Magnus Sullivan wants you to become a better lover by jerking off more.
He runs the online men’s sex toy store ManShop.com and the masturbation blog BetterThanTheHand.com—and believes most dudes are way to uptight about playing with toys.
We confess, we were squarely in this camp too. Then we talked with him about Fleshlights, penis pumps and butt plugs and learned how getting, ahem, in touch with yourself—and even sticking things up your ass—can actually make you a much better lover.
Keep reading and you’ll get it…
“What if, instead of seeing masturbation as a surrogate pussy fucking fantasy, it’s recast as understanding yourself and becoming a more expansive lover. If that’s the context, women wouldn’t be put off by a man who masturbates three times a day.”
You run a blog about jerking off.
Ha ha. Yes, yes I do.
Let’s be scientific here. I’m skeptical but curious. But as a careful businessman I want to hear your pitch. The lube and sex toy market caters to women and gay men—among others—but not so much to straight men, and you want to change that with your e-commerce site.
My backgrounds is in internet development going back to 1993. First wave of builders. Just by chance one of my first clients was Good Vibrations. My next client was Gamelink. One of the funny things I’ve been seeing over the years is how much progress women have been making, the acceptance of toys and the role that owning your own sexuality has in your own empowered life. And then with men, nothing’s going on. You’ve got the Fleshlight.
I’ll be honest. I’m a gear guy. I’ve got a $500 fan that cleans the air in my home while I watch TV. But not a lot is going to sell me on jerkoff accessories. I’m uptight, but I can’t be the only one.
The more I looked at toy reviews—written by women for men—I noticed they were very technical or clinical or medical. It’s not very sexy. We saw there was a lot of shame. Men don’t talk a lot to each other about this, they talk to female therapists. There’s a hole in the conversation and in the market.
Ha! Sorry. Keep going.
Some of it might feel kind of feminizing to men. Fleshlight was the first really big men’s sex toy. The fleshlight came about because the inventor’s wife got pregnant, was out of commission after labor and then as soon as they started having sex she got pregnant again.
Literally he tried to put a hole in the market. Ha! Like, “Since you have to masturbate you might as well fuck this.”
It’s not a weird masturbation thing. Having that in your mind when you’re masturbating is the first problem. But what women have is “this is a sensual experience that I can use to get to know my body.” Not a five- to 10-minute jerk session.
But your site is selling anal toys under the banner, “Prostate Play.”
My perception is if you wanna stick your dick in someone’s ass, you’ll be much better at it if you put something up your own ass. Women are much more open to sexual experimentation than straight men are. Anybody who wants to have anal sex but is afraid to have something up their butt is doing it wrong. But what are you watching all day? Porn of 18-year-olds getting pounded. That’s why women shy away from anal because the guy doesn’t know what he’s doing. You wanna be a good ass fucker—you wanna have anal sex with somebody and you want to have it again—you better know what it’s like
Now we’re talking. What’s the first step for guys who want to dip their toe into this? Sorry for all the gross imagery.
One of the first things I learned, once I got out of the goal-oriented mindset, is it’s not about one toy, it’s about using toys in unison. The first step to becoming a much better lover is learning how to stimulate the body in a way that keeps things hot and doesn’t push it over the edge. And that’s a really bad sexual experience for most women.
Actually, I think we’re being kind of hard on guys.
Ha! That time it was you.
Ha ha, for sure. But this goes back to something we discussed with sex educator Reid Mihalko in our Guide to Rough Sex. How much of this is based on the way guys learn to have a quick sesh with a dirty magazine without their priest or their parents finding out? Is it any wonder that guys are goal-oriented and bad at talking about this with their partners?
Well I think women have the same issues. I didn’t grow up with any knowledge. I discovered it by accident. We talk about on the blog, first time masturbating. So part of it is, “I don’t even know what else to do?” They don’t have a buffet of choice. You don’t see images of men masturbating in really creative ways.
In that case, I’d like to see the menu.
What I say to guys is look at that as part of a build. Stop being so goal-oriented and you’ll have a better experience with your partner.
So it really is training for becoming a better partner.
That’s a big part. The first point is to say this is a really healthy thing, to take it out of the shadows from the porn-addicted loser. We have lots of sex and we masturbate a lot. It’s a great way to figure out what you respond to. If you learn all that, you’re going to be a better lover.
“If you wanna stick your dick in someone’s ass, you’ll be much better at it if you put something up your own ass. Anybody who wants to have anal sex but is afraid of that is doing it wrong.”
How should one approach their partner about adding more Gak than Double Dare?
The first step is to present it to your partner as “I want to improve my abilities as a lover and I want to get to know my body better.” Guys get really uncomfortable talking about masturbation. Women don’t. Women do like the idea that there’s a guy open to talking about his body, and that makes them more open to talking about their bodies.
Maybe there’s some locker room talk in there.
Sure. Part of it is homophobic. Guys worry, “If I have something in my ass and I like it I’m gay.” Everybody has nerve endings up their butt.
What the fuck does a penis pump actually do?
That was one of the strangest things for me starting out. You have to find a penis pump that works for you. If the suction isn’t right around the base it just doesn’t work. It was bizarre at first because it works. I looked at my cock differently as it was in there. I fetishized my own cock while it was in there. It’s a really interesting visual experience. I would stroke for a while and then start to incorporate the toys. It helps you understand pacing, changes in viscosity, all these things. I start to realize I can build up sensations in her body because I understand my body.
This is starting to sound like rock climbing or photography: might be cool to get into it but how much stuff are we talking here? Your best customer must wear a goddamn fishing vest full of lubes and clamps just to get off.
The fleshlight, the all-in stroker and the prostate massager. And I just started switching these things back and forth. The fleshlight is the best toy for heating up. You warm it up beforehand and you have this flesh-like thing and then you switch over to another stroker. But you’re varying that stimulation with temperature and friction. On top of that I had the Tanga-Egg.
The Tanga Egg. YouTube it. NSFW.
But now we have the opposite problem. These are all toys just for guys. What’s in it for the girl?
People always say, “Where’s the Hitachi wand for men?” [Legendary plug-in sex toy that has been the gold standard since 1968]. My friend says it is the Hitachi Wand. How come you don’t see men and women having an awesome dual-purpose toy? Women tell me “it’s always been one of my fantasies to fuck me while getting off with the Hitachi wand.” The way it worked for me is, I took the wand along my balls and cock and massaged that area and then I’d ram it right at the tip and the vibrations were just intense and I ended up having an orgasm.
Wow. I will say this, your blog covers a lot of problems a person wouldn’t know they will have. Like how the Lelo Hugo butt plug will stay in your ass if you want to walk to the bathroom and take it out over the toilet or in the shower.
Those are the critical details. I want it to be about the experience and the toy is in the background. All buttplugs aren’t equal.
I notice that these names reflect the female and gay market. Lelo Hugo. I can’t imagine straight guys buying it. If you want to go after the 80 percent of the market who are straight men who love to jerk off, then the toy’s name has to be, like, “Karen from Accounting?”
Ha! You’re taking it a step further. We’re still in the primal stage. Life needs to emerge from this stew here and it hasn’t taken form. I still harbor this idea that the world would be a happier place if people were more sexually open. The way these things are marketed is so wrong.
If so can I pitch you a blowjob machine that tells you that it had a crush on you in high school called “Head Cheerleader?”
Hah! See? What if, as opposed to seeing masturbation as a surrogate pussy fucking fantasy, it were recast as this entirely other world of understanding yourself, understanding your body and becoming a more expansive lover. If that were the context of masturbation, then women wouldn’t be put off by a man who wants to masturbate three times a day.
What’s the tiniest baby step that guys could do to get started?
The next time you have sex, masturbate 30 minutes beforehand.
Masturbation can take a lot of that buzz off the table. Now you’re not so focused on coming. Now you’re focused on that other person and what will make her feel pleasure. If you can figure out strategies to lengthen the runway, you’ll learn how to get the big plane off. You won’t miss all this landscape of touching and kissing and holding. And the person will love you for that.
And they will remember you.
All straight guys want to do that. They don’t want to go home with a girl and wonder if she had a good time—they want her to tell all her friends.