You can find more answers to various questions via my feature, Ask Piph, and on my Tumblr. Have a question that isn’t answered here? Email me at hey.epiphora [at] gmail [dot] com or use my contact form.
- What does your name mean and how do you pronounce it?
- How did you get your start?
- How many toys do you own? How do you clean and store them?
- How many times do you test a toy before you review it?
- What are your favorite toys / lube?
- What are your favorite G-spot toys?
- What is the worst toy you’ve ever tried?
- What is that-one-toy in your header?
- How can I get into reviewing?
- Which companies should I buy from?
- When I buy a sex toy online, will it be shipped discreetly?
- What are your tips for traveling with sex toys?
- What are your favorite porn movies and pornstars?
- I’ve never owned a sex toy or have owned all shitty ones. What would you suggest to a beginner?
- I want to explore anal play for the first time. Suggestions?
- I’m on a budget and need an inexpensive toy. What would you suggest?
- How on earth do I choose a toy if I don’t know what I like?
- I want to find my G-spot / learn to squirt. Toy suggestions and tips plz!
- I want a strong vibe. What would you suggest?
- I want a gentler vibe. What would you suggest?
- I want a rabbit with rotating beads, but I want it to be made of silicone. Help!
- Why do you hate pink so much?
What does your name mean and how do you pronounce it?
The word Epiphora has many meanings, but I chose it for its literary definition, which is “the repetition of the same words at the end of successive phrases.” Mostly I just thought it was a pretty word, and I like the letter E. Only later did I learn that it also means “the excessive production of tears,” and that there are both a fungus and a moth named Epiphora.
Readers and friends have come up with much cooler reasons for my name. Someone once told me that they thought I named myself Epiphora because my posts are so funny that they’ll make you cry. Another person found a definition of epiphora in the book Eros the Bittersweet that I absolutely love, and that I have stolen as though it was what I meant in the first place: “a change or shift of distance bringing two heterogeneous things close to reveal their kinship.”
I pronounce it eh-PIF-er-uh, like this creeper, but I am a bit alone in this. Several outsiders have pronounced it ep-i-FOR-a, with an emphasis on the FOR. I don’t really correct people, but it’s weird to hear it said differently from how I say it.
How did you get your start?
My reviewing of sex toys began in 2007. I was stupidly inexperienced with sex toys and only owned one, the Turbo Glider, but when I saw an opportunity to get free toys in exchange for writing reviews for an online sex toy shop, I was all over that shit. I’ve always loved writing, masturbating, and voicing my opinion, so it made sense. All I needed to do was learn more about the sex toy industry, so I devoured information about it along the way.
In 2008, I launched this blog — and have been rabidly collecting and reviewing sex toys here ever since.
How many toys do you own? How do you clean and store them?
As far as cleaning goes, I take the cheap route: dish soap and water. I froth them under the kitchen sink, scrub with an old toothbrush in the nooks and crannies, rinse, and set them on a paper towel to dry. Sometimes I dry them immediately with a paper towel if I need to put them away right then. I don’t really see the point of sex toy cleaning spray, but then again I don’t have to worry about leaving my gunky sex toys on the kitchen counter, either.
How many times do you test a toy before you review it?
It really varies, but I’d say at least five times. I take notes and work on my review as I go along. Sometimes I’ll be finishing my review and realize there’s some other way I didn’t test the toy yet, so I’ll have to go do that. But usually I know when I’ve used the toy enough times to fully understand my feelings about it.
What are your favorite toys / lube?
All my favorites are marked with heart icons on my toybox page, but here you go. My favorite clitoral vibes are the Eroscillator, Wahl, Vibratex Mystic Wand, Leaf Life, We-Vibe Touch, and LELO Mia. I also love the LELO Mona 2, which can be either a clit toy or an insertable.
My favorite dildos are the Vixen Creations Maverick, njoy Pure Wand, NobEssence Seduction, Jopen Key Comet G Wand, Tantus Cush O2, Crystal Delights Star Delight, Vixen Creations Randy, Jollies Jollet, Tantus Splash, Crystal Delights Twist, Vixen Creations Mustang, Whipspider Rubberworks Jellyfish, and Penetralia Number 66.
My favorite other items are the LELO Luna Beads, Liberator Throe, and Spareparts Hardwear Joque harness. My boyfriend loves his Fleshlight. I don’t review lube because I don’t think I’m very perceptive about it, but I’m a hardcore Sliquid fanatic because all their stuff is glycerin- and paraben-free.
What are your favorite G-spot toys?
I find that a lot of toys, as long as they have a curve or pronounced head, hit my G-spot nowadays. But I particularly love my Vixen Creations Maverick, njoy Pure Wand, NobEssence Seduction, Jopen Key Comet G Wand, Fun Factory Stronic Eins, Vixen Creations Randy, Crystal Delights Twist, LELO Mona 2, and Jollies Jollet.
It just depends on what kind of sensation I’m in the mood for. Maverick is squishy and huge, great for filled-up thrusting. The Pure Wand is a G-spotting god, but I actually tend to prefer the Seduction because its stimulation is even more intense. Fun Factory Stronic Eins if I want to be lazy and let the toy thrust for me. Randy is a beast. The Twist offers the most unique sensation, as I actually do “twist” it against my G-spot. If I want vibrations on my G-spot, I’ll pick up my Mona 2. The Jollet is good for stationary or hands-free G-spot stimulation.
These are my personal favorites, though. If you’re just starting out on your G-spot journey, my suggestion would be the Tantus Comet, Vixen Creations Mustang, Tantus Acute, LELO Ella, Tantus Rocket, or a glass toy with a curved head, like this one or this one.
What is the worst toy you’ve ever tried?
I don’t know, maybe the one that felt like it was scraping my insides? The one that felt like a terrible speculum? The one that made me embarassed to have even tried it? The one that poked my ass, or the one that clogged my vagina? The one that made me feel like I pooped my pants? It’s hard to say, but I also have a special hate for vibes that are way too weak or ridiculously overpriced.
What is that-one-toy in your header?
I’m glad you asked! I’ve written a legend for my header to satisfy your curiosity.
How can I get into reviewing?
Check out my in-depth beginner’s guide to sex toy reviewing and blogging, and don’t forget to read my 15 rules for writing a sex toy review that doesn’t royally suck!
Which companies should I buy from?
Check out my buy toys page for my suggestions!
When I buy a sex toy online, will it be shipped discreetly?
Yes, all reputable online sex shops ship and bill discreetly. Just check the FAQ or shipping info page on the site you want to purchase from (some examples: GoodVibes, Babeland, SheVibe, and my favorite, Early to Bed). Your order will come in a plain brown box with an inconspicuous return address. The only exceptions are when you purchase from a shitty online sex shop (like Adam & Eve, who are known for sending follow-up junk mail) or if you purchase something that has to go through customs, and thus must be described on the box (but even then, it’ll usually say “massager” or something).
What are your tips for traveling with sex toys?
Contrary to your worst fears and a few unfortunate horror stories, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) doesn’t really give a fuck about sex toys. Whatever you bring, they’ve probably seen it before. However, that won’t stop them from being hardasses and thinking everything’s a potential weapon or bomb.
There are pros and cons to both carry-ons and checked baggage. Carry-ons won’t ever get lost, but they can be searched in front of your fellow passengers. Checked baggage is searched more discreetly, but can sometimes get lost… or return to you with your toy stolen. If you opt to put your stuff in your checked baggage, be sure to label it so the TSA won’t feel the need to disassemble it. Don’t put it in something that can’t be opened; that’s just asking for trouble.
If you pack your toys in your carry-on, put them in plastic bags just in case a TSA agent decides to fondle them. ALWAYS remove batteries from your battery-operated toys. If your rechargeable toy has a travel lock function, use it! If not, you’ll need to drain the toy’s battery completely before travel. Buzzing vibrators notoriously make people think of bombs, and you do not want to be that person.
Dildos are an awkward thing for carry-ons. According to the TSA, “tools” less than 7 inches in length are allowed. However, if the item is “club-like” or can be mistaken as a weapon, it’s not allowed. So use common sense on that one.
Also, be sure to follow the 3-1-1 rule when packing lube in a carry-on. I like to buy a small plastic container (like one with hand sanitizer in it), wash it out, and fill it with my favorite lube. Otherwise, just pack lube samples, or stick your lube in your checked baggage (after taping it shut like a fiend).
Your best defense, though, is having a positive and nonchalant attitude. Some people may be embarrassed by sex toys, but you don’t have to be. Try not to be nervous, and if an agent questions you about one of your toys, don’t dodge the question — just calmly explain what it is.
What are your favorite porn movies and pornstars?
My favorite performers are Sasha Grey, James Deen, Kimberly Kane, Danny Wylde, Belladonna, Joanna Angel, Christian, Tori Black, Evan Stone, Amber Rayne, Billy Castro, Sinn Sage, Derrick Pierce, Sean Michaels, Bobbi Starr, Roxy Deville, Wolf Hudson, Dylan Ryan, and Sinnamon Love.
I don’t tend to watch movies in full unless I have to review them, but my favorites would be My Own Master, Rough Sex, Belladonna’s Strapped Dykes, Live In My Secrets, and all volumes of Tristan Taormino’s Chemistry series. Out of the things I haven’t reviewed, I seem to recall enjoying Belladonna: Sexual Explorer, Morphine, Shut Up and Fuck, Joanna Angel and James Deen’s European Vacation, Frisk Me, Beautiful Stranger, Wasteland, and Tori Black is Pretty Filthy 2.
I’ve never owned a sex toy or have owned all shitty ones. What would you suggest?
It’s difficult to recommend something without knowing more about what someone is looking for. But generally you are going to want body-safe, non-porous materials. In terms of vibrators, something with variety in the vibration strengths is good for a beginner. A nice clitoral vibe like the LELO Mia is an excellent choice. It’s a luxury toy but not too expensive, and it’s very discreet.
As far as insertables go, get yourself something nice from a good company such as Tantus, Vixen Creations, Fun Factory, LELO, njoy, Crystal Delights, or NobEssence. These companies all use tip-top materials, so the toy you choose will last you a very long time, if not forever.
If you are new to penetration, I’d suggest a dildo that is about 1.25″ in diameter or less that is made of either silicone or glass. Nothing too textured or weirdly shaped or with too drastic a curve at the tip. My choices would be the Tantus Acute, the Tantus Compact, the Tantus Silk series, the Vixen Creations Spur or Mustang (expensive, I know, but the material is AMAZING and as squishy as you can get while still being silicone… plus Mustang is coming out in NEON AND TIE DYE now), or the Vixen Mistress.
Read the next question for my suggestions on beginner’s anal toys.
I want to explore anal play for the first time. Suggestions?
You’ll want a toy of 1″ in diameter or less and made of pure silicone.
I always recommend the Fun Factory Bootie to beginners, because I love it. It’s silicone, around $30, and very fun. But Tantus is the best purveyor of silicone butt plugs, so be sure to check their selection (and their closeout section, which has awesome deals!). They have a huge range of sizes and shapes. The Meteorite, Little Flirt and Slim look particularly well-suited to beginners, and the Ripple Small could work if you don’t need a plug plug. (However, I think plugs are great for n00bs because they allow you to get comfortable with the sensation of something being in your ass.)
As for lube, you’re going to want something thicker for anal, to provide cushion. And it needs to be water-based so as not to damage the toy. My favorite is Sliquid Sassy. Sliquid is amazing becauseall their lubes are glycerin and paraben free.
My tips for anal play are pretty simple: use lube, go slow, breathe, relax, and listen to your body. Oh, and go to the bathroom before using a plug!
I’m on a budget and need an inexpensive toy. What would you suggest?
For the purpose of this answer I’m going to define inexpensive as $40 or less. Then I’ll break it down by type of toy.
P.S. SheVibe tends to have the best prices, and always check my sales & deals page to find sex toy sales. Plus, the static coupon code EPIPHORA will always get you 10% off at Lovehoney, 20% off at Chavez Dezignz, 10% off at Early to Bed, and 10% off at the Smitten Kitten.
First things first: if you want sheer power, the Wahl is the best $20 you can spend. It is not, however, ergonomic. Or subtle.
Then: get something better than a watch battery bullet, trust me. You don’t want it to take N batteries or watch batteries, and it should take more than one AA or AAA. A cheap silver bullet can do the job in a pinch. The Turbo Glider was my amigo for quite some time (although it is loud), and after that I really loved the Xtreme Pack G-spot Bullet, until I moved on to rechargeables. I’ve heard good things about the PicoBong Moka, Velvet Touch, Black Magic Bullet, Dream Massager G, Mini Wanachi, and Iconic Smoothie. People seem to like the Butterfly Kiss as well.
The thing about cheaper vibrators is that they’re all battery-powered, and batteries mean noise and surface-level vibrations. If you can spare some extra money, get the LELO Mia ($70), which is USB rechargeable and rumbly.
The LELO Ella is a good choice. Good Vibes makes some affordable silicone dildos, such as the Bullseye, Your Highness, Right Spot, and Charm. You can also get some epic dildo deals in Tantus’ closeout section. Tantus is the shit and their dildos generally sell for more like $60, so these are great deals.
A lot of glass toys from the bigger companies are under $30. My suggestions there would be the Icicles #7, Rose G-Spotter, Reflections Serenity, or Rainbow Mega Nubby. There’s also the $22 Galaxy G, which is made of acrylic.
Other 100% silicone dildos from bigger companies: the Sedeux Flare and Please from Sportsheets; Thinny Minnie, Slender, The One, The Only, The G, The Slim, and The Tool from Doc Johnson; Kona and Fiji from California Exotic. All the dildos in California Exotic’s Love Rider line, Doc Johnson’s ”platinum“ line, and Pipedream’s Fetish Fantasy Elite line are 100% silicone.
How on earth do I choose a toy if I don’t know what I like?
Get a toy that is versatile! If you have a vagina, I suggest something that can function as both a G-spot vibe and a clitoral vibe, something like the LELO Mona 2. That way you can try it many ways: as a non-vibrating G-spotter, as a vibrating G-spotter, and as a clitoral toy. Hopefully you’d like at least one of those ways!
An option for clitoral stimulation would be a hummer type vibe, which has two sides, one pinpoint and one more diffuse. You could also get a vibe that comes with a bunch of attachments, like the Mood Flirty, Luv Touch Mighty Mite, or Intimate Foreplay Kit.
In terms of dildos, maybe something double-ended with different sensations like the LELO Ella or Rose G-Spotter. Also, I only know of one person (out of a billion) who didn’t love the Pure Wand, which is good odds.
It’ll be hard to know how you feel about different materials until you feel and experience them. If you have access to a local sex toy shop, visit it and see which items intrigue you. Figure out which ones get good reviews and go from there. You’re going to have to spend some money, but with research, you hopefully won’t waste it. The more stuff you buy, the more you’ll know what you like, so you gotta just bite the bullet!
I want to find my G-spot / learn to squirt. Toy suggestions and tips plz!
My top picks would be the Jopen Key Comet G Wand, LELO Ella, njoy Pure Wand, and NobEssence Seduction, but if you’re inexperienced with toys, it might be better for you to get something smaller and less severe, like the Vixen Creations Mustang, Tantus Comet, Tantus Acute, or Tantus Rocket. I’ve also heard of people having success with the glass Rose G-Spotter, and I myself first found my G-spot with a toy that merely had a pronounced head (no curve). What matters is that the toy has a pronounced or curved head, is comfortable for you, isn’t totally floppy, and is easy to thrust with.
You will absolutely want to pair this toy with a good clitoral vibe, like the Eroscillator, LELO Mona 2, Vibratex Mystic Wand, Leaf Life, We-Vibe Touch, or LELO Mia. Clitoral stimulation enhances G-spot stimulation greatly.
As for squirting tips, here’s a quick run-down of how I’d suggest you do it. First prepare a nest for yourself — in a comfortable, distraction-free environment, with either the Liberator Throe or several towels under your butt. Take your time getting turned on first, even bringing yourself close to orgasm. Then, with lots o’ lube, insert your G-spot toy and start thrusting with it. Continue using the clitoral toy. Try to relax as much as possible and keep your vaginal muscles open, not clenched. Increase your thrusting speed until you start to get the need-to-pee sensation. Keep thrusting until the feeling becomes almost overwhelming, and then THRUST SOME MORE. Hopefully, hopefully, you will squirt.
I want a strong vibe. What would you suggest?
You can’t go wrong with the Wahl. I also really like my Mystic Wand. Some of the strongest rechargeable clit vibes I’ve found have been the ones from We-Vibe: the Touch, Tango, and Salsa. Rechargeables still haven’t caught up to plug-in toys in the power realm, but there’s always the Hitachi. The Eroscillator isn’t actually what I would call “powerful,” as it doesn’t vibrate, but it is an amazing clitoral toy that I feel I should mention constantly. Please don’t get the Rock Box.
I want a gentler vibe. What would you suggest?
On the less expensive side, I would recommend any of the Tickler or Toyfriend vibes, any of the Tantus Little Secrets, any of the little vibes from PicoBong, the Fukuoku, or the Bcute. On the more expensive side, most rechargeable vibes (like the ones by LELO and Leaf) start out at a very low level when you first turn them on, which gives you some wiggle room just in case you want to move beyond the gentler settings in the future.
I want a rabbit with rotating beads, but I want it to be made of silicone. Help!
It’s not the silicone that’s gonna trip you up — it’s the rotating beads. I only know of a couple vibes that are both made of silicone and have rotating beads (Petite Flutter and Silicone Jack Rabbit), and… they’re made by California Exotic, which doesn’t exactly give me faith that they will last. The Vibratex Sugar Pop is elastomer, but the shape seems iffy. There are a few silicone rabbits that rotate but don’t have beads, all also made by Vibratex (Rosebud, Violet, Budding Bliss, Luv It).
If you’re willing to budge on the silicone thing, there’s always the Vibratex Rabbit Habit. It’s made of elastomer, non-porous, and is one of the only rabbits with beads that most legit sex shops sell. However, it feels like something is churning butter inside of you when you turn the rotation on. Just FYI.
Why do you hate pink so much?
I just do.