We have always striven to be gender-neutral with our product line at Godemiche and make our toys as accessible as possible so we were delighted when R.T. Collins (They/She) got in touch to tell us how the Absolem dildo had played a positive part in helping them explore their gender identity and offered to write this piece for us about their experiences.
How gender-neutral sex toys helped me understand my non-binary needs.
On the last day of Pride month 2020, I came out as genderqueer (I also use non-binary). It was a surprise to a lot of people, but it was a long time coming for me. I’d always felt uncomfortable with the binary identity I’d been born into but hadn’t known how to express it. It all made sense now – the weirdness I felt when I was addressed as ‘girl’ or ‘lady’, the aversion I felt to acceptably ‘female’ presentation and grooming, my obsession with non-binary and trans celebrities and characters. I suddenly felt able to explore new forms of expression, to embrace myself. I grew out my body hair, I cut my biracial afro short, I bought muscle tops and jeans with blessedly practical pockets. Each external change affirmed the identity inside, and I started to truly love myself, perhaps for the first time.
I then turned my attention to language – settling on pronouns (They/She), vocalising my boundaries around nicknames, creating new social media accounts with my new identity. I took inspiration from non-binary people I idolised and read articles and guides to help me understand the different ways I could approach my transformation. One area that wasn’t spoken about as often, however, was how one’s perception of sex and anatomy can change when exploring gender non-conformity.
Sex toys for women
I’m pansexual. I have been intimate with people of all genders, so I was used to other people’s diverse sexual expressions. But I was at a loss when it came to my own. I knew something was off, or rather, unlocked. I just didn’t know what it was. For a highly sexual person, this was frustrating. I started watching more trans and non-binary porn to see if I could identify the problem. In the process, I finally discovered that it wasn’t the content I was watching, or my anatomy itself, but the sex toys I was using. I’d bought them as a female, and looking at them with non-binary eyes, I noticed that of course, they were now throwing me off my sexual stride.
Although I bought my toys from modern feminist toy companies, the products I had bought were invariably femme. My previously favourite dildo was a muted pink, the instructions on my massage vibrator explicitly talked about clitorises. The pictures of women in marketing and on packaging now frustrated me. I’m not calling these companies out in any way, they have done wonders for women by promoting sex positivity and education. I had just outgrown female-ness. It felt odd to get off using a pretty purple device, designed by women with women in mind, when I was no longer a woman.
Gender-neutral sex toys
Luckily, there are a few companies with gender-neutral product lines, or were created to be explicitly gender-neutral sex toys across the board. Creators are experimenting with new shapes, erogenous zones and language to create more inclusion. I found myself drawn to insertable things that didn’t specify body parts. I found I could experiment far more if I wasn’t guided to use a toy in a particular way and discovered new avenues to pleasure that I hadn’t considered before when I identified as female.
I started to appreciate and look out for gender-neutral language in product descriptions, which in turn helped me think about how I wanted my own anatomy to be addressed. I had all the parts that came with an AFAB body, but I didn’t have to keep their female names. Sometimes I prefer not to refer to my genitals at all, changing how I talk during sex and how partners talk to me.
I don’t want pink I want green
Even tiny things, like customisation, helped me feel accepted and included in the sex toy conversation. After swimming in a sea of pink, purple and black for so long, it was great to find companies that offered random colours with less explicit gender associations. I now own gold, green and turquoise toys, having chosen the colours that spoke to me in that moment. This personalisation makes me feel noticed, understood. Even when customisation isn’t possible, I’m still drawn to neutral colours, appreciating the thought behind it.
I’m excited to see toy creators making these changes and paying attention to the sexual needs of gender non-conforming people. My exploration into the industry has helped me understand my own identity a little better and connect to my sort-of-new body. I now feel more comfortable when masturbating, which in turn improved my sex life with my partners. Everyone’s needs are different – the more we understand and address that, the easier these transitions will be. Sexual expression is a huge part of a person’s identity, and I’m one step closer to becoming comfortable with mine.