My Buzzy Valentine or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Vibrating Masturbation Sleeve


SO THERE I WAS on Xtube, minding my own business, as one does, when I came across a video of an innovative young gentleman with his merrymaker tied to a vibrator.

~~~Ooops! Forgot to mention this post is NSFW. And I should probably also issue a disclaimer: I do not recommend the use of sex toys for anything other than their intended purposes. End of disclaimer.~~~

I thought of this guy not as alone on date night (after all, he would soon be in the company of billions of emancipated spermatozoa) but as an intrepid explorer, scaling the Everest of masturbation, seeking the ever-elusive alternative to riding the great white knuckler. I marveled at his ingenuity.

Sexual psychology points to a need for new and different stimulation. Dr. Chris Donaghue, the expert in clinical sexology and human sexuality who presides over LOGO’s reality show, Bad Sex, tells me, “All humans require novelty to achieve the highest level of arousal. If an individual’s sex life feels flat or less arousing, folding in novelty will always spike arousal back up. We are not wired to be stimulated or aroused by data that we have become habituated to.”

“Male masturbation techniques,” Dr. Chris says, “can condition a male to only be able to stay erect or orgasm with habituated pattern and style…  This can lead to delayed orgasm and, for some, an inability to orgasm with a partner completely.” (You should follow Dr. Chris on Twitter.) So our intrepid Xtuber may have the right idea: a novelty to keep his routine from becoming routine. Unfortunately, the dearth of good men’s toys has been a cue for horror stories about refitted mechanica. His modification of a simple female toy, using a little common sense and some basic knowledge of safe, light bondage, is one of the least unsafe methods I’ve seen. It also proved to be a stimulating alternative to hand-to-gland combat.

Long pause.

You’re going to ask me how I know that, aren’t you?

Last month, a brief essay in Jezebel declaimed that men who run a batch by hand should only be doing it by hand. It caused a small whirlpool of consternation among those who took it seriously when Erin Gloria Ryan, news editor, implied that toys are for ladies only and the men who use them (the toys, not the ladies) are “chairsniffers.” (Given my prominent and sensitive Italian proboscis, the sniffing of anything will either send me into raptures or directly to sick bay. I turn my nose up at the abasement of chairsniffing.) Brian Moylan’s excellent and hilarious response at Nerve and later at The Good Men Project made a wry counterpoint, and, I think, closed the case.

Instead of getting bent out of shape, I decided to take up Ms. Ryan’s gauntlet and embark on a three-week melee of self-abuse, stuffing my arsenal with as many toys as would fit. I was determined to find the perfect, automated self-lover by Valentine’s Day. I did not limit myself to masturbation sleeves. No, there were butt plugs, stainless steel barbells, vibrating bullets and insertables that looked like something out of Lovecraft. Oh, Dear Reader, the sacrifices I make for the greater good!

In my twenties I had shied away from toys, thinking there was only one way to wax my Buick. Since then, I’ve unloaded my apprehension (many times over) and become a firm believer in variety. I started my month of much ado with insertables and ended with a vibrating sleeve toy which may force me to lead the charge on a civil rights battle for electric marriage equality.

But first, the basics:

The Iconic Smoothie (by Jimmyjane) is a groovy riff on the classic insertable you would have found in your sister’s nightstand in the 70’s. This remix is waterproof (a real bonus for cleanup and safe play) and has a gradual speed adjustment which can take you from “Well, this is lovely,” to “Holy fuckballs!” in five seconds.

It's groovy, baby.

It’s groovy, baby.

The size may not seem impressive but it’s nothing to shake a stick at. For years I’ve been saying that cocks come in three sizes: “Fun Size,” “Boyfriend Size,” and “Gee Your Ass is Amazing.” If you’re talking about candy, “Fun Size” leaves you wanting more, but with a bit of the stiff, it means deep breathing and two days off. The Iconic White Smoothie is Boyfriend Size: no muscle relaxer needed. I bought it. I used it for its intended purpose. I loved it. I mean physically loved it. Or maybe it loved me. The speed adjustment is mind-blowingly potent for such a simple device. It’s an essential for insertable joy and juuuusst right for awakening a beginner to hidden pleasures.

Then there was the thing I learned on Xtube… Thank you and good night.


Tango Smartvibe (by Fun Factory) ~ After a brief education in the classics, I found myself at Babeland in New York’s East Village, where a delicious and professional saleslesbian assured me that her favorite toy would also be mine. Though it is waterproof, battery operated, and beautifully sculpted in silicone (water-based lube only, please) I worried that the extra appendage on this toy, intended for women, would be useless on me. I was wrong. My sales expert assured me that the extra arm, jostled by one of the three vibration variations in eight intensities, would do a happy dance between my rocks and my rosebud. She was right.

It ain't small.

It ain’t small.


Betty’s Vaginal Barbell ~ Designed by renowned sex educator Betty Dodson, this gem may be slightly misnamed. Though its intended purpose is the exercise of the female pubococcygeus (the “PC” muscle), Dodson clearly states that men will benefit too. Pour a glass of your favorite Malbec, choose one of the two ball ends (each a different size), pour generous amounts of lube and then exercise your kegels according to Dodson’s instructions. Add your own creative flair and you’ll forget that you’re a lonely chairsniffer. Simple as it is, this toy will surprise you. It doesn’t vibrate but it has a power all its own. It’s also easy to clean and looks like an objet d’art. Working out is fun!

It's a barbell. It's a dildo. It's an objet d'art.

It’s a barbell. It’s a dildo. It’s an objet d’art.

So, yes, insertables are fun for boys and girls. Their pleasures made me sad for those men and their girlfriends who have bought into limited notions of the male erogenous zones. When Sex and the City introduced The Rabbit to mainstream America, a public conversation about female sex toys went right to industry ears and a warren of female toys took over the market. Even Oprah could talk about it! Men, however, had to make goo with a few preliminary, unsophisticated sleeves until:


The Fleshlight – This is the penetration sleeve that goosed the industry. By 2001, it had sold four million units and has now gained a whispered respectability. For good reason; the patented material — soft, supple and flexible — feels real. Combine that with its myriad variations on the interchangeable insert and mining your pearly passion potion just got a hole lot easier. The drawback is the washing-up. Even though Fleshlight offers an antibacterial cleaning spray and suggests basic cornstarch for keeping it dry and fresh, you can’t really rest in peace afterwards. Gotta break out the soap and water and let the thing dry. Nevertheless, this is the premium for pumping at the self-service island.

The Fleshlight and its inner variations. Just calm down.

The Fleshlight and its inner variations. Just calm down.


Cobra Libre – Like the Tango Smartvibe, this is a Fun Factory product. I love Fun Factory. Their toy box is colorful and their products are appropriately-named. Then there’s the excellent craftsmanship and spectacular customer service. The Cobra Libre, which resembles a racing car, is designed for male vibrating stimulation, like a souped-up, easy-clean Fleshlight. It’s rechargeable (with a patented technology) and waterproof, without troublesome nooks and crannies to hold your baby butter. It has “infinite vibration possibilities” via two motors, operated by a gentle tap on top of the gadget. The novel but limiting idea is that is it designed to stimulate the glans only. Sometimes in the middle of things a fella wants to thrust but the Cobra Libre may leave your purple helmet battered. Going in with that knowledge, though, you can make a game of the anticipation and let the delicious torture of its vibrations take you to across the finish line – hands free.

Take me across the finish line, racecar.

Take me across the finish line, racecar.


Pulse (by Hot Octopuss) – I’m never leaving my apartment.

After enjoyable evenings with other toys, I was beginning to think I would never find my true love. Then the Pulse arrived late on Wednesday night and I knew we were a match. The Pulse is gorgeous. It looks like something H. R. Giger  might design if he weren’t terrifying: sleek, fascinating, with otherworldly curves and delicate wings to embrace the bald bishop. This one took me to the next level in “Dear Lord, I’m about to cover myself in soul sauce!”

No really. This.

No really. This.

Once I had charged the device, via the provided USB cable (I needed my own adapter plug), I was ready to use it. Honestly, the waiting was the most difficult part. (I was about to say “hardest,” but the hardest part was when I let the Pulse work its wonders.) First, though, I watched the tasteful instructional video in which Adam shows how, via props and drawings, the toy can be used solo or for couples play. With or without a bit of lube, you lay your cockrobin between its silicon wings and let it fly. The video has the added bonus of Adam’s good looks, should one choose to objectify him while using one’s device. One will probably enjoy the way he stifles a bashful giggle when he says, “…the toy makes you hard and then PULSE will make you cum without you having to do much whatsoever…” in that swoon-inducing accent.

The Pulse is not waterproof, but cleanup requires just a little thought and a warm moist cloth – a minor inconvenience when its operation made me doubt 30 years of making population paste. Oscillating instead of vibrating, the patented PulsePlate “moves more like a piston,” Adam says. What the what!

I loved it. I caressed it. I brought it to City Hall for a marriage license.

Then it occurred to me that Adam and Julia, co-founders of Hot Octopuss (and of the adorable double “s”) are undoubtedly the most fiendish people on the planet; with the invention of Pulse, it is clear they want to make my Valentine’s Day redundant.

So, mission accomplished. I may have found my true love but I suspect our vows will need a caveat for an open relationship. Novelty and all that. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

Adam and Julia of Hot Octopuss hide their impish ways with innocent smiles.

Adam and Julia of Hot Octopuss hide their impish ways with innocent smiles.

About Tom Gualtieri

Tom Gualtieri (@TomGGualtieri)is a theatre artist with his hand in many disciplines: lyricist, playwright, performer, director, knitter. He maintains an ongoing collaboration with composer David Sisco. His solo play, That Play: A Solo Macbeth, was nominated for a 2013 Drama Desk Award.
This entry was posted in Sex and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to My Buzzy Valentine or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Vibrating Masturbation Sleeve

  1. Pingback: Hot Octopuss’ PULSE Receives Rave Reviews

  2. Pingback: Hot Octopuss to Run PULSE Social Media Contest March 11-14

  3. Pingback: Hot Octopuss to Exhibit at ILS, March 31 – April 2

  4. Pingback: Hot Octopuss to Exhibit at ILS, March 31 – April 2 | EMMNETWORK 2-NSFW

  5. John Summers says:

    Tom, you’re hilarious. I love your various descriptions of the male genitalia and the essence it expresses :) Question, were these toys ever combined with visual encouragement or was it all physical?

  6. Pingback: Hot Octopuss Reports Successful Showing at International Lingerie Show

  7. Pingback: Hot Octopuss Reports Successful Showing at International Lingerie Show | EMMREPORT

  8. Pingback: PULSE Receives Rave Reviews | Hot Octopuss

  9. braf zachland says:

    ha, my pulse is on my doorstep as i write this from work. i also have not used otys since the “i’ll give it a shot” phase of my youth, but i have never seen so many overwhelming reviews of any one product before. i mean i couldn’t find anyone who said anything other than it’s amazing. so i broke down and bought one and hope to be equally amazed later tonight. i just never saw the point in other toys that i have to stroke myself with, it was really unnecessary, eggs and vibration sleeves alone never could make me cum, so again i was still stroking myself to get off. my infinite laziness, or as i see it, efficiency, lead me to search to see if this technological revolution we live in has yeilded any worthwhile hands free male masturbation toys. my search was a disapointment without ever even trying one because i saw ridiculous contraption like the autoblow that basically gras your cock and smacks it against the ceiling of the device or the even more hilarious HumpUs which is literally a lever that goes back and forth while attached to your shlong. basically even if they work they look terrble and are giant machines that would cause you to be the infinite butt of your freinds jokes if they saw that shit in your house. anyway i saw the pulse and it looks perfect, eveyone says it is awesome and if it truly makes me cum hands free and super intense as everyone says, well, let’s just say you may be the last one to hear from me, lol.
    BTW, i loved your article. you my freind are hilarious i can tell just by reading that short bit. you crammed a lifetime worth of funny sexual slang into like 500 words. my favorites being hand-to-gland combat and population paste.

  10. Pingback: PULSE Receives Rave Reviews - HO

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *