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