Mar 242014


I’m trying for as much brevity as I can get here which, admittedly, won’t be much. The world of blogs about sex (as a general umbrella term) were varied and niched and I can’t possibly cover everything. In fact, I might very well be unintentionally leaving out crucial stories. That’s where I hope you will fill things in in the comments section. Sex blogging as we know it seems to have gotten off the ground around 2002, 6 years before my start, which was 6 years ago in 2008. My point with this piece is to illustrate to my current niche how WE got to where we are now with sex toy reviews, sexuality conferences and this tumultuous but awesome community.  You’ll see [tooltip tip=”Extra info!”]this “tooltip”[/tooltip] characterized by the dotted underline; clicking on it (mobile or regular) will provide more info without making this post seem to scroll on forever, so don’t overlook them! Also check out the links, they often really help to further explain things.

The First Sex Blogs

One can argue that the first blogs about sexuality happened on Livejournal. The group that I can follow back through this history, though, was primarily on blogspot and things seemed to start roundabout 2004.  Sheboppin’ can recall LiveJournals that were like what we know as sex blogs today (and a few even got toys to review as early as 04 or 05).

There were websites for porn and of course Literotica, but the personal “sex blog” as we know them seemed to have been born mostly on blogspot, but some self-hosted too. Tiny Nibbles, Violet Blue’s site, has been around since 2001 but I’m not sure I would truly call it a sex blog….although some would. Erosblog, run by Bacchus, started in 2002, is primarily a mash-up of aggregated sexy photos and commentary on sexuality things of all types1. I believe this is the first thing that can be considered a “sex blog”, and he recalls being the first to use that terminology.  Susannah Breslin with her Reverse Cowgirl site came shortly after Bacchus started.

ETA: I was off by a few months! Reverse Cowgirl came first, but as Bacchus said, we’re not sure Ms Breslin would consider her site a sex blog. Do you?

Susannah wrote a short note here, and then someone else chimed in about a blog going back to ’99!

A lot more personal blogs started around 2004. Famous “sex diary” blogs like Girl With a One Track Mind and Belle Du Jour didn’t seem to start until 2004/2005.  Those of course are some of the more famous ones, as they were made into books and even a tv show for the latter. There were sites about sexuality, but the blogs tended to be more personal. Erotica or sex diaries seemed to be the most popular and the most celebrated thanks to the Holy Grail of Traffic: Fleshbot’s Sex Blog Roundup that was aggregated in the beginning by Violet Blue and Bacchus.  The growing boom seems to have continued through and peaking at maybe 2009.  Early icons included [tooltip tip=”AAG later on,  Laura –@_Laura33_ on Twitter and website designer to the e-famous–now”]AlwaysArousedGirl[/tooltip]  who, by 2008, had the most popular personal blog *I* knew of – if you weren’t on her radar, you [tooltip tip=”At one point she was half of the Fleshbot Sex Blog Round-up duo, she also worked on Janesguide reviewing blogs and sites. Not to mention her blogroll was the most extensive around and was a listing of anyone and everyone who mattered”]were toast[/tooltip].  Sam Sugar, [tooltip tip=”At one point it looks like he was running 7 different sex sites, including porn for PSPs and a podcast called Podnography”]entrepreneurial[/tooltip] spirit that he was, started his site in 04 and in 05 the project that birthed many to this day – Sugasm. In the summer of 2008 blogspot/Blogger started [tooltip tip=”this seems so minor now compared to what they started doing last year, which was deleting people who had affiliate links”]cracking down[/tooltip] on adult blogs by forcing a warning screen to pop up first. This was annoying at best, and ruined your stats trackers at worst. A number of people made the move to being self-hosted, including me. I was self-hosted probably less than 3 months after I first started.

So many blogs that popped up in 2005-2008 no longer exist. But some of the more popular ones in their day are still around: Sinclair Sexsmith, Viviane’s Sex Carnival site, Alex & Suze who created a number of [tooltip tip=”I inexplicably got banned from ALL their lists and directories at some point a few years ago. I inquired many times, but no one would ever respond to me so I don’t know if they’re just unprofessional or if the site runs itself now without them touching it”]directories/”top lists”[/tooltip] such as AdultBlogHub. Essin’ Em who is now known as Shanna Katz, Sabrina Morgan, and Audacia Ray of Waking Vixen are perfect examples of early bloggers who made a career out of their blogs but are now sought-after speakers, educators, authors and activists.

HNT and Sugasm

Both of these seem to have popped up roundabout the same time period (05/06). I became fed up with the eye-rolling that seemed to just persist towards sex bloggers joining in [tooltip tip=”HNT, Half Nekkid Thursday, was started by a man who had absolutely nothing to do with the sex blogging world. The people who first joined in were not aiming for the prize of Most Sexy each week. At some point though the sex bloggers found out about it and found out that it was a great place to get new readers and show off their perpetually horny selves. It was a simple system, there were no link lists but there were a lot of comments to go around – the hotter you were, the more comments you received. The person who ran it each week simply created a post every Wednesday night and people commented with the link to their post.”]HNT[/tooltip], so after 2 years of participating in the epic-ness that was HNT I branched off and created something new – Wanton Wednesday in 2010. Wanton Wednesday inspired Sinful Sunday to come up a year later, and then when I decided to hang up WW, a bunch of other weekly memes cropped up. 

The mysterious (to me) Sam Sugar had the idea in 2005 of sharing links between blogs in a new way – not just a sidebar link, but a link to your best post of the week, and everybody who participates shares the list. Originally titled Bloggasm, it quickly grew big enough to be its own thing and he renamed it Sugasm. The format changed as the participants grew, and soon it was the [tooltip tip=”With Sugasm, though, it was weekly, and all participants had the chance to vote. Weekly!!”]format you’re familiar with[/tooltip] now in e[lust].  Sam didn’t seem to last more than a few years after Sugasm got off the ground; he had had bloggers like Sabrina Morgan and [tooltip tip=”Vixen was completely running Sugasm editions for a few years on her own after Sam disappeared eventually in 08.”]Radical Vixen[/tooltip] doing the hard work on Sugasm for him.  When Sugasm started to become less reliable and less frequent, due to understandable burn-out and life, Vixen decided to hang it up. I knew how important Sugasm was and so I started my own – e[lust]. I made a [tooltip tip=”Some changes I made were to not include sex toy reviews, since they were becoming more prevalent–plus a digest just for reviews existed–and to not allow commercial/porn sites or posts just meant to promote/sell something–to participate. This made the digest more palatable to most, but cut back on the traffic spikes everyone would see.”]bunch of changes[/tooltip], but kept a lot of things the same.  Pleasurists, the first weekly digest for sex toy reviews, came out late 2008.  Since the demise of Pleasurists, we’ve seen various other ways of carrying the torch including other digests and even entire sites (which also sadly died off).

The First Sex Toy Reviews on Blogs

I’ve found evidence of sex toy reviews (as we know them currently) on blogs going back as far as 2005 2. Perhaps, depending on one’s definition of a sex toy review, this post at Erosblog could be considered the first – Bacchus was sent some vibrating products and told his readers how they worked out for him. At the heart of the definition, that could be considered the first. But for years, they were few and far between, of course. Slowly by 2006/2007 they ramped up a bit more. EdenFantasys and Lovehoney had community reviews that happened onsite, but EF also was doing blog reviews as early as 2007, and the blogs were decidedly of the “sexy sex blog” nature – they had the traffic. AAG probably did the very first blogger giveaway in 2006 with a giftcard to a porn site. By the time I started in 2008, it was right on the cusp of explosion. was the company willing to send me stuff when I was only a month old, and seemed to be the company most often sponsoring reviews that summer in addition to Babeland.  I feel like I did a lot of sex toy reviews for the first 3 years in contrast to my other posts, and there were a number of other bloggers getting in on the reviews but it still was nothing like it is today with many blogs mostly dedicated to sex toys. I think I found the earliest example of a mostly-review blog here, started in 2006. Since the sexy sex blogs ruled supreme, it felt like you were really expected to incorporate the sexiness into your review for the sake of your readers. Reviews written for the consumer, more professional sounding reviews, weren’t popular until 2009 it looks like.

The giveaways were so limited.  SO. LIMITED. And of course unless you were super popular, the giveaways weren’t as popular because Twitter, when it was first available, wasn’t the massive thing it is now.

Bloggers Building Community – Conferences and Parties

2008 seems to be the year that sex bloggers really started meeting in person.  Sex 2.0 was the first sexuality conference (run on a version of the “unconference model”), originally created by Amber L. Rhea, and first happened in April 2008. Sex 2.0 continued in 2009 and 2010, the host city & conference organizer changing with each conference. Fall of 2008 had the NYC Sex Blogger Calendar party, started by Tess Danesi aka Urban Gypsy with her friend [tooltip tip=”You now know her as Dee Dennis!”]Debauched Domestic Diva[/tooltip] as a way to do something good in the NYC blogger community (which had recently seen a lot of scandal), with proceeds going to a sex-positive charity. The first Sex Blogger Calendar party was mostly a NYC blogger thing, with a few out-of-towners attending the party that fall. It grew to be more national in [tooltip tip=”Technically of course, the Calendars were 2009, 2010, and 2011 but the release parties would happen the November of the year prior which is why I list 2008-2010, since I’m focusing here on the events that brought people together”]2009 and 2010[/tooltip], with more bloggers coming in for the event.  After attending the panel “Sex in America”, Tess, with the help of Dee under their company Tied Up Events, had the idea to [tooltip tip=”From the site: Momentum is being presented by Tied Up Events, the NYC based sexuality event planning company founded by Tess Danesi and Dee Dennis.  Tess who has blogged extensively about sex and sexuality, written and published erotica, now teaches sexuality workshops.  In 2008, abetted by Diva, she conceived the NYC Sex Blogger Calendar whose editions raised funds for Sex Work Awareness”] create a conference[/tooltip] around the topics discussed in it. MomentumCon happened in 2011 and 2012 in DC. Tess moved on to other projects, like the Woodhull Alliance, after the second MomentumCon, and Dee changed the name to Catalyst, putting it on east and west coast for 2013 and 2014. Not the only conferences on the block, there is also the Playground Conference in Canada, and Woodhull Alliance Sexual Freedom Summit conference in DC. All of these conferences have built a community that transcends the limitations of the web, fostering friendships and bridging the gap that can exist when you only speak via text.

Sex 2.0 really started bringing the community together in the flesh and has indirectly resulted in what we experience today. You can see from looking at the site in the Wayback that the sessions are not much different than what we currently see – we still need and want to talk about many of the same issues from 2008 through 2014.

Share Your Stories

Am I really the best person to be writing this post? No; I only started in 2008. This post would have been much richer in detail had it been written by someone else, but I’m what you get because I’m the only one crazy enough to tackle it3. I did pick the brains though of The Former AAG, Bacchus, Ellie, Shanna, Tess and Amber Rhea – without their help I would be a lot more clueless. I’ve had to gloss over and sometimes leave out entire swaths of history.  This really could be a book, but I’m not a book writer. I’ve left out a lot to focus more on how we got from Violet Blue & Erosblog to sex toy giveaways galore and flying cross country to hang out at conferences. So I remind you again that if you have stories to tell that will help fill in and round out this history, please share with us below. Every bit is fascinating. I can’t tell you how many hours I lost to picking my way through the Internet Archives of old sites long gone or just viewing the old school designs.


There’s been great discussion on Twitter, so I’m saving all tweets related to the discussion on Storify:


  1. You really should also check out his 5 yr anniversary and 10 yr anniversary posts
  2. Bacchus wonders if this page on Violet Blue’s site can be considered as such, but it seems to be more of an education piece to me
  3. I think I’m starting to get a reputation for that “Oh that Lilly….she tackles the craziest shit. And man, she’s wordy”
Mar 182014
tl;dr : If you don’t care to understand “why” then focus on the Header text, the color-coded bullet lists below, and the color-coded photo examples. This will explain everything you need to know to educate your readers, customers and yourselves. It’s important to get the info right!

Yes, Silicone Can Burn

A couple years ago I created a big post with videos talking all about how you can flame test sex toys to see if they’re really silicone or not. But the silicone styles being used in the industry are changing and are more varied than we thought, and so the flame test isn’t as easy to decipher as we thought. It used to be thought that it was pretty black and white – silicone won’t “burn”. “If it burns, it’s not silicone”. “Silicone won’t melt” is another one. But what do YOU think of when you think of something burning? What results would you expect? You may expect nothing to happen, for the silicone to be utterly resistant to the heat of the flame. And that is partially true – your results vary depending on where on the item you flame test. If you flame test the middle of the flat base, or the shaft of the insertable portion, there is no edge or no seam. When the silicone is thinner and softer, that’s when it can burn. But there’s a large difference between the smoldering like the ashes of a nearly-dead campfire and the flames of a torch.  In my interview with Metis, she told me that we could expect pale gray ash. The ash was the marker of the silicone, but that it would brush off with no damage. We thought this of the Jimmyjane Hello Touch. It burned, it produced the tell-tale dry ash of silicone oils, but it also showed material loss and stickiness. This confused us. It got sent off to a lab test, and it was proven to in fact be 100% silicone.

Yes, Silicone Can Get Sticky from the Heat of a Flame

After the third person mentioned the “sticky”, I asked Metis her thoughts. She weighed in on this with some thoughts that it could be down to a difference in the amount of softening silicone oils present or a difference in the types of silicone. RTV, LIM. One is poured, one is injected. This difference in silicone types could be why some appear to burn/smolder more than others or why some get sticky and you’ll see some material loss. One theory I have is that many of the dildos that frequently got flame tested were made with RTV type silicone; it would have been much less likely to be thin/soft/stretchy silicone so therefore less likely to produce excess flame, sticky material, etc. A few years ago, RTV type would have been much more prevalent, therefore the RTV type silicone was used as the “this is how silicone should behave” standard.  One constant I see, though, is the presence of the pale-grey / white ash if it is silicone and if any “burn” happens. It might burn because the sample is so thin (like the Hello Touch) or because you caught a sharp edge/seam — but there was still ash left behind. Also when true silicone burns like this, it usually will quickly extinguish on its own….unless you have a situation like the Bedroom Kandi kegel beads.

I admit: We were wrong about the Bedroom Kandi kegel bead holster. I remember a few years ago at the conference, I was showing my results to a number of industry professionals and asking their opinion before I said it publicly on my blog. Everyone said “that’s not how silicone behaves, I don’t think it’s silicone”.  But! It produced ash! If we posit that ash is a defining marker of silicone, then yeah….the BK Hold On To Me bead holster is silicone. Why did it burn up like it did, so fast? Because it was a very thin piece of silicone, LIM type, made to be extra soft and stretchy. There were a lot of silicone oils to burn and it didn’t leave a lot of solid materials behind.

Embrace Your Inner Pyro and Observe

Get out your lighter, an empty bowl, some water, and a camera if you want. Apply the tip of the orange flame to the sex toy and see HOW it burns. One thing that a pure silicone will NOT do, no matter what type it is, is burn like an oil lamp. I’ve had these weird TPR things go up in flames, burning bright, high and hot. I’ve seen the more firm versions of TPR-type materials (this is rare in the sex toy world) not do anything at first….they just absorb the heat of the flame, and then get all smooshy and melty and pliable.  I tested a cock ring that is called “SEBS Silicone” by Screaming O. A lot of retailers who don’t know any better look at that and say “oh, silicone!” and list it on their site as such. Pure silicone will never be crystal clear and see-through1. The extreme stretch and the jelly look of the material means it’s not silicone.

Results from a flame test that likely indicate silicone (a few of these at once are normal, or just one):

  • Pale-to-medium gray ash which is easily removed
  • A small amount of material damage and “flaking”, leaving behind a sticky patch
  • No change
  • Black, sooty mark that rubs off easily
  • Black, sooty mark that doesn’t rub off 100%

Results that likely indicate it is not silicone include a lack of gray ash as noted above plus:

  • Easily catches fire to a hot, large flame that must be doused with water
  • Completely melted and deformed material
  • Material that looks charred black and melted (think of what melted plastic containers look like)
  • Catches fire and spreads quickly over the material as if an accelerant were involved
  • Does not catch fire, just absorbs the heat and eventually deforms. Material is pliable and soft when still warm.

Below, I have some photos I’ve taken of the flame test process on some known materials.  Then I have some readers who wrote in with their questions on their flame test results.


SILICONE: First up is a silicone cock ring from CalExotics. It’s “clear”, but it’s cloudy-clear. The stretch amount isn’t anything like a “jelly” ring. You’ll see in the first photo that I was able to get some ash. It did smolder because I caught a seam, but I couldn’t get the photo of that in time. Next, you can see a section where there is a bit of obvious material loss. Still, though, I can stretch the ring and it doesn’t tear. Finally, I’ve stretched it out a little and you can see slight scorch marks that I was able to mostly wipe off, plus little areas that are slightly different looking.
SiliconeCRing1 SiliconeCRing2 SiliconeCRing3

SILICONE: This is the Bedroom Kandi kegel bead set with a silicone holster. This was the first item to trick us. First you can see it smoldering and producing white ash. It burned a lot more/faster in my original flame test video, because I was burning the thin retrieval cord. Next up you can see that the material looks different after I blew the ash off. Finally, you can see that a part of the material is sticking to my finger. The section where it burned was sticky to the touch. It isn’t nearly as sticky the day after burning.
BedroomKandi1 BedroomKandi2 BedroomKandi3

SILICONE: This is some Tantus silicone. First up in pink is a representative of their firmer silicone. This is the base of one of the handled dildos. I couldn’t get it to burn, therefore no ash, but it scorched from the lighter. Perhaps if I were using a cleaner type of lighter, I would have less of the black soot. Next up though you can see that the black soot was easily wiped clean. However on their much softer O2 material, I had trouble getting the soot mark to completely rub off.
TantusFirm1 TantusFirm2 TantusSoft

NOT SILICONE: This is a Screaming O cock ring with the plastic bullet removed. Their packaging calls it jelly material in one section, but “SEBS Silicone” in another and then goes on to say that this is a disposable ring and shouldn’t be used again. That doesn’t sound like silicone to me! Plus this material is super soft, very clear, and extremely stretchy. In the first photo, you can see it burning like an oil lamp. This happened quickly and without much provocation. Unlike the silicone flames, I couldn’t blow this out, and had to dump water on it. You can see in the next photo where the most recently burned portion is puddling out into the water. In the last photo you can see a more severe case of it melting, and even see that the material is browned a bit from scorching. This was from a previous burn that held on longer because I forgot to bring water over and had to rush it to the kitchen sink.
ScreamingO1 ScreamingO2 ScreamingO3

NOT SILICONE: This is an old-school CalExotics rabbit vibe. The packaging doesn’t even say phthalates-free. The material feels WEIRD. It is more firm than I expected, and the surface is as smooth as glossy hard plastic. It stinks like a sweet shower curtain smell. When it burns, the fumes are extremely pungent, much moreso than the Screaming O ring. So in the first photo you can see the tip of the bunny ear flaming away. Then you can see the black scorch of melted and burnt material. That’s exactly what it’s like….burnt plastic.  The burnt part is hard now. The flames didn’t want to die down easy and I had to dump water on it before it got out of control.
Bunny1 Bunny2

NOT SILICONE: These photos come from someone else who shared their results on the Reddit board I help manage, and I’m sharing them with you. “I did attempt it on the end first, but it was so thin there wasn’t even enough material to light, all it did was get greasy, and weep, before I could see the plastic underneath. There was never any ash produced at anytime during the test. And when the middle melted, it just oozed apart, and lost all structural integrity. It behaved a lot like warm hard candy before the hard crack stage. Pliable, but once it cooled back down it lost a lot of its elasticity and some parts even became brittle.” In the photos below you see the “Smart Balls” separated with weird greasy-looking drops of liquid and blackened burnt plastic.  This person received these as a free gift with order from an Amazon seller, Healthy and Active. The “Smartballs” came in bulk packaging, not Fun Factory packaging. These are clearly a knock-off. This is why I always say never buy your sex toys from Amazon!
Smartballs1 Smartballs2 Smartballs3

SILICONE: Another reviewer, Sex and Java, decided to flame test their Pleasure Works Cadet. It is labeled as silicone and thus far they’ve been a manufacturer to trust, but the package labeling caused concern. Why would a dildo be labeled “for external use only” and then proclaim to be “anal safe”? You can’t have it both ways, folks.  The first photo below shows a lot of soot, but that’s to be expected so long as it washes off, and it does as seen in the 2nd photo. The 3rd and 4th photos show the disclaimer and then anal safe wording. This disclaimer and wording also appears on a buttplug of theirs, so it seems to be a standard disclaimer. I just can’t understand why a company who makes insertable sex toys would be a “for external use only” warning on the package. It doesn’t feel right.
Flame After externaluse analsafe

Regardless of the weird package warnings, this black soot/scorch mark is still normal. It’s because you’re not burning something “clean”, you’re using a lighter or match or something that gives off soot when it burns. So the longer you hold the flame to the material, trying to force a burn/reaction, the more soot you’ll get and something it won’t rub off. In this particular instance I would say that you can’t expect a burn result (to produce ash to tell that it’s silicone) if you’re holding the flame against that flat surface. You’d need to try the edge of the base. I’ve seen results of just minor soot marks on silicone from Fun Factory and Lelo, mainly because they are vibrators with no discernible “sharp” thin edge and no sections of super thin material. I couldn’t get a burn, so no ash. The soot is also probably a reaction of the dimethicone burning. When I cut the silicone skin off the Lelo Ina, I was able to catch an edge and get some white ash and minor smoldering burn.


Hi Lilly,
I ran across your informative blog while I was searching for information about silicone sex toys.
I’ve had this favorite dildo for a few years now, but I kept getting reoccuring vaginal infections after using it. Since I mostly used it during the times when my husband and I were intimate, I initially thought the infections were coming from sexual intercourse with my husband.
After reading your blog, I decided to do a flame test on the dildo. Within 2 seconds of the flame touching the dildo, it immediately started on fire. The entire thing was covered in light blue flames. To give it a fair chance, I tried it on 2 different spots (the shaft and the base), and both had the same results. It was scorched black and it stank really bad. I tried to rub off the scorch marks and it was melted and peeled off, revealing underneath a fibrous looking material.
I don’t think this is silicone and now I may have found the source of my infections! The issue is that this sex toy company is well known where I live (Europe) and I visited their website and viewed their description of my toy. It states “100% silicone” and “Phthalates free”.
Is it still possible for this toy to be silicone? Have you ever done a flame test on a silicone toy and had it go up in flames? If it isn’t silicone, how can they falsely advertise like that and cause women, like me, to get infections?

PROBABLY NOT SILICONE: The fact that it burned in this manner, covered in the light blue flames combined with the peeling and the lack of pale gray ash tells me it’s probably not silicone. If it was just covered in the blue flames, I would think that the company didn’t thoroughly rinse off the m0uld-release agent during production. I’ve burned a lot of silicone, and it’s never smelled great (you are burning chemicals, after all). TPR  and jelly rubber did stink much, much worse though. And yes, if this is a porous toy it would absolutely be passing on a recurring infection! I’ve seen the blue-flames effect happen with silicone that was still covered in manufacturing chemicals but this person’s sex toy was not brand new.

What’s your opinion on Rocks Off toys? I bought one of them recently (an anal plug), the site had it listed as silicone. But then after I got it, I checked the Rocks Off site and on there it says “silicone rubber.” Which is disappointing. I tried the flame test and it did melt and come off on my finger when I rubbed it after. I tried my other two silicone toys (Dorcel and Fun Factory) and neither even had burn marks, they just got warm. There was some light grey ash, yes. I redid it to show how it rubs off and to show it better, my camera isn’t the greatest but a bit definitely gets removed. The spot on the toy stays tacky after.


SILICONE: My best answer to the “silicone rubber” term: “Silicone rubber” is a…. oh boy. there’s a word for these terms. Like “tin foil”. It’s no longer made from tin, but its a holdover saying. I have yet to actually find a logical reason for a company to create a material that is a combination of silicone and another porous elastomer. Silicone is expensive. When they say “silicone rubber” it’s a “rubber-like” sort of material. Pliable.  Anyways, with regards to the results of the flame test, I’ve seen this. The sticky, the material loss but with the presence of ash. Because it smoldered and didn’t go up in a woosh (coupled with the ash), I still believe this to be silicone.


If you’ve flame-tested a toy, please email me with a photo of your results so that I can start sharing more here!

Disclaimer: I am explaining things in the best way I know how. I’m dealing here in many “facts” that I can’t tell you are all 100% accurate – we lack the ability to be super scientific about this. I don’t have a chemist by my side, I don’t have a lab. I’m sharing with you what we think, what we are inferring from results thus far, and what our reason and logic is filling in. The information here may change as we learn more–in fact this post is all about how the information is changing because we’ve learned more because I’m sharing more nuanced result facets than I could with the first flame test post. So understand that nothing is 100% certain but I’m doing my best and I fully believe that some things hold absolutely true – gray ash means silicone, and a hot, high burn like an oil lamp means plasticizers.

  1. Someone who didn’t  publicly comment pointed out that Chavez Designs, formerly Jollies, has some “clear” dildos. There is a large difference though between the clarity of their silicone and the crystal-clear of TPR/Jelly; plus their stuff is very firm. Every dildo I’ve seen from them is a bit “cloudy” clear. Example 1 and Example 2 from Chavez. Now here is what I mean by crystal clear: Example 1 and Example 2. Now you will absolutely see cloud-clear TPR and Jelly, yes. But the feel is different, they’re very soft. Companies other than Chavez that make silicone in this translucent-yet-not-crystal-clear silicone are Vamp and Vixen. If you see others and question the material composition, let me know!

e[lust] 56

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Mar 172014

Welcome to e[lust] – The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at e[lust]. Want to be included in e[lust] #57? Start with the rules, come back April 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

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Trick of the Light

What Does Porn Lead To

The Posh Life of a Sex Toy Reviewer?

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Eleven Quarters

Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Sadists

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

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Continue reading »

 Posted by at 2:18 pm
Mar 142014

WeVibeTangoStandard Innovations has been improving on their flagship couples’ toy, the We-Vibe, for awhile now. We’re on the 4th version of the We-Vibe, so it’s about time they upgraded the much-loved We-Vibe Tango and We-Vibe Touch! In this review I do primarily focus on what has changed since the original versions. There is still a good bit of info from my original review that should be read, though.

What’s Changed for the We-Vibe Touch?

The We-Vibe Touch was never my favorite, but I didn’t hate it. I liked the size, the ergonomic shape. The motor was supposed to be identical to the Tango. But the motor being surrounded by a hunk of silicone led to quite a bit of vibration dampening – moreso when pressure was applied or it was held too firmly. Plus, the silicone of the original We-Vibe Touch was shiny; it attracted ALL THE FUR. ALL THE DUST.

We-Vibe Touch: The glossy silicone of the original We-Vibe Touch shows a ton of fur, dust and lint. The new silky, matte finish of the Touch 2 stays clean!

Thankfully, the Touch has received the same silicone upgrade as the We-Vibe 4 – it is now a silky matte finish that stays relatively clean. The difference between my original Touch and my new one is that I’m not noticing nearly as much vibration dampening. It was extreme and obvious on the first one, it sounded like it dropped down 2 or 3 whole speeds when the tip would be surrounded by flesh. For that reason I could never recommend it to those who needed a powerful vibrator. New & Improved We-Vibe Touch is absolutely improved. Better silicone and hardly any vibration dampening, so it is much stronger.

What’s Changed for the We-Vibe Tango?

We-Vibe Tango: Comparison of the Lelo Mia 2, new Tango, old Tango, and a Tantus bullet vibe. The We-Vibe Tango and it’s dearly departed sister, Salsa, is my vibrator obsession. It’s my holy grail, my “stranded on a deserted island”, and always my answer to “if you had to pick just one sex toy”. For me, it’s just THAT good. We-Vibe Tango is versatile, portable, has the most perfect type of vibrations and remains my #1 recommended external vibrator. I heard back from a lot of people who got one under my recommendation or won one of the many Salsas I’ve given away; every person fell in love with it completely. I personally have 3 each of Salsa and Tango – one died after 15 months, but it was my most-often used in the bunch by far simply because it was my first one acquired and I probably used it 320 times in that 15 months.

The Tango is still made of shiny ABS plastic to transmit the most oomph for your buck, but the size and shape is slightly different now. They’ve also changed their color lineup. It’s now available in a sort-of cornflower blue shade that We-Vibe Tango: The dark purple older We-Vibe Tango on top, the blue new version Tango on bottom. Slightly elongated tip on the new versionI actually really like, and a bright fuchsia pink. The length of the new Tango is just a fraction of an inch longer, with a more pronounced tip and slant. It doesn’t affect how it works for me based on how I use it, but for those who enjoy a super pinpoint vibration it will be a little more enjoyable. There’s still the flat surface of the slant or you can apply it more sideways like I do. I was a bit concerned that the added length and shape change would affect the ability for Tango to replace watch-battery style bullets (like those in Tantus toys), but so far I’ve not had any problems.  The body of the Tango also seems to be wider, by just a millimeter or so, so if you had one and it was a tight fit for the bullet it was replacing, it will be just a bit more snug. A touch of lube will help.


Overall Changes to Both Tango and Touch

I’ve had great luck with my Tango/Salsa units, and they’ve gone on to work like champs for me. Of the ones I’ve given away from contests, only one person reported an early failure. Unlike a certain company I cut ties with, Standard Innovations has thus far been really great about replacing dead units for people, as far as I’m aware. I’ve not heard of any customer service problems. However, others aren’t as lucky with longevity and I’ve seen some reports of multiple unit failures. In response to this, Standard Innovations listened:

“Based on the assessment of some failed units we made changes to the electrical board that should decrease the failure rate for Touch and Tango. We’d love if we could guarantee every unit would be perfect, unfortunately that is not realistic. We really encourage that people take advantage of our warranty because not only does it help the customer receive a functioning product but it helps us document issues, see trends and make changes as required. We truly want the best experience for all users of We-Vibe products.”

A number of people, myself included, hated the magnetic charging base. It was a little round thing, and very finicky about staying connected.  The new base or “cap” is rectangular and is USB only. Sorry for those like me who still prefer wall chargers! You can plug it in to a USB wall adapter though if you have one (which you should, since this is clearly the way rechargeables are going now). I think that the magnets are stronger, and the contact pegs on the newer versions are just a bit longer. I’ve not had nearly as much trouble getting the cap to stay connected to the unit during charging – it’s much easier on the new versions but even if you pair a new charger with an older Tango, it will still hold on better. It was pointed out to me that Shevibe carries a nifty little adapter in case you don’t already have one – you plug the large USB end into it, and voila, you have a wall adapter for charging. Thanks for the tip, Dizzygirl! We-Vibe Tango: The old charging cap up top was round, a nightmare for keeping it in place. The new charging cap is much improved!

The Tango and Touch also now have a low-power alert. I can appreciate it, especially during use and right after to remind me to charge it. But when it’s laying around somewhere like my nightstand or my desk, the yellow blinking light is annoying to me. Of course, to shut it up, all I need to do is put it on the charger. I’ve managed to get another orgasm out of it while it’s still blinking, because it doesn’t take me half an hour of use to come with these.


Who Do I Love The Most?

While I’m still in love with Tango and will continue to recommend it heavily, I’m now much more apt to recommend the Touch. Touch is not quite as powerful as Tango because of the silicone surrounding it, true, but the new silicone and the lack of vibration dampening has won me over quite a bit more.  I find it funny that in my initial review of the Salsa/Tango/Touch I didn’t seem to quite portray how much I loved my vibrator. Sure, I said I loved it. I said that the rumbly vibrations are the best I’ve ever felt in any vibrator this size (and in most any vibrator). But I noted that there downfalls. So I went back to do an update on the review post to mention about the Salsa discontinuation issue and I find that my words still apply so I’ll use them again here:

The Tango is my go-to vibe now. For the last year plus I’ve used little else; they (plural because I own a bunch of them) continually rock my world. 99% of my sex toy collection is collecting dust, because these little vibes are the only thing I need. My listing the price as a con? NO NO. I take it back. I’d happily pay that price for these vibrations. They’re worth it.  Crappy storage bag? No travel lock? SHUT UP LILLY THIS IS THE BEST VIBRATOR EVER. FULL STOP. GO HOME.  I’ve yet to find another external vibrator that matches (much less exceeds) the rumbly goodness of the vibrations coming from this little powerhouse. It’s astonishing.

I also want to note something: With nearly every vibrator I’ve ever owned, I can’t orgasm until it’s on high, the highest setting it has (if it’s ever going to get me off, that is). With the Tango? I’ve been able to orgasm from the second power setting. There are FOUR. Sometimes I need the fourth power level, sometimes I don’t. It’s because of the type of vibrations this thing has. It’s the rumble. The rumble is just that important.

Want One?

Grab your Touch or Tango from Shevibe. They have really competitive pricing, are trustworthy and reliable (unlike Amazon) and they’re my favorite sex toy store.





I was provided a Tango and Touch courtesy of Standard Innovations in exchange for my honest review. is sponsoring the giveaway. Much love and thanks to both!

 Posted by at 7:46 pm
Mar 112014

TantusBlackWidowHarness4Not too long ago, Tantus launched a line of fancy-pants strap-on harnesses. Made of leather, they feature great designs and innovative harness technologies1. Some of the Connoisseur line works with the standard rings  and buckles (Nevada and Black Widow), but a few of them rely on velcro for a super easy, more streamlined fit (Amazon, EZ and Nurse).  The standard designs of Nevada and Black Widow are more versatile, though, since they come with interchangeable rubber o-rings.

The Good

The Tantus Black Widow Harness can fit a fairly wide range of bodies. The hip size range listed on the site is 30-50″ but I think it depends on how you wear it and how you’re built. If you’re heavy-set with a large lower belly roll like me, you’ll be wearing this differently than someone with a wide-hipped flatter-tummy hourglass shape. The harness wearer is going to get the most pleasure out of the experience by wearing the front of the harness low enough so that the pressure from the base of the dildo rests above the clitoris, but this is a subjective point. That being said, if I went by my actual hip measurement, I would have been afraid of not fitting into this, but due to how I wore it I actually had a good bit of strap room to spare.

This harness is REALLY well made. The stitching is tight, the leather cut-out of the web design is perfect. The primary leather is all black, and then the front and back piece have a 2-layer design on top; a black spider-web cut-out design covers a red background leather. The straps have finished edges, everywhere, and all stitching is done in the contrasting red. This harness won’t fall apart on you, given proper care and maintenance2.  The fit can be customized further because of the loop rings at the back for the leg straps, too. It’s made from a high quality leather that is soft, yet sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of this intricate design. If you’ve ever owned or felt an Aslan Leather Minx or Jaguar harness, it’s almost as soft as that…not quite as pliable though.

The designs are pretty unique and interesting. How can you not feel like a total bad-ass wearing a harness that evokes Super Hero undertones?!? The other designs are just as fabulous, too.  Nevada is more gender-neutral than Amazon or Nurse, which I appreciate. Amazon is pretty, and Nurse would be awesome for role-play/cosplay.

Why it Didn’t Work For Me

That’s right, it didn’t work for me as well as I’d like, and I hate to say it. Black Widow wasn’t a good fit for me. It’s all down to how my body is built. The lower belly overhang combined with the large o-rings on either side of the front piece meant that the o-rings dug into  me in an uncomfortable way.  The way the Black Widow front piece comes up in the center to a peak also didn’t work with my belly. The Nevada front piece design would probably work better for me in that aspect. The Amazon design wouldn’t work for me at all due to the thick design, but could be great for many other body types – just not mine.

Yes, that’s the only downfall – my own body.  Not every body will work with every harness, and that is sadly the case for me. You might also not be as sensitive as me. I’m a bit “Princess and the Pea” – even remnants of a tag will bother me, or a weird fabric will make me crazy. I’m extra, super picky in that regard, and I realize that. I fully believe though that this harness will work for the majority of you. If it weren’t so very well-made, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Color Coordinating

Stylized harnesses like this beg for color coordination, in my opinion. I can’t help it! I would feel weird pairing the Black Widow with any of the realistic flesh toned dildos, but that’s just me. Dark or medium purple could work in a pinch, I suppose, but I’d only feel truly right pairing it with a black or red dildo. Luckily there are many options for black harness-compatible dildos at Tantus.  Listed in size order from smallest to largest: Silk Medium, Mark O2, Curve, Throb, Silk Large, Adam O2, Raptor, Raptor XL and T-Rex.

Grab Bag might have a chance now and then at a red dildo. If red is really what you want to match, I’d suggest giving Tantus a call3 or email and they can probably go see if any existing Grab Bag items are sitting around at the moment in red. You might get lucky!

Tantus Black Widow Connoisseur Harness - Showing back panel and straps Tantus Black Widow Connoisseur Harness - Front panel with interchangeable rubber o-ring and 3 leather snaps Tantus Black Widow Connoisseur Harness - Paired with a black Tantus dildo Tantus Black Widow Connoisseur Harness - Paired with a medium purple Tantus Raptor XL dildo

  1. yes a harness can have technologies. hush
  2. From their site: “To clean, use a watered down solution of white vinegar or castile soap on a clean, lint-free cloth, then wipe dry.
  3. They’re one of the best to call, so super helpful and never judgmental

Review Roundup 33

 Blogging  Comments Off on Review Roundup 33
Mar 102014

Welcome to HedoVibes, a collection of reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of adult product reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.

Want to read more reviews? Check out HedoVibes for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. HedoVibes is also accepting photo submissions for each edition.

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 Posted by at 10:06 pm