I recently received a short-but-sweet status update from my MysteryFriend: “It’s been a pretty good comedy fest so far.” The text was accompanied by this image:

goodie fleshlight

(pictured: swag… image used with permission)

I congratulated him on the score, and he proceeded to tell me how he had ended up with the prize. Apparently, a Fleshlight was included in every performing comedian’s gift bag…

Aside: for those of you who don’t know, Fleshlight is a brand of sex toys specifically designed for humans in possession of a penis (or some such appendage). They’re named for their oversized flashlight-looking casings and the flesh-like prize inside. Specifically, the inners of a Fleshlight are filled with a cavity-shaped, phthalate-free material and topped with a mouth, vagina, or ass orifice fixture to be used for… well, you know.

Fleshlights come in all sorts of fun varieties – modeled after women porn performers, ice/crystal see-through, different internal textures, with vibration, scary monster versions (just in case you want to fuck an alien or a zombie or something), and as Fleshjacks (mouths and asses of dudes). Their website (here) is really worth checking out – so interesting!

…and I can only assume that the “variety” included was Fleshlight’s base model: the unbranded vagina standard. Fine. But not all men (or comedians) are heterosexual, thus a person who’s into guys probably wouldn’t want a lady parts-themed sex toy. One such guy (not heterosexual) was the recipient of a bag and, consequently, my MysteryFriend got passed a Fleshlight.

mystery text

(pictured: friendship is a beautiful thing)

This got me to thinking…

Were there no non-penis having comedians performing at this event? I mean, really, aside from donating the toy to their closest dude friend, what exactly is the benefit of a Fleshlight for a non-penis having person? Maybe the event organizers offered different bag options for those with a penis and those wanting some penis..?

…which then got me to thinking about the sexual orienting of sex toys. This happens, both physically and psychologically. And though Fleshlight was generous and lovely to offer such fancy swag and I am in no way attempting to minimize how truly kind and supportive their contribution was, the fact remains that this was an offering intended specifically for heterosexual dudes. The prize was both gendered and centered around a specific sexual orientation.

Talk of my MysteryFriend’s score continued later on, when he and Athena’s Dad contemplated the possible meaning behind the passed-on-swag…

“Who cares [about the top]?” asked Athena’s Dad, himself an extremely heterosexual guy. “It’s not like it’s an actual chic, it’s just for masturbating.”

To which my MysteryFriend replied: “Wouldn’t you care?”

After thinking about it for a minute, Athena’s Dad conceded. “I guess if the top were a mouth with a mustache, I wouldn’t want to use it either.”

Interesting, right?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these men’s responses to different Fleshlight varieties – no one has to like vagina (or a Fleshlight with vampire fangs) just because they got a free sex toy. What’s interesting to me though is the gendering and sexually orienting of products and prizes.

Looking for a greater, research-level understanding of the adult industry? Gender and sexualities as they operate in society? Make an appointment for virtual office hours right here.

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You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from ChauntelleTibbals.com, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, Ph.D.”

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