I’ll be honest guys, I did not enjoy sex toys when I first came on the scene. I was a freshman in college, brand new to sex, and all my friends, left and right, were exploring their anal pleasures with dildos. “It helps you get used to the feeling,” one guy told me in his dorm room. “I go at my own speed so that when the real thing comes, I’m ready.”
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Our hopes were soon met. I started college a few months after Grindr hit the app store. We all quickly discovered sex via the glowing orange icons on our phones. This was my initial understanding of toys: They were ass-trainers, a second-hand way of experiencing the “real thing,” and no matter how nice they were, they were inferior to flesh and blood. I believed “sex toys” for gay men stopped at dildos and prostate stimulators, and I did not consider them legitimate sex play all on their own.
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In the years since, I have learned that there are many gay sex toys out there beyond anal toys, although these are certainly the majority, and anal toys toys are more than substitutions for penises. Some toys, like the Ass Hammer (see #28), deliver mind-blowing sensations that a penis simply cannot replicate. Nothing will ever replace traditional sex — sex toys simply expand the experiential buffet of sexual pleasure to its true, limitless margin.
As you begin your toy sexploration, you will find that, although there are endless naughty novelty stores in the world, good toys are surprisingly hard to find. You could scour the Internet or make expensive pilgrimages to your nearest big city to visit a sexual retailer catered exclusively to gay men — nearly every big city has one — or you could start with this list of 39 sex toys you have to try, some of which are for beginners and others for seasoned adventurists. Welcome to Toyland, and enjoy the ride.