Feb 022016

Special deal! Get 10% off and free shipping at Downunder Toys with code EPIPHORA.

Downunder Toys, left to right: Koala Kiss, Hot Banana Rod, Mr. H Rod (dual-density), Classic Hot Rod, Mr. H Rod (single-density)Contrary to popular belief, I can be sweet-talked.

Start by sending me a nice, gracious email. Acknowledge the work I do in the world (“your honest approach to this field makes my heart sing,” “I’m still laughing over your LELO Hula Beads review“). Introduce yourself without condescending to me (hint: if you’re a sex toy company, I probably already know that you exist). Then… the cherry on top… the pièce de résistance… drop a sentence like this: “I really think I’d like to challenge your love of VixSkin — I know, a bold claim, but hey, if you don’t set a challenge, where’s the fun in life?”

So, full disclosure: I was already loving Downunder Toys before the founder, JD, sent me a box of stuff. Then I saw the generosity in the box, and I was even more wowed. Plus, I love Aussies. One of my best friends is Australian.

Downunder Toys has been designing and manufacturing 100% silicone sex toys in Australia for a mind-boggling 20 years. They make whimsical designs like the Koala Kiss and Pretty Kitty, as well as colorful Hitachi replacement heads and their own dual-density dildos. In years past, their toys were more readily available in the U.S., but the wholesale cost became too great.1

The company strikes me as a humble one: although they are not very well-known outside of Australia, they keep churning out unique, body-safe, handmade products. Customers are their bread and butter vegemite, and they care more about how something feels than how they could market it. They’d rather hear a fair dinkum “I hated the shape of that” than a half-hearted “it was fine.”

Downunder Toys are imperfect — they have air bubbles, indents, and slightly off-kilter bases. Some are named Girl 1 and Boy 1, which is just weird. Swarms of nubs make me uncomfortable, so I have no desire to try the Joyberry or Rollerball Ring. And I don’t like the way the Honey Bunny looks at me.

But dual-density dildos? SIGN ME UP. Downunder’s dual-density toys are called Hot Rods. They’re squishier than Tantus’ O2 toys and feel similar to Vixen’s VixSkin toys except for one thing: you know how VixSkin is tacky and tries to adhere to your hand when you touch it? None of the Hot Rods have that “feature.” Ace.

I tried three dual-density dildos (Mr. H Rod, Hot Banana Rod, and Classic Hot Rod), one single-density dildo (Mr. H Rod), and one koala-shaped sex toy. Because #australia.

Mr. H Rod ($99, Aussie sky, dual-density)
Mr. H Rod (purple, single-density)

Downunder Toys, left to right: Hot Banana Rod, Koala Kiss, Mr. H Rod (dual-density), Mr. H Rod (single-density), Classic Hot RodNever before have I been given the opportunity to try the same toy in both single- and dual-density, so I can now confirm a longstanding conviction: dual-density is bonza. The abundant veinage (yes, I’m making that a word) on the single-density Mr. H Rod verges on abrasive; while in the dual-density version, there’s enough cushion to subdue the veins, but not so much that they vanish in use.

The smallest of the group at 1.4″ in diameter and 5.5″ insertable, my vag might normally scoff at a dildo like this, but the veins save it from ridicule. It’s rare to find a silicone dildo with heaps of raised texture, and I’m into it. What I’m not into is the teeny weeny head. My G-spot feels neglected when I use this toy, even if my vaginal walls enjoy it.

Hot Banana Rod ($129, blue violet)

I don’t know how they did it,2 but this toy has the most lovely, glossy surface I have potentially ever felt on a dildo. For months I’ve labored over how to convey it and keep coming back to half-cooked descriptors like “shiny latex balloon” and “slimy… in a good way.” It’s like Tantus‘ glossy finish, but with even less resistance, and it’s fucking beaut.

In use, this translates to a luscious glide against my vaginal walls — it almost feels like it has silicone lube on it. Switching to the Hot Banana Rod after using toys with more drag (which is basically every other toy) is like sliding into a bed with pristine satin sheets: a refreshing effortlessness.

Downunder Toys, left to right: Koala Kiss, Hot Banana Rod, Classic Hot Rod, Mr. H Rod (single-density), Mr. H Rod (dual-density)But a few minutes into using this dildo, its lack of definition becomes an issue. There’s no perceptible texture and no pronounced head — nothing to stimulate my nerve endings, to grab my G-spot, to sweeten the experience. If it had a big ol’ head and a few popping veins, oh man, we’d be in business.

But alas, I become bored.

Classic Hot Rod ($129-159, black)

Of all the dildos, this one looks the most like a donger. 1.75″ in diameter and meticulously decorated with veins and tiny skin-like etches, it’s like a less intimidating version of Outlaw — but still satisfyingly meaty. I clench around it and feel full as a goog.

Also, I love the triangular base on both this one and the Hot Banana Rod. It quickly orients me to the dildo’s position with just a glance.

But the Classic Hot Rod is too straight, its matte finish eats lube, and it has a divot under the head that doesn’t agree with my body. I had the same problem with the Tantus Vamp: the divot catches and pops clumsily over my pubic bone. I’m not gonna spit the dummy or anything, but it does sour the experience a little. To avoid that distracting sensation, I stick to short thrusts or static clenching.

Koala Kiss ($149)

Downunder Toys, left to right: Classic Hot Rod, Hot Banana Rod, Mr. H Rod (dual-density), Mr. H Rod (single-density), Koala KissFile this under sentences I never thought I’d say: “That koala-shaped sex toy actually isn’t too bad.” I spend a lot of time side-eyeing dual vibes, but this one… somehow… kinda works. The koala’s head is so big it extends far enough to reach my clit, especially if I bend the shaft. As a pinpoint stimulation lover, I like the way I can wedge the koala’s ear into the side of my clit.

That is a sentence that should maybe never be taken out of context.

The Koala Kiss is powered by a re-branded Impulse Ultra 7 Bullet lodged in the base. The vibrator is no slouch — its vibrations transmit into the koala nicely. I can get off with it, which is more than I thought I’d be able to say, but a steadfast lack of G-spot stimulation from the torpedo-shaped shaft makes the Koala Kiss something I’d never use past the review period.

However, if you look closely you can see claw marks where the koala is grasping at the “tree.” I honestly can’t get over that.


All in all, this is an admirable selection of dildos. I 100% do not regret having orgasms with any of them inside me. I’m a little devo I didn’t love love any of them, but that’s a common phenomenon with me and insertable toys. Each dildo has something I enjoy about it… and something missing.

If you see a Downunder Toys design that appeals to you, by all means, give it a go. These are not shonky products. They are well-made and solid, from a company built on the premise that people deserve non-toxic sex toys.3 Although the toys seem spendy, remember that Australian dollars have a significantly lower value than U.S. dollars (seriously, my friend told me the small size of Sliquid is ~$30 there). Their products are also handmade by folks who are paid a living wage.

As for JD challenging my love of VixSkin, here’s the problem: although the dual-density squish is comparable, none of the shapes combine all my favorite dong elements the way toys like the Buck and Mustang do. What I really need here is an amalgam dildo. Can I just cobble together the texture from the Mr. H Rod, the finish and curve of the Hot Banana Rod, and the girth and pronounced head of the Classic Hot Rod into one disturbingly-perfect dildo?

Also… can I tack a koala on the end of it?

Get free shipping and 10% off at Downunder Toys with code EPIPHORA.

Free shipping and 10% off at Downunder Toys with code EPIPHORA

  1. On the horizon is mechanized production, with the hope of cutting production costs enough to distribute the product at a competitive price in the U.S. market. []
  2. Well, JD told me that the finish comes from the original model, chosen depending on what they think will work per product. “Hot Banana Rod is a stylised product and we wanted it to be slick during use, especially with lube,” she said. “Slide factor is good.” []
  3. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? They’re like the Tantus of Australia. []

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Jan 142016
Learn The Business of Blogging About Sex -- on your schedule!

What’s that, you say? You wanna be a badass sex blogger and pay the bills? Uncover my blogging secrets? Find out all my strange productivity techniques and social media philosophies?

Now you can, anytime you want! The Business of Blogging About Sex, the intensive online class I run with JoEllen Notte (Redhead Bedhead), is officially back and better than ever! Months in the making, now there are even more ways to learn to accommodate different schedules, learning styles, and needs! One thing remains the same, though: you can (and should) stay in your pajamas as you learn.

I’m kind of really proud. . . . read the rest

Dec 312015
Epiphora's best and worst sex toys of 2015

[Check out my annual best/worst tag for older lists!]

What a year 2015 was! I showed my face on the internet and subsequently used it to prank all of you. I got emotional about what being a writer means to me, then had my work published in Best Sex Writing of the Year. I managed to get out of the house a couple times, to attend the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summitan epic sex blogger retreat, and two smaller #dildoholiday vacations with friends. When the universe manifested yet another “scientific” “study” “proving” that squirt is pee, I protested loudly, and so did many of you. . . . read the rest

Dec 142015
Review: Womanizer

Why isn’t this sex toy wearing a wife beater?
Why isn’t it blasting Eminem?
Why isn’t it friends with OJ?
Why doesn’t it endorse Robin Thicke?
Why doesn’t the spout emit AXE body spray?

I feel these are legitimate questions to ask of a sex toy named the Womanizer. I know it was designed by Germans, but guys, it’s 2015, you need to nary lift an ass cheek off your chair to find the answer to any imaginable question. For instance, I recently Googled “do cats go through menopause” and “can guitar face be controlled.” You are capable of Googling “womanizer.” You’re not naming your external hard drive; you’re naming a product, which presumably you plan to market in the US. . . . read the rest

Nov 252015
Sex toy Black Friday + Cyber Monday sales!

Some people might argue that mashed potatoes and gravy are the best thing about this time of year, but I’d argue that freakishly good sex toy deals win out. You can put both in your orifices, which is appealing, but food is temporary, and high-quality dildos are forever. Also, I don’t recommend mashed potatoes as a lubricant. In case your mind was going there. Mine was.

The point is that if you have been waiting for a good price on the sex toy of your dreams, now is when you should bite the bullet. I watch sales and deals all year long, but this is when retailers tend to pull out all the stops.  . . . read the rest

Nov 232015
7-year blogiversary giveaway winners

The biggest giveaway of the year on this here blog has officially closed, and what a giveaway it was! There were over 4,800 individual entrants vying for 30 fantastic sex toy prizes. As always, I loved being a sex toy santa for a day and emailing all the winners!

If you didn’t win this time around, I have two pieces of news to lift your spirits. One, this week is Thanksgiving and therefore Black Friday and therefore the most hardcore discounts on sex toys, and I’ll be cataloging all of them in a post for you. Keep your eyes peeled on my Twitter account, or sign up for my newsletter to be alerted when I publish that post (maybe Wednesday?). . . . read the rest

Nov 122015
Review: Bouncer

Oh, Fun Factory. You poor things. Do you not realize what the word “bouncer” insinuates here in America? That’s the guy who slices up fake IDs in vodka commercials. The guy who tells you your slacks are not appropriate for the sex club. The guy whose existence you begrudgingly accept because he might protect you from peril at some point, but who is mostly just macho and huge and ridiculous.

It’s true that the Bouncer needs a technical name, though, since simply meandering across its shape would not grab your attention. You’d never know without reading a description or holding this dildo in your hands that each ripple contains a free-moving ball, ready to roll around when the toy is jostled. . . . read the rest

Oct 222015
7-year blogiversary giveaway -- win one of 30 rad sex toys!

I am a bit concerned about you, peeps. Nary a whisper has been uttered to remind me that it’s October and therefore time for me to give away a pile of sex toys in celebration of my blogging anniversary. Have you forgotten? Or are you just patiently waiting for this post?


[Bless Aerie for making these graphics! Hire them for any and all projects!]

Each year, I refine this giveaway, and each year I ask myself, “how can this giveaway best benefit my readers?” That’s why I decided this year to do individual prizes, so there will be a grand total of 30 winners. . . . read the rest

Oct 052015
Review: Form 5 + Hello Touch X

Why does Jimmyjane still exist?

That’s mean. I know. I should delete that. I should write a new first sentence, something less hopeless and definitive. But sitting down to tell you about Jimmyjane’s recent releases, that is the question that pops into my head. Why, year after year, do they create products with little to no understanding of human needs? Why do they fail to improve upon anything, to move forward in any meaningful way? Why do they insist upon peddling $4,000 bouncy sex castles and $35,000 private jet rides rather than getting people off?

Take, for instance, the Form 5. . . . read the rest

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