Say it with us. Pleasure is for everyone. And we’re not just talking about sexual pleasure, but the fun, kind that gives us goosebumps, wrinkles the skin on our noses and soothes us when we’re feeling anxious.

Our First Impressions content series encourages folks to see pleasure toys from a new perspective. Our latest episode with Hini Hanara (they/them) prompts us to consider toys as tools for stimulation, beyond the sexual spectrum. Eager to dive deeper, we interviewed Hini about their intersectional experience with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), asexuality and pleasure toys. 

Passionfruit: Please introduce yourself, your pronouns, passions and profession(s):

Hini Hanara: Hi my name is Hini, my pronouns are they/them, my current profession is funeral worker, and I’ve just transitioned into that role from working in hospitality for quite some time. My background is fashion design, [but] I think the canvas of my art has always kind of come back to the body.

P: You’ve recently featured in our First Impressions content. How would you describe your relationship with pleasure toys and more broadly, the sensuality space? 

HH: [Shooting First Impressions], I think, even after all the work, shame still creeps in there. And then there’s the other side of me that’s like ‘this is so naughty’... So, on first impression, there’s a resistance of wanting to go ‘ugh this is amazing’, because I find that really artificial. So instead, I just try to let myself just be the kid that I am, and feel it out. And that’s one of the better traits of being neurodivergent, is that you appreciate tactile things and sensations differently and it does feel magical when you explore that space.

P: What about when toys are tied to sex?

HH: When it’s tied to sex or intimacy with a partner, I’m just like, bored. Because I’ve masturbated for years and years and years, and I know what my body wants and how it responds, no partner could ever really match that – there’s no way. 

P: The sex and sensuality space tends to avoid addressing asexuality. What would you like to see more of in this space to feel heard, seen and included?

HH: I just feel like I’m at a lot of intersections: mixed race, indigenous person of colour, queer, female-bodied and gender non-conforming; statistically I’m not meant to survive. So, I think I’ve kind of already built a lot of internal systems to keep myself safe and guarded. I wouldn’t trust that anyone could get it right, …but there’s so much to be said when you feel a little bit acknowledged, and kind of seen. 

Things that I’ve been looking for in this space include non-binary porn or pleasure videos. I also appreciate that the toy range at Passionfruit don’t all look like penises, they look like toys. The kind where I just want to get a big candy dispenser, put in a big coin, turn it and trot off with my big toy in a bubble.

It’s bigger than just sex, it’s the way we relate to sex, it’s so diverse for every single person. I think whenever I go into a space that talks about sex, my experience in every other aspect is I’ll either be looking in the plus-size section or the weird section or whatever fringe section, because there is a kind of safety or a skill that you create for yourself in the fringe, in being able to find safety there. And if it’s not there, I’ll build it. 

P: Could you please describe stimming?

HH: Stimming is extra sensory stimulation, so really good for ADHD and ASD when you’re feeling under-stimulated and anxious and bored and you want other stimulation.

P: What advice, information or education did you wish you’d had growing up?

HH: I think anything would’ve been good, to be honest. I went to a high school that didn’t promote sex education, ‘cause we weren't supposed to have sex before marriage. Strangely, we had the highest rate of pregnancy in New Zealand.

My biggest thing was body shame, and having shame around my body because bodies were something to hide and be ashamed of, not to be flaunted and explored. Not even for myself, because that was wrong and masturbation was frowned upon in religion.

P: Finally, what can you recommend in the way of toys for trans bodies?

HH: I have a vagina but I'm not really happy about that, so it's hard to think about pleasure when it comes from a part of me that causes confusion. The closest pieces I have come across, that seem to come close to pleasuring my clitoris without screaming 'you have a vagina', are the double-ended dildos. One, in particular, has straps around the legs which help to hold it in place, helpful for those who expand a lot when aroused. It gives me the sensation that I'm wearing a mask or costume of sorts where I'm not so "on display". All I want is to have non-binary genitals, is that so hard to ask?

Pleasure toys are more complex than we think. 

Beyond cumming and climaxes, vibrators and dildos and butt plugs (oh my!) help us access and stimulate parts of our bodies (and minds) that we may not always attend to. So the next time you pick up a Doxy wand, you may want to consider its potential, beyond the big O. 

Keen to see Hini review some scintillating stimmers? 

Watch the latest clips from our First Impressions series on the Passionfruit Youtube Channel.