A Short History of the Fleshlight | Matilda's Lifestyle Blog

A Short History of the Fleshlight

Discover the fascinating history behind Fleshlight: the world’s best-selling male masturbator with our quick read about how Fleshlight responded to the massive gap in the male satisfaction market, especially for those men who cannot get gratification the regular way.


Fleshlight Male Masturbators are the world's best male stimulators yet. Fleshlight responded to a massive gap in the male satisfaction market, especially for those men who cannot get gratification the regular way.

Once Upon a Time...

1995: The Idea of a Male Masturbator was Born

Steve Shubin, a highly sexual and married man, was prompted during his wife's high-risk pregnancy to invent a tool to give him intimate relief during this time. Steve's wife was 40 at the time, and her doctors felt sex would be risky for her baby. Steve deliberated with his very sympathetic wife, and the idea of a male masturbator was born.

I thought, Guys are into tools, and so, I decided to call it Fleshlight...

Whilst creating, they realised there must be the same need amongst other men everywhere - men who were unable to enjoy sex in the usual way. “We started thinking this way because there was a much bigger opportunity than my current, very narrow, issue,” explained Steve to Vice Magazine. With an initial investment of $50,000, Steve and his team first created dolls “with sexual applications,” which, they very quickly realised, were not selling because of their brazen sexual appearance.

Steve then redesigned his invention to be portable, discreet and small enough to fit into a man’s hand. “I thought, Guys are into tools. And what I had settled on was a flashlight, so I decided to call it Fleshlight,” he said to Vice Magazine. The rest, as they say, is history. Fleshlight is now a multi-million dollar industry and became the world’s best-selling sex toy in a matter of months.

1997: The Fleshlight Became Flesh

After realising that his sex toys had to be less dramatic, Shubin then decided to conceal some sort of masturbation sleeve in an innocent-looking outer casing. With ingenuity, Shubin and his team produced a sleeve with an uncanny resemblance and texture to a woman's vagina, and the casing very much resembled that of an innocent household torch. Voila - the Fleshlight was born!

2003: Introduction of New Products

Fleshlight introduced new versions of sex-in-a-can, thus pleasing more men with urgent needs. 

2005: New Sensations from Fleshlight

This year, Shubin added to his catalogue with a range of textured sleeves to further oblige his corner of the sex toy market. These included ribbed, bumped and tight sleeves.

2006: Perform Better, Last Longer

The Fleshlight team was wising up - the Fleshlight Stamina Training Unit appeared for men with premature ejaculation. Another winner for Shubin.

2008: Fleshlight Girls

And then he resorted to make-believe. This cocky selection of sleeves replicates the intimate bits of famous porn stars (vaginas, mouths and anuses). His customers went wild! Fleshlight Girls is where they let their fantasies fly!

2011: The Aliens Have Landed

In 2011, Fleshlight introduced masturbation sleeves mimicking imagined alien women. If you have ever had a fantasy featuring an alien, this is the Fleshlight for you!

2009: Fleshlight Accessories

Fleshlight Personal Lubricants and Fleshlight Wall Mounts were launched, and so were the Fleshlights Vibro and Vortex.

2012: Something Freaky

The Fleshlight Freak range joined the inventory. These models excite the likes of Frankenstein, the Alien from Alien, Zombies, Dracula and spiders.

2013: More Additions & Accessories

In 2013, the Fleshlight Shower Mount and Mount adaptors appeared, adding more convenience to your shower times. For those with the taste, Fleshlight also introduced the V-Stroke Fleshlight (penis-controlled, for interactive porn videos).

2015: Small is the New Big

Not to be outdone, the compact and discreet GO Surge by Fleshlight and Quickshot sleeves were introduced in 2015. If you still want excitement in your antics but without the life-like closeness, look no further.

2018: Fleshlight is Rated the Top-Selling Male Masturbator on the Market

Browse through our entire Fleshlight section for more information and find the one that suits you.