The Tantus They/Them: Out of My Non-Binary Vagina and Into the Social Context:
Tantus markets the They/Them as delivering a “good hard pounding without pounding your cervix or insides,” and it absolutely lives up to this claim. However, the main part of its marketing caused a lot more controversy.
The controversy resulted as a result of this dildo’s name–the They/Them.
When my partner and I first learned about this, we were super excited about it. My partner and I both identify as non-binary, and my partner uses they/them pronouns exclusively. When they first saw the They/Them, they really appreciated the idea of a dildo being marketed to them. But when this dildo was first announced, other people didn’t necessarily feel the same way.
Digging Up 2018 Non-Binary Dildo Discourse:
Looking back on Twitter, though, there was a decent amount of controversy and criticism when Tantus first announced the They/Them. Looking through the replies and quote retweets to the original posts, a lot of people were upset and saw the name negatively, as many believed the name was fetishizing non-binary people, driving forth harmful assumptions of what a person using they/them pronouns genitals must look like, and marketing off of non-binary people with no benefit to trans and non-binary communities.
As a non-binary person (more on my gender identity in 10,000 years as I struggle to express my gender feelings) in a relationship with a non-binary person, I don’t feel like the criticism is necessarily fair. I’ll leave some wiggle room here—maybe the idea of a dildo meant to represent a non-binary person was a bad call.
But to be fair, we already live in a world full of explicitly male/female named dildos such as Justin, Goodfella, Her Royal Harness, Bellatrix, and Jezebel. Is it so wrong to appreciate the fact that a dildo’s marketing strategy at least acknowledges that non-binary people exist?
I really appreciate the Twitter thread that Betty Butch made in response to the initial criticism surrounding the They/Them. They say, “I like gender sometimes. Mine is disregarded so often. It’s nice to have it affirmed.” I really agree with and appreciate this statement, as well as their whole Twitter thread on this subject.
Marketing Strategies for a Non-Binary Sex Toy:
On the subject of gender affirmation, it’s worth pointing out that the three currently available colors for this dildo are blue, pink, and white–the colors of a trans flag.
So many sex toys and so much marketing surrounding sexual pleasure and exploration remains explicitly gendered. Ultimately, I like it best when dildos and other sex toys have completely non-gendered names, such as names like Curve and Tiger. Still, though, I appreciate that Tantus is making a deliberate effort to include, point out, and acknowledge the non-binary community.
Tantus may not have been perfect in their execution. I don’t think the Tantus They/Them is the gold standard of marketing sex toys towards non-binary people, but I’m glad it at least got a start on doing so in 2018. Today, I’m glad to see more sex toy companies having success in carving out a niche for explicitly trans and non-binary inclusive toys.
The Future of Non-Binary Sex Toys
A company of particular note is Cute Little Fuckers, a wonderfully inclusive sex toy company. Each of their toys is given pronouns and a backstory, which offers an opportunity to normalize and celebrate non-binary identities in a sexual context. If mainstream sex toys are still going to be referred to with “he” and “she” pronouns, it’s about time for they/them pronouns to enter the personification arena as well.
One of the stores currently stocking Cute Little Fuckers is ShopEnby, who I’m pleased to be an affiliate with because they’re doing fantastic work to advance inclusiveness in the sex toy world. Here, just read their mission statement:
“We are a Black/Trans owned company run by 3 enby’s and believe that all bodies deserve affirmation and pleasure. We strive to create a safer, and more comfortable sex-toy shopping experience for the Queer community and more specifically gender non-conforming, trans and non-binary people.”
Wow! Fantastic! ShopEnby also donates 2% of all of their proceeds to organizations supporting queer and trans people of color. I don’t know how to not sound like I’m just Marketing(TM), but like…everything in this world is ultimately marketing. Support Black/Trans/Queer businesses like ShopEnby and use my coupon code IZZY for 10% off!
No one paid me to make this post, for reference, I just like…genuinely would like to raise awareness of companies doing positive work like ShopEnby is doing.
At the end of the day, I hope to see more sex toys designed by and for transgender and non-binary people that are designed with creativity and genuine self-expression in mind. But at the end of the day…sometimes you just want a dildo. I like the Tantus They/Them because to me, its design and concept provide a smaller than average, somewhat abstract dildo that meets my standards in terms of feel and visual presentation.
The They/Them was an early attempt at non-binary representation in sex toys when it debuted in 2018. Now that non-binary people have been given at least a minute of time in the spotlight, I believe that things can only get better from here in terms of representation in sex toys.
Or at least I hope things will get better, given that the world is so frequently a never ending nightmare.
ANYWAY…what would your ideal non-binary sex toy be called? What type of toy would it be, and what would it look like? What kind of marketing campaign would appeal to you most as a non-binary person? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
I used affiliate links in this post and was very awkward about it, please forgive me.