What I Learned From My Rubber Duckie Vibrator

For my birthday this year, one of my close friends gave me a rubber duckie . . . that doubles as a vibrator. Needless to say, I couldn’t stop laughing when I opened the package. (And moved quickly away from my mom, who was desperately trying to see what I had just gotten.) While the gift was intended as a joke, my friend also had real reasons for buying aforementioned masturbation mallard. “You’re moving to an apartment in New York City!” she explained. “The walls will be thin, so the bathroom will be one of the best places to, you know, rub one out.” Thankfully, my mother had left the room by this point.

Despite my friend’s good intentions, I never actually used the toy. I just couldn’t put something adorable and squeaky near my lady parts. The fact that it had eyes made it worse. Unlike most smooth, geometric toys that resemble absolutely nothing in real life, the duck was too close an actual, living thing — and I was not into that.

However, my duplicitous duck led me to wonder if other vibes on the market exist that look like children’s toys. Per usual, the Internet did not disappoint.

I first discovered a vibrating teddy bear, appropriately called Teddy Love. The concept actually makes perfect sense, since a lot of young girls first masturbate with dolls or bears. (Warning, if you click that link you will get lost in a magical world of masturbation stories–don’t click it unless you have a lot of time on your hands.)

Yet aside from giving recipients a good laugh, I wondered if there were any deeper, psychological reasons for people to want a vibrator or dildo that has a childlike feel. I couldn’t shake the awkward feeling I felt when I held a toy that looked, well, like a toy. So, I reached out to Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD. As a psychiatrist who specializes in sex therapy, and the author of Wanting To Want, she seemed like the perfect person to talk to. (Plus, her nickname is The Sex MD. Really, I just want to be her best friend.)

Castellanos was the person to ask the burning question in my brain: “Why would someone want to purchase a sex toy that reminds them of their childhood?” Immediately, she put my mindset to shame.

“There’s a flaw in the way you’re asking this question,” she told me. “Even though these toys are cutesy, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they bring someone back to their own childhood. You don’t want to think that they’re being infantile, or connecting with some part of childhood sexuality that they’re repressing. No, no no.” Point made, madam.

“Women can enjoy a wide range of things from the silliest to the most erotic, from romantic to the most intense and animalistic,” Castellanos continued. “We cover the gamut, as far as sexual arousal goes. So, to have something that’s cute or whimsical is not unreasonable whatsoever.”

Essentially, she’s saying that I shouldn’t giggle about anyone buying a Hello Kitty dildo. Why should I judge a woman for wanting some silly sexy time? All that matters is that a toy provides pleasure.

Plus, Castellanos added, hiding a toy in plain sight can also be erotic. Secrets are sexy! When my rubber duckie is on the rim of the bathtub, no house guest would ever think that they were in the room with an X-rated object. (Until now, at least.)

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a cute sex toy. Plus, Castellanos added, a vibrator or dildo doesn’t have to be highly realistic to be used during erotic play.

“You can make any toy, in your mind, into what you want it to be, based on the sensations and thoughts that you’re having. The toy doesn’t necessarily correlate with the experience or the fantasy. If you happen to be in a cutesy mood today, that’s great… You brain has the capacity to think of anything and everything that it wants.”

As strange as it sounds, I can be guilty of taking masturbation too seriously. I get in there with a goal in mind: orgasm. And if I don’t reach it, I feel like that time with myself was wasted. Yet, after talking to Castellanos, I realize that I’m depriving myself of a different type of pleasure. After all, simply taking a break to love yourself should make you happy. Masturbation is just another form of playtime. It doesn’t matter if your preferred toy is sleek and silver or covered in cartoon characters, as long as you’ve got a lil’ glint in your eye afterwards. So go forth, be playful, and love yourself!

***

Lead image: flickr/Funkyah

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