Woman holding vibrator
Credit: IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Getty Images Plus; Francesca Roh/Xtra
Party for One
4 min

The best LGBTQ2-friendly sex toys for masturbating when you have chronic pain

From wedges to hands-free toys and penis vibrators, these toys can make masturbation much easier

I was flabbergasted to learn, after years of dull aches, shooting pains, weakness and stiffness throughout my body, that there was no real reason for all this discomfort. No visible reason, anyway.

My doctor looked over my unremarkable X-rays and the notes my various specialists had sent over, and concluded, “What you’re feeling is probably just depression-related pain. Or it could be fibromyalgia.” For some people, this is a distinction without a difference: Fibromyalgia is an incurable disorder with symptoms that include depression, fatigue, anxiety and widespread chronic pain. (Depression can also magnify physical pain.)

There are countless other potential causes of chronic pain (defined as persistent or recurring pain lasting more than three months), ranging from arthritis to multiple sclerosis to the lasting effects of a past injury.

It was frustrating to hear that my pain—which feels very real to me—is “all in my head.” I’m grateful to even have a diagnosis, given that so many women have their pain misdiagnosed or dismissed by doctors. Regardless of what’s causing my discomfort, I try my hardest to keep it from ruining my sex life. Sex and masturbation, after all, have always been some of my most reliable routes to comfort, pleasure and self-acceptance.

While the sex toy industry isn’t nearly as disability-conscious as it should be, some companies are starting to pay attention to this issue. As a sex writer, I’ve been lucky enough to test some of these pain-friendly innovations—or, in some cases, I was excited enough about them that I bought them myself. Here are some of the best ones I’ve found for masturbating while dealing with pain.

Pillows and wedges

Sexual positioning aids are wonderful for anyone who has trouble getting into, or sustaining, certain sexual positions. I don’t always have the hip flexibility to keep my legs spread wide, for example, or the arm strength required to prop myself up while getting spanked. That’s where something like the Liberator Wedge comes in very handy: It’s essentially a firm foam pillow in the shape of a ramp. It helps with support and angling, during both partnered sex and masturbation.

Liberator also makes sex toy mounts, rideable cushions that allow for hands-free usage of toys such as vibrators, dildos and strokers. Blessedly, when you’re done, you can zip off the microfiber cover and throw it in the laundry—messy sex-havers, rejoice!

Vibrators

My chronic pain frequently shows up in my hands, which can make it tough to use some vibrators. For that reason, I love vibes that are easy to hold, like the Fun Factory Be-One and Dame Fin. Both are designed to rest comfortably between two fingers—no gripping or heavy lifting necessary.

Speaking of vibrators: They can do double duty as muscle massagers, so they’re a versatile investment for those who appreciate pain relief as much as they appreciate good orgasms (and let’s face it, sometimes those things are one and the same). However, the rumbliest, most relaxing vibes are often on the heavier side, which may not be ideal for chronic pain sufferers. I like the BodyWand Midnight, both because it’s petite for a plug-in wand and because it’s controlled via a dial instead of buttons, so it doesn’t require as much effort to operate. The dial is useful for pleasure reasons, too: It’s like using a dimmer instead of an on/off switch, and thus allows for smaller intensity adjustments. Hypersensitivity is a side effect of some chronic pain disorders, so it’s good to know your vibe won’t overload you with sensation.

Canadian brand We-Vibe also makes a wand which has a feature called Smart Silence that automatically pauses the vibrations when you lift the toy away from your body, so you don’t have to fuss with buttons whenever you want to take a break or grab some more lube. Similarly, BMS Factory’s Swan Squeeze vibrators increase their intensity as you squeeze them harder, so you can escalate your pleasure just by clamping your legs together more tightly—which many people naturally do as they get more aroused anyway!

Sex toy holders and clamps

If the size and weight of wands and other big vibrators make them inaccessible to you, try a wand holder. You can clamp this gadget onto a flat surface like the edge of a table, and position it to hold your wand exactly where you need it.

This type of accessory isn’t just for vibrators, either. Fleshlight—a company known for their highly realistic strokers, made to look and feel like you’re penetrating a mouth, an anus, a vagina or just a nondescript pleasurable orifice—makes special mounts for their products that allow for hands-free thrusting.

Penis and prostate toys

Folks with penises can also try something like the Hot Octopuss Pulse Solo. It’s a powerful, multi-speed vibrator that gently cradles the penis while thrumming against the super-sensitive frenulum on the underside of the shaft. It’s possible to orgasm just by holding this vibe in place—you don’t need to stroke it up and down as with masturbation sleeves. You don’t even have to have an erection to use this toy!

If it’s prostate pleasure you’re after, try inserting a curved anal toy made specifically to hit that spot, like Njoy Pure Pfun or Aneros Eupho Syn. You can rock these stimulators against your prostate by simply flexing and relaxing your sphincter muscles while the toy is inside you—no athletic thrusting or angling required.

Pain for pleasure

Finally, as you may already know (hi, fellow kinksters!), sometimes it paradoxically helps to fight pain with pain. The endorphins released during sadomasochistic play have analgesic effects—plus, it can be psychologically comforting to feel pain you choose to feel, rather than pain that’s nonconsensually thrust upon you. When I’m craving some solo S&M, I’ll often reach for toys that hurt without demanding much from me or my condition, like nipple clamps, a sharp and scratchy Wartenberg wheel or a lightweight riding crop.

It can be hard to gather the motivation to seek joy when you’re fighting off pain. But hopefully as more companies start making accessible sex toys, it’ll be easier than ever for people with chronic pain to reach the heights of pleasure they desire and deserve.