The best part of knowing Dave Levine is access to information. Specifically, information regarding what people want in the bedroom. A few days ago, I chased him down and badgered him with questions about what people were buying at his toy emporium, Sextoy.com.
I wasn’t surprised to see a Rabbit vibrator among the top three biggest sellers, given its iconic status, but I wasn’t expecting the American Whopper to be number one. The Whopper is a 6.5-inch dildo. A very realistic looking dildo.
I can still remember the scene on Sex and the City, the 90s sitcom that made the Rabbit the icon that it is, where Charlotte sees a vibrator for the first time and exclaims: “Look it’s so cute! Oh, I thought it would be all scary and weird, but it isn’t! It’s pink!” That was the thing — in order to make toys “okay” (in some places, in order for them to be legal, period), they had to be cute. It was a weird thing masturbating with various brightly-colored animals, let me tell you, and the fact that a dildo that is sculpted to look as realistically penis-like as possible is the number one best-seller on a sex toy site blows my mind.
If that weren’t enough, the second most popular toy is the Dick Rambone, another realistic dildo, only this one, which is cast from hung-like-a-horse porn actor Dick Rambone, measures a whopping 13 “insertable” inches. That means the actual thing is bigger than that, but you only get to take 13 inches. “Only.”
Another interesting detail: the Anal Explorer (an inflatable butt plug), two strap-ons, and a restraint system somehow all managed to beat the classic Hitachi Magic Wand on the list.
Certainly, this roundup of what’s flying off the shelves in the world of adult entertainment isn’t conclusive — we’d have to go look at top sellers in far more places and see how media and other variables may have impacted the results, but this is fascinating. We’ve come a long way, that much I always suspected. What I couldn’t have guessed is just how this would make itself manifest.
I wanted to get more specific, though. I wanted to know about toys for men. Ten years ago, if you’d asked me about toys for men, I would probably only have been able to name two — the penis pump and the blow up doll. I know more now than I did then — and the industry has expanded as well.
Currently, the most popular toy for men on Levine’s site is Dr. Love’s Dynamic Penis Extension. This is essentially a sleeve that turns a man’s penis into a nine-inch monster.
Call me strange, but I find it sweet that the best seller for men is something that places more emphasis on partner satisfaction than anything else (because remember, if you’ve got a sleeve on, you’re choosing to give up some sensation). In fact, of the four top sellers for men, three were all about pleasing one’s partner. Number one was this sleeve, number two was a cock rings (which help keep a penis harder and sometimes even involve a vibrating knob to multiply a woman’s pleasure) and the third were pills that promise to keep a man rock solid.
The only top selling item for men that wasn’t all about his partner was the masturbator. You know the type — a soft, tube-like thing with vulva-shaped openings at one end and textured insides. Levine told me their top sellers in this category are the ones molded from porn stars. Seems like a reasonable trade-off — when he’s not doing everything he can to give you screaming orgasms he’s having sex with Joanna Angel.
Recently toy manufacturers have started to put a lot of emphasis on creating products for couples, but at this online outlet, it doesn’t seem like they’ve quite caught (though a cursory browse showed several couples toys that didn’t make the top sellers list do nevertheless have decent ratings on the site).
The position for hottest couple’s toy seems to be a tie between the Clit Flicker cock ring and the Under The Bed Restraint System, a set of straps from Sportsheets that enables you to turn your bed into the perfect stage for some light bondage. I actually have one — it’s great for those of us who are too mobile to set up a more permanent arrangement for restraint play.
And since we’re talking about bondage, for those of you who might be curious, I asked Levine what the hottest beginner’s kit was and he pointed me in the direction of the Fetish Fantasy Series Beginner’s Bondage Set, which includes a restraint system for the bed much like the one previously mentioned and a variety of tools to unleash naughty fantasies — candles, a feather tickler, and a blindfold.
And what’s the weirdest thing he sells? The Wolfman, a dildo shaped like a wolf penis (now you know what to get that enthusiastic member of Team Jacob for Valentine’s!). Of course, if that’s a little too hardcore, there’s always the domesticated version.
Sorry, I had to. God, I really hope my friends in conservation are not reading this.
“Toys used to all be junk, but now there are many that are really high quality and look great,” Levine told me. There is a strong trend toward providing a luxury sexual experience. LELO, for instance, has Inez, a gold-plated toy priced at a sweet $15,000.
“Some adult stores now look more like an Apple store than a dark basement,” said Levine. “The biggest change though is with attitude! People used to think of sex toys as taboo, but now people talk openly about buying and enjoying them. They used to be much more embarrassed!”
Header image features photo by Wagner Cesar Muhnoz.