Mar 032010
 

Better Sex Synergy Pleasure SystemThe Better Sex Synergy Pleasure System, made by the Sinclair Institute, is all about pomp and bravado. It has a stupidly long name, comes in a large box, and is endorsed by some random psychologist who doesn’t even have her own Wikipedia page. It comes with five attachments, a storage bag, a manual, and a message: Fully Charge 8 Hours Before Initial Use. Excuse me while I go vomit. And… charge it, I guess.

I became interested in the Synergy after I fell in love with the Eroscillator. The Synergy resembles the Eroscillator, both in form (toothbrush) and in function (oscillating). Well, on paper it does. The reality is quite different.

I’m cruel, yes, but guys — I’m already on my second Synergy. The first one died after one 30-minute masturbation session. What’s more terrifying is that I’m not alone; according to reviews I’ve read, the Synergy just has a habit of dying on people. And you know how I feel about toys dying on me; it makes me twitchy and distrustful. But besides that, there are many more things about the Synergy that enrage me.

The first one is the attachments. The attachments are made of porous rubber (ew), yet they are hard as rocks. The biggest hoax is the “Rabbit Flutter” attachment, which is portrayed as similar to the clit stimulators on rabbits; uh, no, since the “ears” don’t actually move. But that’s not the worst of it. The worst of it is how the attachments smell out of the box, and this really needs its own explanatory paragraph…

This is not fake cherry jelly dong smell. This is like… this smell should not be anywhere, let alone on a sex toy that is meant to touch genitals. As a snooty sex toy reviewer who avoids shitty materials, I feel ashamed that I have to write about how terrible a toy smells. It smells like a really grimy, disgusting auto repair shop, where a guy with a mullet has been smoking too much weed out back. Honestly, that scenario sounds a lot more pleasant than the smell actually is. It made me say “ugh” aloud when I smelled it. The smell was so repugnant that I still felt gross 10 minutes after smelling it.

Even after several washes, that horrific smell is still faintly noticeable on the attachments. Which leads me to believe that the smell is perhaps an innate part of the rubber. Hooray.

The Synergy is rechargeable, but not in the way you think. It actually comes with two nondescript C batteries in it, and when you plug it into the wall, it charges those batteries. This means that normal C batteries can be used in lieu of the rechargeables. It also means that the unit is fucking heavy. 9.3 ounces, in fact. The 8-ounce Eroscillator feels like a feather compared to the Synergy. That’s an exaggeration, but still — that extra 1.3 ounces makes a big difference.

After that first 8 hour charge, I’m not sure how long I’m supposed to charge it. One part of the manual says the Synergy takes “4-5 hours to fully recharge”; another section encourages me to charge it “6 hours minimum after each use”1. There is no way of finding out the truth, since there is no charging light or indicator on the Synergy. So I guess I’m supposed to plug it in and take a wild guess at how long to charge it. Sweet!

Since the Synergy runs on batteries, it behaves like a battery-powered vibrator. The entire unit vibrates, so it’s annoying to hold. And this is where I become skeptical about whether it’s even oscillating. The Eroscillator has a little protruding shaft that oscillates — that’s what the attachments snap onto. But the Synergy doesn’t have that; the attachments just snap onto the body of the toy. And the “oscillations” feel very, very suspiciously like vibrations.

I know — you want to know how it feels. I’ll whisper it to you… I just wanted to put it many paragraphs in, because I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I don’t want to give the impression that this toy is worthwhile at all. But yes, it feels good. Irritatingly good. It’s not strong or anything, and all of the six speeds feel stupidly similar, but the rumbly vibrations feel good in their own little way. Rumbly vibrations, however, are nothing to get excited about — and certainly nothing to spend $100+ on. Rumbly vibrations can be found in most bullets/eggs. Yes, the cheap ones.

And oh, switching attachments — that’s sure a doozy! This is another aspect of the Synergy that made me use the verb “enrage” earlier. Removing the attachments requires twisting them and pulling them off at the perfect angle, OR ELSE. (Add some lube to the mix and this task becomes infuriatingly impossible.) If you don’t pull an attachment off at just the right angle, it will break apart. Each attachment’s base has a ring inside of it, and that ring will lodge itself onto the shaft so permanently that you will need pliers to remove it. (See photo.)

What else sucks? The push button controls are on the bottom. Seriously, what the hell is that about? Was this tested in actual human hands? I hold the middle, not the bottom. I should not have to pull the toy away from myself and re-position my hand just to change the vibration strength.

Since this thing bears an uncanny resemblance to the Eroscillator, I wanted to know why. After a little sleuthing (fine, emailing), I quickly found out that the first Eroscillator came out on the market in 1996, whereas the Synergy came out in 2004. Then I asked my contact at Eroscillator about the Synergy, and he confirmed what I had vaguely suspected: “We used to sell the Eroscillator through Adam & Eve (same company as Sinclair) and they decided to stop and create . . . the Synergy.”2

This explains why the Eroscillator is better than the Synergy in every possible way, and the distinction is well-documented. There’s even a side-by-side dissection of the Synergy and Eroscillator that points out the differences. And my theory about the “oscillations” being vibrations is supported by the dissection and this text: “[the Synergy] follows on most points the traditional vibrator concept; that of weight attached to a battery-operated rotational motor.” Uh, yeah, that’s vibrations.

It’s the complete lack of quality that sinks the Synergy. This vibrator is not worth $30, let alone $100+. If you don’t believe me, go poke around the internet. I promise you’ll find quite an array of dissatisfied Synergy users, including this particularly all-up-in-yo’-grill and very [sic] one: “I BELIEVE FOR YOUR MONEY THE EROSCILATOR PLUS IS STILL THE CADILAC OF THE OSCILATING PLEASERS.”

How can you argue with caps lock?

The Synergy Pleasure System is available on SexToyFun, BetterSex, and Sinclair Institute.

The push button controls are on the bottom. Seriously, what the hell is that about? Was this tested in actual human hands? I hold the middle, not the bottom. I should not have to pull the toy away from myself and re-position my hand just to change the vibration strength.
  1. Both of these options are much longer than most high quality rechargeable toys, which usually charge for 2 hours or so. []
  2. Still not convinced? Check out this archived version of Adam & Eve’s site, from May of 2001. Right hand column, “Top 10 Best Sellers,” #7. []
  • Sarahbear

    Oh no! I just won this thing from a contest at Pretty Power Tools. I have the Eroscillator too. I guess I’ll have to do a comparison type review.

  • I’m amazed that they ripped off the Eroscillator and did it so poorly…
    At least its not hard for people to find out the truth, if they do some marginal research.

  • yeah, that’s weird. mine doesn’t smell like anything =/ and i haven’t had problems with attachments. yeah, it did have a vibrational feeling.

  • @PrettyPowerTools: I received two Synergys, and both smelled appalling.

  • OMG. When you described the smell like this ” It smells like a really grimy, disgusting auto repair shop, where a guy with a mullet has been smoking too much weed out back.”

    YOU ARE DEAD ON!

    And I have had 2 as well and both smelled. But I love the rumbly vibes and don’t have a lot of toys which feel that way so it’s nice but, then again, you know I like larger, rounded clitoral stimulators.

    Also, I think some models have different buttons. Both of mine had 3 (power, +, -) what about yours?

  • @adriana: Hahaha, thank you, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to describe it!

    Mine has three buttons as well — but the fact that they’re on the base is just so obnoxious.

  • Holy crap, that’s hysterical, the archive of A&E page. I thought FOR SURE that it was an archive from the early 90’s, given the hairstyles!!!!!

  • I’ve called you out on overly negative reviews in the past, but I think this one is completely fair. In fact, it’s one of your best; very thorough, fair and pretty freaking funny!

  • Wilhelmina

    god, i really want to try an eroscillator now.

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  • What a great example of overpricing. I mean, yes it is RECHARGEABLE, but so what if it’s so badly constructed? I can’t imagine why companies try to remake other companies’ products without just a little more effort. Jeez, ya know? If you’re going to steal an idea, you should at least make it worth someone’s while!

  • Selective Sensualist

    Thanks for this review and the links to the comparison page between the Eros and other vibes (including the Synergy). I am definitely holding out for the Eros!

  • Bri

    I will not argue with the caps lock. The BSS sounds horrible. And smelly. And not welcome near my clit.

  • Why are terrible toys always so expensive?

  • Liz

    first of all, that is way too long a name for one sex toy. second, i think the smell would creep me out more than anything. and third, it’s just such a betrayal of integrity for a company to say “well it does this thing” when it totally doesn’t. if it doesn’t have a proper oscillating motor, it’s not cool to market it as ~just like the eroscillator omg~. of course, that’s why it’s important to have honest reviewers like you, who aren’t trying to get our money by selling sub-par products.

    and $100+ with no real rechargeability? jesus, i only paid $50 a for a lelo liv. there are cheaper, better, rechargeable toys out there. just… DNW.

  • Reading this, I’m almost sorry you had to review it!!

  • Anony

    I once tried a similar massager. It had to be charged for 12 hours and according to the manual only ran for an hour on a charge. ONE. FUCKING. HOUR. And that’s according to the manufacturer!

    Anyway, I charged it halfway, put it on for a minute to test how it felt against my hand. Pretty promising. Continued charging.

    And then when it had charged for 14 hours… it did not turn on.

    And in my experience, if it just dies on you without a reason, it’s best to avoid teh entire thing. Just like those two Janis’ that died in the same way in about the same amount of time. I know how much it sucks.