The rise of the suction sex toy: Where they came from, and how to use them

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history of suction sex toys

While the wand has been unrivalled in its popularity for the last 50 years, the boom of the suction sex toy over the last eight or so is starting to give it a run for its money.

A totally different sensation to penetration or vibration, suction sex toys are famously recognized by their nozzled head and oral sex mimicry. Typically designed for clitoral stimulation, it can be applied to other erogenous zones, offering something at once familiar, and entirely different. The ‘uncanny valley‘ of sensations, if you will.

The toy has become so popular that, in 2020, model Cara Delevigne joined forces with sex tech brand Lora DiCarlo as its co-owner and creative advisor, and Lily Allen partnered with Lelo, each promoting the suction toy in a bid to normalize sexual wellbeing and destigmatize sex toys.

The latest trend is the rose-shaped suction sex toy—an aesthetically shareable and “safe for work” design that has gone viral on TikTok and other social media platforms, with users going crazy for the fast orgasmic results.

MeetRosie
MeetRosie

With suction sex toys becoming all the rage, with many sex toy brands bringing out their own versions, each varies in their design. In this article, we will break down what makes the clit suction toy so popular; compare the different types, what the tech goes on inside them to make them work, and—seeing as they might become your new favorite lover—how to intimately use and care for them too.

Where did the suction sex toy come from?

In Germany 2014, Womanizer launched its first product, the Womanizer W100. Distributed internationally the following year, the device was intended to bridge the orgasm gap between cis straight women, who orgasm 65 percent of the time during sex, and cis straight men, who orgasm 95 percent of the time.

When founder and inventor Michael Lenke read about that study, “he was determined to find a solution”, said Johanna Rief, Womanizer’s Head of Sexual Empowerment. He and his wife Brigitte spent 18-months developing and testing the technology before bringing it to market.

Just two years after it launched its Pleasure Air Technology, the Womanizer was found to effectively treat people experiencing anorgasmia while going through menopause.

The study showed that 100 percent of participants experienced an orgasm using the Womanizer, and 86 percent experienced an orgasm in under ten minutes.

Why have suction toys become so popular?

Imagine the best oral sex of your life. And now imagine holding that pleasure in the palm of your hand. Okay, so the suction sex toy might not entirely match a real-life tongue along with the human intimacy, but “it was an innovation and a completely new approach on how to stimulate the clitoris,” said Rief.

With thousands of nerve endings, the clitoris is the only organ dedicated solely for pleasure. However, unlike the common vibrator, these nozzled air toys provide indirect stimulation around the head of the clitoris, rather than direct vibrations.

ose 2 review clitoral mouth
Osé, by Lora DiCarlo

Reif explains that the clitoral suction toy “enables many vulva-owners to reach an orgasm – often in a short time, sometimes even multiple times, or for the first time ever.” She goes on to say that many Womanizer customers have described the orgasm feeling as something “completely new and different”. This positive experience naturally leads people to recommend it to friends, “so word-of-mouth recommendation has always been a key part of our success.”

Not only that, but the ergonomic shapes that many suction sex toys offer are often modern and sleek, creating a space for people who may have been intimidated by sex toys to feel pulled to try one.

How does a suction sex toy work?

When you tear down a clitoral suction toy to see how it’s made, you may be surprised to know there’s no “suction” technology at all.

Bawdy Blueprints shares in their teardown of the ‘Meselo 10-Frequency Nipple Sucker Clitoris Masturbator Massager Waterproof Mute Clit Suction Vibrators Sex Toys for Woman’, that there is “a silicone diaphragm, with a hard plastic bearing to interface with the motor.”

Womanizer’s Air Pressure technology works by using changes in contactless air pressure to gently massage the sensitive nerve-endings of the clitoris. Its patented technology creates pulsating overpressure for stimulation as an “air pressure massage”. This means that “a pump or a compressor generates a pulsating overpressure, which is directed by means of a nozzle to the erogenous zone to be stimulated.”

In layman’s terms, the motor moves the plastic bearing which pulsates the silicone back and forth, which inside a nozzle creates a vacuum over whatever it’s applied to.

If you’re super into the tech behind this toy and other pressure toys, check out KinkyMakers’ teardown.

The nozzle offers indirect stimulation to the area as opposed to the more direct stimulation you’d get from a vibrator. It allows for a build-up of sensation without overstimulating the nerve endings.

Depending on the person’s sensitivity, the desire for direct or indirect is a very personal thing. But, the longer you build up arousal in the genitals, the more blood can flow into and engorge the area, the more powerful and long-lasting the orgasmic release will be.

While this technology does offer something completely different from the typical vibration sensation, not all suction toys are made alike.

The texture of the toy can vastly differentiate the experience. The softer the silicone and the nozzle head, the more suction-like the sensation. However, the harder the silicone and nozzle head, the more vibratory the experience can be—which is not necessarily the experience we are after in investing in a suction toy—you might as well buy a standard vibrating toy. Nevertheless, whatever the material, the higher the setting means the faster the motor, which means the more vibratory the toy’s sensations will be.

What are the different types of suction sex toys?

Since the Womanizer launched, we’ve seen a boom of suction toys out on the market. They vary in shapes and sizes but are all bound together by the nozzle feature.

When deciding which suction toy to choose from, it might be worth understanding the following differences.

For ease of use and people with mobility issues, many have been designed with a handle. Such as the Womanizer Premium and Satisfyer Curvy 1+, WeVibe Melt, Dame’s Aer, and Lelo’s Sona. While Lora DiCarlo’s Baci, and Lelo’s Sila are more round in shape to comfortably sit in the palm of your hand.

For ease of travel, there are travel-friendly options, like Lily Allen’s Lelo Liberty that come in a case-like form to keep the toy safe and discreet in your suitcase.

Liberty by Lelo x Lily Allen

More recently, for novelty purposes and ease of display, the rose-shaped suction toy looks and feels good. However, be careful of non-authentic versions (of any toy) that can be dangerous, by buying from trusted sellers (or our sister-site sextech.co.uk, where only genuine products are sold!)

For combined orgasms, there are suction toys that have a G-spot attachment. The modern Rabbit if you will. Instead of bunny ears vibrating the clitoris, you will find the suction nozzle. such as the Lora DiCarlo Osé and Osé2, the Womanizer Duo, and Lelo’s Enigma.

How to use a suction toy

The suction nozzle can be applied to any body part that will enjoy pleasure from the pressure sensation. This could be your inner elbow, neck, nipple, inner thigh, labia, or clitoris. Anywhere you want to stimulate, the choice is yours.

Because of the nozzle, the toy will not directly touch the clitoris but cup around it. “Sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly where one’s clitoris is, so using a hand mirror can be a great way to find it,” says Reif.

If you notice uncomfortable friction on the vulva, simply add a small pea-sized amount of water-based lube. However, if you apply too much, you may not be able to feel much, or it can become too slippery—and cue the loud slurping noises.

Satisfyer

Some Womanizer suction sex toys have added Silent Technology features which means it will only turn on when applied to the body. This doesn’t take into account the slurping sounds. So be wary of eavesdropping on housemates.

On the lower setting, you may find the toy more suction-like, while higher settings can create more vibration-like sensations due to the faster-moving motor.

Caring for your suction toy

The suction sex toy is typically made from silicone ABS hard plastic or a combination of the two. It’s recommended you use warm water and soap to clean it or invest in a sex toy cleaner. Do check if the toy is waterproof and read the manual on how to clean your specific device.

Make sure you clean inside the nozzle to remove any potential for bacterial infections.

As the nozzle is likely silicone, avoid using silicone-based lubricants to keep the toy from being damaged, and stick with a trusty water-based lube.

What’s next for clitoral suction toys?

The latest trend of the rose suction sex toy might be an indicator that more aesthetically appealing, Instagrammable, shapes will continue to provide pleasure for more mainstream users.

Womanizer also says that it has recently incorporated its suction technology into the Arcwave Ion, a penis premium stroker that uses an extended version of this technology to stimulate the underside of the penis. Depending on whether that sensation gains popularity for penis-owners, perhaps we will see more penis suction toys sitting alongside clit suction toys.

Read Next: The Magic Wand: The history, culture, and tech behind one of the world’s most-loved vibrators

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Oli Lipski

Oli Lipski

Oli is a freelance sex tech researcher based in London. With an MA in Sexual Dissidence, researching sex tech, and a BA in History, researching gender and sexuality, she has a keen understanding of the past, present and future of sex.

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