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The most popular sex toys for gay guys?

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I caught up with Steve Callow, CEO of Perfect Fit Brand — they make sex toys.

What was the first sex toy you ever used?

The first toy I ever used, I made myself! I was always a very mechanically-oriented guy. I won science fair awards, and would build things all day long. After puberty, I started playing around making masturbation devices out of bicycle inner tubes and electric motors. I even made a dildo one day out dipping a dowel into melted wax — that’s how they taught me how to make candles in school!. For years that dildo was in my closet!

I was 20 when I bought my first sex toy — it was at the Pink Pussy Cat in NYC, from a lady behind the counter. I was so embarrassed to be in the store. Everything was behind the counter. My eyes were wide open with fascination. Not knowing what to buy, I bought the smallest thing I saw. It was a tiny tiny butt plug — about the size of my finger. The lady kept asking me if I was sure, she said it would be too small. I bought it anyway.

What made you decide to go into the sex toy business?

I didn’t come from this industry. As a kid, I grew up in Halifax, Canada, where I worked in yachting chandleries and auto-part stores. That’s how I paid my way through university. However, in university I started a computer business, which I developed into a network specialty company. I was lucky to be pursued by the partnership that became Accenture — the world’s largest consulting firm. By the time I was 25, I was already a senior manager at Accenture in Toronto.

I ended up in New York City, and then 911 happened. It was a difficult time, and I decided to seek a less stressful life and moved to Florida, with savings and lots of experience. That didn’t last too long as I couldn’t get a green card without the job I had, so I moved back to Toronto. Back in Toronto I had a kind of epiphany one day — I realised I had all the skills to make and market my own inventions and I had some ideas — including the StreemMaster invention, my first product. I jumped in and went for it.

Which is the most popular sex toy for gay guys?

Our Hump Gear line is by far one of the most successful gay sex toys of all time. It’s the world’s first butt plug that can be used for penetration — a fuckable butt plug.

What sort of feedback do you get from your customers?

My favourite was a customer who wrote in to tell me that, after using the Fat Boy Thin, his wife had orgasmed during intercourse for the first time in 20 years.

A lot of the new sizing we’re offering — on everything from cock rings to the trans sex toys we’ve developed — is directly due to feedback from customers. We’re very serious about feedback.

For the Xact-Fit cock rings we did extensive, corporate-style, focus group testing.

What are some of the latest developments in sex toys that gay guys should be looking out for?

We developed a new cock ring sizing system that’s on its way to becoming the standard. We determined that we had to make rings that are only 0.1” apart in sizing to get rings that would fit perfectly. The new rings are call Xact-Fit, and come in fourteen sizes, whereas other manufacturers make only three to five sizes in the same range. We made them not too stretchy, so the rings are effective, but easier to get on and off than a metal ring. Our Play Zone kit contains the nine most-used Xact-Fit sizes for shaft rings, ball rings, and cock-and-ball rings stacked on a mini orange traffic cone. It’s been a huge hit.

Another development to watch for is the evolution of anal toys. Just as we developed the first Tunnel Plugs, which are hollow, the next frontier is vibration and new motor technology. We’re always inventing new products, such as the Buck-Off, The Bumper, and the Play Zone, and we have more innovative products in the works.

If I hadn’t used a sex toy before, but I was interested in trying something out, what would you suggest that I start with?

That’s a very personal thing. Every man should experience prostate stimulation. Also, using a stroker device is a lot of fun.

Read more from Gareth Johnson

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Health

Sunday Surgery

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Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash
Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

Are we living in a post-HIV world?
In recent years we’ve seen a seismic shift in the effectiveness of treatment for HIV, as well as the emergence of PrEP — medication that prevents you from acquiring HIV.

This combination of factors has contributed towards a dramatic change in the attitude of gay men towards HIV, health, and sex.

It’s been difficult for public health policy to keep up, but it’s also difficult for older gay men like me to get our heads around the changing landscape of sex.

Official reports indicate that AIDS has killed over 35 million people worldwide. It’s estimated that around the world there are currently over 37 million people living with HIV.

In June of 1981, when the beginnings of the HIV pandemic were first being identified, I was approaching my ninth birthday. Lucky I guess, too young to be impacted by the first devastating waves of the virus that killed so many young gay men.

As I was beginning to discover sex, the public health messages very strongly articulated that sex without a condom equalled death.

It’s a bit hard to describe how that constant fear of infection and death shapes your view and experience of sex. I guess I’ve got no way of knowing what things would have been like without that — I like to think that it might have been something like San Francisco in the 70s, or a long, lust-filled summer on Fire Island.

I survived. I was careful. I was lucky.

It wasn’t until I saw the 2003 documentary The Gift that I became aware of the fetishisation of HIV, and a growing movement of men who embraced the risk and health consequences of fucking without condoms, of letting guys cum in you, the thrill of raw, or ‘bareback’ sex between men. It was an uninhibited hedonism best captured by the porn of Paul Morris and Treasure Island Media.

It’s easy to judge and disapprove of risk-taking behaviour, but there was something incredibly compelling about this type of no-holds-barred sex — no fear, no care for consequences.

The improvements in medication and the emergence of PrEP have now made bareback sex the norm. Not only in porn — where it’s now highly unusual to see anyone using a condom — but also in everyday life.

Health professionals sensibly remind us that condoms are still worth wearing as they protect us from a whole range of sexually transmitted infections, not just HIV, but the reality is that for many men sex is better when you don’t have to wear a condom.

For me, it’s a bit of a mind-trip that testing positive for HIV is no longer a death-sentence, that you can have sex without a condom and not worry if one of you might have the virus. That you can have no-holds-barred sex, with no fear, and no care for consequences.

It’s fantastic that today’s young gay guys, who are just beginning to discover and explore sex, don’t have to worry about HIV. Obviously they need to learn about it, they need to have access to PrEP, and they need to understand the full gamut of sexual health, but it’s just part of life.

Let’s not forget our history, let’s not forget the people we’ve lost, but let’s be thankful that young guys today are growing up in a world that’s something a bit like San Francisco in the 70s, or a long, lust-filled summer on Fire Island.

We may now be living in a post-HIV world.

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