The Theragun, a triangle-shaped personal massager by wellness company Therabody, is not, by any official account, a sex toy. The website explicitly says it’s not. The company warns against using it on your junk.
Despite this, Theraguns have become a popular device for drilling one’s genitals. Porn sites return lots of results for “theragun” and “massage gun,” with stars like Asa Akira and Evelin Stone using Therabody’s model or a knockoff, and many more amateur models uploading close-up views of the guns tenderizing vulvas and penises.
Then there’s that TikTok from a couple months ago where someone holds a massager and lets the vibrations channel through their index finger to aggressively whisk an egg; the guy who stitches this video, and the reason it went viral, has the brilliant idea of introducing it to his partner next:
Someone tried this, and posted the (uncensored) experiment on Pornhub. It works.
So it’s well-established: People really want the Theragun, and most gun-shaped personal massagers, to be a sex toy. Many reviews of the device beat around that bush. Edith Zimmerman’s assessment at the Cut of the G3 model, for example, was that it “looks a bit like a sleek, gigantic geometric vibrator,” but that “the pleasure it brings is decidedly unsexual” (in her opinion). Everything Therabody makes looks kind of like a sex toy: the Wave line of massagers includes a buzzing ball called the Solo, the cylindrical Roller, and bean-shaped Duo. “I also think it could make a good sex toy, but whether or not my girlfriend and I actually tested that is none of your goddamn business!” writer Adam Robarth said in his review of the Wave Solo.
Therabody explicitly warns in its safety guidelines: “Do not use the Theragun above your Adam’s Apple or C4, on your head or near your genitals.” It reiterates again on a separate precautions page: “The following are circumstances where the potential risks may outweigh the benefits... Direct application to the face, throat, or genitalia.”
A spokesperson for Therabody send me a statement expounding on this:
“While there is plenty of scientific evidence that vibration can be used to stimulate soft tissues in the body, Theragun is very purposefully designed for pain relief, recovery, and relaxation. We are aware there is a community using Theragun for sexual pleasure, but we are a science backed company and do not have evidence to support the safety and efficacy of this type of use. Theragun is classified as an Electric Therapeutic Massager and is intended for medical purposes (in the US, the FDA considers it to be a Class 1 Medical Device). This particular class and type of medical device is not intended for sexual purposes.”
In the Best Buy reviews for the Theragun Pro, an intrepid soul named Mike asked, “Does this work well as a sex toy?” Three cowards answered to say no. Elsewhere on the internet, these three are vastly outnumbered. But users forge ahead anyway. Countless people are absolutely wrecking their shit with these things—in a good way.
“Gets me to the edge in literally seconds. Never felt anything so powerful on my cock... If you can handle how violent [it] feels it's otherworldly,” someone said in a Reddit thread titled “Massage Gun? More like Fuck-Gun 🤯🤤.” The original poster had discovered a way to use their (unnamed) massage gun in conjunction with dildos, pressing the gun against the base of the silicon toy to make it vibrate inside of their partner. “I bought a massage gun for sore muscles and when I felt it on my back I knew I just had to feel it on my clit,” someone else replied. “I'm now addicted! I use it daily but it is so relaxing I just hold it there until I'm done. It's very powerful! By far my most favorite toy!” “Yes it most definitely is, used one on my partner she was at about her 22-23 Orgasm before she lost count,” wrote another. “I have a thing i use as a butt plug and have tried using my massage gun on it….it deffinelty did feel different,” yet another testified. (I would like to know what the “thing” they use as a butt plug is, if not an actual butt plug.)
People are also using it to overcome sexual dysfunction: One person suffering from premature ejaculation claims that jackhammering their taint with a Theragun Mini twice daily helps loosen up the tension in that area and improves blood flow. Others attest to massage guns being a useful tool in alleviating “hard flaccid syndrome,” a condition where the penis gets stuck in a semi-rigid state—pummeling around the base of their member with a massager bought from Amazon brought at least one person some relief.
Then there are those folks who take DIY sex toys to a different level, who walk into a Home Depot like it’s an Adam & Eve store. Attachments that turn jig saws and other power tools into sex toys with just a few metal screws and interchangeable rubber ends, are all over Amazon, and there are guides for how to do this in your own garage. These were probably the predecessor to the massage gun sex toy, and maybe even the massage gun itself; jig saws have been around a lot longer than either of those things, after all.
An influential figure in the male enhancement community, who goes by Janus Bifrons, made an instructional video where he incorporates into his penile health routine—and this is where I have to insert a disclaimer that this is not medical advice, don’t try this at home—a homemade massage gun he crafted out of a jigsaw he bought from Walmart, with a round rubber tip attached where the blade would be. He firmly punches a dildo along the sides to demonstrate the manual method, then brings out the saw and hammers away. This routine, he claims, will give you a bigger dick.
If applying a machine made for cutting through building materials to your genitals is a little too rustic for you, there are lots of folks out there making adapters for massage guns, including the Theragun, that don’t involve replacing saw blades.
The Vac-U-Lock is Doc Johnson’s system for interchangeable sex toys: a knobby protrusion that plugs into the base of a dildo, making it attachable to harnesses and suction cups. The patent on the original Vac-U-Lock, titled “plug and phallic device and system,” is from 1991; patents expire 20 years after they’re first filed, so anyone is free to use and iterate on Doc Johnson’s design.
And people have: there are dozens of toys and adapters for sale on Etsy and through independent retailers. The owner of GDS Designs on Etsy told me that they’ve sold 2,000 of their 3D-printed Vac-U-Lock adapters since opening shop in September 2021.
“After searching for months all I could find was big bulky machines that were not only expensive but way too big for my tiny apartment,” they said. “So I set out to design a product that would work with not only my Theragun but all massage guns on the market, that way men and women all over the world can have their very own portable sex machine that is so compact and portable it can be taken as carry on when flying on vacation.” Their adapter works with 99 percent of all massage guns and 100 percent of all Doc Johnson products, they said.
Lovgun, a company launched in February 2019, sells dildos to go with the massage gun you may already have. “The velocity of the massage guns along with the intense stroke length/frequency supercharges the performance compared to a traditional vibrator,” Mistress Starr, the company’s spokesperson, told me. What makes repurposed massage guns different from a vibrator meant for sex is the intensity, they said—especially on the Theragun, as well as the TimTam, a similar massager brand. “Specifically on the stroke length, they truly are percussion devices, on low speeds it replicates the stroking sensation during intercourse and at higher speed the same action, just far more intense.”
Lovegun has a helpful video showing how the attachments work, and a dildo in action at the end of a massager:
If the Theragun, and all personal massagers like it, is a sex toy deep down, it’s following a lot tradition of incognito sexual wellness products before it. The Hitachi Magic Wand was sold in feminist sex toy shops since the 1970s, but the company didn’t admit that it could have sexual uses until 2013—after decades of consumers using it that way.
“Vibrators’ nonsexual uses allowed companies to manufacture and advertise them, electric companies to promote them, and consumers to purchase them without embarrassment or legal restrictions,” historian and author Hallie Lieberman wrote in 2016, in her journal article about vibrator marketing in the early 20th century. Companies marketed vibrators as neck and back massagers, and advertised them as doing everything from curing cancer to fixing impotence.
“Therefore, the history of the vibrator does not follow a straight line from camouflage to openness,” Lieberman wrote. “Vibrators were not fully camouflaged in the late 1800s and early 1900s as nonsexual devices, nor did they emerge in the 1960s as fully sexual devices. They always contained both sexual and nonsexual meanings.”
Like the Theragun, people modded out their Magic Wands with more personalized and stimulating caps and tips that turned it into a penis masturbation sleeve or an insertable G-spot toy. Also like Magic Wand, curious consumers were drawn to its sexual uses because it was just way more powerful than anything else on the market.
Maybe it’s up to us consumers, porn models, massage lovers and modders, to dictate what is and isn’t a sex toy. Anything can be, if you’re thinking far enough outside the instruction manual.