When it comes to sex toys, we’ve covered the spectrum, from sex toys for couples to sex toys for beginners, anal toys, and more. Today we’re discussing the best strokers and masturbators. Sure, you could keep relying on your hand (or a homemade sex toy), but why limit yourself when there’s an exciting world of options that can simulate and heighten the sensations during your solo sessions? We’re all for lending your hand a hand, so let’s explore the realm of strokers and masturbators.
What is a masturbator sex toy?
“Masturbators are toys designed to enhance self-pleasure for someone with a penis,” says Justin Lehmiller, PhD, scientific advisor for Lovehoney and author of Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life. Carol Queen, sex educator and staff at Good Vibrations, adds that though they can be used solo, many people use them during partnered sex for “jazzed-up hand jobs.”
These sex toys vary widely in terms of looks, operation, and the sensations they provide, but fall most commonly into two categories.
Strokers: Strokers (a.k.a. masturbation sleeves) fit around or over the penis and mimic the feeling of a vagina or anus (and sometimes even resemble body parts). Some strokers are open on one end, while others are closed. Many are textured on the inside, providing additional stimulation to the penis head, shaft, or both. These textures “add types of stimulation that a person’s hand alone wouldn’t give,” says Queen. Popular strokers include the Fleshlight and Tenga Egg.
Power Strokers: Power strokers are sometimes called motorized masturbators, or guybrators, says Bobby Box, a Lovehoney certified sex educator. “These may be similar in appearance to strokers but have vibrating components or sleeves that move up and down with a motorized asset,” says Dr. Lehmiller. “Some are hands-free, while others need to be held in place. These masturbators are sometimes remote-controllable and designed to offer scroll, anal, and/or prostate stimulation at the same time.” Some motorized masturbators include the Hot Octopuss Pulse Solo and the Arcwave Ion.
Who is a masturbator good for?
“Masturbators are good for people with penises who seek new sexual experiences or to enhance the monotony of manual masturbation, since our hands are only capable of so much,” says Box.
While they are often referred to as male masturbators, Dr. Lehmiller says these sex toys are an option for anyone who has a penis and wants to explore new sensations. “That said, different strokers may feel better for different bodies because everyone is a little different in terms of penile size and shape, as well as what feels good to them,” he says. “For example, some masturbators are designed specifically for trans men who have started to transition. The key is to shop around and find the right toy for you and your body—and maybe consider trying a few different ones.”
What to know when shopping for a masturbator
Not sure where to start? Let your goals guide you. Are you trying to reproduce a specific feeling (intercourse? a blow job?), or are you seeking a totally new sensation like vibration or texture? Do you prefer the control of holding the toy, or do you want a toy that leaves you hands-free? Will you use the masturbator alone or during sex (in which case, Dr. Lehmiller suggests an open-ended sleeve that can be combined with oral stimulation)? “There are a lot of options out there, so having some clarity around what you’re looking for can help you narrow down the choices,” he adds.
Also important to note: Many masturbators, such as the Tenga Egg, are intended for limited (or even single) use, while others are rechargeable and reusable. And be sure to invest in some good lube (but avoid silicone-based lube if the toy is made of silicone, as it can degrade the toy).
What are the best masturbators and strokers?
Below, we’ve assembled some of the best masturbators and penis toys, according to sex experts and educators. You’ll find high-quality, best-selling sex toys from brands like Tenga, Fleshlight, Fun Factory, Hot Octopuss, Arcwave, Lovehoney, and Lelo.