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Penis Sleeves and “Male Masturbators”

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Updated October 07, 2008

One type of male sex toy that’s never had a fully satisfactory name is the style known variously as penis sleeve, male masturbator, and the awkward sounding male insertion toy. Basically, this is the line of products made for men and designed to be something the penis can go into. The name "male masturbator" is a misnomer, as these toys are often used by couples, and they aren’t the only sex toys men can use for masturbation. Semantics aside, these toys range wildly in terms of quality, price, and how much they deliver on their promises.

Difference Among Penis Sleeves

There are hundreds of different penis sleeves available. The main differences include the material, shape and size and look, the internal texture, and whether there is a vibrator or other added stimulation.

Penis Sleeve Materials
Most penis sleeves are made from rubber or soft plastic. Materials include jelly rubber, silicone/rubber mixes, cyberskin, and silicone. Sleeves made of softer and more pliable material allow for more variation of feeling, as you can squeeze the outside of the toy and feel the pressure inside. Firmer toys may last longer, but they tend to offer less intense stimulation as they don’t envelope the penis once inside.

Be sure you know how to properly clean the material and what sort of personal lubricant can be used. For example, you can’t use silicone lubricant on sex toys that have a lot of silicone in them.

Shape and Size and Look
Most products in this category are designed to look like female genitals. Sometimes they are very realistic (molded from women’s bodies), other times they are vaguely vulva-like. In most cases, what the toy looks like doesn’t impact how it feels, so the pleasure comes from its visual -- not tactile -- aspects. Much more important to the feel of the toy is the shape and size of it. A shorter tube that fits all the way over the penis creates more stimulation, particularly around the head of the penis, where men tend to be most sensitive. A longer tube can create a fuller, more enveloped feeling. The width of the toy will also have an impact on how intense the friction is. Finally, a small sleeve that fits in your hand may not feel as substantial as a larger piece of rubber, which can be used without having to hold it or move it up and down.

Internal Texture
Manufacturers put a lot of emphasis on how a sleeve looks from the outside. But when you’re using it for penetration play, what you notice most is the feeling on the inside. Toys come with ribs, raised dots, pointy “nubs” and spiral designs. The “nubs” tend not to add much sensation, but the ribs and dots (particularly on toys that stretch around the penis) can be surprisingly intense. There’s a catch-22 when it comes to texture and material. The toys that are softest and have ribs inside can be the most intense, but they also wear down fastest and sometimes last for no more than a dozen or so uses. Making sure you use a water-based lubricant and clean the toy gently but thoroughly after every use can help prolong the sleeve.

Vibrators and Other Extras
Some sleeves have a vibrator inside, and others use carefully positioned plastic beads to create extra pressure. The softer material (used in products such as the Fleshlight, or anything made from “cyber skin” or “real feel” material) tends not to transmit vibration very well, so paying extra for a vibrator with that material can be a waste. Ideally, the vibrator will be positioned near the opening of the toy and not at the tip. This allows you to position yourself however you like in relation to the vibrator. When the motor is in the tip it leaves few options, and the part of the penis being stimulated (the tip) is less sensitive.

How to Choose a Penis Sleeve

If you’ve never used a penis sleeve before, you may want to start with a less expensive product to see if you like it. There are a lot of penis sleeves for men that are very expensive and make promises they don’t keep, both in terms of durability and pleasure. The biggest exception to this is the Fleshlight, which is both durable and unique in its feel. Here are some other considerations when choosing a penis sleeve:
  • Don’t buy any product that is closed on one end; I find them impossible to clean properly.

  • If privacy is an issue, you may want to start with a smaller, hand-held sleeve.

  • Make sure you know the material your sleeve is made of and what kind of lubricant you can use without damaging it.

  • Unless you really care what it looks like, don’t pay extra for something that’s hand-tinted or has hair -- it doesn’t change the physical sensation.

  • Buy your toy from a reputable sex shop you trust.
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