Designed For External Stimulation, Grinders May Be The Sex Toys You Never Knew You Needed

by niesha davis

Grinding on something for sexual stimulation might elicit memories of straddling pillows or furniture during adolescence. Long before purchasing a vibrator or dildo felt like a comfortable option, many people first experimented with masturbation this way and some still prefer it. Sensing a gap in the market, the sex-toy industry has come up with a new way to cater to the humping crowd with a product called a “grinder,” and if delicious external friction is your thing, you might want to take note.

These highly textured, non-insertable toys come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, they are available in both vibrating and nonvibrating varieties, and they can be used solo or with a partner by strapping the toy onto something or someone or even using an app to control sensations. Made to be ground upon, the magic happens when pressure is applied between the toy and a vulva or penis. 

Usually made of super-soft, body-safe silicone, these versatile toys are being created not only by larger toy brands but also by indie artisans capitalizing on the opportunity to make grinders in fun and intricate shapes, like coffins, turtles, flowers, and female genitalia (think Georgia O’Keeffe-type stuff). Darque Path’s grind toy (, $42.17) is a coffin-shaped grinding mat with the raised outline of a ribcage on it that is flexible and thin enough to be used flat or wrapped around a penis. The spaces for straps in each corner make securing it to a lover’s leg or arm or to a pillow an easy feat. 

Designed to fit inside strap-ons, BumpHer products by Banana Pants (, $45-$60) are grinders that intensify stimulation for harness wearers while they’re thrusting. I didn’t have a strap-on (or anyone to use it on), so I got creative with the flexible toy and got physical with myself. After a few minutes, I could see water-based lube would be needed, so I broke some out and helped myself to another handful of me. The addition of lube made things instantly better. 

For something more mechanized, a vibrating grinder is an option. The Rocks Off Ruby Glow Blush (, $124) is a 10-speed clitoral and vaginal massager that can be straddled and ridden or lifted out of its cradle for hand-held stimulation. When used hands-free, this toy offers two different riding pads that curve toward the pubic bone. Another vibrating option is the Starsi External Vibrator (, $93). Shaped like a starfish, this smiley little guy comes with five vibration and escalation functions and is covered with ridges and corners that bring a new meaning to “ribbed for her pleasure.” 

Image: BumpHer grinders by Banana Pants (left to right): Bumpher, Honeybunch, Shagger, and B.Cush


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