How do you make sex toys accessible?
9 ways to make sex toys accessible, or at least get you thinking.
I’ve had a number of conversations about how to make sex toys accessible with various people, from bloggers to industry folks, and to my partner. The short story, there’s no one way to make every single sex toy on the market accessible, the long story … well, read on.
Accessibility in sex toys is a topic close to my heart. I love sex toys. I have so many of them that each year my sex toy storage has to increase, but I have a love/hate relationship with many sex toys. Most are not even remotely accessible. For example, I can’t grasp or grip well nowadays which means small bases are out of the question. The only way they get any use anymore is if I get my partner to use them on me. I mean, that’s all well and good, but I do love solo play now and again.
Using a toy solo is one of the few luxuries I have as a disabled woman. I can’t go out much, so I spend more on keeping myself comfortable at home. I’m willing to spend money on the good sex toys if that means they won’t flare up any of my various ailments. I’m not saying everyone will spend as much on a product as me, I know lucky I can spend extra money on sex toys – within reason, but we’re more likely to research the product because we need to know the impact it’s going to have.
Without further ado, here are 9 ways to make sex toys accessible, or at least 9 points to get you thinking about how to make sex toys accessible.
1. Make sex toys easy to handle.
Length, width, material – three very important things when making a sex toy. They’re also three very important things I consider when buying a sex toy. If the material is rough, slippy, or the toy is too short, it’s not going on my ‘to buy’ list.
2. Make buttons big, easy to press, and for bonus points light up (within reason).
Buttons that are small, plastic, and hard to press automatically end up on my list of toys to avoid – unless I’m testing them. I don’t want to work too much to press a button to enjoy myself. I also don’t want to accidentally press it as I fumble around continually re-gripping the toy because my hands are cramping.
On a different note, buttons that light up are great, but toys that flash or flicker when they’re on are not. Personally, they hurt my eyes due to sensitivities, and in some could be epilepsy or migraine risk if not careful. Just something to consider.
3. Include braille in your instruction manuals, and at least offer audio-described quick start manual on your website.
I feel I don’t really need to say much for this point, it’s pretty self-explanatory.
4. If at all possible, don’t package toys in materials that require scissors. Also, ensure that boxes can be opened fairly easily – don’t tape them uptight.
Granted, within reason as privacy is important and you don’t want toy boxes flying open all the time.
I’m not allowed to use scissors if you know me that’s not such an understatement. I’m clumsy, and my fingers don’t work as they should. The last thing I want is a sex toy packaged in a bag I need scissors to open. If it requires even a little bit of strength – I’m talking about those spin plastic mailing bags, I need scissors. I know this is hard to avoid, but there are mailing bags with perforated edges. Now I do not know the expense and am aware that it has to be costly, but it would make a lot of life so much easier.
The more we look into these things, the more other people catch on, the more mass production won’t be as costly is more people want better packaging.
5. Use only is much packaging as you need to.
Trying to get into multiple boxes when we really just want to use the toy is the single most annoying thing I’ve encountered. I don’t want to pull something off the box – the outer slip, to then have to you open a box at that’s taped shut, to then get through hard plastic. Not only is it bad for the environment, but it’s also bad for hands that hate movement.
6. Does it really need to be that heavy?
The ROCKBOX springs to mind here – I got it in a sale, then didn’t use it ever again after the inaugural try, because it was so damn heavy! Even my partner – who actually has muscles, complained about the weight.
7. Know that ‘okay for most’ is only okay for some.
“It should be fine if you put some strength into it!”
Strength is not something I possess. Strength is also not something I can afford to spend on a sex toy.
If I’m using energy to open or use a sex toy, it better be a bloody good sex toy. If your toy requires a lot of effort, it is inherently inaccessible. I’m not talking about pressing the button two. I’m talking about spending 10 minutes figuring out how to put it on, how to get the batteries in, or how to work it. Not only does it ruin the mood, and it takes away valuable energy (again I have the ROCKBOX in mind whilst writing this).
8. Be mindful of your packaging materials.
Strips of cardboard, mini blown up plastic bags, and foam bits – all things I’ve had sex toys packaged in. We definitely want a sex toy to arrive in good condition and know they’ve not been tampered with, but we don’t want a bunch of packing materials that are hard to dispose of. Going to the recycling bin, or recycling center might not be possible for some.
9. Plugin vs Rechargeable vs Batteries
A I mentioned in this post, how accessible is a toy with batteries? Whilst rechargeable toys cost a little more, to begin with, it means that in the long run there are fewer trips out to the shop. There’s also fewer orders that include even more packaging on Amazon, and you end up spending less time annoyed attempting to recycle the darn things.
My mini battery rant aside, batteries also pose another problem – you have to get whatever cover that protects them off. I’ve found that nearly every toy I’ve tried to get batteries out of is problematic. Again, not an easy thing to change, it’s a massive cost, and everyone is different in their preferences.
Of course, each option has a pros and cons list, but I wonder how many companies think of how to make sex toys accessible when they’re dealing with the power source? Food for thought.
I want to make you think and change your perspective. I know there are other ways to make sex toys accessible, ways I’ve not even considered, but I gave you a few examples of my experiences with sex toys because that’s what I have to go by.
At the end of the day, making sex toys accessible is a hard topic. There is the cost of the individual toy to think about – making a toy cheap and accessible is difficult, the marketing materials are again not cheap, and then there’s the packaging. I’m not saying it’s easy. However, unless companies change the way they think about accessibility in sex toys, they are excluding a large percentage of people who want sex, and have money to spend on sex, and sex toy-related paraphernalia.
When you put something on sale, you’re not just selling it to able-bodied people, you’re selling it to everyone. This has to be taken into consideration at the genesis of the product, as it’s much harder to figure out how to make sex toys accessible once you’ve already made them.
You need to include everyone when you think about making sex toys. Whether you do that through having an easy-open packaging option, having an audio recording of an instruction manual for the deaf or HoH, or even having a tick box that says ‘yes I need a braille instructional manual’, doesn’t matter, what matters is that you offer accessibility for different conditions. A tall order, I know.
Disabled people are so used to being an afterthought – just look at pavements (I promise I’m not in love with pavements). Pavements are not made for people with walking difficulties, accessibility devices, or even the blind, etc,. Pavements are made for healthy, able-bodied people that can maneuver easily around obstacles, and deal with changes in depth, textures, and paving material. But the disabled need pavements too, so why aren’t they considered? Because no one remembered them at the start of the project, they’re an afterthought.
Don’t make us an afterthought when it comes to our own sexual pleasure, include us.
Ultimately, if you’re not sure how to make sex toys accessible, ask! As I’ve said before, everyone is different in their accessibility needs, so ask us. If you want us to consult, pay us – don’t make us do the work for you. Put out surveys, consider how different medical conditions can affect users (buttons and EDS for example – if you press too hard you might dislocate a joint), know that you might get it wrong, but the best thing you can do is admit that you might, include people you’re making the toys accessible for if you’re able-bodied, and always be willing to learn more.
Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Do you have any suggestions about how to make sex toys accessible? If so, let me know below!