Jan 312013
 

funtoysgvibe

A few years ago a new concept in dildos arrived, called the Split Dildo. The reaction was as split as the sex toy itself. I’ve read polarizing reviews of both adoration and contempt, so when I was asked to review the Funtoys G-Vibe I figured I would land firmly in love or hate. I was a little nervous at first. I expected a lion, however, and got a kitten. 

I’ve never tried the Split Dildo but it seemed that the dildo was not modest in girth, and according to Kara Sutra required quite a bit of pressure to keep the “ears” together and was something you definitely felt. Unfortunately, the G-Vibe is….boring. It looks like a nice luxury vibe; in fact the stylings look a lot like the first Lelo Insignia line. The silicone is even the same as Lelo, with a matte silky finish to it. The buttons are nearly identical to the Lelo Insignia line and the vibrations even remind me of early Lelo and the Insignia Isla – very surface-buzzy and moderate at best. More bark than bite, actually – sure it’s “quiet” but it’s not “nearly silent”, yet even so the noise is more intense than the vibrations. There are two motors, one in each tip. At high speed the vibrations may fool you into thinking that they have potential, if you barely touch the thing, but any pressure at all gives you faux-vibrations. I’ve experienced this before in toys: the Extase Liberte, the original Lelo Tiani, and the Picobong Honi to name a few. It has the sort of vibrations that force you to try the patterns hoping, in vain, that the rapid-fire changing of the motor will give you something that maybe feels like a little more oomph. And in fact the final pattern does. Those staccato every-3-seconds bursts of just enough more intensity end up frustrating you more than anything.  It tells you that the motor might have had the potential to ekk into the realm of rumbly but stopped 2 miles from the border.  Funtoys describes the G-Vibe as having “six modes with changeable intensity from light tremors to intense vibration”. The “intense vibration” part of that statement couldn’t be more wrong. 

Fun Toys G-Vibe - The looped handle makes it easy to hold and the control buttons are well placed. The charging port is shown closed (Top) and open (Bottom)

The “intuitive controls” are just fairly average. An increase button, a function mode button to change between patterns, and a decrease button. Standard. The buttons are in a good place on the handle, maybe that’s what they mean? There is no button-lock feature, either, like Lelo and a few others. Also take note of the fact that the G-Vibe is merely water resistant. This confuses me greatly. The charging port cover is a silicone plug in the hole – a similar design to Lelo and many other makers of luxury vibrators. Hell, the Lelo Tor II has a completely open charging cover and it’s labeled as waterproof! Be that as it may, I’m not one to doubt what a manufacturer says. But if they want to get into the luxury sex toy game, then they need to make it waterproof. It’s one of those features that people who don’t masturbate in the shower/bath (like me) don’t care about but it doesn’t take away from what we DO like; and there are plenty of people out there who do really enjoy their playtime in the water. Speaking of the charging port, you should initially charge the G-Vibe for 8 hours. It’s said that you will get 4 hours on a single charge, but I would imagine that for at least 2 of those 4 hours the vibrations will be greatly decreased from the pittance they already are. 

The ears might look intimidating, especially if you use both of them internally, but they are very very pliable  and soft. In fact, I’m almost willing to say they’re just too wimpy.  The design is flexible and Funtoys thinks that you Fun Toys G-Vibe - Showing how flexible the "ears" are. It takes very little effort to keep them togethercan use this design for lots of various methods of stimulation. But the fact is, the vibrations are not enough and the split portion doesn’t do what it should – which according to their site, it should “create a sensation of fullness without stretching the vaginal entrance” and “Simultaneous stimulation of 2 spots:  G-spot and the opposite side of the vagina” – which, in case you were wondering, the “opposite side of the vagina” spot1 has a real name: perineal sponge. But since the ears are so pliable and the split requires very little pressure to stay closed, I don’t really feel what the company  advertises. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t aroused enough for the PS-Spot to want any attention but the bit of vibrations that I felt on the posterior vaginal wall just made me feel a little like I had to poop. My g-spot requires a decent amount of pressure OR an intense level of thuddy vibrations, neither of which the G-Vibe could ever come close to offering. 

With my skepticism firmly intact I tried to use this as a dual-stimulator in the traditional sense. While the upward-facing ear did actually touch my clitoris, the vibrations, lack of pressure and slim profile meant that I felt very little externally or internally. I decided to go about trying the other suggested uses Funtoys came up with.Sure, it feels slightly different from a straight dildo of the same width, but I don’t feel any sense of fullness nor do I feel enough pressure on either the G-spot or Perineal Sponge to register as anything special in my brain. Despite this, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to insert. You still have to hold the ears together at the tippy top, you cannot just jam Squidward here into your hole and hope for the best. This maneuvering means, for me, awkward and uncomfortable positioning contortions.  In fact it was damn near impossible for me to insert this. I had to contort and reach to basically shove my fingertips, along with the tips of the vibe, up inside of me to get it started.

gvibeuse1
Drawn images are property of Funtoys.info
grumpycatno

No? Well how about…..

gvibeuse2
Drawn images are property of Funtoys.info
grumpycatno

First of all, my nipples don’t meet up like that. Second, when you try to hold it like oversized chopsticks or the JimmyJane Form 2, something curious happens. It sounds like the same “fatal flaw” that was described by many Form 2 owners – when pressure is applied disproportionately to the two ears OR applied mostly equally and the toy is held handle facing the sky, the vibrators in the ears get kicked out of cycle and almost form their own bizarre pattern. It’s no longer a steady vibration. 

Ok then.

Moving along.

 The G-Vibe comes in 3 colors – if you don’t like pink or purple though, you’re out of luck. The packaging is indeed very lovely to look at, even if it’s not very discreet for storage. When you open up the box the vibe sits in a foam-like cutout – the glue that is used in this bit (my best guess anyway, is glue) has a subtle but offensive odor to me. I can smell it on the vibe despite washing, and I can smell it on the included storage bag. The bag is drawstring and made of white nylon, it feels quite nice. It does have the Funtoys logo, “ft”, which is discreet.  The included charger is USB-only. I enjoy the *option* of USB, but I don’t want it to be the only way. Luckily I have a couple USB-to-wall-plug thingies and that works too. 

 At the end of the day, I just couldn’t get into this sex toy nor would I recommend it. The vibrations would have to be more like the We-Vibe Tango or hell even the Je Joue MiMi for me to even consider recommending it.  Perhaps with truly thuddy-rumbly vibrations that have more power, the stimulation of the G-spot and PS-spot could be felt but as it stands now it was nothing to write home about.  While a few people did seem to enjoy the intense pressure from that Split Dildo, the G-Vibe takes caution to the extreme and instead leaves you wanting something more from the split internal portion. 

  1. Until I did my research on split sex toys, I had no idea about this arousal spot. OF COURSE it must be added to the litany of Alphabet Spots. Most often it is referred to as the PS-Spot.  Sadly in their drawings, Funtoys just lists it as “P” to which I first thought “um….we don’t have a P-spot”.
Jan 302013
 

Last month, I realized something. There was officially at least one sex toy in every room of the house downstairs. And no, it’s not because an urge struck me to just throw down and masturbate in the foyer (or, now that I have it walled off with a curtain, the junk room). A few sex toys migrated to the bathroom and never left once I was done washing them. A few more migrated to the living room and kitchen for photo-taking and then I just forgot about them, sort of. A few were in the bedroom for actual use, and a few were in the dining room and foyer because we were trying to clean up the living room and only got so far. My office, though, it’s truly helter skelter. Sex toys in drawers, in cubbies, in boxes, in bags, under piles. In all of this disorganization I’ve managed to misplace some sex toys, sometimes for months on end. So in preparation for my bestie coming to help me organize and purge I went room to room, drawer to drawer, rounding up each and every sex toy I could find and piled them all on the dining room table, thusly:

tableoftoys

There are bowls at the back of the table filled with kegel balls and clit toys; a stack of storage bags; a basket of tangled chargers sits on a chair in the front. You see, I don’t use all of these. Not even close. In fact the toys that I use consistently aren’t on the table because there’s no point in putting them away (My trio of Salsa/Tango vibes and my Pure Wand). You may ask then why I keep all of these. The answer is simple: I think it’s very important to be able to compare newer toys to older toys, cheaper toys, things others might have. So I hang on to everything, almost. There have been likely over 40 things I’ve given away on ToySwap that I hated and figured I’d never need to compare (and then find out I could/should).

Anyways, so I gathered everything up and figured I’d start on it. And then my back went out for a few days without me, and so it waited all there on the table, mocking me, until the weekend. And of course our landlord was supposed to arrive with a repair guy at any given day and he’s prone to absent-mindedly giving me very little notice. Thursday morning I heard the doorbell and knocking and while I painfully went as fast as I could locating a bedsheet and covering up the mess, by the time I got to the door I found that it wasn’t my landlord it was FedEx with a package I needed to sign for. I missed them, so I would have to wait another day for my sex toy delivery. But in the meantime, this didn’t look suspicious at ALL, right??

nothingtoseehere

Yeah.

I know.

The day of reckoning finally came but not until after my landlord and a repair guy were here whilst the dining room table was suspiciously covered with a wrinkly brown bedsheet. As I stared down my pile, the ever-present inability to organize struck me and I didn’t know where to start. So we started by the old standby for going through anything: Keep, Pitch, Give Away. Things I tossed: A few SinFive dildos that nobody will ever want, same for a bullet or two and a pocket rocket that made more noise than vibration. The ugly as sin glass dildo that nearly scared me off of them forever. The Picobong Honi was on my swap list but I finally decided to just toss it after turning it on again and being reminded as to how pathetically weak it was and stupidly designed and I tossed that, too. The painful glass vibrator that EF briefly offered also got tossed after spending months on my swap list and I realized that nobody else wants that piece of crap either. I realized that while the Hitachi and Fairy Wand do indeed eclipse the Lelo Smart Wand Large by quite a wide margin in terms of sheer obscene power, I have no desire for either of those. The bullet-train buzzy wonders are like a belt sander where the Smart Wand Large is like a jackhammer. Sorta. Yes the Hitachi and Fairy Wands would indeed make for a numb vulva for a little bit after use and the high-speed machines feel itchy to me sometimes, especially with nubbly attachments. Both Fairy Wands that I have, and both Acuvibes, are going on the swap list. I figure that nobody really buys the Acuvibe anymore for a sex toy what with the Lelo Wands, the Fairy Wands, the Hitachi knock-offs, the Mystic Wands, and so on, all of them made and intended to be a sex vibrator.

So while some worthless items are being tossed (and the question got asked: Should this glass dildo go into the recycle bin???), many more of them are listed on my ToySwap page. And if any CatalystCon attendees are also on ToySwap, do let me know if you’d like anything and I’ll bring it to Catalyst to save shipping.

But of course this all made me realize that I have a lot of work to do. I have items that I never reviewed, and I really should. I also need to charge up every single toy and get batteries out and really concentrate on arranging everything on a 1-10 scale of vibration intensity. I also need to use my Lelo Smart Wand Large plus Gee Whiz more often. That’s a long name. I’ll rename it “White Gonzo”. Yes. Because yeah, it’s that awesome and I had a clitoral orgasm just from the vibrations that were inside of me. Nothing touched my external clitoris, it just rumbled the hell out of my internal clitoris. Yes, that’s really a thing. 

Shit. Now I’m overrun with pending reviews. 

Jan 292013
 

As the dining room table cleared slowly of all the many sex toys piled on it for organizing, little by little things were left behind. The bowls that held tiny clit toys and bag balls soon just held the balls. A dildo ended up in the second bowl and then we thought to combine them like…

well…

I don’t even know like what.  But it would make a great conversation piece during dinner! With the right people of course. Maybe.

But in the filtered morning light it looked more artistic. I think. Or I’m on crack.

The Tantus O2 Cush surrounded by various Luna Beads

The Tantus O2 Cush surrounded by various Luna Beads

 

 

 

 

Toy with me Tuesday
 Posted by at 1:59 pm
Jan 282013
 

ETA: The Comet G is actually growing on me a little. But now they have out a VIBRATING version which I’ve got high hopes for.

Jopen Key Comet Wand

There are glass dildos and silicone dildos, but never have I seen a silicone-covered glass dildo. The Jopen Key Comet G is pretty unique in that aspect. It is a decidedly g-spot dildo and therefore….I (and others) cannot help but compare it to the Njoy Pure Wand. There is no shortage of g-spot targeting sex toys but it seems that the Pure Wand is king of the heap for most reviewers. So when I was told that the Key Comet Wand was just about as good as (or for some, better than) the Pure Wand I had to try it.

My one and only complaint about the Pure Wand is the weight. I’m no spry young thing and I have a disorder that affects muscle strength. It doesn’t take much for my hand and/or wrist to be bothered by the Pure Wand if I’m going at it too long; of course the upside is that orgasms come fast and furious with the Pure Wand. The Key Comet Wand is quite a bit lighter weight than the Pure Wand, but still retains some heft thanks to the glass core. It’s a nice balance.

However, the thing (one of the things) I love best about the Pure Wand is that it is made of stainless steel and I never, ever ever need lube. No matter what. It glides with ease and there is no trouble with insertion. The Key Comet Wand though is covered in a matte silicone that is silky smooth to the touch but has quite a bit of drag during insertion. I actually had to get out my old lube bottle to use the Comet. For once my own wetness wasn’t enough. I’m not a person who normally uses lube; therefore I don’t keep it handy and I’m pretty lazy. The fact that I have to drag it out is a bit of an irk for me.

keycometwandDue to the drag and need for lube, at first I thought that the Comet Wand was bigger than the Pure Wand. The bulbous end of the Comet Wand is the same size as the large end of the Pure Wand (a ball with a max width of 1.5″), but the shaft of the Comet is a little bit wider. This is neither good nor bad but it’s not a huge size. The shaft isn’t the point, anyways, when you’re targeting your g-spot. This isn’t a toy for those who simply want girth.

Let’s Talk About Materials – Silicone AND Glass in One

The unique part about the Key Comet Wand is the combination of two well-loved non-porous materials: glass and silicone. The handle portion is all solid glass and feels very substantial. Jopen says that the Comet is made from durable glass dipped in body-safe silicone. The “dipped in” leads you to believe that it’s mostly glass. I got curious though. I pressed the bulbous tip against the corner of my desk and I was able (although I had to use a lot of pressure) to press in farther than I expected to and farther than I can on the silicone-covered portion of the shaft. I was also able to grab the bulbous head in my hand and move it slightly. My guess is that the glass doesn’t go all the way down and into the bulbed tip.  There are very subtle raised ridges in the design that don’t add anything you can feel, just something visual; the ridges start at the glass handle and appear to continue on down seamlessly through the silicone “dipped” portion.  I have to admit, the geek in me kinda wants to ruin this dildo and take a box cutter to the silicone to determine just how much glass is in the body. I won’t, but I’m really damn tempted.

Of course I must also note that cleaning this dildo isn’t quite as simple as you might think, based on the materials. Normally any dildo made of metal, glass or true silicone can be boiled (carefully) to sanitize. They’re non-porous so technically it doesn’t take much to sanitize but the Comet G cannot be boiled, cannot be put in the dishwasher top rack, etc. It needs to be simply washed in soap and water (a 10% bleach solution if you need it for sharing, a rinse after that please) because of the combination of materials but mostly that Key emblem glued into the handle.

If this g-spot dildo were made entirely of glass, it would turn off the many people who still think that glass sex toys will just shatter inside their Hulk-like vagina. If it were made entirely of silicone, it would lack the balanced weight and heft and firmness. The silicone also gives peace of mind to the glass paranoids and protects from chipping the internal portion. I can also appreciate that they finished the silicone with something similar to Lelo’s Silicone Soft Touch, leaving behind a matte-finish silky feel silicone that doesn’t attract lint, dust or fur. Jopen will tell you to only use water-based lube because of the silicone component, but as I’ve mentioned before, not all silicone lubes (nor silicone sex toys) are created equal. Some will be just fine when combining. I’ve successfully used Wet’s Synergy hybrid lube and their Platinum all-silicone lube on all of my high end dildos and vibrators and never had a problem. I tried it on the Comet and it was just fine. How do you know? Apply a small dab to a portion near the handle or base, depending on the toy. Within a minute, if the two are not compatible, the lube will become gummy. If left on, the silicone of the toy will become sticky and weird, too. This has not yet happened to me with Wet lubes; Metis also recommended Sliquid and Pjur as silicone lubes compatible with Tantus’s Platinum silicone.

The Boring Deets – Colors, Packaging, etc

Comet G comes in 3 terribly predictable colors: a candy-grapey-purple, an old-school-eraser-pink, and a turquoise-y-blue that some might call “robin’s egg” blue. The glass handle is a pastel matching version of the silicone. The glass handle has a sort-of ball end with a bit of a curve to mirror the g-spot bulb; embedded in one side of the curved end is the Jopen Key logo that appears to be actual metal (an alloy mix) rather than Lelo’s “metal” accents which are just metallic-painted plastic. The box is black and whatever color your dildo is; you could use it for storage but it’s not a subtle and sturdy box like many luxury makers go for. You slide off the top portion of the box to reveal a book-style box inside; the Comet G Wand is nestled in foam which has a ribbon tab to lift up where the storage bag and manual is found. The storage bag is made from the same material that We-Vibe uses – a kinda stiff, crinkly water-resistant fabric that feels cheap (unlike the satin that most luxury toy makers use). The storage bag isn’t padded. All in all, I’m not impressed by the packaging or storage bag.

Size Matters

As for size, at first comparison the Comet G and the Pure Wand look really damn similar. When it comes to curved dildos like this though there are two ways to measure, just like there are two ways to measure the distance between two addresses: “As the crow flies” or following the roads. As the crow flies, the two are about the same at 8 inches. But the true tip-to-tip tells another story and shows how much more curved the Pure Wand is: The Comet G is about 9.5 inches where the Pure Wand is a little over 11 inches. The widest width on both is that large bulbed end, at 1.5 inches. But where the Pure Wand is a true double-sided dildo offering you two differently sized ends to use, the Comet G Wand is only usable one way.

cometvspureNow the tip-to-tip length may not seem important at first, but I found after my second use that it does matter to me. As I’ve said in the past I have short arms and a fat buddha belly and the C-curve plus the length of the Pure Wand is about the most ergonomic and easy to use design for me, hands down. The Comet G is mostly C-shaped, but that bulb on the handle tips back in an weird subtle S-shape. The handle tip also is more “fiddlehead fern” than true bulb and I found that it was a lot harder to keep a good grip on it than the Pure Wand. I found myself really need that extra inch and a half and the easier-to-grip bulb of the Pure Wand. While I was indeed able to finally get good g-spot stimulation and orgasm better than most other dildos, the clumsy grip means that I will still reach for the Pure Wand despite it’s heft. Speaking of weight, the Comet G is 9.5 ounces where the Pure Wand is 1 pound 8.75 ounces – nearly a pound heavier.

Final Answer?

I can’t totally discount the Comet G Wand, but I also can’t say that I’d ever recommend it over the Njoy Pure Wand unless you absolutely need something under 1 pound in weight due to arthritis, injuries or muscular disorders – however on the flip side, the handle is a bit more difficult to keep under grasp but I think a creative person could come up with an add-on to the handle to make it larger and easier to grip. Sure, the Comet G is priced a little lower than the Pure Wand (on EF, $90 for the Comet G, $108 for the Pure Wand) so I wouldn’t recommend the Key Comet G Wand as a more affordable alternative to the Pure Wand. There are lots of g-spot options out there, and not everyone likes or needs the firm pressure that I do.

Jan 232013
 

LELO Luna Beads NoirAs someone who vastly prefers grey & black to pastel shades, you would think I would love the Luna Beads Noir. After all, one of the very few aspects that I didn’t love about the Luna Beads from the very beginning was the color scheme – kinda practical/clinical/boring. And I admit I do indeed love the look of the Luna Beads Noir. But the thing is, vag balls are not a fashion accessory. Nobody is going to see them. I don’t wear them on my wrist, or loop them around a lanyard. So the only thing that I can think of as to why Lelo produced these, is to capitalized a little more on the Fifty Shades crap. And yes, that is a factor in the production of the Noir beads. I didn’t feel that the Minis were anything to do with the Fifty Shades crap, because I had read numerous reviews in the past where some women stated that the Original Luna Beads were a bit too big to be comfortable for them. But the overpriced singular pair of Luna Noir in their graphite color scheme? Totally Fifty Shades. I even asked Lelo about that aspect and this was the response:

Fifty Shades did have some influence on the creation of Luna Beads Noir, since we had feedback from consumers to make a more sensual version of the world’s best selling sexual wellness product that is more focused on intense foreplay sensations. Luna Beads Noir are smaller for easier insertion and extraction and are a heavier weight compared to our classic version for stronger, more pleasurable sensations.

However, to me, Luna Beads Noir set is a bit of a head scratcher. They come only in one size – the mini size – and just one weight! The heavier weight. If you’ve never used a kegel bead set I wouldn’t recommend jumping right to using the full set of these. I did that once after going a long time without using any kegel exercisers and I actually had sore, overworked PC muscles the next day, akin to overworked abs after doing way more crunches on the first day back to the gym than you really should have attempted. You could use just one bead at first; I would only recommend using one bead though if your kegels are toned, you consider yourself to have a tighter vagina, and truly do not prefer dildos above 1.25″. Otherwise?

You might very well find yourself doing….whatever it is you do whilst wearing fancy Luna Beads…and out of your pant leg rolls your singular Luna Bead.

 Ahem.

Anyways. Since I’ve noted that these are the same size as the Minis that I recently reviewed (and did not like) I also wanted to note that Lelo fixed the problem that I and a few others reviewers had with the initial run of the Luna Minis – the inner weighted ball is back to how it should be, covered in rubber to muffle the rattling sound. But just as with the Minis, the issue is that the weighted ball is too large to produce any real noticeable sensations for me. The less room the weighted ball has to move around, the less you’ll feel it. So to me, not only does it fail as a kegel exerciser (which doesn’t seem to be the intended use if I read Lelo’s answer) but it fails as an “intense foreplay” toy. It was really hard to capture this because of how dark the Noir beads plastic is, but you can see pretty well in the photo below how much more “wiggle room” that weighted ball has in the Original set on the left. I couldn’t show this with my set of the Minis because my weighted balls appeared to be a bit smaller due to the lack of a rubberized coating.

lunabeads

The materials are the same, the care instructions are the same as all other Luna Bead sets.

Luna Beads Original vs Luna Beads Noir

Given the price factor I don’t really feel like these are worth the money. I do like the look better; hell I’m the girl who wanted a new Acuvibe because it came in black and to replace my Devine Play Chest because it was out in a black-on-black (instead of my pink-on-black). If Lelo had made the Noir set as simply another color option to the Originals and Minis and kept the whole system the same I’d tell you that it’s just a color preference. But the Original and Mini set both have the graduated 4-ball weight set that I’ve always loved so much, priced at $42.99 (the not-on-sale price at EF). So when I saw that the Noir set, which only included 2 balls, was $35.99 I felt even more reluctant to recommend them. I’ve always preferred the Luna Beads to any other kegel system out there but the Noir set, as it stands, is another story altogether.

Lelo Luna Beads, Noir set feature 1 set of two 37-gram plastic beads held together in a silicone cradleThe Lelo Luna Mini Beads feature a set of two 28-gram and two 37-gram beads is made with FDA-approved and phthalate-free ABS/ silicone.The Original Luna Beads Kegel Exerciser Balls. Two pairs of variably weighted balls and silicone cradle for pelvic exercise

Jan 162013
 

 

nonmonogamy2.5.1

 

Non-Monogamy encompasses a whole host of various situations: Swingers, couples in open relationships, people who identify as polyamorous or even just those who are not in committed relationships and are dating numerous people. Most of these non-monogamous people are (hopefully) well aware of safe sex practices and use them every time.

While I doubt that the majority of people bring their vibes to sex parties & clubs and pass em around like a drinking game, there are other situations outside of the realm of monogamy where sharing sex toys may come into play. Even 1-on-1 or threesomes should be treated with care if you aren’t fluid-bonded.

Cock Rings

More than half of you out there still probably own sex toys made from materials that would cause me premature grey hair, try as I might to dissuade you. But many people, even if they’ve switched to silicone vibrators and glass dildos, pull out a cock ring from their arsenal now and then and I’m betting it’s not silicone.  Most cock rings are inexpensive and made from various soft and stretchy materials: Jelly/Rubber, Elastomer/TPR (less porous than jelly and usually non-toxic, but still porous) or silicone blends (which seems to be an industry lie). You’ll see these so-called “silicone blends” show up in sneaky ways; they’ll be labeled “SEBS” which Screaming O has claimed stands for silicone-elastomer blend (a lie, SEBS stands for something else entirely), or they’ll just merely be labeled a quiet, solitary “silicone” depending on how well the retailer does their homework. As I’ve mentioned in the past, these sex toy companies can outright lie. The previous myth of “if it contains 10% silicone, they can call it silicone” is false – they can call it whatever they want, regardless of the material composition. Of course, you can whip out your trusty sex-geek-detective lighter and perform a flame test. I flame-tested a Screaming O “SEBS” cock ring, and it burned hotter and brighter than your average oil lamp. Silicone? I think not. Another quick test is visual – if the material is crystal clear, then it is not silicone. Clear silicone is a cloudy clear.

So, what’s the big deal, you ask? Unless you’re buying the truly disposable one-and-done vibrating cock rings1, then your little gummy, (possibly) buzzy ring of fun is quite porous – and can’t be sanitized nor therefore shared. Yes, this also means the ones that you purchase in the condom aisle. Unlike most vibrators and dildos, a vibrating cock ring can’t be covered by a condom for barrier protection so the cock ring could be exposed to vaginal and/or seminal fluids. If you are using a simple non-vibrating cock ring, one that goes around just the base of the cock, you may be able to get away with covering it with a condom, but keep an eye on it.  Since I’ve never tried to do that I can’t say if the condom would keep it covered or not.  There are also some silicone cock rings but again the norm seems to be jelly or TPR.

Also, don’t let a luxury price tag on the vibrating versions fool you into submission.The Lelo Bo, Tor 1, and the Bedroom Kandi Rise and Shine are all higher-end cock rings that are rechargeable but they are made from Elastomer or TPR. Soft, stretchy and free from phthalates and latex, they’re certainly better for your body than the cheap jelly versions but they’re still porous and should never be shared beyond fluid-bonded partners. The Lelo Tor II, the Tantus C-Ring, Je Joue Mio, some BMS brand rings and various Jopen branded rings are all made from true silicone. However, even though many of these are waterproof they’re still vibrators and should never be boiled or tossed in the dishwasher. You’ll be able to get a safe clean by a simple handwash.

Penis Extenders and Sleeves

The vast majority of these are not silicone – and they’re highly porous to boot so they’re definitely not for you if you’re sharing sex toys. Vixen makes a few, like the Ride On, but the price is so high that it will deter most buyers. I see a lot that have “silicone” in the name, but these are all going to be TPR labeled sometimes as that liar term “TPR silicone” – therefore, porous. Many extenders/sleeves and cuffs are designed to be really stretchy and soft – that’s not a common attribute in pure silicone items.  From what I’ve seen, a company called Oxballs  makes a couple extenders that seem to be pure silicone but most are TPR. So please keep these porous models limited to a single partner, and keep in mind the fact that these are all porous – this means it will never get truly clean and sanitized, the softer ones could mildew if stored while still wet from cleaning, and they may retain stains and/or odors after an extended time of use.

Harnesses and Dildos

Moving on from cock-centric toys, I want to talk about dildos. Especially harness-compatible dildos. The guidelines are pretty damn simple: Get silicone dildos. Covering it with a condom will work IF you use the right kind of condom (and you probably aren’t) and it’s not silicone or covering it with the right kind of condom if it IS silicone and you’re sharing between non-fluid-bonded partners without a wash in between. Even if you’re using a silicone dildo, if the dildo is used primarily for butt play then it can retain some Eau de Fart. I have some tips to help combat this, but you may find times when that silicone dildo you used for butt play is not suitable for a harness blow-job.  There are plenty of affordable silicone dildos out there, plus Tantus is always having a sale (and often their sales can be combined with my coupon code, LILLY, which takes 15% off your order).

Most harnesses are made from leather or a fabric (even just strap webbing is fabric). These are porous, and should be considered a one-partner item unless they are washable, in which case please wash in between partners.

Metal, Wood and Glass Toys

Provided that the toys are free from defects2, these should be safe to share between partners and anal-to-vaginal if they are washed thoroughly in between partners and uses. Take careful note if the toy is highly textured – really make sure to scrub all around the nubs, ridges, etc to be sure you’ve removed any traces of fluids. A non-textured seamless item made from any of these materials though will be super easy to clean in between partners; you could even just keep a pack of Afterglow Wipes on hand if you’re in situations (like at a swinger’s club) where departing to a sink in the middle of multi-person fun would kill your mood. They do have anti-bacterial properties and are body safe to all but the extremely sensitive folks – I don’t know though if I’d recommend using them on a toy, using the toy on a woman, and then after that move to oral sex, I can’t imagine that Bergomot oil tastes very good with all the other chemicals but I’m ultra sensitive to that sort of thing, your mileage may vary. Please note: If you’re using a wood sex toy, the only company who makes truly safely-coated ones able to withstand alcohol and bleach solutions for sanitization is Nobessence. If you bought any other brand, I would not advise sharing it.

Vibrators

Again, stick to only silicone (or condom-covered TPR) and make sure to thoroughly wash it in between partners. Be sure to get down in the cracks and crevices if the toy has, say, a hard plastic handle (Like Lelo vibes). For more immediate use, if you’re able, cover with a condom. If the only sex toys you own are made from porous materials, then you should always cover with a condom even if you’re the only user. For vibrators that are entirely made of hard ABS plastic, these can just be wiped down with a little soap and water, rinsed or again cover with a condom if there’s no immediate availability to get to a sink in between partners. ABS plastic is non-porous, but you do have to watch out for nubs and crevices. Pocket rockets are the worst offenders at keeping clean. The Hitachi Magic Wand (or a similar wand vibrator) has porous material on the head; not all wand vibrators are like this, but certainly the ones originally marketed for actual back massaging. Newer wand vibrators that are made by sex toy companies are sometimes made with a silicone head like the Mystic Wand or the Lelo Smart Wand, but also keep in mind that many wand makers like to add texture and ridges to the head – those spots are harder to clean on the fly so covering it with a condom if immediate sharing is likely is a safe bet. If you’re not 100% certain though, cover the head with a condom. It’s also a good idea to continue the condom down past the exposed metal portion and onto the plastic handle if you’re going to be in a group situation with people who are copious squirters. A note about the condom: Make sure you’re buying the right kind of condoms for your wand. Chances are good you don’t have the right kind on hand.

Kink and Leather

I’m not talking about kink to those that frequently visit BDSM clubs; they are all pretty aware of safety precautions but those that just play casually in the bedroom won’t be aware about certain things. Any item that breaks/scratches the skin or causes welts that can bleed (if you get that rough) should be kept only to one person.

Gags that have leather straps would also need to be kept to one person. Cock rings can be leather. Paddles can be leather. The shiny side is water resistant but the rough parts aren’t, and none of it is non-porous.

Rope: If you tie anybody up and the rope comes into contact with saliva or other bodily fluids, wash the rope before using it on another person.

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At the end of the day, sex toys can and should be used to enhance any sexual encounter if it’s something that you and/or your partner(s) enjoys. But when you step outside the relative safety3 of a fluid-bonded monogamous couple, things can muddy up in ways that many people don’t think of. Why yes, actually, I have witnessed amateur porn where the sex toys were shared copiously with little regard to safety. It happens. The sex-positive bubble is small in comparison to the rest of the world; that much is obvious since jelly/rubber/icky toys are still such a hot commodity. The most conscientious person will always bring their own sex toy if they already own some great ones, that way there’s no worry about sharing if everyone has their own. The perfect kit would likely contain a few different types of lube (be sure to have an all-natural one like Sliquid for those who have sensitive skin issues), a few different types of condoms for both sex and sex toys, nitrile gloves, and toy cleansing wipes.  If you only ever purchase your sex toys online, like me, finding affordable sample sizes of lube can be pretty damn difficult. I only have some because of my attendance over the years at places like the NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar parties, Momentum, etc. but they are perfect little things to have when you don’t want to worry about the lube bottle spilling out in your purse or you don’t have the room for a few bottles. The sex toy retailers used to all have lube samplers; I really liked the one GoodVibes used to offer, but for some reason nobody  carries these anymore. You can find them on places like Amazon or at condom-centric online places, but many will not include the better brands like Sliquid or any all-natural lubes. They will, however, give you a full buffet of flavored samples if that happens to be your thing (it shouldn’t be though, the ingredients list on those is not palatable). You can also buy up a cube of Sliquid “sachets” of lube, but they’re not exactly affordable for frequent use, it looks like they run around $1 each plus shipping.

But think about it: if you always had easy access to a little case containing an awesome little vibe (ahem: Tango), 2 gloves, half a dozen condoms and lube samples plus a few single packets of Afterglow wipes4? Not only would you be the most awesome person at the sex party, but your individual random encounters would be safer and fun, always.

A note on choosing condoms for use as toy covers:

After a lot of research and at-home tests, I’ve found that latex condoms are horrible for sex toys made from jelly, PVC, TPR, rubber, etc. Also, most condoms (of all kinds) use cheap silicone lube. And if they do use water-based lube, the ingredients look like they may be toxic or highly irritating to some. Make sure you’re using the right condom material and type for your situation – more about this is found here.

 

Thanks to Lorax of Sex for their help!

  1. And actually using it once, with one person, and then pitching it
  2. And if they have defects, nobody should be using them – get them replaced!!
  3. I say relative because there are no guarantees that someone won’t cheat; there’s also the chance that if you haven’t been together for years, an STD may have been dormant and didn’t show up on your pre-marriage STD panel
  4. Also, why the hell don’t any online retailers offer such a thing? Lube samples are like the drug company logo pens of the sex toy industry. I’d certainly pay $19.99 for kit containing a dozen or so lube samples, 12 various condoms, a couple dental dams and half a dozen Afterglow wipes. Maybe I should make a company that sells those. That would be genius