Guest Written by Bobby Box (@bybobbybox) is a freelance writer and editor whose work on sex and culture has been published in countless publications, including: Playboy, Elle, NewNowNext, Billboard, Daily Beast, Them., The Advocate, Women’s Health, Mel Magazine and AskMen.

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People often approach sex toys with an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset. They figure their hand, gifted by evolution, gets the job done, and see no reason to invest in a sex toy. While understandable (given the stigma and our lack of pleasure-based sex education), this notion is misguided. Sex toys aren’t meant to replace an experience, but enhance it. 

Due to its stigma and the dated concepts of masculinity, this mindset is particularly prevalent regarding strokers which, provided you give them the chance, can take your solo or partnered exploits to explosive new heights. 


  1. What is a Stroker?
  2. How Do Strokers Work?
  3. The Most Iconic Stroker Features
  4. How to Use a Stroker with a Partner
  5. Do Strokers Feel Real?
  6. How Do You Clean a Stroker?


What is a Stroker?

Often used interchangeably, strokers are also known as “sleeves”, “pocket pussies” and “male masturbators,” though the latter use is ill-advised since it’s unnecessarily gendered and limiting. 

Strokers are sleeve-like toys that people with penises use to masturbate and/or enhance partnered play by stimulating the shaft, glans and sometimes even the testicles. Strokers come in all different shapes, sizes and materials. Some are soft, some are hard. Some cover the penis, others are open-ended. Some vibrate, suck, or thump, and some feel like a real vagina, bum, or mouth. 

In this wonderful world of strokers, there are many options to choose from and experience. It’s Sophie’s Choice for the genitals.

Fleshlight Pilot 

How Do Strokers Work?

Strokers, while an expansive category, are generally used in a similar way. First, lube the sex toy and the penis (use a water-based lubricant since silicone lubes can harm silicone sex toys after extensive use), then slowly insert your penis and stroke with the sex toy. 

If your stroker boasts added functionalities, such as vibration, simply press the designated button and play with the settings. Information on how to use strokers with various functionalities are often included with the sex toy but are usually quite intuitive. 

SVAKOM Alex Neo 2 Thrusting Stroker

The Most Iconic Stroker Features

As mentioned, there are many different types of strokers out there to please every penis. Since you won’t know what you’ll like until you try it, here is a general overview of what to expect:

Textures: Most every stroker features a textured interior, whether it’s ribbing, some bumps and lumps, or all of the above, which stimulate the shaft as you stroke up and down. While this may sound irritating or even painful, the textures are printed on soft and malleable materials, allowing you to squeeze as you stroke and experience these textures as gently or as deeply and intimately as possible.

Sensations: Some strokers are fairly rudimentary in their function, whereas others are more complex, with more buttons and functions than a TV remote. Strokers can vibrate, thrust, suck, thump, grind, heat up, and so on, stimulating the base, the shaft, the glans, or all of the above. Some of these strokers are so formidable that you don’t even have to stroke at all, you can just slide in and enjoy the ride.

Life-Like Strokers: Some people like their strokers to resemble orifices or genitalia to have as close to a “real life” experience as possible. These can look inconspicuous (like a flashlight, a can of beer, or even a shampoo bottle) or not at all (a porn-star’s vagina on the end of a sleeve), whichever suits your fancy. 

Playboy Pleasure Solo Stroker ($148)

How to Use a Stroker with a Partner

Using a stroker on a partner is like giving a handjob, only like, way better. If the stroker is open-ended, you can stroke while orally stimulating the head of the penis and, if you’re up for it, massaging the balls.

It can be hot for the person performing the act as well. Watching the sex toy stretch and cover your partner’s shaft, and watching the head emerge from the top of the stroker can be visually stimulating. Depending on the model, you may be able to feel the texture from the outside as you stroke their penis, providing a more intimate sense of what they’re experiencing inside the sleeve.

Some strokers (like the Hot Octopuss Duo) can be worn during sex, acting as buffers and/or adding new sensations.

Arcwave Ion Pleasure Air Stroker ($199)

Do Strokers Feel Real?

If you want them to, absolutely. Nearly every major sex toy manufacturer uses a similar formula for the realistic look and feel of their strokers. Combined with a lube and textured interior, they do feel like the real thing. Some examples of these patented formulas include: UR3 (Doc Johnson), Futurotic (CalExotics), Fanta Flesh (Pipedream), SuperSkin (Fleshlight). 

While some companies make these products out of non-porous materials, the majority are porous (using materials like thermal polymer elastomer rubbers [TPE/TPR], polymerized polyvinyl chloride [PVC] and plasticised silicone). 

The issue with porous materials is that they contain tiny microscopic holes that can house bacteria and mold, and therefore cannot be cleaned to the same degree as a non-porous material, such as glass, metal, and 100% silicone. For this reason, it’s often recommended they be used with a condom.

Pulse III Duo Vibrating Stroker

How to Clean a Stroker

Before you clean your sex toy, confirm that it’s water-proof. While many are, it’s safe to know how wet your sex toy can get since water can leak into places it shouldn’t and cause battery damage. If a sex toy is waterproof, it will usually say so on the packaging.

You want to clean masturbators after every use. Non-pourous sex toys can be cleaned with antibacterial soap and warm water, washing for at least 20 seconds and drying with a clean towel. Since some masturbators aren’t open-ended, you may have to remove the sleeve from the device and wash each separately.

How you store your sex toys are important as well. If you stick them in with other dirty playthings, they’ll just pick up that bacteria. So if your sex toy came with a case, use it. If it didn't, use a similar type of case that securely closes with velcro or a zipper. You can find a more in depth cleaning tutorial in Lovers blog, How to Clean Your Stroker.

Want more great sex tips?
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Further Readings

How to Clean Your Stroker
The Perfect Fit: A Guide to Choosing a Cock Ring with Bobby Box
A Sex Educator Reviews Two Mechanized Strokers



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