This is, mostly, a review of two toys that are designed specifically for use by people with penises. I want to be upfront about this: I am genuinely not sure how well my own physical experiences translate to bodies that are not on feminizing hormones. I’m several years into taking HRT, and I recently got an orchiectomy, so the way that I experience sexual pleasure through my penis is very different than the way a cis man does. Things that used to feel good to me don’t feel like much now, and things that wouldn’t have felt good before feel amazing now. So! Please keep this in mind as you read… I think my review will be especially relevant to trans people with penises who are on some kind of estrogen/testosterone blocker combo, but hopefully my more general impressions will be useful to anyone who’s considering these toys, for themselves or a partner.
I think my review will be especially relevant to trans people with penises who are on some kind of estrogen/testosterone blocker combo, but hopefully my more general impressions will be useful to anyone who’s considering these toys, for themselves or a partner.
My experience with sex toys has been relatively limited. I use my Rechargeable Magic Wand or my partner’s Magic Wand Original nearly every day, and my njoy Pure Wand more occasionally. I’ve been fucked by a nice variety of dildos, and I’ve sampled several partners’ vibrators. When Zoë Ligon offered me a chance to review sex toys for Spectrum I was very excited. Finally! Another way of making money off of my flowering transsexual libido! And a chance to try a bunch of toys I’ve been eyeing! What a gift it is, to be a slut.
Zoë sent me two toys to try for this first review: the Hot Octopuss Pulse Solo Essential and the Fun Factory Manta. Both are vibrators designed specifically for use on penises. Let’s get this out of the way, immediately: I hate the names; I hate that the Pulse is marketed as a “Guybrator™,” and I hate that the “Manta” is called that because it’s for men? I guess? “MANta?” Like I get who they’re advertising to, and also COME ON. Also, the man on the packaging of the Pulse Solo Essential came to life and started negging me immediately.
The Pulse Solo Essential looks like a fancy electric wine bottle opener. It’s a chunky, open-face cylinder that’s designed to fit around a hard cock (although the marketing materials mention that it’s equally good for flaccid ones). Inside the cylinder there’s a raised disc emblazoned with a crown, which is meant to hit on the underside of the head of the penis if the toy is being held intuitively, towards the body. The Pulse Solo Essential is charged through a small hole at the base of the toy that accommodates a narrow barrel plug, which makes me question its water resistance. The other versions of this toy (that aren’t marketed as “essential”) use a magnetic charger, which is more standard across vibrators at this price point.
The toy itself is not terribly flexible. My dick is on the thicker side (I know, I know…………… NICE) and fit into the toy with a little difficulty. I don’t know how effectively the toy would fit around narrower dicks, since it doesn’t have much room to contract. Regardless of fit, the toy is not particularly comfortable. It’s hard to know what to do with, honestly… I felt like I was sticking my dick into something I shouldn’t have been, like a kitchen appliance. I’m sorry to say that the toy wasn’t much fun to use, either. The vibrations weren’t particularly satisfying, and, more damningly, I felt them more in my hand than I did on my dick. After only a few minutes of use, my hand was going numb. The user’s hand isn’t insulated from the vibrations at all, and because of the way the toy is shaped, it takes your whole hand to hold onto it. The toy is not small. It feels like an oversized mug buzzing uncomfortably in the palm of your hand. Using it as a stroker or holding it still didn’t make any difference… I did not come anywhere close to orgasm before I had to stop using it and give my hand a break.
It’s clearly an advanced device, which makes it frustrating that it just… doesn’t… feel very good.
This isn’t to say that the Pulse Solo Essential isn’t for everyone! I could see it being a good shower toy for someone who wanted a little extra assistance getting off quickly. For shorter sessions, the hand-numbing nature of the toy shouldn’t matter as much, and I might have liked this toy significantly more before starting estrogen. It’s difficult to say!
The Fun Factory Manta is shaped like a vibrating dildo whose tip has been replaced by a silicone oven mitt. Its base has the same distinctive open loop as other Fun Factory toys. It looks similar enough to their other toys to merit a warning in the manual not to insert it into your own ass, I guess? The graphic made me laugh, anyway.
The Manta is charged using Fun Factory’s standard magnetic hookup, and has several modes and patterns of vibration. It’s pretty interesting to see in action—the “wings” at the tip of the vibrator move visibly as you cycle through the modes, sometimes vibrating independently of each other. It’s clearly an advanced device, which makes it frustrating that it just… doesn’t… feel very good.
As indicated by the manual, this toy is designed for use with an erect cock. It’s meant to be held so that the wings are surrounding the dick, and then can be used as a stroker as its vibrating. Using the toy feels a little strange, because it feels like… holding a dick. It’s like you’re holding a dick to stroke your dick with? Or like… using salad tongs to jerk yourself off? Once you get over the initial weirdness, this toy isn’t difficult to use and is reasonably versatile. Compared to the Pulse Solo it feels more intuitive and less uncomfortable in most ways, although my primary complaint is the same: the toy vibrates the user’s hand as much as it does their penis. It’s impossible to use it for more than a few minutes without experiencing discomfort in the hand operating the toy, which is frustrating! For someone who takes less time to cum, this might be a good fit – again, it would make a cute shower toy, or something that might be fun for a partner to use on your dick. It definitely feels like a versatile toy! But for me, this one just didn’t work very well.
“Carta,” you might be asking, “do you like any vibrators?? Maybe your dick just doesn’t respond to vibration!” Which is a fair question, but actually I know that it does! I’ve gotten off with vibrators lots of times, from weak little bullet vibes to extremely powerful, almost industrial machines. The vibrator that gets me off most consistently, though, is the [formerly Hitachi] Magic Wand. We own two in our household, actually – a Magic Wand Original and a Rechargeable Magic Wand. I bring the rechargeable one with me on my travels because it’s a little more convenient to travel with something that doesn’t require a dedicated outlet to use. When I have the choice, though, I use the Magic Wand Original. The vibrations are just stronger.
Rechargeable or corded, I love the (often imitated) Magic Wand because, as heavy and large as it is, my hand is almost completely insulated from the (intense, deep) vibrations. I can use it for a long time without feeling the discomfort caused by my hand buzzing. Additionally, the design of the Magic Wand makes it a more effective penis vibrator than either of the other toys I reviewed. It doesn’t wrap around the shaft, but that’s not the most effective type of stimulation, in my experience. Pressing the wand right under the head of my cock, on the frenum, works best for me. If I want to feel as if my dick is surrounded, I press it against my stomach with the wand. I never have trouble getting off using the magic wand… even the weaker rechargeable model does amazing things for me, things that neither the Solo Pulse Essential or the Manta came even close to doing.
If you have a penis and want to experiment with vibration, buy a corded Magic Wand Original. It’s $60 – cheap for a toy this good – and will work more effectively than anything else I’m aware of. You don’t need a special man-vibrator designed for men. You need the vibrator that people of all genders have sworn by for decades. Treat yourself. Your cock will thank you.