Dec 172016
 

Dame Products Eva "hands-free" "couples" wearable vibrator

I’ve never told you much about my labia, but I guess now’s as good a time as any. I’d describe my outer labia as puffy, yet unobtrusive. My inner labia? Visible but modest. Usually, my labia don’t cross my mind often… but then the Dame Eva came along, and suddenly I was digging around in there like a raccoon foraging through the garbage.

Engineered with the wishful thinking that the vulva is merely a puzzle to be solved, Eva is a rechargeable vibrator with flexible arms that tuck under the labia to secure the toy to one’s vulva, against the clitoris. It’s sort of a modern-day, body-safe take on the laughably-bad strap-on vibrators of yore (see: “I am not easily embarrassed when it comes to sex toys, but this one is just demeaning. It says, ‘hi, I’m a purple gooey butterfly haphazardly strapped around your body. Yes, it has come to this'”).

Eva tries to keep your vagina accessible, open to being penetrated at all times. You know, so objects can slide into it. Or fly into it. Or plop into it. Whatever. I don’t know how you have sex. It does this because, ostensibly, all cis women are straight and all toys they use use during partnered sex must not get in the way of The Penis or The Man Body.1 They must require absolutely no assistance. They must be hands-free. As the thinking goes.

Priced at $105, the Eva is made by Dame Products, a newish company headed by two women. The toy is borne of a crowdfunding campaign, in which they did that thing I hate by labeling Eva “the first truly wearable couples’ vibrator” (uh, cock rings would like to call bullshit). Either this shit is rigged or people were deeply swayed by the concept, because Eva raised $839,282, over 1000% of its goal, making it the most financially successful sex toy crowdfunding campaign to date.

It’s an interesting idea — a hands-free vibrator which leverages the folds of the labia rather than the depths of the vagina for its staying power. If Eva worked as promised, then holy shit, that would be game-changing. Vaginas everywhere would start spewing confetti and guzzling champagne. But I kinda knew that would never happen, for one simple, unavoidable reason: anatomy.

This is a sex toy that desperately needs a disclaimer, because it’s so anatomy-specific it’s nearly impossible to determine whether it will attach correctly to your genitals, and even if it does… you might not want it to.

Eva looks so much like an insect that it has become a common joke. My boyfriend doesn’t know Eva is called Eva; he knows it only as “the bug thing.” I felt less mean when I learned that the creators acknowledge the toy’s resemblance to a beetle, but isn’t it sad when the easiest shorthand descriptor of your product is “the bug thing”? Especially a product that latches onto genitals. The only worse phrase would be “the spider thing,” I think, or “the centipede thing.”

At least Eva’s packaging is on point. No overzealous box or unnecessary materials, just the essentials: USB charging cord, USB-to-wall adapter, black satin storage pouch, manual, and a hilarious sticker that reads “#EVALUTION.” (Okay, sure, make that hashtag happen.) To charge Eva, you pierce the silicone with the charging jack. Because of this, it is not waterproof.

Eva’s settings are easy to sum up, because there are only three of them: ugh, ughhh, and UGH STOP. They’re all steady, all viciously buzzy and high-pitched. In fact, there’s a face that sex toy reviewers make the moment they turn on Eva. It’s half-wince, half-disbelief — the immediate unequivocal recognition of how terrible the vibrations are. I’ve seen it in my friends’ faces, and I know it’s the look that washed over my own. This vibrator sounds — and feels — like a wasp becoming increasingly angry.

What’s worse than a wasp, though? I’ll tell you: a wasp that hates lube. Eva already wants to fall off my vulva, but adding lube makes that an absolute certainty. Really? I’m offended both intellectually and physically. Lube is essential, number one, and number two, I can’t just confine lube to my vagina. When using a penetrative toy, I specifically require lube on my vulva to reduce friction. That lube is bound to migrate.

There is no way in which lube can peacefully co-exist with Eva. So dry off your vulvas, people. (I suggest a space heater.)

Dame Products Eva "hands-free" "couples" wearable vibrator

I gave Eva the fairest shake of all by making it the starter whenever possible. I refrained from using lube. I dug deeper in my labia than has ever been necessary, shoving it as far under as I could. I moved slowly, like a cat slinking by a foe, when adding a dildo to the equation. Yet every time, sometimes within 30 seconds of application, it would dislodge itself.

Even during the brief periods when it was attached to my body, it didn’t reach my clit… it just sort of hovered over it, like a flying saucer trying to abduct my genitals.

It’s a whole process, and the process sucks. Having to awkwardly hold it against my body with slippery fingers sucks, having to worry about knocking it with a dildo sucks, and never forget — those vibrations Suck with a capital S. After every session with Eva, I would think to myself can I be done with you? Forever? as I pried it off my vulva and wiped my sticky hands on a towel. Then I’d promise myself a better vibrator for my next orgasm.

Wanting to divorce Eva from its hands-free aims, I found that I could tuck my pointer and middle finger under each arm of the bug to press the vibrating part against my clit. But this almost disheartened me more, because it perfectly isolated the thing that makes this toy so awful: the vibrations. The vast majority of my toys have better motors than this, which makes using Eva uniquely upsetting. It’s like being forced to eat broccoli while the smell of bacon wafts through the air.

I thought it would be worse during penetrative sex with my boyfriend, but ironically, that was the only way I didn’t hate it. We had to be in missionary, with his body pressed into mine enough to keep Eva in place against my clit. When I’m in the throes of PIV2 sex and have yet to use a toy of any sort, my standards for vibration are severely lowered. Any vibration is a welcome addition. Therefore, even Eva’s vibrations felt borderline pleasurable. Of course, when I tried to climb on top for cowgirl, I couldn’t get Eva to stay near my vulva to save my life.

Remember the utopia in which this vibrator blends seamlessly into the sexual experience? Yeah, that’s not a reality. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve thrown Eva down in disgust after it wouldn’t stay on my body. This toy does not simplify sex — it disrupts. I’d so much rather hold a good vibrator against my clit, knowing it will be in the spot I need it to be delivering the kind of pressure and sensation I enjoy. And if I want to go completely hands-free, I’ll use the friggin’ We-Vibe Dusk.

I can confirm, as well, that Eva looks pretty stupid on an actual human body. My friend Lorax tried mine while we hung out (as we do) and it looked like a bizarre genital adornment. Also, it kept falling off their vulva mid-sentence. Until they wiped the lube off, that is. “Now that I have no lube and zero arousal level,” they narrated, “it’s making better purchase with my body.”

My girlfriend, Aerie, was able to secure Eva to their vulva better than anyone. We even nudged and flicked the toy to test its stability, because #us, and I was able to finger them without it falling out of place. But Aerie knew they weren’t going to be able to come from the vibrations, and when they turned Eva past its first setting they made a horrible (and appropriate) stank face.

Dame Products Eva "hands-free" "couples" wearable vibratorI can’t make sense of the disparity between my experience and theirs. We both have fairly full outer labia, which should be the most important factor for attachment. But my inner labia are small, while Aerie’s have been described as “devastating” in their prominence. Maybe, somehow, this matters?

For a while, Aerie’s success3 with Eva was making me re-think everything, but then I gave myself a stern talking-to. I can’t test this toy on every set of labia I know, as much as my neurotic brain wishes it could. I can’t be the everyvulva. I can only say that for me, this vibrator fails miserably, and as a human with completely normal labia (because all labia are normal labia), that matters.

Labial variety aside, though, I want to reiterate that the vibrations in this toy are a fucking joke. So buzzy, and they’re even more unpleasant with no lube to buffer them. These are the kind of vibrations that lead me to think, maybe an orgasm isn’t worth it. Maybe I’ll just stop. You know it’s bad when abstinence starts to sound appealing.

Innovation is great; making things easier for people is great; women-run companies are great. What’s not great is the prioritizing of a hands-free experience over an actually, um, fulfilling experience, and utilizing buzzwords to seduce people into buying your product. Most people didn’t need a hands-free sex toy until we told them they did, and I’m starting to think we never should’ve told them. Now slapping “couples” or “hands-free” onto your packaging instantly makes cis hetero couples feel like clitoral pleasure is within reach, when — let’s be real — it’s still a struggle for most to achieve satisfactory clitoral stimulation during PIV sex.

I don’t want to downplay the fact that women made this and it’s a unique and valid and ambitious idea. The creators of Eva seem articulate and understanding of the nuances and obstacles involved in their work as designers. I am certain they are the reason this toy is comfortable and not pinchy, teal and not pink,4 why it doesn’t come in a box the size of Mt. Rushmore and isn’t named something like LadyHug. But… and I can’t believe I’m saying this… women aren’t everything. Women have invented some amazing things, but this is not one of them. At least if we’re judging by execution rather than concept.

Because a sex toy is not hands-free if I have to keep picking it up off the floor/bed/chair, dusting off the cat hair, and applying it to my body all over again. It’s not hands-free if I have to manipulate my labia, coating my fingers in vag goo, in an attempt to affix it to my genitals. It’s not hands-free when every orgasm I’ve had with it (not many, because no) has been with my fingers physically holding it against my body.

I am so tired of giving Eva ninth, tenth, eleventh chances. The turning point is not coming, the silver lining is not there. Transcendental pleasure is not possible, and I knew that long ago, but now I believe even mediocre pleasure is not. They wanted me to tuck this toy under my labia, but there’s only one place I plan to tuck it now: deep in some rarely-opened bin in my closet, somewhere I’ll forget.

Find Eva at SheVibe, GoodVibes, Babeland, Pleasure Chest, and Lovehoney (international). 

  1. Seriously. Eva’s creators even said, “We set out to design a wearable clitoral stimulator that would enhance the lady’s pleasure without penalizing the gentlemen.” []
  2. Penis-in-vagina []
  3. By which I mean, the fact that it attached to their vulva and actually stayed there. []
  4. Although it does come in a dusty lavender. []
  • Lia Heavvymetalqueen

    “the turning point is not coming” and neither are you by the looks of it

  • Sara Testarossa

    Funny and helpful review! I could tell even by looking at it that the Eva wouldn’t work for me but learning about the inability to use lube with it is suuuuper important. Thanks for the info!

    “The turquoise 3D printed beaver meant to display it is so much cooler than the Eva itself.” – me, several times

    I’m now the proud owner of one of the beavers (my boss let me have one of the extras the store wasn’t using). I keep trying to get the cats to play with it, but they’re not interested. Ah well. It’s super cute. Too bad the Eva doesn’t have a design that fits more bodies, and a better motor.

  • AceDenise

    That beaver is cute! Too bad I can’t buy one of those instead.

  • AceDenise

    Yuck, ever since I turned one of these on in my hand at GV I knew I would hate it, even if by some miracle it would fit me. I have very large, plus sized outer labia and fairly prominent inner labia. My clit is high, so even with a lot of labial real estate in the neighborhood, there still isn’t much room for this thing to attach if it’s going to hit me in the right place. Your wonderful review has confirmed everything I already believed about the Eva, and was entertaining to boot!

    It’s frustrating that so many toys are billed as “couple’s” toys now, when what they actually mean is “toys that will still allow your man to fuck you and get an orgasm for himself as usual, while you, woman, have to wear this weird awkward thing on/in your vulva and might get an orgasm out of it if you’re very lucky”. I mean, god forbid that anything should get in the way of the almighty penis, right? And obviously you are not part of a “couple” unless one of you was born with a penis.

    Oh, and I definitely made the “stank-face” along with you on this one. Then laughed.

  • monkey

    They were so well funded and they couldn’t even put a good motor inside of this? Shame.
    It looks quite cute though, like a bug, or some sort of space satellite.

  • AceDenise

    Hey Dame, I’ve got an idea for a new “couples’ vibrator”, just follow these simple steps:

    1. get a vibrator (any one you want)
    2. give it to your partner
    3. enjoy!

    BOOM. Where’s my $105? 🙂

  • Sara Testarossa

    Bwahaha! I agree, and love the delivery.

    When customers (even those who are part of an opposite sex couple) ask for a “couples toy” instead of immediately showing them where we have the Eva, We-Vibes, noa/tiani etc, I make sure they know that any toy can be a couples toy, and what will work best for them will depend on how they like to have sex, etc etc.

  • Sara Testarossa

    You can apparently print one if you can find a 3D printer (obviously that costs money too, just saying it’s different than buying). Their creative commons license allows for it (yay trying a few rounds of keywords on Google): http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:956554

  • AceDenise

    Thank you for the comment! I don’t care to have a partner myself, but I really hate the whole “couple’s toy” as a name for a separate category of sex toys. It feels shaming to me- like a regular vibrator or dildo, or plug, whatever- is still something bad or embarrassing (ur doin it wrong!) but saying it’s for couples automatically makes it “correct”. They are all vibrators, I’d rather they just called them “wearable vibrators” or something. And of course the default couple is always a cishet man and woman, which leaves out a lot of people.

    That’s great, that you are helping people to find toys they might actually enjoy, and imparting some knowledge in the process.

  • FieryRed

    First, let me say I loved reading your review, as I always do. I’m so glad you exist.

    And now, the part that pissed me off most:

    “…enhance the lady’s pleasure without penalizing the gentlemen”?

    They actually said this? And thought it was a good idea?

    I mean…they’re saying that when a hetero man goes to some small effort
    to make his sex partner feel good, he’s being penalized. Having to rub
    her clit or use a vibrator on it is a fucking PENALTY.

    Did these two women hire men to write that garbage?

  • FieryRed

    My god, especially harness-compatible dildos. Aren’t they the ultimate couples’ sex toy?

  • AceDenise

    Yeah, those actually REQUIRE two people to use.

  • AceDenise

    Ugh that is horrible! Since when is making your partner happy a “penalty”?! For some reason that makes me think of the Hex condom and how it says “Respect” on it. Respect is something that only the man gets, obviously.

  • FieryRed

    Well, they can be used solo just as dildos, but in order to wear one in a harness and fuck someone it does help to have a partner. 😉

  • AceDenise

    Oh right, that’s what I meant when I saw the “strap-on” part of your comment. I wasn’t quite clear, oops! (;

  • This review is a written work of art.

  • Yes! This is so important. I do the same thing with customers.

  • Sara Testarossa

    A thousand times yes! “Wearable vibrator” is what I’d call this type, too. And I get what you mean about the mentality behind certain toys and couple-centricness being shaming. It is also frustrating how much of the packaging and marketing for various products is cis- and heterocentric.

    And thanks, I try 🙂

  • Sara Testarossa

    No surprise there! Your customers are fortunate to have someone with your years of experience, knowledge, and toy testing helping them!

  • Are those the old style glass insulators that used to be up on the power lines? It looks like them. I used to have a bunch. No idea what happened to them though.

  • Yup! I knew they’d be perfect for photographing Eva when I saw the turquoise one.

  • It’s so cool that you have some of those. I found mine in antique shops and even had a guy once shimmy up a pole (that was no longer electrified) and grab one for me.

    The pic did turn out great. I need to figure out how to make my pics better.

  • pale purple

    I think it’s really important to understand that every body is different and every person is different. My experience with Eva was nothing like yours. I love my Eva. It fits great for me. I love the way it moves. I do have penetrative sex some times and I enjoy it for that – although I like it a lot without that. When I first saw the press on this toy, I thought for sure it was just a gimmick that would never work. But I was convinced to try it out and was surprised to find that it does work for me. I totally love it. I know many others who do too.

  • AceDenise

    It’s great that this works for you. I think the problem with Eva is that the marketing behind these “couples'” products is telling people that all they need is to buy their product to get more pleasure during sex, when it’s really not that simple. It all depends on the fit of the toy and its motor, along with other factors such as sexual positions and what kind of stimulation your body responds to. But a lot of the people responding to this marketing are very new to sex toys and don’t know just how varied their options are. If you aren’t one of the lucky ones that this toy works for, and this was your first introduction to toys, you may start to feel like there’s something wrong with you. I felt this way for years when I couldn’t enjoy the first sex toy I really used, which was a terrible, buzzy finger vibrator. I thought orgasms were overrated because I had never experienced one and it was so unpleasant just trying that I gave up for many years. Until I learned more about sex toys and my own body, and bought some other things to experiment with, I genuinely believed that I just couldn’t have orgasms; that I was born without the ability. I found my first real success with the We-Vibe Tango. Bodies are all so different, it’s a big gamble to spend over $100 on a wearable toy when we all know what a myth “one size fits all/most” is.

  • I don’t doubt that the Eva works for some people, just as any sex toy is bound to work for some people. I know that as well as anyone. But I can’t relay any experience except my own (and my girlfriend’s, and several others bloggers’, in this case), and I can’t spend my entire review reminding the reader that their experience may be different. That’s implied.

    I HATED the Eva almost every time I used it. That’s the honest truth, which is what my readers expect from me. This toy is a huge gamble with really unsatisfying vibrations (in my opinion), and I cannot in good faith recommend it. That’s my job here — to give my opinion and share my experiences. I appreciate you sharing yours, but the condescending tone is not necessary.

  • Also this, so much this.

  • pale purple

    it’s definitely not a good pick for a first toy. Where I work we do not recommend it as a first toy. I know not everyone has access to a good store that will give you good guidance – or is comfortable going in one. We do talk to people about what the toy is good for and what it’s not so good for – exploring on your own for the first time, this is not going to be the right thing for most people.