*For an idea of how the male view of vibrators has changed, look no further than the first episode of MTV’s insolent high school dramedy “Skins.” Talking on his cellphone, Tony boldly directs his girlfriend, “Ditch after Trig and I’ll do you with the ‘magic rabbit.'” He pauses, grinning naughtily. “Yeah. I know you like it. Bring batteries.”
It’s only recently that sex toys became an accepted symbol of a man’s sexual prowess. Once upon a time, vibrators were seen as posing a threat to masculinity — something that might outperform, maybe even replace, men in the bedroom. But now they’re seen as a useful item in a guy’s toolbox, and many see them as no more emasculating than a power drill. It’s not like 20-somethings are carrying around pocket vibes like condoms, but men are increasingly open to sharing the bed with them.
Of course it isn’t news that vibrators have gone mainstream. Cheap varieties are available everywhere from 7-11 to CVS; sleek gadgets are sold in well-lit shops like Babeland; and those looking to drop a couple G’s on a diamond-encrusted, gold-plated number can head to luxury suppliers like Coco de Mer. What’s remarkable is the dramatic change in how sex toys are portrayed in popular culture and, judging from the guys I interviewed, how straight men feel about them.
Just compare that “Skins” episode to the scene in the late-’80s movie “Parenthood,” where the power goes out during a family dinner and a vibrator is mistaken for a flashlight. The owner — Dianne Wiest’s character, an uptight divorcee — is mortified. Roughly a decade later, when the ladies on “Sex and the City” famously introduced the Rabbit, it was framed as a stand-in boyfriend.
Fast-forward to 2009 when Trojan , America ‘s most popular condom brand, introduced its line of vibrators through commercials on network television. This was a relatively safe, calculated move: A large nationwide study commissioned a year before by the company found that nearly half of heterosexual men had already “incorporated a vibrator into sexual activities during their lives.”