May 202015
 

BlissMe vibrators: Mr. Cowboy, Mr. U.K., Mr. Right, Mr. Badboy, and Mr. C.E.O

Whatever could be so offensive about vibrators that look this boring?

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — BlissMe founder Daniel Mederos says his new sex toy business concept is a bit different from others because the company doesn’t just market a product, it provides a service as well.

“At BlissMe Vibrators we wanted to encompass the idea of infidelity being an option through our vibrators,” Mederos said. “So what we have created is a service where consumers buy our products and we provide them with an e-mail from our list of vibrators since each of our five vibrators have personalities.”

Those personalities include Mr. Right, Mr. CEO, Mr. Badboy, Mr. U.K. and Mr. Cowboy.

Yes, how did earth keep spinning before someone created sex toys named after masculine stereotypes that customers can use to “cheat” on their actual, human partners?

This fucking guy. You just know his condo reeks of cologne and shaving cream. You just know he had this “brilliant” idea one night after knocking back too many Irish Car Bombs with his colleagues, ranting about how women only love CEOs and dudes with accents. (Holy shit, is this the guy from the LELO Pino video?)

If there was a bingo card for douchebags launching sex toy companies, I’d be winning right now. Count how many assumptions this company makes. The first being that the only people who buy vibrators are women. Cis, hetero women. LONELY WOMEN. They love pink, because #women, and they’re incredibly shallow, because #women.

BlissMe "The Mister Collection"

Rather than purchase a sex toy for its shape and how it would actually feel, BlissMe encourages you to pick a toy based on its “Mister” personality. All these guys sound like complete dicks:

Mr. C.E.O is not a man who has time for foreplay, he gets right to business and doesn’t mind asking you to strip for him so he can admire you.

[Mr. Right is] the kind of man who knows you’ve had some times you regret but doesn’t judge you for them, in fact, he never brings them up . . . There’s nothing that turns Mr. Right on more than hearing about your secrets.

Mr. U.K is a man full of funny and creative stories, some that sound too good to be true!

Mr. Badboy is a man who is protective of his woman and loves the fact that you may think he’s a bit mysterious and unpredictable.

[Mr. Cowboy] is widely known as a successful country musician but loves nothing more than to take you for a ride in his truck or getting on a 4-wheeler and going mudding.

He wants to take you mudding. This vibrator wants to take you mudding. Are you not instantly aroused?

Be careful, though, because your choice of “Mister” will impact the number and content of the “monthly juicy e-mails” sent to you. For example, Mr. CEO only sends one, and he has to clear his entire schedule for a day to write it, so YOU BETTER BE THANKFUL.

(Let’s not forget there’s an actual dude behind these emails, likely jacking off with lotion as he pens his masterpieces. I swear, I’m becoming gayer by the second.)

The website boasts that “BlissMe© Vibrators is the world’s leading designer brand for intimate lifestyle products. Launched in 2007, BlissMe© Vibrators is famous for transforming the look, feel and function of how personal massagers are perceived.” Um. The domain was registered a month ago, and literally all their social media accounts were created in the last 2 months. Claiming you’re famous and world-renowned does not make it so. You got drunk and registered a domain. You’re not saving the goddamn world.

AND OH LOOK, that entire statement was plagiarized from LELO.

Because yeah, BlissMe is not transforming how vibrators are perceived. At all. Its designs are undeniably derivative,1 and its marketing relies entirely on tired, bullshit myths. Sex toys are not people. Using them is not cheating. Women do not need heteronormative gimmicks to be wooed into buying things.

I love sex toys precisely because they aren’t people. They don’t have genders and they don’t have agendas. They’re an escape from idiot men and their stupid expectations. If I wanted to be badgered by disingenuous romanticism with absolutely no orgasm to show for it, I’d go to any bar in America. With sex toys, I get what I want, and I do it myself. And there’s no guy in the corner asking me to fucking strip for him first.

  1. To the point that I’m wondering whether these toys even actually exist []
May 012015
 

Joyful Pleasure glass dildos: Joyful Princess, Midnight Joy, Orgasmic Key Pleasure, Joyful Blue SwirlThese glass dildos from Joyful Pleasure presented me with a few obstacles. See, I have this thing with insertable objects where I feel frustrated if I can’t conquer them. Whether it’s sheer size, extreme heftrepetitive bloops, every imaginable electrostim setting, or simply a bulge just out of reach, I feel the uncontrollable urge to experience all that a toy has to offer.

Combine this with the fact that I’m a texture slut, and you have a recipe for vaginal disaster. When presented with the opportunity to review dildos from Joyful Pleasure, I of course ignored anything smooth and went straight for dildos with bumps, swirls, bloops, and, unbeknownst to me, challenging lengths.

A large part of my reason for trying these dildos was price: they’re all under $45. If your pockets aren’t deep enough to buy something handmade from Crystal Delights or Fucking Sculptures, a cheaper glass toy is a good option. The low cost means they’re mass-produced, so inexpensive glass toys in general can be imperfect and less durable, and none of them come with any type of storage. But they should be body-safe, with the exception of any toy with paint or a decal on it.

Many manufacturers make inexpensive glass dildos, the most well-known being Pipedream (barf), Don WandsSpartacus, and Gläs — but I liked the creativity in the shapes from Joyful Pleasure.

Midnight Joy ($38)

Joyful Pleasure Midnight Joy glass dildoAlthough it’s not the prettiest, the Midnight Joy is the best all-around toy in the batch. It’s a solid dildo with a lot to offer. If these dildos were applying for a job in my vagina, the Midnight Joy would be hired.

The end with the little bumps on the shaft is rad — it has enough texture to satisfy my vaginal walls, plus it’s equipped with a pronounced head. All the things I like! Yet even that sensation was rivaled when I turned the toy upside down, because the slight downward curve of the shaft became an upward one, and my G-spot was like “HELL YES. YES. YES.” It was absurdly good. I definitely squirted.

This would be a good introductory glass dildo for a texture-curious person. Plus, if you happen to hate the bumps, you can flip the Midnight Joy around and get a similar experience minus texture. So there are three unique experiences to be had with this one. It’s a dildo for all seasons!

(Don’t like the color? Extremely similar dildos include the Twistful Pleasure and Fifty Shades of Grey Drive Me Crazy.)

Joyful Princess ($44)

Joyful Pleasure Joyful Princess glass dildoI feel like someone without a cervix designed this.1 Why is the tip so pointy? Why are the bulbs spaced out just enough so as to present difficulty experiencing them? Why is the overall toy so large and long (1.75″ in diameter, 9.25″ long)? These are the questions that preoccupy me.

I close around the pointy tip of the shaft easily, and it feels alright, but after that I feel like theme music plays and my vagina is in a competition. Time is running out. I must conquer the bulbs. More bulbs. Always bulbs. I can think of nothing else. The popping sensation, the thrill when I succeed is great. But it’s not easy — in fact, it’s distracting and leads to me completely tuning out the porn I’m watching. Rude.

Flipping it around isn’t any better. The spacing of the bulbs means texture or girth always sits awkwardly at my vaginal opening.

My notes on the Joyful Princess indicate that at some point, inserting it pointy side first, I was able to ingest the second to last bulb. I was using the toy as my closer, twirling it like a mofo, exerting my pent-up frustration over the masturbation session as a whole. But really? That bulb? I almost don’t believe. Maybe I meant the one before it. Maybe I was incorrect. Or maybe my vagina was particularly hungry that night.

Joyful Blue Swirl ($38)

Joyful Pleasure Joyful Blue Swirl glass dildoEach side of the Joyful Blue Swirl feels pleasant. The swirled end feels sort of mesmerizing and calming, reminiscent of the tactile pleasure I get from running my feet over the tiles in a swimming pool. But it’s too narrow and lacks adequate G-spot stimulation. I prefer the swirls and accompanying G-spotting head of the Don Wands Magnificent.

The other end feels nice, too. My G-spot is a fan of the super bumpy head, and my vagina was relieved to find that the subsequent bloops feel effortless rather than challenging. This is the kind of spacing that makes sense  — by which I mean, minimal.

But this dildo is SO LONG. Fucking 11.25 inches! It’s like a scepter, like something I should be using to cast spells. It’s my second favorite when it comes to sensation, but the length and relative straight form make it difficult to maneuver and manipulate.

Orgasmic Key Pleasure ($37)

Joyful Pleasure Orgasmic Key Pleasure glass dildoWith all the texture and bulbs on this toy, I expected the Orgasmic Key Pleasure to be a kaleidoscope of sensations. It is not. It’s just too straight and uniform. Spinning it doesn’t alter the sensation much, and thrusting is difficult, so I end up just clenching around it. The little red embedded bumps are so buried that my vagina doesn’t even register them.

And again with the unfortunate spacing of the bulbs. If not properly warmed up, as with the Joyful Princess, this toy can feel like an arduous process of conquering each one. Also, what even is that nub at the tip? It’s weird and looks like it’s trying to take my temperature or something.

The looped handle is the most successful part of this toy, but it can feel like shoving a pacifier in my vagina.

 ———

Final verdict? I loved the Midnight Joy, but found the Joyful Princess distracting, the Joyful Blue Swirl pleasant but logistically difficult to use, and the Orgasmic Key Pleasure bland.

I’m getting a better sense of my tastes with glass dildos: I like unpredictable textures like those on the Ash Girl, peculiar shapes like the Crystal Twist, and repetitive bumps, like those found on the Star Delight and Rainbow Mega Nubby. I would not have been able to predict how much I enjoyed the Midnight Joy, though, so I’m glad I gave it a shot.

Things I don’t like with glass toys, or any toys, include: uninspired sensations, cumbersome lengths, and feeling like my vagina has unwittingly entered a ’90s Nickelodeon game show. (I don’t know why I always gravitate toward that comparison, but I do.) Vaginal challenges are fine when entered into consensually, but they lose their appeal when foisted upon me by my own neurotic brain.

Find inexpensive glass dildos at SheVibeSexToyFun, Lovehoney (international), and Stockroom.

  1. And named it. []

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Apr 212015
 

As exciting as my vagina is to you people, I know it’s not the be-all-end-all of genitals. There are certain toys that I just can’t accurately review, and one of those is the Doc Johnson Good Head Helping Head, also known as the Bro Sleeve. It’s inexpensive ($12) and favored by some trans guys for its shorter length. I was thrilled when my friend Sid Need volunteered to write about his experience with it.

Bro Sleeve (Doc Johnson Helping Head masturbation sleeve)I originally read about the Bro Sleeve in a review through Early to Bed. They market it as a masturbation sleeve for trans men, although its other purpose (and its original intended purpose) is as a shaft-swaddling short sleeve that leaves the head of the penis exposed during a blowjob.

I can’t say anything in light of how it works for that, but I can say a thing or two about how it worked for me as a trans guy who’s been on T. for a over a year. For those of you who do not know, many of us trans guys on testosterone get quite a bit of growth down there. Sometimes enough where a small masturbation sleeve might work.

If grandma had a masturbation sleeve in her bathroom, that’s how the Bro Sleeve comes a’ smellin’. Perhaps to keep it from feeling sticky, the sleeve is dusted in some sort of grandma-bathroomy smellish powder. The sleeve is made of elastomer (which is body-safe, although porous), but I can’t say for sure what’s in the smell. I had to wash it several times over to dull it out.

Because the sleeve is meant to be so snug for those with penises, the entry hole is pretty small. It also has a bumpy texture inside for extra stimulation that also makes it tighter. I knew from reading the reviews that it works much better for those of us with smaller willies if one side is closed, by securing a rubber band around it or some such thing. So I wrapped a rubber band tightly around one end, put a little lube in the other end, and got down to business.

It felt good, but I was in too much of a scientific state of mind — examining the feeling and how it looked — to really enjoy myself. The sleeve is somewhat see-through, and what I couldn’t wrap my mind around was if I felt really big or really small watching the penetration happen. On one hand, it made my cock feel big because I was I was filling it up. I thought, look at that! My cock fits snugly inside! I’m using a masturbation sleeve… in the traditional sense! On the other hand, I looked small in there. Maybe I’m not used to looking at myself so much in general when I jerk off. I don’t know. All I can say is that these thoughts were a distraction.

Bro Sleeve (Doc Johnson Helping Head masturbation sleeve)I should also clarify that when I say penetration, what I’m really referring to is suction. The internal bumpy texture doesn’t add much, but I was definitely getting some good suction happening when I kept it pushed close to my body. As far as doing an in-and-out motion, it was pretty unsatisfying. I needed the suction for any significant stimulation, which would have been impossible without it tied with the rubber band at the other end.

So, I tried the Bro Sleeve again later, this time focusing on something sexier rather than the analytical crap in my head. It didn’t take me all the way — not straight though anyway — but it was rather pleasant. Maybe it would’ve been nicer if my lil’ cock hadn’t grown so accustomed to vibration. In between using the sleeve I went for my trusty We-Vibe Tango. It’s basically the Cadillac of bullet vibes, and I can drive that baby in right where I want it. I can put it towards the head of my cock without any part of it touching the tip, which for me is usually too sensitive to feel good. So I took the Tango for a little spin and then finished with the sleeve.

All in all, I have to say, after getting over the excitement that I could use a sleeve at all, this one was somewhat unsatisfying and disappointing. I thought I was going to love it because I usually love some impact or suction against my cock. What I realized, though, is that stimulation is almost always when using a strap-on. I can get off with the base of a VixSkin dildo knocking up against me no problem, and even better when there’s a softer base or a little suction, like with the concave base of the newer Tex.

The Bro Sleeve didn’t have the same effect because it was messing with my ID, bro! When I have my cock strapped on, I feel good, I feel turned on, I feel like I got what’s been missing. The stimulation I get from the base is necessary to get me off, but what’s more important is what’s in my head. This sleeve was almost driving home that I was small, unable to put my cock where I really want to put it.

If you don’t think this sleeve will cause any gender dysphoria, it might work great for you. I’ve heard of a lot of other trans guys that dig it. But you need to have had some sort of significant clit/cock growth, or have a very well endowed clit, for this to be effective as a masturbation sleeve. For twelve bucks, it could be worth a shot, bro. Fuckin’ a!

Get the Bro Sleeve at Early to Bed, She Bop, or Come As You Are (Canada).

Did this review help you? Consider purchasing your future sex toys
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Apr 152015
 

Diva Cup silicone menstrual cupThe Diva Cup is the greatest thing I’ve put in my vagina that has not resulted in orgasm.

Whenever I use it, I emerge from the bathroom wanting to spread the gospel of the menstrual cup to anyone within a half mile radius. One time I excitedly gushed to my mom about them in Target.

I don’t care that I’m 10 years behind the times. I don’t care at all. My life is better now, and everything that came before has just faded away.

If you’re new to menstrual cups, here’s the deal: they are silicone (usually) bell-shaped receptacles that sit in the vagina, up against the cervix, to catch menstrual blood. They vary in size, texture, rigidity, stem length, and how much the company relies on traditionally feminine bullshit to sell their product. To insert, you fold the cup and slide it in your vagina, letting it pop open against the cervix to form a seal. When you’re ready to empty it, you break the seal by squeezing the sides of the cup, then carefully extract it from your vagina and dump out the product of your loins.

The only reason I got a Diva Cup instead of frantically researching every other option was because I was able to borrow my friend’s Diva Cup first. She’s the kind of person who once bled so heavily it went down into her socks, so, I was treading on sacred ground. And I loved it. I loved the Diva Cup and immediately ordered one for myself.

I was glad that the first menstrual cup I tried worked well for me, and I didn’t want to jinx it by ordering a different brand. The Diva Cup’s rah-rah girl-power dELiA*s throwback pink-and-flowery-everything mantra is disgusting and I find the founders’ pink jackets deeply offensive, but at least the cup itself is void of gendered assumptions.

It was pretty easy to get the hang of the Diva Cup. I’m lucky, I think — some people have difficulty achieving a seal, struggle with removal, or feel awkwardly jabbed by the cup’s stem. Some need a different cup since the Diva Cup is one of the longer cups on the scene. For me, the learning period was swift and painless. I wore panty liners (and still do when I’m worried), but never had more than a few stray dribbles of blood. Inserting it was only challenging when my thumb was sore: from burning it on my mug warmer, from my cat scratching me when I tried to put nail caps on him, from biting my nail too short.

I will admit there are things about my life that make using the Diva Cup exceptionally easy. Like that I work from home and my sink is within tossing distance of my toilet. And that I don’t bleed so much that the cup needs to be emptied more than once a day. And that blood fascinates rather than repels me.

Zealous menstrual cup proponents sometimes insist that cups aren’t messy at all. But the Diva Cup is messy. Dumping it into the toilet, carefully wiping it off with toilet paper, re-inserting it, and wiping excess blood from my fingers and vulva… is messy. Because blood oozing from a vagina is fucking messy. Welcome to reality and earth. Not everything needs to be sanitized for our protection.

Personally, I love the visceral sight of my blood, and I take pleasure in pouring it out in the shower. It’s easy to just toss a used tampon or pad, but the cup invites me to appreciate the sheer amount of gore that my body produces. I’m much more aware of changes in color, consistency, and amount — from the bright red, runny blood to the viscous dark snotty stuff.

Diva Cup silicone menstrual cupEver since I got my birth control implant slut stick, my bleeding has been irregular. The Diva Cup makes it tolerable: I get the telltale cramps, wander to the bathroom to insert my Diva Cup, and promptly forget about it. Hours later I remember to check it, and sure enough, it is ripe with blood.

I routinely forget I’m even on my period when I’m wearing the Diva Cup — that’s how comfortable it is. One time I forgot it was inserted and started using a dildo and it even halfway worked. It didn’t jam into me with pain; it just felt like my vagina ended sooner.

The Diva Cup can be remarkably accommodating. I’ve kept it in while my partner inserted a couple fingers above it. I’ve used it with the small bulb of the Feeldoe More inside of me, although it did leak a little from the movement. I can wear it with the We-Vibe 4 with no issues whatsoever.

I’ve learned to follow my intuition with the Diva Cup, though, because whenever I disregard it, bad things happen. Like that time I hadn’t emptied the cup recently but still thought I could insert the NobEssence Dare in addition. When I pulled out the Dare, I accidentally tipped the cup and blood promptly began dripping into my pajama pants, underwear, and new bathroom rug. A+, me.

Another time, I got cocky and decided to wear my best cutest underwear. Something felt off as I drove to my girlfriend’s place, but I figured I was just cramping. Turns out, the cup was not inserted correctly and I had bled all over my underwear. No matter how much you want to impress your girlfriend, cute underwear is no longer cute when you have to scrub it in the sink pre-fuck.

Even my subconscious knows that the cup can sabotage me if given the chance. I once had a dream I was about to do a porn scene, but true to life, I had to take out my Diva Cup first. Well, of course, it spilled blood all over everything. Subsequently, the porn scene never happened and I got lost in a labyrinthian spa. So. Don’t tempt fate with the Diva Cup. It knows.

The Diva Cup does stain and develop a smell over time, but I soak it overnight in hydrogen peroxide and the next day it’s good as new. I know the company advocates boiling only, but the company also says shit like “yes, you wear the Diva Cup in ‘there,’ in your vagina… but we promise, it is not as scary as it sounds.” Boiling doesn’t do jack shit to quell the color or the smell — hydrogen peroxide does.

If you’re not comfortable removing and placing things in your vagina, which sadly would’ve been me 10 years ago, menstrual cups are not for you. If you can’t handle the sight or smell of blood, they’re not for you. If you’re an extremely busy businessperson with no time for the folly of emptying a cup mid-day in the office bathroom, they might not fit your lifestyle completely.

But if you’re a person who menstruates and have ever felt displeased with the experience of tampons or pads… you need a menstrual cup.

It would hardly be fair for me to proclaim that the Diva Cup is the best menstrual cup out there, or to promise that all vagina-havers would prefer it over other brands. But this thing has legitimately changed my life — and it only cost me $28. The only way the Diva Cup could be better would be if it paid me every month for all the menstrual products I no longer have to buy.

Share your menstrual cup experiences in the comments section!

For more info about menstrual cups, visit this communityblog, channel, and Lorax’s guide.

Did this review help you? Consider purchasing your future sex toys
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Apr 092015
 

Enjoy: bloopers from my April Fool’s Day video review:

I had many ideas for April Fool’s Day this year, but the idea of a sex toy video review was solidified one night when I realized I could craft a video which began well but devolved into a pile of shit. It would start out great, with an awesome theme song and me being my charming1 self. Then there would be strange cuts. Bad lighting. I would say weird shit I wouldn’t normally say. But it would happen slowly, so that for as long as possible, the illusion of sincerity would remain. Then at the end? The same theme song, performed horribly.

Even with this idea, I knew it would be hard to fool you people. I’ve been pulling pranks for five years now, and you expect one from me. So with each step of the arduous process of producing this video review, I took into account whether it would “give away” the joke.

First, I needed a toy. A carefully selected toy. It couldn’t be a toy that readers would immediately know I’m reviewing as a joke — so bad rabbit vibes from Cal Exotics were off the table. I wanted it to be rechargeable, so it would have enough features for me to talk about/butcher. I considered stuff from Jopen’s Envy or Lust lines or maybe mini vibes from Fun Factory… but decided on the Vibratex The Girls Princessa.

Then, I began laying the trail. Placing little clues on social media. This was the first one:

Meanwhile, I started writing the script. I’d lie awake at night thinking of stupid ideas and emailing them groggily to myself:

“Good for nipple stimulation. Kinda like using a weird vibrating flower.”

“Reminds me of that other toy I reviewed from Vibratex… hmm… can’t remember the name of it.”

“Thought I hit record but no. Had perfect take but whatever here we go again.”

At the beginning of March, I went on a trip with Aerie and Lorax, and we spent one night trolling YouTube for the worst sex toy video reviews from which to gather inspiration. It was here that I came up with the idea to show the sex toy in murky reddish water,2 vibrating awkwardly against its own bag, and held much too close to the camera with the ever-present qualifier, “I don’t know if you can see that.”

Ah, the usual sex toy video review shots

When I got back from my trip, a package was waiting for me. It was time for another subtle social media hint, so I took a picture of the contents. The comments only confirmed my choice of toy. “Oh, dear. I dread and eagerly await your review of the Princessa,” someone wrote. “I can’t wait to read your signature snark on the princess vibe from Vibratex,” said another. “It is so buzzy it makes my eye twitch.”

Filming the Vibratex Princessa on my not-at-all-staged charging stationI’d read reviews of the Princessa and felt it in person once before, so I knew it was going to be a disappointment. Still, I was appalled at how utterly useless it was. I assure you, every negative thing that I say in the video is true. I actually did question whether I was having an orgasm with it.

I began filming. It took two days to film b-roll of the toy sitting in various locations throughout my house, and to capture with precision my artfully-arranged charging station. It was time for another clue, so I uploaded this photo.

But it was too much of a give away. Some of you were just too smart. The moment I saw this comment, I hid it:

Comment reads: This just left me thinking, "Oh that's right, April is coming..."

I started to lose hope about actually fooling you. But I soldiered on. I needed my girlfriend’s opinion on the toy to add to my video, so I literally forced them to use it while I laid next to them with a notepad in my hand. They deemed the toy, and the experience, “really upsetting.” When I told them the toy retailed for $75, they yelled, “ARE YOU SHITTING ME?”

I set aside an entire day to film the main footage, a day when my boyfriend would be home to help me wrangle the cats. Script in hand and natural light on my side, I sat in front of my phone for hours filming myself. When the script read  “chug a glass of wine,” I followed its orders — and continued filming. Most of the post-wine parts were improvised.

Video editing in Pinnacle. Oh my god.

Editing the video was an endeavor all its own. I’ve been using Pinnacle since high school, so it’s unfortunately all I know when it comes to video editing. A decade later, the program is as buggy and inexcusable as ever. I’ll give Pinnacle one thing, though — it made my life super easy when it came time to add ridiculous transitions and sound effects.

Bad video effects such as ripple, tint, CD case, and fire

5,000 hours into editing, I talked to my dad on the phone. I thanked him for “blessing” me with the inability to do anything half-assed, including APRIL FOOL’S DAY JOKES. He said, “if you’re going to do something 90%, why not do it all the way?” So. That’s where I get it from.

The music was the final finishing touch, and thank goodness my boyfriend is a musician. For the music bed, I needed a 12-minute opus that sounded wonderful at first but degenerated into chaos, and boy did he deliver. The first inkling of weirdness comes right when I say the toy could be good for nipple stimulation. Truly beautiful. I wanted my theme song to include the phrase “discerning vagina,” which was a challenge — but the song he wrote was a home run. During the credits at the end, we decided on a karaoke version of the song, complete with drunken buffoon slur-singing along.

Finally, it was time to unleash the video for the masses.

The social media response was all I’d hoped for. Some people seemed to understand the video was a joke, while others thought only the toy was.

Facebook responses to my video

The truth is, I don’t plan to do video reviews from here on out. At least not regularly. Now that I have a sweet theme song and title sequence, though, I must admit I’m tempted. But for the moment, I’m taking a deep breath and remembering why I prefer writing. There is SO much that goes into a video, no matter how effortless it seems — actually, the more effortless something seems, the more effort it took. I have a whole new appreciation for Laci Green and Lindsey Doe.

"but where DID you put the pistachios"

So, peeps, did you know the video was a joke? Did it seem legit up until a certain point? How long was the theme song stuck in your head, and how on earth am I ever going to fool you again?

For more sex toy tomfoolery, check out Jewelry N’ Kegels,
the Kensington Wireless USB Presenter, and Fun Factory’s Orgasmia.

  1. questionable []
  2. actually, it was raspberry wine []
Apr 012015
 

[This toy really is the worst, but this is mostly an April Fool’s joke.]

Vibratex Princessa rechargeable clitoral vibratorIn the past month, I’ve lost the ability to form full sentences. My fingers have forgotten how to type, settling only for clicking and dragging while I hold my breath. My eyes have been replaced with cameras, my legs with tripod attachments.

But it has been worth it. Because now, finally, I can show you my first ever video review.

I’ve dabbled in the video arts over the years, but this is a new level because it involves more than simply painting my nails. Written reviews are not going away — there will just be video reviews sprinkled in every once in a while.

For this video review, I tried the Vibratex Princessa, from The Girls line. BEHOLD THE VIDEO I HAVE CREATED, complete with ridiculously catchy theme song by my boyfriend (it will get stuck in your head), cameos from my girlfriend and cat, and much more!

Vibratex is known for game-changing sex toys such as the Hitachi Magic Wand, Rabbit Habit, and Mystic Wand, but they’d barely released any rechargeable vibrators before unleashing The Girls. The toys in the line are only $75 each — if they were good, I needed to know.

I had no idea how far away from good this toy could veer. The Vibratex Princessa: for people who love pink and hate orgasms.

Big thanks to SheVibe for sending me this toy!

Did this review help you? Consider purchasing your future sex toys
from one of my affiliate links to support my work!

Mar 232015
 

Ask Piph

Want to ask me a question? Email me at hey.epiphora [at] gmail [dot] com, or ask here.

Since rabbits fit everyone so differently, I’m wondering if you could tell me how far your clit is from your vaginal opening?

OKAY, WORLD, I DID IT. In a relaxed non-aroused state, with my legs spread wide while sitting on the floor and awkwardly juggling a mirror, the distance between the very bottom of my vaginal opening (seemed like the clearest end point…) and my clit is between 2″ and 2.25″. Do with that what you will.

My measuring tape needs a bath now.

LELO Ina 2 under water; photo via <a href="http://www.lelo.com/theblog/photo-gallery-lelos-waterproof-massagers/">LELO</a>You say the Mona 2 is fully submersible. Is that even if the tab that plugs the charging port is open? So far I haven’t let mine get near water because I’m like “if this dies my soul dies with it.”

I understand your hesitance, but yes, the Mona 2 is waterproof no matter what the tab is doing! I have let water run directly into the charging port many times, and my Monas are still going strong. The silicone tab is a bit of a relic from old school LELO toys which were not waterproof. Newer LELO toys don’t even have the tab anymore — just the exposed port. LELO has explained how this works on their website:

. . . [the toys] feature vacuum-sealed charging ports, wherein the chamber that their DC plug resides in during charging is completely sealed off from the batteries, circuit boards, processors and motors.

Do you have any techniques that help you to orgasm harder/better? I masturbate just fine but my orgasms seem to be a bit… lackluster.

I’m glad you are trying to cultivate better orgasms! This is a worthwhile endeavor. Obviously people vary a lot, but here are some factors that I feel have contributed to the quality of my orgasms.

  • Good clitoral vibrators. I know, obvious. But I think something that works well for me is having a vibrator with a lot of intensity settings, like the Mona 2. This allows me to start off at a lower setting and steadily increase intensity, so I don’t get numb or bored. An expensive option would be the Eroscillator, which provides deeper stimulation than a traditional vibrator. Or the much cheaper Wahl, which is so strong and rumbly on the second setting that it can really shake the internal portions of the clitoris.
  • Edging. Getting close to orgasm and then backing off can help with the end result.
  • Hot porn. Give your arousal a boost with some different, novel erotic material. I imbibe all kinds of video porn, but sometimes I mix it up with some scandalous fan fiction, filthy audiosspam ads on torrent sites, or, once in a great while, my imagination.
  • Kegel exercise! I like wearing the Luna Beads or We-Vibe Dusk as incentive to do my kegels. The PC muscles are the same muscles that contract during an orgasm, so exercising them is very beneficial.
  • DILDOS, ALWAYS DILDOS. For me, G-spot stimulation adds SO MUCH to the experience of both masturbation and sex. It makes the pleasure more intense, and yes, the orgasms too. I tend to clench a lot on my toys, and so I end up exercising my PC muscles a ton, which in turn enhances my orgasms.

How do you take such gorgeous photos of your toys? The photos I’ve taken are amateur-looking at best. Do you have any tips?

I’m no photography queen like Penny or Artemisia, but I do know one thing: natural light is the best thing you can do for your photography. Artificial light is harder to work with and has a tendency to look shitty. Here are a few “gems” I’ve taken under artificial light, vs. photos I took in natural light.

Sex toy photos taken in artificial light (top) versus natural light (bottom)

Top: Ophoria Pleasure No. 6, Bedroom Kandi Hold On To Me, Don Wands Blue Tip Clear Rings.
Bottom: Vixen Creations Buck, NobEssence Seduction, Crystal Delights Star Delight.

Natural light doesn’t mean you have to go outside (god forbid!). Just harness the sunlight that streams through your windows and you’ll already be on the right track. (But, if it snows, I do suggest rushing out there to snap some photos.)

I suggest using an actual camera, not your phone, and learn how to adjust ISO and aperture. Both can reduce grain if used properly. Switch to macro mode if you’re very close to an object, and utilize manual focus if your camera has it.

Sex toy photo shoot with the LELO Ora 2 and GorillaPodYour knees will hate you, but taking about a zillion photos so you can find the single one that’s at the right angle and completely in focus is worth it. Get a tripod of some sort to help you out. Of course, there will still probably be cat hair all over the place, but you can Photoshop that out.

Yes, always edit your photos. Chances are, they are too dark or overly yellow or desaturated. All of this can be fixed with Photoshop or even an online photo editor. Start with levels, then adjust color balance and brightness/contrast. Crop thoughtfully, and use the clone stamp tool if there’s something distracting like a speck of dirt or tuft of cat hair. Force yourself to edit your photos, even if you don’t understand it. With enough practice, you’ll learn.

Have you had experience with [obscure sex toy retailer]? It’s not on your Shit List, and they have an amazing price on the Pure Wand! Is it too good to be true?!

Probably. My Shit List is by no means comprehensive — companies only make it onto the list if they have a track record of bad service and enough people alert me. So, any no-name site is suspicious. Especially if they have low prices. You’re risking a knock-off toy, spam mailings, and even missing packages any time you order from a place like that.

I know it can be hard to justify spending full retail price on a sex toy, but think of it this way: if you purchase from one of the shops I trust, you’re ensured good customer service from good people and I get a percentage of the sale. If you value the work I do, I would appreciate it.

But if you’re determined to purchase from that obscure site, I’d suggest scoping out their “about” page (is it unique? Does it seem copy-pasted?), the company’s social media presence, and the site’s reviews on Reseller Ratings. Make sure the site is secure when you go to check-out, and pay via PayPal if you can — it’s easier to file a claim if something goes wrong.

I am a 24-year-old male who loves reading your reviews! Despite the fact that I have a penis, I love to see your honest reviews of products. Are there any male toy reviewers you trust and recommend?

Awesome bio image for The Big Gay Review, used with permissionThat is so cool that you follow me even though you do not have a vagina! (I love that that is a sentence I get to write.) Here are the dude sex toy reviewers I like:

Do you believe a closed serious relationship to be a hindrance to anyone wishing to get into sex blogging? I want to understand if only having sex with one person ever will limit the blogging I hope to do someday.

I spent years feeling like that silly vanilla monogamous straight blogger because I had only had sex with one person in my life — a person with a penis. I’ve always been pansexual, but in 2013 we opened our relationship and last year I started dating a person with a vulva for the first time.

Has this adventure improved my sex life and the way I experience certain toys? Absolutely. There are specific experiences I’d resigned myself to never have — like penetrating someone with a strap-on, or using the Pure Wand or Mr. Man on a partner. Now, I can explore these things. I have a new appreciation for the New York Toy Collective Shilo having seen how much my partner loves being fucked with it. I’m more into realistic dildos seeing the way they suck on them. I finally understand the full majesty of the Spareparts Joque harness. Also, my girlfriend can give me additional insight into toys I review.

But is it a hindrance to my blogging that I had only had sex with one person, a person with a penis, until last year? Not really, considering my blog is focused on masturbation (the way I want it to be). I’ve never wanted my partnered sex life to drive my posts or my reviews. As long as you have material and are unashamed about what you have to say, your blog can be anything you want it to be.

[Have you measured the space between your clit and vaginal opening? Improved your orgasms or photography? Ordered from a sketchy sex toy retailer? Comment below!]

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 vulva 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! []

Did this review help you? Consider purchasing your future sex toys
from one of my affiliate links to support my work!

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?