Friday, September 18, 2009

California Exotics Mr. Snuggly

The California Exotics Mr. Snuggly is a dual action vibrator with a really nice array of functions and some really nice qualities, but it's not for everyone's tastes. The material is a super-soft TPR, which is phthalate free but porous.

This is definitely not a toy for sharing, and it's rather high maintenance, because it attracts lint like it's planning to spin wool for a sweater, and the super-soft material is extremely easy to snag on a fingernail when you try to pick off said lint. Rinsing is a requirement. Also, it takes on the texture of any surface it's left on for more than thirty seconds.

If you decide you want this toy, I strongly recommend buying an extra large Sugar Sak for it before you ever take it out of the box, as well as a lint-free towel to pat it dry after rinsing, unless you fancy standing around holding it while waiting for it to air dry.

Also, it's a phallic shaped object in navy blue, with flashing lights. If anyone even slightly nosy will be near your stuff, you'd better invest in a locking case. Yes, a Sugar Sak and a locking case. Plus it runs on three AA batteries and needs them replaced more often than the other dual action vibe I own from California Exotics, the Passion Wave Butterfly.

Mr. Snuggly is a high maintenance boyfriend.

Is it worth all of this hassle? It depends on what you want in a toy.

The Mr. Snuggly isn't particularly powerful. The soft, thick material absorbs vibrations and cushions the strength of the rotations. It feels big during insertion, but conforms so well to your body that once it's there, it feels less there than some other toys.

What made me enjoy this toy is that it's fantastic for the slow build. Like my beloved Sasi, it makes you enjoy the journey instead of focusing on the reward. The rotations provide a gentle internal massage, while the external stimulator teases delightfully.

It never felt like too much, like the clit vibes on the two previous rabbits I reviewed, and the sensations built steadily higher for a drawn out and deeply satisfying end.

All seven vibration patterns are well worth exploring, which is accomplished by cycling through them with a simple button push -- speaking of which, I liked the buttons. They were much easier to push than those on the Passion Wave or other rabbit vibes from California Exotics. The shaft rotation patterns, on the other hand, didn't feel significantly different in use.

As for the noise test, it passed. The vibrator portion is really quiet, and the louder shaft rotation cannot be heard through a closed door.

The packaging, on the other hand, is made of fail. A big flashy cardboard box that needs to be recycled, but has a scantily clad woman on the front? Check. Failure to actually protect the product in transit? Also, check. My toy arrived a little squished, and with a tiny tear where the packaging rubbed the top of the clit stimulator.

I'd absolutely buy this toy again, but my recommendation comes with a stern reminder that it will not please everyone, especially if you want power, and it's a fair bit of work to maintain. You'll need to take every precaution against bacteria, because the material is extremely porous and a bit of a challenge to clean, and the lint problem is significant if you don't take the proper measures there as well.

This toy requires an anti-bacterial toy cleaner, regular trips to the sink, a lint-free towel, a Sugar Sak (for both the lint-free and anti-bacterial properties), and probably a locking case. I'd also recommend a good water based lube.

I'll be keeping a lookout for a silicone toy that compares. (Hint to Cal Exotics -- I'd buy this exact toy in silicone in a heartbeat.)

Mr. Snuggly is available on amazon.com for just under fifty dollars.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

JimmyJane Little Steel Vanitas

The Little Steel Vanitas by JimmyJane is a small one speed vibrator that comes complete with an engraved decoration that might tempt you to leave it out, just so you could explain the cleverness of the reference to your baffled acquaintances. Well, except that it's a sex toy.

The butterflies and skulls engraved in black are inspired by the vanitas art style of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, made popular by the Dutch masters. A vanitas is a type of still life in which objects of Earthly pleasure surround a skull, reminding the viewer to take advantage of life's finer things now, because tomorrow you might be dead. Or, with the Little Steel Vanitas, you'll experience the Little Death -- orgasm -- which is also an Earthly pleasure. Full circle.

Yep, you too can be pretentious with your pants off, for a mere two hundred and fifty dollars. Or, spend another seventy five and you can spring for 24k gold. If you really have money to burn, diamonds are an option, too. The Little Something is the vibrator of the rich and famous.

Revealing what precisely attracted me to this particular version of the Little Steel might lead clever readers to my true identity. Probably not, but my paranoia remains strong, and so I'll keep that little bit to myself. I will tell you it's a sci-fi reference that I twisted in my head, with a little Shakespeare thrown in, and I find the whole thing quite amusing. I'm sad not to explain it. But alas, paranoia wins out.

The Little Chroma is also a fine option from JimmyJane, and it appears to be the exact same toy, only in colorful aluminum instead of brushed steel.

The advantages of the Little Something line of vibrators include a replaceable motor (currently it'll cost you twenty bucks if you wear one out), a waterproof casing, easy cleaning, compatibility with any lube, and a low noise level. The box claims it's silent, which I found to be an overstatement*, but it does pass the sound test. I left it buzzing away on a leather chair, where it sounded slightly louder than it had in my hand, and I couldn't hear it on the other side of the not particularly heavy door. (*see follow up below)

It's loudest during the turning off and turning on process, which is where it will betray you if you're living in close quarters, since the on-off function is controlled with a twist-off base. I'm not a great fan of the twist-off base, and I'm a little puzzled as to why a vibrator with a price range of $125 - $395 (pre-diamond, that is) has the same feature that I complained about on the ten dollar Velvet Touch.

My best guess is that a twist off base is an extremely difficult on-off mechanism to break, and this vibe is built for the long haul.

Anyway, once you've finished using this vibe, I recommend waiting until your hands stop any shaking they happen to be doing before turning it off. You don't want to fumble around with it half unscrewed -- and suddenly disturbingly loud -- while your motor functions aren't quite at their best.

Aside from the screw-off base, this is a really well designed toy. It's deceptively simple, which is a quality I tend to enjoy. It has one vibration speed, without any pulse patterns, and it's a tiny thing. It's not much thicker than an AA battery, and it's only about double the length of said battery. The vibrations don't seem very strong at first, but they're a nice, deep frequency that's not at all buzzy.

For insertion, I found it pleasant but unremarkable. Granted, I might like it better if I didn't already have the Lelo Gigi and the Fun Factory Gigolo in my toybox, but it takes effort to angle it near the g-spot, and it's too small for thrusting. The weight makes it feel a little bigger than actual size, but for that full sensation, I'll be reaching for the Gigolo, or the Curve.

Where the Little Steel shines is as a clit vibe. It's surprisingly comfortable in the hand, and the deep frequency means that it feels wonderful without creating any numbness. Instead of a mad gallop to the finish line followed by immediate wobbly knees, the Little Steel delivers a nice canter along the scenic route, with a number of smaller thrills along the way.

Yes, multiples, real multiples, and the kind that leave you wanting more.

It's fantastic for temperature play, since it's made of metal. I found it to stay cold slightly longer than glass when used in a similar manner. The glass, being thicker and also not containing a heat-producing motor, had the definite advantage in that little contest, so I was really impressed with the Little Steel.

Hiding it is simple. It's small enough to stash just about anywhere, and it doesn't immediately look like a sex toy if found. It looks, to the casual observer, like it's a part to something, or perhaps it's the case for some kind of survival tool. A closer look will only puzzle them more, especially if you order one of the more baffling designs, and if your nosy intruder investigates further, your claim that it's a shoulder massager or a tool for treating tension headaches has a pretty good chance of being believed.

I definitely like the Little Steel Vanitas.

The question, though, is whether I'm impressed enough to tell my readers to spend their hard earned cash on this item. It's probably my favorite clit vibe, but note that I said probably, and also specified clit vibe. Were I to rank my toys, the Little Steel Vanitas would lose out to the Sasi, the Gigi, the Gigolo, the Curve, the Passion Wave, and quite possibly my favorite glass dildo. Both the Gigi and the Gigolo are quite serviceable clit vibes.

I'll be using the Little Steel Vanitas instead of my White Knights Bullet or Pocket Rocket, most of the time. But only most of the time -- probably not all of the time -- and you can get either of the other options for under twenty dollars each. You'll need to replace the bullet once a year or so, depending on your luck, but it'll take a few years before the Little Steel Vanitas, or any Little Something vibrator, starts to perform as a good investment.

The bottom line is this -- is the deeper vibration frequency worth the price tag, for you, personally, on your current budget. If it is, you can score the Little Chroma at edenfantasys.com. If it's not, I'll soon be learning if the Xtreme Pack G-spot Bullet lives up to its reputation as the best bullet vibe in the world.

Follow up: It turns out the Little Something really is virtually silent, with the correct battery. Unfortunately, the correct battery is not the battery that ships with the toy. When I changed batteries, I suddenly had the silence I was promised by the hype.

Furthermore, I find that this toy has become my most frequently used toy. I'm not sure how the vibrations seemed to get stronger at the same time that the toy became quieter, but it happened.

In any case, if you buy this, use the free battery in your remote control or something, and break out a proper copper top for the toy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Tunti Illuminating Boudoir Toybox

Of all the products I've reviewed so far, the Tunti is quite possibly my favorite, because now that my toys are secured within it, I'm no longer worried that they could be discovered.

It's a hard sided case, and a sturdy one at that, which means the contents won't get squished no matter where I hide it, plus it locks, which eliminates the possibility that it could get opened accidentally. Anyone nosy enough to rummage through it has to put forth the effort to either find the key, or pick the locks.

It comes with two keys, so I'd recommend hiding one really well -- not so well that you can't find it yourself, but well enough that it's a fair bit of trouble to retrieve. If you need a screwdriver to get to it, you're on the right track. That way, nobody will find it either accidentally or by searching, and you won't accidentally move it yourself, and lose it.

The other key -- the one you plan to actually use -- should be within reasonable distance of the case, but remember, if someone's going to be nosy enough to look for the key, they're going to look near the case. If it looks at first glance like a handy place to stash a key, rule it out. Alternately, keep the key in the obvious place, but remember to put it in your wallet when you leave the house.

One good thing -- you can't accidentally lock the keys inside the Tunti. You need the key to lock it. Just don't lose the keys after you've locked it, and you're good.

Now that the key issue is settled, on to the review.

The Tunti itself is extremely clever. The compartments are adjustable, and the plastic divider means anything tucked into the mesh pocket at the top of the case won't end up spilling into the compartments. That simple piece of plastic doubles the capacity of the case by making the entire interior useful, because it keeps everything tidy and safely separated.

The lights are cool, but while they're probably the strongest selling point to women with partners, they don't increase the value of the case significantly for me personally. They're convenient, because I don't need to turn on my small bedside lamp, or reach for a flashlight, and I like them. But they don't revolutionize my life.

Of course, were I ever to actually have sex with anyone, I'd do so in pitch blackness, and those little lights would be a life saver. They light up the contents of the case, while mercifully leaving the pasty flabby body rummaging through it in blissful darkness.

I'm much more excited about the adjustable compartments. I played with the dividers a bit, and of the three moveable pieces, one of them failed to fit in one location. I switched it for a different piece, and all was well. So if you think you have a bum piece, just switch it with another -- it'll probably work fine elsewhere in the case, and another divider will work fine in the location where it failed. The material of the dividers lends itself to minor imperfections that don't show themselves unless two minor imperfections meet. That same property is what gives the dividers their cushiony function, so I have no complaints.

When it came to arranging my toys, however, I ended up with two extra dividers, because the ideal arrangment for my toys required four compartments, rather than six.

It took me well over an hour of trial and error, but I did find a way to get all of my toys into the case without anything getting squished. My main problem in accomplishing that was the California Exotics Passion Wave Butterfly, which is a really big toy. It fit into one of the longer compartments perfectly -- until I put the plastic divider on top of it. Then the butterfly got pressed against the plastic. A little fiddling, and I found it rested more comfortably on its side. Problem solved. Resting on its side, I could even put it in the Tunti while wrapped in its extra large Sugar Sak.

The length of the Passion Wave presented no difficulties -- there was enough room to spare lengthwise to store the battery dohickey and the Screaming Octopus in the same compartment. And it's not that the depth of the case is problematic -- yes, I wanted another quarter inch or so, but this toy has a circumference of 5 3/4" and then a rather large winged butterfly on top of that, with a large bullet inside of it, and enough space between the shaft and the bullet to account for its function. It's a big toy.

Accomodating the Passion Wave made the other longer compartment rather narrow, but I filled it with a few smaller toys in separator bags. Then I created a compartment just for the Sasi, and sorted the rest of my toys into the last compartment, and the mesh pocket in the lid.

Speaking of the mesh pocket, I ran a strip of electrical tape over the harsh side of the velcro, lest it scratch anything, or snag a satin separator bag, because I wasn't using the velcro to close the pocket anyway. Next time I leave the house, I'll buy a piece of velcro to cover it properly. If you use tape for that purpose, use electrical tape -- it'll come off of the lovely velvet completely harmlessly, whereas packaging tape or duct tape or even masking tape would do damage. Test the electrical tape with your finger first, just to be sure it hasn't melted, but it really is the safest tape for fabric. Or leather, or a number of other things for that matter. But if you're a proper geek, you should already have a full working knowledge of when to use duct tape and when to use electrical tape, right?

Anyway, all of my toys are now in the Tunti, within their separator bags. That means my "small" toy box now contains: the California Exotics Passion Wave Butterfly, in an extra large Sugar Sak, with the battery pack removed; the Screaming Octopus; the White Knights Bullet; the Velvet Touch slimline vibe; the Fun Factory Gigilo; the Pocket Rocket; the Lucid Dream #14; the California Exotics Triple Luxe; the California Exotics Clit Pump; the Fun Factory Curve; the Lelo Ella; the Lelo Gigi; the Pink Indulgence Cyberglass Wand; the JimmyJane Little Something; the Pretty Pleaser Mini Rabbit; the Sasi; California Exotics Orgasm Balls; nipple clamps; two finger sleeves; two bullet sleeves; and a bottle of lube. Plus some batteries and a sample pack of Fun Factory Toy Fluid.

Yeah, it holds a lot of stuff if you're creative and careful. The plastic divider really helps in that capacity. I can't say enough about the plastic divider, and I might have to employ similar innovation with the other storage containers in my life.

I still have a few things outside of the Tunti, but I'm hoping that anyone nosing around my space will fail to notice any stray power adaptors, which blend in reasonably well with the charger for my Gameboy and the adapter for my PS2. The toy cleaner happens to work great on toys of a more innocent nature, so if anyone comes across it, they'll assume that's what it's for, probably. Or, if they bloody well know what it's for, they'll assume I don't, and that I'm hopelessly naive. Oh well.

To sum up, I strongly recommend the Tunti. It might even be worth buying first, before you begin your foray into sex toy collecting, because then you can relax and buy toys based on how much they interest you, instead of how well you could lie to cover for them if spotted by another human being.

The Tunti could easily hide any number of things, or, thanks to the adjustable compartments, be used to safely move collectibles from point A to point B. I know I'll be using it to transport completely innocent sci-fi dvds on my next vacation, because I always worry about something getting damaged in my luggage.

Buy Tunti direct from Tunti Enterprises. They take paypal, which is nice. The one slight flaw is that the name Tunti Enterprises is fairly prominent on the outer box, so if anyone in your household is the nosy type, they could google it. I'd recommend having a nice cover story about action figure transportation in place just in case. Or, if you know the arrival was noticed, leave the thing in plain sight for a day or so, filled with your gaming accessories, or whatever else will insure that nobody in your house will ever think to go near it again.

Note: I planned to have pictures with this review, but I broke the camera. Watch for a second review in coming weeks, with pictures.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Win a Pure Wand

njoy_box_Pure_Wand_web

Lilly, of DangerousLilly.com, is giving away an Njoy Pure Wand courtesy of EdenFantasys! The Pure Wand is a high-quality stainless steel double-ended dildo for either G-spot stimulation or prostate stimulation. It is 24 ounces of solid medical grade stainless steel, and polished to a mirror shine. Lilly loves her Pure Wand and wants to spread the love to one lucky winner!


To enter the contest just visit her blog to find out the rules and entry methods. You can enter even if you don’t have a blog, it’s easy! The contest deadline is September 16th, 2009, at Midnight Eastern Standard Time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fun Factory Curve

The Curve is a pure silicone dildo with an ergonomic shape. I've named mine. Yes, I like it that much.

Fun Factory is a German company known for brightly colored toys made of soft, flexible silicone that, in my opinion, strikes the perfect balance between cushy and firm. I bought two of their toys, so I'll have a vibrator review in a few days as well.

The Curve has mixed reviews, with a whole bunch of women reporting it as the best dildo ever created, and a smaller group hating it passionately. That kind of mix true for a lot of toys, especially if you read buyer reviews on various store websites -- everyone writing a review there has either just had an orgasm, or has just tried to have an orgasm and failed, after having spent money for the attempt. Just something to keep in mind when shopping.

Anyway, with the Curve, those who loved the Curve also differ strongly on whether this is a dildo only useful for use with a partner, or only suitable for alone-time. That really seems like an odd discrepancy, but now that I own one, I understand why.

If you buy the Curve -- and I'm recommending that you do, provided you own a vagina -- please take the time to get to know it. There are at least a dozen ways to hold the curved handle, and you need to find the one that's most comfortable for you. Also, you need to remember that what works in one position doesn't necessarily work in another position, especially considering that the Curve is a little on the floppy side. That seems like it goes without saying, but most people aren't at their most analytical while using a dildo.

The other thing to remember with the Curve is to use lube. It's a pretty big dildo, with a partially matte finish. Plus it's silicone, which means water based lube is a requirement. Water based lube dries, because the water in it is absorbed by the body. Friction has a way of making a large thrusting toy uncomfortable, instead of fun.

I used the Curve with three different lubes, and I could definitely tell the difference. Used with Fun Factory Toy Fluid, the Curve gets five out of five stars, but if I had only tried it with the cheap water based lube from the drug store, I'd be wondering what all the rave reviewing was all about. I had previously found the cheap lube perfectly adequate with a number of toys, although I had to use slightly more than when I used other lubes. I had therefore counted it as a false economy, and set out to use it all up before I broke into any of the better stuff.

Fortunately, the Curve came with a sample size of Toy Fluid that would have been inconvenient to store anywhere, and so I was able to truly appreciate the glory that is the Curve.

And glorious it is, so glorious that describing it cannot be done without some seriously appalling purple prose. Fireworks and toe-curling and other silly cliches will come into play, because this toy will get you there, repeatedly. The Ella will show you your g-spot, and the Gigi will pamper it with high tech sensation, but the Curve will hit it beautifully without any special effort on your part as you thrust away, out of control, eyes rolling back in your head and hips wiggling all over the bed.

As for discretion, the Curve doesn't make a sound, but make sure the door is locked and grab a pillow to bite, because if someone comes running when you scream, it's going to be appallingly obvious what you're doing when they arrive, and you don't notice.

My door was locked, but I had to limp around for days to support my poorly concocted cover story. Trying to make up lies in that condition? Really frakking hard, I'm just saying.

The Curve should be washed with soap and water, or toy cleaner, and stored in a separator bag to keep it away from your other silicone. Never use silicone lube with it, and I'm going to take that one step further and strongly recommend sticking to Toy Fluid.

This is also a lock-and-key toy, because if it's not hidden well enough, you're not going to be able to make up a plausible cover story for it. It looks like a dildo, and a bit of an odd one. It's well worth buying a locking case of some kind, like the Tunti. Heck, I'd buy the Curve its own apartment, if it asked for one. As I may have mentioned, it's just that good.

Curve - Classic dildos and dongs - EdenFantasys

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hunting Rabbits

I'm setting out on a quest -- a quest to purchase the perfect rabbit style vibrator. Yes, it's quite a nobel quest, and will require much bravery, skill, and hardship. Okay, so maybe not so much hardship. But it will test my google-fu.

I have reviewed two members of the species already:

the Nasstoys Pretty Pleaser

the California Exotics Passion Wave Butterfly

The former is too small, and the latter is too big. As we learned from Goldilocks, the third one should be just right. Actually, the Passion Wave is quite nice with lots of warmup, but sometimes there's not time for that kind of warmup, and one of the appeals of this particular variety is the quickie aspect.

The perfect dual action pleasure object has to meet a few requirements:

  • it must be made of phthalate-free material, like silicone or TPR
  • it must have a rotating shaft of reasonable strength
  • the vibrating portion needs a setting low enough not to be painful
  • the vibrating portion needs a setting high enough to get the job done
  • the vibrating portion needs to reach the right places
  • rotating beads are a plus, not a requirement, but no loose beads that will jam

    Several candidates have entered the race so far.

    Rosebud -- it's silicone, and promises strength in rotation; it doesn't have rotating beads, jamming or otherwise; I have doubts about the shape of the vibrating portion.

    California Exotics Mr. Snuggly -- soft TPR intrigues, and the rotation looks good; no rotating beads, jamming or otherwise; the vibrating portion has the same shape as another toy I like. Another plus, it's available on amazon. A slight minus, though -- it leans toward realistic, only navy blue. A small quibble, but I don't want to be picturing Tobias Funke during playtime.

    California Exotics Purring Thrusting Stimulator -- this one looks too complicated to actually work, with more functions than the latest iPhone and enough moving parts that only a small miracle of engineering could manage any durability. Part of it is see-through, which is a plus, because it'll keep me from taking it apart. Probably.

    Bendi Clitifier from California Exotics -- the vibration portion is adjustable, which sounds like a wonderful feature, if one can get past the name. Seriously, what were they thinking? My other concern with the design is the placement of the non-jamming beads -- they look way too high on the shaft to do their job.

    Anyway, I have a long way to go before this quest is complete. Surely the object of my desire is out there.

    Curve - Classic dildos and dongs - EdenFantasys
  • Friday, August 21, 2009

    Summer Love Wish List

    Babeland is running a contest: make a sex toy wish list, post it in your blog, potentially win the whole list -- just keep it under $500. I can't think of a better way to collect more review material. I've tried to build a varied and interesting list, representing different manufacturers and types of toys available from Babeland:

    The first thing I want to try is the Pure Wand by Njoy. A few months ago I didn't even know they made stainless steel sex toys, and now I'm considering paying a hundred bucks for one? Apparently the weight (a pound and a half!) is great for g-spot stimulation.

    Pure Wand by Njoy


    Second on the list is the the Rosebud by Vibratex. It's a silicone rabbit vibe from the makers of the famous one, and the rotation is supposed to be quite strong. I'm definitely eager to try this one out.

    Rosebud -- a Babeland Staff Pick


    I feel somewhat inadequate as I write reviews, because I've never tried the Hitachi or anything like it. However, I'm not willing to put anything near my nether regions that's plugged into a wall socket. The odds of a lightning strike might be remote, but I'm not dying that way. On the other hand, the Acuvibe looks like a fantastic alternative. Cordless and rechargeable. Perfect.

    Acuvibe


    Next up, the Alumina Revolve by Tantus. It's pretty, it's made of aluminum -- a material I have not yet tried -- and it has a unique shape. It should make for an interesting review.

    Alumina Revolve


    I have yet to review anything from Fun Factory, so it seems that starting with a Babeland Exclusive might be a good idea. The pink disturbs me, but silicone and a booster button intrigue.

    Boss Lady by Fun Factory -- a Babeland Exclusive


    So far, my blog has been woefully short on inexpensive toys, and I don't have a toy with ridges like this, so I'll give it a try. The Fleur De Lis Desire:

    Fleur De Lis Desire -- a Babeland Staff Pick


    I've read some sexpert blogs containing fond memories of an old version of this toy -- the Nubby G. While I have my doubts, I'm willing to give it a try. Besides, it's another Babeland Exclusive:

    Babeland Nubby G


    Here's another inexpensive toy with a fair bit of hype. I have my doubts that it'll pass a sound test, but I'm willing to give it a fair shake. The Orchid G:

    Orchid G


    And last but not least, if I can get some free toy cleaner out of this contest dealio, that's great. If I, you know, actually win. Plus I should actually try a few so I can figure out if there are any differences. Then perhaps I could do some sort of comparison post, which would be almost interesting.

    Babeland Toy Cleaner

    Now for those of you wondering, yes, I've seen that plenty of sexperts obviously receive toys for free to review, but I'm not quite sure how that works, and I'm really not keen on packages arriving unexpectedly, or of a whole bunch of employees of various stores and manufacturers having my real life information while also being aware of this blog. That just seems a little too real to me. At the same time, I don't have an unlimited fund for this kind of thing. I have to put more thought into the whole situation if I'm going to keep reviewing toys. As for my personal needs, well, I have some things that I really like at this point.

    Time will tell.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    The Lelo Ella

    The Lelo Ella is a silicone dildo with one end for g-spotting, and one end for traditional thrusting. It does not vibrate, so don't get it confused with anything else in the Lelo collection.

    It's a really great tool for finding your own g-spot, and the silicone is firm enough to provide a fair amount of pressure. If you can't afford the Gigi, it's not a bad option. I found that it transmitted vibrations from other toys pretty well, but I liked it best just for pressure and rubbing.

    Not everything needs to vibrate, and too much dependence on vibration can't be good. Who knows, maybe someday you'll lose a few pounds, slink out of your parents' basement, and go make friends. These friends, should one of them prove attractive and trustworthy enough to share naked fun, are unlikely to vibrate.

    Anyway, back to the the Ella. It comes in black or white, with a satin separator bag, and it's got an understated class to it. Since it doesn't resemble disembodied genitalia, it would not be immediately recognized as a sex toy if found. You'd still die of embarrassment, of course, but a quick lie about darning socks or something would enable your retreat.

    It's quite impressive how this deceptively simple toy can bring so much pleasure. It's perfectly designed for its job, and since it doesn't vibrate, it encourages the user to explore in less of a high tech way. To use a vaguely creepy analogy, it's like putting down the video games for a while to play with something old-fashioned like Legos. Suddenly the creative portions of your brain are back in the game.

    Obviously it passes any noise tests one could imagine. It can be boiled for sterilization purposes, or just cleaned with toy cleaner, and it's of course waterproof since it doesn't have any electrical parts.

    If you already own both the Gigi and a good dildo that you like, you might find this toy redundant, but personally I think it's well worth having.

    For a more detailed review of the Ella, and also to take advantage of the view actual size feature on the site, head over to edenfantasys.com. If you make a purchase, be sure to enter coupon code DXN for a nice discount.







    Breakdown:Lelo Ella
    Orgasmic: yes
    Sound: none
    Cover Story: it's for . . . darning socks, yeah
    Best Feature: perfect shape for self-exploration and g-spot stimulation
    Worst Feature: well, it doesn't vibrate
    Recommended: yes

    The California Exotics Passion Wave Butterfly

    The California Exotics Passion Wave Butterfly is a unique, daunting toy that you shouldn't buy without careful consideration. It's expensive, it's huge, and it has a bit of a design flaw that might be cool with you, but only if you know about it before plunking down a hundred bucks for it. I've seen this on many websites, and it's described as 5 1/4 inches in circumference. That's big. That's also not accurate. It measures 5 3/4 and that's really big.

    For my detailed review, please head over here, so you can get a look at the actual size of this toy, and also read what other reviewers have to say. They also have quite a good price on this toy, especially if you use the coupon code I'm about to provide.

    For a discount on any purchases at edenfantasys.com, use coupon code DXN. You'll be glad you did.

    If you can handle the size of this toy, it's fantastic. If you can't, it's a waste of money. Give it a lot of thought before you try it, and if possible, look at it in a store somewhere first. There are lots of other rabbit type vibrators that do other very pleasant things, so consider them as well. So my recommendation status on this product is basically "I don't know" but at least I'm honest.






    Breakdown:California Exotics Passion Wave Butterfly
    Orgasmic: absolutely
    Sound: loud but hard to identify
    Cover Story: impossible -- it looks obscene
    Best Feature: the waving is bliss
    Worst Feature: really girthy (5 3/4" circumference)
    Recommended: guardedly

    California Exotics Triple Luxe

    The California Exotics Triple Luxe is going to be hit or miss with most users. I've read that it's not quite long enough to hit the g-spot for some reviewers, but it hit mine, which I did not expect. A surprise g-spot orgasm is a very very nice surprise. Also, it tickles the clit and the butt as one rocks it back and forth. I'm leery of the butt as an erogenous zone, but this toy is very non-threatening in that way and it felt nice. The clit part felt quite good too, although more from moving the toy around than from the moderate vibrations.

    Speaking of the moderate vibrations, it's stronger than I expected, since it uses AAA batteries, but not as strong as many other things, and it's louder than you'd expect from the level of vibration. It passed the closed door test, but it was still a little loud for my comfort while using it, possibly moreso due to the pitch of the vibrations than the actual volume, so I turned up the stereo.

    Of all of the toys I have, this one makes me the wettest the fastest. (Typing that made me blush, guess I'm still uptight.)

    It's made out of TPR and hard plastic, so it can be sterilized with a bleach solution, or cleaned with toy cleaner if you're not into sharing, it is free of phthalates, requires water based lube, and is not waterproof.

    I'm leaning toward recommending this toy, but it really depends on individual anatomy, so you're taking a risk if you buy it sight unseen, or even if it's right there in front of you, if you haven't memorized your own internal measurements. And some people may have done that, but I know I sure haven't.







    Breakdown: California Exotics Triple Luxe
    Orgasmic: yes
    Sound: passes, but barely
    Cover Story: it looks like a sex toy
    Best Feature: rocking it around feels divine
    Worst Feature: high pitch to the vibration
    Recommended: undecided -- it's a love it or hate it

    California Exotics Clit Pump

    The California Exotics Clit Pump is a bit of a flawed toy. There are a bunch of toys that claim to provide suction, and this is simply the one that seems to fail the least. I haven't had all of them on my girly bits, but I did handle several in stores and pumped them against the skin of my arm, and the pump part does not work on any of the others I tried in that fashion. Other reviews indicate I am not alone in reaching that conclusion.

    It sort of works on this toy. If you position it exactly right, with a little patience, you can achieve suction. Quite possibly too much suction, in fact, and caution is advised or it could hurt a little. If you really put the effort in, you can master the exact science of gently squeezing the bulb to get it to do something not entirely unlike suction. If you do, that feels really nice.

    I couldn't reach orgasm with it, but I'm not sorry to own this toy, because it is a different sensation. It also seems to make the clit more sensitive for whatever you choose to do next. The vibration part is useless -- it's very weak. You probably don't even want to bother to put batteries in it. The misleadingly named "penetrator" portion doesn't do much of anything and attempts to slide the head of the thing into position tend to break the suction.

    The good part of this toy is the suction, because we're all lured into thinking that sounds great, and this toy is safer than a makeshift option, like a shampoo bottle with potentially sharp edges, or heaven forbid, the vacuum cleaner. (Guys are horribly wounded by vacuum cleaners all the time. But we know better, right ladies?) In all seriousness, the horror stories have kept me from trying these makeshift things, but I must admit to thinking about it, so this cheap looking plastic toy with its flaws is worth twenty five or thirty dollars in that regard.

    It passes the sound test, because the vibrator portion doesn't really do anything. It's a huge pain in the ass to clean, which I could describe in detail, but I'll just say that it requires q-tips and let you discover the joy of that on your own.

    Recommended would be too strong a term for this toy, but it's fairly cheap and I haven't abandoned it even though I have some really nice things. I like it more than it deserves to be liked, and you might arrive at that conclusion as well. You should definitely buy this toy if you want to experiment with suction and are willing to deal with the flaws. Finding it is tricky, although it's at edenfantasys.com (use coupon code DXN), and I also found it in a porn shop off the highway in a midwestern state. They also had fireworks.






    Breakdown: California Exotics Clit Pump
    Orgasmic: no, it's more of a warm up toy
    Sound: passes easily
    Cover Story: keyboard vacuum? snake bite kit? IDK, it's confusing-looking
    Best Feature: strong suction
    Worst Feature: pointless vibration, tricky to use
    Recommended: only in that it's better than other options

    The Cyberglass Pink Indulgence Wand

    I chose the Pink Indulgence Massage Wand from Topco pretty randomly, because I wanted to try a glass dildo, and the cyberglass was an inexpensive way to do that.

    I've reviewed it here at edenfantasys.com, where you can take advantage of the view actual size feature, read other reviews, and also order it using the discount code DXN.

    Pyrex glass may be allegedly "better" than cyberglass, but they can both deal with temperature play and the price difference is significant. It'll take some convincing for me to abandon this toy for something else, because I really like it.






    Breakdown: Pink Indulgence Cyberglass Wand
    Orgasmic: yes
    Sound: none
    Cover Story: um, yeah, it looks like a dildo, although it's not penis shaped at least
    Best Feature: temperature play, hard material for firm pressure on the g-spot, textures for external play . . .
    Worst Feature: if you drop it on concrete it will break
    Recommended: yes, definitely, it's awesome and a relatively affordable choice if you want to try glass

    The Pretty Pleaser Mini Rabbit


    Pretty Pleaser Mini Rabbit
    by Nass Walk

    This loses points up front for having a naked porn star on the box. I'm not one to judge a toy by the package, but this could not be tackier if they tried. I also don't get the name. What's "pretty" about a purple rubber penis with a smilie face on the head?

    As for the toy itself -- it's a small rabbit style vibrator, with a rotating shaft, rows of spinning metal beads, and a clit stimulator that I believe is supposed to look like a bug of some kind. And it's jelly rubber, so it's probably planning to give me cancer, very very slowly. Dang phthalates.

    As for noise, the vibrator portion can't be heard but the rotating motor is a little loud when turned all the way up. I wouldn't use it without the stereo.

    It feels good enough in use that I know I want to buy a better quality -- and larger -- rabbit that includes the rotating shaft feature. The beads feel surprisingly nice, too, but probably aren't a dealbreaker. I'll let you know.

    From reading a number of reviews, I've learned that attached metal beads make for a more durable toy than loose plastic beads. The plastic ones jam up eventually, and this is not a concern with this toy, which makes it a bit of a bargain, even if it does require toy covers due to potential toxins.

    One thing I like about this one is that the controls aren't located on the base of the vibe, but on a cord. Yes, the cord can be a nuisance, but it does allow the user to lie back and fiddle with the controls. Creative use of a pillow will keep the thing from escaping at the wrong moment.

    If you want to experience a rabbit, but are intimidated by size, this is an option, but be sure to buy it during cold weather so you can toss the packaging into the fireplace, and use a condom or toy cover with it.






    Breakdown: Nasstoys Pretty Pleaser
    Orgasmic: yes
    Sound: borderline, so turn on the tv
    Cover Story: none possible, it's a jelly rubber penis with a cord coming out of it
    Best Feature: the metal rotating beads feel very nice
    Worst Feature: jelly rubber, small
    Recommended: not really

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    The Sasi

    The Sasi. Here's a toy with a great concept, a flawed design, a dozen frustrating and downright infuriating aspects to it, and a steep price tag. I could say twenty negative things about the Sasi, and they'd all be true, but I'll still plunk down almost two hundred dollars to replace mine when it inevitably breaks.

    It's mindblowingly good, and even the most obnoxious flaws have a sort of endearing quality. I've had friends say that about boyfriends I thought they should dump, but maybe I understand now.

    Some of the sexperts aren't impressed with this toy. They dwell on the flaws. Don't let that discourage you, because sexperts aren't friendless virgins and therefore have other options. They don't get quite how cool this toy is for the rest of us.

    I've written a more thorough review at edenfantasys.com, where you can also read other reviews and take advantage of the view actual size function.

    The Sasi is available from its manufacturer, from Babeland, or from edenfantasys.com, where coupon code DXN will score you a discount.






    Breakdown:Sasi
    Orgasmic: with patience
    Sound: problematic but not a dealbreaker
    Cover Story: looks like a computer mouse if just glanced,
    could be explained as a shoulder massager
    Best Feature: oral sex from a robot!
    Worst Feature: steep learning curve
    Recommended: absolutely -- it's a must-have

    The Lelo Gigi

    The Lelo Gigi is a true luxury pleasure object, and a little googling will produce all sorts of positive reviews, many of them calling it the best sex toy on the market. This is another positive review, because those praises are well deserved.

    It arrives in a gift box worthy of really nice jewelry, which makes it really hard to throw away (I haven't yet, but I will at some point) and it comes with a little satin separator bag and its recharger.

    Yes, it recharges. No batteries for this toy.

    The controls aren't all that hard to figure out if you just fiddle with it, but reading the directions might be a nice way to fill the time while the toy charges up. Or you could attempt to ignore the slowly charging object across the room. The one problem I have with rechargeables is that I'm afraid to leave the room while they're charging, and they take hours. I finally solved this problem by drilling a hole in my nightstand, and passing the cords through it when necessary. I'm still not happy that the toys aren't in their securely hidden box while this charging is happening, but at least they aren't out in plain sight, blinking.

    That's the Gigi's big flaw to an uptight geek girl. It blinks. Really really brightly. You have no idea. However, once it's all charged up and doing its job, you'll forgive it anything, because it is an amazing sensation. Or, more specifically, five amazing sensations.

    It's pretty small, so it inserts easily enough. The shape practically leads you straight to the g-spot, and the things it can do once it's there . . . wow. I liked the thumping. Or that thrumming thing it does, which feels heavenly. It was the thumping that got me, though, and I had my very first orgasm that didn't involve any clitoral stimulation, at least in the few minutes leading up to it. It's not a myth, girls! The sexperts know their stuff.

    I should point out that it was the third use that inspired that response, the first two felt amazing but didn't quite get me there, or I lost patience and was just too turned on to resist trying the toy on my clit. Either way, it's a fine clit vibrator (not great, but quite serviceable in that way) but it's amazing when used as it is intended.

    As for the sound test -- it absolutely passed. It's extremely quiet even at arm's length. Nobody will hear this through a door, even without the stereo playing.

    Since this toy is made of silicone, it should not under any circumstances be used with silicone based lube. The chemicals in the silicone lube that keep the lube in a liquid state could turn the toy to a liquid state as well. Clearly that is bad.

    Clean it with toy cleaner, and store it in its satin bag to keep it from meeting other silicone toys. It can be sterilized with a ten percent bleach solution if you're eager to share it with someone, but I for one am too uptight to have a friendship quite that close.

    As for recommending this toy, I absolutely do, even with the hefty price tag. It's incredible, and it makes me want to find out if the other toys from Lelo are anywhere near as good. They must be, if they do that thrumming thing. Wow.






    Breakdown:Lelo Gigi
    Orgasmic: yes yes yes
    Sound: passes with flying colors
    Cover Story: it's not tacky looking, but if someone gets a good look they're going to guess it's a vibrator
    Best Feature: g-spot action
    Worst Feature: it flashes while charging
    Recommended: absolutely -- it's a must-have


    Purchasing options include:

    direct from lelo
    edenfantasys.com, where coupon code DXN will score you a discount.
    Babeland
    Holistic Wisdom

    Lucid Dream #14 from Doc Johnson

    I have another toy to review from Doc Johnson. This time it's the Lucid Dream #14, available from amazon, which is a g-spot toy. First, the negatives. It may or may not have phthalates in it, being a flexible PVC that smells moderately awful upon first opening the package.

    According to the sexperts, the really bad ones stink up whole rooms for weeks at a time, no matter how much you wash them. That's probably true, because I've owned plastic products of other kinds that stank that badly for that long, but this toy stopped stinking after a couple of baths with hand soap. Of course you're not supposed to get antibacterial hand soap anywhere near your girlie bits, because that kills the bacteria that belong there, making way for yeast which most decidedly is not welcome. This toy didn't get used until it had been rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed some more.

    I should have used a condom, due to possible phthalates, but I took my life in my hands and proceeded, because I didn't have a condom. Friendless virgin here, remember.

    It passed the sound test with flying colors. I could barely hear it when it was next to my ear in a silent room.

    The head of this toy was a little larger than the first thing I'd inserted, so I was a little nervous, but a single drop of water based lube (well, probably more, but I've since learned that one drop goes a long way) and it slid in much more easily than I would have guessed.

    The neck is flexible, but not too flexible, so I could try different angles as I hunted for the elusive g-spot, but still manage appropriate pressure when I found a good spot. Prior to using this toy, I had absolutely no idea that inserting something could feel like that. Wow.

    The vibrations went from whisper soft to really quite intense, and all completely silently. It felt great inside, although I needed a little clit stimulation to get over the edge. As a clit vibrator, it was mindblowing. I can't imagine I could enjoy the more intense plug-in vibes that I've seen online, because this felt too strong on the higher settings and the sexperts give the impression that things like the Hitachi are much more powerful.

    Another plus when inserted -- with the big curved head and the slimmer neck of the vibe, it stayed in place when I let go of the handle to manually stimulate my clit. The slimline vibe failed in that respect, although admittedly I haven't exactly been rocking the kegels. (Apparently you're supposed to exercise the muscles in the region. Apparently you're supposed to exercise. Yeah.)

    This toy is waterproof, too, not that I have the slightest intention of trying that feature. I also have no interest in shoving it up my butt. It's big, and I'm not keen on that kind of play, even if it does appear possible with this toy, because the neck part is narrower than the head or the handle.

    Did I mention the price? This toy is in the twenty dollar range, and it's bordering on must-have status even with the inconvenience of requiring condoms or toy covers to use it regularly. Bonus fact: it's available on amazon.com.

    If you're comparing it to the Lelo Gigi, they're not nearly as similar as they look on the computer screen. The Lucid Dream #14 is much bigger, has a flexible neck, and is made of squishy PVC. The Gigi is smaller, firmer, and made of silicone. The Lucid Dream #14 has only one type of vibration, although it has a great range of intensities. The Gigi has five types of vibration, and a smaller range of intensities.

    Apples to Oranges, really, especially since the Lucid Dream #14 is around twenty bucks and the Gigi is $109. I like the Gigi better, but the Lucid Dream #14 can hardly be faulted for that fact.

    Buy it at edenfantasys.com and you can score a discount with coupon code DXN.






    Breakdown: Doc Johnson Lucid Dream #14
    Orgasmic: yes
    Sound: passes with flying colors
    Cover Story: you could try neck massager, I suppose, but your credibility would be pretty stretched
    Best Feature: strong silent vibrations
    Worst Feature: PVC material
    Recommended: yes, but use a toy cover

    The White Knights Pleasure Kit from Doc Johnson

    Today's review, my first review, concerns the White Knights Pleasure Kit from Doc Johnson, available at amazon.com

    In my research, I found that the sexperts were a little down on Doc Johnson, and I have yet to track down the source of their collective, and vague, discontent. It could be that some of the company's toys contain, or at least fail to specifically not contain, phthalates. It could be that a company providing a high number of inexpensive toys is unlikely to gain favor in a crowd with regular access to better stuff. Or it could be they've manufactured some real crap that I have yet to discover.

    Anyway, I mention this because I'm going to start off my reviews with some products from that company, because I think this particular purchase has value for my potential readers.

    I'm assuming that my readers are like me in some respects, and that many are researching sex toys for the first time. Before you get bogged down in the research as you try to figure out what toy is the absolute best toy to own, it helps to have actually experienced a vibrator.

    I went through this decision making process not so long ago, and I found I had a few options. I could spend a whole lot of money to buy the best rated no-frills luxury vibrator (the Lelo Liv or the JimmyJane Form 6 being examples of the type, both for well over $100) only to potentially discover that I didn't care for it for some reason, or I could buy something cheap and do a little experimenting. The money was less of a concern, to be honest, than the fact that ordering from amazon was a lot less stressful than ordering from a "real" online sex toy shop.

    The sexperts seem universally bored by the idea of a slimline vibe, yet they all recommend starting with one, and that makes more sense than it seems to make. A slimline isn't a brand name, it's the term for a slender insertable vibrator with limited options. Once you acquire one, you either use it cheerfully until it wears out, and then buy a better one, or you get bored with it, and then buy something better. Either way, you'll get some enjoyment out of it, and learn a little bit about what you like.

    The one I'll be reviewing is the White Knights Velvet Touch, a slimline vibrator from Doc Johnson, along with the other two items that come in the White Knights Pleasure Kit.

    It comes in a not particularly attractive and slightly wasteful plastic package, but the packaging is free of naked porn stars and doesn't make layers of garbage like some items, and I'm really not that picky.

    What I really like about the White Knights line is the texture of the plastic. It has a velvety feel that is quite nice. These things don't look tacky and cheap, even in the company of the better toys I acquired later. If I were to invite a boyfriend to watch me play with my vibrator (I wouldn't, yikes, I'm far too uptight for that sort of thing, even if I weren't filled with body image shame, which I am, and even if I had a boyfriend, which I don't, being afraid of intimacy and not terribly fond of people), this is the sort of thing this fictional person might expect. Not too kinky or strange, not intimidating, all of that.

    But I'm using this alone in my locked bedroom, with the windows boarded up and the lights off, so how does it perform in that specific environment?

    First question: is it loud? It sure seemed loud when I switched it on, in all my paranoia, but then I did my sound tests. If I leave it laying on a towel on my bed, and then leave the room, I can't hear it. Not from outside the bedroom door, and not from the air conditioning vent in the room above mine, which is known to broadcast sound through the house.

    With music playing, I couldn't hear it while playing with it. I found myself turning the stereo down to try to listen to the buzzing to make sure the buzzing wasn't too loud, until I calmed down a little and realized that was stupid.

    The moment when it's loudest is during the one second it takes to turn it on, and the one second it takes to turn it off again, because the cap that holds in the batteries is also the controller. Vibes make that rattling buzzing noise when the battery is loose. So that makes sense. Jam it under a pillow as you turn it on, play the stereo while you have your fun, and turn it off with it firmly against your skin. Unless your roommate is physically in the room, you're safe from discovery.

    Anyway, the volume test is extremely important to me personally, and while the White Knights Velvet Touch is not the quietest thing I've ever used, and is in fact louder than the other two items in the package, it's far from actually loud.

    Now, what does it feel like to use? When I held it against my clit, it felt very nice, and it took only a couple of minutes to get off. There are better toys out there, but it worked. For insertion, it slid in easily enough, and the vibration felt nice, but I did not reach orgasm that way. Thrusting was easy, but unspectacular, and rotating it around a little felt pretty good, but again, not orgasmic.

    This is not a toy that's safe to use in the butt, because it could slip inside the colon and cause a horrifically embarrassing trip to the ER. That wasn't really a concern for me anyway, because this toy is white and velvety, and the thought of putting something white and velvety in that region and then having to clean it up? Yeah, so not interested.

    If I didn't have other options, I would have kept using it on my clit, or inserting it while rubbing my clit, and it would have been a serviceable toy, but being a bit obsessive, I quickly acquired other options.

    Two of those other options came in the same package. The White Knight Bullet with remote is meant to be nestled against the clit while you control it with the remote. Great for teasing yourself while watching a movie, if you happen to either have some porn, or find Wall-E particularly arousing. The pleasant texture made it nice to roll around the area, and the different levels of vibration felt wonderful. Plus it's ridiculously quiet. I couldn't hear it at the lowest level, even when it was right there in my hand, and at the highest it can't be heard unless you hold it against a hard surface, which is probably a bad idea regardless.

    Speaking of the highest setting, it's too intense for me. That's really an impressive range -- from soft flutter to too intense to use, in four settings. You can buy sleeves that transform bullets into different toys, or use them to send vibrations through a non-vibrating toy, such as the Lelo Ella, and this one excelled in both of those circumstances as well.

    You're not supposed to insert a bullet anywhere, because the cord isn't strong enough to pull it back out without potentially breaking. You could put it in a condom if you were desperate to insert it vaginally, but I fail to see the point to that, and inserting it anally is a big no, both for safety reasons and for my personal tastes.

    As for orgasmic value, it definitely got the job done, plus by varying the speeds, I could keep myself on the edge for a while, which is lovely.

    The White Knights Pocket Rocket is fantastic, in my opinion. It can't be heard from outside the room, and possibly not even from the other side of the same room. Certainly not with any other noise in the room, like the stereo. Other reviewers have said this isn't as powerful as specific other toys, but it gets me off in under three minutes every time, so this is now my go-to toy if I'm in a hurry. The metal contact points feel different in a very good way, and the single vibration setting is pretty strong.

    If your worst nightmare happens, and someone finds any one of these toys, you could probably claim "neck massager" with enough plausibility to extract yourself from the situation. The Pocket Rocket does feel nice on the hands after hours of typing.

    One safety note, regarding using sex toys for other massaging purposes: applying vibration to unexplained pain in the calf could dislodge an embolism and this could be fatal. So if you have unexplained calf pain, maybe you'd better check with a doctor. Or read this blog entry.

    Now back to the review. I'd say this kit is a great value. It's fairly inexpensive, is good quality for the price, with an illusion of greater quality due to the plastic's texture, the toys are quiet and do their jobs, and it can be acquired through amazon, or a drug store website if you prefer, for question-free arrival in the mail.

    In the long run, you'll get plenty of use out of the bullet and the Pocket Rocket, even if the slimline vibe is retired quickly in favor of your next purchase. And even that has potential use if you find yourself a partner and he (or she) has a vibrator fetish that you're willing to indulge, because it's pretty stereotypical of its type, just with a nicer finish to the plastic.

    If you own nothing, I recommend this set for experimental purposes. If you already have a few toys that you like, you'll only want this set if you're either specifically looking for a Pocket Rocket (Doc Johnson is the original maker of that item), or specifically want a bullet with a nice texture, and could find a use for at least one other toy in the package.

    Breakdown:White Knights Velvet Touch Slimline

    Orgasmic: yes
    Sound: passes, but louder than some
    Cover Story: neck massager story is semi-plausible if the other party wants to believe you
    Best Feature: velvety texture
    Worst Feature: a bit boring
    Recommended: as an exploratory toy, yes

    Breakdown:White Knights Bullet

    Orgasmic: yes
    Sound: passes
    Cover Story: hand massager, maybe
    Best Feature: great range of vibrations
    Worst Feature: probably won't last forever
    Recommended: yes

    Breakdown: White Knights Pocket Rocket

    Orgasmic: absolutely yes
    Sound: passes
    Cover Story: hand massager, and that's not even a lie, because it's good at that too
    Best Feature: the metal nubs
    Worst Feature: only one speed, might not be powerful enough for some people
    Recommended: yes

    Saturday, August 15, 2009

    Sex Toy Basics: A Little About Safety and a Whole Lot About Hiding Them

    Since venturing forth into the world of pleasure objects, I've done the sort of diligent research for which geeks are generally known. I've learned a few things. First of all, phthalates are bad. Maybe. The extent to which they pose an actual physical health risk is technically unknown, but either way, they make a toy smell icky and icky smells are a turn off. Phthalates are the chemicals that make plastics soft, and they're found in jelly type sex toys. They're also found in food, which can't be good, and quite a few other places, but if we're trying to avoid swallowing poison (*cough* corn syrup *cough*) we might as well avoid sticking them into orifices.

    The prevailing theory with jelly rubber toys containing phthalates is that one should use them with a condom, which might not be a bad idea anyway, since jelly rubber is porous and difficult (read: impossible) to sterilize. I've also seen toy covers, which are cheap condoms made specifically for toys, and I'd suspect are more prone to breaking, since the consequences of such an event would not require a college fund.

    Anyway, avoid jelly rubber with phthalates if you can, but it's soft and cheap, so make your own decisions.

    As for toy care, you want to make sure your lubricant is compatible with the toy, and you want to clean the toy after each use. The lubricant question isn't as hard as it first sounds -- water based lubricant is usually safe for any toy. Silicone based lubricants should always be used with caution, because they will damage many toys, but apparently have advantages involving bathtub use, which I have not been brave enough to explore.

    Then there's the toy cleaner. I suspect it's more expensive than the chemical contents justify, but it generally comes in a small spray bottle, which is convenient to hide with the toys, and saves one the trip to the bathroom with a recently-used toy nestled in one's undergarments. Ick. Double-ick if it's a college dorm bathroom, down a long hallway, with actual risk of discovery at any stage in the proceedings.

    Also, washing with regular soap apparently leaves a film. I've been warned of this dire film being left on my skin, should I be so rash as to wash my face with soap, and apparently this applies to sex toys as well. So toy cleaner it is. Keep a hand towel with your toys, and wash it often. By wash it, I mean rinse it out when you shower, and then add it to your laundry. You'll be convinced that the lube and/or toy cleaner on the towel is obvious otherwise, and whether that's true or not, your peace of mind is probably more important than the facts at this point.

    Finally we come to the problem of storage. Take the batteries out. Many toys come with a removeable battery holder, because toys should not be stored with their batteries in place. Not only could one of the dang things turn itself on and cause you grief (probably not, but better safe than sorry) but also it's a good way to make sure the inside of the toy didn't somehow get wet, and to keep the batteries from corroding inside of an expensive toy (you remember what happened to that hand-held video game from Walmart, don't you?).

    So, you have a clean toy, sans batteries, tucked inside a sock and hidden deep in a secret wall safe in your basement lair, where it can never ever be found, right? Um, you bought it to use it, not bury it in the yard. Locate your storage within reach of your bed. Yes, I can hear the panic. Take a deep breath. There are all sorts of nifty ways to store sex toys secretly near your bed. Slip it into a small cosmetics case, or sunglass case, or any number of small inexpensive containers that will keep it from collecting lint, and then hide that inside a half-full box of kleenex, or inside one of those hidden compartment pillows, or inside pretty much anything that locks, like a toolbox or computer case. Better yet, if you can afford it, try
    one of these:

    the Toibocks

    the Tunti Illuminated Boudoir Toybox

    For Your Nymphomation -- locking storage cases

    (And yes, this is a thinly veiled plea for one of these companies to send me their product. Or it would be, if I wasn't too chicken to give out my address. My current storage method is effective, but unnecessarily elaborate and about to be replaced.)

    Toys should not be allowed to touch each other, because silicone toys will damage each other, materials like TPR and jelly rubber can melt together, glass can get chipped, stainless steel (yes, they make stainless steel toys) can get scratched, and plastics can get rub marks or bleed their color onto other things. So each toy gets its own little bag of some nature.

    Things made of porous material (phthalate-free TPR, jelly rubber, wood) can harbor bacteria and yeast without proper care and storage, so for those things you might want to invest in some Sugar Saks, which are chemically treated storage bags (or you can buy a bottle of BioShield75 -- I saw some on amazon -- and apply it to your own bags), but for non-porous materials (silicone, glass, stainless steel) you can be more creative. I bought some small cosmetics bags, change purses, and cute little silk bags of unknown intentions at a fair trade store. Buy one more cosmetics bag than you actually need for toys, and use it to store lube and toy cleaner. That way, if those things leak, they don't leak all over everything else.

    Okay, now that you have a plan for where to store the toys, it's time to make some decisions about which ones to buy, where to buy them, and how to manage it discreetly. Your legal adult status, and the fact that you pay rent, are gainfully employed, and are working on a master's degree -- these things do not mean that your parents (and others) aren't an obstacle to your sex toy purchases.

    If you're the only person who ever really looks at your own credit card statement, you can relax with regards to payment. A casual glance will not reveal your purchase, because online stores are very good at having discreet billing names. Each website provides that information somewhere, so check it out, for your own peace of mind. Your parent, or roommate, or nosy banker would have to google the company name to connect the dots, and they're only going to do that if you give them reason to be suspicious. If you're up to something unrelated (your new pot habit, a secret relationship, the fact that you're flunking French, that novel you mailed off secretly to an agent for impending rejection), you might be raising flags you don't realize you're raising. Or, more innocently, if you're generally frugal, and then drop several hundred dollars at Vaguename Enterprises, well, only you know if that's likely to send up any flags. But Vaguename Enterprises will blend right in if you routinely make online purchases of other kinds.

    If your parents monitor your credit card purchases, either directly or indirectly, or are just too likely to open your mail for your comfort, you can buy a visa gift card. You can always spend the balance on amazon. Or, little tip, Target is remarkably patient about customers trying to burn up five different gift cards with less than three dollars each available on them. Certain other stores, less so. Speaking of amazon, they do sell some sex toys. I'll make note of which ones as I write reviews.

    There's also eBay, but it would make me jumpy as heck to trust some random eBay seller to be discreet, so I haven't tried it. Plus the possibility of something being used but sold as new creeps me the hell out. There are probably many honorable and discreet sellers on eBay, I know I've had many successful transactions on the site for other types of products, but, yeah, I haven't gone that route yet.

    Some companies accept paypal without selling through eBay, a fact which I will soon take advantage of when I purchase one of the storage options named above. You'll want to check out their billing name on the paypal screen before you click to send payment, but I've encountered more suspiciously odd billing names through paypal when buying toner cartridges and comic books, so I personally don't anticipate anyone
    giving a hoot in that case, and I'm pretty paranoid.

    The real problem with online shopping for these items, even with amazon, is the delivery. How likely is it that someone else in your household will open your mail? Would they question a strange return address? Would the amazon name on the box make the situation better or worse? Heaven forbid your box of dildos arrive on the day your little brother is hoping the newest wii game will turn up.

    If they won't open it, but will hover nearby hoping you'll open it in front of them, or will actually ask about the contents, order a book or dvd at the same time. Or keep a new book or dvd handy as the pretend contents of the box. Just be careful not to use the same one twice. Your parents may not be able to tell Star Trek from Star Wars, but when you're in the middle of an elaborate lie, they will suddenly develop the ability to recognize a Doctor Who companion, and somehow acquire the knowledge that she only wore that outfit in one specific dvd.

    You can try to time the shipment for a convenient arrival date -- the exact middle of your parents three week cruise would be fantastic, if it's at all realistic. If you're really worried, get a post office box or a Mailboxes Etc. address. One note: the US postal service tracking system is useless in this situation. Don't think you can watch your package move across the country and then be home for delivery, because it'll give you information like this: carrier has been notified to expect your package, *many days of no updates*, your package has been delivered.

    Yeah, not useful.

    UPS is better, and FedEx seems like it would be better, unless your package experiences an "exception" and then goes missing for days. The stress of your new vibrator missing the plane is not fun stress, especially if you paid for overnight shipping specifically to avoid stress, like I did when that scenario happened to me. Once an "exception" has occurred, all bets are off on knowing when the damn thing will turn up and who in your household will be nearest the front door when it does.

    If someone in your household might open your box, for whatever reason, and that possibility holds more disaster-potential than you can stomach, go visit Mailboxes, Etc. You could even share such an investment with your BFF, if you're relaxed enough. (And no, I'm not.)

    If you live in or near a major city, you could go buy toys in person. This removes all the shipping stress, plus you can pay cash. Of course, the idea of wandering into a shady neighborhood with a large amount of cash has its drawbacks, but sex toy shops aren't all about seedy locations and lurking pervs any more. There are lots of sex toy boutiques where everything is clean and well lit. Those types of shops come equipped with helpful sales people who had the TMI circuits surgically removed from their brains. They sell vibrators all day, and they may as well be selling office supplies for all it concerns them at this point.

    While on a road trip, I made a point of stopping in as many sex toy shops as I could find, because I had decided to get over myself a little and start this blog. Every stop gave me an adrenaline rush, but I managed to rein in my hideous embarrassment a little bit.

    I sorted these sex toy shops into a few handy categories, in my own mind: liberal female-centric boutiques, highway-adjacent porn stores that didn't give me the creeps, and Do Not Want. The clue to Do Not Want is this key phrase: buddy booths. Google it, and wish you hadn't. They also sold "tobacco paraphernalia" and I'm not naive enough to think that tobacco actually requires water pipes.

    That particular location did have a small advantage in that nobody made eye contact with anyone else, and because I'm overweight and was dressed like a homeless person, I didn't feel threatened even by the sweaty guy fingering some cheap fishnet stockings over in the corner as if he was trying to behave like the stereotypical perv just to fulfill expectations. If you're prepared to look gross and potentially dangerous yourself, and have confidence in your ability to defend yourself if necessary, that's your decision, but I cannot in good conscious recommend voluntarily going into one of those places.

    None of the other stops I made, even along major highways, had the same seedy atmosphere. I quite liked the highway-side porn stores, actually. Nobody was big on the eye contact, the stores were all clean and well lit, and the prices were a little random. Having researched online, I recognized some great deals, and some ridiculously high prices, side by side. Having some experience in retail, I know this has to do with suppliers and volume, but that's really not very interesting.

    Don't tell the guy behind the counter at the highway-side porn store that you're shopping for a bachelorette party. He's going to know that's a lie, and you're going to know he knows, and if you're half as insecure as I can be, you'll end up buying a bunch of penis-themed party favors to prove your own pointless lie. Let him believe you fully intend to go wank off in the parking lot, what the hell does he care.

    He doesn't think that, by the way, this isn't his first day on the job and he's as bored as any convenience store worker by this point. Or he owns the place and is busy worrying about suppliers and volume.

    As for the liberal female-centric boutiques, I personally found them a tad bit more intimidating, but I tend to prefer a more masculine shopping experience as a rule, so it could be me. I like to go look at things, make my decision quietly, and be completely ignored by sales clerks. I hate to shop for clothes, especially in nice places where the clerks are helpful and dressed nicely.

    Anyway, these boutique type places were friendly and welcoming, but in an oddly creepy way. Once I got past that a little bit, it was nice to be able to see samples of various toys out of the packages, and I found that the employees knew far more about lube than one would guess anyone could possibly even need to know. I felt obligated to buy lube and toy cleaner at every single one of these places, even though I had lube and toy cleaner out in the car, because I was a little too uncomfortable to admit that I'd been driving across the state browsing sex toys stores, and even more uncomfortable at the thought of letting these sexpert types think that I'd recklessly buy a vibrator without lube and toy cleaner. I got the distinct impression that these same women who will chat casually about your desire to shove something no less complex and cumbersome than the working end of a steam shovel up your ass as if they're discussing the latest iPod would be shocked and appalled at the thought of lube-related negligence.

    It would be a little like choosing the alternate cover on the latest Batman comic, but failing to slip it neatly into a mylar bag within sight of the comic shop owner. You will be judged, and not for being a woman in her twenties who reads Batman.

    So, I learned that it is possible to buy sex toys without dealing with the arrival of mysterious packages in the mail, and that setting foot in said stores does not result in immediate death. The stress of gathering one's courage to make such a trip is more easily contained than the stress of waiting for a box to arrive and cause chaos. So do consider the option, especially if you live within reasonable driving distance of a clean store, which you probably do if you live within reasonable driving distance of a major city. Or a state line. I found one place that sold porn and fireworks. Here's hoping nobody mixes the two up.

    Next up -- actual reviews.

    Introductory Post

    This blog is for sex toy reviews. So are dozens of other blogs all across cyberspace, so what makes this one different? Well, those other blogs are written by liberated, sexually confident women who are comfortable in their own bodies and have partners with whom to play. Which is great for them, but where does it leave the rest of us when it comes to getting the scoop on getting off?

    The sexperts may know all about their g-spots, but do they really get what it's like to be a lonely virgin desperate for an orgasm, but even more desperate to hide that desire from nosy parents or even just college roommates? Well I do. Since I'm hiding here behind a pseudonym, I'm more or less comfortable owning my issues. Yes, I have told the drug store clerk that water based lubricant is perfect for fixing a sticky computer mouse. Maybe it is, I don't know, I was lying through my teeth because I sure as hell wasn't admitting to a stranger that I was planning to use a vibrator. The horror! It seems likely, since you're not supposed to use WD-40 on computer mice for the same reason you're not supposed to use silicone based lubricant on sex toys.

    I've known the stress of trying to time the estimated shipping date of a package to fall during a time when my parental units were out of town, and I've bought VISA gift cards just to use them for online purchases, even though that sort of thing adds to the cost of the purchase.

    Anyway, I'm not a sexpert. I'm just a lonely geek girl exploring the world of sex toys because I'm afraid of intimacy and ashamed of my flabby white body. Maybe I can get over the former and do something about the latter, or maybe not, but I can help out a few others along the way.

    Please do me the favor of waiting until you're of legal age to read and take any advice from this blog. I'd hate to go to jail for corrupting innocent young women by inadvertantly admitting that sex feels good. Then they might buy vibrators instead of letting some clumsy teenage boy give them chlamydia in the back seat of an old Ford Taurus. I may be a geeky prude with body image issues but I'm liberal enough to recognize that flaw in logic. However, I do wish to not go to jail, so please, if you're underage, go read something more legally appropriate. Thanks.