This post won’t earn me any popularity points, but oh boy, has it been brewing for a long time!
If a toy has buttons, I will comment on them. Honestly, it’s going to be a key feature of my reviews nowadays because it has to be. Buttons are a massive accessibility issue within the sex toy industry, and not many people are getting it right.
I have reviewed a rather large handful of toys and I have only been happy with one or two in regard to the buttons. I know they will never be perfect 100% of the time, but the fact that I’m only happy with a few right now is appalling.
It seems to me that buttons get ignored and left to the absolute last minute. I get that the design, the materials, and the overall look of the toy is very important – but when it comes down to use, buttons are (in my eyes) one of the most important, if not the most important, features on an electric toy. Buttons should not be the last priority when designing a toy, they should be the first.
To you buttons might mean nothing, and you might not give them a moment of thought when using a toy, but to me buttons are the gateway to my sexual pleasure. My ability to press a button when I’m aroused all depends on my body on any given day. On really bad days I can’t even type (thank god for dictation), so pressing a button that I can barely see or feel (peripheral neuropathy) isn’t going to happen without pain, and then I have to weigh up the pros and cons of masturbating with a toy that’s probably going to hurt me.
Increasing the size of buttons on a sex toy is such a basic thing to do to make a toy more accessible. Heck, why do you think that mobility stores sell phones with massive buttons? It’s to make them accessible. Granted, I’m not saying that all buttons need to be quite that size, but in general, buttons need to be bigger, and I don’t see any reason why they can’t be (I know I say this with no toy designing experience).
Now, we’re not anywhere near having accessible sex toys, and since accessibility means different things to different people, I don’t think we will ever truly get a universal accessible sex toy, but that’s okay. I think in time there will be things that can help, more accessibility aids (watch this space) and more ways we can adapt sex toys to fit the needs of individuals.
If you are a company are reading this, will bigger buttons, or even a remote eat into your profits? Yes. Probably, because accessibility is not something people think about, accessibility is a continual afterthought, and as someone in which a whole host of mobility aids accessibility isn’t cheap (nor pretty).
However, there is the ‘purple pound’ to take into consideration – the spending power of a disabled household is worth £249bn (source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/business-39040760/the-power-of-the-purple-pound-explained) to the economy. That spending power doesn’t stop on the High Street either. If you make something accessible, if you make something with disabled people in mind and not as an afterthought, disable people will tell other people for you, give you free publicity, and spend money on your products. I know this because if there’s a brand I get on with – it doesn’t matter if it’s food, clothing, or toys I will tell everyone, I will push them onto that product because I believe in it. At the moment, I want to believe in so many companies, but it’s all talk and no action.
If you don’t pay attention to product feedback, and you completely ignore the practical usage of a toy, and yes this includes the buttons, then you are telling me that you do not care about your disabled customers. If you did care about your disabled customers, you would make sure the toy was at least more accessible than your last. There is so much showboating at the moment, where people give lip service to the topic of sex and disability but do nothing practical about it within their products – even when it’s within their power to do so. This is also not aimed at any one company, and if you feel attacked, well … look at your toys.