The world of sex is becoming more complex and diverse. We are increasingly recognizing different needs and wants, different desires and different capabilities. These changes are opening doors for many different sexual expressions and practices, creating both comfort and opportunity for so many different folks.

However, while some aspects of sex are advancing and being enhanced, there is still a common belief that persists: that masturbation for people with penises is easy. Open hand, insert cock, jiggle in the manner you most enjoy, and then revel in orgasmic bliss. The five-knuckle shuffle image is so prevalent that it is the default interpretation of penis self-pleasuring.

I'm not going to say this technique is old or tired. One-handed penis pleasure is still the go-to method for most people. But I have to wonder, is this partly because there hasn’t been anything else? Manufacturers have focused heavily on vulva and clitoral pleasure devices, which is an odd gap in the history of sex. Traditionally, so much emphasis has been on penis pleasure, while vulvas, vaginas, and clits having been pushed to the back. Despite this, vibrators and penetration objects are the dominant items in the sexual marketplace. But that is starting to change.

The Advent of Penis Pleasure Products

Even when the idea of penis pleasure products was sparked, the items were crude or stealthy. One of the first popular cock toys wasn’t marketed as a toy at all. Penis pumps, which are still sold today, were presented as an option to increase penis size through suction pressure. A happy side effect while you try to inflate your dick is some good times and potential orgasms. However, as a call-back to times when sex toys could not be overtly sold, these devices are still available for purchase as a "sexual aid."

Another, fairly crude penis pleasure product was the blow-up sex doll. Made from unpleasant plastic and often a grotesque representation of the human form, sex dolls are often the butt of jokes in film and television. They are also a popular bachelor's party gag gift. Sex dolls are also still around, but their potential has been changed significantly.

Even though times are changing, some folks aren’t entirely on board with penis products and prefer to stick with their hand. Jason Armstrong, author of "Solosexual: Portrait of a Masturbator," hasn’t tried any products and is unsure if he would like them.

“I have this presumption that no product could react as quickly to the sensations happening in my penis as my hand would,” Jason relates. “My hand can create pressure or relieve pressure within the blink of an eye, allowing me to control my edging down to the nanosecond. I fear that with toys, I would give up some control.”

This isn’t to say Jason hasn’t considered trying a penis product out, he even has one!

“I received a penis pump as a gift, and still, it remains unused in its box,” he reveals. “I almost feel that I would like to be shown how to use it in real time with an experienced partner, to assuage my fears of not using it right and giving up on it before I really get used to using it. I suppose because I'm so gratified by my hand, I tend not to wonder what other options are out there. In the end, these are all excuses for not being more experimental. Who knows what wonders I could discover if I gave toys a fair shake!”

A Growing Awareness of Pleasure Products for Men

Jason is not alone in his trepidation. Male masturbators, for example, make up only about 5% of all sex toy sales. However, an eager market is growing. Sure, the hand is still a go-to, but more people with penises are exploring different types of self-love. Because of this, the sexual marketplace is expanding to offer a new and exciting range of products that significantly change the perception of jacking off.

Dave, the sex blogger who runs a site about prostate play called Mr. Racy has experienced a number of different penis pleasure products - some for the exact opposite of Jason’s reasons for not trying them.

“For starters, jacking off with a hand gets boring,” Dave states matter-of-factly. “After using only my (or a partner’s) hands for decades, I figured it was time to change things up. In retrospect, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Not only does Dave like to spice things up for himself, he relates a common concern that many folks with a penis encounter.

“I also like masturbators because they essentially prevent the dreaded ‘death grip,’ Dave explains. “Lots of people, myself included, masturbate or have masturbated, while squeezing their penis too hard. It’s an easy thing to do, especially in the heat of jacking off. Well, I learned that when you do this too hard for too long, it can decrease sensitivity in the penis. Potentially making it harder to orgasm with a partner. A masturbator eliminates this.”

Interested? Check Out These Penis Pleasure Options

If you are looking to move away from the hand-and-lotion brand of penis masturbation, there are a few different product types you should know about.

Masturbators
These soft and supple toys have a firm grip on the penis pleasure market, lead by one of the world’s bestselling sex devices, The Fleshlight. This juggernaut of the sex toy industry features CyberSkin encased in a handle that resembles, of course, a flashlight. By varying the airflow, the user can set the desired pressure and then stroke away! But this is just one of many different styles of masturbators available. Some are simple designs, such as TENGA Eggs, which easily envelope the penis and are then moved up and down to the user’s delight. Another version of the masturbator formula is the clamp-like Verspanken. With this toy, the user places the penis in a clip-like device, and then closes it on the penis. A tight seal is created that can feel wonderful when gliding up and down the shaft.

Machines
All types of sex devices are becoming much more sophisticated as masturbatory technology advances. We often see this with vibrators. Now, it is happening with penis toys as well. The primary attribute that sets penis pleasure machines apart is their use of motion and vibration. The Cobra Libre II focuses on the glans of the penis, with “just the tip” being entirely relevant when using this device. It provides intense stimulation to the head of the penis. Another penis machine to watch out for is the soon-to-be-released-in-North-America Vorze. This high-powered beast offers many different motion settings, vibration and speeds that most folks will have never felt on their penises before.

Connective
Straight out of science fiction comes a new crop of penis devices that are helping us realize the long-awaited dream of sex through telecommunication. These products let you interact with partners or porn with real-time sensation. The Kiiroo Onyx is a remarkable masturbator that lets someone else do the stroking for you. By either pairing it to specially-coded porn or via live video link and Bluetooth with a partner, users can sit back and let someone else do all of the work for them. You can be in the same house or across oceans. A vibrator, Pearl, is also available from Kiiroo, but the connection does not have to be Onyx + Pearl. It can be Onyx + Onyx, Pearl + Pearl or even add more people and toys in there. Another connective penis device, The VStroker, specifically interacts with porn but puts the user in control. This device attaches to the end of a Fleshlight and can control the speed of adult performers in specially encoded scenes.

Premium
The idea of a life-size sex doll has long held appeal - and they are becoming more and more of a reality every day. The RealDoll line of premium penis pleasure products has gained considerable fame, and even appeared in a mainstream movie, "Lars and the Real Girl". These dolls are incredibly life-like, and because of this, it might be unfair to just label them as penis toys. Sure, that’s what they are to some, but to others, RealDolls have become much more. It is the ever-increasing technological advances of RealDolls that are propelling sex dolls into a new direction: sex robots. Could this be what the future holds? Sex robots are advancing at a rapid rate. The question is, is sex with a robot really masturbation. Only time will tell.

Male sex toys are advancing at a rapid pace. No, you don't necessarily need one, but there are lots of great reasons to use one.