How Fleshlight protects your feelings, and my journey as America’s Greatest Sex Toy Reviewer

Skank Engine more like it

Note: Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, there is no Thomas the Tank Engine Fleshlight.

Your mail carrier and sanitation engineer know many secrets about you, and Buddy: you should be ashamed. But this week the latter is going to have to deal with some shit outside my office that the former could only dream about: Discarded sex toys.

Several years ago I started the Marital Aid Test Kitchen column for, for which I would review sex toys, often securing the assistance of willing female friends to give their honest impressions of non-organic objects I would scientifically insert into their bodies.

“Don’t worry, Baby,” I would say. “It’s for a blog.”

Each month I’d get boxes and boxes of dildos and vibrators—some of them heavy and elegant pieces of practical art—that would disappear into the purses and vaginas of various friends. And that’s great because I didn’t need them back.

But then came the male-oriented sex toys: the masturbation sleeves, the disembodied molded vaginas and anuses of people like Carmen Luvana, Joanna Angel, Jada Fire, and others, made of phthalate-rich rubbery material with names like “Cyberskin” and “TrueFlesh.” It was very difficult to give this stuff away. When April Flores’ “Realistic Pussy & Ass” arrived, we had great fun just slapping it around the office; it did feel like the ass of a delighted BBW vixen, but I couldn’t find anyone to fuck it, ditto the rubberized moneymakers of any of the other porn stars.

What’s more, when I would place April Flores’ Realistic Pussy & Ass on a co-worker’s chair as a joke, I was mortified to find it left residue. Were April Flores herself to sit her naked pussy and ass on an office chair, the next tenant would only sense that something wonderful had happened there, not be unnerved by some pinkish chemical ooze.

Even after spending about a month coordinating reviews for the ridiculous RealTouch, a conveyor belt-based apparatus that synced video with a heavy, loudly-whirring and leaky contraption that looked like a masturbation-stunted Decepticon, it was not lost on me that, unless there was a physical problem, no marital aid could ever beat a man at the game he’d been perfecting for years. We’re like John Henry that way.

Unless the toy is for a part of your person you just can’t get at, like the prostate, or in the case that one has tiny Tyrannosaurus hands, most male-oriented sex toys just add complexity. What type of person wants to add complexity?

So into a file cabinet all those sex toys went and, as I moved offices, I packed them in a large UHaul box weighing at least 75 pounds. Untouched by anything but hands, there they sat, resisting craigslist and eBay ads. This week I’m pitching them out, and boy is my garbageman going to have a story to tell.

As you are well aware, I am a great Artist, and as such I require an audience to bask in the glow of my Creative Expression. That is why masturbation, despite all its spiritual benefits, always took a back seat (as it were) to making fluid deposits on another human being.

“I am surrounded by beautiful people,” I’d say when the urge arose. “I can wait five minutes until one walks by, or at the very least get on the 119 Freeway.”

The lapsed Catholic in me was fine with spilling my seed non-procreatively, but not on the ground; It had to be on a living face.

So as I tossed away sex toys I came upon (but not literally), a Fleshlight, that Vag-in-a-Can that seems to really have captured people’s imaginations with its discreet representations of the parts of everyone from Stoya to Nina Hartley to Kelly Shibari and dozens of men and women in between.

But a Fleshlight is not a delicious part of a healthy sexual lifestyle, as if your partner would ever say, “Tonight why don’t you use the Fleshlight while I watch?”; it is an intriguing replacement for a healthy sexual lifestyle.

Fleshlight’s staff knows this, and their literature reflects a will toward face-saving that I find admirable.

“Use your Fleshlight toy as you would during sexual penetration,” it reads, not adding, “and we’re sorry you’re not getting any actual sexual penetration lately.”

I still review female sex toys using interviews, science, and nudity, but I no longer have the patience to review toys for men without uttering a blanket “You can really do better on your own.”

Hit me up if you’d like 75 pounds of asses, though.

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Dorking out with your dork out to the RealTouch; The Butt Wax has exploded; Does Cyberskin April Flores dream of electric sheep?;

About Gram the Man 4399 Articles
Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist


  1. The FB link read” my journey as America’s Greatest Sex Toy…” and cutting off there, I couldn’t rush over here to buy my very own Gram Ponante-moulded sex toy fast enough. Rats.

    Good post though; I actually kind of wish you’d had opportunity to fall on your (pink, rubber) sword for all of us but I think a lesson was learned anyway.

  2. Ah, sadly, I am nowhere near LA. (I’m in Minneapolis). Perhaps you could leave the box at an abandoned railhead in LA somewhere? Hobos need satisfaction too, I would guess.

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