There are a number of reasons why you'd be in the market for sex toys that don't look like penises. In the same way that non-vibrating sex toys might be someone's preference, penetration just might not be your favorite sensation (say that five time fast). Conversations about sex that prioritize vaginal or anal penetrative pleasure, or have penises or dildos at the forefront exclude a whole population of people who can't or don't want to get off that way. Maybe penetrative sex is painful for you, or you are working through sexual trauma. Maybe penetration just doesn't feel good no matter how hard you try to get into it. All of these reasons for not being interested in penetrative sex (with others or yourself) are absolutely normal.
Kate Kelly, a spokesperson for sex toy company Sweet Vibrations, says, "Phallic sex toys reinforce the idea that you need a penis, and well, a [cisgender] man, for pleasure. We don’t." Even people who enjoy d*cks don't necessarily need them to get off. This is a sentiment Remy Kassimir, a Sweet Vibrations partner and host of sex ed podcast How Cum, stands by. "Penis-shaped toys always made me feel as if there had to be a penis in the room in order for me to feel pleasure. That is so untrue and it took a while to unlearn," Kassimir says. Despite the fact that society casts penetration as be-all, end-all for sexy time, here are seven sex toys that help you stimulate or be stimulated, and don't require vaginal or anal penetration.
1. The Lily
This product found at online sex and self-care company Nox looks more like artsy home décor than a sex toy. The way the Lily works is that its soft outer petals ripple from the central vibration. Nox's website suggests "dragging it gently all over your bod." Amy Johnson, Nox's co-founder, understands the many benefits of having non-phallic sex toys. "Not everyone using a sex toy is attracted to a penis, or to any replica body part, for that matter," Johnson explains.
She also mentions how masturbation can be helpful for sexual assault survivors. "A large number of people who are using sex toys for the first time — or are reintroducing them into their lives — have experienced sexual trauma," Johnson says. "That has left them wanting to find ways of reconnecting with their sexual self without a phallus of any kind being a part of the experience."
3. The tuLips Vibrator
As the shape and name might indicate, the tuLips vibrator is meant for clitoral stimulation. It's a sex toy that "makes the hitting the g-spot yesterday’s news," according to Sweet Vibrations website. Kelly notes that studies have shown that more people with vaginas come from clitoral stimulation instead of vaginal penetration. About 37 percent of respondents in a 2017 study from the Journal of Marital and Sex Therapy said that clitoral stimulation was necessary for them to come. Compare that to just 18 of respondents who said that vaginal penetration was sufficient for orgasm.
Revisiting what she calls the "myth of penis = pleasure," Kelly emphasizes the importance of sex toys that are "non-intimidating," and that provide opportunities for people to reclaim their sexuality and sexual health.
3. The Squish
While this toy was intended for clitoral stimulation, you can use it on all kinds of erogenous zones — think thighs, stomach, nipples, back of the knees — for a thrill. What separates Unbound's Squish from any ol' vibrator is that the harder you squeeze, the stronger its vibration gets. You can even record your own vibration patterns and replay them with Squish.
While vibrators and other sex toys are great for solo sex, they can do wonders for improving partnered sex, too. "A toy is not a threat; it's not a replacement. It's really its own thing," Johnson says. "Also, introducing toys into partnered play tends to be a bit easier when the toy doesn't look like a replica of someone's anatomy. Once those conversations have been had, and a partner can see how much enjoyment a toy can add, then that really opens the doors to all kinds of toys and experiences."
4. A riding crop
Most sex stores IRL or online carry riding crops, so you can easily head over to your local sex shop and scoop one up. Of course, if you're looking for one that's a bit more festive, Savage X Fenty's heart-shaped one (with rose gold accents) does just the trick. If you've never done impact play with a partner before — impact play being the BDSM practice of being struck for sexual gratification — it's definitely a good idea to have a conversation ahead of time about how hard you'd like to be smacked and establishing a safe word to draw boundaries.
Something you can do together is go through a "Yes-No-Maybe" lists for each other's kinks. You'll go through the list and answer "yes," "no" or "maybe" as to whether it's something you'd like to try. Sex educator Mickie Woods told Elite Daily, "This allows you to measure your kink compatibilities with your partner without disclosing all the things you’re into that they’re not and vice versa."
5. Magnetic nipple clamps
As is the case with riding crops, nipple clamps are fairly common at sex shops. But just like with Savage x Fenty riding crop, these nipple clamps can add a bit of extra glam to your sexual endeavors. While these clamps are billed as "premium fetish must-haves developed for fashion-forward couples," this set from Jack and Jill is also distinct because the clamps are magnetic. Pressure on the nipple isn't applied in the (sometimes) harsh way traditional clamps do. It's a gentle squeeze from the magnetic pull.
As far as non-phallic sex toys go, this one truly looks more like cuff links or very intricate earrings than a dildo, vibrator or even your standard set of clamps. And that's a low-key bonus of having non-phallic sex toys: People probably won't pick up on what they are. "I love how pretty toys these days are. You could have them on display in your room and no one assumes they're even remotely sexual," Kassimir says. "Unless they have one, too."
6. The Leaf
Kelly echoes this, saying that these kinds of toys are easier to keep in your purse or glide through airport security with, without the risk of embarrassed. The perks of having a heteronormative society that equates sex with penises, I guess! This vibrant Leaf is from Wild Flower would definitely fit in well in your everyday bag or a checked one. This vibrator's focus? Nipples. Again, nipples are a great erogenous zone to explore — on yourself or a partner — that's has nothing to do, at all, with penetration.
7. A Yoni Egg
Chakrubs' goal in selling in sex toys made from crystals is that its users can forge a deeper, possibly spiritual connection (hence the name, a mashup of "chakra" and "rub"). The company sells crystal pleasure wands — Chakrubs CEO Vanessa Cuccia is firmly against the term "dildo," because that "basically means artificial penis" — as well as yoni eggs. People with vaginas who are survivors of sexual trauma are at the forefront of Cuccia's mind when it comes to the importance of non-phallic sex toys. "It may be a gentler feeling to use something that is not meant to replicate a penis — yet be its own shape and purpose entirely," Cuccia says. "Of course, there is nothing wrong with penises, but I wanted to be clear for people with experiences like my own that I wasn't creating something I was missing — and simply creating something instead that was representative of my sacred space."
You can use the yoni egg to stimulate your clit, play with your vaginal entrance, or stimulate yourself elsewhere as you see fit (again, you can get creative when it comes to erogenous zones). Some of what this rose quartz yoni egg is capable of doing is "revealing the beauty in yourself to build self-confidence" and "releasing blockages in the heart chakra," according to Chakrubs' website. Cuccia says that Chakrubs' sex toys being made from crystals opens up conversations about the "about underlying energy that affects sexuality."
So if you're healing from trauma, don't vibe with penetrative sex, or are simply uninterested in anything phallic, that's absolutely OK. It's more than OK. Plenty of sex toys exist to help get you off without penetration: massagers for clits and everywhere else, devices to up the ante on nipple play, and toys to help get your spank on. Using these toys to redirect the focus of your masturbation practices can also help lay the ground for partnered sex without penetration, too. While the the heteronormative society we live in would want us to believe differently, your sex life and your relationship with sex can be pretty fine, thanks, with nary a penis or fake penis in sight.