Evolution has provided each of us with some very fine erotic equipment indeed: dicks, arseholes, and erogenous zones like nipples and feet. But that just isn't enough for some folks. Sex toys - notably dildos - have popped up in many cultures throughout history. But our age of technological marvels has exponentially expanded the catalogue of carnal gizmos.

Says one purveyor of sex toys, "There are lots of possibilities out there. I'd loosely divide playthings into 'top toys,' designed to penetrate, 'bottom toys,' which accommodate erections, and 'other stuff,' which covers a hell of a lot of ground."

When many gay guys say "toys," they mean "dildos," and among toppish tools, fake phalluses still reign supreme. A decent Dildo - such as these from our Online Store Shopgay.nl, can provide penetrating companionship during jack-off sessions. When company comes to call, it will help make both-ends penetration a breeze (as well as come up with steadfast service if erectile inspiration fails). Most dildos still look like dicks, of course, but, due in part to the flourishing of feminist sex shops, the little (or not-so-little) fellows now come in a dazzling array of designs and colours. There are even prostate prodders, specially angled to hit a guy's G-spot just right.
Then there's the dildo's buzzy cousin, the vibrator. Though central to the sex lives of women who crave clitoral stimulation, they can also provide throbbing thrills for guys who keep their minds - and other apertures - open.

Bottomish toys include delightful jerk-off aids that mimic receptive mouths and buttholes such as the Fleshlight Flight Masturbator - available from our online store Shopgay.nl, including cock-accommodating sheaths that can be pre-warmed and lubed up. Higher-tech horny homos employ penis pumps, both manual and electrically powered. Stick your dick in, start pumping, and a seductive vacuum will pull your pud into the pump's cylinder, making it swell up and feel just...swell.

Says our sex toy maven, "The kinky stuff includes everything from the mild - cockrings that strengthen erections, and titclamps that nab onto nipples - to the truly wild. In addition to classic SM implements like whips and bondage gear, there are mad-scientist-type units that send electrical stimulation to the cock or hole, and piss gags, custom-designed for the water sports fan."

Clearly, the erotic explorer could drop a small fortune on sex toys. Are they worth it?

One lustful Luddite grouses, "I never could see the appeal of hauling out all these plastic and metal thingies in order to have sex. What the hell's wrong with the good old human body?"

But a gay gentleman who's built up quite a gear collection counters, "I love how toys can add intensity and variety to sex. They can make very specialized scenes possible, or, at their simplest, just fill up a hungry hole. If sex is a theme park, then my toys are the E-ticket rides."

If you're out to acquire some tumescence-producing toys yourself, keep in mind that shopping for them is like buying anything else. Unless you're just getting a joke gift for a bachelor party, look for things that will be useful, not just intriguing. Learn about what's out there, and what you'll get for your cash - dildos made of silicone, for instance, are pricier, but a breeze to keep clean, while rubber toys must be more carefully maintained. And keep safety in mind. For instance: Vibrators without flared bases are liable to get lost somewhere in the colon, which can put a damper on a romantic evening.

And of course, keep in mind that even the priciest, flashiest toys are no substitute for enthusiasm and imagination. Remember what toys of any sort are for: To help you have fun. But in this case, the fun will have a hard-on.

Simon Sheppard

Now here's your chance to meet the man behind this column. OutUK has an interview with Simon Sheppard or you can take a look at some of his books that are currently available:

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Looking for something very sexy and just as smart? Man on Man collects the best and hottest gay sex writing by Simon, who is also co-editor of Rough Stuff: Tales of Gay Men, Sex, and Power as well as a collection of gay erotica called Hotter Than Hell.

In KINKORAMA : Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion he takes readers behind the unmarked doors and black vinyl curtains that lead to the sometimes shocking, often hilarious, relentlessly arousing scenarios of extreme sex. There are also stories of bears in Tales from the Bear Cult: Beat Bear Stories from the Best Magazines.


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