Dec 252016
 

Due to something that was an experiment-turned-Big-Thing1, I wrote more frequently this year than I have in recent years. I’m branching out a little with this list to talk about sex toys I loved, loathed, wanted to love, and hope to love. Sometimes though I couldn’t pick one item so there’s also a few companies I want to highlight – good AND bad.  This post won’t be my only 2016 round-up though, so stay tuned for more.

Stand Out Sex Toys of 2016

Womanizer PRO40Womanizer PRO40 – The PRO40 didn’t get it’s own review, but it was part of the Womanizer vs Satisfyer comparison post. Despite me liking the PRO40 the best of all of them, I couldn’t be bothered to do a full review since, by and large, it was the same thing as before with some seemingly minor changes. But oh, the changes they were. A lower price! Waterproof! Up and Down buttons! No rhinestones! It’s the same technology as all other Womanizer versions, but it is cheaper. The motor is better than the Satisfyer Pro 2 but perhaps a little less finessed than the Womanizer W100 or W500. I first tried the Womanizer W100 last fall and was blown away. This year this type of sex toy has become my go-to clitoral sex toy. Yes, even more than the Tango. Seriously.

TengaIrohaKushiTenga Iroha Kushi– It’s squishy. It’s cute. The vibrations are fairly rumbly and have enough power to get me off. And that tip is super-pin-point in the best way. I wasn’t in love with the first line of Iroha squishy vibes, but I’m a convert now. I love the seashell look and shape, and my reservations about the grooves were erased when I saw how easy it is to clean. I’ve tried the whale (Yoru), but didn’t like the shape at all. If the shape and color of a red bird appeals to you more then try the Tori– I think it’ll be just like the Kushi.

NudeImpressions1Blush Nude Impressions 01 – I’m not a fan of Blush overall so it was hard for me to put this here. Really hard. But I couldn’t help myself with this darn good, affordable vibrator. It’s waterproof. It’s rechargeable. It has a strong suction cup. It’s silicone (of course). The vibrations are fairly strong and rumbly – it’s no We-Vibe Rave but for the price range and qualities, I think it gets overlooked. It can be used in a harness. It’s butt safe. It’s good for g-spots. It’s even good for external stimulation. Should I go on?

Favorite Sex Toy Companies of 2016

funkit2Funkit -This year I was blown away by the designs of Funkit. Yes, the first thing I focused on was the clear silicone and swirls of pigment but then I noticed the designs. I noticed how hard Kenton was working to perfect the designs and the lengths Kenton will go to to ensure that everything is as high-quality as possible. At first there were just a few dildos and a plug, but now there are paddles and hand-sex rings and even ball gags. Fancy a certain color combo? Funkit can abide. Shevibe is now stocking a few select colors/models from Funkit (including the rainbow “Crista” design)!

crownedjewelsCrowned Jewels -In a world rife with counterfeit stainless steel sex toy designs the originality and beauty of Crowned Jewels stood out.  Offering up stainless steel alternatives in either titanium (anodized for extra awesomeness) or aluminum alloys, these lightweight metal designs can be especially great for folks who worry that the heft of Njoy steel is too much. While their designs, for now, are a bit on the short and slender side, bigger (and better?) things are coming!  I’m excited to see the direction this company will take and their future designs.

wevibesyncpositionsWe-Vibe – “Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a g-spot vibrator with the motor of the Tango?” is probably something many many folks have said over the years. So We-Vibe listened, and created the Rave. Then they listened to the many complaints and downfalls of the typical rabbit vibe, and fixed that too by adding the motor of the tango. And making a unique and powerful clitoral arm. Nova is my number 2 favorite dual-stim sex toy (the L’amourse Denia is the top, but it was on last year’s list). And even though the flagship We-Vibe, that c-shaped couples vibe, has never been something I needed or loved, I have to give props to their new Sync. They fixed the “fit” issue so that it would accommodate the genitals of more people2, and made the motor more rumbly and powerful. It’s not perfect, of course – the Bluetooth doesn’t work when surrounded by flesh because of the position of the antenna3. Because of that it’ll probably never work for me, or others with large full labia, but who knows – maybe they’ll listen, and change that, too. I continue to look forward to their future vibrators! 

DoxyvDoxywideDoxy – While I love the Doxy Don (it used to be the Skittle), I don’t use it much these days. And while I appreciate the Doxy Wands, I never use them because I’m not a fan of broad stimulation or vibrations that aren’t deeply rumbly.  So why are they here? Because they are a stand-up company. Their products are high-quality, their customer service is superb and they’ve managed to hire a stellar manager for their US-based operations; Ruby is an amazing human. AND they sent Girl on the Net to us for Woodhull’s SFS16. Doxy has a few products coming down the pike for 2017 that I am 98% certain I’m going to fall in love with, so be EXCITED.

Problem Child Sex Toy Companies of 2016

lelohex22Lelo fell out of my favor years ago but it’s been getting worse. They started the year with a useless piece of fabric called the Penis Tuxedo, and took up the rest of the year on their even-more-useless condom, the Hex. They partnered with Charlie Sheen, a celeb known for abusing women, to act as their spokesperson and liaison to breaching Civilian Land as they try to fancy themselves a condom maker and sex toy maker. The promotion of a condom that can break and users don’t even know it broke is dangerous, ironic (Sheen is HIV+) and plain stupid. Any sex educator who promotes the Hex as a good condom has earned my distrust, and I’m done recommending Lelo products, period.

tracys-dog-burnTracy’s Dog – I loathed the company for a long time based on the brand name and the fact that they only sold their products on Amazon. Then I saw that they were including fake lab test reports on suspect dildos sent to reviewers; they lied about the lab tests and lied about the material. So when I was searching for a cheap, clear sex toy to use in my clear silicone post I couldn’t resist the purchase of the Tracy’s Dog rabbit, especially since 90% of the Amazon listing called it silicone. It’s not. I wouldn’t recommend buying anything from this brand; there are other brands to support instead, and Tracy’s Dog doesn’t have anything truly unique.

meoMEO.de – What happens when a sex toy retailer puts out a line of house-branded Njoy steel knockoffs, sells house-brand silicone lube mispackaged as water-based lube4, and labels a TPR-headed wand vibrator as silicone because they believe silicone is a “concept”? “We mainly use the concept of “silicone” in the German-speaking world. Our customers understand the term “silicone” a plastic, which is soft and moldable.” I get mad. Other bloggers get mad. And I realize that I can’t recommend them to my readers.  I don’t have a way to test which grade of stainless steel a company may be using and if it’s truly the most body-safe choice, so when I see something priced much lower than njoy, it is highly suspect in my eyes. MEO isn’t the worst ever but have made enough mistakes to cause me concern.

Worst Sex Toys of 2016

Fiera Arouser for HerFiera Arouser – The Fiera “don’t call it a sex toy” Arouser was only given to me for review by the company because I demonstrated the apparent ability to make them feel that I wouldn’t be mad in my review that it didn’t give me orgasms, because it’s not for orgasms, and also because I’ve been dealing with a very low libido. It’s a $200 (or $249 depending) item that is meant as a “warm up”. By combining some suction and light vibration, this sex toy is supposed to basically get you in the mood for sex, or something. But it won’t give you an orgasm, they don’t want it to, and insist that’s not the point. Your husband should give you the orgasm – and please read that bit with the incredulous sarcasm that is in my head. Also, the silicone head has to be replaced every few uses and they’re about $5 each.  It is gendered, hetero, and frankly – insulting. Try literally any other sex toy to achieve the same results. Yes, sex toy, because that’s what this IS.

JimmyJane Intro 4 and 6 with the Form 4 in the backgroundJimmyJane Intro Collection – I tried to give it a chance. I even psyched myself up and expected to enjoy it – rather than expecting to hate it like most Jimmyjame products I’ve tried and verbally (or literally) lit aflame. And boy was I sorely disappointed. I said in the review that I don’t hate the Intro pieces but I’m far from loving them, however as time has marched on I’ve gotten more salty over it especially after reading more about the Intro 2. There are plenty of other affordable sex toys that are better than anything in the Intro Line so please, do not waste your money on these buzzy, half-ass vibrations covered in lint-attracting silicone with some strange shapes.

missvvMiss VV’s Mystery / Miss On The Go – I couldn’t even give this one a proper review because this crappy product requires an app to be useful. And the app never worked for me, an Android user with the latest Samsung phone. First, the app claimed my Bluetooth wasn’t compatible5, and then the app just kept crashing. They don’t anticipate a fix for months, apparently. Good fucking thing I didn’t actually pay for this! To boot, the kegel exerciser is painful to wear as there is no “bend” or give in between the two sections. And that tail! So long! I couldn’t keep it in my pants. Even more strange was the fact that I kept getting notifications on my phone saying that “pillowprincess has canceled the invitation to play”. This means that someone supposedly was allowing me to chat with them and control their useless vibrator. How could this happen though with an app that has never worked? Maybe it’s the Ashley Madison syndrome – not enough users, so bots are available to control or be controlled to make you feel like the experience isn’t totally worthless.  And at $169, with buzzy, weak vibrations, Miss VV’s (real) Mystery is that someone thought this was a good idea. Raise a glass to yet another crowd-funded failure, folks.

Sex Toys of 2016 I Expected to Love More

tantusrumbleTantus Rumble – I wanted to love it, because Tantus. The body design is wonderful – ergonomic and lightweight, with removeable silicone heads for easy cleaning and sanitization. The let-down lay in what many of felt the name implied: rumbles. We admittedly all expected powerful, strong and rumbling vibrations due to words used in marketing. What we have are more gentle vibrations that are somewhere in between buzzy and rumbly. I can recommend it for folks who like broad stimulation and gentle-to-moderate vibrations, but for myself I just don’t love it.

vibratex mystic rechargeable wandMystic Wand Rechargeable – With a motor that felt just a bit buzzier than the original and construction problems making my wand not safe for further use, I was underwhelmed. Even if the silicone were glued on better, the vibrations are just not as amazing as the battery-powered version. It’s such a disappointment because otherwise I adore the body design. Another lightweight, ergonomic wand – albeit with vibrations more powerful than the Tantus Rumble.

swanwandSwan Wand – Fellow lovers of rumbling vibrations urged me to try the Swan Wand, and my few sessions with it left me a little disappointed. The larger end is the rumbly end and boy is it powerful and rumbly, but it’s too large for me to insert. No problem, it could just as easily be an external, broad stimulation vibrator – except I don’t prefer broad stimulation. The Swan Wand is dual-sided and nice, and it clearly is a favorite of many bloggers….just not my favorite. But I don’t hate it, either. I hope to get my full review up soon. The lovely Nashville-based Friction sent it to me and if you are in the Nashville area, contact RoseMarie!

Sex Toys I Look Forward to Trying in 2017

cravebulletCrave Bullet – I got to feel the vibrations when I visited Sexplorations in October, and liked it but I need more use time. I know that the world doesn’t really need another bullet, and I know it can’t best the Tango but something in me needs to try it. Despite the higher-than-Tango price tag on some colors. Hell I’d also like to try other Crave products, like the soft Crave Flex or Crave Solo – although the $139 price tag on the Crave Solo has kept me away all this time and it may prove to keep me away for good.

funkitFunkit CashewCashew is their plug, which can be for vaginal or anal use but I think it was designed to be a vaginal plug. I’m lazy and usually don’t like to thrust dildos anymore so a plug sounds dandy. Ages ago I used a particularly short and curvy wood dildo as a vaginal plug and loved it; then I tried a plug version of the defunct Jollie and hated it because it lacked an exterior base, so removal was a real bitch – it was like a silicone potato. But the Funkit base reportedly won’t get in the way, much, keeping the path for clitoral stimulation open while giving an easy out. The blue-green color of Cashew is at Shevibe now! Bonus!

bswishBswish Wand – Historically I’ve hated every Bswish thing I’ve tried; their motors were always weak as fuck as super buzzy. But the buzz on the street is that the wand is equal to or slightly better than the Mystic Wand so I’m intrigued! Given the price point on this, $31.99, I’m having conflicting feels. I can’t judge anything by the required 4 AAA batteries, since my beloved-and-now-departed Mystic Wand also took batteries.

lumberjillLumberjill Leisurecrafts – Soon to be stocked at Shevibe, I’m interested in trying out more wood sex toys. The designs of Mr Dick Carver have proven to be unique and interesting, without looking anything like Nobessence or, worse, a table leg. Wood is an amazingly beautiful material that is safe when coated properly, and no…..no splinters. It’s probably the least-understood and appreciated safe sex toy material. When coated in a permanently-slick waterproof coating, wood is as slick as glass but les fragile.

 

Hopefully you’ve found things to buy, things to avoid, and know where to spend your holiday money now. Did you have a favorite (or awful) sex toy this year that is notable? Let us know in comments!

  1. It turns out that by offering my RSS subscribers the chance to win not one $50 gift card, but three $50 gift cards, with the link to the gift card entry page only published in the weekly RSS newsletter, I felt compelled to write enough to have at least 3 RSS newsletters go out per month. Many years I would have months in which I only wrote a single post, but not 2016
  2. but like any sex toy, it won’t work for everyone
  3. on the side, under the serial numbers – if that spot is not “seeing the light of day”, Bluetooth won’t really work well and for me and my labia, that will never happen
  4. Causing toy damage with users – they recalled via emails
  5. if the latest phone isn’t compatible….then what is??
Dec 122016
 

vibratex mystic rechargeable wandFive years ago I first reviewed the Mystic Wand and the two companion versions – the (old style) Mystic Rechargeable Wand and the Mini Magic Wand. In 2011 I wanted to like rechargeable vibrators more than I did; but the idea of having to pause only to swap out batteries felt more logical to me than a rechargeable which seemed to lose it’s high more quickly and when it was dead, it was dead – for a good 2-4 hours.  I always recommended the original, battery-powered version of the Mystic Wand because I loved the rumble and the power level was enough for me. I have always preferred the Mystic Wand to the Magic Wand, but I am nearly allergic to buzzy vibrations. Then Vibratex discontinued their rechargeable Mystic Wand in June 2014, with promises that they were working on something else. And so, I waited.

And waited.

And here I am, right back where I started, recommending the “old school” battery-powered Mystic Wand over the new Mystic Rechargeable Wand – and it’s not because of the rechargeable factor. In fact, Vibratex designed this to work even while it’s recharging. That may make for some awkward positioning to ensure you’re close enough due to cord restrictions, but if the Mystic Rechargeable Wand is your only vibrator on-hand, you can at least keep going.

Vibrations

With the original versions I detected no discernible difference between the motors when both were fully powered. The (old) Rechargeable lost it’s oomph pretty quickly, though. With the new Mystic Rechargeable Wand again I was searching for a difference in the motor and finally figured it out. They’re probably both the same intensity level but the Mystic Rechargeable Wand feels a little bit more buzzy. The vibrations travel through flesh a little bit less. And it’s just enough for my picky clitoris to notice.  It’s probably a difference that may not even be noticeable to some people but I’m so sensitive to a rumbly motor that I can tell when it slips from an 8 on the Rumble Scale to a 6.5.

I’ve been able to enjoy powerful orgasms from the original Mystic Wand, despite it being a (small) wand-style vibrator and me notoriously loving pinpoint clitoral stimulation. But the orgasms from the Mystic Rechargeable Wand have been a bit lackluster and mild. If you find that you don’t need the extreme power that backs most wand-style vibrators – you just need the broad stimulation- you could be really happy with the Mystic Rechargeable Wand.

Redesigned Body

Vibratex did something with the body redesign, making it look nearly nothing like the original Mystic Wand – and I love it. I love the curved handle. I love how easy it is to hold. There are THREE locations for the buttons! Three! Between the ultra-light design, the curve of the handle and the location of the buttons it is a wand well-suited to those with certain disabilities which may make holding a large, heavy or straight-handled wand more difficult. The location of the buttons also makes it much easier for a partner to use the Mystic Rechargeable Wand on you.  In short, it’s ergonomic and really well-designed. Mostly….

mysticwandbuttons

But the redesign comes with a problem that I can only hope they will fix – because it IS fixable. In order to put two buttons on the back side of the handle, a large portion of the plastic handle is covered in silicone. The silicone buttons are part of the silicone skin. The problem is that the glue holding the silicone skin on to the plastic is cheap. Terrible. After my first cleaning, I thought I rubbed too hard and easily slipped part of the silicone covering off with my thumb in one corner. As I gently peeled it back to see what happened, it kept on separating from the plastic body. You can see in the pictures below what is plastic and what is silicone because I wanted to see how easily it would peel off once a large portion had already started. Even just a small corner peeling back would definitely make cleaning impossible. As it stands now with the level of material separation I have, I’m not sure I should use it. It’s not waterproof, only splashproof, but I fear that the separation will negate even that.

mysticwandpeel

You may wonder why I reviewed this with the defect in the silicone covering. I would have waited if it were just mine but I’ve spoken to a few other folks who had this happen, too. I’m hoping it was a bad first batch, but we’ll see.  When I know that this issue has been resolved, I’ll update this review. Vibratex does have a warranty on this, so I plan to contact Vibratex and see if there’s anything they can do.

I do want to note that the head on the Mystic Rechargeable Wand is the same size head as the Original Mystic Wand, which means that the g-spot attachment will fit. As this is a smaller wand it will not work with Hitachi-compatible attachments.

Recommendation

I can’t recommend the Mystic Rechargeable Wand until I know that the silicone glue problem is fixed. I would recommend it for folks who know they don’t need seriuosly rumby vibrations or super-powered vibrations, or folks who need a smaller, easier to wield broad stimulation vibrator – AFTER Vibratex makes sure that this issue is fixed. Currently, the Mystic Rechargeable Wand is priced at $69.99 at SheVibe, while the battery-powered original Mystic Wand is $49.99.  There’s a lot of competition now in the mid-sized, rechargeable wand-style vibrator category, so Vibratex needs to fix this quality control issue.

 

Thanks to SheVibe for sending this over to me in exchange for my honest review!

Dec 012016
 

Womanizer PRO40The Womanizer PRO40 is practically perfect in every way. Until recently, Womanizer remained an overpriced, luxury item. When you get it in your hands it doesn’t feel quite as well-made as some brands. It lacks the pretty, “classic”, refined beauty that has drawn people to Lelo, L’amourose, Je Joue etc. And while $99 for the new Womanizer PRO40 still is considered luxury, out-of-reach pricing to many, it’s a bit more attainable than $219 for the Womanizer Deluxe.  The Womanizer PRO40 is clearly epi24’s answer to the sales lost to the cheaper Satisfyer models.

The Womanizer PRO40 is not overtly feminine, thank god, and is in fact pretty damn plain. Trans or gender-neutral folks can feel a type of dysphoria when they’re forced to use overtly feminine designs, so this isn’t just a concern of color and “ugh, pink again”. While very femme folks may find that even the magenta-and-white PRO40 isn’t pretty/cute enough, I kinda think the design is a happy-medium especially when the superior features exist.

Superior Features

Somehow the Womanizer PRO40 gained a feature (it’s now waterproof, like Satisfyer) AND is priced much less. How is this possible? Well the motor is a little louder; they’ve gone with a cheaper motor that still performs well, but is less refined, I guess.  It may still be more expensive, but the PRO40 has the features that keep me coming back to Womanizer – comfortable nozzle heads, intuitive designs, and better navigation buttons. The PRO40 combines the best of the W100 (body, button placement) with the best of the W500 (extra power for those who need it, and up/down level navigation buttons), adds in waterproofing and takes away cost. I’m happy to have a slightly louder motor in exchange.

The lowest two settings on the Womanizers are subtle and arousing. They feel really good, and aren’t necessarily trying to yank an orgasm out of you. In fact the lower settings on the Womanizers are really great warm-up toys, and can build arousal in me in ways that the Fiera never could. Have I mentioned the buttons? Oh the buttons. You can easily toggle between lower and higher settings. I like to draw things out with the Womanizer (usually) because it feels so nice; so I don’t want to rush, I want to keep edging my orgasm. I can start out at 1 until I find some good porn; increase to 2 when I’m more aroused; tip it up to 3 to get the ball rolling; back down to 2 for a minute to keep things going. Up to 4 to pick up the pace; 3 then 2 then back up to 4 and maybe 5 if I need a boost and want to come. It’s the sex toy version of Monica’s ergoneous zones playlist.  I cannot do that with any Satisfyer model except the Satisfyer 2, which pales in comparison to Womanizer PRO40.

Magical Power Button

Another crucial feature that Womanizer PRO40 has is the power button: I can quickly return to the lowest setting; perfect for just after orgasm. To turn it off you would press and hold the power button, but while it’s on a quick tap will bring you down to level 1. Level 1 is tolerably intense in those sensitive moments just after orgasm, but allows me to actually keep going and have multiple orgasms. I can’t do that with the Satisfyer models because I’d have to turn it off completely (and then back on, obviously) to get back down to the “gentle” first setting (not all Satisfyer models have a gentle first setting). The way I use these products, the power button feature on the Womanizer PRO40, and indeed all models, is something I can’t give up.

The Womanizer PRO40 does come with their two nozzle heads, one of which has a slightly bigger opening. All Womanizer nozzle heads fit on snugly and stay put, and are very comfortable against the vulva. I’ve found that the nozzle head preference doesn’t always correlate to clitoris head size, but also to labia size/style.

If you’d like to read more in-depth about my feelings on the Womanizer toys overall, I’ll direct you to my review for the original, W100. Sadly I think it has just recently been discontinued.  If you’re curious about how the Womanizer PRO40 compares to other pressure-wave toys, visit the Womanizer vs Satisfyer Comparison guide.

Even though the Womanizer Pro 40 is a little louder vs W100 or W500, it’s now my top recommendation over every brand and model of pressure-wave sex toys. This remains even more accurate after trying every Satisfyer model on the market.

 

Thanks to Shevibe for sending me the Womanizer PRO40 in exchange for my honest review. There are many retailers you can shop with but I recommend Shevibe over them all; they have the best customer service and overall pricing/selection. They’ve been in business for over 10 years and can be relied upon for discreet shipping!

Save

Save