's true. Hands have zero cost attached to them, and most people have at least one at their disposal. For many people, hands are one of the first things they use to masturbate, and with good reason. Hands are not intimidating, and they can be used no matter what type of genitals you have.
When using your hands to masturbate, most people find using one or two fingers at a time to be the easiest starting place. You can use your fingers to figure out which, if any, orifices you're comfortable having penetrated, or if you'd prefer the stimulation stay on the exterior parts of your genitals. You can also experiment to see if you enjoy simultaneous internal and external stimulation. Using your hands gives you a chance to experiment with different types of pressure and motion, which can help you figure out which sensations you enjoy and which you do not (does a circular motion feel good? How about back and forth?). Hands can also allow for more finesse and precision than a toy can, so if you're someone who finds that you prefer a more targeted sensation, hands are definitely your friend.
When you buy them in a store, sleeves are cylindrical tubes lined with a silicone mold of some kind. The mold has a hole in the center that you insert the penis into. You then use your hand to move the sleeve up and down on the penis.
You can improvise your own sleeve by finding a cylinder of some kind that fits comfortably on your penis (toilet paper rolls are a common choice) and then lining it with a material of your choice. Some people use spongy materials for the lining, some use latex gloves, etc. Some folks prefer to skip the more involved sleeves and use a sock or banana peel instead. The key is to make sure that there are no rough or sharp bits in the toy that could scratch your penis while you use it. And, as with most of their non-D.I.Y counterparts, any sleeve you make for yourself is a one time use only due to the fact that it can't be washed or cleaned (socks are the one exception to this, but for cleanliness sake wash them between every use). Once you're done with it, into the trash it goes.
Vibrators in disguise
Vibrators are surprisingly stealthy, covert creatures, and most of us have at least one object in our house that can double as a make-shift vibe. Now, there are some safety considerations when deciding which house-hold items to convert into vibrators. You don't want to use anything with sharp edges or points on it, and you don't want anything that can shatter, splinter, or break off.
You'll also want to make sure that you don't use anything with an electrical current internally. That means that it can be used for stimulating the outside parts of the genitals, but not for penetration. Additionally, to avoid electrocution, you don't want to use anything with an electrical current in the tub or other body of water. There are sex toys that are made to be waterproof, but household items? Not so much.
Also, make sure that any item you're using is yours only and not a shared item. Not only does using a shared item make it harder to insure that the item is clean, it's a major boundary violation to use somebody's possession to masturbate with without their consent.
Finally, make sure to cover the object that you choose with a condom in order to keep bacteria at bay.
Not only do they help keep your teeth clean, they're great for masturbation as well! In fact, they're so commonly used that some sex toy providers have started selling attachments meant specifically for use with an electric toothbrush. Of course, should you decide to use an electric toothbrush as a vibrator, that toothbrush is now for that purpose only. Don't use the same one for both cleaning your teeth and masturbating.
Make sure you are using the non-bristled end of the toothbrush for your fun. You might find it simplest to remove the bristled attachment entirely. Then, cover the non-bristled end with a condom and use as desired.
Using a razor is pretty much the same as using a toothbrush. Remove the sharp attachment, flip to the non-business end, cover with a condom, and voila!
Back Massagers (AKA "Personal Massagers")
Here's yet another option, one that you can find at drug stores or big box stores (places like Target). You can usually find them near the personal care sections. They are generally made of plastic, made to plug in to an outlet, and are for external use only. And, lest you think that these vibrators are lack-luster compared to the kind you'd buy in a sex toy store, keep in mind that you'll often find the Hitachi Magic Wand amongst the selections. Yep, that's right, the so-called "Cadillac of Vibrators" can be found in the same aisles as neck pillows and Epsom salts. Of course, part of the reason it's compared to a Cadillac is its size, so if discreetness is a major concern for you, you might want to skip the Hitachi in favor of its smaller counterparts.
And just in case you're worried, no, you won't need to prove you eighteen or anything like that in order to buy a personal massager. The beauty of them is that they're available for everyone to use.
Removable shower head
If you live in a place with a removable shower head, it's a great option for a discreet vibrator. Many people find the sensation of the pressurized water on their genitals pleasurable, and being in the bath or shower means you're already in a space where you're unlikely to be interrupted. If you don't have a moveable shower head, but do have a bathtub, you can try lying on your back and tilting your hips into the stream from the faucet.
Now, masturbating with a shower head is a practice that's been around for awhile, and thus has some myths attached to it (usually by people who want to discourage masturbation). The main myth is that masturbating with a shower head can damage your genitals, or using it too much will lead to a decrease in sensitivity over time. Nowadays, this myth has expanded to include all types of vibrators, not just shower heads.
So, to be clear, masturbating with a shower head or any other vibrating object will not cause you to lose your genital sensitivity. You may feel some numbness if you apply the vibration to the same spot of your body for an extended period of time, but that sensation is ultimately a temporary one.
There are still a few safety and comfort considerations when you're using a shower head or faucet. Making sure the water is a nice, lukewarm temperature is the most obvious one, as you don't want to direct a stream of scalding hot or freezing cold water onto your genitals. But you'll also want to make sure you aren't using soapy hands or water to masturbate, as the soap can cause genital irritation and sometimes lead to urinary tract infections. Lastly, while water on the external parts of the genitals is A-okay, do not direct the force of the stream inside the vagina, as that can pose some risk of damage. As long as you keep those rules in mind, you can have as much wet and wild fun as you please.
One of the more cliche images of the D.I.Y sex toy involves a lonely person with a cucumber. But what objects are actually good candidates for an improvised dildo?
Quick aside for anyone who doesn't know, a dildo is a toy designed to be put inside an orifice of the body, like the vagina, anus or mouth. Some dildos vibrate, some do not. When you buy things specifically made as dildos, they're usually made out of silicone, hard plastic, or glass. When D.I.Y-ing a dildo however, you may need alternative materials.
First, however, lets talk about what types of objects and materials to avoid. As with vibrators, anything sharp or pointed (like scissors) is a definite no-go. You'll also want to steer clear of anything that might shatter or break off during use, anything that has splinters (stay away from the proverbial fence posts), and anything that is highly porous, because it has more places for bacteria to hide. A glass bottle is not safe for insertion in the way that a glass dildo is. Hairbrush handle? Go for it! The brush part of the hairbrush? Nope, nope, and nope.
You'll want to choose objects that are smooth, durable, and are comfortable for you to hold or manipulate. You'll also want to make sure that you cover your chosen object with a condom. This will help keep unwanted bacteria from entering into your body. And, again, once you start using it for sexy purposes, it gets retired from it's initial function. Using a toothbrush handle? Then make sure you buy a new brush to use on your teeth. Using a cucumber or other food item? Then that food item should no longer be considered edible.
And, if you are planning on using your D.I.Y dildo for anal stimulation, it must have a flared base. If you insert something into the anus that does not have a flared base, you run the risk of having it get lost. And then you'll have to explain to the folks at the E.R why there is a cucumber where cucumbers are not usually found.
All of these tips and tricks just go to show that with a little ingenuity and an eye for safety, you too can become a master of the art of D.I.Y sex toys. And that's a wonderful thing, because everyone deserves the chance to explore their body in as many ways as they see fit.
Absolute Safety Rules for D.I.Y toys
- Cover any and all objects used with a condom
- No objects with sharp edges or pointy bits
- Do not use anything that could possibly shatter, splinter, or break off inside you
- Objects with electrical currents are for outside use only
- Do not use anything that belongs to or that you share with another person
- Do not use electric objects in the tub or shower
More About Masturbation:
- Is Masturbation Okay? (Yep.)
- Jerking Off
- Do vibrators cause a loss of sensitivity?
- How Do You Masturbate?
More About Sex Toys