Masculinity has a reputation for being fragile, particularly as it relates to female sexuality. For some men, there is something uniquely terrifying about women who can get off without dicks ramming inside them. While male feminists pride themselves on their commitment to the female orgasm—advertising constantly and loudly that they love giving oral, as if they're the first and last man to ever say this—men do harbor insecurities about the technology women use to get off more efficiently than we ever could with humans. As one guy friend told me, "I don't want my dick to be disrupted."
Yet disruptions are coming. I recently opened my mailbox to find the Lovehoney Sqweel 2 Oral Sex Simulator, a pink-and-white wheel with ten "lapping silicone tongues" that you put on your vagina to mimic oral sex. The device, which resembles a Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape dispenser, has three speeds and goes in two directions. The product description reads, "Its reverse functionality allows you to switch the direction of the tongues for truly impressive oral sex skillz, as a flicker setting rocks the wheel back and forth to wow you into a powerful orgasmic stupor."
Before I tried the Sqweel 2, I wondered: How would all the heterosexual men in my life feel about a device that might make their "oral sex skillz"—and thus, in many ways, them—obsolete?
"IT HAS TOO MANY TONGUES," a guy named Jack said when I showed him the product. "Why does it have to have so many?"
Jack says he isn't threatened by women using vibrators, but he is intimidated by devices that directly replicate, possibly better, something his penis or mouth could do. "I actually do like performing oral, so if my girlfriend were to buy [a Sqweel 2], it would definitely feel a bit like I wasn't measuring up to the task," he told me. "Similarly, I've always found vibrators to be less intimidating than regular dildos. Somehow the fact that it vibrates in this way that would be physically impossible for me to replicate makes me feel like it's not a thing I'm expected to measure up against."
Another man, who asked that I refer to him as "Asahd" to honor DJ Khaled's son, said he would only feel insecure if a woman preferred to use the Sqweel 2 when his tongue was perfectly available. "But if I couldn't be there, and she used it, totally cool," he said. "Maybe I could even learn a thing or two. I've been practicing on my hand."
Ultimately, Asahd says he welcomes advances in women's sex toys—they don't make him feel more redundant or insecure than he already feels.
"We live in a world where everything is optimized through technology, and it would be naïve to think sex wouldn't be treated the same way," he said. "The female orgasm is much more nuanced and complex than its male counterpart, and thus can require additional methods of stimulation to come to fruition."
I don't want my dick to be disrupted.
Another man, Nick, echoed this sentiment. Whatever a woman can use to get off is great, as long as she still likes boning him, he said. But he's not sure how he would react if a partner whipped out the Sqweel 2, or any vibrator, while they were hooking up.
"My thinking is that I may have some lizard-brain negative reaction to a vibrator being used while we're having sex," Nick said. "It would probably make me feel inadequate and less intimate. I don't really care what she does by herself, though. I wouldn't want her policing the type of things I do by myself."
Like Jack, Nick seemed to be at peace with his limitations as a human man. "I'm sure there are some parts of a vibrator or robot dildo or mechanical tongue or whatever that are better than me," he told me. "As long as she still enjoys sex with me, I'm chilling."
Most of the men I spoke with said they weren't bothered by women's sex toys, even the tongue machine—in fact, they said they liked the presence of technological aids in the modern sexual landscape, because they mean their partners are likely in touch with their sexual desires. But it's hard to parse whether guys said this because they were truly unintimidated or whether they just wanted to present that way. Who knows—if they found the Sqweel 2 in their girlfriends' underwear drawers, maybe they'd have, as Nick put it, a "lizard-brain negative reaction."
But they probably don't have much to worry about yet. After trying the Sqweel 2, I made my own assessment: It's a fun novelty item that certainly does the job, but the ten "lapping silicone tongues" don't come close to the feeling of an actual tongue, even when I added lube for moisture. I came faster than I would have with a guy, but there was something missing from the experience—perhaps the element of sharing that satisfaction with someone. Though a forthcoming Sqweel 3 could make straight men's tongues obsolete, until then, they're still in business.
Sex Machina is a new and very personal column exploring the intersections of sex, romance, and technology.