Jan 312012
 

Continuing the interviews after Elizabeth Red in Part 2 and answering these questions myself in Part 1  

Epiphora is a sex toy reviewer first and foremost. She does what she loves, what she does best, and she has a big following. She’s been controversial at times and never shuts her mouth for anybody or anything – and usually she uses her powers for good. But oh when she hates something, and she really fucking hates it, we love to read it! Epiphora is one of the few fellow toy reviewers who joins me in the “Proud to Post Negative Reviews” camp of those who will be as harsh as we feel is necessary (and boy howdy sometimes it’s really fuckin necessary). Her virtual toy box rivals most and especially trumps mine. Epiphora is the second in a short series of long-time reviewers that I’ve asked to answer 4 easy (or are they?) questions about sex toys and reviewing.

1. How many toys, roughly, have you reviewed or acquired in other ways since you started reviewing?

Over 300. Props to my ridiculously-detailed sex toy spreadsheet1 for making that number easy to ascertain! That includes porn DVDs and other not-exactly-toys, but still.

2. How many of them actually saw a lot of use past the review session?

Well, the key word here is “a lot.” I did a quick bit of math with a list of dildos I’ve reviewed; I marked the ones I used a lot post-review, and it came out to 27%. It’s easier to be judgmental about vibrators (if it’s not strong enough, fuck it); whereas if a dildo doesn’t cause pain and isn’t insanely boring, I’ll probably use it again at some point. Some toys are a lost cause, and I bury them in boxes or give them away quickly. But most I keep around, thinking one day I’ll want to try them again. I’m only sometimes right about that.

3. What toys have been your top favorites over all the time you’ve been reviewing?

My favorite vibrators are the Eroscillator, Wahl, and Vibratex Mystic Wand. My top dildos are the njoy Pure Wand, NobEssence Seduction, Jollies Jack, Ophoria Beyond 3, and practically anything made of VixSkin (but Maverick and Randy probably take the cake). My favorite butt plug remains the glorious NobEssence Romp, followed by the Fun Factory Bootie. My boyfriend is a die-hard Fleshlight fan. I’ve found no vag balls that hold a candle to the LELO Luna Beads. I’m not a lube connoisseur by any means, but I love Sliquid. Also, the Liberator Fascinator Throe and Liberator Wedge make sex and masturbation worth having.
 
Time will tell, but recent acquisitions such as the Leaf Life, Tantus Cush, and Crystal Delights Crystal Twist have a shot at becoming all-time favorites.

4. What has been the most important thing or two you’ve learned since becoming a reviewer that you didn’t know as a consumer?

I didn’t know anything as a consumer. I think I owned a grand total of two vibrators before I began reviewing, so I learned as I went along. But what first comes to mind is the two-sided coin that quality sex toys are worth spending money on, but a high price tag doesn’t mean it’ll be awesome either. This is where (honest) reviews are so vital. Only very high praise2 can convince a person to drop $100 on a sex toy, but certain toys, like the Pure Wand, are truly worth it. On the other hand, the Jimmyjane Little Chroma may look fancy, but it’s a total rip-off. You have to figure out how to navigate the minefield that is sex toy reviews. I still see reviewers gushing about that aluminum piece of crap. It has ONE SPEED, you guys.
 
I’ve also learned that my initial assumptions about sex toys were wrong. It’s embarrassing, but I used to think that everything needed to vibrate in order to be worthwhile, and I was just as terrified of wooden toys as any other n00b. It’s hard to know what you like until you actually experiment. Now I know that dildos are the shit, different materials are fun for different reasons, and that internal vibrations are not really my thing. Oh yeah, and I found my G-spot. That changed pretty much everything.
 
Thanks, Piph! I agree about the conundrum with pricey toys – some are worth it, cheap toys are rarely worth it, but too many luxury toys are riding the coattails of the couple really good items out there.
  1. Spreadsheet? Wow. I can’t even recall if I still OWN a sex toy in some cases, that’s how disorganized I am!!
  2. I’d also add “hope”. High praise and hope and possibly the attraction to shiny/pretty/insert-color-here things that look so very different that you hope and pray they’re actually breaking the mold and it’ll work for you
 Posted by at 6:43 pm

Pleasursists #165

 Pleasurists  Comments Off on Pleasursists #165
Jan 302012
 

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 the RSS Feed and Twitter for updates.

Did you miss Pleasurists 164? Read it all here. Do you have a review for Pleasurists 166? Be sure to read the submission guidelines and then use the submission form to submit before Sunday January 29th @ 11:59pm Pacific.

*Pleasurists just started accepting photo submissions for the art at the top of editions! For more information click here.

Want a shiny new toy? All you’ve got to do is enter.

Looking for sexy posts rather than reviews?
Check out e[lust] #32

Editor
Scarlet Lotus

On to the reviews:  (click here to read more of this post) Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:32 pm
Jan 242012
 

Today I happened upon a sex toy reviewing blog whose mission statement proudly proclaimed that they don’t publish negative reviews. If they receive a product that has no redeeming qualities, they simply won’t write a review.

I died a little when I read that. And then I got angry. They boast this, like it makes them better people, better reviewers. To companies and products, sure. To consumers? absolutely not. I think I touched on this a bit about a year ago when I wrote about ethics in blogging, but this is a full-scale 4-alarm rant.

When I first started buying sex toys I was buying them from a couple of sites who I don’t think let a negative customer review go live. It was nothing but moderate-to-glowing. And then when I’d buy the toy with high expectations, only to be grandly disappointed, I’d be pissed. I’ve come across this phenomenon more and more. When I had 3 really bad experiences in a row with Shari’s Berries I finally went to the site and wrote out long, informative (complete with photos) comments on the items. Those comments never got published. Instead, the only comments and ratings are all glowingly positive. Bullshit.

I’ve seen arguments for the anti-negative-review people along the lines of “just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it can’t work for someone else” and I will agree to that. But when you sugar coat things in a way that would make a cupcake jealous you’re only helping out the company. You are not helping the people for whom you presumably write the reviews: the clueless mobs who are absolutely overwhelmed with all the choices1. I was one of those people. Many of us were. So please, place yourself in the shoes of the old, sex-toy-noob you and think “How would I feel if I had spent $125 of my own money on this toy after reading this wishy washy review only to find that there are faults galore?” Your opinion is valid. Your opinion matters. I want to hear your opinion in all of its bluntly honest glory before I drop the money on, well, anything really. Your review that details out just the facts, because you couldn’t like it enough to praise it, isn’t telling me anything.

There are degrees of negativity in reviews of any kind. I’ve read them all myself, not just in sex toys but in computer parts and accessories, clothing, you name it. You can always tell when someone is just pissed off at a defective item (or they didn’t read before buying) vs it’s an actual problem that should concern you before you buy. My utterly scathing reviews of items such as the Lelo Tiani or the JimmyJane Form 3 are not scathing because they didn’t work with my body. They are scathing because I’m pissed. You want me to pay WHAT for a toy that doesn’t even do what you claim it will, or do it WELL? Just like I won’t let you buy a damn jelly toy, I won’t encourage you to spend the equivalent to a week’s worth of groceries on a sex toy that feels like another brick in the wall. The Lelo Isla – is it pretty? Sure. It’s pretty. Does my vagina care about pretty? Does pretty give me an orgasm? Nope. Nor should “pretty” also equal “to get the bitch clean you’ll need 20 minutes of your life, a toothbrush, and the edge of an old credit card”.  I think that I do a pretty good job of noting that my extreme dislike of the vibrations or the size or the design didn’t work for me personally and that they could work for someone else. And I feel that I can still note that and give a negative review. Because if I were the one looking at reviews to figure out what 1 sex toy out of 100 I should drop $100 on, I want the truth. Does your truth equal my truth? Not always. Not frequently, even. But if I can see that you as a reviewer have the full spectrum of reviews from “ZOMG LOVE” to “DIE IN A FIRE” with plenty in between then I trust you. And I’ll work my way through your writing and reviews to figure out if we like the same thing and whether or not I would agree with your assessment of “Wow, this baby is STRONG!”.

So let’s say that you are someone who doesn’t like to write really critical, negative reviews. Why? Who are you helping?

Are you afraid that the company you review for will get upset and not give you anything else to review? If so, fuck them. They’re unethical.

Are you not brave enough to be a dissenting voice? Stand up. Be heard.

Do you think that you won’t make any affiliate sales? Then you care more about the money than anything else and that’s sad. Here’s how to commission-perk a negative, shredding review: Suggest two or three other alternatives that you think are better.

The truth, even if it’s the awful truth, isn’t mean. Oh, sure, you can be. But for the love of orgasms, tell me the fuckin truth! Is it wimpy and mediocre and nothing special and not really worth $139? Tell me. I will have $139 worth of greater respect for you.When you hide your negative review from seeing the light of day you are doing yourself a disservice but mostly you are doing every other potential buyer a disservice. Shame on you. You KNEW it was a piece of shit and you didn’t tell me?? I’d like my money back, please, from your pocket. Yes, that’s how much it pisses me off.

Hi, I’m Lilly, and I write nothing but no-holds-barred honest sex toy reviews. I call a spade a spade, and name it out for being crap no matter if it’s $39 crap or $139 crap. Crap is crap and you shouldn’t have to buy it. You, the person who is searching Google for reviews and information on sex toys in general, on dildos for beginners, on Fleshlight vs Tenga, on the We Vibe 2 vs the We Vibe 3….. YOU ARE THE PERSON I REVIEW FOR. Nobody else.

okay maybe my clitoris a little bit.

 

  1. not at all dissimilar to the experience you get when you’re sick and you’re standing in the cold remedy aisle looking at 60 products that are all somehow nearly identical but totally different and you just want to sit down and cry. No? Just me?
Jan 202012
 

Subtitled: When you’re right, you’re right or I should listen to my gut more

Once long ago in Babeland I fondled a few JimmyJane vibrators and was summarily unimpressed. I read a litany of mixed reviews from the entire spectrum of “LOVE IT” to “DIE IN A FIRE” and had figured out that JimmyJane’s Form line was largely overpriced “luxury” crap.

I was right. At least I got that goin for me.

I had an opportunity to grab the Form 6 and Form 3 from Red over at ToySwap (along with the now-defunct Cone vibrator and a Metal Worx “steel” dildo) and even though I knew I was probably going to hate them I JUST HAD TO. The things I do for you guys.

JIMMYJANE Form 3

JimmyJane Form 3 Vibrator

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the innovative design of the Form 3 is supposed to combine your finger with the vibrator for “enhanced touch”1. Except…it really doesn’t. The motor is in the body of the vibrator, which is the lower half. Then the silicone forms a scoop that is just a silicone extension, sort of like a Rabbit Vibrator on steroids. The material vibrates but the portion where the motor resides isn’t what you press to your clit. You can put this “lip” or tongue or whatever sideways between your labia for a meh amount of vibration. But the design’s intention is for you to push your finger in the center there. The silicone in this section is a membrane and it feels like pushing in on a balloon. The problem is that as soon as you do this….and you touch your silicone finger to your body….the vibrations are practically nil. It’s a pretty simple theory as to why the vibrations are not being transmitted: it’s a piece of silicone material being vibrated by a distanced motor and as soon as you apply enough pressure, the vibrations nearly stop transmitting through the material altogether. To push through the membrane and have your finger-via-silicone touching your clit or your partner’s clit requires a lot of pressure. If you have any strength issues with your hand, any physical disabilities, etc you will probably not be able to use this. Arthritis? Carpal Tunnel? Tennis Elbow? FORGET IT.

JimmyJane Form 3 Vibrator's Thin Silicone "Membrane"JimmyJane Form 3 Vibrator - The fat part contains the motor. As soon as it begins to taper, that's all siliconeJimmyJane Form 3 Vibrator - Trying to push my finger into the membrane part; it's requiring a LOT of effort for me

So you turn the Form 3 on and you’re thinking “Hey…this seems pretty powerful!” and then you lightly touch the thicker sides of the scoop/lip/tongue and they’re “ok” but then you add a little more pressure and 60% of vibrations have left the building. You then awkwardly push your index finger through the silicone and suddenly 90% of the vibrations have left the building. I found myself grinding the rigid body of the Form 3 against my clit just to feel something. Except that it’s surface-buzzy for the most part. Definitely not deep or rumbly like the We Vibe Touch or Tango. The controls on it though are easier to use than those on the Form 6. Press “+” to turn it on and go through the 5 levels of vibrations; press “-” to turn it down or off, there is no “quick off” though. The bottom with the “~” symbol controls the pulsation type functions.

Even more frustrating is trying to charge the goddamn thing. It sits there, easy and cute in it’s charging base. The contacts must touch and they must touch just so. It’s more difficult to align than your average rechargeable computer mouse. Since it’s not magnetic it doesn’t snap into place and since the vibrator has a rounded body and the metal contact isn’t flat either you have an irritating game of the Weebles: JimmyJane Edition. Form 3 will blink at you like it’s laughing as you set it in the cradle and it falls over a little or slips down like drunken college kid trying to sit upright. After 15 tries and a few minutes you finally have the thing sitting just so and the charging light remains steady – forever. You won’t know by looking at it when it’s fully charged. No no, you have to pick it up and look at it for the blink pattern 2 and if you pulled it off too soon there we go again with the goddamn Weeble shit.

For all of the innovations packed into this little thing and the hefty price tag ($140-150) it is quite possibly a bigger rip-off than any Lelo toy when you rack up all the fails. If I wanted to sugar-coat it I could say that “it’s a great tease!” or “great for foreplay!” but you know what? I don’t come to vibrator-land looking for a fuckin tease. My fingers already have that job. Foreplay? Tongues are the VP. The job of my vibrator is to get me from any state of arousal to orgasm. Vibrators are my CEO, President and Head Bitch of the Orgasms Department. I am not willing to pay $145 for TEASING. I get that for free.

The JimmyJane Form 3 is a clitoral vibrator made of silicone and it is waterproof and rechargeable and a large disappointment.

Who will like this: Anybody who enjoys buying luxury sex toys and requires barely any vibration added to pressure and massage of the clitoris for orgasm; if you require no pressure with your vibrator and like vibrations on the side of clit
Try this instead: We Vibe Touch – same size, rechargeable, luxury, much better vibrations OR Leaf Spirit if you don’t require strong & rumbly vibrations – moderate power, luxury, rechargeable, half the size of the Touch or Form 3, very unobtrusive.

This is enough venom and fire for one post, so the Form 6 will be talked about separately. OH HOW WE WILL TALK.

 

 

  1. JimmyJane actually says: “Because your fingertips direct the vibration through a thin surface, your partner feels your touch, not a hard plastic device. Touch, stroke or tease your partner exactly how you typically would with your fingers (with new superpowers, of course)”
  2. 1 blink means it’s less than 1/3 charged, 2 blinks is 2/3rds charged, 3 blinks is fully charged and 4 blinks means you’re too tired and seeing shit that isn’t there
Jan 162012
 

Now I turn the tables on other reviews, after answering these questions myself in Part 1!

Elizabeth Red has been reviewing sex toys for quite a few years now at her blog, The Red Sneaker Diaries. I would say that she’s a good combination of a little bit forgiving and objective mixed with honest1 and intellectual in her reviews. You can view most of her reviews on her blog here at her toy box page. I also love her Lube Lab pages where she breaks down the different types of lube in all their scientific hotness. Elizabeth is the first in a short series of long-time reviewers that I’ve asked to answer 4 easy (or are they?) questions about sex toys and reviewing.

1. How many toys, roughly, have you reviewed or acquired in other ways since you started reviewing?

Answer: 300 review products + at least 100 items via swaps and purchasing

2. How many of them actually saw a lot of use past the review session?

Answer: I will give you two answers.  

A:  Lots saw use after initial trial session.  Probably 75% of them.  Now a days I probably pick things up for fun use only about 30% of the time but early on I used almost everything a handful of times before letting it get dusty.  This excludes books, which I just never reread.  

B:  I have been actively trimming my collection for a while now, I think I’ve probably kept about a hundred things2, so that’s how many I would say saw real active use that lasted over time.  Still, many of those see little use but fill niches that I get a hankering for every once in a while.  Honestly, I feel like I could choose just a few dozen of my real favorites and be happy with them.

3. What toys have been your top favorites over all the time you’ve been reviewing?

Answer: Hitachi Magic Wand, The Wahl, Eroscillator, We Vibe Touch, Lelo Siri, Saryoa and Gigi, Nobessence Linger and Fling, my Hans Hardwood dildo, Vixskin Maverick, Jollies Jollet, Njoy Pure Plugs, Aneros Peridise, my TENS unit, Bongers3, Venerous Shaving Trio,  LeatherThorn Rose Blush Paddle, my custom Leatherbeaten Flogger.

4. What has been the most important thing or two you’ve learned since becoming a reviewer that you didn’t know as a consumer?

Answer: This is harsh, but what I now know is that as a consumer I’d be totally fucked.  Obviously I enjoy luxury toys but many of the luxury toys I’ve had that I was soooooo stoked about getting have been total duds4, and many on my list of favorites I was not expecting to love as much as I do.  Maybe that’s more an issue with having tried so many things, however.  I guess what I do now know is that one should never pay full retail price on anything – it *will* go on sale.

Thank you, Red! I would very much agree with the last answer. I think I spent around $300 or $400 in my time purchasing sex toys the few years prior to reviewing them and I don’t use a single one anymore. My most expensive splurges were SO not worth the money; the Doc Johnson rabbit was great and amazing for a couple of runs and then it quickly turned on me. That soured me on spending over $75 on a single item. I also bought the Feeldoe before it was bought up by Tantus; it was just as expensive back then (probably more so since it was being made by a smaller company?) and I ended up not able to ever use it for the intended purpose. It sat around mostly unused for quite some time. Occasionally I’d use it as a dildo on myself but I eventually put it up on Toyswap.

  1. I respect anybody who can disagree on that dumb Better Than Chocolate vibrator: “no. No this vibrator is not better than chocolate. I’m not such a super duper fan of chocolate but, just, no. What this vibrator is better than, aside from a kick in the face, is a lot of other vibrators.”
  2. I know how many things she’s sent away to better homes from her ToySwap list so to hear she still has about 100 things left is mind blowing!
  3. This bizarre-o looking set of what appeared to be large drum mallets that Babeland had, you’ll find the review listed on her Toy Box page
  4. Ugh, yes, I so agree
Jan 142012
 

Oh how I’m feeling the snark after this last week. Remember my spiffy, new contact form? And how I get them to check a box, agreeing that they’ve read all of the above? Guess what that means? When I get a sneaky idiot I have every right to share their idiocy!

This busy man chose the “I have a question on sex toys” option. Oh, sneaky sneaky man, did you think you could get away with that?

Hello! My name is Gavriel I am a 25 year old Orthodox Jew. My wife is a big fan of your site. Me and my wife own a website kosher*sex*toys.net. (I bet you didn’t see that coming LOL) It is a shop that markets sex toys to religious people who may be uncomfortable going onto regular sex toy sites. We have gotten a very positive response and have been featured in the New York Post and other news outlets. I would be honored to know what your opinion is on my site and if you have any ideas on how I could improve it. Also if you would be interested I believe it could make an interesting, unique and funny subject to talk about on your blog.

I mean, where to begin? I chastised him for trying to get his “will you give me free advertising” shit in the sneaky back door. I then kinda ripped on Orthodox Jews and how they seem to be pretty sex-negative and body-shaming. And then when I look at his site and realize that the Orthodox Jews don’t want to see any nudity or profanity….I realize…wow. What a line! He’s using the “my wife is a big fan of your site” tactic when she can’t even technically VISIT my site because I show skin and talk about bad things! He never responded. I was comforted though to see that Jezebel, who will write about anyfuckingthing, wrote about their site and religious sex toy sites in general. But they forgot to mention the Baby Jesus Buttplug!

This next one REALLY ticked me off. “I’m a reader of your blog and just wanted to say hello” is the option she chose. Bolded bits are my doing.

General Sexual Health Quiz – Sexual Health Inventory Hi, Your blog is just awesome. I would like to share something with you on the same topic. The following is a simple questionnaire to help you assess your general sexual health. Your interest in sex, ability to become aroused and incidence of pain during sex are indicators of sexual function/dysfunction and can help you reflect on the quality of your sex life. www.centerforfemalesexuality .com/sexual-health-inventory.html Obviously problems cannot be diagnosed by one questionnaire, but it might help you think about your sexual situation in a thoughtful way, and flag problems if you are having them. This tool can be of great help to your readers. Share the joy. Pattie

I’m dysfunctional because of my interest in sex and ability to become aroused?? And where have I said I experience pain during sex, other than the kind I fucking ask for? Fuck you, Pattie, share the hellfire flames. My sole response to her was “Shame on you! You shall be publicly mocked!” *shrugs* I wasn’t kiddin, Pattie.

A few weeks ago someone from BDPR contacted me about Screaming O’s new “Studio Collection” of vibrators and other products supposedly cleverly concealed as makeup. Um, no, there’s no clever concealment here folks. This guy’s first PR email to me seemed related somewhat to my recent Tips for Traveling with Sex Toys post, referencing women having sex toys “yanked” from their suitcases in public in the airport security line. I expressed a vague interest and had more questions, but he never responded to me. When I looked up the line more myself I found that it warranted a spot on the Best & Worst Sex Toys of 2011 – in the “worst” side. A few weeks later, Aaron hits me up again. And again. 7 times that day the same email:

Hi 88314:

Women sometimes love their battery-operated-boyfriends more than their real ones (at least for brief period of time).

Based on the fact that 70% of US women have never experienced an orgasm, two male entrepreneurs have begun a mission with the establishment of the Screaming O, a line of fun, mainstream and approachable products of which women cannot get enough.

For your Valentine’s Day gift guide, you might consider The Studio Collection, B.O.B’s cleverly disguised as a lipstick, mascara, blush brush. Not even an airport security guard, or snoopy kid will know the difference.

Sample? Interview with the creators of the product?

No, I’m not kidding about any of this. Epiphora was #88316. There’s so many things about this email that made me angry, so I forwarded it to Screaming O. I told them to “reign in their PR company” and suggested that they have a heavier hand in what a PR firm does for them because this content makes me dislike the company even more. You know I’m serious when I actually go through the trouble TWICE of verifying my email to Screaming O execs by responding to an automated spam-filter email to say that no, ironically, I’m not spam. Unlike your PR company. Who then emailed me again two days ago. Twice. Seriously?

And the last entry for this week’s Saturday Snark is about the very WTF “magazine” called XBIZ that gives vague and crappy AP-wire-esque posts about happenings in the adult industry world. The lovely Tantus Jenn linked XBIZ’s “Best Sex Toys of 2011” to see what her reviewer army thought of it. Some short thoughts:

  • They link to 2 Don Wands glass items. One of which is definitely not new for 2011, it’s been around (and it’s a copy of something else).
  • They rave about the above-mentioned Studio Collection. And Lelo’s Sensemotion Insignia line. Um hey Ariana, have you even seen these items in person??
  • In fact, let’s continue on with the hits parade where their “Best” is on my “Worst“. Club Vibe 2.Oh. Really?
  • They named a couple valid “new this year” items that are good, but just as many items that aren’t new and most items leave me shaking my head. They seem to have an odd love for all things Pipedream, listing the ridiculous 20-pound masturbator and various other dumb items.
  • Capping off the WTF-Parade they use the term “tranny” not once, but twice. And “shemale”. Oh yeah, I’m realllll sure that the “love doll” by CalEx is an “exact replica”.
 Posted by at 3:20 am