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Electric toothbrushes may have vibration going for them, and cucumbers may sport a phallic shape, but it’s the detachable showerhead—with its supply of pressure, wetness, and heat—that often reigns supreme among household items used for self-pleasure. Indeed, plenty of people are first indoctrinated into the realm of masturbation with their showerhead, according to sexologist Jess O’Reilly, PhD, host of the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast. Even so, the showerhead hasn’t ever quite measured up to an actual sex toy, for many, with its typical lack of adjustable pressure and targeted rhythm—until now. Enter: the Womanizer Wave, a showerhead designed for masturbating with the stimulation powers to prove it.
The Womanizer Wave ($199) may look like any ol’ detachable shower head at first glance. But actually, this chrome, claw-shaped attachment is a showerhead that’s engineered specifically to deliver orgasms. Designed through a partnership between Womanizer and premium bathroom product manufacturer hansgrohe, the product is the brainchild of both brands, blending Womanizer’s expertise in clitoral stimulation (they’re the ones who pioneered clitoral suction toys) and hansgrohe’s experience in engineering sleek bathroom fixtures. The result? An external stimulator that utilizes water in the form of three unique stream options. And after giving it a whirl, I can confirm that… stimulate, it does.
Why a showerhead sex toy makes a whole lot of sense
For many people, the showerhead isn’t just the greeter at the door of self-pleasure; it’s a consistent guide that stays with them throughout their life as a person who masturbates.
As for why? It often boils down to practicality, says Dr. O’Reilly. “The shower is typically the only place that offers privacy for those who grow up in communal living situations,” she says. Fact is, thin walls have nothing on the overbearing rain sounds of most showerheads. Plus, the shower is often the only place where we get to spend a substantial amount of time naked, she adds.
“Running water allows an individual to explore all sorts of sensations.” —Jess O’Reilly, PhD, sexologist
Privacy aside, taking a shower also tends to be a naturally sensory experience. “Running water allows an individual to explore all sorts of sensations,” says Dr. O’Reilly. “Even if those sensations are not necessarily erotic, because the shower gives you time to tune into your body, it can lay the groundwork to explore the erotic.”
It only makes sense, then, that shower masturbation might follow. And a detachable showerhead has long offered a way to direct the water stream onto the same external erogenous zones you might stimulate with a hand or toy, like the clitoral hood and labia. Recognizing that common behavior is what inspired the Womanizer and hasgrohe teams to create a showerhead explicitly designed for self-pleasure—one that’ll bring your wet and wild fantasies to life without the limitations of a typical showerhead.
How the Womanizer Wave works (and why it’s oh-so-different from a typical showerhead)
The Womanizer Wave took over three years, two prototype iterations, nine research projects, 60 interviews, 100 samples tested, and 4,000 responses in questionnaires to perfect. The result is a head—no, not that kind of head—that is 94 percent more pleasant, 88 percent more arousing, and 86 percent more suitable for masturbation than a normal showerhead, according to a study conducted by Womanizer. (And to be clear, it works just as well as your typical one for actual showering, too.)
The head has three different stream options: powder rain, pleasure whirl, and pleasure jet. Powder rain is most akin to regular shower spray and is probably the one you’d elect when shampooing and soaping. Meanwhile, the pleasure jet consists of a powerful, consistent three-pronged stream that is great for people who need constant pressure while masturbating to experience pleasure. And pleasure whirl uses a rotating stream to create a unique sensation that reminded me of a traditional vibrator.
Switching between the three modes is easy and intuitive; you simply press the button located at the base of the head with your thumb (which is ergonomically nearby when you hold the Wave in hand). There is also an intensity slider located on the neck of the Wave, so you can play with how much pressure the water delivers. Essentially, this functions like the “+” button on most vibrators.
My experience with the Womanizer Wave
While I am very sexually attracted to DIYers and Home Depot regulars, I, myself, am about as handy as… well, I’m not handy at all. So while I was excited to give the Wave a whirl, I was nervous that my own technical inabilities would essentially cock-block me. Thankfully, installing the Wave was as easy as twisting my old showerhead off, and twisting this one on. The whole shebang took fewer than three minutes max—which, to avoid burying the lede, is the same amount of time it took me to orgasm.
I had just finished a workout before installing the Wave, so I started my shower like I would any shower, by rinsing off and shampooing. While the Powder Rain option was effective at getting all the suds out of my hair, transparently, I wish it had been a smidge more intense. (Forgive the brag, but my usual showerhead is basically the Niagara Falls of showerheads.)
After my hair was clean, it was time for me to get (ahem) dirty. When I lifted the head out of its holder I was taken by how lightweight it is. Made from ABS plastic, the Wave weighs in at just six ounces, which made it far easier to maneuver and manipulate while I masturbated than a similar stainless-steel product.
As I mentioned, the product worked effectively for my clit within a couple minutes, so even if it was heavy, I wouldn’t have had to worry about my muscles tapping out midway through. But the light weight of this product makes it accessible to people of a wide variety of strength levels, as well as usable by those with certain wrist or hand limitations that might otherwise preclude them from showerhead-based pleasure.
In the shower, I wasn’t just warm, I was hot—which allowed my muscles, including my pelvic floor muscles, to relax.
Naturally, the Pleasure Jet technology in the showerhead deserves some of the credit for my easily reached orgasm. But, I also think part of the speed was due to the fact that I was warm and relaxed.
Despite the embarrassingly high temperature at which I keep my apartment, I am always cold. (Actually, before getting naked with my partners, I usually have to ask them to turn up the heat… literally.) In the shower, I wasn’t just warm, I was hot—which allowed my muscles, including my pelvic floor muscles, to relax. Given that an orgasm is essentially a series of pelvic floor muscle contractions, it makes sense that if those muscles were more pliable due to the warmth, it would be easier for me to O.
Also worth mentioning: I’m blessed to have a seat built into my shower. So, I was able to recline while I masturbated. As a person who generally thinks standing sex is overrated and has never been able to come with both feet planted firmly on the ground, the ability to sit was an essential element in my pleasure experience with the Wave. If your preferences are like mine, I’d recommend adding a shower stool to your shopping cart alongside the showerhead. (As an added bonus, the stool will make it safer for you to use lube if you plan to pair the external-stimulation from the Wave with an internal waterproof vibrator).
The eco impact of using the Womanizer Wave
Since the launch of the Womanizer Wave, there’s been some eco pushback, largely from the folks behind UK-based sustainable sex-toy company Love Not War who say that masturbating with water is a poor use of said water—and suggest that consumers, naturally, buy their sex toys for this purpose instead.
Certainly, spending more time under any showerhead does use more water than if you were to just get out of the shower once you were clean; indeed, some estimates suggest that roughly 300 million liters (about 79 million gallons) are used each year for showerhead masturbation alone.
But as a pleasure activist and sex educator, I take issue with people coming after water-wankers in the name of a greener world. After all, use of the toilet, bathtub, and washing machine all make up a larger share of our average water usage than use of the shower, as things currently stand. So, focusing a campaign on getting people—primarily folks with a vulva—to stop masturbating in the shower is, at best, ineffective. And at worst, it’s sex-negativity masquerading as environmentalism.
When it comes to using the Wave, it’s also worth noting that it was designed with sustainability in mind, employing technology that allows it to use 60-percent less water than a conventional showerhead. And if you’re anything like me, it won’t take you more than a couple extra minutes of water usage beyond the typical amount of time you’d spend in the shower to get off with the Wave.
No doubt, water waste is an important cause to rally behind. But to focus on the excess water loss from showerhead masturbation ignores all the layered reasons why people may choose to self-pleasure this way in the first place—like, because there’s less risk of getting walked in on or caught, or because it’s the only way they feel safe or relaxed enough to let their guard down and experience pleasure.
I may be a sex educator, not a campaign manager, but it seems like a more effective and sex-positive water-conserving campaign would be to encourage folks to use sex blankets so that they don’t have to change their sheets every time they bang or to shower together as part of a post-sex aftercare practice, rather than villainizing a masturbation practice that, for many, serves a uniquely satisfying purpose.
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