|Loving Japan Obligatory! #3: Masturbation Devices|
by Julian X  /  non-fiction  /  17 Jun 2008
The Japanese are famous for their love of technology as well as their embracing of sexuality, at least compared to most Western cultures. The combination of the two has produced a state-of-the-art sex doll that has led to a widescale sex doll fetish.
But it's also produced other devices, three of which I'll cover here.
The first is a fairly well-known mechanical wanking machine. That's right: it's a phoney hand that pumps up and down. A pretty unsophisticated sex robot, but one that's been on the market for years.
Like many kitchen devices, it also comes with an attachment. If the hand isn't your thing, you can detach it and replace it with a simple recepticle that moves in a similar fashion.
As you can see from the pictures above, the device costs about 34,500 yen -- or about $345.
A more compact and cheaper alternative is provided by the Japanese company Tenga, which has the tagline "New Adult Concept." This is a modern company all about new masturbation devices.
In fact, the company's main product is a technological update on an old one, known as an onacup, which was simply a plastic tube containing a disposable masurbation sleeve and some lubricant. The tube usually came with a cute anime girl on the front -- because, you know, this is Japan.
Tenga's updated versions are still disposable, but they're technological marvels. The first thing you notice is how stylish they look: the unknowing eye could easily think they were some particularly cool tube of shampoo. In fact, the company retained a product stylist to achieve the look, which was meant to project a feeling of hygiene and overcome the embarrassment factor.
These cups come in various styles, each with their own color: "standard" is red, "hard" is black, and "soft" is white. A larger-size "U.S. Tanga" style (red with silver stripes) was the most recent edition (parallel to the recent development of larger-sized condoms in the U.S.).
Because this is Japan, where seemingly everything has to be sold through cute characters, each color even has their own anime girl character.
Within each color, various models are available: "deep throat," "soft tube," "rolling head," "double hole," and "air cushion." Not all models are available in each color.
The idea is that the different models reproduce the feeling and contour of different sexual positions or acts. The "air cushion" model represents the missionairy position, "rolling head" represents a woman on top, "soft tube" represents a woman sitting on a man's lap, and "deep throat" represents, obviously, deep throat.
This is no mere labelling nonsense: the interiors are sculped, are tighter or thinner in various spots, and also have various ridges and bulges to maximize sensation. The design produces a vacuum effect, so this is something more than sliding your wang into a moistened, sculped hole. The oral sex model is even designed to produce sucking sounds when used. Not to mention a lubricant dispenser on the opening of all the models.
You can see an English translation of the schematic for one of these devices here.
Of particular note is the "double hole" model, which is open on both sides. That's because the interior material is flexible, so two different holes can be carved out inside, initially darting off to the side and never touching. When the penis goes in, it naturally straightens out the hole.
The idea is to give the user two different options, but also to simulate the experience of a threesome -- in which one can switch between holes.
Each product also has iconic graphics, one of which illustrates the position the product represents, hilariously depicted in the style of street signs.
These cups each sell for an affordable $10 or so.
But that's not all Tenga offers. It also offers lubricant, called "hole lotion" and available in equally stylish containers. Hole lotion comes in three varieties: "mild" (white), "real" (red), and "wild" (black).
Another device is the "hole warmer," which warms the interior of your cup prior to use -- a nice little technological innovation. Of course, you need space and time to use it, so it's likely to be used at home (or office) -- as opposed to, say, using it in a bathroom stall when the kids drive you crazy at the shopping mall.
Finally, there's something called a "flip hole" that sells for about $100. This one looks like some kind of iPod docking station. It's got vacuum and pump buttons on the side to adjust the fit. But its real innovation is that it opens up to allow for easy cleaning, and it's supposed to last about 50 uses.
Tenga has taken off in Japan, reportedly selling over 100,000 units per month. The company's creator, Koichi Matsumoto, even got a profile on Forbes.com.
But while the product is popular and even sold in Don Quijote, a general store in Japan (and Hawaii), the company was banned from a state-funded Japanese product show focusing on industrial design.
This must be an interesting company to work for, particularly in the product testing department. In fact, Matsumoto claims that he had to take Viagra in order to test out his devices and bring them to market. Business demands such sacrifices.
Once you're done masturbating using one of the above products, you might feel justifiably proud of yourself. So, of course, you're going to want to check out those sperm. You know, see them swim, count them, and generally take pride in those little guys.
For those so inclined, there's Plasma Sperm -- a microscope designed for viewing sperm. It comes with various levels of magnification, all designed to let you appraise your little guys' numbers and prowess.
The box even has cute blue sperm swimming around on it, one looking happy (perhaps as it's about to get the egg) while another looks sad (no doubt perceiving that it's about the join the holocaust of millions of sperm around it). Putting sperm of the box, however cute, might not be good product design -- you hope the box isn't dusty, since there's nothing like getting your hands dirty picking up an old sperm-covered box in a store. Finally, images of magnified sperm appear right below the box's see-through window.
Plasma Sperm: because nothing makes masturbation sexier than putting your ejaculate on a slide and taking a look at those guys wiggle. Alternatively, if caught masturbating, you can always whip out your Plasma Sperm and claim that it was just a science experiment.
It's important to see this product in the particular context of Japan, where the birth rate has been very low for decades -- something the government has sometimes sought to address. According to some government officials, producing Japanese babies is a patriotic duty. While such masturbatory devices might be seen as unpatriotic, Plasma Sperm justifies it all, encouraging you to take pride in your semen.
There's just nothing like seeing your own healthy and numerous little soldiers for yourself -- so you can blame your wife for being barren. Alternatively, you could finally find out, without the shame of a doctor's visit, that you really have yourself to blame -- and then hide it from your wife or, in more extreme cases, do your part to contribute to Japan's famously high suicide rate.
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