Say Hello to the Nikita, a Gun-Shaped Dildo

Artist Nika Cherrelle and her creation: The Nikita sex toy. Photos by Stela Furtado. 

The Nikita, designed by artist Nika Cherrelle, is a pistol-shaped six-inch silicone dildo and vibrating sleeve. As Cherrelle says, “It’s a gun that shoots orgasms.”

The gun-shaped vibrator began as an art project, but it’s now a genuine sex toy that Cherrelle is hoping will soon reach consumers. In 2008, Cherrelle put together a sculpture series focusing on violence and sexuality for her Masters in Fine Arts at California College of the Arts. The original series, called Trigger Happy, included a dildo similar to the Nikita as well as a gun with balls instead of a handle and a vulva with an enlarged gun-shaped clit. The pieces, Cherelle says, emerged from her identity as both a genderqueer woman and a queer woman of color working to create sexual empowerment. Cherrell feels guns show up way too much in our culture and wanted to stimulate discussions about sex and violence—both issues that are as “equally promoted as they are taboo,” she says.

When she premiered the sculpture series, people who saw the project kept asking whether the one-of-a-kind sculptures could work as functional objects. Cherrell decided to convert the sculptures into functioning sex toys and has designed a series of eight toys for her first line, started her own business, and launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund production costs.

During the translation of sculpture to functional object, Cherrell researched the details of human anatomy as well as the intricacies of gun design, both of which transformed the toy’s shape. As she researched gunsmithing, Cherrell learned to appreciate the aesthetics of guns. “It’s ornate and it’s beautiful,” she says. “But why does it have to be something used for harm?” Cherrell feels it’s useful to have humor and levity when discussing such a heavy topic, something a gun-shaped dildo can help with. “There’s something really intense about the gun itself,” Cherrell says. In prototyping the product, she found that some people were intimidated by the gun shape. But once they held the toy, things changed. “It’s warm and soft and kind of floppy. It’s funny to see a flaccid gun,” says Cherrell.  

Nika Cherrell plans to release the Nikita in black, gold, platinum, and purple. Photo by Tiffany Calabaza.

In addition to making a statement, the gun shape also turned out to be functional for a dildo. The Nikita’s trigger acts as a tickler to stimulate the clitoral or prostate areas. It can also be used as a hands-free strap-on by inserting the base of the gun grip into the vagina. The handle also makes the toy more ergonomic than some dildos: The handle allows the user to have more control and to reach a wide range of angles, whether someone is using it solo or with a partner. The toys are constructed from medical grade silicone and BPA-and pthalate-free. Cherrell is especially interested in the accessibility of the toy. As noted in this history, the modern dildo originated as a sex aid for people with disabilties. During prototyping of the Nikita, Cherrell says some people with disabilities found it simpler to use than typical dildos, since the handle makes it easier to grip. 

Along with accessibility, Cherrell wants to reach people across the gender and sexuality spectrums. In her business plan, she defines her target audience as “based on what people do in the bedroom and not who they are.”

Cherrell’s aims for the piece are twofold. She wants those who resonate with the playful side of the toy to enjoy it. She produces sex toys to inspire people to enjoy their sexuality and sex lives, in whatever form. She also wants people who feel tension about its imagery to engage with the toy. Cherrell is currently seeking organizations who help fight gun violence so she can align her business with them. When her brand fully launches, she wants a portion of the proceeds to go to a nonprofit that is also contributing to the cultural conversation about violence.

Right now, you can only get a Nikita yourself via Cherrell’s Indiegogo campaign. But I, for one, hope to see the Nikita soon in sex stores and bedrooms across the country.

Related Reading: If You Mold It, They Will Come — A History of the Modern Dildo.

Rachel Cassandra is a writer and designer whose upcoming book on women street artists of Latin America can be found here.

by Rachel Cassandra
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Rachel Cassandra is a writer and designer in San Francisco. She’s written for Bitch, the SFist, Running Times, Narratively, and Juxtapoz. Her book, Women Street Artists of Latin America, was just published by Manic D Press.

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5 Comments Have Been Posted

interesting!

I remember about...15 years ago there used to be a white gun vibrator that I believe babeland sold? Not sure who the manufacturer was, but it was a less appealing one - sort of a slimline vibe attached to the handle of a sort of cowboy looking gun, sort of silly looking and a strange color choice for ABS plastic, but I remember wondering if it was a popular item. Unsurprisingly, I like the idea of this project coming out of an artistic approach to this topic and that she is interested in helping organizations that fight gun violence a lot more.

Would like to see more of her other art work too!

This needs a content warning on Facebook

I'm really disappointed by the lack of response to concerns raised by posters on the Bitch Media Facebook post of this article.

Yes, this is a feminist art piece worthy of discussion and coverage, but that doesn't mean it should be splashed on people's (including violence survivors') Facebook feeds without warning.

Thanks for letting us know

Thanks for sharing your concerns, Jenny. What do you think would have been an appropriate warning? And what was too graphic here—the top image or the headline? I write our share text on Facebook, so I'm always looking to learn what's best for readers and appreciate your feedback.

Hi Sarah. I would say both

Hi Sarah. I would say both the image and the headline were too intense. I would have gone with a picture of the artist and a header along the lines of "Feminist Artist Creates Gun-Shaped Dildo." Then readers can elect to go read the article or not. The headline as is was flippant in its pop culture reference.

Also, Bitch should seriously consider using content warnings on Facebook posts.

Thanks for the feedback

Thanks for spelling that out, Jenny, I appreciate you taking the time to let me know!

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