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Patriarchy-free sex toys: A step too far or just plain obvious?

Most women who opt for sex toys prefer vibrators above all the other options available to them for self-pleasure. Vibrators are used for clitoral stimulation yet – absurdly – they are designed to resemble phalluses.



In the modern age of free thinking and challenging of systems, we have increasingly started asking, “Why?” This is true even of sex toys – and the question being asked is why vibrators are shaped like phalluses but marketed for clitoral stimulation. gives a brief history on how vibrators came about to begin with. Apparently the practice of massaging women’s genitals to stimulate orgasm and treat “hysteria” began with Hippocrates in 5th century BC. However, it was not until the Victorian era that one of the first vibrators was invented. Vibrators were strictly medical devices and “hysterical” women were advised to try them as “home treatments”. Essentially, vibrators were sold as “home appliances”.

Vibrators that were once used by doctors to oppress supposedly mentally unhinged women by classifying female sexual energy as a disease have remained the same in shape and overall intended use all this time. These phallic sex toys were designed this way to “imitate life” and have played a role in shaping sexuality as a sociological subject.

A 2015 study for the International Society for Sexual Medicine found that most products marketed for penetration are about the same size and circumference as the average penis. This does not cater for all demographics because one size does not fit all and this principle should not be applied to products for clitoral stimulation.


The increase of more female voices being heard in the sex industry is likely to improve on design flaws that do not in fact cater for the female orgasm.

Read: African governments, We Want Our Sex Toys!

One of these voices is Dame Products, a female-led sex toy company that, using feedback from hundreds of women, has created a flexible, handheld vibrator called “Pom”. It looks more like an ovular blob than a penis and is designed specifically for the clitoris.

Whereas most vibrators have a hard internal casing to protect the electronics, Pom’s motor and circuit board does not need this casing, enabling the vibrator to flex.

Dame’s CEO and cofounder, Alex Fine, told, “The product is able to move, unlike a rigid tool. What the world needs is better designed, more thoughtfully designed vibrators.”


The company is attempting to re-brand the vibrator as a wellness product, positioning masturbation as a natural and fun activity that is not in the least shameful.