Science has officially proven it: Men who “feel more” have better relationships with their partners—and they’re also more likely to use sex toys, which makes them better lovers. Here’s why life (and sex) are better when you date a guy with #feelings. By Karley Sciortino.
This post was created in partnership with TENGA.
Real talk: I love a man who’s not threatened by my vibrator. We all have our deal breakers—some need their partners to accept their dog, or their long work hours, or their latex fetish. Personally, I can’t date a guy who won’t play nice with my Iroha.
It wasn’t always this way. When I was 19, I fell in love with a cowboy—well, sort of. Jake wasn’t actually slanging lassoes, but he wore vintage Wranglers and leather boots, mainlined whiskey, and had the gait of someone who’d been straddling horses (and/or a motorcycle) since birth. I loved that when Jake was drunk, he’d spank me in public. I loved that he carried a pocket knife (in his jeans pocket, right next to his dad’s credit card). I thought it was devastatingly cool that he rolled his own cigarettes. There was something about his stereotypical hyper-masculinity that just made me wet.
Thankfully, I soon learned that public discipline and a penchant for loose tobacco do not an excellent partner make. I also learned that, often, men who cling to an outdated ideal of masculinity are actively covering-up a deep, deep well of insecurity. Like many traditionally “manly” men, Jake was stony-faced. He considered feelings embarrassing, and would mock me whenever I cried during a fight. And—surprise, surprise—he wasn’t great in bed. For those out there who don’t understand that being good in bed basically just means being attentive, and giving a fuck if your partner cums, consider this a PSA.
One particular instance stands out. After a few months with Jake, I started to get tired of our thrust-thrust-roll-over sex, which never resulted in an orgasm for me. And so I bought my (first ever) vibrator, thinking that using it together might be kinda hot. However, the second I whipped it out, it got awwwkward. It was instantly clear that I had threatened the penis. “Uh, I know you’re a feminist or whatever,” Jake told to me, “but it’s kinda weird that you need to use that while we’re fucking, don’t ya think?” Lol.
Let’s face it: women aren’t the only ones who suffer under the patriarchy. Basically, women are sexually oppressed but men are emotionally oppressed—and that sucks for them… and for the rest of us, who have to interact with them, date them and fuck them. The fact that Jake felt threatened by my vibrator—instead of being excited to pleasure me in a new way—is a win for no one.
Illustrations by Annie Zhao
You can take my word for it, or you can take science’s word for it. It turns out, there is an actual link between how men contend with their masculinity and how fulfilling their relationships and sex lives are. The TENGA 2018 Global Self-Pleasure Report (conducted by sexual health and wellness company TENGA) wanted to find out how masculine stereotypes affect men, and so they questioned 13,000 people between the ages of 18 and 74, across 18 countries. Data from TENGA’s report shows that men all over the world (and 41% of American men) feel pressured to act “manly” based on outdated masculine norms. Dr. Chris Donaghue, a licensed sex therapist and TENGA ambassador, says that these results point to the fact that “being empathetic and open to the needs of yourself and those around you isn’t weak or taboo, but rather a necessity to break down social stigmas and allow everyone to be their authentic selves.” When men are expected “to disconnect from their emotions, objectify women and resolve conflicts through violence,” he continues, it “ends up hurting men and women… on a global level.”
Clearly, we all benefit from encouraging men to be more comfortable with their bodies, emotions, and sexuality. So how can we make the world the kind of place where Jake’s ego isn’t threatened by a vibrator? There’s no simple answer. But while we’re waiting/fighting for larger structural changes in society, we need to chip away at the stigma surrounding men and sex toys.
After I broke it off with Jake, I met a guy who was super into watching me masturbate with a toy (he thought it was hot, but tbh I also think he just appreciated that it lessened his workload). I realized that I love it when a guy can get into me using a vibrator during sex, because it makes me able to have multiple orgasms. Plus, it points to the fact that he’s invested in my pleasure – which should be a given in any relationship (but bizarrely isn’t). I also really love using the TENGA Smart Vibe Ring and the masturbation sleeve on guys. It makes me feel like I’m in complete control of their pleasure – sort of like I have a second, backup vagina that I could wield whenever my actual vagina needs a break.
According to TENGA’s study, Americans who have used sex toys report being more satisfied with their sex life in general, and men who are more comfortable with their emotions tend to be happier, have a better relationship and sex life, more confidence, and better overall health. It’s really a no brainer: The link between feeling more on an emotional level and feeling more on a sexual level is tangible. And I can vouch: Once you’ve dated a man who isn’t allergic to feelings, you can never go back.
Take advantage of TENGA’s Masturbation May sale – 10% off site-wide throughout May + free shipping with an extra 10% off using coupon code KARLEY2018. Try the Original CUP, EGGS, 3-D SPIRAL and FLIP ZERO with a partner or solo!