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The pros and cons of realistic vs. non-realistic dildos

There is a schism of sorts in the sex toy community, between those who adore realistic dildos (i.e. dildos resembling actual human penises) and those who abhor them. Of course, there are many people in the middle ground of that debate, people who have no strong preference either way and who feel that both types of dildo have their place.

No matter where you land on that spectrum, it’s totally okay to have preferences and boundaries about what sex toys you will or will not use. But incase you’re not sure how you feel about realistic versus non-realistic dildos, here are some pros and cons of each type to consider.

Realistic Dildos

1. They are simply the best option if you enjoy fantasizing about flesh-and-blood penises when you use toys and want the most apt choice of toy for that task.
2. They are often softer and squishier than non-realistic toys, which are sometimes made of materials like metal and glass, so they can be more comfortable and less jarring to use for some people.
3. People exploring a new gender identity or gender expression may enjoy wearing a realistic dildo in a strap-on as part of those explorations, either during sex or at other times.

1. Realistic dildos, especially those on the larger end of the spectrum, are likelier than any other type to trigger the insecurities of a partner who feels inadequate about their genitalia or sexual performance. Using them with (or in front of) a partner like this may therefore require some extra reassurance and emotional processing before and after.
2. Some people find realistic dildos off-putting, either because they don’t like penises in general or they just don’t want their toys to resemble penises.
3. Some realistic dildos are made of materials that are porous (and thus impossible to get fully clean) and/or are known to be irritating to delicate genital tissue, like PVC. However, this is easily mitigated by buying only dildos made of 100% medical-grade silicone.

Non-Realistic Dildos

1. People who don’t like penises, or who find the sight of them threatening or unsettling, will likely prefer non-realistic options.
2. Non-realistic dildos are more often available in firm materials, such as metal, stone, glass, and wood. These allow for more intense stimulation of internal erogenous zones that may desire pressure, like the G-spot or prostate.
3. Because non-realistic dildos don’t look anything like human penises, it’s easy to fantasize that they are the genitalia of a different species – so you may enjoy them if you have sexual fantasies about aliens, robots, monsters, and so on.
4. Non-realistic dildos made of materials like glass and metal are easier to use for temperature play, as they retain heat and cold more intensely and for longer than silicone toys.
5. Non-realistic dildos may be easier for transfeminine people to use in a strap-on without experiencing gender dysphoria.

1. Of course, if you eroticize the sight and/or feeling of an actual penis, you likely won’t be as satisfied by a non-realistic dildo.
2. Non-realistic dildos, especially those made of firm materials like glass and metal, may feel uncomfortably firm for some people.

Do you prefer realistic or non-realistic toys? Why do you think that is?


Kate Sloan is a journalist, blogger, podcaster, and educator who has been writing about sex online and in print for over five years. She writes about sex, kink, relationships, fashion, beauty, writing, and mental health. She has been voted a Sex Blogging Superhero for four years running, and her words reach over 22,000 sex nerds, weirdos and queerdos every month. As a journalist and essayist, Kate has written for Glamour, Teen Vogue, Daily Xtra, the Establishment, Maisonneuve, Herizons, the Plaid Zebra, xoJane, and more.

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