Sex Toys in M/M Romance Part 2: by Angelia Sparrow, K. Piet & S.L. Armstrong

Last month I wrote a fun post about sex toys in M/M romances linked here. I wondered why many M/M authors seem embarrassed about this topic, after all, they were supposed to be writing mostly erotic romances so why, I asked, were there so few books with sex toys? After reading the comments on the post I asked Angelia Sparrow, Kris Piet and S.L. Armstrong if they would like to write a follow up piece since they seemed a whole lot more knowledgeable than most of the other authors. They accepted the challenge and did a wonderful job.ย  Each author has written a different section and their names are shown in brackets in case you would like to contact them on specific points.


(S.L. Armstrong) Wave’s post last month discussed the dearth of M/M romances which include sex toys, as well as the often improper use of them when they did appear. The general feeling was that there was a lack of adequate research done on the subject as well as a sense that sex toys were not to be used as part of a healthy relationship because they were viewed as a)for solitary use only or b)kinky and unnatural. Following that post, Wave asked us to submit a guest entry going into a little more detail about some of the various toys out there and how to integrate them into our writing.

After talking over the possibilities, we decided that what we wanted to do was focus more on the “casual” sex toys (which we define as masturbation sleeves, dildos, vibrators, and butt plugs) as opposed to the more exotic “kink” toys, as trying to cover them all would quickly run the word count into the stratosphere. Talk of clamps, sounds, cuffs, floggers, and other intense toys will have to wait for their own entry. For now, though, we just want to examine the more “tame” options, their usage, and how to incorporate them into a m/m scene.

Masturbation Sleeves

Probably one of the least used (in writing, at least) and most misunderstood of the casual sex toys are the masturbation sleeves. There is a common misconception that only sad, lonely men would ever need something like that, primarily because masturbation is perceived as only a solitary activity. The truth is that using a masturbation sleeve in a couple situation can be a fun way to provide variety in sensation and intensity to a standard hand job. The sleeves come in a wide array of styles depending on one’s budget, from aย  simple cylinder of silicon all the way to a “Nu-Skin” sleeve with an opening molded to the shape of particular adult film stars’ mouth or ass —ย  The inside of the sleeves are almost always textured in some way, using some combination of bumps, ridges, cilia, or curves to create changes in feeling against a cock as it’s thrust inside. Some models even come with spaces for vibrators to be inserted to provide additional stimulation.

When writing with masturbation sleeves, it’s important to remember that lubrication is key. Friction creates sensation, but too much creates chafing, and that’s quite the mood killer. Water-based lubes are most effective as a general rule, and also make cleanup easier. Also popular is to soak the sleeve in warm water for a few minutes prior to use to create more of a body temperature feeling. Small hand sleeves will absorb the warmth of a hand during use, but larger sleeves tend to stay at room temperature. So unless the whole vampire/zombie/necrophilia thing is a particular kink of your character’s, a quick warming soak will make a lot of difference.

Using a sleeve is not limited to holding it around a cock and making jerking motions, either. Some sleeves come with a hard case which provides enough resistance to stay motionless and be thrust into, particularly if sandwiched between two pillows or between the mattress and box spring. Such a setup in the context of a m/m scene can allow, for instance, the bottom to be penetrated from behind while simultaneously thrusting into the sleeve for additional stimulation. (I have it on good authority from my husband that the dual sensation is quite lovely.) There also exist masturbation sleeves that are intended for dual use, allowing both partners to thrust into the sleeve, adding the motion of the partner’s cock to the sensation party.


The dildo is by far the most common sex toy in existence. Even a modestly-sized adult toy store is apt to have dozens of varieties to choose from, and some “adult superstores” can have several hundred different models available. You can literally find dildos of every shape, size, and color you can imagine — and some you’d rather not. Flesh-tones molded to resemble a penis are common, of course, but those shaped like like fingers or hands are also popular. Some dildos are made from glass or Pyrex and tend to be more artistic. More exotic shapes like garden gnomes or sitting presidents also exist, though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

When considering a dildo for anal play (and since this is a m/m-centric blog, that would be the norm), it’s important to get one with a base of some sort. This is because the muscles of the ass can create some serious suction, and without that wider base, it’s easy to lose toys inside the anal canal. (Don’t believe me? Ask an ER doctor sometime. They have stories.) Fortunately, there is no shortage of dildo options that come complete with a suggestion of a scrotum to act as a handle. Lubrication is also critical when using these toys since the materials do not lend themselves to ease of insertion otherwise.

Simple insertion of a dildo (also known as the ‘old in-and-out’) is not the only option here. The wide base of many dildos is ideal for setting on a flat surface and sitting back on. Some dildos also come equipped with suction cups for attachment to the wall or bedpost. Additionally, many dildos are compatible with strap-on harnesses which in a m/m context opens up possibilities for double penetration without the need for another person. Also, like the dual sleeves, there is a large assortment of double-headed dildos perfect for dual insertion so that both partners can experience the sensation while leaving hands free for other exploration.

(Angelia Sparrow) Butt Plugs

The official definition of butt plug is a sex toy designed to be inserted anally. Exactly what the name says.

A typical plug is between three and five inches long to prevent rectal perforation and anywhere from three-quarters of an inch to five inches in diameter. Yeah, I hear you wincing at that thought. Start small and work your way up. Your novice characters aren’t going to take one look at a a Trailer Hitch or a Fat Man in a Barrel or even a Gumdrop Ace of Spades and demand that it be crammed in, RIGHT NOW! They are going to start with small plugs and medium ones, and work their way up.

A plug typically has a narrowed “neck” and a flared base, the better to be worn without getting lost. On some forums, people will talk about getting the base in as well. Bad idea. There is no top to the rectum, and items that get lodged will have to be surgically removed. Your boys do not want to spend the night in the emergency room to extract a stuck toy. Most embarrassing, not to mention unpleasant and expensive.

With adequate lubrication, a plug can be worn for hours, even overnight. It is advisable to re-lubricate about every thirty minutes. The function of the large intestine is to absorb water, so be aware of that. Going in dry is very seldom a good idea.

Plugs come in a variety of materials. Latex, vinyl and silicone are the most common, but jelly is very popular.

Specialty plugs are available in wood, stone, unbreakable glass and metal. Some are true works of art. Metal, stone and glass are heavy and very smooth, easy to insert. They can also be heated or chilled for a different sensation. If your boys decide to play with this idea, do your homework. Nobody’s going to microwave a glass toy until they have to use an oven mitt to hold it and then stuff it in. Nor should they take it straight from the freezer. Too cold can cause cramping. A pan of hot tap water or the refrigerator should be enough adventure.

Silicone is generally considered the safest as it is easy to clean (even being dishwasher safe!), non-porous, and completely inert. When a jelly plug is incompatible with body chemistry, it burns. It starts off a slow burning itch and then deepens to true pain. Silicone will not react. An allergy to toy material is something I’ve never seen explored in our genre.

Shapes are where things get really fun. The classic cone shape is still the most common and most popular. But plugs can be anything from narrow little probes with a flare at the base that look like something off the X-Files, or stacked spheres or almost anything imaginable.

Inflatable plugs are something I’ve never encountered in fiction. They are plugs that come with a hand-bulb and can be inflated from their inserted size to something much larger. These are often used in training one’s body to take larger plugs.

Improvising butt plugs is seldom a good idea. Lava lamps are the most common substitute. Although you can probably find this video on X-Tube, and I know a couple characters who would go for it, it’s not recommended. Commercial toys are designed to be used and cleaned very thoroughly. Improvised toys are not.


Vibrators are a universal toy. They are also the single most commonly removed foreign object. There are two basic types: the phallic shaped one and the massager. The phallic shape can be anything from a baslica tapered plastic tube to the expensive latex reproduction of a famous porn-star’s equipment. These tend to be used like other insertables.

And they come with a motor. This motor can do anything from simply vibrate to make the dildo squirm or thrust. There are even vibrators that can be plugged into an MP3 player and move to the music. Now that could be fun to write. Most use batteries, but some can be plugged in.

The massager is more a wand-shape. The most popular is the Hitachi Magic Wand, which has a disk at the top of a shaft and can be set at any level of vibrate from pale little flutter to almost painful. These are used externally, on all the erogenous zones: nipples, genitals, backs of the legs, insides of the arms or wherever your characters are sensitive. They’re also great for their primary use, which is working the kinks out of over-used muscles, whether from too much gym time or hard work.

The best way to write a toy is to go shopping, in person or on-line, and get a feel for it.

(K. Piet) Other Sex Toys

The four categories we’ve already touched on are in no way the only types of sex toys you can utilize in your fiction! There are sex toys for any pleasure that the human mind can conjure, so the possibilities are endless. Cock rings are common accessories, ticklers such as feathers can lighten a mood and tantalize the senses. Heck, even a steel ball necklace chilled in the freezer can be a simple way to play with temperature without dealing with messy ice cubes!

Remember that the penis shaft and head aren’t the only erogenous zones on the male body. The nipples and perineum are certainly fair game for sex toys in fiction, so don’t be afraid to bring out the simple nipple clamps. You can always have a character with unique, sensitive areas to exploit.


Yep. You heard me right. Lube.

Most will just want to gloss over lube in narrative, but there are certain practices that notoriously pull me out of a good sex scene in M/M erotica, so I’d like to share them with you. The first of those is simply leaving out lube altogether. Yes, individuals may have rough sex, but when you’re talking serious anal penetration, it can be painful not only for the receiver, but the giver as well. Friction is considerable, which is why we use lube in the first place! If lube isn’t used, explore the consequences for both partners involved.

The second mistake in sex scenes that I often pick out is using other bodily fluids that don’t truly lubricate. Spit, my friends, is not a lubricant! If we’re talking one finger for a quick rub at the prostate, spit may be adequate, but spitting onto an otherwise dry cock, dildo, or anal plug before inserting won’t be enough to lubricate the way for a smooth ride.

Lastly, I sometimes see scenes in which the lube isn’t matched properly to the toy being used. It’s a detail not everyone will pick up on, I know, but when writing realistic scenes, it’s all about research. Using silicone-based lube on a silicone toy will permanently make the toy gummy and unpleasant. Fleshlights and other toys with realistic materials (e.g., Cyberskin, Futurotic, NeoSkin) should be used only with water-based lube. Just take a look at the product your character will be using and match the appropriate lubricant to keep things realistic.

As an aside, lubricant itself can be a sex toy. Flavored lube can make oral sex more enjoyable for some, warming lubes can literally make the scene hotter, and tingling lubes imitate that cool sensation that can send chills down a character’s spine. Just another option to keep in mind!

Clean Up

It’s worth mentioning that, when you use sex toys, sooner or later (preferably sooner with certain porous toys) you’ll have to clean up your mess. Every toy has its own protocol. I do understand that clean-up is usually overlooked in fiction, since it breaks the mood, but it’s nice to mention it every now and then in narrative as a nod to reality.


It’s important to keep in mind the cost of sex toys when matching toys to your characters. Both in past and, most definitely, in contemporary fiction, cost is a factor that will often make or break a purchase. Quality sex toys can cost a hell of a lot of money, but there are still plenty of reasonably priced options.ย  For instance, a good masturbator like the Fleshlight costs $60-$150 (depending on the options), but a simple jelly sleeve is only around $20. A large collection of quality toys takes a lot of money to build, so research is once again essential.

Safety and Common Sense

It should go without saying that every toy has a recommended use and going outside those parameters could result in injury. Using a thick plug without lubricant isn’t the best idea, nor is advisable to insert a glass toy that’s been cracked. If a toy is too large for a character to take comfortably, it isn’t time to break out the lidocaine and numb the way before shoving it in anyway. It also isn’t wise to use items as sex toys when they weren’t designed for it, especially when it comes to insertion. While being creative with your sex toys in scenes can be great fun, just keep in mind that going completely wild and crazy can make a reader stare at the page in disbelief!

(S.L. Armstrong) Conclusion

Using sex toys in your writing is a way to spice up your sex scenes and avoid the trap of writing the same basic scene again and again. The wide range of sex toys available can provide endless variations of possibilities to keep your sex scenes hot and engaging. We hope that this brief introduction helps some of you to overcome the mental blocks you may have around writing sex toy use and challenges you to begin including dildos or butt plugs in your future writings.

LINKS: (offers sex toys and other adult products for purchase, large selection) (huge sex toy review site covering various products)

Contact Information for:

Angelia Sparrow

K. Piet


S.L. Armstrong โ€“


I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball


  • Rosmarina,

    I love colored condoms in stories. Based on an entirely unscientific observation from giving away rainbow condoms at Gay Pride: Purple, red and blue condoms are the most popular. Green gets a “meh.” Nobody wants yellow or orange ones.

    There is a bit in Shell-shocked, where Sean gets out a purple condom and Gabe says “Ah, grape. My favorite.” and Sean checks to see if it’s flavored.

    Glad to know everyone enjoyed the post.

  • Great post, and thank you for talking about lube compatibility! ๐Ÿ™‚

    One thing that drives me absolutely nuts in a story is to see a character use oil-based lube (or lube “substitute” like sunscreen, conditioner, petroleum jelly, olive oil, etc) with a condom. Oil-based products will break down the latex and cause holes to form in the condom – not safe folks.

    And on that note, colored, ribbed, flavored, or glow-in-the-dark condoms are a simple/casual “toy” that could show up in more stories, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Rosmarina,

      OMG! I didn’t even think about condom possibilities! *laughs* That definitely is a simple way to spice things up or lighten the mood in a scene. I envision one guy being handed a condom, raising an eyebrow, and asking, “Glow in the dark? Seriously?” XD

      Yes… It drives me batty when lube is ignored. I know condoms are sometimes a given in a scene, but if they aren’t mentioned at all, it’s hit or miss if your audience is going to assume they’re playing it safe or assume they’re barebacking. The introduction of varied condom fun could be an occasional antidote, for sure.

      ~K. Piet

  • Very interesting…..I’d seen pictures of different sleeves but didn’t realize that’s what they’re called.

    And I just looked up to see what the heck a tenga was…..WOW!

    Great article, folks!

    • Thanks, Sherry!

      Yes. The Tenga is an intriguing one for sure!

      I’m glad you liked the post, though. And see? You already learned something new and researched on your own! Our work here is done! *chuckles*

      ~K. Piet

  • Great post. Eye-opening and sometimes eye-watering. The thought of even supposedly “unbreakable” glass toys scares the bejesus out of me, though. I think if I ever somehow came to be in possession of one I’d consider it ornamental! Hmm, maybe I could have a character who has one and is too scared to actually use it, until someone more experienced helps him out…

    • Becky,

      The glass toys tend to be made of a tempered glass (usually Pyrex), and thus, they can take a beating. I wouldn’t drop one onto the kitchen floor, but they are are designed for casual use. It just takes a little care in keeping them, as I would suggest using old (clean!) socks to cover them while in storage.

      But it sounds like a cute idea for a story, someone having one but unwilling to use it until their partner prompted them to. ๐Ÿ˜€

      S.L. Armstrong

    • I second what S.L. said on glass/pyrex toys. ^_-

      What an intriguing idea, the character having the toy but being too unsettled by the risks to use it! I’d love to read something like that. I can totally see the partner stumbling on the toy and giving him the strangest look when told he doesn’t use it. *chuckles*

      ~K. Piet

  • Wonderfully informative post guys! I do know that when reading a book, it is sometimes painfully (no pun intended) obvious that the author didn’t have a clue that it could possibly hurt a character to use a huge dildo without lube! As an avid reader, my common sense seems to kick in and all I can do is say “ouch”.

    Great advice on some of the more common toys out there. Wish I had read this 20 years ago when hubby and I were having our “let’s try this” phase….while we learned together, it would have been great to have a little more knowledge than we did. Toys are a great way to enhance an experience with a partner, and if you know a little more about them than what goes where? Even better.

    Thanks for a very informative post ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Here here! *cheers* Research is so very important, both for experimenting with a partner and for writing these sorts of scenes in erotic fiction.

      Aww… Wish we could have given you the post back then, too. ^_- Glad you enjoyed!

      ~K. Piet

    • Hi A.J
      Thanks for coming by.

      I think, as indicated in the post, the authors wanted to keep the recs. simple. There was a lot of discussion about the Tenga in the comments on the last post about sex toys, so maybe they felt that anyone needing additional information could check out that post which I linked.

      Think of this post as Sex Toys 101. ๐Ÿ™‚ Further research is available from some of the links and elsewhere on the ‘net.

    • AJ,

      The Tenga is just another high end masturbator. ๐Ÿ™‚ The point of this wasn’t really to write a buyer’s guide but to give a very basic overview. It was more to show that there are a wide range of prices and materials. Any brands we mentioned were merely examples, not an actual list of endorsed products.

      Personally, the Tenga, IMO, scores high marks on the ability to clean due to its flip-open design, but it really just boils down to another $75+ masturbating sleeve. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      S.L. Armstrong

      (Sorry for the late reply… had a long day.)

    • I definitely did think of the Tenga. *chuckles* Since the Tenga’s only supposed to be good for 50 uses, though, it would have required a more detailed analysis. ^_-

      We were just trying to keep it simple with the general categories of toys to pique interest. There are SO many wonderful toys out there that didn’t make the post! (e.g. The NJoy Pure Wand, which is great for both sexes for g-spot and prostate stimulation as well as temperature play)

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! It was fun looking for pictures to match the different sections. XD

      ~K. Piet

  • Wow talk about an interesting read! Great writing and lots of interesting advice ๐Ÿ˜€

    As a reader, it would be a lot of fun to see more toys used in stories! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I agree wholeheartedly! With romance (be it F/M or M/M or any other pairings), you often are left reading the same sex scenes over and over. Sex toys are really an easy way to mix things up so you won’t sound repetitive!

      Glad you enjoyed the post!
      ~K. Piet

      • LOL! You guys managed to surprise a friend of mine who came over unexpected today! This post was open and he went: “What are you reading?” (with slightly wide eyes). So I told him and he went: “that is very interesting”

        Now I’m haunted by visuals of him and toys that I really really do not want to have ๐Ÿ˜‰

        What you say it true. Sometimes I feel like I’m reading recycled scenes. Some of the more “standard” scenes have become a tradition in books! But I guess that is what happens when you try to read all the m/m books out there ๐Ÿ˜‰


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