Masturbation has been entrenched in human history since we were little more than simple apes. There have been times when cultures have seen masturbation as useful and as evil. Doctors have argued over whether it is beneficial and philosophers have tackled the issue of whether or not it is moral. However, in my lifetime it seems to have been sliding into the category of a benign past time, this applies to both men and women. For whatever reason it has only been within the last couple decades that men have taken it upon themselves to build toys of their own. It was only a matter of time until a king of those dick toys rose above and that toy was the Fleshlight. Since it's conception the Fleshlight has become a behemoth in the sex toy industry. It has brought attention to the category of male sex toys and shows men why they should try a masturbation sleeve. It would help us understand how this toy came about by looking back at masturbation in general.
Cultural Views on Masturbation
We can learn about how masturbation used to be viewed by learning myths, philosophy, and customs certain cultures had surrounding the deed. In the ancient lands of Mesopotamia there was an actual god of semen, his name was Enki. The Mesopotamian culture saw his spunk as the source of water, plants, and many other wonderful things. A similar myth exists in Indian folklore. The creator god Brahma is said to have created himself by willing that act out of his semen. Going by these myths you can tell that both Mesopotamia and India at least approved of masturbation at some point. It would also appear that ancient Egypt approved of masturbation. There is one Egyptian myth that states that the gods Set and Horus once got into a semen fight. This was a contest where Horus wound up winning because he tricked Set into eating his cum. He did this by jizzing onto food(1). The same can be said for ancient Sumeria, the men of this culture saw masturbation as a way to increase their vigor. There is some evidence that ancient man, in general, saw masturbation as a positive thing. There have been cave paintings found showing both male and female masturbation(2). However not all cultures had a tolerant view of masturbation. In ancient China masturbation was seen as a wasteful act that should be abstained from. They thought that ejaculating caused a man to lose some of his strength and that strength should be preserved. This thought is echoed by modern day Taoism(1). There are even cultures that would appear to think of masturbation as a completely foreign issue. In the Congo there are two ethnic groups, the Aka and Ngandu, that completely lack a word for masturbation and appear to be confused when others bring the topic up(3). The fact that only two groups share this quirk should show you how natural masturbating is to people. However, plenty of people seek to shrug off their natural instincts. In the western world masturbation became a subject of particular scorn during the Victorian era.
History of Masturbation
As England ushered the world into the Victorian era certain people deemed masturbation a threat and began to take aim at it. This aiming was done from the fields of medicine and philosophy. One of these people was a doctor by the name of Balthazar Bekker. He seemed to believe that the act of masturbating was an unhealthy one. Bekker believed that tugging one's prick led to digestion disturbances, a lack in appetite, incredible hunger, nausea, weak lungs, fever, impotence, back pain, a diminished sex drive, a loss of sight and hearing, paleness, weight loss, acne, memory loss, epilepsy, a loss of intelligence, and of course suicide. A Swiss counterpart of Bekker's, named Dr. Samuel-Auguste Tissot, wrote a book on how awful he thought masturbation was in 1760 – this book was called L'Onanisme. Tissot's main thesis was that semen was an essential oil that men needed. The more often men threw away this essential oil the sicker they became. Tissot found a supporter in the philosopher Kant. Kant claimed that masturbation was an act that violated the natural law of the world. His explanation for that reasoning was that men gave up their personalities by using their own bodies as a tool for pleasure(3). It would appear that our philosopher friend used thin evidence to create an argument around a position that his puritanical society already held. Eventually medical science began to distance itself from arguments such as Kant's, Tissot's and Bekker's. However, it took until the early twentieth century.
By the early twentieth century people began to come around to the benefits of masturbation. In 1897 a doctor by the name of C.H. Havelock Ellis published a study entitled Studies in the Psychology of Sex. In it Ellis found that moderate masturbation among healthy people was pretty harmless. A few decades later, in the forties and fifties, Alfred Kinsey began to promote the idea that masturbation was actually instinctive behavior among humans. As a result of researchers like Kinsey and Ellis masturbation has not been seen as an affliction in America since 1968. In 1972 the American Medical Association went as far as to declare masturbation normal(3). Since that time masturbation has become increasingly accepted by main stream society. To the point that most people will admit that they masturbate.
Overview of Masturbation
Masturbation is an interesting phenomena. It is the most common sexual act. More people masturbate than do any other sex act; doggy style, fisting, missionary, golden showers, etc. None of these compare to the number of people that masturbate. Now the frequency that one masturbates depends on a few factors like sex, age and health. Teens lead the pack in terms of frequency and the average for them is two to three times a week. However, it is likely that masturbation frequency will change depending on the perosn's life circumstances. One study found that people, especially women, tend to masturbate more often if they are having frequent sex. Not only is masturbation common but it is the safest sexual act as well. There is no physical or psychological harm to moderate amounts of masturbation. There is no risk of disease, infection or pregnancy either. In fact it might actually make you a healthier person. It has been found that masturbation relieves stress and takes your blood pressure down a few notches. Masturbation also appears to lower a man's risk of prostate cancer. If you were to masturbate five times a week as a young man you would significantly lower the risk of prostate cancer. It would appear that cranking your shank is not only harmless but could be helpful(4). That being said why not add stimulation and make the most out of a healthy and helpful activity. It is at this juncture that male sex toys come into the picture. Not only male sex toys, but the most famous of them all... the Fleshlight.
Enter the Fleshlight
The Fleshlight is the first male sex toy to cross over into the zeitgeist. For plenty of people the Fleshlight was an introduction to male sex toys. They might not know that this juggernaut is simply the most successful toy in a broad category called masturbation sleeves. However, credit must be given to the creator of this toy, he made it stand out in a vast sea of rubber fuck toys. The father of the Fleshlight is a man known as Steve Shubin. The idea for this life changing invention didn't strike Shubin until he needed it. As was the case with Edison, necessity is the mother of invention. Shubin's wife got pregnant when they were middle aged. Due to their advanced age their doctor warned them that having sex during the pregnancy might be detrimental to the baby. Like every red blooded man Shubin didn't want to give up cumming for nine months, nor did he want to cheat. He then began to think of creative ways to continue to unleash his seed. Shubin invested $50,000 to begin the company that would become Fleshlight. By the time that 1995 rolled around this company had already patented the idea for sexually usable body parts. Apparently Shubin's initial idea was to build mannequins with fuckable holes. Of course those holes were removable in order to make cleaning easier. These dolls started getting made but Shubin wasn't able to sell any of them. He even tried to give one away to his friend, however the friend told Shubin that he didn't want a full doll. He only wanted one of the removable holes. The reason was that the friend would be too embarrassed if his family were to find the doll. The hole was much easier to stash away. This caused Shubin's brain to start firing again. He adapted his original idea and started preparing to get those removable holes in stores – thus the Fleshlight was born. Four years later Shubin had recouped all the money that he sunk into the company and the Fleshlight had become the best selling sex toy on the market(5). The reasons for the Fleshlight's popularity are many. You have to consider its novelty, name, and it's marketing. However, the most important factor is it's design.
Design of the Fleshlight
The Fleshlight is a high end masturbation sleeve with a relatively simple design. The Fleshlight is made of two parts the rigid case and the flexible inner sleeve. It isn't quite fair to just leave it at that though. There are many choices when it comes to the sleeves. You have many different looks with different textures on the inside. There are sleeves modeled after all of the sexual orifices, some modeled after porn stars, as well as sleeves that are more novel(6). No matter which sleeve you choose to get a cock massage with they are all made from the same patented combination of thermoplastics and oil. Fleshlight was able to come up with such a combo that's pretty similar to human skin(5). Even more so when you soak it in warm water for a few minutes. These sleeves are able to retain heat making that massage on your dick even more realistic. The unique design doesn't end with the sleeve though. The hard case has a cap for storage as well as an end cap that is adjustable. This adjustable end cap allows you to change the amount of air pressure and suction that you're getting(6). All of these features provide the Fleshlight with a winning edge. That edge is what has propelled it to first place in the sex toy market and brought everyone's attention to an entire category of sex toys.
The Fleshlight might be the star of the men's sex toy category, but it is not the only one in the category. There are many different masturbation sleeves on the market. Some are imitations of the Fleshlight, some are completely different. Some dick toys are inferior to the Fleshlight but there are plenty that are just as good or better. It is really up to you to experiment, take into account the factors most important to you and decide for yourself. You might need a toy that is smaller than the Fleshlight. You might want a more visually stimulating toy. Regardless of what kind of toy you might prefer it only benefits you to improve masturbation by adding stimuli. That being the case every men should at least try a male sex toy like the Fleshlight. You might not be able to go back to your hand.
“A History of Male Orgasm and Masturbation, Because Attitudes Towards Sperm Sure Have Changed,” accessed on December 21, 2017, https://www.bustle.com/articles/97612-a-history-of-male-orgasm-and-masturbation-because-attitudes-towards-sperm-sure-have-changed
“Fifi and the History of Male Masturbation,” accessed on December 21, 2017, https://www.getfifi.com/blog/fifi-and-the-history-of-male-masturbation/
“History of Masturbation,” accessed on December 21, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_masturbation#Cultures_without_masturbation