How to use a Fleshlight: tips to get the best experience from the best male toy

Get more from your Fleshlight by doing things right...

5 things I wish I'd known before buying a Fleshlight, sex toys
(Image credit: Lovehoney)

Whether you're on your own or bringing them into the bedroom with a partner, the best Fleshlights represent a new way to play, new sensations, new everything. But only if you get them right.

Just as your first few fumbles with a partner might be a little awkward, your first forays into using the best sex toys might not be quite what you expected. It takes practice (and a lot of lube) to get it right.

It's worth actually taking the time to figure things out and truly find your niche, as it were. There are a few tricks to try, a couple of odd uses you might not have considered, and a whole lot of enjoyment to be had.

How to use a Fleshlight: Getting ready

Before you get started, it's important to understand what a Fleshlight is and what it isn't. It's a soft textured canal into which you insert a penis – either yours or someone else's. While some Fleshlights might try to imitate the look (and, depending on the model, the feel) of certain anatomical parts, they're not self-lubricating in the same way as many of those parts. Whipping one out of the box and slamming it on isn't going to work out so well, both for the state of your penis and for the longevity of the Fleshlight material, which can develop microtears over time – particularly if you're rough with it.

So, think hygiene, feel and lifespan. Begin with a completely clean Fleshlight (check our guide on how to clean a Fleshlight) if you want to make sure anything that you've tried before is ready to go again) and a generous amount of water-based lube. More than you'd think. If you've tried your Fleshlight before and found its sensations a bit too strong, try a thicker lube to lessen the sensitivity a little; conversely, a thinner lube will have you feeling every texture.

Don't use anything other than water-based lube. "Water based lubes are safe to use with all sex toys," Lovehoney sex expert Calum McSwiggan tells us, "as they won’t negatively react with the toy or with your body. Using oil or silicone based lubes can potentially damage your toys and cause them to deteriorate over time." The prospect of a decomposing toy probably doesn't fill you with much joy, so check out our guide to the best lubes to find our top picks.

We wouldn't recommend going in cold, so it's a great idea to warm everything up if you're able. This means giving the sleeve a dip into warm (soap-free) water until it's closer to body temperature, and potentially warming up your lube in the same way. Alternatively, Fleshlight sells a specific sleeve warmer – it's not essential, but it might be a more convenient and discrete way to get things ready.

How to use a Fleshlight: Letting go

Apply the lube generously both to the inside of the sleeve (get as deep as you can with your fingers) and to the penis in question, and you're good to get started. There's no right or wrong here. Go slow. Twist and turn. Introduce the head of the penis to different depths, different areas of texture. You're using a Fleshlight because it's superior to a right hand; don't miss out on all it has to offer. Or, y'know, hammer away like there's no tomorrow if that's more your style.

Don't forget to tweak the level of suction to your liking by adjusting the end cap on the case – it's not only there to aid with cleaning. If you're using a shorter open-ended toy you might like to leave one end cap on – or even cover the open end with a couple of fingers to add suction as and when.

And if things start to rub? More lube. "Applying ample amounts of lube is essential when using a sex toy of any kind," says Calum McSwiggan. "Although it’s important to use water based lube, this can dry out over time, so reapplying is often necessary. If the toy continues to rub or hurt, though, this is a sign to stop. Using a toy shouldn’t be painful, and could be a sign of something more serious, like an allergic reaction."

When you're done, make sure you clean your Fleshlight properly, so that it has time to dry before you next want to play.

How to use a Fleshlight: Changing it up

"Experimentation is the best way to get the most out of your toy," says Calum McSwiggan. "Many toys can be used in multiple different ways, and experimenting with speed, angle, and technique are the best ways to get the most out of your toys."

There are many ways to get more from a Fleshlight. One popular add-on is a shower mount, which attaches to your bathroom tiles with a suction cup and allows you to get your thrust on hands-free; you'll still need plenty of lube, as water on its own isn't a very effective way to prevent rubbing, but the water-based lube used in Fleshlights isn't going to cause any problems in the shower.

You might also try mounting your Fleshlight in a different way, if you fancy being creative. You might also like to ditch the case and use the sleeve alone. This means you can apply specific pressure with your hand as you go, and there's none of the suction that some people find unpleasant. You can stretch the material out, or even flip the inner around and try out the less-used 'wrong' end which would usually sit at the bottom of the case.

This is likely going to lower the lifespan of your Fleshlight a little, but it's probably worth trying. Put plenty of Refreshing Powder (or plain corn starch) on the outside of the sleeve to stop it getting sticky while you play. It's also a bit messier than using a fully assembled Fleshlight, since the open end of the inner will allow fluids to leak out, so make sure you have some towels handy.

Bear in mind that there comes a point in every toy's lifespan where it's better to bin it than persist. Some last longer than others but none last forever. Over to Calum McSwiggan: "Any visible deterioration of the outside of the toy is a sign that it’s potentially starting to wear out. If you notice any difference in the texture or tightness of a toy, this could be a sign that it’s wearing out too. Taking good care of your toys with a sex toy cleaner and a refreshing powder is the best way to make them last, but eventually, even with the best care, it’s inevitable that some toys will start to decrease in quality over long periods of use."

How to use a Fleshlight: Other experiences

Not all Fleshlights are made equal. You can use a Fleshlight as a stamina trainer (and, indeed, there are evenly-textured examples available made specifically for that purpose) or as a way to try things you might not otherwise get to experience - from anatomical reproductions of famous porn stars' genitals to completely artificial entrances.

But Fleshlights are not the only fruit. While we don't love Tenga Eggs, you might – rather than offering a thorough passage, they offer a textured ingress which you stretch over the glans.

Upping the tech is also an option: the Kiiroo Keon (and Fleshlight's Launch series, also made by Kiiroo) straps a motor to the stroker for a less manual experience; and the Arcwave Ion's mad-sounding air vibrator offers something very different indeed, but doesn't lack the softness of a Fleshlight - or the ability to change things up manually.

James is T3's sex toy and male wellness expert who's been exploring the topic of sexual happiness for a decade. He knows it's not what you've got, it's how you use it – and how clean you keep it.

With contributions from