Mar 252012
 

In less than a week I’ll be at Momentum, back in my beloved bubble of My People. Of course, in exactly a week’s time from right now, the moment I’m writing this, the bubble will be slowly bursting and all of my lovely friends will be departing for home and quite likely I’ll be alone in my hotel room for awhile. Hopefully I’ll be able to do things different this time and be able to write better about sessions I attend. Last year I tried to take notes and live tweet but all of that left me missing out on key statements – let’s face it, I have the focus and attention span of a gnat. This year I’ll be getting over my high school / college era anxiety and will be parking my ass in the front rows for many sessions so that I can just take personal use audio recordings for later perusal. I’m hoping that my fear of public speaking (or performance, as was the case growing up of participating in piano recitals) will not cripple me for the morning on Saturday. The session Laura and I are presenting is nothing like anything else going on (we’re doing a geeky session on Blogging) which could work for us or against us. It fits in with Momentum but yet in a tiny way it doesn’t. The UK recently had a conference called ErotiCon and while at first it seemed to deal a lot with the erotic writing and such, there was still a lot of sessions that would have been very useful and at least one that sounded similar to the one we’ll be doing. After reading someone’s re-counting of a session they attended there I’ve realized that I’m technically not a sex blogger anymore – I fall into a better category called sex journalist. But can one be called a journalist if they’re only writing on their own blog?

Momentum is probably one of the few sexuality events that is attended by all sorts of people who are horny perverts in their own ways yet there is no “play” party or plans of sexy orgies. At least not for me. I just want to soak up the company of People Similar To Me while it’s available before returning to my currently-boring life. Perhaps inspiration will strike me when I’m down there, who knows. If it will happen any place, it will happen there. The sessions blow my mind. The abundance of influential people is awesome and scary.

Overall I’ve been very excited for this weekend for the last few months. Some things have happened in the last week or two – seemingly minor things to other people but things that nonetheless speak volumes to me – which have set in motion a terrific depression and a heartache of epic proportions. So if you are at MomentumCon and catch me in a moment where I think nobody is looking (or I lose my self-control for a moment and my mask slips) and you wonder why I look so miserable….just give me a hug. Or a cigarette. Or both. I’ve not smoked in months but damn I need one lately. I have no fucking idea yet what I’ll be wearing because my entire wardrobe has been the butt of some huge cosmic joke or karma for who knows what. No big deal to some people but (confession time here) I’m one of Those Women who somehow think that a killer outfit will make up for the fact that my personality is not always sparkling and vivacious, that my social skills are lacking and that I’m not conventionally beautiful. Will a really great outfit (or at least ass-kicking boots) be enough to shut off the little voices in my head? You know, the destructive ones. I don’t know. I guess I can try. If I could suddenly heal this heartache the weekend would look much brighter but I can only hope that I’ll find a way out of the grey cloud long enough to enjoy the friends I so rarely get to see. Hopefully I can get it through my head that they won’t love me more if my nails are properly manicured or if I were 80 pounds lighter and just relax.

Mar 162012
 

I never owned the original Tor because I’m not a cock ring kind of girl and my husband never was impressed by them either. We were, however, given the Lelo Bo to review a few years ago and while it was seen as an improvement upon the ubiquitous jelly/TPR stretchy, sticky watch-battery jobs the Lelo Bo was underwhelming. The vibrations were surface-buzzy and moderate at best. The design was a bit cumbersome on the Bo: To turn it off and on, you had to slide the hard plastic vibrating portion. This wasn’t easy and had the unfortunate side effect of occasionally clamping a pubic hair in. Ouch, to say the least. From what I can see, the Tor model 1 no longer required the vibrating portion to slide for it to be turned on. It had buttons on the side but then pushing one of them meant that it dislodged the movable portion. The other purpose of the movable bit was to conceal the charging jack. Bo and Tor came in a unique and neat little case just big enough to hold the ring, be able to close the lid and have it plugged it to charge (if you set it up in there just right – it was often tricky to get everything lined up “just so”). The Tor II that I have now does away with that plastic case and instead you get the standard Lelo satin drawstring bag. That is a little bit disappointing because the case offered a unique element – the cock ring could be charging while covered up and protected, and then it had a protective yet small case that was great for travel. Of course if you planned on using this for more than 2 sessions then you would have to bring the charger with you on your trip but for an overnight getaway it was perfect.

   

 Comparing the Lelo Cock Rings: Bo vs Tor vs Tor II

 Lelo Cock Ring Comparison Chart - Bo VS Tor VS Tor2

Lelo made a lot of improvements in the design of the Tor II over previous versions. Every complaint I’ve had or read about (almost) was addressed. More power, yes. Finally getting in line with the rest of their products and made in body-safe silicone? Yes (albeit to its detriment). The plus and minus power buttons are still located on either side of the vibrating portion and do require a little finesse to push. More effort than I think I’d want to deal with, frankly. The design of the ring itself at its core hasn’t changed – it’s still wide and not really made to work with a clitoris (unless you change your sex position and leave out thrusting) but the vibrations are vastly improved. On the site, the copy says “TOR 2 is the world’s first waterproof and rechargeable couples’ ring, boasting 100% more powerful vibrations than any product of its kind.” Any product of its kind? What does that mean? That’s a pretty bold statement to make; are they trying to get you to believe it’s more powerful than any cock ring in existence? Or just any “luxury” rechargeable cock ring? Or, as it says on another section ” 100% MORE POWER THAN BEFORE”. Ok, now we’re getting to something quantitative and realistic. Yes I can confirm that the Tor 2 is at least twice as powerful as the Tor 1 or Bo cock rings. If we were to have sex in a position where my clitoris was in contact with the vibrator portion 95% of the time then this vibration strength could be enough to get me to orgasm if I gave it time and had no other distractions. It’s definitely the most powerful vibrating cock ring I’ve tried, but I’ve tried very few of them so I don’t feel qualified to agree that it is “100% more powerful than any product of its kind”.  It doesn’t look like it would be waterproof since there is no cover to the charging jack but it is indeed waterproof.

The deal-breaker on the Lelo Tor II?

It is too tight for my husband – in fact we couldn’t even get it on him. He is by no means porn-star huge but he is probably considered thicker than average (I haven’t measured him recently but I believe he’s around 1.6-1.75″ – eta: scratch that, we measured, hehe. He’s not perfectly round like a dildo, more oval-shaped so my estimate was actually right. Circumference would be more telling but I didn’t have that tool on me at the time). Lelo clearly needs to take lessons from companies like Tantus and find a softer, stretchier silicone. There is no way in hell that this cock ring will ever be used around both cock and balls, which many men find to be helpful in delaying orgasm. The guy would have to be shaved and possess a thin cock and great hand strength. Otherwise, an average-endowed man who genuinely likes a good deal of constriction at the base of his penis might like this. The photos below show the Bo (in dark blue, shown first in each set) compared to the Tor II in terms of constriction around my fingers. The final photo shows the red marks left on my fingers from the Tor II; also note how red my fingers are overall in the photo showing the constriction of the Tor II.

   

   

Care to try this, still? I highly recommend that you keep a small pair of EMT safety shears on hand in case things get dicey and you can’t remove it from him and his erection will not subside – after all, the way a cock ring works is by restricting the blood flow, it keeps the blood in the penis so if it is extreme enough it might prevent his erection from subsiding irregardless of arousal. I will also caution you to not dare wear this cock ring for more than 30 minutes absolute tops. When I told my contact at Lelo that the silicone was nice except for the tightness factor, Lelo claimed that their test group had no issues with the tightness factor. If that statement by them is true then their test group was not very diverse in penis size.

So far, this cock ring is relegated to “comparison drawer”: The drawer in my office where I keep sex toys that I never use, but like to keep around when I want to compare something to it in the future . I suppose that this could be used if you wanted to turn your favorite dildo into a possible dual-stimulator toy but that’s a bit of a stretch (no pun intended). This is indeed made of a pure silicone and it passed the silicone purity flame test; it also passed the silicone lube test with some Wet brand Synergy lube, but please cautiously patch-test with your own favorite, high-quality silicone lube before using it during play.

 

UPDATE: June 2014: I’d been told that this run was their first run, and they knew it was too tight so they changed it. Here’s someone showing that they were able to get the Tor II around their knuckles and hand and onto their wrist (which if her chubby wrist is anything like mine, is about 7-8″ circumference). This certainly does look bigger than the one I have!!!

 

Mar 082012
 

I used to believe wholeheartedly that online relationships – relationships of all varieties including platonic – were not only feasible but wonderful. I used to believe that one could get to know a person on a deeper level through online chats and emails; sometimes things are easier said when we’re staring at a computer screen and not fearing the judgement in the eyes of the other.

But it’s taken the irrevocable loss of someone I used to write a lot about here to make me realize that nothing is easy online except lying and faking it. In person there are “tells” – a lack of eye contact, the direction a person looks when they answer you, fidgeting, etc. Online? The right sort of confident person could have you believing they’re an alien given enough time. There are two inevitable circumstances that occur when we’re in the midst of a happy online relationship:

~We see/hear/read nuances and meanings as we want them to be rather than the reality

~We project meanings and truths and facts as we want them to be rather than the reality

It’s taken time, time away and a lot of anger and hurt for me to finally look back on old conversations I had with him and finally see the absolute unvarnished truths: I was creating a sort of alternate reality to suit what I wanted. And in many ways, so did he. So many times he would feign innocence and ignorance, claiming to not know how I felt led on and lied to. And the more I learn about him in the real world the more I lose the veil that was once clouding my vision. And no, in fact, he’s nothing like my father (a comparison I hold in high esteem as I thought, and still think, that the sun rose and set with my late father) and he’s often times little else other than bluster and pomp, smoke and mirrors. I will give him credit where it is due; he was great at selling an idea and himself, he was great at spinning realities into something a little more golden. Is it possible that a lot more truth existed than I’m giving credit for? Is it possible that he really did change too much in the last year and that it has nothing to do with me or what there was 3 years ago? I don’t know because even thinking that it’s possible feels like making excuses and glossy edges.

So now I’m skeptical, I’m jaded and I’m yes….still angry. I’m unable to connect with anyone online the way I once could. I now presume that half of what they all say is a version of the truth (at best) or a complete fabrication.

And I’m trying my best to hate him as often as possible because it’s easier to manage and swallow than the hurt, abandonment and stupidity I feel otherwise. I feel loss, but really was there anything even there to lose? I mourn that I have no best friend but really was he even worthy of the simple friend title, let alone “best”? I have completely cut ties with anything BDSM because for me it all winds up back to him and I can’t seem to have or want one without the other. And so I just…..exist. Stagnant. Unable to write, unable to trust. And the irony is that I looked forward to this day, where I lived close enough to him to have an in-person relationship and it ended up ruining everything. Or so it seems.

 

I was true as the sky is blue
I couldn’t soon say the same for you
So now I find denial in my eyes
I’m mesmerized by the picture that’s in my mind

Tell me when I’ll finally see your shallow heart
For what it is
Cause I don’t want to keep on believing in illusions

I’ve seen your act
And I know all the facts
I’m still in love with who I wish you were
It ain’t hard to see
Who you are underneath
I’m still in love with who I wish you were
And I wish you were here

~ Kate Voegele “Wish You Were Here”

Lelo admits to faulty SenseMotion remotes: The good news and the bad news

 Reviews, Sex Toys  Comments Off on Lelo admits to faulty SenseMotion remotes: The good news and the bad news
Mar 032012
 

A few months ago I reviewed the abysmal Lelo SenseMotion Insignia Tiani. Insignia SenseMotion Tiani? What a mouthful either way! The fact is, I and other reviewers, had come to the same conclusion: Lelo’s hyped SenseMotion was a total failure. For some reason though most of us assumed that the technology itself failed and Lelo hadn’t actually tested it before sending it out into the world; we all assumed that it was another disappointment in the growing line of increasingly-expensive Lelo sex toys. Jaded, much?

Rumors swirled that someone had contacted the warranty department at Lelo, they had been sent a new remote, and lo and behold – SenseMotion worked like it was supposed to! After first chalking this up to a PR rumor, I finally looked into it and my contact at Lelo didn’t so much as confirm as “eluded to” the fact that the first run had faulty remotes in some of the toys and a new remote would actually perform as intended.

I was skeptical. I admit it.

I was wrong! They DID fix the remote. I inserted the Tiani and then put pants on1. I was alone for my test so I changed the remote to the one setting where it did not vibrate and I um….well…I set it on the cat tree. What! It allowed me to walk 15 feet without barriers of walls! I found that I was able to get about 15 feet away before the vibrations cut out. However the difference now is that all it required was for me to move just a foot in another direction and the vibrations started up again. I was able to walk into another room and it still worked. I was able to sit down. And cross my legs. And effectively have the ENTIRETY of the Tiani covered in flesh.

And it still worked.

Given that this was the major complaint of many reviewers, having a functioning remote could very well change a lot of opinions. Heck as far as “public remote controlled vibrators” go, this change might technically edge up the Tiani over the We Vibe 3 for public use. The range on the We Vibe 3 is a mere 10 feet and while it works fine with flesh, heavier clothing requires the remote to be close by. Anyways.

Here’s the bad news. You knew it was coming, so don’t act all surprised.

The new remote makes the SenseMotion work as it should. Which is, I admit, quite neat. However it does not change the intensity or style of vibrations in the actual Insignia Tiani vibrator. They are still weakish and surface-buzzy as hell. If I were very sensitive, then this toy might serve as a great tease but I can’t see how it could bring about orgasm. 2 The fact that the remote now has 500% better reception with the vibrator still doesn’t take away from these negative points which still mean I don’t like the Tiani and would hesitate to recommend it:

  • The vibrations are just piss poor
  • The slender arm meant for insertion simply doesn’t stay put for me if used as a “public” vibrator, not during intercourse. I was not really very aroused so I can’t imagine it faring any better if I were wet
  • The remote requires batteries
  • The remote requires a special tool to open the back – I tried to open it without it, and failed. As I said in my initial review of the Tiani, you could use a coin but that would end up scratching the metallic-painted plastic over time. Some people think that this is not a big deal and that some of us are big baby whiners. To them I say bravo: you have normal functioning in your hands/fingers/grip. I do not. Lube on your fingers? Fuggeddaboutit. You’re not opening that back without the plastic key.
  • The remote is large and not discreet; if you put it in the non-vibrating mode then you still have to have it visible to know what setting it is on. If you leave the vibrations on, then it is no longer discreet enough for public use. The vibrating remote is also louder than the toy itself.
  • The price tag is around $150.

The bottom line is this: Lelo vibrators come with a warranty, and the faulty remote that you might have gotten is covered under this warranty. Simply contact them for a replacement remote. When you contact Lelo’s warranty department, I must warn you that your replacement remote will ship out from China. This international shipping means that discretion is compromised – on the outside of the UPS International bag will be a ziploc-style bag for the documentation paperwork that is needed for customs. This is made so that anybody can view the paperwork without opening up your package. However, this also means that snoopy neighbors/roommates/parents can easily get to the paper and find out exactly what is contained in the package.

I will end this update on a positive note: It does appear that honest reviews are getting back to Lelo and they are taking them to heart. They listened to the honest reviews and they fixed the remotes. They claim to be making the SenseMotion toys more powerful, however, I cannot and will not attest to that without seeing it for myself.

They also claim that they made the Lily and Nea, two first-gen Lelo clitoral vibrators that were about as lackluster in vibrations as the Tiani, more powerful – yet unlike the Mia, they have not made this news public. Why not, I wonder? I suppose it would lead to customers who care about it wondering if the retailer they are purchasing from is sending old stock or newer, updated and more powerful versions. I don’t know if the Lelo Tor cock ring had any increased vibration intensity of their first-run Bo cock rings, but I can say that despite initial concerns on the lack of stretch in the cock ring itself, their updated Tor II cock ring does have better vibrations – more powerful and more rumbly. If those vibrations in the Tor II that I have were in the Tiani? I might recommend it more.

  1. something unheard of before with the old remote
  2. Then again, that’s like me claiming that I could guess how a Fleshlight would really feel.