IT’S NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE!
It has come to our attention that people up and down the country have been confusing our Iconic Textured Barrel with something a little less PG. While we’re all for a bit of self-love, we’re here to clarify that this product is ABSOLUTELY NOT A SEX TOY.
To clarify THIS IS NOT A SEX TOY, we launched our first ever Out of Home campaign. This was a really exciting deal so of course we had to go all out & who better than television personality, Chloe Burrows, to come on this journey with us. Chloe took to the streets of London, touring round famous city landmarks, along with our digital advertising van to once & for all confirm the exact purpose this tool is used (and what it's not to be used for...)
Have you spotted our our digital advertising van touring around the city? Or maybe you've spotted us on the side of your local bus? Were you lucky enough to meet with Chloe when she was moving around London vocalising what this tool is designed for? We want to see where you've seen us - be sure to snap a selfie & tag us on instagram @markhillhair 📸
COMPLETE THE LOOK
Indecisive? Don’t stress. Start your Pick ‘N’ Mix collection with a pre-built starter kit.
STEP 1. ALWAYS USE PROTECTION
The wand reaches 200C, so start by spritzing your hair with our Style Addict Heat Protection Spray. This lightweight, no crunch formula protects hair up to 240C, leaving it smooth and shiny with added texture and grip.
Don't forget to safeguard your surfaces and protect your Pick 'N' Mix barrels at the same time, with our new & exclusive Heat Proof Styling Mat.
STEP 2. DON'T FORGET FOREPLAY
The key to great curls lies in the prep. You’ll need to brush your hair out and separate it into small sections before you get to work.
STEP 3. LET LOOSE
Wrap a section of hair around the barrel and hold for three to five seconds. For long-lasting volume, try using the pin curl method while the hair cools.
STEP 4. KEEP A GOOD THING GOING
Finish with a spritz of our Award-Winning Style Addict Extreme Hairspray to freeze your curls in place. All. Day. Long.BUY THE SET
Why there’s no shame in owning a sex toy
Whether it’s sexual intimacy with another person, or masturbation and self-pleasure, sex and pleasure is an important and healthy part of life. But, despite notable progress over the last decade and the ongoing fight for sex positivity, there’s still a lot of shame, stigma and embarrassment when it comes to sex and pleasure, and this includes owning and using sex toys. As Mark Hill’s 2023 research shows, 65% of people think there’s a stigma around owning a sex toy.
Should we be feeling shame over owning and using sex toys? No, absolutely not!
But unfortunately it’s not as simple as knowing this and deciding not to feel it. We’re surrounded by deeply ingrained, historical ‘messages’ that sex for pleasure is shameful and, without often realising it, our brains soak these ‘messages’ up. These ideas are now being challenged by sex positivity and the fight for quality, inclusive sex education, and this is great and much-needed! But this stuff takes time to unpick, especially when it’s been cemented over centuries of time. We’d have to have some serious superpowers, to be able to deflect these feelings of shame as soon as we decided we wanted to.
But with time and intention, we can start to dissolve this stigmatisation and these feelings of shame. By ‘intention’, we mean actively thinking about what you enjoy or might want to try, instead of automatically following what we’re told to like/not like and the ‘scripts’ (in films and TV shows, in music lyrics, etc.) of what sex ‘should’ be. We’ll explain more on this below. It can feel really tricky at first, but it gets easier with time and practice, just like anything!
Aside from the enjoyment of it, sex toys can be a great way to work out what specifically feels good for you. It’s both healthy and important to take some time to think about yourself. Not what your partner prefers, or what the latest Instagram infographic says about orgasms or positions.
This can feel easier if you’re trying things out alone. Masturbation has historically (and now!) gotten a bad rep. The stigma attached to sex and pleasure increases tenfold when it comes to self-pleasure and masturbation, especially if you’re not a straight man.
But self-pleasure is a brilliant way to understand what feels good sexually for you. We all have different bodies, which means we experience different types of sexual touch in different ways. Some will feel good, and some won’t. Sex toys can be a fun way to experiment and figure some of this out, by yourself and at your own pace.
This isn’t just about self-pleasure; understanding what feels good for you can also massively improve the sexual intimacy you have with someone else. After all, how can we communicate with a sexual partner and tell them what we like, if we don’t entirely know?
This leads onto another important reason why people use sex toys: to enjoy different types of sexual intimacy with each other.
It’s easy to get swept along with the societal idea of ‘normal sex’ and what sex ‘should’ be, which is usually: heterosexual (straight); penis-in-vagina penetration; penis-focused pleasure; and sex finishing when he ejaculates (cums).
Not everyone is going to enjoy that particular type of sex, for example: the majority of women and people with a vagina who can’t orgasm from penetration; LGBTQ+ people who aren’t having heterosexual sex; people with disabilities or health conditions who find it painful or uncomfortable; anyone who doesn’t enjoy or want penetrative sex; and many others.
The good news is: no-one has to have this specific type of sex if they don’t enjoy it! And sex toys can come in handy when trying different types of sexual intimacy. They can prompt us to get more creative and think about what actually feels good instead of automatically following the ‘script’, which inevitably means better sex. We can’t say it enough: There is no such thing as ‘normal’ sex.
Pleasure and disability
Another big reason to use sex toys is making sexual pleasure possible or easier while having a disability or health condition. Disabilities affect a lot of people with many aspects of their lives, and that inevitably includes sexual intimacy. People with disabilities have the right to sexual pleasure too, and sex toys can help with this.
For example: if you have limited hand movement, there are toys that are purposefully made to be easier and more comfortable to hold, while creating a similar sensation to being fingered. Other examples of accessible sex toys include:
Vibrators with buttons that are bigger and easier to find
Strap-on harnesses that are worn over the penis so that people don’t have to have or maintain an erection
Vibrators with a bigger surface area, so that they’re easy to use if someone finds it hard to hold the toy in one place for a long period of time
And lots more! Research and manufacturing around sex toys has expanded so much in recent years, and that includes toys catering to various disabilities.
Everyone has the right to safe sexual pleasure. This includes self-pleasure, or pleasure from sexual intimacy with a partner, or both.
A note on sex positivity, consent and choice
As much as sex toys can be a fantastic addition to people’s sex lives, sexual pleasure doesn’t have to involve them. We want everyone to feel empowered and able to use sex toys, if they want to. Sex positivity doesn’t mean you have to try everything; it means having a choice over how you’d like to explore and enjoy sexual pleasure.
No-one should pressure anyone else into anything sexual, and that includes using sex toys. Consent is crucial for all types of sexual intimacy and pleasure. It’s okay to choose not to use sex toys, and it’s okay to try a sex toy and decide it’s not for you. You’re not ‘boring’ or ‘sexually oppressed’; you’re listening to yourself and giving yourself the choice. As we always say at Fumble: Your body, your choice.
Is it safe to use household items as sex toys?
There’s a lot to unpack in this question: What type of household item? And use it how?
Broadly speaking, we advise that people don’t use anything as a sex toy that hasn’t been specifically made as a sex toy. Mainly because our genitals and erogenous zones are generally very sensitive parts of our body. But Mark Hill’s 2023 research shows that 30% of people have used a household item as a sex toy in the past, such as deodorant cans, toothbrushes, pens, hairbrushes, fruit or veg, remotes, candles and kitchen roll holders.
More often than not, these sorts of household items are used for penetration and this is really unsafe. No-one wants to end up in hospital because they can’t get an item out of their vagina or anus, or because the item has caused internal damage. Sex toys have a base, handle or string tie, so that they can be easily removed without getting stuck. It’s especially important that anal toys have a wide base, so that nothing gets pulled into the rectum past the sphincter (this is because of the vacuum-like pressure of the rectum - very different to the vaginal canal where no toy will be able to pass through the cervix).
We advise against using household items, particularly for penetration, but there are some ways to be safer:
Put a condom over the item if possible - this makes it as hygienic as possible (dental dams or disposable gloves could work if not)
If it’s not possible to put a condom over the item, make sure it’s clean
Don’t use any item with sharp edges, corners or pointy parts that could cut you or cause damage
Don’t use any item that could shatter or break off inside you
Get medical help straight away if anything goes wrong - don’t let embarrassment stop you from speaking to a doctor
That said, less harmful household items include:
Pillows or any soft bedding for humping (just make sure you’re able to put it in the wash afterwards)
Sitting underneath showerheads or bath taps for clitoral stimulation (remember to check the water temperature beforehand)
We still advise that you stick to sex toys to have your fun; and if it’s shame and embarrassment stopping you from using them, read on to (hopefully!) make those uncomfortable feelings easier.
Is there a stigma to owning or buying a sex toy?
When we say ‘sex toy’, we’re talking about objects that are used for sexual pleasure and made specifically for this purpose. Sex toy research and manufacturing has exploded in recent years and there are now so many types, shapes and sizes out there, some of them more well-known than others: vibrators, dildos, butt plugs, clit suction toys, kegel balls, cock rings, couple toys (with a remote control, for example), and more. We have lots more information on the different types on our site.
So, why are people using household items instead of sex toys, especially when toys are now so affordable and easy to buy online?
One reason is shown in Mark Hill’s 2023 research: Stigma! Sadly, this shows 65% of people thinking there’s a stigma around owning a sex toy, and many not feeling confident in buying them at a physical shop (59%) or online (33%).
We share more about sex toys and stigma in our blog piece. But the more we start talking about sex and pleasure, and normalising the fun of sexual pleasure and using sex toys, the easier it gets.
Why do people choose to use sex toys?
Apart from the fun and pleasure they bring, there are lots of other reasons why people choose to use sex toys:
Exploring self-pleasure with sex toys can give us more understanding about ourselves and specifically what feels good sexually. This isn’t just about masturbation, it can also massively improve sex with a partner: How do we communicate what feels good sexually to a partner, if we don’t know ourselves?
It’s common to think of heterosexual (straight) penis-in vagina penetration when we think of sex, but there are so many different ways to be sexually intimate with another person. Sex toys can be a great way to try out different types of sexual intimacy and pleasure with each other
Having a disability can make it difficult to touch yourself and/or enjoy sex with a partner, but there are lots of sex toys designed specifically to make it possible or much easier to enjoy sexual pleasure
We explain lots more about these points in our blog piece. Regardless of who you are, whether you’re in a heterosexual (straight) relationship, or a lesbian, gay or queer relationship, or if you’re single, there are so many different ways to enjoy sexual intimacy and sexual pleasure. We have lots more information on our site.
How can I be safe while using sex toys?
You’re already being much safer, by using sex toys instead of household items. But there are a few more safety tips to remember:
Is the CE mark printed on the toy?
Make sure that the CE mark (this is on so many items, for example phones) is on any sex toy you use. This means that the toy meets required safety standards, such as being made from ‘body safe materials’. This is especially important if the toy is going inside your body.
Keep it hygienic
Make sure you clean any sex toy after using it. If you’re sharing a sex toy with a partner, clean it in between each of you using it. This is because sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be passed on through sex toys. An easy way to keep safe from STIs is to put a new condom on the toy between using it, especially if this is a penetrative toy. Make sure you also clean the toy/use new condoms if you’re using it on different parts of your body, for example moving between the vagina and anus.
Lube makes using sex toys much more comfortable and pleasurable. Use it! This is especially important when using anal sex toys because the anus isn’t self-lubricating like the vagina. Just make sure you use the right type of lube, which is usually advised on the packaging/in the instructions.
What about my partner? I don’t want to offend them…
There’s a misconception around sex toys that they ‘replace’ a partner in some way, or suggest that a partner ‘isn’t enough’ during sex. We can’t say it enough: Sex toys don’t replace people.
Instead, they add something different to sexual pleasure and intimacy. They can even be used and enjoyed as a couple together. Involving a partner when buying a sex toy, by looking/shopping together, can open up a conversation about what either of you might like to try and what feels good for either of you (for example, the sensation of vibrating toys is very different to penetrative toys).
Just make sure, if you’re involving your partner, that you check in on each other’s comfort levels. It’s not okay to pressure anyone else into using sex toys. Consent is crucial for any type of sexual intimacy, whether that’s you wanting to include your partner in the sex toy fun, or whether it’s your partner suggesting using them with you.
Also: just because you bring up trying sex toys, doesn’t mean you’re saying yes to any and every type of sex toy. There are a lot of different types, and wanting to try a vibrator is not consenting to trying butt plugs or dildos. Part of keeping ourselves safe while enjoying sex toys is communicating and understanding consent.
We know that it can feel difficult to communicate consent, so we have lots more information on our site: