Pleasurists #152

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Oct 262011
 

Welcome to Pleasurists, a round-up of the adult product and sex toy reviews that came out in the last seven days. If you like what you see and want more of it be sure to follow our RSS Feed and Twitter.

Did you miss Pleasurists 151? Read it all here. Do you have a review for Pleasurists 154? Be sure to read the submission guidelines and then use the submission form to submit before Sunday October 30th @ 11:59pm Pacific.

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Scarlet Lotus

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Oct 242011
 

In recent years I feel like I’m part of that little fairy tale called The Princess and the Pea. I chalk it up to my messed up back and fibromyalgia and myofacial pain syndrome, but it makes me a little high-maintenance when it comes to where I sleep. I can tell you exactly what I slept on and how I slept (and how I woke up) our first nights in our new places (both the current house and the old apartment) – because it wasn’t a bed. When we slept in our house the first time before we got the furniture delivered I remember getting up numerous times in vain to hunt down anything I could use to add some cushioning. Sleeping bag. Roll-up foam mattress meant for camping. Feather bed. Then I turned to the few bath towels we’d brought, the bath mat….you get the picture. But I still felt that hard floor underneath the carpeting.

You guys are used to me reviewing sex toys. So I know you’re wondering why the hell I’m basically reviewing a bed. It’s because it has made that much of a difference.

Two years ago I replaced my spring mattress with a not-very-expensive memory foam mattress from Ikea. I’d slept on it at someone else’s house, woke up without back pain for the first time in ages and came home and purchased one. Since it wasn’t even middle of the line in price or quality, it didn’t last me very long. I was more surprised than I should have been. For the last 2 months between my insomnia and my dislike of my mattress I’ve spent the majority of most nights sleeping on our couch. My husband missed my presence, even if we didn’t go to bed at the same time. Frustration culminated into doing a lot of online research about mattresses for the not-skinny with bad backs and fibromyalgia. That research told me to consider latex mattresses instead of memory foam. But you all know how I feel about unwanted chemicals in sex toys…..and my last latex foam pillow reeked so badly for so many weeks that it made me scared to sleep on it and breathe in the fumes that were off-gassing. And then I found a company that sells natural chemical-free latex mattresses. Here is some information right from their site about their mattresses:

Q: What is a natural latex mattress? Latex is a viscous liquid that exists within most plants – for industrial use however, the Hevea rubber plant has been the primary source for the natural latex we utilize today. A natural latex mattress contains natural latex as its primary component, and as a result offers a host of advantages that are innate to this material. Latex rubber is incredibly strong and durable, conforming, antimicrobial and hypoallergenic as well as biodegradable.

Q: How ‘natural’ is a natural latex mattress? It depends on the manufacturer – but at Tranquility Mattresses our products are 100% pure. Aside from natural botanically latex, the other main component of the mattress is air; purified (and then recycled) water – not harsh solvents or chemicals – is used to wash mattresses after the production process. And of course, latex is a renewable material that makes our mattress an eco-friendly and fully sustainable product.

Q: So is a natural latex mattress like a viscoelastic ‘memory’ foam mattress? In many cases it’s better. In terms of pressure relief, it is about 31% more effective. It does conform like memory foam, but does away with the ‘sinking’ feeling and heat retention that people complain about with memory foam. A natural latex mattress supports you in any position and adjusts on the fly as you move while you sleep. And best of all, a natural latex mattress is not synthetic and is completely chemical-free. In the whole damn thing, foundation, cover and all is pretty damn green. Organic cotton, real wood, etc.

I am always warm when I sleep, so the heat retention aspect interested me as well. But I admit: I was hung up on the price. That Ikea mattress was $199, and here I am looking at a mattress that’s over $1200, on sale? There was no way I could afford that! Until I realized that my credit wasn’t awful anymore and so I applied for their financing. And I was accepted. It’s something from GE Capital but I wasn’t expecting to get accepted. So all I need to do is make a certain amount in a monthly payment to have it paid off in 12 months and there’s no interest. I can do that. I’m an ADULT now ;)

Here’s where my bed information is a little different than yours and why my story might have sounded a little odd – we don’t have a king or queen size bed. When we moved in together we were given a lot of things. A bedroom set is one of them, but it was 2 twin bed frame and headboards. Which is actually just fine by us. We have our own bedding, my tossing and turning isn’t felt by him and nobody has a bare ass at 4am due to somebody else stealing the comforter. We just shove the beds together, put a body pillow over the gap so that cats and people don’t get lost when the mattresses drift apart, and it works and looks just fine.

Anyways. Unlike that Ikea memory foam mattress, this latex mattress from Tranquility Beds was ready to sleep on in hours (compared to 2 days). Since I was approved for financing – and I know that these beds require a better foundation than box spring – I got their wood foundation. It’s a little weird when you open the box because it is in pieces but it works out well. I tried the mattress on my old box spring and then the new wooden foundation and I could feel a huge improvement. And I think it’ll keep my mattress in better condition for longer. PLUS – it’s silent. No noisy springs to wake him up when I come to bed 3 hours later than him. NO NOISE.

In other words: Unless you’re banging the headboard off the wall, the bed won’t tell the other people in your house that you’re having sex. Which will result in fewer inhibitions and the ability to just let go and fuck like bunnies. In silence. If that’s your thing.

I’m deliriously happy with this bed. The people at the company were great (If you get Phyllis on the Live Chat or when you call, she’s a great help). Just make sure your FedEx delivery guy isn’t an idiotic douchecanoe who screwed up your delivery and gave you someone’s plywood instead of your foundation. The warranty is nice, the free shipping and the return policy took a lot off of my stress in buying this and there was no smell once the mattress had aired out a little (it comes vacuum sealed like those Space Bags are supposed to do with clothing and bedding, so there’s a little plastic odor for a bit from that) – and everything related to the bed is MUCH BETTER. My sleep, my back, sex, etc. I know that $50 isn’t a make-or-break when you’re about to drop $2000 but it’s a little something. I like this bed so much that yes, I’m naming names and linking and giving you a $50 coupon. And you know I don’t bullshit. If you decide you’d want to order just call and ask for Phyllis – she’s the only Phyllis there. Tell her you have a $50 off coupon code of “Lilly” and that’ll do it.

 

Oct 232011
 

I hate that I’m writing this, but I am. It makes me feel like I’m becoming some sort of dictator/bitch. Unfortunately, not all sex bloggers & sex toy reviewers run in the same social circles online and so not enough people (like me) knew about the first time Amanda ripped off a blogger. I guess it’s because I tend not to follow a lot of review-bloggers on Twitter; sometimes those who have blogs just for product reviews have Twitter streams that largely consist of contest entries. That’s fine, but I don’t follow them for that reason. And therefore I missed this when it happened last November. Jenn wrote about how Nichole got ripped off by a blogger/reviewer. There was much drama, as there tends to be, because the guilty party started threatening to sue for libel or slander and she continues with much more.

The snowball of con started last week when a ToySwap member hesitantly contacted me saying that she had sent Amanda money in lieu of swapping an item for an item, but hadn’t heard from her in weeks and she wanted advice on what to do about it. I used the email address she’d signed up under, a few days later I used the email address she has listed in her ToySwap profile and asked her repeatedly to please respond to me. I didn’t even say why. The other member also tried again. My gut told me to temporarily suspend Amanda until this got resolved; so I posted in our forums that I intended to suspend her but if anybody else had a pending swap with her that I wouldn’t, in case ToySwap was their only means of communication. 1 person simply said they have a pending swap, but I don’t know if it is in the same state of affairs as the other two – yes, two more for a total of three who sent Amanda money and then have not heard from her. Since she had completed a few swaps with good results with other members, these people trusted that all would go well again.

(we’re not even going to get into the whole “why are people selling instead of swapping” aspect, there are pros and cons to each side of that debate and all three could easily have sent this chick items instead of money and still gotten ripped off)

I’ve tried to track Amanda down. The blogs that she has listed in her ToySwap profile are both gone/empty (thisthatandmyself.blogspot.com/ and thrapport.wordpress.com). She used to have a Twitter account linked, but that is gone. She has gone by the following names on Twitter / EF / ToySwap: Amanda, AmandaAgan, LadyA, AKAme, AKA2010 and is currently on EF as Secret. There are probably more but I’ve never followed her for various reasons so I haven’t kept up with the merry-go-round. The blog she started with promises to pay people for their reviews (and apparently she never did) was reviewcentral2010.wordpress.com. I considered posting her email addresses here, but I won’t, even though most of them are still out there publicly on her defunct sites. She linked to an Amazon wishlist from her ToySwap profile, and so far as I can tell it lists her real name so despite the fact that it looks like she’s scamming others, I’m still reluctant to publish that info. The last name on the Amazon wishlist is the same last name as the Paypal account that is, presumably, in her husband’s name. She’s also done something called thefunroom.wordpress.com and there are mentions on there about her paying people for things. Again, it’s a site that doesn’t last long. .amandasplayground.wordpress.com is yet another dead site, as is funroomwebcams.blogspot.com. The trail of dead sites, projects and abandoned email addresses and usernames is frankly dizzying. I will say that the person who appears to be connected to her (or at least her paypal account) is also vanished from his blog/twitter/etc but his EF profile remains. I’m posting all this in order to help someone else in the future identify her/them as scammers. Presumably because all monetary thefts were $100 or less, nobody bothered to take legal action – but I’m not so sure any would, given the adult nature of things. I’d heard on MakeupAlley of people who would alert authorities when they were “swap-lifted” but that was cosmetics.

Even though I merely host the site and I know that I’m not responsible for people’s swaps, a little part of me still feels responsible. But just as in life, we can’t trust everybody we meet. Plenty of bloggers have been outed as untrustworthy, scammers or worse. I can only hope that the swappers she screwed over didn’t send her a lot of money or that Paypal will be able to help them (I’ve suggested that all three log a dispute with Paypal; hopefully if Paypal sees that three people are complaining about the same person, they will take some action but the account isn’t even in her name). I also hate that this whole drama will give other innocent people and ToySwap a bad name. But, then again, I don’t know of anyone else who has changed their name online as much as her. That should have been a big ole red flag…..but if you’re new to the community or not a daily EF visitor, you probably wouldn’t have known. I wish that Ning had a feedback system like Etsy / Ebay does, but Ning isn’t meant for this sort of thing. Amanda deleted all the comments from her profile except the few “thanks for the swap!” ones to show she’d done a few. Those currently leaving a comment on her wall will get nowhere. The only thing that can be done on ToySwap that she is unable to delete is forum posts about her.

I sincerely hope that this sort of thing won’t ever happen again but…..we can’t give blind trust. Just be careful and do more research, I guess. And when someone does screw you over, speak up. It’s the only way to hopefully attempt to prevent it from happening again.

Update: As a commenter “suggested” below, I do want to update this post no matter which way things turn out. I’ve tried to keep in the loop with those who are still, as of Nov 18th, waiting on the items they paid her for. Another member stopped by the site and mentioned that she’d sent money more than 4 months ago with no responses. Amanda’s reviewing on EF continues. I can understand life problems very well but to be updating your toy reviews and somehow still be oblivious to everything else going on with emails and whatnot?? She started a new blog (agardenofsecrets.blogspot.com, posting as Amanda Ruckman) and will be swapping on her own there. She mentioned in her first post that items will be sent out very soon (this is what she said 3 weeks ago) but she presents a distorted view. “I have stayed in contact with everyone and did not realize there was a problem until I found out that I was going to be removed via a forum post that I happened to read.” Umm…..no. That’s not true. If she’d stayed in contact with everyone, I wouldn’t have had 2 people come to me and others chime in that they’d paid her ages ago and have had no response or items. I sent her email to all of her known addresses and the first she hears of any problems is happening to read the forum post?? No. False. I considered saying that in a comment on her site but then realized that it was highly unlikely she would let the comment publish. Like I said, life happens, shit happens, but to pull the ignorant doe-eyed act and pretend like it’s something that it isn’t….that’s not cool. It’s not trustworthy.

Oct 212011
 

If you thought I was intimidated freaked out excited by the list of presenters, you should have seen me when I viewed the list of sessions. The one that caught my eye and I Will. Not. Miss1. is just….oye I’m so verklempt. Read this.

The Dirty Business of Sex Toys
Metis Black, Greg DeLong, Rachel Venning, Dr. Carol Queen. Moderated by Lynn Comella

Sex toys, or “novelties,” are a billion dollar business. It’s an industry that thrives on creative (and not so creative) minds and ethical (and not so ethical) business practices. Get an insider’s look at a few company’s core values, and talk about material safety, creative rip offs, labor relations, financing and politics. Hear some stories on the challenges that have arisen and how very important you, the sex educators, bloggers and the consumers, are in moving and shaping up the industries ethics.

YOU GUYS.

I’ll probably have to be bound and muzzled so that the panelists and other people can actually have a nice session. I mean, you all know I have opinions on this stuff. Oh….opinions. I has them. I’ll be sure to pack a panty liner in case I piddle a little. Seriously now. The Founder of Tantus (yay silicone!), the Founder of njoy (yay Pure Wand!), a co-owner/co-founder of Babeland and Dr. Carol Queen. It’s like a goddamn sex toy reviewer’s wet dream.

Other sessions that I am really looking forward to:

So yeah…I’m seeing all this serious but awesome stuff and thinking “Gosh these are some intelligent people” and yes. I’m intimidated.

Our session is a lot different; Blogging 202: Take Your Site to the Next Level is definitely more “teach” than “discuss” although there will be a lot of discussion and questions. The geek in me will likely overprepare and have way more info than we can squeeze into our 40? minutes. A little less than 40. We want to let brave souls share their site link and get our un-sugar-coated 30 second opinion on it *grins*

(I might need a bodyguard)

I’m really excited to work with AAG on our presentation and see what we can teach people.

Now accepting volunteers to sit in the front row in their undies to help break the ice and my fear of public speaking!

  1. I am not above bribing the ladies who make the schedule with rich chocolate cakes to ensure my session isn’t going on at the same time
Oct 202011
 

After our session proposal was accepted I had this big feeling of “oh FUCK why did I do that???” Because I have the worst stage fright / inability to do public speaking / inability to behave normally in social situations.

And then today…..today they released the names of the rest of the presenters. You go take a look through that and then come back here, eventually.

Back now?

WTF AM I GONNA DO?

Do you see those people??? They’re famous. Or they have letters after their name. Or both. I don’t even know yet what the sessions are going to be, much less the session schedule to know what we’re up against in our time slot, but about halfway through the list three things went through my mind:

  1. I hope I can get somebody else to video record the sessions I wanted to see that will be going on at the same time as ours, so that I don’t miss anything good
  2. The audience for our session will likely be small
  3. Thank god for #2. Any more than 15 people and I’ll likely ask a few to strip to their underwear because I wouldn’t be able to imagine them in their underwear and do a presentation at the same time, my ADD doesn’t allow for such multitasking.

The session AAG and I are doing isn’t intellectual or provocative in the way that most of the others will be. Our session is going to be very slideshow-heavy and I’ll probably make up a something or other to hand out digital session guides with links to all the helpful places we’ll talk about. Our session is “Blogging 202: Take Your Site to the Next Level”. I’ll talk more about it when they officially release all the sessions.

If you think you want to go, you should start saving up now. I remember reading the tweets last year of all the people who regretted not going and I think that it’s going to be an even more impressive and wonderful event this year. Last year they limited the attendees to 250 people….this year it’s 400 people. Wow that’s a lot of people. This year their early bird ticket price will end on January 2nd and I have a feeling that most of the tickets will sell by then. It’s not cheap, but it’s very much worth it – so save up. Buy a few less sex toys or something, lol. REGISTER HERE.

My next step is figuring out how to get there. Can my body handle a nearly 350-mile drive? On major highways that are sure to be subject to traffic delays? Fly…..ehhhh, not so crazy about that idea. Not at all. I could take Amtrak….

Drive – cost of gas, toll on my body at 7 hours of driving, $12/day parking – but I don’t have to worry about lugging around heavy suitcases, which would require to be checked @ airport or lifted higher than I can manage on trains and rails
Plane – not going to find a ticket for less than $300, plus requires a layover in Philly, and then get to the hotel. And deal with TSA. And flying fat.
Train – will take less time than driving, at 5 hours, is affordable at $50 each way. It’ll land me at Union Station which will require 2 MTA rails to get to the hotel. Can I do that without getting lost? Must get a ride to the train station at home both days.

Oct 162011
 

Fucking. AWESOME. I can’t wait for this movie to come out.

From the lovely Wikipedia:

Female hysteria was a once-common medical diagnosis, made exclusively in women, which is today no longer recognized by modern medical authorities as a medical disorder. Its diagnosis and treatment were routine for many hundreds of years in Western Europe. Hysteria was widely discussed in the medical literature of the 19th century. Women considered to be suffering from it exhibited a wide array of symptoms including faintness, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and “a tendency to cause trouble”.

Since ancient times women considered to be suffering from hysteria would sometimes undergo “pelvic massage” — manual stimulation of the genitals by the doctor until the patient experienced “hysterical paroxysm” (orgasm).

 *grins* A “tendency to cause trouble”. I like that one the best. Oh, yes, sexual frustration and unattended horniness can indeed lead to trouble-causing. So I heard about this from my little Alexa toolbar, an article on the movie that is more about well….

“‘I lend my friends sex toys’: Maggie Gyllenhaal inundated with vibrators after signing up to film about history of the device” Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2040426/Maggie-Gyllenhaal-inundated-vibrators-signing-sex-toy-film-Hysteria.html#ixzz1ZTBwNpbf

 From the article:

Maggie said: ‘By the time I finished the movie I’d been sent 15 vibrators by different people in London with vibrator stores. It was a pleasant surprise.’

‘So I have this incredible collection, and I actually use one or two of them.

‘I lend them to my friends, and they’ll take them for six months at a time.’

Comments were quickly closed on the article but you can all guess what people were saying. “Ewwww that’s so gross, lending??? She wants them back???” *sigh* STFU and get laid. Or vibrated. People have no fucking clue, do they.

Lending of vibrators aside, I wonder what the reaction is going to be to this movie. Of course when it comes to sex-related issues there’s always the public reaction and the private reaction. Like when a poll study shows that only 10% of people admit to using XYZ or doing XYZ during sex/masturbation but we know damn well better that it’s more like 60%. People are just too ashamed to admit it.

Best line from the trailer clip: “Do you think it’ll catch on?”  “I’ve no idea, but imagine if everyone had one!!” Imagine, indeed. I feel the same way about the Pure Wand.