What do unscrupulous sex toy companies and sexually overconfident men have in common? Well, quite a few things. Both are prone to talking the talk without knowing how to walk the walk (or fuck the fuck). You can spend money or time on/with them in the hopes that sexual pleasure will follow and just end up disappointed. Your friends might say, “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” and you might know they’re right to be cautious but have trouble actually cutting ties. And people and sex toys can both look much prettier in pictures than they do when they’re actually in your bed.
But the key commonality I’m pondering today is this: both sex toy companies and self-important players might assure you that they can definitely get you off – and both might be spectacularly wrong about that.
I am always skeptical of anyone who claims to have a perfect (or very high) success rate when it comes to making people come, whether we’re talking about a Tinder cad or a sex tech corporation. Even setting aside the possibility that some of the people in their history have been faking or lying (and even if you think you know, you can’t really know for certain), centering orgasm to that degree is already sort of a yellow flag. Not everyone needs an orgasm to be satisfied, and IMO the question shouldn’t be “How and when am I gonna make you come?” but rather, “In what ways would you like me to give you pleasure?” For a lot of people, “give me an orgasm” will be on that list, but it’s nice to check.
When a sex toy company hyperfocuses on orgasm in their marketing copy, it makes me think about those PornHub ads that implore you, “Play this cartoon porn game and you’ll come in 40 seconds.” I don’t even want to come in 40 seconds. I want to feel a lot of pleasure and then come whenever it makes sense to come. Likewise, when someone who’s never made me come before tells me, in a DM or a sext or even over drinks, “I’m gonna make you come so hard,” or “I’m gonna make you come so many times,” I always just want to laugh. They don’t even know what’s involved in that, or if they’re physically and mentally capable of doing what it takes. And, again, they are painting a picture of sex that has orgasm as its sole goal, when (I feel like a broken record here) I’d rather have sex where pleasure is the focus.
But more pertinently to the headline of this essay, I really hate it when anyone – whether a corporation or a person – asserts that they can definitely give you an orgasm. No one can make that guarantee. Here’s why.
Everyone’s body is different. Giving an orgasm is not like running a line of code; you’re not going to get the same result every time just because you’ve inputted the same stimulus, even if it's the best stimulus in the world.
Similarly: Everyone’s brain is different. And orgasm is, for many people, not just a physical process but largely a mental one as well. Someone could be holding my favorite vibrator on the exact right spot on my clit and it might not do a damn thing if I feel stressed, or anxious, or unable to relax in their presence, or if their dirty talk is turning me off, or if I want to hear dirty talk but they’re not saying anything, or if I didn’t get enough sleep the night before, or any number of other factors.
“Guaranteeing” an orgasm is not just inaccurate, though – it’s harmful. It makes people feel broken if they can’t live up to your claim, because a failure to do so makes them feel not only like they’re the odd one out, but also like they’ve deeply disappointed you personally by putting an end to your “streak” of making everyone come. (Unfortunately companies do also do this; I was recently harangued repeatedly via email by the distributor of a sex toy that supposedly no one has ever complained about or disliked, a claim that this person has made publicly on several websites and would have to stop making if I said I didn’t like the toy.)
People have enough hangups about orgasm as it is. Heaping additional expectations and shame onto them, especially in order to serve your ego or pad your bottom line (or, sometimes, both), is unethical and just not very nice.
I’ll admit, it’s a hot idea in fantasy: a sex toy so high-tech and perfectly designed that it could reliably induce an orgasm with the push of a button, or a person so skilled and intuitive that they could know your body even better than you do. But in reality, it’s just not possible to ever guarantee an orgasm, and I wish everyone would stop.