One of the world’s foremost masturbatory aids, fleshlights have been in production for well over two decades, and the company shows no sign of slowing down. But despite the incredible sales, the history of this product is known to very few. So let’s look at how this humble piece of plastic has become a fixture in so many homes.
Pre-Fleshlight Masturbatory Aids
Artificial vaginas have been in use for decades for medical research and animal breeding. Designed to imitate the female sex organ, they were usually made of a soft material and were lubricated and heated before use. Artificial insemination programs have used a variety of artificial vaginas to collect animal sperm. Cattle insemination programs help breed good quality cows, with the same service being offered for horses.
However, human-focused masturbatory aids were relatively rare before the invention of the fleshlight. It was a seedy industry for needy people. The products sold were low-grade and often unsafe to use. People often improvised, leading to the use of things like hollowed out plants as masturbatory aids.
All of this changed with the creation of the first fleshlight in 1995.
The History of Fleshlight
The story of this product starts in LA County, the birthplace of the inventor, Steve Shubin. An ex-cop, he was married with two kids. When the couple was in their 40s, Steve’s wife got pregnant. Due to her age and the difficulty of the pregnancy, Steve and his wife were not allowed to have sex for the next nine months. To fulfill his sexual needs, Steve decided to make something that replicated the feel of human flesh. With a fund of $50,000, he experimented in his garage for a few years and eventually came up with the formulation that is still in use today.
He then went to a patent attorney to file a patent for the chemical process, and when he got it, the company was formed. The rest is history.
The fleshlight design was heavily influenced by several factors, namely
- Portability – Steve did some basic market research, and figured out that his target market wanted something that was portable. The best selling women’s sex toy at the time was the Sybian, which was electric powered, and thus, not very portable. To that end, he decided to put it into a container. He took inspiration from the flashlights that most people carried around or kept in kits and designed a smooth, ergonomic container to keep the fleshlight in.
- Discretion – Given the stigma around male masturbatory aids, the fleshlight had to be discreet. The rugged design and top quality packaging was inspired by a thermos and made each fleshlight look completely innocuous.
- Convenience – When Steve’s wife was asked if she minded him developing this product, she said that it was better than the alternative. However, when she was back to full health, he had to put it away. This was also incorporated into the general design, in the form of longevity. The fleshlight, thanks to the materials used, can be used and stored for long periods of time, as necessary.
- Materials – There were a number of polymers that fit the requirements for the early fleshlights. However, the consistency and softness were usually a bit off. Steve mixed hundreds of different types of polymers in his garage, eventually creating a plastic that could stretch and return to its former size while retaining the feel of human flesh.
The Look of the Fleshlight
Once the designing process was done and the feel of the fleshlight was created, the look had to be decided. Steve’s sons hit upon the idea of taking molds of the vulvas of popular pornstars and using them to form the entrance of each fleshlight.
So they went and talked to a few pornstars, and took molds with plaster. These plaster molds were then reversed into clay, and sculpted using photos to create the fleshlight opening we all know today.
The insides, however, were designed to provide the penis with stimulation, and as such, were designed with different textured surfaces.
Connecting with pornstars turned out to be an excellent marketing strategy, and has provided a lot of sales to the company.
Types of materials used to make Fleshlights
Currently, Cyberskin is one of the major ingredients of the polymer that fleshlights are made of. Cyberskin, also known as thermal plastic, retains heat on use, increasing the verisimilitude of the sex toy.
Latex is also used to make fleshlights, but is relatively rare, as it may cause allergic reactions in some people.
One of the major issues with creating quality fleshlights is the fact that most of the substances used to manufacture them are porous. This leads to the accumulation of bacteria and makes cleaning it properly difficult.
Silicone fleshlights, on the other hand, are far more expensive but do not suffer the same drawbacks. They can be easily cleaned with bleach or heat, and are not porous. This makes them impervious to bacterial accumulation.
Types of fleshlights
There are three basic models of fleshlight, the “Mouth”, which provides an experience of oral sex, the “Butt”, which provides the experience of anal sex, and the “Lady”, which is the classic fleshlight, providing the experience of vaginal sex.
Fleshlight, the company, is dedicated to inclusivity, providing fleshlights in a variety of skin tones, and designs from a large number of porn stars.
Regular masturbation has proved to be an excellent way to relieve sexual tension, release stress, strengthen muscle tone in your pelvic and anal areas etc.
Apart from this, fleshlights also provide a number of benefits. They have been used to treat premature ejaculation, oversensitivity, and low stamina. Some models even come with a Stamina Training Unit, to help users get used to lasting longer.
Also, a large number of men suffer from what is called death grip syndrome. This occurs when they grip their penis too hard while masturbating. When they get used to this, the human vagina does not provide them with enough stimulation, causing a lack of sexual pleasure. By using a fleshlight, the death grip syndrome can be cured, by slowly acclimatizing the penis to the kind of stimulation a vagina provides.
The fleshlight is an excellent and trustworthy tool for men all over the world. The benefits it provides are unequaled. By practicing with the fleshlight, problems like premature ejaculation, lack of stamina and oversensitivity are solved quite easily. Despite a large number of sex toys available on the market, fleshlights have emerged as the clear leaders, and that is due to their unwavering commitment to producing high-quality products. The company is now run by the second generation of Shubin’s, and they are expanding the range, materials, and innovations of the company, in their quest to create a product that will be happily used by all.
Thomas Matthys a former world-class track & field athlete and the founder of Swol Headquarters. He graduated from the University of Fordham with a Master’s degree in Science. Matthys is a certified sports nutritionist and personal coach of several professional athletes. Matthys has been involved in various clinical studies within Track & Field including one on the factors associated with muscle recovery and HIIT.