There’s a Push to Stop Calling Self-Pleasure Devices ‘Toys’ and It’s For Good Reason


Self-pleasure is an important part of the self-care rituals by which we should all feel comfortable and supported to take part in, whenever and however it suits us.

In so many ways, masturbation is still discussed in hushed tones and in many scenarios, so rarely spoken about that stigmas continue to be perpetuated — especially for people with vulvas.

While this is changing with more liberal generations and conversations we probably should have had many, many years ago, there could still be one huge factor holding us back: the terminology we apply to self-pleasure.

Maude, a sexual wellness company built on quality, simplicity and inclusivity, is on a mission to change an outdated industry and make intimacy better for everyone. In a new campaign launched today, Maude is challenging the word ‘toys’.

“For so long, vibrators and devices have been called ‘toys’, a connotation that trivialises their basic benefit: to provide stimulation that improves sexual wellness and health.⁠⁠

“By reducing them to juvenile novelties, people’s needs and satisfaction are often being unmet and overlooked,” Maude says of its new ‘This Is Not a Toy‘ campaign, adding: “They’re not toys, they’re essentials.”

“They’re not toys, they’re essentials.”

Founded by CEO Éva Goicochea, Maude plans to now re-write how devices are being talked about. In particular, ridding the industry of antiquated language and working to create safe and inclusive sex essentials for all. “Calling them toys reduces them to novelties,” says Goicochea.

Maude’s approach is what attracted actor Dakota Johnson to join as an investor and co-creative director in 2020. “For too long sexual health has been poorly marketed, hyper-aggressive, and highly gendered,” she told InStyle at the time. “Maude is a company based on universal design making modern, body-safe, high-quality essentials for before, during, and after sex, with yourself or with another lovely human. The calibre and aesthetic of these products is excellent and elevated.”

Speaking of the brand’s newest campaign to rewrite the language the industry has typically applied to sexual wellness devices until now, she tells the publication:

“With our ‘This Is Not A Toy’ campaign, we aim to activate hearts and minds in an effort to destigmatise sexual and intimate tools. Often the use of language surrounding sexual products is antiquated, gender-specific, and belittling.”


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Like many others, we may have previously spoken of sexual products in this way, but we’ll no longer be doing so.

Language that dismisses and reduces the importance of pleasure is language we no longer believe has a place in our vocabularies, and it’s the work of Goicochea, Johnson and Maude who have helped us, and perhaps yourself, to see this too.

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