The Fleshlight is to men’s sex toys what Coke is to “soda”—many people use the brand name “Fleshlight” to refer to just about any sex toy made for guys, and there’s a reason for that.
When the Fleshlight was introduced, it brought thoughtful design, quality materials, and a more positive self-image for users to a market segment that was previously dominated by cheap, depressing, low-quality “novelty” products. Since then, the makers of the Fleshlight have sold over 13 million of their feel-good play things, expanded their line to include hundreds of different products, and have practically taken the brand mainstream, scoring mentions in major motion pictures and TV series. So take note—although the success of the Fleshlight has likely contributed to an increased awareness of sex toy options for guys in general, “Fleshlight” is not just a generic term for any sex toy for guys. It is a premium brand name that carries its own distinct history, reputation, and loyal following.
The product’s popularity alone seems enough to make a lot of people willing to take a leap of faith. After all, “try before you buy” just isn’t really a viable option for this type of product. However, popularity can also sometimes stir skepticism that there’s more hype than substance, especially in the case of a product that isn’t typically discussed casually among friends. Getting a friend’s opinion on upgrading to the latest iPhone is one thing, but asking a friend if he has a Fleshlight and likes it…well, that might be a bit awkward. But at over $69, you’re justified in wanting to know whether it is really that much better than your right hand or if it’s just a novelty.
Since you can’t just run over to Target and take a look at one (not yet, anyway), and because your friends probably don’t want to talk to you about their Fleshlights, let alone admit to having one, what follows aspires to be the most comprehensive and in-depth Fleshlight review known to the internet. If there’s some aspect of it that we didn’t cover but that you want to know about, just let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can add to the article. We’ll tell you what your friends won’t.
Choosing a Fleshlight
Talk about adding some variety to your sex life—the options are almost overwhelming.
Tip: Finding deals and sales
Since we published this article, one question that has come up often in email is whether or not the company ever has sales, and the answer is yes. The Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales are the ones you can pretty much count on annually. This year’s has officially ended but there are still a few products on sale as of Jan. 5 if you want to check it out.
Fleshlight Social Media and Always-on Deals
The rest of the time you should keep an eye on their social media channels—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (just check in occasionally if you understandably don’t want to follow or subscribe) and include the two pages below in your research:
If you’ haven’t really explored the site yet, the first thing to know about the Fleshlight is that picking one can be a challenge. There’s a wide range of models and designs to choose from, and within those models, a range of options to consider.
The internal textures—where the magic happens
Fleshlights all consist of a rigid, functional case (what you put in your hand) that holds an interchangeable, silky soft, supple sleeve (what you put yourself into). All the sleeves have different textures and patterns on the inside and this is where the magic happens. This is what you actually feel—the cause of the pleasurable sensations and the first of several features that make the Fleshlight more interesting than your own hand. The designs range from conservative—just a smooth tube—to undulating contours and twists that look like they’ll swirl around you and squeeze up and down. And then there are some that are so intricate looking and creative that you can hardly even imagine what they would feel like. So choosing a texture is probably one of the most important decisions to make. As you explore, your brain starts to go crazy (in a good way) trying to imagine what sort of new sensations each one might create. Eventually you’ll find yourself coming back to a couple of them over and over again thinking, “I’ve got to know what that feels like.”
With all the variety and enticing possibilities, good luck limiting yourself to just one. I couldn’t. I ordered two full-size original Fleshlights using the Build Your Own [NSFW] feature. The first one I chose is called the Wonder Wave. A blurb on the site said it was one of their most popular designs and it looked like it would feel pretty interesting—finally, something ribbed for my pleasure. And the second is called the Mini Lotus. It is described as their most realistic feeling Fleshlight. Since everyone wants to know if a Fleshlight feels like “the real thing”, I had to try it (for your sake, dear readers).
Entries—whatever floats your boat
I went with the good ol’ vagina. It’s hard to improve on nature’s design.
On the site, they call the entries of the Fleshlight sleeves “orifices”. I have to admit that one of the things that made me a little hesitant to order a Fleshlight was that the first time I ever saw a picture of one, my first thought was, “oh shit, why is there a vagina stuffed in a flashlight?” It’s a little bit shocking the first time you see one and the use of the word “orifice” doesn’t help ease the oddness of seeing the likeness of a body part unattached to a body. Plus, “orifice” is definitely an unsexy word. So, I’m going to use the term “entry”. That’s not super sexy either, but it’s a little less clinical.
It probably goes without saying that I eventually had no problem warming up to the whole vagina-in-a-flashlight appearance. The rationale being that it’s actually pretty hard to improve upon nature’s design when it comes to our bodies, and the vagina is nature’s very own optimized penis-welcoming design. There are other entries to suite your tastes or facilitate fantasies, including a mouth, an anus, and butt cheeks, with the butt cheeks being the silliest of the designs. If you’ve ever wanted to have anal sex with an elf, here’s your Fleshlight. Some of the other Fleshlight models (NSFW links ahead!) such as the clear Ice, Stamina Training Unit, and Flight, offer additional entry options that are discreet and nondescript. They just look like enticing, feel-good places to insert your penis rather than emulations of human body parts. These are good alternatives if you want something a little more conservative and a little less sex-toy-in-your-face. However, if you want something even more realistic, they have the Girls series Fleshlights (very NSFW link), which are modeled from the bodies of actual internet adult entertainment personalities—meaning, the Girls series look like “the real thing” in detail. And if you are a guy into guys, take heart, they’ve got a whole other site and line of products for you—Fleshjack (NSFW link).
For this review I stuck with their good ol’ generic vagina for both Fleshlights. The design, including the color, is somewhat exaggerated and cartoon-ish, but I kind of like that as opposed to something that is trying too hard to be realistic. (I don’t want to take a sex toy too seriously.) It’s just real enough to inspire your imagination, but not so real that you start wondering where the rest of her went. Whatever you want out of a sex toy, they seem to have a model for just about everyone, and if you don’t know what you want, they’ve got new things for you to discover.
Did you know a sex toy could have a product “ecosystem”? This one does.
One of the other things that sets the genuine Fleshlight apart from similar products is the fact that the Fleshlight is supported by an entire ecosystem of accessories. There is no excuse, short of being strapped for cash, for boring masturbation or sex-toy play with a partner as long as this company is in business. First, there is the expensive but really immersive and exciting Fleshlight Launch that will provide the motion for you and sync to adult content, even VR—read the Fleshlight Launch Review. They have furniture-like objects called “mounts” (NSFW) that can hold the Fleshlight in a variety just-so positions perfect for humping. There is a shower mount with a suction-cup base for sticking it to the wall of your shower…for shower humping. And some sort of Bluetooth attachment for virtual humping.
Then there’s their complete line of Fleshlight brand personal lubricants, which we discovered aren’t just good for use with the Fleshlights, but actually great all-around everyday all-purpose personal lubricants. Plus, there are care and cleaning products—Fleshlight brand antibiotic toy cleanser and renewing powder. In the interest of not making this review any longer than it already is, we limited the accessories to the Fleshlube “Water” lubricant, the cleansing spray, and the renewing powder. These products will make an appearance later in this review when we get to sections on usage and care and cleaning.
Ordering and Shipping
“Oh shit, I just bought a Fleshlight.” —me, one second after hitting the order button.
If you’re a little nervous about actually placing an order for a Fleshlight—or any sex toy, for that matter, I’d venture to say that’s pretty normal. There are, after all, some legitimate concerns. If a roommate or neighbor sees the box, will they know what’s inside? What about the UPS guy? Will a company that makes sex toys for dudes take your privacy seriously? What will show up on your credit card statement? What if something’s wrong with the order and you have to call the company and ask, “yeah, um…so, where’s my Fleshlight?”—are they going to judge you? And $65…that seems like a lot of money for something that does what you can do for free with your hand—will it be worth it?
Although I write for a magazine that is mostly about sex, and although I know that over 8 million other guys have had the balls to buy one before me, the Fleshlight was the first sex toy I had ever actually ordered myself. In all honesty, I actually placed items in my cart, filled out the order form, and then closed the window without confirming the order several times before going through with it. “Do I really want to do this?” I wondered. But, I think a lot of people chicken out a few times before pulling the trigger. Eventually though, after revisiting the Fleshlight site several times and actually finding myself getting a little turned on imagining what each design might feel like, my curiosity (and obligation to In Bed Magazine) got the best of me. And (spoiler alert) everything went fine.
I ordered directly from Fleshlight.com (NSFW), using the Build Your Own tool. You may be tempted to save a few bucks by ordering via Amazon Prime, but through the Fleshlight site you can configure exactly what you want and, if you do have any problems at all with the order, you’ll be dealing with customer service reps whose bread and butter is sex toys for guys, not people who are selling everything from baby clothes to shower curtains. If you do have to deal with customer service regarding such an intimate product, you want people who are going to take your business and customer satisfaction seriously.
The package arrived via UPS right on schedule. As the Fleshlight site promised, there wasn’t anything on the plain brown box that hinted at the contents—just a small return label with the company name “ILF” and the company’s address in Austin, TX. ILF stands for Interactive Life Forms, which is the Fleshlight maker’s actual name. I figure the only people who might know what a box from ILF might contain would be other people who have bought a Fleshlight—and they aren’t going to say anything. “ILF” is also what appeared on the credit card statement. For additional privacy though, you could always buy yourself a preloaded Visa gift card from Target or Walgreens, and then use the card like a credit card to make your purchase.
Material qualities and design
It feels substantial, solid, and hefty.
Premium materials befitting the price
It’s kind of a shame to call these things “toys”. The plastic case alone is markedly above toy-grade plastic. It feels more like the kind of material that would be used in sporting goods which, as a guy, I think is kind of cool. It feels substantial, solid, and hefty. There is a top cap, which covers the entrance when not in use, and an end-cap for regulating air-tightness while using it and for cleaning when you’re done. Both caps twist on and off with relative precision. Overall, I was surprised by the size and the weight. I never really paid attention to anything on the site about dimensions or weight, but somehow I didn’t expect them to be this big or heavy. But, neither the size nor the weight are detractors. It actually makes the Fleshlight feel like a product befitting the price tag. In fact, something about the mass actually enhances the experience—further isolating your hand from the source of pleasure.
Yes, just feeling it with my fingers started to turn me on. Did that surprise me? A little.
The inner sleeve is very soft, silky, and supple to the touch. Just feeling it with my fingers started to turn me on. A lot of sex toys feature technologically intriguing designs but lack the characteristics of sensuality that can make them truly enticing. I was honestly expecting little more than a cold rubber vagina in a plastic cup. But the feel of the sleeve alone is pleasantly sensual and sexual. Just by feeling it with your fingers, you get a sense that putting your penis into this thing would be a very good idea. The list of non-human objects in the world that you can say that about is extremely short.
Overall, the design, the fit and and finish, and the materials are all excellent. It feels built to last. Though the verdict on whether or not the Fleshlight was truly worth $65 would have to wait until I could actually spend some time trying it out, my initial impressions were definitely positive.
Good design, but not exactly discreet
Good thing the giant pink jiggly vagina is hidden in a case. Now, hide the case in your underwear drawer.
As part of my research for this project, I read and watched some interviews with the creators of the Fleshlight. The original thought behind the flashlight-shaped design was that this product of a very personal nature could be concealed in a toolbox and nosy visitors or family members would just think it was a regular flashlight…because all dudes have at least one flashlight laying around, right? Let’s be clear about something right off the bat. In these days of ultra bright micro-sized LED flashlights, the only people who might actually mistake your Fleshlight for a flashlight are exactly the people who you do not want to accidentally find your Fleshlight when the lights go out—people like your grandma, a cousin, a nephew, or a brand-new girlfriend.
Maybe it was considered discreet back in 1998, when the Fleshlight came on the market and hardly anyone knew about it, but now the Fleshlight’s design is somewhat iconic (in this realm, anyway). As far as its ability to camouflage is concerned, it’s really a victim of its own success. Anyone who has spent any time browsing even relatively vanilla adult entertainment and sexual resources on the internet probably knows a Fleshlight when he or she sees it. Plus, it’s pretty big. If it’s sitting out in a room, it will be noticed. So unless you live alone and never have friends or family visit you, keep your Fleshlight hidden in the back of your underwear drawer or something. Otherwise, you will be explaining it.
That having been said, the design actually makes sense. The diameter of the handle portion feels good in the hand and it can be propped between pillows or held down for humping. The wider third of it near the base adds substantial mass, which adds to the sensations you feel when you use it. The twist-off end caps and removable sleeve enable thorough cleaning and drying, as well as the ability to warm the sleeve in water without getting the case wet. Plus, if you want some variety, you can buy additional sleeves for less than the cost of a full Fleshlight case and sleeve, and just switch them out. This is great because once you try one, you’re going to be curious about some others.
Using a Fleshlight requires a little more prep than just pulling down your pants, but it’s worth it.
To warm or not to warm
Update: Fleshlight has since released a new Fleshlight Warmer. Now, warming a Fleshlight is quicker, easier, and less messy. See our test of the Fleshlight Warmer here.
There’s really not much to the instructions other than the recommendation that you let the sleeve soak in warm water for a bit to bring it up to body temperature. Although doing so adds prep time and mess to what should be a fairly simple and spontaneous activity, it really does feel nice to start out with a nice warm sensation, especially if the Fleshlight has been stored someplace cold. In particular, if what you’re after is an experience that feels as close to the sensation of actual sex as possible, warming it in water is key to that experience. (If you really want to treat yourself, warm the lube as well.) However, you can get by without warming it if you’re in hurry or “realism” isn’t a priority, especially if you’re in a warm climate. The Fleshlight will warm up to your body temperature after a few minutes of use. I warmed the Fleshlight about 50% of the time and it does feel very nice. It definitely adds a dimension of sensation that you can’t experience with your own hand—or anyone’s hand, for that matter.
Lube—you’ll need it
Hopefully it’s obvious that you’ll need lube—quite a bit of lube over time, actually. Use only a quality water-based lubricant. The Fleshlights came with a couple of sample packets of the company’s own private label “Water” lube, but you will run through those after a couple of uses. It’s excellent though, so just include a bottle in your order. It has actually become our go-to lube for sex as well. Plus, I prefer just ordering it from Fleshlight now as opposed to buying lube at someplace like Target. I worry about what check-out girl is thinking when I wheel up with a plunger, a bag of potatoes, and a bottle of personal lubricant. I may write for a magazine about sex, but I don’t want the girls at Target to get the wrong idea about me.
If you take it slow, I found that just adding a bit of lubricant to the entry will get you started. Just be methodical as you move into it and twist a bit to make sure the lubricant spreads. Alternatively, if you want to be thorough, you can push the lubricant in with your finger and then apply some to yourself before starting. The amount of lubricant you’ll end up using during a session will depend on the internal texture of the sleeve, how long your session is, and your personal preference. More lube results in a less intense sensation, which is sometimes exactly what you want. But if you let it begin to dry out, it gets sticky and begins to drag. You’ll find your sweet spot, but start out moderate and add more as needed. But, do make sure you’ve got plenty of lube on hand. You don’t want to run out when you’re near the finish line.
The end cap adjusts resistance…and sound
As mentioned previously, there is an end-cap that can be tightened, loosened, or removed completely in order to adjust the air-tightness. When you are inside the Fleshlight, the sleeve forms a seal around your penis, and when the end cap is completely closed, you essentially create a vacuum. The result is a tight gripping/suction sensation as you begin to pull out. This creates quite a bit of resistance and, when you do pull out, a “suck” sound. Open the end cap halfway, and you get moderate resistance and very little sound as the cap slows the rate at which air can enter and exit the end of the Fleshlight when you stroke or thrust. Remove the cap completely and you feel very little resistance at all but you can hear the squishy sounds of the textures and lube at work. Personally, I found the cap half-way on to be the sweet spot, both in terms of the resistance and the sound. Quiet operation is key to discreet usage (if other people are at home), and squishy sounds take me out of my zone. With the cap half-way on, usage was nearly silent and the resistance felt natural. But, it’s a matter of personal preference and the fact that you can tailor your experience is really nice.
Usage—you can get creative
Usage may seem obvious at first, but there’s room for creativity. Sure, you can simply use it the same way you’d use your hand—with your arm providing the motion. Plus, not to give away too much of what we’ll cover in the section on sensations, you can try things like twisting it or rotating it for some really mind-bending sensations. You can also prop it between pillows or between your mattress and box springs (thanks to the strength of the case) and thrust into it, which adds to the experience if realism is what you’re after. This is the idea behind the Fleshlight mounts—little pieces of furniture designed to hold the Fleshlight for your humping enjoyment.
Fleshlights are even more fun to use with a partner
Solo masturbation may be the first thing you picture when you think of the Fleshlight, but a Fleshlight in the hands of a partner can also turn a hum-drum hand job into an amazing experience. And to be completely honest, the sensations of the Fleshlight rival or exceed all but the very best oral sex I’ve ever experienced. I read one woman write on a blog that she loves the Fleshlight because, as she said, “it’s like giving a hand job, but with super powers”. Sex toys, including the Fleshlight, are for far more than just masturbation. Incorporating toys into partner play is a great way to add some variety to your sex life.
Sensations—okay, time to get a little NSFW
Is the Fleshlight worth the money and the effort? In a word—yes.
After spending some time with two Fleshlights, I have to say that I not only feel like they’re worth the money, I’d pay even more now that I know what they can do. The Fleshlight makes you feel things that you simply cannot experience with your own hand—or anyone else’s hand, for that matter. Whether it’s just you enjoying some solo time or incorporating toy play with a partner, it is total luxury. But what, exactly, makes it so good?
Wow…yeah, that’s really, really nice.
For starters, there’s the softness of the sleeve. The company calls it SuperSkin and guards it with several patents. A bony, calloused hand cannot compare to the silkiness and suppleness of the sleeve material. It feels about as soft and luxurious as you can imagine, stopping just short (maybe) of what a vagina actually feels like. As odd as it may sound, the first time I felt the sensation of sliding in, my first thought was literally, “oh wow, this feels like it was made for a penis”. Sounds weird, right? I guess I was just expecting it to feel like a rubber tube, but that’s really the sense that you get—that this material was scientifically engineered specifically to deliver exactly the kind of silky soft contact you crave to feel. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
More contact means more pleasure
Stretchy—form-fitting for total 360 degree contact and stimulation.
The Fleshlight sleeve stretches to completely surround and engulf you. In contrast to your hand, which can only make contact with 50% to 70% of the surface area of your penis at once, the Fleshlight sleeve form-fits to hug every contour and inch of your penis—from the head to the base, 360 degrees around. What this means is more total contact and therefore far more happy nerve endings are stimulated at once, sending even more pleasure signals to your brain with every movement. At times, every inch of your penis is receiving stimulation. Whereas with your hand, you’re either making contact with the top half or the bottom half at any given time (give or take some coverage depending on your body proportions). So in effect, it’s like cranking the pleasure volume up from 6 to 11.
The textures cause sensations you didn’t know were possible
This is where the magic happens.
Across the various Fleshlight product lines, there are over 40 different sleeve textures to choose from, and these textures open up a completely new dimension for users in terms of sexual sensation. They’re sort of like “flavors” of pleasure. Each one makes you feel different things—new things. It’s as true that variety is the spice of life when it comes to sexual enjoyment as it is true for anything else. And, once you’ve tried one, you’re going to wonder what new sensations you might experience with a different texture. So, choose wisely.
For this review I chose two…the Wonder Wave and the Mini Lotus, plus, I snuck in an early test of a bonus sleeve, the Vortex, that will be covered in a future article. (Note, the Vortex has been discontinued.) These are just three. If the description of any of these sounds like something you want to try, go for it. Otherwise, look at the site yourself and see what gets you curious.
The Wonder Wave
The wonderful Wonder Wave is their best-selling sleeve texture, and I can understand why.
According to the site, the Wonder Wave is the company’s best selling texture and a favorite among first-time buyers, so clearly this one had to be included. The “waves” are created by tighter rings or ribs that are spaced about a half-inch apart and run all the way through the sleeve. I can understand why it’s their best selling sleeve. Especially if used very, very slowly, the sensation can be breathtaking. As two or three waves are engulfing the head of the penis, another couple are gliding down the frenulum, while four or five more are hugging the sweet spot along the bottom of the shaft…all at the same time. Just as two waves are moving off the head and onto the frenulum, you feel two more waves of pleasure rolling over the head. You know that amazing feeling that you get when you first enter during sex? It’s like a more subtle version of that sensation, but over and over again, repeated every half inch as you push in.
This was my first Fleshlight experience (and my first sex toy experience) and it explained a lot as far as why it’s so popular and why people like sex toys in general. Up until this point, masturbation had always just been about getting off—it was all about just getting to the orgasm and then falling asleep, or eating breakfast, or whatever. But the Fleshlight makes it all about the process of getting there. I tried to make it last as long as I could. I really wanted to hold off on the orgasm for a while and enjoy what I was feeling with the Fleshlight, because when it’s just my hand, the “getting there” is just ho-hum. But, it felt so good, I shamefully couldn’t last more than a few minutes.
The Wonder Wave was pleasantly intense and gave me an experience far more immersive and satisfying than any experience I’ve ever had on my own. With that intensity though, comes an unexpected effect during the orgasm. As a guy, you know (or if you’re a woman reading this, let it be known) that the head of the penis becomes incredibly sensitive at the moment an orgasm occurs. There’s a natural reason for this—nature wants you to be as far inside your partner as possible at the time of ejaculation, and to stay there throughout the orgasm, so that the sperm have less distance to travel to fertilize an egg. Interesting, right? But when you’re inside a Fleshlight, the sensation can be so overwhelming that you end up having to hold still and stop moving the Fleshlight during the orgasm. That’s one point where the hand has an advantage—you can continue to stimulate during your orgasm by just avoiding the head. I’ve read that a lot of guys prefer to pull out of the Fleshlight before the orgasm hits and finish with their hands for this reason. I did this several times, but I felt like I missed out on the satisfaction of cumming inside of something, which I thought was part of the point of the Fleshlight. It’s not a deal killer because the build-up to the orgasm is so amazing compared to the hand, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s a design solution that would make it possible to continue stimulation during the orgasm. The effect was less so with the Lotus texture. Regardless, the orgasms were stronger and more satisfying than what I’d typically achieve with my hand, so it’s still a success. And is there really a such thing as a bad orgasm?
The Mini Lotus
They say it’s their “most realistic” texture. It feels a lot more like sex than your hand does, that’s for sure.
The Mini Lotus is a shorter version of the regular Lotus, which Fleshlight claims is their most realistic feeling sleeve. By shorter, they mean that the texture starts earlier towards the entry than the full-size Lotus. This is so that most (average size) guys can feel the texture sooner than later as they push in. Rather than a tight, evenly spaced texture, the inside of the sleeve is made up of undulating contours and folds. Though I didn’t pull out my anatomy textbooks (again, you don’t want to take your sex toys too seriously), the design certainly looked more organic and natural than most of the sleeve designs, including the only one I had to compare it to—the Wonder Wave. Feeling the inside with my finger was very enticing—promising a very interesting sensation, if not super realistic. Using it, however, I didn’t really perceive the same contours that I felt with my finger until a minute or so before the orgasm. I perceived more of the softness of the material than anything else, and that’s not a bad thing at all. The fact that the sensation was more mild than the Wonder Wave meant that I could actually indulge in the “getting there” part of it much longer.
But does the Mini Lotus feel like “the real thing”?
Just about anyone who has heard of the Fleshlight wants to know whether or not it feels like “the real thing”. We’re going to do an entire article addressing the matter, but since the Mini Lotus is touted as the most realistic Fleshlight in their lineup, here’s my impression. Compared to the Wonder Wave and the one other I’ve tried, the Vortex, the Mini Lotus is definitely the most natural and realistic feeling among them. Looking at some of the other texture designs, many of which look far more exotic than both the Wonder Wave and the Vortex, I’d venture to guess that the company is shooting straight with us—it’s probably the most realistic. But does it feel real? Well, it feels a hell of a lot more like sex than your hand does, that’s for sure. It’s far easier to fantasize about actual sex when you’re using a Fleshlight than when you’re using your hand, because a hand feels nothing at all like sex. The Fleshlight feels close enough that you can have a much more immersive fantasy/experience than you can with your hand. And, of the Fleshlights you could pick, if realism is your goal, the Mini Lotus is the one you want.
The Vortex (discontinued)
Sadly, this one has been discontinued since this article was published, and that’s a shame because I think it’s amazing. I’ll leave this part of the article here for now if anyone is curious, but be aware that it’s no longer available. As an alternative, consider the STU, Stamina Training Unit, which I reviewed later in this article.
The Vortex wasn’t originally part of this deep dive review project, but it arrived in time to check it out before this article was to be published. Curious about how this wildly different texture stacked up against the other two that I had tried, I couldn’t resist adding it the mix. And “wildly different” is a good description. Though it’s still not as exotic looking as some of the textures, such as the Stoya, it’s quite a bit more complex than either the Wonder Wave or the Mini Lotus.
Realism is definitely not the goal of the Vortex. It was created to make you feel something you’ve never felt before. It combines both contours and textures. Whereas the Wonder Wave maintains roughly the same diameter the whole length of the sleeve, the Vortex narrows and expands strategically in just the right spots to create a subtle squeezing sensation as you move through. That alone is quite exciting and nice, but as if that wasn’t enough, there is also a twirling, zig-zag texture that also draws you in and swirls around your head and shaft. It feels absolutely amazing. When I saw the swirling texture I wondered what it would feel like to twist and rotate the Fleshlight. I tried it. It feels unreal in a good way. Rotating the Vortex Fleshlight while you’re all the way inside feels like it activates pretty much every nerve ending in your penis at once—sending your brain into la-la land. I never imagined that my eyes could roll backwards in my head while doing something on my own.
I’m actually kind of glad that I didn’t try the Vortex first. I’m not sure I would have been that interested in the other ones after getting hooked on that swirling/squeezing sensation. But, progressing from mild to wild, I had a better perspective on what the different textures had to offer. It is truly a breath-taking sensation, but if you’re considering your first Fleshlight, I’d go with with either the Wonder Wave or Mini Lotus first. They feel amazing as well and I wouldn’t rush through the discovery.
The case actually contributes to the experience
It’s also worth mentioning that the Fleshlight case does a lot more than just hold the sleeve and provide camoflaged protection during storage. It’s actually integral the the physical and cerebral experience. In terms of its contribution to the sensation, the case suspends the sleeve and provides a solid surface for the pliable material to push against. This provides that just-right amount of resistance that adds a dimension to the sensation that your hand can’t create. Secondly, in terms of the cerebral experience, it causes a disconnect between your hand and your penis. Your hand is no longer directly causing the stimulation. This is exciting because it adds a subtle element of surprise. Your penis/brain combo aren’t able to anticipate the flow of sensations quite as efficiently as it can when your hand is in the middle of the loop. This is why it feels more exciting and initially pleasurable when someone else touches you than when you touch yourself. The Fleshlight gives you a little bit of that same goodness even when it’s just you alone.
Using the Fleshlight was like rediscovering my penis all over again. I’m no stranger to really great sex, and I thought I knew my body pretty well, but the Fleshlight really woke up pleasure receptors I didn’t even know I had. And it’s certainly a much more immersive solo experience than I’ve ever had with my own hand, that’s for sure. The Fleshlight could be called an “artificial vagina”, but to just leave it at that is like calling a Ferrari a “car” and just shrugging. Ironically, this artificial vagina felt like a far more natural and healthy way of masturbating than my hand does. Every time I used one of these Fleshlights, afterwards I felt like I had done something really good and nice for myself. With my hand, it’s just like, “well, that’s done”.
Cleanup and care
Cleanup is simple. Drying it is another story.
If you’ve made it this far into this review (we did mention this was a “deep dive”, right?), you may be wondering by now if there is a downside to the Fleshlight, other than embarrassment if it rolls out of your closet when your friends are over. Well, if you want something more exciting than your hand, it’s reasonable to expect that there’s going to be more effort and clean-up involved than what you contend with when it’s just you and your hand. And there is.
Cleaning—don’t use soap. Seriously.
If you’re a clean freak, this is going to drive you absolutely crazy. To clean out the Fleshlight when you’re done, you simply take the sleeve out of the case, run water through it, and rinse out lubricant and any “deposits” you may have left behind. And that’s it. You absolutely cannot use soap to clean the Fleshlight. The site warns repeatedly that soaps and detergents break down the composition of the sleeve material and it will begin to come apart. And no, you can’t put it in the dishwasher. Not only would that be hella creepy, it will destroy it. Trust us. There are pictures on the internet. But don’t let this be a deal breaker. First, in trying the practice of just using water, they really did get clean. Matter doesn’t really stick to the material once water hits it. And, if you really want to be sure it’s squeaky clean, just be sure to get some of Fleshlight’s antibiotic cleaning spray. It will set your mind at ease.
Drying after cleaning is critical, but it takes too long
Although the cleaning isn’t a big deal, drying it after cleaning it may be a different story depending on your situation. Contingent on the humidity, temperature, and airflow where you leave the Fleshlight to dry, it can take a very long time for the inside of the Fleshlight sleeves to dry out completely, especially inside the sleeves that feature complex shapes and textures that can hang on to drops of water. The second fastest way to destroy a Fleshlight and render it uselessly gross, next to using soap to clean it, is to seal up the case with a damp sleeve inside and store it where air doesn’t circulate. Mildew will develop in the sleeve just like mildew will develop on just about anything damp stored away in a dark, stuffy area.
The problem is that if humidity is high, the temperature low, and airflow non-existent, it can literally take days to dry out. If the humidity is low and the temperature is warm, but there is no airflow, the drying time goes down to 12-24 hours. If the air is relatively warm and dry and you add airflow, such as a ceiling fan, the drying time shortens to a couple of hours. But still, if you are not in a situation where you are comfortable leaving your Fleshlight out for whatever duration is needed to make sure it’s dry before storage, such as having roommates, nosy family members, kids, friends dropping by, or even just a significant other who is insecure about you having a Fleshlight, this obviously presents a problem and seriously limits the frequency of usage and the spontaneity of using it.
The only quick option I could figure out was to use a hair dryer to speed drying time to a few minutes, but randomly cranking up a hair dryer and running it for five minutes isn’t exactly discreet either. I don’t even know any guys who use hair dryers. So drying the Fleshlight is the number one shortcoming (if not the only shortcoming) of the Fleshlight. We really wish the Fleshlight company would address the matter with some sort of drying solution—maybe a stand or end cap with a quiet fan, or some sort of ventilated lock box.
Update: I have since found that using a little USB-powered fan like this one can cut drying time drastically. I’ve had some sleeves go from several hours to 30 minutes.
According to numerous accounts I’ve read online, if you take care of the FL—clean it with water and antibiotic spray only, and make sure it’s bone dry before you store it—it should last for years, which is nice to know given the price. And based on the quality feel of the materials and the design, I have no to reason to doubt it. So far, so good for me.
What’s the Fleshight Renewing Powder all about?
After numerous uses, when the sleeve dries out it can begin to become a bit sticky to the touch. If you want to restore it to near-factory new condition and softness, you can coat and pat it with the Fleshlight brand Renewing Powder. If your going to be using the Fleshlight nearly every day, it’s probably not worth the effort or the mess. But, it’s nice for first impressions when you go a while between using it and come back to rediscover it. So, if you will be packing the Fleshlight away for a week at a time or longer, you might appreciate pulling it out and finding it to be as soft and nice as they day you got it. Truth be told though, the renewing powder is simply corn starch. It actually says so on the Renewing Powder label. For me personally, however, it just feels a little strange to sprinkle something from the kitchen pantry onto a sex toy. So, I pay a $2 premium and get the “renewing powder” just so I’m not walking around in the kitchen with a Fleshlight, looking for ingredients to dump on it. A man’s got to draw the line on “weird” somewhere.
I can’t believe I waited so long to try a Fleshlight. I should have bought one the day I turned 18.
Sexually speaking, the FL is probably the most fun and pleasure you can experience on your own, not to mention an incredible upgrade to a run-of-the-mill hand job from a partner. Depending on the texture you choose, it can introduce you to sensations you never knew were possible. It does things that your hand just can’t. If you’ve been thinking, “why spend over $50 when my hand is free”, this is definitely a case of “you get what you pay for”. As far as realism goes, all you really need to know is that it feels far more like sex than your hand ever will, and it feels similar enough that whatever is going through your head when you masturbate becomes thoroughly immersive and more exciting. Everything else is just jerking off. The only downside that I experienced is that the long post-cleanup drying process means you have to leave it out for a while—which means you could end up having an awkward conversation about it with someone if you aren’t careful.
Despite the fact that I’m writing for a magazine about sex, I’m actually somewhat vanilla and conservative when it comes to my own personal sex life. So, I started out a little hesitant to go through with the purchase of the Fleshlight, and I was a little skeptical of what it could do—expecting little more than a rubber tube. But in the end, I can’t believe I waited so long to try a Fleshlight. I am hooked and I actually feel good about it. I feel good about every time I use it, in fact. You should do nice things for yourself now and then. You deserve it. Go for it and don’t look back.