Jul 312010
 

The time is beginning to approach once more……

The annual NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar party is happening on October 1.


And despite being in the calendar, a part of me is really waffling on whether or not to go. You see, I’m a bit of an oxymoron. I don’t do well in big groups, but I also don’t do well alone. The sheer madhouseness of the party gives me the twitches a bit, and given the stellar guestlist this year it will be an even bigger draw for attendance.

But my trips to NYC aren’t just about the party itself. It’s equally about spending time with blogger friends I don’t see much, as well as trying to get in a little sightseeing, a little NYC Experience. I’ve seen some great little things here and there over my 4 past trips but there’s still a LOT I want to see and experience.

However…

I need a guide, a buddy. It makes me nervous to just go there with no mostly-firm plans to fill up my time. And I’m just not the type of person who likes to explore and sightsee by myself. I love sharing the moment and the “Wow look at that!” with another kindred spirit.


Places I’ve seen:

~Parts of Central Park, Chinatown, Little Italy, Astor Place, LES,  Financial District. Just parts, though.
~ Rockafeller Plaza and that area
~ GCT
~Washington Memorial Arch

Places on my list:

~A good italian dinner in the Bronx
~The Worlds Fair globe
~Coney Island
~Battery Park
~ The Cloisters
~ Buildings. Cool, old interesting architecture. Places with history, with a story.
~ Some sort of telescope view thingie that you can see into London? Is that still there?
~Museum of Sex (Thanks UrbanRogue for reminding me!)
~Pirate ship. Elizabeth of Sex in the Public Square shot her Calendar pics there last year and I read it was a restaurant or….something? Am I remembering incorrectly?


I guess my decision to go will be based on what plans I can make ahead of time, and who I can count on hanging out with. Any volunteer tour guides? As you can see I don’t need the “tourister” tour.

Jul 232010
 

e[lust]

So you know that e[lust] has a modified summer schedule, right? Well it’s time for edition #18, submissions are open till Tuesday. I also am still looking for people to volunteer to be a (mostly) anonymous judge for the Top 3 on elust. If I don’t have enough judges, I can’t give you guys a Top 3. I don’t expect volunteers to be available every edition, don’t worry! Email if you’re interested.

NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar

You only have until August 1st to buy a day or 5 so get crackin! Please! See my post here for incentives from me.

Blog Organization

Due to boredom at work (read: refusal to do boring work) I made up a page of links to all the Ask Lilly posts. I also made an extensive sex toy care and maintenance guide page; Epiphora asked on Twitter yesterday what thing we hated reading in sex toy reviews, and my answer was the boring “not this again” rote of cleaning and lube use. It’s boring to me because it’s common knowledge but I know that a lot of people read my reviews from doing a google search and they might not know. So instead of wasting the time of the old-hats, I’ll just put in links to the proper spot on the maintenance guide, in the reviews.


Due to some kinda-serious health issues, new meds, and a frantic mad dash to copy over the remaining posts at the Co-op in the next 2 weeks (anybody wanna help? lol), I don’t know if I’ll be blogging all that much. Unless of course you ask me some really good Formspring questions ;)


Jul 172010
 

Hubs got this today for our kitchen, for those times when your hands are yucky with raw chicken juices or whatnot:

As he was reading the brochure:

The spout sensor soap pump dispenses soap touch-free to help avoid the spread of germs. Simply place your hand under the spout to dispense soap automatically. The elongated spout arcs over the sink basin to keep wet hands and soap from dripping on the counter. Four volume settings allow you to control the amount of soap or lotion dispensed.

He says to me “Hey you could put lube in this!” At first I gave him a look because, well, we don’t use lube right now for sex and I don’t use it for myself but it really would be great for that sort of thing. Wouldn’t that be awesome to not have to touch anything, just stick your hand under there and you barely need to interrupt the flow of the session!

I can totally picture some of the more hard-core sex toy reviewers enjoying the hell out of this. And of course anybody who uses lube frequently. Just get the thinner consistency lubes! We found that thicker hand soap liquids got clogged easily.

Jul 122010
 

Another Formspring question here!

When looking for a new toy how do you know if it does or does not have pthalates? asked by mydnitebyte

First, a definition from Wikipedia: Phthalates, or phthalate esters, are esters of phthalic acid and are mainly used as plasticizers (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity).1

The sex toy review community and sex-positive toy shops are all buzzing about phthalates and how bad they are for you. Phthalates are found in many plastic items that have been chemically softened. The studies going around are saying that phthalate exposure can damage all sorts of organs, and can possibly cause cancer. There are a lot of harmful things in our world these days that we can’t avoid – so when we CAN avoid something like toxins in our sex toys, we should. Not to mention, toys that contain phthalates are also porous and can harbor bacteria if not cleaned properly; they also cannot be sterilized for 100% safety against transmission of STD’s.

 So how DO you know if a sex toy has phthalates in it?

You don’t. The better question would be: How do I make sure I don’t buy a sex toy with phthalates in it? I previously had a list up of various major sex toy retailers and what it looks like on their site if a sex toy is phthalates free. But, since the industry is not at all regulated and sex toy manufacturers can lie, we can’t really trust them. Avoid materials such as:

  • Jelly
  • Rubber (even “Skin safe” rubber)
  • PVC
  • Vinyl
  • Cyberskin
  • UR3
  • “Mystery Meat” – the retailer or manufacturer uses a weird trademarked name for their ultra-realistic sex toy – there are some exceptions for this one, but you won’t know til you see the material in person.

Stick with materials that are known to be safe. This includes:

a. 100% pure medical-grade silicone
b. Hard plastic/acrylic
c. Glass, metal, wood, ceramic, and other natural materials
Grey area: Elastomer, TPE, TPR – these are phthalates free, but are still porous.

Can condoms keep you safe from phthalates?

Researchers/scientists haven’t come to a conclusive yes/no result yet, but they say it depends on numerous condom factors such as:

a. The thickness of the latex.
b. The integrity of the condom.
c. Additives in latex condoms could also influence whether phthalates pass through. For example Nonoxynol-9, which used to be used as a spermicide in condoms, could actually increase the risk of phthalate exposure (Nonoxynol-9 is no longer commonly used on condoms or personal lubricants though).
d. The personal lubricant in pre-lubricated condoms could (but doesn’t necessarily) facilitate the leaching phthalates out of a sex toy.2

There is also a chance that the oils used to soften these toys could cause a condom to break down, making it utterly useless to protect you.

 

 

1 – Definition of phthalates from Wikipedia
2 – Phthalates and condoms fom About.com:Sexuality

Jul 082010
 

Given that my blog address and title both contain the word “dangerous” I get hits from google searches on sexual things being dangerous (or not). Since I talk about vibrators and blow jobs a good bit, these are the two questions that seem to lead the pack.

 

The Short Answer:

Generally speaking, no.

 

Oh wait, you want my opinion? Well it won’t exactly be pulpit-pounding preaching, sorry to disappoint ;)

The Long Answer:

Generally speaking, no. The “research” done saying it has long-term harmful effects or harmful effects of any kind are largely based on speculation and opinion. If a woman has it in her mind, wondering, worrying, that maybe the vibrator she’s using is going to bite her in the ass then it will. At least that’s my opinion on some of the reasons why women can think that their vibrators ruined them.

I’m nobody. I’m just a blogger who happens to review sex toys, and use them. I happen to also be a woman who is largely inorgasmic during intercourse. I don’t have a degree in sex education, I’ve not conducted any highly scientific experiments. All I have is my opinion (opinions are never fact) and my common sense.

Carol Queen, however, has a little more wiggle room to weigh in on the topic. She recently wrote a post for GoodVibes Magazine: “Can a Vibrator Numb the Clitoris?” She makes a lot of great points throughout the article but I wanted to point out these two:

The fact is, for many women, in particular (though I know men for whom this is also true), using a vibrator is the surest and quickest route to orgasm, to the extent that women who are very orgasmic with a vibe are sometimes not at all (or certainly not reliably) orgasmic with a human partner. People then sometimes assume that the reason is the vibe “desensitizing” the woman to the charms of human erotic interaction.

There’s a big catch here, though, that’s rarely addressed. Lots of the women who don’t come with partners but do come with vibes didn’t stop responding orgasmically during partner sex once they got the vibrator — they were never reliably orgasmic to begin with! The vibrator didn’t change anything, except to make them more able to come when it was used.

and:

Is it possible to engage in, and appreciate and orgasm from, both kinds? Absolutely!  And the more orgasmic sexual experiences a person has, the more s/he can learn to respond in both/all ways. The answer to this dilemma isn’t to stop one kind of sexual sensation, it’s to engage in more of the other kinds you want to respond to. Your body actually grows new nerve pathways when stimulated (or when you learn any new skill based in motion or position), so keep engaging in the kinds of partner sex that please you the most — the likelihood that, with time and sufficient arousal, an orgasmic-through-vibration woman will become able to transfer this ability to partner sex is really pretty good.

 

Every clitoris is different. Some stick out more, some are barely visible. I happen to know a woman whose clit is SO sensitive that she’ll orgasm in less than a minute of any sort of manual/tongue stimulation – she doesn’t exactly view this as a good thing because she’s then maddeningly sensitive for a while thereafter and cannot tolerate more stimulation.

Some women are not as dramatically sensitive but nonetheless have little trouble orgasming from the pressure a pubic bone exerts against her clit during intercourse. Some women, like me, are not very sensitive. That isn’t to say that we don’t enjoy the stimulation….I can be enjoying it massively but it’s just not “enough” to push me over the edge. When I say that I require a vibrator that’s more rumbly and deep and powerful? It’s not the portion of my clit that’s visible that needs it.

It’s the other 90%.

The Glans clitoris is the only portion of the clit that’s visible and able to be stimulated by tongues, fingers, gentle vibrators, etc. So when I say that I need the power of the Hitachi or the Wahl or even the Climax Twist, or the rumbly deep power of the Harmony Bullet….it’s not that my “poor little clit” needs to be rattled beyond comprehension. Its that I need the stimulation to travel to the rest of it.

A recent diatribe against the power tool vibrators listed a sex toy store owner as Exhibit B stating that a number of women returned the powerful vibes saying that they’re overkill, too much power, etc. Ok, but does every *satisfied* customer come back and tell them they’re satisfied?

No.

They’re at home having orgasms.

 

I’ve reviewed a lot of vibrators that were very nice for other women, but not quite right for me. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to steer everyone clear of those vibes. Nor will I recommend the Hitachi or Wahl for someone’s first vibrator. MY OPINION is just that…… an opinion. I think I can make pretty good educated guesses because I read and listen to both sides. But in the end, all my recommendations have one end result: helping others have orgasms. I will only say “Avoid that vibrator” if the toy overall is of poor quality. But in the end, I don’t care if you orgasm from a toothbrush, your mattress, your finger, a vibrator, or rubbing your thighs together like a cricket.

I wrote recently about how I think that my use of vibrators has made me MORE sensitive and has allowed me to eventually experience orgasms that weren’t attainable before.  Given what Carol wrote, that I quoted above, it makes sense. By using vibrators I’ve brought much-needed bloodflow to the area which can help grow and foster more nerve endings over time.

Sure, a vibrator can be dangerous just like a kitten could be dangerous. i.e. by using it improperly:  to extreme circumstances,  plugged in while in the bathtub, etc. Just employ common sense and you’ll always be fine. Always start out your vibrator-buying journey by reading a lot of reviews from bloggers like me who actually give opinions and not just reiterating specs (You’ll find a ton a reviews to reference over at Pleasurists) and start out slow. Buy a vibrator that most rank as medium and that has more than one power level.

 

ETA: I found this article on My Pleasure by Dr. Gardos who confirms with his opinion and some research that says (if you read through his kinda confusing overuse of “not only not”s) vibrators are not dangerous and can, as I and Carol Queen there stated above, lead to MORE orgasms. Hey there IS research! Look:

As I have stated before, research (Davis et al., 1996) has definitively shown that the use of sex aids is not only not detrimental to an individual’s sexual functioning or satisfaction, but that, actually, those individuals who use such devices alone also have more frequent and satisfying sex with a partner.

Jul 062010
 

Very short post today, as my brain is fried and this sense of being overwhelmed just won’t quit. I’ve been reading a lot of things lately in the sex bloggosphere that make me shake my head in disgust. It’s adding to my writers block because I just don’t know what to say. Validating a ridiculous assertation or argument with a rebuttal seems pointless. So I’ll remind you all of this one point to keep in mind:


There are always two (or even three) sides to every story.  If all you’re hearing is one side, one negative side, then perhaps you should step back before you jump on bandwagons and consider how many grains of truth lie in this one side. Jealousy, pettiness, anger, hurt, etc have ways of inflating drama and making half-truths feel real to the listener of tales of woe, betrayal or dismissal and vacuum-cleaner-salesman tales of caution, injury and how your life is miserable relying on product A when what you really need is product B.


At any rate, if you listen to people who are full of hot air, you’ll just end up confused. I know I am, after reading this interview with Prince wherein he proclaims that the Internet is a has-been:

He says: “The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.

“The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good.

“They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2010/07/05/prince-world-exclusive-interview-peter-willis-goes-inside-the-star-s-secret-world-115875-22382552/#ixzz0sukWdp8d

Thank you, Prince, I see the light now. Your music is awesome but you’re a strange little bird.

Here’s some “numbers” for you, dear readers, enjoy:

One of my favorite FM.com participants, Tori Black.


And don’t forget about my Formspring box over there. I allow anonymous questions and some of them I’ll answer here on the blog.