It's fair to say that the sex toy market offers a lot of options. Perhaps too many. No, definitely too many: actually, narrowing down the toy that'll work for you seems like a tough task, whether you're buying your first Fleshlight or you already have a drawer full of the best sex toys for men.
You can't exactly try out the best Fleshlights without the help of a very generous friend, and (as we're fond of pointing out around these parts) everyone's experience of using a stroker is going to be different. Length, girth, sensitivity, the mental aspect and, perhaps, the person you're using it with – all of these things play into the experience you'll have.
With that said, however, knowing what you're getting into is the best way to avoid making a costly mistake. Even if you won't know precisely what your experience will be, you'll at least be able to find something that feels like the right choice – and it's easier than it seems to find the right Fleshlight for you.
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How do I choose my first Fleshlight?
Well, what looks good to you? Strokers come in a few different shapes and sizes, and getting the form right is the first step to ticking those mental boxes. Each kind of stroker has its advantages, too, so let's break them down.
This is the form factor which probably springs to mind given the root of the word 'Fleshlight': a torch-like contraption with a soft inner and tough outer case. These are generally able to generate a good amount of vacuum suction, adjustable by loosening the end cap, and they'll usually be long enough to enclose your entire penis – though some like the Fleshlight Flight Pilot are shorter than full-sized models like the Fleshlight Ice Lady.
The shorter length of open-ended toys like the Fleshlight Quickshot Vantage or the excellent Arcwave Voy does mean you might not be able to cover everything at once, and they don't typically generate any suction. That said, you can leave one end cap on (or cover the end with your fingers) if you want to generate that effect, and top access means they're great for play with a partner.
Not all Fleshlights have a hard case, and you may find that the ability to squeeze with your hand while going to work gives you the best results. These also tend to be the cheapest options out there; you could opt for an open stroker like the Lovehoney XL Pleasure Waves, a disposable option like the Tenga Egg, or a slightly-less disposable choice like the Arcwave Ghost. Do bear in mind, though, that just about any stroker can have its inner removed from its case – spend a little more, and you'll have more options.
A built-in vibrator might work for you, it might not. It's probably not something to avoid, as such, given that you'll be able to use a toy like the Blowmotion Real Feel Rechargeable Masturbator with the vibration switched off if you wish. You could also go a little more mechanical with your stroker and opt for something like the Arcwave Ion or the auto-stroking Kiiroo Keon, but we'd suggest those aren't really first-timer toys.
What are the key features to look for in a Fleshlight?
Primarily, consider the texture of its inner. This varies wildly between toys; those with a rougher or more defined inner texture are more suitable for people with slightly lower sensitivity, but you may not wish to go too far towards the mundane. If it doesn't effectively get you off, what's the point?
Looks are important; if you're trying to be inconspicuous, a transparent Fleshlight won't really fit the bill. On the other hand, it might be great for partner play (see the best sex toys for couples for our top picks). And you don't need to opt for a gaudy anatomical opening unless that's something that you find particularly exciting.
It's not all fun and games. You'll need to clean your Fleshlight regularly. Consider just how easy it'll be for you to not only rinse it out but dry it too. Often this means leaving its inner out of the case to be exposed to the air, so if it's a foot long tube of floppy flesh-coloured material that might not be something that's easy to get away with.
Will a Fleshlight last a long time?
Some Fleshlights last longer than others. It really depends on the particular blend of material used for its inner. You might start to notice a little damage to, for instance, Fleshlight's clear SuperSkin material more quickly than (to give another example) Kiiroo's flesh coloured inners. Particularly soft material might start to tear very quickly, particularly if you're rough with it. It's important to care for your stroker, cleaning it regularly, refreshing it with cornstarch or specific renewing powder, and treating it to the finest lube possible.
Do I need to use special lube?
Pretty much any of the best lubes will do as long as they're water-based. Anything oil or silicone-based stands to damage the material of your stroker, and using a degraded and potentially crumbling Fleshlight isn't a pleasant thought.
Most toys, in our experience, come bundled with at least enough lube for one use, but investing in your own is imperative. Adjust the thickness of that lube to taste; a thinner lube might make things more slippery and less sensitive, a thicker lube will tend towards the sticky.
Should I buy a Fleshlight?
If we're talking capital-F Fleshlight here, that's a good question. That's the brand – the one with the largest range of toys, the one with tenure, and a very proven quantity – but it's not your only option. Many other manufacturers make incredibly competent toys. Don't base your purchase on name alone: look at the toy itself.
In the end, it all comes down to how you use your Fleshlight. Do it right and you'll have a great time no matter what you select, though don't jump in before you check out this guide to the things I wish I knew before buying my first toy...