“We’re definitely living in the worst timeline, but I’m glad I get to see stuff like this,” my friend messaged me, along with a link to the Balldo. It took me a minute to understand what I was looking at. a sex toy, and that’s as obvious as it gets. The company’s site described it as a “baldildo” that allows you to “penetrate your partner with your balls,” which not only raised new questions, but so many questions about sex that I thought I understood before.
I needed to know more.
For anyone who doesn’t want to go down the same rabbit hole, which features multiple NSFW videos featuring both cartoon and real phalluses – we won’t link to the latter – here’s the short version of how the Balldo should work, according to the creators:
The skin of the human scrotum has a surprising number of nerve endings across its surface—an amount “similar to the vulva,” Balldo’s marketing materials repeatedly remind the viewer. And yet, again according to Balldo’s marketing, the nerve endings have been underutilized in sex. What – a lavish voiceover asks two excited cartoon scientists and an inexplicably more excited cartoon naked man – can be done to fix this glaring mistake!?
The answer, Balldo states in his YouTube video, is a bullet-shaped sex toy that turns the testicles into a piercing member like a phallus. A person can slide their balls into this harness, as well as a pair of associated spacers, to form an object stiff enough to be inserted into an opening. However, the Balldo is also intended to leave the scrotum exposed, at least on the sides, so that the wearer can still feel stimulation.
This, Balldo claims, results in a form of orgasm “so new and different that it will be years before the possibilities of Ballsex and its accompanying Ballgasm are truly understood.”
After trying the Balldo, I’m convinced that the utter nonsense of this sentence is the point. Or, at least, it’s the point I choose to take from the experience.
A short but somehow necessary history of Dadaism
If you’ve ever had a conversation about what “art” is, Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain urinal has almost certainly come up. One of the most influential pieces of the early 20th century, the entire piece was a urinal, turned on its side and signed with a nom de plume. Initially, it was to be exhibited at an exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists, an avant-garde organization so open-minded that it would not reject any artwork from its members.
Nevertheless, the Society voted not to display Fountain, sparking a debate about what even counts as art and where the limits of decency lie. A debate that, depending on who you talk to, continues to this day. Regardless of where one is in that debate, Fountain had an undeniable effect: it held up a mirror to our collective artistic sensitivities and asked us to examine why we see art the way we see it.
More broadly, the Dadaist movement, of which Duchamp was a part, rejected logic and rationality, leaning instead more on nonsense and chaos, with a strong undercurrent of anti-bourgeoisie themes. Rather than adhering to the artistic norms decided upon by a small group of wealthy people, Dadaist works aimed to force the art world to think not only about what defines ‘art’, but also what role art should play in the world. .
Yes, this is somehow relevant to my experience testing the Balldo, a sex toy designed to use the testicles and scrotum for penetrative sex, but more on that later.
There are actually two experiences you can have with the Balldo: using it and showing the YouTube video to other people. I found the latter much more satisfying. While paying for my friend’s gift to me, I showed a few others the videos and website of the torpedo ball cup. In all cases, the reactions were pretty much the same:
“How would that even work?”
“Who asked for this???”
However, there was a much more specific question that every person I showed this to had. At one point in the video, the cartoon scientists ask out loud, “But how can we use the balls to have sex?” In response to this, each person independently had more or less the same reaction:
“Do these people think penetration is the only way to use balls during sex?”
It’s a valid point! It’s also a challenge that penis and testicle sex toys have always faced. Not only do we wonder if a toy can provide a new form of stimulation or sensation, but will it really provide a better experience than a hand, mouth, or other opening can provide? Is it going to improve the time you spend with your partner, or will it become an awkward mess that isn’t worth the time or energy it takes to convince someone to try it with you?
This post Review: The Balldo made me think about sex in the most absurd way was original published at “https://www.wired.com/review/balldo-review”