Where do women look for personal pleasure toys? We finally have some answers

Sometimes science is about discovering new life, curing the incurable, or sending humanity to the stars. Sometimes it’s about finding the ideal shape for a vaginally insertable plastic penis. Today, friends, is one of those days. A new study has asked the question that’s been secretly on our minds: Does size really matter when it comes to dildos?

There has been limited research into people’s preferences when it comes to sex toys. That’s partly because society still has a long way to go in normalizing the use of toys, both in partnered and solo sex exploration.

“For example, a sex toy endorsement by British celebrity YouTuber Zoe Sugg’s brand website Zoella resulted in her being delisted. [high school] Media Studies syllabus and sparked conversations about female sexual pleasure and sex education,” the authors of the new study explain, “while sex toy manufacturer Lora DiCarlo was awarded an industry award for a new vibrator presented at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show withdrawn for breaking the organizer’s rules on obscenity and blasphemy.”

But despite the imposed taboos surrounding them, sex toys have a long and storied history. The Romans (maybe) used them. Our close cousins ​​use them. There is some evidence that they may have actual health benefits. And yet scientists still know very little about what discerning customers are looking for in their fake phalluses.

Dr. Sarah E. Johns and Nerys Bushnell from the University of Kent have collected data from Lovehoney, Britain’s largest online sexual wellness retailer, to shed light on this probing question.

They looked at the size, shape and price of 265 vaginally insertable sex toys to see where consumer preferences lie. All products were listed under the website category ‘Dildo’, and only those that were phallic-shaped, specifically designed for sexual pleasure through the vagina, and whose insertable length was clearly visible were included.

Using a combination of visual evaluation of online photos, the specifications available on the website and customer reviews, the researchers systematically analyzed each toy.

A large majority of the toys (86.8 percent) were made of skin-like material, but less than half had a realistic skin color. Most followed somewhat the morphology of a human penis, with veins present in 72.5 percent and a glans/coronal ridge in 81.9 percent, but only 36.2 percent had a scrotum. Vibration was only a feature of about a quarter of the toys assessed.

There was little evidence that consumers were actually looking for these realistic features. The authors point to previous research suggesting that female customers may be intimidated by hyper-realistic dildos: “[W]omens have reported that they most often chose sex toys that were specifically intended not to resemble a penis.”

Price also turned out to be a big factor. The average retail price of the toys reviewed was £44.61 (approximately $56.60). The more anatomically realistic models also tended to carry a higher price tag, which the authors say could deter consumers.

And now the biggest question of all: size. We know how concerned men can be about the size of their member, but when it comes to silicone substitutes, the results were somewhat surprising.

“[W]We found that for toys at least, although circumference was influential in predicting product popularity, insertable toys with larger circumferences were less popular in our sample, while length was not significant,” the authors write.

“In our sample, the five most popular products had an average circumference of 12.5 cm [12.3 centimeters] which is just above the average girth of real penises.”

And people were not much bothered by vibrations either. “We were also surprised that an additional vibration function did not predict the popularity of items.”

In summary, the most popular vaginally insertable toys seem to be ones that are not an exact replica of a penis, and certainly not a life-size model. Consumers of these products are not interested in all the bells and whistles; they just want an affordable product that is comfortable to use.

The authors acknowledge that there are certain limitations to their research – firstly, they used a UK online retailer for their research, so these preferences could be limited to UK sex toy buyers – but given how little we seem to know about this market, it’s a get started.

As the authors conclude, “Studies of sex toy preference, such as this one, can also inform future product design and marketing, and reveal users’ preference for features of the phallus (real or toy).”

The research was published in The Journal of Sex Research.

[H/T: PsyPost]

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