Feb 282015

Afterglow PulseWave light vibratorI feel bad for celebrities. You’ll never hear me say that again. But they got the Afterglow in their goodie bags at the Oscars, and this is not what a good sex toy is. Not even close. Not even in the same hemisphere. (Tegan & Sara, if you’re reading this, I will personally buy each of you a Pure Wand to make up for this travesty.)

It’s a gimmick: the Afterglow stimulates with vibration and light energy. That’s as simply as I can put it. If you want to thoroughly roll your eyes, here’s a video about the “science,” but the bottom line is, light energy. As in lasers. As in immeasurable. Therein lies the scam: this is nothing more than a mediocre, overpriced rabbit vibrator invented by a sketchy doctor.

Out of the box, the toy had a hang tag around it which creepily read “I’m yours.” It came with a suede storage bag and a fancy-as-fuck locking leather box. Whatever money they spent on that storage box could’ve been used to make the toy waterproof, but nope — you’re not even supposed to clean the Afterglow under running water. That alone makes it not worth the price of $199. But don’t worry, there’s a lot more.

The Afterglow is equipped with features that aren’t actually features, such as a “privacy mode” which turns the red and blue lights off (now nobody will know that something is in your vagina!). The controls are oversized, like buttons on a TV remote for old people — this is the “no-look keypad.” After trying some of the nonsensical buttons, I had to consult the manual on how to turn the Afterglow on. That’s when I found out about the “travel lock”: you must press the plus and minus button simultaneously for 3 seconds to turn the toy on. Every time. Totally practical!

The manual is an experience unto itself — full of bombastic claims and patronizing instructions. One section’s header reads “Innovation by Doctors, for Women”;1 there is a long description of each phase of the sexual response cycle and how the Afterglow enhances all of them; I’m promised “what tantric teachings have called Kundalini, an energy allowing a more full body orgasm.”

Guru Afterglow Guidance regarding the PulseWave O program in the Afterglow's manualYou might love the Afterglow if you get off on being psychologically dominated by pre-programmed vibrators and instruction manuals. The 4-page long Guru Afterglow Guidance section (pictured) is particularly bossy, instructing in painstaking detail how to properly experience the PulseWave O program, an 8-minute “journey designed to enhance arousal and help you achieve better and more frequent orgasms.”

I’m supposed to take 20 deep breaths in one minute, lube up the “fingers” of the toy (ew), turn it on but “DO NOT PRESS THE O BUTTON YET,” insert it, and take another 20 deep breaths in one minute before finally entering PulseWave O.

Time to relax and relish the sensations? THINK AGAIN. If I dare to near orgasm before five minutes have passed, the manual commands me to “decrease pressure. Wait.” Uh — okay. After five minutes, I’m given permission to come: “enjoy. It is time.” But what if I don’t orgasm within the 8-minute program? “Do not fret . . . Your body is primed for a great orgasm.”

This is genius. Put some fancy technology in a shell that has been known to provoke orgasms. When it provokes orgasms, or when it simply gets someone sort of close to orgasm, EUREKA! SUCCESS! BREAKTHROUGH IN MEDICAL SCIENCE! WOMEN HAPPY!

Let me break down this PulseWave O program for you, because it’s not that complicated or exciting.

  • 0 minutes: both parts of the toy vibrate at a pretty dang low intensity.
  • 1 minute: a sudden and somewhat jarring shift into a higher steady intensity, although not the highest.
  • 3 minutes: a slow, lower mode in which vibration oscillates between the insertable and clitoral parts.
  • 5 minutes: a faster version of the previous mode, at the highest intensity level.
  • 8 minutes: the program is complete, signaled by a drop back down into the steady low setting. I hope you weren’t on the verge of orgasm!

As a program meant to arouse and bring me close to orgasm, PulseWave O succeeds. The first change in vibration is well-played, and the second change pulls me back from the precipice of orgasm, teasing me until the final change swoops in to finish the job. But it’s that finishing of the job where it fucks everything up.

Every time I have an orgasm at the acceptable point in the program — after 5 minutes — the orgasm is decidedly shit. The oscillating vibration delivers me to the moment of orgasm, but fails to stimulate my clit thoroughly at the peak. It’s so frustrating I tend to make weird exasperated noises.

Ironically, I have better orgasms when I come in the 1-3 minute window — the time-frame the manual expressly forbids me to orgasm during.

But let’s be honest. I don’t want to come during any of the settings. The Afterglow’s vibrations are shitty buzzy surface level crap, and the shape doesn’t fit my anatomy. Like many rabbits, the clitoral arm overshoots my clit, so I have to insert the shaft only halfway to rectify it. This feels weird and stupid. The clitoral arm is fairly flexible, so at least it doesn’t jam into my clit if I thrust. That’s the nicest thing I’m capable of saying about this toy’s shape.

There is absolutely nothing revolutionary about how this toy feels. It does not arouse me more than comparable things, it does not feel unique, and it does not produce longer, full body, or multiple orgasms. I didn’t find enlightenment or Kundalini. In fact, the only thing the Afterglow did was make me desperately need some quality time with an amazing G-spot toy and my favorite clitoral vibrator.

But, devil’s advocate — maybe I just wasn’t following the excruciatingly specific program? So I set out to do exactly what the manual instructed: dim the lights, hang the “do not disturb” sign (sorry, don’t have one), turn off my phone, sip my favorite beverage (as I drank my wine I thought oh god, am I GULPING?), lose any uncomfortable clothing, and get into a relaxing position. I counted my breaths as I watched the clock, because that’s a winning formula for relaxation. Then I suffered through the PulseWave O “experience.”

I resent the way this vibrator tries to dictate my masturbation. I’d like to orgasm on my own terms, please.

Innovation is awesome when it’s both discernible and pleasurable, but the Afterglow’s purported technology isn’t even fucking discernible. Very convenient, isn’t it, that the energy this toy supposedly emits is invisible to the naked eye? I know when I’m being duped, and so does my vagina. This is nothing more than magical thinking. I’m not taking some asshole’s word for it.

Yeah. The Afterglow was created by a doctor named Ralph Zipper whose entire medical trajectory can be summed up like this: YOU ARE HAVING WOMAN PROBLEMS WHICH I WILL CREATE NAMES FOR AND THEN CORRECT WITH PROCEDURES I’VE INVENTED. He literally created a disorder, “Dysaethetica Vulva,” to justify labiaplasty. The procedure for which involves lasers being projected through diamonds because chicks love jewels, right!?

Here he is talking about “Vaginal Relaxation Syndrome” and how he can cure it with his Incisionless Vaginal Rejuvenation® procedure.

This man is Very Concerned about all these floppy vulvas that “look at bit like jowels [sic]” and can’t “hold penises” anymore. Which explains why the Afterglow Twitter account once tweeted “having a natural birth beats the shit out of a woman’s vagina” and then, when called out, defended it and left the tweet up for posterity.

I am so over dudes trying to mansplain pleasure to me. To fix things that aren’t broken. To fix things that are THE PRODUCT OF PATRIARCHY. You fucking caused this, douchebag. You. You are the reason. And I’m not letting you rush in and act like the hero. My orgasms didn’t need to be elevated, not that the Afterglow helped with that at all — and my vagina is perfect as is.

So, I didn’t achieve nirvana with the Afterglow. Maybe because I don’t own a “do not disturb” sign. Or because I took 19 breaths in one minute. Perhaps because I didn’t buy their special lube with its “unique ‘light activated’ formula.” More likely, it’s because I am a fully-functioning human being capable of independent thinking.

  1. Because apparently women can’t be doctors! []
Feb 242015

I first wrote this post on June 26, 2013, when Blogger changed its content policy in order to prohibit the monetization of adult content. At that point, they still allowed adult content as long as it was marked as such — and as long as you didn’t make a goddamn cent from it. It felt begrudging: “okay, fine, we’ll allow you heathens to exist on our platform, but not if you make any money.”

Fuck you, Blogger

In February 2015, I had to publish an updated version of this post when Google updated their content policy to disallow any blogs containing “sexually explicit” material. It read, in part:

Starting March 23, 2015, you won’t be able to publicly share images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity on Blogger.

Note: We’ll still allow nudity if the content offers a substantial public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts.

. . . If your existing blog does have sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video, your blog will be made private after March 23, 2015.

I wrote, “the new policy is worded so broadly that anyone who writes about sex could be susceptible. Sure, it sounds like Google is fine with some nudity, the right nudity, maybe written content as long as it’s not accompanied by “sexually explicit” photos, but that is not reassuring. Judging by the way most mainstream companies enforce ridiculous rules like this one, even sex toy reviewers like myself may be targeted.”

A few days later, Google backpedaled. Oh golly gosh, they just had no idea that people wrote legitimate blogs about sex! So, things are 3% less bleak than they were before. But the sad truth is that this post continues being relevant — and I continue feeling wary about any sex writer using a free blogging platform.

As a sex blogger, here are your options and my suggestions. But honestly, your best best is to bite the bullet and go self-hosted. If you’re in this for the long haul, I promise you won’t regret it. The Google crackdown can always get worse, and who knows what’s next.

First, a few not-so-good options

Option 1: Stick around — and keep back-ups. Keep trudging along with your current Blogger blog and hope the content policy (which allows adult content as long as you don’t try to make money with it) doesn’t change. But if it ever does, you won’t have much time to jump ship and funnel your readers to a new blog. So, you better keep back-ups of every single post (published or in draft form), as well as all the images/files used on your site.

You should also be constantly saving a .XML back-up of your site (which includes all your posts and comments) in case you need to import it somewhere else later on. Also, back your shit up via Google Takeout. Also, back up the Picasa album containing all your blog’s photos. And you know, if I were you, I’d go so far as to save every page of my site.

Option 2: Move to WordPress.com and don’t monetize at all. Like Blogger, WordPress.com does not allow affiliate advertising. So you’ll have to blog without affiliate links and without banner advertisements for sex companies. That’s a pretty shitty deal. I believe you should at least be able to make a few bucks here and there, and there are so many affiliate programs that it’s silly not to join at least a few… if you can advertise them. WordPress also has some restrictions on adult content, and they don’t allow anything “pornographic.”

Option 3: Get on Tumblr. Tumblr allows the most adult content, but it has its own issues. It’s owned by Yahoo, so some are worried that its lax policy for porn could be altered at any moment (although Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has alluded to letting porn be porn). They have suspended the accounts of cam girls with the reasoning that they “do not allow blogs with the primary purpose of affiliate marketing.” This is before you consider that Tumblr is built for microblogging, not full-on blogging. There is a Blogger to Tumblr importer, but I don’t know if it currently works.

Your best bet: go self-hosted

This is the best long-term option (and my god, it is so freeing — I can almost guarantee you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner), but it’s the only one that costs money.

Because we live in this world, even hosting that is friendly to sex bloggers is hard to find. You have to dig deep into each host’s Terms of Service to be sure they allow it (hint: look for the words “adult,” “pornographic,” and “obscene”). Here are some hosting companies that allow us heathens:

  • HostGator is my host. I love them. I’m on the Hatchling Plan, which offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth for one domain. You can get 25% off anytime with code HEYEPIPHORA.
  • DreamHost. They use Who.is privacy protection by default! Use code EPIPHORA to get free domain name registration ($15 value) and $10 off hosting on a 1- or 2-year prepaid hosting plan.
  • GoDaddy. Their ads are sexist as fuck and their site is convoluted as shit, but they do allow adult content.
  • A Small Orange. Get $5 off with code EPIPHORA. This may be the cheapest solution, but there’s a reason for that — it’s really for small sites that need very little storage space. For $35/year, you get just 500 MB storage and 5 GB bandwidth. To give you some numbers, my site is currently 2.5 GB (2500 MB) and burns through 200-300 GB of bandwidth per month. For a small site, A Small Orange could work. But don’t be surprised if you have to upgrade in the future.

You’re always going to get a better deal if you can pay for more months or years upfront. If you want to pay monthly, you’ll be looking at around $6-9/month, but if you pay for a whole year, it will be lower.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to buy privacy protection, otherwise your name, address, and phone number will be available to anyone who looks up your domain on Who.is. It’s usually $10/year or so. Here’s how to enable it with HostGator and GoDaddy. Do not fake your info instead — that is against the Terms of Service.

You’ll want to install WordPress as your blogging platform. A few resources to help guide you through the migration:

Need more help getting a new blog up and running? Read my guide to sex toy reviewing and blogging (even if you won’t be blogging about toys — there’s useful info there!). And always, if you need help, email me at hey.epiphora [at] gmail [dot] com or grab me on Twitter.

What has been your experience as a sex blogger on a free platform? Did you move to self-hosting? Have any other resources for fellow sex bloggers I should include?

Feb 182015

Star-shaped Golden Author Award from my fifth grade teacherI always wanted to be a writer. I wrote e.e. cummings quotes on the inside of my closet and on the rubber of my shoes; I spent my high school nights getting high on raspberry mochas and writing bad poetry. I amassed several awards and accolades when I was younger — one time I even attended an award show in New York City — but nothing meant more to me than this Golden Author Award bestowed upon me by my fifth grade teacher. While others received frivolous awards for being class clowns, I got a swanky pen — and this. It was proof: I was destined to be a writer.

I could’ve never predicted, though, that writing for me was going to be blogging, and that I was going to blog about sex.

Actually, that’s a lie. There were signs that I would both blog and document my sex life. I had a scandalous zine in the age of AOL. I had an online diary for years after that. I made my first website in the sixth grade, with many to follow. I loved Harriet the Spy and totally understood Harriet’s pain when her classmates read all the mean — yet true — things she’d written about them.

But real writers go off to grad school at Columbia and get published in literary journals and drink wine in rooms full of important people. They don’t write sex toy review blogs.


There is a way of telling stories. A red pen. A teacher to move it.
Instead you have hands, and a Light inside you, and Bones.
Instead you have ideas, which ricochet, and an anger that won’t sit still,
and dogs from outside which come to die in the quiet spots inside of you.
. . . There is a way of telling stories. They tell you it is not like this.

—Shira Erlichman, “How To Tell a Story

Writing in a motel on a family trip to the beach in 2002

As a kid, and especially as a teenager, I wrote constantly. During family trips you could always find me holed up somewhere with my journal, which I kept for 10 years. My love for coffee was borne out of needing an accompaniment to my typewriter clacking. In high school I was opinion editor of the newspaper, and my senior project was a book of my own fiction. I took writing classes at the local community college and distinctly remember the exhilaration I felt after my first day. It was where I belonged.

Then I went to college and took every writing course offered, including an independent study that I made up. Couched in academia, writing was different. I was less and less inspired as the years went on. I wasn’t 17 anymore, full of hormones and angst — the sort of fuel that makes writing great. I began to hate all the editing, all the second-guessing, all the character development and faux scenarios. My fiction and poetry had become rather soulless, and the writing process felt like a chore.

Notes from a journal entry about visiting a college professor after summer

After college graduation, I never did get the urge to write a poem or a short story. What I did get was the itch to work on blog posts. On the side, I had started up a little sex blog. I needed a distraction from Chaucer (did you know Middle English is really hard to read?), and reviewing sex toys gave me both orgasms and a casual writing outlet. I didn’t know a lot about sex toys, or reviewing for that matter, but I was learning and putting all my obscure CSS knowledge into action.

I loved what I was doing, but that didn’t mean it didn’t sting when I watched friends go off to get their master’s in writing. It hurt the 16-year-old girl perpetually holed up in the bookstore with Kurt Cobain’s Journals. The girl who once thought buying Writer’s Market was a solid decision. The girl who teachers swore would become a big shot writer someday. It felt like I had failed.

And on some days, it still does.

But when I actually thought about it, I was just clinging to my teenage vision of success as a writer. I didn’t want to go to a writing program at all — I’d spent enough damn time listening to classmates tell me to clarify my character’s motivations. I was not thrilled by the prospect of sending manuscripts everywhere only to be rejected constantly. Even if I did get published, even if I achieved marginal success, I wasn’t going to make much money from it.

Besides, was being published what I really wanted? Do I have some talent within me that is only visible if I write a short story Crazyhorse wants to publish? It’s 2015 now. People read books on Kindles, newspapers on phones, and blogs on computers. Being published in the traditional sense is not the only way to be a viable writer.

Then what is? What is success, to me?

Yearbook message to me from a great middle school teacher

Success does not have an industry or an entrance exam. Success is being awesome at what you do. Success is being trusted, having people look to you for advice. Success is doing what you love and getting paid for it.

If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.

Stephen King

It was freeing for me when I accepted that I cannot construct poems that could stop your heart with their beauty. I cannot create unforgettable characters and intriguing plot lines and deep, meaningful story arcs. Others have always done it better and they always will.

What I can do is write competently. I can organize sentences. I can express ideas. I can give my opinion clearly and do it in a way that will not put you to sleep. I adore sex toys, and now, seven years in, I know almost everything there is to know about them. I feel strongly that they can change people’s sex lives, and I believe in our right to utilize them without shame, stigma, or misinformation. I’ve spun a tiny silly blog into a profitable business.

Writing at my tiny desk, with coffee and cat of course

It has not been easy to accept that this is my medium and my subject matter. Sexuality scares people. Honesty when it comes to sexuality scares people. It can be hard to feel important in the world when you can’t even tell people what you do for a living because you don’t want to deal with their response. I get emails from my college about alumni honors banquets and know I will never be recognized at one. I emailed one of my professors to tell her about my blog and she said, “why can’t you keep doing all the supremely cool stuff you are doing AND grow your writing out?” I got an OkCupid message from an old high school classmate who desperately wanted to read my writing, but “not the dildo stuff.”

I’m just as bad. In my head there is a hierarchy, with stuffy books of poetry at the top, and review blogs near the bottom, and I can’t seem to shake it. Sexual shame was never instilled in me, but I still feel the weight of our culture’s denigration of sexuality. I feel the perceived disappointment of all my professors and mentors. In my darkest moments, when I get a truly venomous comment or see my friend’s latest Facebook update about her book’s progress, my mind goes down the same path.

I’m not a real writer. I couldn’t actually get published, so I resorted to writing on the internet. About my genitals no less. I’m no better than anyone with a Blogspot, perhaps less because I write about my vagina. This is not an achievement. I’m kidding myself.

I try to counter these thoughts with questions like, doesn’t sexuality matter? Discovering new forms of pleasure? Is this not a worthy pursuit, to help people with that? Doesn’t writing matter, in any form? Can’t we still marvel at a beautifully structured piece of writing, subject matter aside? Isn’t reviewing a respected form of public service? Hey, isn’t the internet important? Creating something out of thin air? Putting one’s self on display for the internet wolves? The difficulty of running a blog?

I remind myself that blogging — and blogging about sex — is the perfect encapsulation of everything I love: sex toys, writing, web design, photography, and egotism.

In high school, with dreams

I always longed for people to read and appreciate my work. That’s why I had a zine, and an online diary, and friends who put up with me thrusting my journal in their faces. With blogging, it’s the same. I have a little fan base providing feedback and back-pats along the way.

Blogging is more immediate and colloquial than a book. It can evolve and change and I can edit old posts to pretend I never said anything idiotic. There’s no boss man or editor hovering above me telling me what to write. I can cuss as much as I goddamn want, or commit grave grammatical errors on purpose.

That’s why I love it. The readers. The catharsis. The blank white box where anything goes.

I know as a sex educator I’m supposed to say that the most rewarding part of my job is helping people… but that’s not what I live for. I write for the joy of it. I delight myself when I come up with something clever, or when I construct a post which flows so effortlessly it’s almost like I didn’t just spend hours moving the sentences around one by one. I live for the sound of my boyfriend’s laugh as he reads one of my posts. I live for that fleeting moment of unbearable excitement when I feel like I’ve written something really, really good.

The only happiness you have is writing something new, in the middle of the night, armpits damp, heart pounding, something no one has yet seen. You have only those brief, fragile, untested moments of exhilaration when you know: you are a genius.

―Lorrie Moore, “How to Become a Writer

An art project of mine, using a line from an Anne Sexton poem

Still, writing — the actual act of it — is not easy. I can insert links all day (that is, in fact, my preferred procrastination method), but getting myself to sit down and just write is always the hardest. I just spent all day cleaning a closet instead of finishing this, and you don’t want to know how long it’s been in my drafts. As it turns out, writing never became less hard. It simply became different.

There will always be a part of me who feels a divergence in my life, another path I could’ve taken but didn’t. The path everyone expected. The path expected. But then I think about how sometimes it seems like everything was leading to this. Diaries, journals, having gay rendezvous as a teenager, my parents yelling at me to stop spending every hour on the computer, getting turned on watching Undressed, teaching myself HTML instead of going outside for recess, feeling petrified of the expectation that I would submit my work to literary journals fruitlessly until the day I died…

Sappy, I know, but I think I was meant to be a blogger. And, yes, I was meant to write about sex.

Feb 112015

[Trigger warning: incest, menstrual blood, consensual non-consent.]

April 2014

Sit down, friends. I would like to talk to you about incest. I’ve slyly alluded to it before, but this month marks the discovery of something glorious: New Sensations’ “Tabu Tales” series. Directed most of the time by the fantastic and nuanced Jacky St. James, this series is everything I never knew I wanted, and I LOVE IT.

My obsession began with Incestuous, in a scene featuring cheerleader Riley Reid and her “stepfather” Alec Knight. Riley is a boss at playing down her age (she even moans “oh gosh”), and Alec, well… he’s the ultimate creep. I seem to be developing a thing for creepers. Don’t tell any dudes on the internet. Please.

Riley Reid and Alec Knight in Incestuous

I may or may not have quickly consumed as many films in the Tabu Tales catalog as I could. I may or may not know that the best father/daughter scenes are Steven St. Croix and Katie St. Ives in All In The Family, Evan Stone and Kacy Lane in Daddy Issues 2, and Steven St. Croix and Penelope Stone in Family Business. When shot well, with people who can act — holy shit.

My jack-off fodder is quite varied, as previous installments of this journal can attest. I like the straight, the queer, the mainstream, the taboo — the romantic candlelit bullshit all the way through people acting like dogs and consensual rape scenarios. So I didn’t think these incest and creeper fantasies were that weird, until one night when I drunkenly confessed them to some friends, and all I got in return was “I sometimes jack off to two photos side by side.”


May 12th, 2014

When my “resident gay” Lucas sent me a link to a British guy talking dirty, I scoffed a bit, imagining that unfortunate time I listened to erotic hypnosis. But then, literally a minute into this recording, I had to grab my Hitachi and fucking go for it.

For the next several days, this will be how I masturbate.

July 9th, 2014

My menstrual bloody hand holding the LELO Mona 2, with glass dildo in backgroundMulti-tasking: watching Power and Control while making chicken tortilla casserole. I waltzed into the kitchen and left the video file playing on my computer. As I layered the tortillas, beans, and corn, I became increasingly aware of how the girl sounded like a dying seal gasping for breath. I vowed to look her up: Jessie Andrews. Never again. She’s cute, but no.

As the casserole cooked, I made a huge mess comparing the Ash Girl to the Star Delight and powering through two Monas. By the end of it, everything was so caked in dried menstrual blood that my perverse desire to photograph the scene overtook any understanding of social boundaries.

August 2014

Sex toy masturbation session note takingSo much bonding time with my Hitachi while in the throes of house-hunting, money-offering, house-inspecting, and world-moving. Out of nowhere, in a blur of stress, I’d come to the realization that I was in dire need of an orgasm.

When I had time for a drawn-out masturbation session, I produced a pile of notes which said things like “forceful stim,” “good for the first orgasm,” and “either way I’m giving something up.”

I bid a defiant goodbye to my previous jack-off locale, the ever-glamorous living room.

September 17th, 2014

The spread of sex toys on my desk before I christened my new officeThe monumental christening of my new office. Hours before this I hadn’t even wanted to exert the effort of holding a toy, opting for the We-Vibe 4, but that just made me hornier. So I laid out the toys of the evening, LOCKED MY DOOR (!), and got down to motherfucking business.

I wanted to stop after my second orgasm, but I made the frigthening realization I had not yet squirted on my office floor. So obviously, I whipped out the Pure Wand and Mona. Soon, I was gushing heavily and I could feel my ejaculate spurting upward, like a fountain.

This created a 16-inch puddle on my towel and a surge of pride in my soul.

Fall 2014

Several memorable things happened during this time period:

  • I bought an automatic lube (soap) dispenser, promptly filled it with Sliquid H2O, and went overboard in the amount of lube I used during masturbation sessions.
  • I invented HANDS-FREE ORGASMS with the We-Vibe Dusk.
  • I experienced hilarious hijinks with the Bubble Love that I’m saving for my review. It’ll be worth it, I promise.

December 15th, 2014

Sex toy tools of the nightI love that when I post a photo like this one, my eagle-eyed followers start yelling things like “SPARKLY ACUTE?” and “WHAT IS THAT WEIRD PURPLE ONE?”

Yes, that is a pale pink sparkly Tantus Acute from back in the day, and well, that weird purple one is the Oblivion Purple Cherry, and it is so buzzy and terrible I probably only used it for 2 minutes. Too bad, because the shape is cool.

January 24th, 2015

The world could not wait much longer for my LELO Mona Wave review. Therefore:

Plus I had my new subscription to Indie Porn Revolution and QueerPorn.TV, which I am most definitely going to write off on my taxes. First I watched Genderflux (with Jiz Lee and Nikki Hearts), but that was a disappointment. So I switched to Daddy’s Little Princess, starring Mickey Mod, Tori Lux, and the incomparable Aiden Starr.

Mickey Mod, Tori Lux, and Aiden Starr in Daddy's Little Princess for Indie Porn Revolution

Mickey talking dirty? Close-ups of Tori’s vulva? Aiden wielding Buck? That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

January 27th, 2015

I thought I was such a genius when I stuffed the We-Vibe Dusk in my vagina right before hopping on my elliptical. Sadly, it only made me want to pause my movements so I could focus on the vibration against my clit. Also, Food Network Star is maybe not the kind of thing I want to have an orgasm to. It’s no Incestuous, OKAY?

February 10th, 2014

My hunch about the Crave Vesper was 90% correct. It’s lackluster as a vibrator — tiny and not very strong — but it’s a gorgeous necklace and I will wear it to any and all black-tie functions. Weddings, absolutely.

Watching this fabulous scene between Q-Tip and April Flores, I was struck by how far Courtney Trouble’s aesthetic has come since I wrote about their DVDs back in 2010. Now their stuff is so nicely lit, with great angles, fluid editing, and thoughtful music.

Q-Tip and April Flores for Indie Porn Revolution

I finished things off with Ban This Sick Filth, queer porn’s response to the recent list of banned sex acts in UK porn. I’m not one for solo scenes, usually, but Courtney Trouble killed it in the finale: a menstruation masturbation scene.

Courtney Trouble in "First Period" from Ban This Sick Filth

See, if Courtney Trouble can do it, so can I.

Feb 092015

Sex toy retailers who truly care about ethics, design, the blogging community, and customer satisfaction are few and far between. Even more so when you’re looking for a retailer based in Australia. MissX ticks all of these boxes, and I’m here to tell you why you should support the crap out of them.

Photo by Jess Lafrankie for MissX.com.au

(If this photo does not arouse you, please exit the premises immediately.)

I first became aware of MissX a couple years ago. Owner Camila emailed me to thank me for all my reviews, explaining that she routinely used them to “judge” toys on whether or not to stock them in her new online shop. “Not only your reviews are awesome,” she wrote, “but your blog looks great and doesn’t hurt my eyes like so many out there.”

Of course I was wooed, but I was also intrigued by Camila’s concept for her shop. It was to be curated, stocking solely well-designed, body-safe, and effective sex toys. I hear that a lot, but it wasn’t long before MissX was making good on this promise.

Recently Camila and her business partner Bryce purchased Skype consulting with me to discuss their updated site design and vision for their business moving forward. Aside from being adorable (I’m sorry but I’m a 14-year-old and I still find Aussie accents and turns of phrase so cute), it was clear that they wanted to have a clean yet spunky site design, respect rather than condescend to their customers, and cultivate a social media presence different from your average sex shop. We bonded over our hatred of illegible website text and “sex fact” tweets.

With the site design, Camila and Bryce expressed their desire to shy away from stock photos, and steer more queer and gender ambiguous, which I think is one of the biggest things that will set them apart. They are also responsible for The Cutest Sex Toy Photo Ever Taken:

Kittens with sex toys! Photo by Theresa Harrison.

(Pictured: LELO Mona 2, Jopen Comet G Wand, Tantus Feeldoe Slim, Fun Factory Stronic Zwei)

MissX’s selection is sparse, but that is by design. They carry a limited range of products — only the best, often as determined by sex toy reviewers like myself. They’d like to expand their selection a bit more, but they need to grow and accumulate the financial backing for that, which is why you should purchase from them if you are able. My suggestions?

Currently, MissX is only shipping to Australia and New Zealand. They ship within 24-48 hours by Australian Post. Express shipping (next business day) is $10, or you can get free regular shipping on orders over $150. As a fun bonus, MissX plants a tree for every order over $200. They work with a local company called Carbon Neutral to select the right type of native tree for the time of year, and plant it in an area that needs it most.

So, Aussies and New Zealanders, the choice is clear: go forth and support the kind of people who run thoughtful online shops and make unsuspecting kittens pose with quality sex toys. Who are we to support if not folks like that?

Feb 032015

Pipedream Ceramix No. 4 ceramic dildoI wanted to feel the sensation of water sloshing in my vagina. Like the refreshing feeling of wading into the ocean. Like the satisfaction of tilting a Magic 8 Ball. The Ceramix No. 4 doesn’t feel like that, which is one reason you shouldn’t buy it. But it’s not the main one.

The other reason is that it’s made by Pipedream. I hate this company and want to burn it to the ground. They have violently sexist and racist marketing, which they defend with statements about how men are basically pigs anyway. They write upsetting press releases and send repulsive emails. Their silicone dildos are stuffed with foam, their “metal” toys are nowhere near stainless steel, and they rip off shapes from njoy and Crystal Delights. The rest of their toys are ridiculous, unsafe, and toxic, because, according to them, “most of our customers don’t give a shit what their toy is made of.” They are known for their celebrity sex dolls, and they recently stooped to a new level of reprehensible when they created a blow-up doll called J-Law Hacked. Because profiting from a sex crime is cool now.

Still, I understand that once in a while people need a cheap glass dildo or harmless hard plastic vibrator, and I was intrigued by the promise of the Ceramix line: some of the toys in it are hollow (bonus: we know they’re not stuffed with foam!) and can be filled with warm or cool water to adjust sensation.

The cynical side of me said that the hollow “feature” was Pipedream cutting corners and calling it innovation. The tiny, almost microscopic angel on my shoulder told me to give Ceramix a chance.

The packaging is trying, with its lightly-embossed image, text, and silver accents, but there are a few clues this toy is made by dummies. Like icons denoting temperature play (true), strap-on compatibility (uhh), and that the toy is lead-free, nickel-free, cadmium-free, and phthalate-free. Hint: you know it’s a shitty company when they feel the need to point out that there are no phthalates in a material that should never, in any circumstance, contain them. The back of the box claims the toy will hold heat for up to 20 (!!) minutes (!!!). Inside, there is just a hunk of styrofoam with a cut-out cradling the toy. No instructions, no storage bag.

$36 can’t buy you everything, people.

There’s no way of actually verifying that the glaze on this toy is body-safe. It does seem fine, though — sturdy, uniform, no sign of wear or chipping with use. However, the imperfect white painted circles are lightly raised in a way that makes me question whether the toy is still coated in vag goo when I’m giving it one of my signature rough handjob cleanings. The cork is difficult to remove and I fear chipping my nail polish, so I’ve resorted to using one of my point brushes (which are also great for scraping stickers off things and getting gunk out of crevasses).

The shape of this toy is so blasé. It’s like an undefined lump someone tossed together in pottery class. I should’ve maybe picked the Ceramix No. 5, which actually has a curve, but I was swayed by the blue. In use, it feels tame and inoffensive. Sometimes it gets turned around inside me, but it doesn’t even matter because it feels the same no matter which way it’s turned. I can’t feel the movement or sloshing of the water barely at all. REPLY HAZY TRY AGAIN.

One time I used cold water in it. It was nice and cool for about 10 minutes — just as glass or stainless steel would be after being exposed to cold water.

When I pour hot water in it, the heat is mild, short-lived, and kind of odd. At first, it’s like getting in someone’s car and slowly perceiving the creeping sensation of warmth on your ass. Then it feels relaxing and pleasant. But it dissipates after about 10 minutes, and I really only notice the heat externally — on my clit and around my vaginal opening. Inserted, it just blends into my apparent inferno of a vagina.

Here’s the thing. The time it takes to fill the Ceramix No. 4 with water could just as easily be used to run a toy under the tap, and the result is eerily similar — at least with toys made of aluminum and stainless steel. Actually, when I ran my Pure Wand under hot water, it became significantly hotter than the Ceramix No. 4.

Also, novel concept I know, but you could just wait for your orifice of choice to warm up a toy. The aluminum and stainless steel toys, for instance, took three minutes to become room temperature inside my vag, and four more to become hotter. I mean, if you don’t have seven minutes to preheat your sex toys with your vagina, you probably don’t have time to hustle to the sink to preheat them.

After a while, I began to hate the Ceramix No. 4 for what it was subjecting me to. The inanity of testing, of getting up constantly to run things under water and put in new water and warmer water. It was like the nightmarish manifestation of every “tip” about sex toy temperature play (“warm it up in a bowl of water! Your hubby will love you more!”).

I eventually became so displeased by the lack of discernible, lasting heat that I mumbled, “fine, motherfuckers, I’m gonna pour boiling water into it.” I casually wondered if this would break the toy. Didn’t care. Did it anyway.

It didn’t break, but it was an entire hour until I could safely use the Ceramix No. 4. Then it felt fine, but not any warmer than previous masturbation attempts. As it turns out, the temperature of hot tap water is that temperature for a reason — because it’s what our bodies can comfortably withstand. In related news, I’m an idiot.

It’s not the toy’s fault I’m an idiot. And I shouldn’t release all my pent-up rage about Pipedream on a dildo that, by all accounts, is mind-numbingly boring. But that’s just it: if you’re going to abandon all your morals, you should at least get a rad sex toy in return. The Ceramix No. 4 is not a rad sex toy. Sure, it feels good when I’m close to orgasm and I shove it the fuck into my G-spot, and yes, okay, I squirted a bit when I came with Siri 2 against my clit. But that was more a product of it being my final orgasm of the night — you know, the one I waited an hour for.

The boiling water incident was not the first time I secretly hoped the Ceramix No. 4 would break. At one point I was taking photos for my sex blogger house buying post and I was carrying that little table with the toys on it and I thought to myself “if that Ceramix dildo fell and broke, I wouldn’t have to review or use it again.” So there you go. I tried to sabotage this review many a time, but never succeeded, so I’ll have to settle for being a complete bitch instead. Don’t buy this toy. Fuck Pipedream. The end.

Want to play with temperature? Your money would be better spent on anything njoy.

Jan 262015

LELO Mona Wave rechargeable G-spot vibratorThe LELO Mona Wave feels like being fingered by someone who is absent-mindedly planning out the toppings on the pizza they’re going to order after I finally fucking come.

I know that isn’t what you want me to say. You want me to say that the Mona Wave is like being fingered by the devil, or that it’s the sexual equivalent of getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It is not, and my feelings are not that extreme. But the Mona Wave does make me fucking crazy most of the time.

I don’t blame you, internet. I have conditioned you to care. I am so freakishly obsessed with my LELO Mona 2s (yes, I have three of them) that you needed to know about the Mona Wave the moment it was released. Readers have not prodded me so much to review something since the Deen Peen. So I should probably just answer the question you are frantically Googling/e-yelling/tweeting at me, which is “SHOULD I GET THE MONA 2 OR THE MONA WAVE?”

The answer is, get the Mona 2. For sure. The Mona Wave is more convoluted, more expensive, more difficult to use, and most blasphemously: its vibrations are exponentially weaker. It eclipses the Mona 2 in only a few ways: it has a slow up-and-down movement meant to mimic fingers against the G-spot, it remembers which setting I was on, and it comes in black and blue. That… is… honestly… it.

When I first heard about the Mona Wave, I had two important questions: can you turn the motion off and get just vibrations, and can you adjust the motion? The answers are yes, but the vibrations suck and not really, since the two motion speeds consist of “molasses” and “snail.” This is where the Mona Wave could have surpassed the Mona 2, but instead just fucked up.

The Mona Wave has 10 settings. Five are motion plus vibration (the usual steady, pulsation, escalation), one is just motion, and four are just vibration. The handle is all silicone now, and the buttons are no longer raised. Some people like this change, but I find it harder to grip than Mona 2’s glossy plastic handle. True story: one time I slid the Mona Wave under the covers and inserted it — only to realize I’d inserted the handle. I was sober.

The buttons on the Mona 2, fallible as they are,1 are drop-dead simple to find and master. It’s to the point with the Mona 2 that I can change settings with my eyes closed, on the verge of orgasm, during hazy post-orgasm bliss, etc. This is a feat you don’t appreciate until it’s gone. With the Mona Wave, I feel like an amateur poking around in the dark.

But the most unforgivable sin: the Mona Wave has almost half the vibration power of the Mona 2. I’m serious. I’ve done tests. I had my girlfriend close their eyes and I turned both Monas to high, pressing each into their palm. It was undeniable to both of us. I yelled “FUUUUCK!!!” and I felt ruined. It was like the time my boyfriend broke one of his favorite mugs and then just stood in the kitchen with the most crestfallen look on his face. Of course, in that case I was able to rush to eBay to order him a replacement, but if you buy the Mona Wave instead of the Mona 2, you won’t be able to time travel and reverse your choice. At least cheaply.

LELO Mona Wave rechargeable G-spot vibrator and packaging which reads "THE ORGASM TO END ALL ORGASMS"Do not misunderestimate this power difference. Mona Wave’s vibrations are just a hair stronger than the original Siri, and Mona 2 has about four higher intensity levels than Mona Wave. This massive gap has been confirmed by many a seasoned vulva, and even a civilian — my boyfriend. I didn’t tell him which toys we were testing, just had him close his eyes and tell me if they were different or the same. “Oh, the second one [Mona 2] is stronger,” he said without missing a beat. “Noticeably stronger.”

Because of this, the Mona Wave is on the verge of useless when used clitorally. The added movement is nice — kind of like a big finger or rigid tongue moving rhythmically against my clit. With improvements, it could potentially be a way less annoying Ora. But it needs more: more strength, more speed, and above all, more variety.

This deficit is even more apparent when using the Mona Wave internally. Wave truly is the right word for the movement. It is subtle. Gentle. Like the soft ebb and flow of the ocean against the shore. I can leave it in my vagina without touching it — mostly — but it does start to twist sideways sometimes.

The motion feels good, especially with added vibration, but it really just grazes my G-spot. After not long, I want more. More curling, more pressure, a quicker pace — something. I can change the vibration pattern that goes along with the motion, but otherwise there is no progression toward that “orgasm to end all orgasms” promised to me by the packaging. (Which, can we talk about that slogan? Why would you want to end all orgasms? Why would you put your toy on such a pedestal? Granted, “it feels pleasant” doesn’t have the same ring to it, but maybe cut the bravado?)

Three humans mimic the @lelo_official Mona Wave's slow-ass "come hither" motion.

A video posted by Epiphora (@heyepiphora) on

The video above features the Mona Wave on its fastest motion setting, which I feel like looks impressive until you mimic it with your fingers. You can see, then, how this toy feels nothing like being fingered. It’s like what aliens might design based on a cursory understanding of the G-spot. Because G-spot stimulation isn’t just a mechanical up and down movement. It’s thrustingtwisting, pressing, rocking, jostling, clenching. It’s the curling of fingers and the grabbing of the pubic bone. It’s a combination of these things, depending on my mood, and my cycle, and whether anything on the internet has pissed me off that day.

That’s why the LELO Mona Wave is so fucking FRUSTRATING. For perhaps the first time ever, I find myself mad at a toy for not being human. For not understanding that I’d be much closer to orgasm if it would just speed the fuck up. I usually relish the consistency provided by a sex toy, but with the Mona Wave, I am enraged by it.

Also, that sound. Doesn’t exactly sound like water serenely lapping against the sand, does it? Yeah. I previously likened the noise to a dental drill, in case you need to have nightmares tonight. Maybe it wasn’t aliens that designed this toy, but robots. It’s not the worst sound ever, but I would never endure it if it didn’t come bundled with sexual pleasure. The walls of my vagina don’t really muffle it, either.

I kind of don’t think anyone should buy the Mona Wave. Not because it’s a horrible toy, but because I can’t shake the feeling that LELO released it before they really took the time to perfect it. The noise, the weak vibrations, and the lack of motion options are glaring issues that sorely need to be addressed before the company can rightly ask $179 for this thing and plaster it with branding guaranteeing a life-changing orgasm. This is like if Fun Factory had released the Stronic with only two slow thrusting settings. Come on. Do better.

I have grand dreams for the LELO Mona Wave, dreams that I do not believe are out of the realm of possibility in the current age of vibrators, dreams which you are welcome to get me drunk and listen to me exasperatedly list off.2 But I’m not in the business of rating sex toys on what they could be if only they tried harder. Right now, Mona Wave is just a half-assed impostor.

Want to find your G-spot? Get a Tantus dildo and/or the Pure Wand.
Want an awesome G-spot or clitoral vibe? Get the Mona 2.
Want a toy that moves in a satisfying manner? Get the Stronic Eins.

Get Mona Wave at LELO, SheVibe, GoodVibes, CAYA (Canada), or Lovehoney (international).

  1. They do tend to discolor a bit over time. []
  2. Here’s what I want: tons of unpredictable motion options, vibrations that correspond to movement, and more power than the Mona 2. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK? []
Jan 202015

Minna Limon rechargeable vibrator chillin'I have now formed a conditioned response whenever I hover over a link and see the URL indiegogo.com. It’s a mixture of terror, disgust, and exasperation, which, upon clicking, either bubbles into rage or fizzles into mild interest, depending on the product advertised.

The Minna Limon fell into the latter camp, but my initial thoughts were still mostly negative:

  1. Are we going to have to crowdfund all our vibrators now? Goddamn.
  2. “No cumbersome speed settings” — OH, OKAY.
  3. Is there some sort of rule that if you have a crowdfunding campaign for a vibrator, you must show it in a glass of water?

Then I found out it was only coming in pink and teal, and despite my intense love for teal, I was like “really bitch?” It’s SO OBVIOUS it should’ve come in yellow and green. But fine, only go halfway on the lemon thing. Fine then.

Silly color choices aside, I’m always open to a new rechargeable clitoral vibrator. I liked Minna’s previous toy, the Ola, so I wanted to give the Limon a spin. It had to be at least sort of good, right?

But that is the problem. It’s only sort of good.

The Limon comes in a well-designed tube and includes a cute-ass storage pouch. It charges like all lemons do: standing proudly atop its magnetic USB charging dock. The toy actually lights up with the word “Minna” when sitting there — a clever way to include branding without ruining the smooth surface of the toy.1 The battery life on this puppy is incredible; I’ve barely had to charge it. Plus it warns me when the battery is low.

Like the Ola, the Limon is pressure-sensitive, so it vibrates more strongly the harder you squeeze its sides. 30 seconds into using it that way, I’m over the novelty. So instead I just program what I want. Which is fine… except it takes two hands to create a pattern, and the Limon is a slippery, lube-coated mofo.

This is reason #1 that I can’t love the Minna Limon: it’s too small and unruly for me.

I adore the shape, mind you — it pinpoints my clit while resonating my labia. And it’s comfortable enough to hold, but… it never lets me forget I am using a vibrator. Never. Its rotund shape and rumbly vibrations make it wiggle and writhe and try to escape my grasp. I have a theory about little clitoral vibrators like the Limon: their puny size means I get a lot of vibration in my hand, which makes it feel less stimulating because my focus is divided between my hand and my clit.

This is, perhaps, why my clit tends to prefer toys with handles nowadays. I know: I’m like a rickety old person stuck in her ways, but it’s hard to justify enduring all that hand vibration in exchange for a petite size. Honestly, I’ll make the Mona 2 work even in situations in which I should probably use something smaller.

Reason #2 is that the Limon really doesn’t have much range of vibration intensity. It sounds like it should, with the squeeze technology. But, all told, there are only about four discernible intensities… and I end up wanting the highest. The Limon is good for my first orgasm, when I’ve just escaped the snow, before I’ve become fatigued by holding something wriggly. But soon enough, itchy fingertips and the lack of vibration range conspire against me.

The Minna Limon is not a bad toy. Not at all. It’s silicone, rechargeable, well-made, innovative, and unique. It’s stronger and rumblier than a lot of its competitors.2 For those less picky and jaded, or those who have different needs than me, it could be the ticket. If you covet the ability to create your own vibration pattern, and you don’t want a toy with a handle like the Ola, you’ll want the Limon. But if you just want a really good vibrator? The Mona 2 is stronger and doesn’t vibrate your fingers off.

One night I was hanging out with my friend JoEllen, and she off-handedly mentioned that her Limon rolled under her couch and she didn’t realize it was gone until a month later, and I think I screamed loudly in agreement. Because that’s exactly the Limon. It rolls under your couch and you never miss it. You find it and are marginally pleased — for a moment, you plan to use it in your next masturbation session. But when that session comes around, you forget it anew.

Get the Minna Limon at SheVibe, GoodVibes, Babeland, or Come As You Are (Canada).

10% off at Minna with code EPIPHORA

Get 10% off your order at Minna with code EPIPHORA.

  1. Some complain that it’s too bright, like a night light, but I never charge my toys in places where they’ll disrupt my sleep cycle. []
  2. See: Je Joue MiMi, Jimmyjane Form 4, LELO Mia 2, original LELO Siri, and Leaf Life. []
Jan 142015

The Girl Next Door (2004)If you ever need proof of what a little shit I was as a teenager, look no further than the 2-star review of The Girl Next Door that I wrote for my high school newspaper when it hit theaters in April 2004. “Just about everything is unrealistic,” I complained, “except maybe how horny everybody is.”

I was 17, and like all 17-year-olds, I wanted to be above the inanity of this movie.

But the inanity is what makes this movie great.

The Girl Next Door 1 is about Matthew (Emile Hirsch), an awkward overachiever, his friends Eli (Chris Marquette) and Klitzy (Paul Dano), and the life lessons they learn and hijinks they pull when they meet his new neighbor, Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert), who used to be — and kind of still is — a pornstar.

Billed and marketed as a teen sex comedy, I find this movie so lovable, quotable, and yes, at times even relatable, that it is one of my favorite movies of all time. And definitely one of my favorite comedies, since I tend to hate most comedies. (It helps that there aren’t any jokes about bodily functions.)

Things I love about this movie: the incredible soundtrack,2 how fucking hot Emile Hirsch is, and the way the movie seems like it’s about to end about three times before it actually does. All of this, and something else that’s hard to articulate. Something nostalgic.

Maybe it’s because Matthew reminds me of myself. It’s senior year, and Matthew finds himself about to graduate with no fond memories. He’s student council president, he’s been accepted to Georgetown, but he never really fit in and doesn’t have anything to write in his I’ll always remember… yearbook blurb. He stares longingly out the window as the jocks skip class, briefly wondering how they do it — then concludes, “because they just don’t care.” I know the feeling: Matthew is burdened by giving a fuck.

Klitzy (Paul Dano) and Eli (Chris Marquette) in The Girl Next Door. Note the Vivid Video hat.

Matthew’s best friends Eli and Klitzy are cornerstones of the movie, providing a plethora of zingers and more utterances of “dude” than Dude, Where’s My Car?. Klitzy (YES, THAT IS HIS NAME, HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE IT?) is subtle, letting his bowl haircut and mouth twitches do most of the emoting,3 whereas Eli is perpetually watching porn from the ’90s and/or yelling “I JUST WANNA BANG HOT CHICKS.”

Now, it’s entirely implausible that a hottie like Emile Hirsch would be an unpopular wallflower, but I don’t care. I’ll take it. I like it. Because he is wonderful. Listen, I watched a movie in which he wore his dead mother’s coats and stroked a pet chicken. I’ll watch anything with Emile Hirsch in it.

Sadly, IMDB trivia went and ruined his naked body for me. Apparently he was underage at the time of filming The Girl Next Door and used a freaking body double for the naked bits. Whatever. I’ll just go back to masturbating to all of his gay kisses and this face he makes as he furtively jacks off under his desk…

Matthew (Emile Hirsch) furtively masturbating under his desk in The Girl Next Door

Did I mention Elliott Smith’s “Angeles” is playing during this part? I dunno why but this just GETS TO ME. In the groin area.

Danielle, who I hilariously called “a heap of succulent trouble” in my high school review, is easily the weak link in this movie. She’s a caricature of a woman, the stereotypical ~hot bitch xoxox~ who drives a powder blue VW New Beetle and wears Britney Spears pants with ties on front and no back pockets. She also never fucking closes her mouth. Even 500 viewings later, I’m still annoyed by that.

Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert) never closing her mouth in The Girl Next Door

Her personality quirks include sensually taking off her clothes in front of open windows and asking Matthew, “what’s the craziest thing you’ve done lately?”

His reply: “so much nuts stuff, it’s just off the hook, off the walls.”

Matthew (Emile Hirsch) in The Girl Next Door saying he's done "so much nuts stuff, it's just off the hook, off the walls."

Matthew is clueless about how to interact with women. Eli’s advice, of course, doesn’t help: “take her to a hotel room and bang her like a beast. What would JFK do? You know he’d tap that ass.” But even Eli, later given the opportunity to squeeze a pornstar’s boob, sheepishly declines. He’s all talk. A facade. Like teenagers always have.

For about 30 minutes, the movie follows the formula you’d expect: Manic Pixie Dream Girl shows nerdy guy how to REALLY LIVE! They skip shcool, trespass and skinny dip in a someone else’s pool, and make out at a high school party full of jocks — complete with slow motion red cup splooshing into the grass.

All of this comes to a halt when Eli discovers Danielle’s former profession. Of course, he’s all too happy to gleefully break the news to Matthew in the AV room at school. I want to be mad at Matthew for being judgmental (“you’re better than this” is a sentence that is indeed spoken), but he’s so damn earnest — and also, Danielle really doesn’t seem into doing porn anymore.

Enter KELLY.

Kelly (Timothy Olyphant) in The Girl Next Door being fucking terrifying

50% plaid pants, 50% cigars, 100% fucking psychotic, and yet you can’t deny you’d want to be this guy (played flawlessly by Timothy Olyphant). He literally storms into a classroom and silences the teacher by SNAPPING HIS FINGERS AT HIM. He swindles money by sweet-talking the banker about her latest trip to Cabo. He asks for a blowjob from Matthew then laughs and yells “DO I LOOK GAY TO YOU?!”

Kelly (Timothy Olyphant) in The Girl Next Door laughing in a terrifying manner

Kelly is a porn producer who prides himself on coming up with porn plots. “It’s like a gift,” he says. “It’s like I can’t control it.” He’s visiting from LA in an attempt to lure Danielle back into the industry and just generally fuck shit up. And fuck shit up he does.

The movie basically goes apeshit after this, and to continue to apply logic would be a bit of a mistake. We enter a strange world where kids take road trips to the AVN expo, 18-year-olds are somehow allowed into alcohol-serving strip clubs, and a scholarship speech given while high on ecstasy is met with a standing ovation. Obviously, this is where the movie gets really good, and where I can’t tell you much for fear of ruining the fun.

AVN porn expo in The Girl Next Door. This is what they're like, right?!

Matthew (Emile Hirsch) getting a lap dance next to his dad's friend, Peterson, in The Girl Next Door

James Remar, AKA Harry from Dexter, even makes an appearance as a high-rolling, satin-robe-wearing porn exec who won an AVN Award for Chitty Chitty Gang Bang. (His attack parrot chirps “bang me. Cradle the balls.”)

Hugo Posh (James Remar) being majestic in The Girl Next Door

The overall craziness is peppered with little moments of hilarity that kill me every time. An old sex ed video in which the sullen protagonist tells his friends he can’t hang out: “I have a baby now. Because of prom.” Matthew nervously unzipping and zipping his jacket. A bodybuilder named Mule. Kelly and Matthew casually walking by a statue of people fucking.

Kelly (Timothy Olyphant) and Matthew (Emile Hirsch) casually walking by a sex statue in The Girl Next Door

In classic movie style, the stakes are raised, everything spirals out of control, and all hope is lost. I can’t tell you, exactly, how hope is regained, but it happens during prom night and looks a little something like this:

Eli (Chris Marquette) directing porn in The Girl Next Door

When all’s said and done, we’re treated to a glorious final montage set to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” No bullshit cliff-hangers here; the movie wraps things up conclusively without seeming contrived. There are small, strange victories for each of the characters. Klitzy’s, especially, always makes me smile.

Klitzy (Paul Dano), Matthew (Emile Hirsch), and Eli (Chris Marquette) in The Girl Next Door

In my review of The Girl Next Door for my school paper, I complained wildly about the movie’s “impractical plot.” Yes, it stretches reality, sometimes too far. But in criticizing all the ways in which the movie doesn’t make sense, I ignored all the tiny truths. Like when Klitzy turns to Eli and solemnly asks, “dude, do you think I’m ugly?” Or when Danielle explains she didn’t reveal her pornstar past to Matthew “because I loved the way you looked at me.”

The Girl Next Door is a movie for people who didn’t fit in with these guys who spent their time “mackin’ all the honeys”:

Dudebro jocks having a laugh in The Girl Next Door

It’s for anyone who wished they could make out with the girl of their dreams in front of jocks, or walk into prom with a gorgeous pornstar on their arm, or have sex in a limo while a sappy song plays.

It’s for people who spent more of their teenage years home alone masturbating than partying.

And that was definitely me.

  1. Not to be confused with the grotesque Jack Ketchum movie or the movie about Stacy Valentine’s rise to adult star fame []
  2. Many of the best songs are not included on the official soundtrack []
  3. Extreme sidenote: you should watch Prisoners to see Paul Dano today continuing to be a badass []