It’s been a year since Lockdown and in that time I’ve realised all my friends are wankers. Each time the WHO issued a lockdown notice, sex toy sales boomed.

Forget all that talk of mastering sourdough, taking up crochet, reading books … turns out they’ve been pursuing more satisfying amusements.

Once I start asking around it seems every woman I see regularly, bar one, is bragging about her stimulating new past-time with a self-satisfied grin on her gob. That one who wasn’t soon will be after my mate Muff* sent her a Satisfyer Pro 2.0 in the mail. She’s a bit shy about turning it on, but the reviews on the site warn of orgasm in seconds so she’ll come around soon enough.

It’s not just my circle either. Adult Toy Megastore just issued a media release, I have it here in my hot little hand, telling us that back in March/April 2020 NZ reached pleasure purchasing climax, tripling sales within 48 hours of the Lockdown announcement. “What blew us away,” they say, “was it was mainly first-timers”. Locked up with little to do, adult-toy virgins took matters into their own hands and picked up a new hobby.

Each time the WHO issued a lockdown notice, sex toy sales boomed. All those jokes about what a hunk Ashley Bloomfield is weren’t just talk. He was objectified at every juncture, ammo for the wank bank, with people reaching for their hand-held devices whenever he took to the podium.

My first-hand knowledge of all this is limited. I’ve been called a prude more than once, mainly by me. Self-deprecation over self-pleasure any day.

Asking around, most of my friends have touching stories about their first forays into self-lust. Two besties told me how their now ex-husbands bought them dildos during the death throes of their marriages. Both were gifted severed tumescent phalluses, veins and all, slightly larger than life-size and with three speeds, one purple, the other a striking, albino white. “I put mine in the bin,” says Muff. “I dropped mine and it broke”, says Fanny. Metaphorical reminders of the ends of their wedded bliss.

Another friend, Beaver, bought a cheapie some years ago, a Christmas cracker variety that shouldn’t get damp and had non-replaceable batteries. She gave it a good crack but wore it out one wet afternoon a month after it came.

The trick, all three tell me, is to buy a toy that looks absolutely nothing like a penis. Beaver recently purchased an egg-shaped contraption she wears while she’s doing domestic chores. It certainly livens up the vacuuming. Muff has splashed out on a remote-control dong connected via bluetooth to a controller her partner wears on his wrist. She can cum in the kitchen while he’s mowing the lawns, taking social distancing to the extreme.

At a recent toy party (Tupperware can go F itself) Fanny added a glass shaft to her collection. It’s hypoallergenic and easy-clean. It’s also quite beautiful, and although she hasn’t yet used it (the bumpf promises it’s shatter-proof but this is a risque business) it does make an elegant conversation-piece for the dining room table.

It’s hard to put one’s finger on what makes the perfect hanky-panky doohickey, but easy-to-clean seems up there, especially in these hygienically-woke times. Sales of ‘satisfyer foaming wash’ are outstripping sales of face masks, even among the gimp community. 

My circle went through some hard times in 2020. But they are still upright and getting through the day. There’s a correlation perhaps. Rather than just relieving boredom, self-pleasure relieves stress, anxiety, frustration, confusion. Maybe it’s the best way to find calm in turbulent times. Mindfulness be damned; flicking the bean could be the key to mental respite.

Extrapolating the allegory, the key to respite in general must be self-care. 

A year ago, we snuggled up with our loved ones where we could, but better than that we snuggled up with ourselves. Like it or not, love it or loathe it, we got to know ourselves better. We checked in daily, prioritised me-time, went back to basics and ensured we were caring for us. From our health to our wealth we tuned in to what we as individual human beings in this time and place need from life. 

Then life got back to normal-ish. We turned away from ourselves towards others. We busied ourselves with the business of being in a family, a job, a community. 

But that focus on self still needs nurturing. Selfish maybe, but essential too. We must centralise ourselves, cherish ourselves, lust after us. Then, satisfied and stimulated, we can give others what they need. 

*Except for Ashley Bloomfield, names have been changed to protect the guilty.

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