Why sex toys intimidate men

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020 00:00 |
A pair of fuzzy handcuffs. Photo/PD/SANDRA WEKESA

Sandra Wekesa @wekesa_sandra

For the past five years, Zein Mahindu has been in the business of selling sex toys. However, one of the major challenges the engineering expert has faced is trying to clear the stigma associated with owning sex toys.

One of which is that men cannot use these bedroom trinkets. In fact, the mention of it among his male clients builds up a perception of a perverted, lonely and disturbed man. 

“They always think we perceive them as insecure and anxious about approaching a woman.

That is why most of them prefer buying lubricants, and BDSM materials instead of the actual toys,” he says.

BDSM refers to certain aspects of sex involving bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism.

As a renowned seller, his biggest market is women. 

“Women are so open about it; this is why my niche is women- something I have come to terms with.

Actually women even go to the extent of shopping for each other for special celebrations such as bridal showers, and birthdays.

Zein Mahindu, an engineer who sells and repairs sex toys and Piet Evert Van Altena, a sexologist. Photo/PD/SANDRA WEKESA

After the purchase, we always talk to them about how it functions and how to clean it after use.

This is important because most times we get malfunctioning toys that result from failure to clean them properly,” he says.

But while men shy away from owning a toy, Zein highlights that not all male toys are designed to act as vibrators.

For an instant a man could own a penis pump, which helps in erectile dysfunction, penis enlargement and even prevents prostate cancer.

Unknown benefits  

Studies conducted at Indiana University in USA in 2009 found that 45 per cent of men aged between 18-65 years had used a vibrator; an activity associated with improved sexual function and increased proactivity about sexual health.

Interestingly, men who used a sex toy reported they were more likely to participate in sexual health promoting behaviours such as testicular examination and male sexual health clinics.

They also scored themselves highly on satisfaction levels of erectile dysfunction, intercourse satisfaction, orgasmic function and sexual desire.  

The study also showed that regular masturbation, mostly associated with the use of sex toys, also reduced the risk of prostate cancer and actually turned out to be of health benefit among some men.

But while the studies show so many underlying benefits of these ‘obscene materials’.

Some African countries such as Zimbabwe have laws that directly outlaw their sale.

In Kenya, the law is very clear in prohibiting the sale of pornographic and obscene materials, although it doesn’t necessarily spell them out as sex toys.

If a seller decided to publicly display them, it can be categorised as breach of public peace or morality. 

Great caution

Anthony Odeck, an advocate, says the Penal Code and Sexual Offences Act, the main criminal regulatory statutes when it comes to sexual and criminal offences, isn’t clear on prohibiting sale, distribution or circulation of sex toys. 

 “However, there should be great caution on the mode, display and selling to avoid disturbance of public peace and breach of public morality,” he says.

While it is going to take Africans a long way to accept the modern way to life, Zein is optimistic about the use of these materials and sees the industry growing with a promising future. 

“It took so many years for female masturbation to go from completely undiscussed to a celebrated aspect of healthy sexuality.

This is why we admit that male masturbation has its own challenges, myths and misconceptions, and with time, men will realise it is not shameful at all to own a sex toy,” he says.

Piet Evert Van Altena, a sexologist, says most men would rather not use sex toys because of social stigma.

Although it is said to be a good way to learn and explore the entire body with patience and skill, it also acts as a good way of preventing prostate cancer.

“Most people fail to understand that owning a sex toy is not cheating on your girlfriend or being a pervert.

In any case, some men think it is actually a good way of making their masturbation pleasurable as possible,” he says.

Other than that, Piet highlights that toys have a way of helping men learn more about delayed orgasm, multiple orgasms and also plays a huge role in understanding their partner’s needs and satisfaction. 

He adds that there are so many reasons why women sex toys dominate the market; one of them being male self pleasure is more shameful than its female counterpart.

Again, there are so many double standards that surround the male self sexual satisfaction, 

“In most cases, the society will perceive them as a lonely pervert who just can’t get a girl, instead of a man who wants to get to know his body and attain a goal of orgasms,” he says. 

The fact that men have egos and always think they can get any girl they want puts them at the spot of believing they don’t actually need toys. 

But while the biggest misconception will remain that it replaces the human element in a relationship, Piet says that it should be considered as a fun additional to ones sex life.

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