Gender stereotyping literally starts in infancy. Adults make assumptions the moment sex is assigned to a child—often referred to using the acronyms AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth) or AMAB (Assigned Male At Birth). Gender-based expectations start at an early age. These fixed and oversimplified beliefs are harmful since your biological sex does not tell your complete story. Your gender identity is how you feel inside and choose to express those feelings. No one gets to decide your gender, but you.
Gender Neutral Sex Toys: What They Are and Why They Matter
So, it makes sense that sex toy companies who've typically designed toys with heteronormative cisgender men or women in mind are looking beyond the binary to create gender-inclusive toys that appeal to every sexual and gender identity. "As society becomes more progressive and we do away with only male/female labels, it's important for companies, including sex toy companies, to design their products to be more inclusive because, just like bodies come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, people's identities are equally varied," said Jessica Gordon, managing partner of LUVOQA.
Inclusivity needs to be practiced in every aspect of our life – starting in the bedroom. "The one thing we all have in common regardless of gender: we all deserve pleasure," said Sarah Melancon, Ph.D., sexuality, and relationships expert for SexToyCollective.com. (Now, if we could ditch gender reveal parties, that would be fantastic. Repeat after me: Biological sex does not define a person!)
There's a long list of reasons why it's crucial for sex toy companies to make gender-neutral sex toys. For one, it helps validate sexually marginalized people. "It's a gift for a gender-neutral person to walk into a sex shop or scroll through a sex toy site and see a product made for them," said Julia Wolov, sex and relationship expert at Women's Health Interactive.
Gender-inclusive sex toys can allow for greater creativity and exploration. "There are no rules for where, when, or how to use a toy (so long as everyone has consented!), and people of any gender can enjoy a wide variety of sensations," explains Melancon.
Sex is supposed to be fun and playful, right? "Gender-neutral toys can make couples feel more comfortable trading toy-based pleasure back and forth and may help one or both partners discover sensations they may not otherwise." If you've ever had a male-identifying partner who's been intimidated by a big, veiny, super-realistic dildo or vibe, you get what I mean.
When Step Tranovich (who goes by Step) was designing Cute Little Fuckers, the number one element at the forefront of their mind was how to make their toys as much fun as possible. "That encapsulates a lot of different things from making them fun to look at to as much fun as possible to use through good functionality, making it fun not just for one type of person to use but for as many varieties of people as possible, to a general feeling of fun one interacting with our small company," said Step. Cute Little Fuckers tries to make toys that aren't only functional but are genuinely fun.
"At the end of the day, you want a toy that satisfies your evolving sexual desires, preferences, life transitions, new partners, and changing body," said Dainis Graveris, certified sex educator and relationship expert at SexualAlpha. "And gender-neutral sex toys will give you all these things and more."
We need more sex toys on the market that make every person feel welcomed, affirmed, and supported to fully participate. "Being inclusive not only helps create a more harmonious society, but it also encourages more exploration and experimentation so that people can learn more about themselves and break through stigmas," said Gordon.
In the future, Step would love to see a world where all toys are gender-inclusive. "The relationship between gender and genitals is not one-to-one; transgender and non-binary people highlight this fact particularly clearly," they point out. "Toys designed for use with specific genitalia don't have to be pigeonholed to specific genders, and gender-inclusive toys don't have to be 'one size fits all.'"
Step adds that there are design elements that can make toys more inclusive in their uses. Take away gender assignment in sex toy design and marketing, and people will come up with all sorts of creative ways to explore pleasure. Cute Little Fuckers incorporates these practices into as many of their toys as possible. "But even toys designed with the most limited scope of use in mind can be gender-inclusive by inviting any gender who is drawn to it to play, through packaging, marketing, design, the narrative they use to bring their toy to life."
Sorry, Big Fake Penis. Your reign as king of the sex toy industry of over. When it comes to creating sex toys, there's a whole world of possibilities beyond toys that mimic human genitalia. Ditto for standard pink and blue-washed gender signifiers. It's time for sex toy companies to screw gender norms and make space for queer, non-binary, transgender, and gender-fluid pleasure-seekers. (Please note: this is not an exhaustive list of how people outside of the gender binary identify.) When we slap labels on products, we exclude people from exploring their sexuality. All bodies deserve equal access to pleasure.
From anal plugs to toys you can grind on, here are some of the best gender neutral sex toys on the market:
Queer-owned CLF's trio of sex toys – Starsi, Trinity, and Princette Puppypus – are super cute, powerful AF, and shaped to stimulate in unique ways. All three toys are ergonomic for people with hand and grip issues. Starsi was designed with transfeminine folks in mind.
This vibrating butt plug comes in a neutral black or teal and can be used solo or partnered (via remote control). The b-vibe rimming plug 2 is also available in a smaller version for those new to the world of anal pleasure or an XL version for those who already know and love it. Butt toys in general can be positive for people with genital dysphoria.
This versatile toy offers 29 different options and can be used solo or with a partner. The ergonomic head can swivel 180°, which makes it easy to manipulate.
Wild Flower's debut sex toy named Enby after the acronym NB, short for non-binary. The vibrator is designed to please the needs of any gender or genitals. The Enby 2 is available now, offering more flexibility in the silicone "wings" and a motor that is twice as powerful as the original.
Sold under Lelo's sister brand PicoBong, the Transformer features two bullet vibrators connected by an endlessly bendy lead and can be used as a cock-ring, clitoral massager, G-spot stimulator, prostate massager, rabbit vibrator, or double-ended dildo.
The gender-neutral shape and colors make the Pom perfect for a wide variety of anatomies and erogenous zones.
Easily adjustable to accommodate lots of sizes of erectile tissue, the Jett doesn't have to be used with an erection...or with a penis at all! Pull the ring over your favorite dildo and let the powerful little bullet vibes turn your next session into a buzz-worthy adventure.
This sexy, curved stainless steel toy is amazing for both G-spot and prostate play. The material makes it great for temperature play (put it in the fridge for a bit for a chilly shock or run it under warm water to heat things up!) plus the stainless steel makes clean-up a breeze.
This body massager turned cult sex toy, can literally be used anywhere, on anyone. "While we often associate vibrators with the clitoris, vibration can also be enjoyed on the vulva, penis (especially on the frenulum), testicles, or anus," Graveris notes.
This versatile vibrator can be bent into countless configurations, for everything from scissoring to G-spot play Best part? Its six powerful motors that mean serious business when it comes to stimulation.
Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. Over the past two decades, her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets including Marie Claire, Playboy, Refinery29, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, WIRED, and Thrillist.
She adopted a pseudonym and was AVN’s (Adult Video Network) first female porn reviewer – while penning children’s books at the same time. More recently, she is the author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating (2019). She lives in Seattle with her rescue dog, Mimi. You can find her on Twitter @rynpfeuffer or IG @ryn_says