Lilly

Jan 222015
 

Note that says: "You're never alone, okay? Someone somewhere cares about you and wants you to be alright. Even if it's just a random person you met on the internet. You are loved. Don't forget that."I need to preface this post. You won’t learn anything from this. I have no answers, no treatment plan, no quest. I have uncertainties and questions.  It isn’t an eloquent post. If you need a visual, I am huddled under a hoodie unable to make eye contact, I’m fidgety and exhausted. I’m skimming in some parts because I don’t have enough introspection to be able to elaborate. This is raw and uncomfortable and it’s not a pretty post. Like I told Reenie when I got her opinion on this post, this is a glimpse of me in therapy (and a clue as to why I don’t DO therapy). I’m all over the place, I skip details, yet I repeat. I’m saying all of this the best I can. This isn’t for fame or notoriety, because let’s face it, I’d like to think I normally write better than this. But if I take the time to polish it, it will never get published. Take it or leave it. 

For the last year or 18 months, I’ve mentally been on a downward, slow spiral. Stress and unknown other factors have made me subtly feel less awesome. It’s been so subtle that I’ve only recently thought “hmmm, maybe this is depression?”.  I want to write about this because it’s high time. My friend JoEllen has been writing about it for awhile now; plus there’s Crista’s world-famous OrgasmQuest. My angle is a bit different though. 

 The Vibrators

Despite the fact that it’s my job to use sex toys, I feel some internal guilt about having an orgasm by myself when it’s not “for work”, since I’m getting off by myself and not bringing my husband into it for something that could benefit us both. Even though intellectually I know that masturbation is healthy and there are tons of reasons that partners in very healthy relationships with great sex lives would masturbate. I know this. I still feel guilty sometimes though. Yet my orgasms, the ones from masturbation, aren’t really for pleasure. I don’t take my time and luxuriate in sensual self-play; there are no candles, no erotica, etc. Everything’s usually done in 10 minutes or less and often my pants don’t even come off. Most of the time I’m using my Tango (lately the L’amourose Rosa Rouge is helpful if a climax is being particularly stubborn) and I flip over to Tumblr for some audio and visual stimulation, enough to help with an orgasm. And then I’m done. Close out Tumblr, no more porn, no residual sexy feelings or thoughts; it’s like flipping a switch on and off. When I start masturbating through to finish, I’m not aroused. I’m not horny. So why the fuck am I masturbating, you might ask?

 For something to do. To maybe help myself sleep. To relieve some anxiety. To maybe not feel melancholy for a little while. Maybe it’ll wake me up. The reasons are varied but 99% of the time my libido is not in the deck of cards that contains my reasons. Sometimes an orgasm is not much different than brushing my teeth, as an activity.  It feels good but it’s not really registering, there’s a brain-body disconnect. 

The Sex

I’ll be honest, most of the time lately I have no sex drive. Luckily (an ironic sort of luck) my husband was going through his own lack of sex drive and issues, so while we both still love each other deeply the lack of sex bothered us only on a more cerebral level. A “shouldn’t we be bothered by this?” kind of bothered. A “it’s been HOW long??? Wow…that’s bad…we really should have sex this weekend” (and then we wouldn’t) kind of bothered. I think this past year we’ve both felt a bit of a strain due to the physical disconnect, but we both know that it’ll come back and we’re happy together regardless. But for two people who love each other dearly and still find each other attractive….the frequency of the sexing is frighteningly low. I don’t know yet how to fix it. 

The Depression

So I may, or may not, be clinically depressed 1 and I’m not being treated for it, nor am I seeing anyone. I’m not on any medication that is hampering my ability to orgasm, like Crista is dealing with on her #orgasmquest. I’ve had such awful experiences in the past 16 years with mental health drugs that I’m reluctant to go down this path again. The hazing period of newer drugs is intolerable sometimes. So I’m not actively seeking help. But I’m not happy, like overall – I mean, duh, right? And I have these weird “quirks” that I never had when I was younger – primarily, the ability to cry at the drop of a hat. Reading a book/watching a TV show where someone else cries? I cry. Happy cry, sad cry, the tears are just always there right under the surface. I also have a really hard time sticking with something I like – you know the whole typical depression question of “do you find yourself no longer getting pleasure from hobbies you previously enjoyed” thing. It’s, quite frankly, amazing that I’ve kept up with this blog for so long. I have definitely had feelings of “why the fuck am I still doing this” over the last 2 years. I tend to let my insecurities and the need to feel accepted and liked by my peers rule too much over me. When I start feeling like my peers don’t give a flying fuck about me/my writing/reviews, I consider throwing in the towel. But then I get thank you notes from my readers, the people I actually write the reviews for, and my brain returns to normal and I stop being such a pain in the ass. Needing validation is a sign of weakness for me because of past, unhealthy  experiences. 

I don’t know what I’m going to do. The thought of finding a psychiatrist/psychologist that doesn’t annoy the crap out of me feels too daunting. But I think I owe it to my husband to try and get my sex drive back. I’d say I owe it to myself, too, but my brain is like “pffft don’t care” so that thought doesn’t even occur to me. And yes, a tiny part of me feels like a fraud of a “sex blogger” for having no libido and reviewing sex toys. Thank goodness I dropped the whole “sexy” sex blogger thing years ago or I’d be feeling double the pressure. 

I guess all this rambling is to say that there is no normal, we need to talk more about sex & depression and masturbation & depression and depression in general, and I’m just as nutty as the next squirrel. I expected that writing this would be like therapy, but you know what? I feel twitchy. I feel like I’m in a therapy session with the therapist staring me down and after 10 minutes asking a “how do you feeeeeeel about that” question and my only response is “I dunno”. Oh hey….it IS just like therapy. Ha.

So uh……yeah. I think I need that orgasm right about now.

 

Links to help:  ADAA page on Depression  –  1-800-273-TALK  – NAMI

  1. But I absolutely do have ADD-Inattentive type and fibromyalgia, and I’m not really on anything for either and both of those, left untreated, can cause depression
 Posted by at 10:59 am
Jan 192015
 

LeloMonaWaveThe Lelo Mona Wave takes the Mona and adds motion, meant to do the g-spot stroking for you. For me, sex toys don’t replace a human. They’re a great accompaniment. I love using them by myself and with a partner. But just as a penis or finger or tongue could never vibrate and nearly never achieve the orgasms (for me) that a good vibrator can, a sex toy can never feel like oral sex or the thrusting of a penis or the stroking, much-lauded “come-hither” motion of a finger or two. Yet sex toy companies, Lelo included, keep trying to create sex toys that seem to be aiming for replacement rather than harmony1. They are also creating sex toys that promise way more than they can deliver, in my opinion. 

Right on the box, Lelo proclaims: “The orgasm to end all orgasms2” and “The world’s first g-spot massager that rises and plunges within3 like the natural caress of a lover’s fingers”. That’s really putting the pressure on. 

PROS: Let’s start off on a good note, eh?

  • The entire thing is finally covered in silicone. There’s still a seam between the white and color, of course, but it’s not as bad as before. Plus now the buttons are covered in silicone which also makes things much easier on cleaning.
  • There’s an instant-on instant-off button. Rather than pressing the power-up button to turn on and pressing the power-down to turn off[ 1. Which honestly has led to more dead Lelos for me than any other brand, simply because the lowest vibration setting is SO low you might think it’s off when it’s not], you now simply press the center of the control panel
  • Awesome colors that are not so gender-binary focused. Black! Cobalt Blue! 
  • The Wave can be slowed down or turned off, or the vibrations can be turned off
  • Think outside the box – people whose fingers fatigue easily could consider using it clitorally for extra help

In addition to this instant-on button, Lelo Mona Wave will also remember what setting you were on when you last left off, if that appeals to you. Also, while I’ve never had a problem with ABS plastic as a material, combining it like Lelo has done for so many years can simply result in issues with cleaning, like around the crevices and cracks. I don’t feel that the lack of raised buttons makes life any harder, either. 

Lelo Mona Wave (in blue) handle and buttons vs. Lelo Mona 2. The Mona 2's buttons are clearly individual buttons, whereas the Mona Wave is markings on the silicone skin with only a fingertip-sized dimple in the center Showing the difference in the curve of the body of the Lelo Mona Wave (blue) vs Mona 2 if you turn off the motor that waggles it when it is at its most flexed.  It does give a more dramatic curve at the neck from the Mona 2.

CONS: Well, we had to get here eventually, you just didn’t think it would be so soon……

  • Vibrations are not as rumbly or as strong as Mona
  • Motion transfers – a good, pelvic-floor clench means the handle moves, not the head
  • So many patterns. It’s like IKEA, you can get lost in the patterns and you can’t even turn it off to start fresh at the beginning.
  • That noise, though. 
  • Meh.
  • That price, though.
  • Need firm pressure? Forgetaboutit. 

I was seriously bummed to find that in order to accommodate the Wave feature, they dumbed down the vibrations. They are not as rumbly as the Mona 2 and they are not as powerful. In fact, the Lelo Mona Wave’s vibrations are less than the freaking original Mona which I tested on whatever charge it had left after sitting around from the last time I had to check vibration strengths which was a few weeks ago. I even asked my husband’s opinion, so that I wasn’t unintentionally biased, and he definitely thought the “blue one” was less powerful. Doing the cheek test4, the vibrations of the original Mona seem to be more far-reaching on my face than the Mona Wave. In the video clip below, you can see how the Mona 2 (in red) simply sounds lower-pitched in the glass, and splashes some of the water out. The Mona Wave doesn’t create a splash. Literally. It’s a big let-down for me. Mona 2 was never enough for me for g-spot vibrations, not like the L’amourose Rosa Rouge is, but with a little patience it could get me off clitorally. 

 

A video posted by Lilly (@dangerouslilly) on

So let’s go back to physics class – when you’re holding it firmly by the handle and there’s nothing impeding the movement of the head, sure, the head wiggles. But as soon as there’s resistance introduced, the movement has to go somewhere, so it goes to the handle. This isn’t to say that it’s a dead fish once inserted, but there is less movement. In the video clip below you hear and see how fast the top speed of the wiggle is, and then the slower speed, and finally see how much less it moves when there’s resistance.  Yes, you can run the Mona Wave with just the arm moving and no vibrations, the arm moving slower with wave-pulsing vibrations, vibrations with no arm movement, or arm movement with a big variety of pulsating patterns. The + and – keys only control the vibration intensity. To change everything else you must cycle through with the up and down arrow keys. To get back to the default setting of high arm movements and straight vibrations, just click the hell out of the down arrow until everything seems to be back where you started from.

 

A video posted by Lilly (@dangerouslilly) on

I like a lot of pressure on my g-spot, and it’s why I adore the firmness of the Njoy Pure Wand so much. Aimless, passionless stroking is not going to impress my g-spot, I need pressure. That doesn’t really happen with the Mona Wave for me. In fact, I felt no “zing” of “yeah, that’s the spot!!” like I can even by simply inserting a girthy dildo to provide passive pressure. Yeah, I can feel the movement but it’s not earth-shattering, there’re no fireworks.  I normally (except for the Pure Wand) don’t get a ton of enjoyment out of just g-spot stimulation alone. But g-spot stim will greatly help along a clitoral/blended orgasm – making it happen faster and be much more intense. So when I tried the Mona Wave along with other toys, I didn’t get that speed-up effect nor did it make my orgasm more intense, nor did it draw out the length of the orgasm. 

So, the noise. I’ve had louder vibrators, certainly. The Magic Wand is louder. But as you can hear in the video, that movement is coupled with this odd, robotic sound. I envision those old RC toys with legs that walked, like the puppies or robots. It can be a little….off-putting, to some people. It doesn’t bother me per se but if you need a quiet vibe, this isn’t it. The high-pitched sound of the moving arm can be heard more easily than the low-pitched rumble of the Mona 2, for example. 

Forget g-spots for a minute. Can the Mona Wave work as a clitoral vibrator + massager? Meh. I’m unimpressed frankly, and that’s mostly because it’s a lack of decent vibrations. Under good circumstances the Mona 2 can get me off clitorally but the Mona Wave? Nope. And if movement + pressure is going to work for me, it needs to be directed to that certain spot on the right side of my clitoral hood. The Mona Wave is too wide to do anything pinpoint. But what about prostates? ehhhh. Is the design of the Mona considered borderline anal safe, since it does get thinner in the neck and then flares out in the handle? I guess? I don’t think the Lelo Mona Wave is going to make waves for prostates, either. Again, there’s a lot of resistance and so the movements will be dulled. 

In the end, I’m going to give the Lelo Mona Wave a pass because it is not AWESOME and I don’t even think it’s better than the Mona 2. I’d simply rather do it my own damn self. Much like the Fun Factory Stronic Drei, which moved even less, I’m clearly not the target audience for these tech-fancy moving sex toys. And with a price tag of $169 for the Lelo Mona Wave (and $189 for the Lelo Ina Wave which I suspect would fail even more for me) it’s just not enough AWESOME for the price. If it had the same level of vibrations as the Mona 2 and were priced lower I’d say why not, go for it but it’s $40 more. 

 

A big thank you to SHEVIBE for being amazing and sending me a Lelo Mona Wave to review! 

 

  1. and worse, they often try to claim they’re the first. Didn’t they claim to be ground-breaking with the Ora, when the Je Joue Sasi was the first? And there ARE rotating, g-spot-curved rabbits, but they rotate around. This just literally mimics the motion of you crooking your finger to “come here”
  2. WTF does this even MEAN??
  3. I can’t make this shit up. Rises? Plunges?
  4. Some people do the nose test, but with the more powerful vibrators it just makes me sneeze. So I open my mouth wide and touch vibrators to the hollow of my cheek and gauge how far on my face I can feel vibrations as a way to compare vibrators against each other when the power difference is less noticeable
Jan 162015
 

Since 2005, The Screaming O has been telling us that their products like Ringo, The Big O, The Screaming O Plus (the clear material products) were “SEBS Silicone”. After I delved into my material research, discussions with industry professionals, and flame testing, I felt pretty damn certain that there was never any silicone in these products. When an AVN article came out on January 14th talking about how The Screaming O decided to run lab tests AND quoted Anne Hodder of Hodder Media Inc, their Public Relations Spokesperson, as saying “I think we can finally put to rest the critics with our data that shows our products are what we say they are,” I got kinda angry at first 1 because well….no. The tests revealed that the SEBS products are just SEBS….not the SEBS Silicone they’ve been called all along. And because there was no talk in the article about The Screaming O recognizing the material disparity publicly and stating that changes will be made to reflect that, something felt off. It felt like “they still don’t get it”. But as soon as I was told that actually, yeah, they DO get it, I wanted to see if I could get more information. Yes, I think a few have doubted that even their silicone was truly silicone, and those tests DO prove that they are. But the biggest problem is that continuing to have these listed as silicone has caused confusion to people who are trying to seek out only non-porous materials, and it damages trust in the industry as a whole. 

I think this might be the first time that a sex toy company has both tested AND publicly admitted that their material hasn’t been what they advertised it to be. I was able to snag an interview with Anne Hodder and get some answers. I do now feel better about TSO overall as a company. I still don’t love the porous cock rings 2 but now that I know they weren’t purposely lying and now that I know the material is absolutely non-toxic, I think the rings are fine for a first-timer to try out the world of cock rings. I’d rather you choose from their pure silicone line, but hey, budgets n’ all that.

I’m printing Anne’s answers as she gave them to me. So this will be long, but you can skip around if you wish. 

1. When a company goes on for so many years saying that it’s a blend (and recently I was told by an expert that blends aren’t possible) we lose complete trust in them. What can be said to help us regain our trust in your brand about the “SEBS Silicone” issue? Is TSO also admitting that these products are porous (and that for true body-safe products that will last, go for the premium silicone versions)? Is TSO officially saying that yes, the SEBS products were all mislabeled in the past?

Labeling our products as SEBS Silicone was not an intentional manipulation or plan to deceive the public; it was an error that dates possibly back to the company’s 2005 inception and was carried throughout our marketing until we made the official decision to have our materials tested. And with the lab results in hand, we are now in the process of revising our marketing, packaging, websites and more to reflect the correct information: our stretchy products are made of pure non-toxic, body-safe SEBS.

SEBS, as is any material that is not platinum silicone, stainless steel, or coated wood or stone, is slightly porous – but “porous” does not mean “unsafe” or “toxic” when it comes to external-use toys. As with any sex toy, keeping Screaming O products in tip top shape simply requires cleaning after every use and safe storage: keep in a cool, dry place away from dust/dirt and any other outside contaminants.

We choose to manufacture much of our product line out of pure SEBS in order to provide quality alternatives for men, women and couples who cannot afford (or do not want) to drop $60+ on a rechargeable cock ring or $90+ clitoral vibe. And that demographic deserves body-safe materials and quality construction, which is why we are committed to confirming the composition of our materials with independent lab testing.

Also, it’s important to note that our SEBS is NOT to be confused with jelly, the material commonly found in floppy dildos that often smell like melted shower curtains – and not something you’d want anywhere near your body.

2. What can you tell us about the Twitter conversations back in November, most of which are referenced here? That exchange really soured a lot of bloggers on the company in general.

That exchange was unfortunate. To put it simply, we had an outside contractor handling basic social media duties (daily posting, mostly) who responded to the online argument without conferring with the marketing team first. Her responses were argumentative, uninformed and unprofessional and did not accurately represent the thoughts and feelings of The Screaming O.

We immediately went into damage control as soon as we were made aware of the situation. We reached out to all involved and offered “offline” discussion to try to set the record straight, and The Screaming O is no longer using this contractor’s services.

Customer service is our No. 1 priority – whether it’s with our retailers or our fans – and we work hard to establish and maintain candid communication with anyone who reaches out to us, regardless of whether it’s with a compliment or criticism.

3. The article that came out on Jan 14th talked about the test results without acknowledging that TSO recognizes the disparity between the results (SEBS vs SEBS silicone) and plans to take action on that. What can you tell us about this action?

We are now in the process of revising all copy on our websites, packaging and marketing materials to correctly represent our SEBS products, now that we have hard lab data to clear up the confusion. We also encourage retailers and customers to adjust their own marketing copy to ensure that their descriptions accurately represent our products to the shopping public, something that we’re communicating through internal newsletter and email communication.

What This Means

Something that I learned a few years ago from Metis Black of Tantus is that basically you have the material supplier and (for most companies) the manufacturing plant (usually in China) acquires the material. The creating company can SAY they want XYZ and the supplier can say “yeah sure…it’s XYZ *winkwink* and the creating company who is putting their name on the product is truly none the wiser (unless they went the extra mile and randomly had toys sent off to a third-party lab to be tested). So the company (in this case, The Screaming O) geniunely believes that their product is this “silicone elastomer blend” and sticks to that. I do believe that we’ve seen other, larger companies in the past who may have known that their “TPR Silicone” product had no silicone, but they labeled it that way for sales because they could. Companies like that simply quietly changed the wording on their site and product packaging, but never did so out of concern for their customers. 

Some might be skeptical about a company really not knowing that their material isn’t what they’re told it to be; but it rings true to the infamous (in industry circles) story of Metis challenging a vendor friend at a trade show some years back who insisted his product was silicone, and she used the flame test to show that it wasn’t. 

I’m hoping that TSO is able to reach most retailers and have them change the wording on their sites, and begin to lift this confusion of “blends” being a thing and myths that “silicone melts when it touches other silicone“. 

I’ve been told that the lab test results and information will be available online and I’ll update with a link here when they are. 

What are your thoughts? Does this change how you view The Screaming O and their products? 

  1. That may be a bit of an understatement
  2. While these are external-only items, the porous material can still come into contact with mucus membranes of the vulva and the chance for STI transmission can still occur; this is my opinion and perhaps not the opinion of TSO
 Posted by at 4:45 pm
Jan 152015
 

Update: This post has been edited with information I’ve been given that completely changes the narrative; information that hadn’t been made as public as their lab tests. It changes the story from one of me being angry, to me feeling like the industry is actually, slowly, getting better and getting somewhere. Update at the bottom. 

 

For a long while now I’ve been a big critic of The Screaming O brand for one big reason:

They lied about their materials.

This misrepresentation of material content has continued to perpetuate firstly the myth that there is such a thing as a TPR/Elastomer/Silicone “blend” and secondly it perpetuates the myth that silicone will melt and degrade or that silicone can look crystal clear.

I’ve put their basic rings to a flame test before and they created such immediate, hot flames that I had to pour water over them to die down – a simple wave in the air wasn’t enough. Consistently, Screaming O has claimed that the material of their cheapie rings is “SEBS silicone“. The SEBS part confuses retailers, so they’ll just omit that and call it silicone. I’d strongly suspected prior to a flame test that these cheap rings are not silicone because they are so soft, so stretchy and crystal clear. This has not been a hallmark of pure silicone. Flame test revealed no grey and material destruction that was like it liquified in the heat.

ScreamingOburnt

A few months ago there was a dust-up on Twitter between Screaming O and some bloggers and part of this stemmed from a few of us talking about sex toys that are labeled silicone when they clearly are not. Of course, Screaming O came up and made this bold bullshit call:

Tweet that says:  "@sex_ational @dangerouslilly @RaavynnDigitaL Our products that are silicone are labeled and the ones that are not, are not. #wedontfakeit"

Product packaging, and the website, has always listed these as “SEBS Silicone”, and the language I’ve taken issue with is “silicone”

ScreamingOSEBS5

 

TO BE CLEAR: My problem with Screaming O is that they’ve been misrepresenting their material for ages. I do recognize that some of their products are silicone, like  their Primo line. They look completely different. They look like they could actually be silicone, unlike their cheap jelly products.  So you can imagine how rankled I got with their tweet claiming they don’t lie. The products have been sent out for  independent lab tests:

“I think we can finally put to rest the critics with our data that shows our products are what we say they are,” Hodder said.

Polymer Solutions Incorporated, a material analysis laboratory in Virginia, conducted tests on the Screaming O Original Ring, made from clear SEBS (styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene), and the PrimO Apex, which is purple silicone. Since there are no standardized tests in place for pleasure products, the lab conducted tests that fall under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which covers baby products and other children’s items.

The tests proved that the PrimO Apex is made from silicone, that the Screaming O Original Ring is made from SEBS.

Let me clarify: “made from clear SEBS (styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene)” FULL STOP. That’s  it. That’s all. No silicone.

 

UPDATE: I have been informed that Screaming O DOES plan to update their information to reflect the lack of silicone in the SEBS products. So, my apologies for my anger this morning, Screaming O. The information that they “get it” and are making changes wasn’t included in that press release, and I think that’s the most important information of all. Hopefully all retailer sites will be told to update their product listings, and stop calling them silicone and confusing people. I want to thank the warriors behind the scenes who prompted this re-evaluation on their wording, geting the test done, and making the changes. I’m under the impression that the site will be updated soon, and slowly product packaging will change.

I was so upset at what appeared to be a compete “they don’t get it” moment because I was going by the press release information, that I didn’t take the time to ask before I got angry and ranted. I need to do that more, and now I feel like an asshole!

 

 

 Posted by at 10:35 am
Jan 112015
 

A few weeks ago I received a lovely note that reminds me why I do what I do, why I’ll never back down and shut up and why I keep on researching and thinking, testing and theorizing, why I geek out about sex toy materials.

This may sound silly, but I wanted to thank you for all the information you share on your blog and on /r/sextoys. My husband asked for a BBD (big black dildo) for Christmas. I knew from previously buying plugs that we needed a good quality silicone, but was nervous about getting something online that I couldn’t really gauge the size of. So, I went to the local toy shop and asked for help picking out a silicone dildo. The lady there confidently directed me to Doc Johnson, ensuring me that Sil-a-gel was even better than pure silicone and that of course it would be fine with the coconut oil we use for lube. :/

A few days later, I found /r/sextoys and your blog. I’m so glad I did before I gave my husband that gift and we used the Doc Johnson! I tossed that stinky pvc thing and went shopping. Because money is tight, I settled on the Tantus Vamp grab bag, knowing I couldn’t pick the color. Well, it showed up today (just in time for the holiday!) and it’s perfect! The size is great. There’s no smell. Best of all, it’s black with just a hint of purple sparkle in the right light!

So, thank you. You’ve made one woman very safe and very happy this Christmas! …and I’m sure I’ll have a very happy husband when I give him his gift tonight!

And with this note, I’m both happy and pissed. Why pissed? Because for every one of us, in this army fighting against unsafe sex toy materials, there are 5, 10, 15 other retail sex shop employees spouting off bullshit like “sil-a-gel is better than silicone and it’s fine with coconut oil for lube”. A: it’s porous AND whatever sil-a-gel is has been known to cause skin reactions in some people and 2: using coconut oil on a PVC toy would destroy it super quick, because like attracts like and oil will cause the toy to melt like these. So this shop employee bluffed and lied their asses off at the expense of the buyer’s health and wallet (I say wallet because sure it’s cheaper to buy that POS Doc dildo but they would have had to replace it after one time using coconut oil on it).

It’s a fact that you’re not going to get the safe sex toy education in your average store, yet it still pisses me off; just like it pisses me off when people leave their shopping cart in the parking space rather than walking 9 feet to the cart corral. I can’t help it.

There’s only one answer here: We can’t stop. We need to keep educating other people, all the time. We need to educate to the point where our readers are then going to their local shops and educating the employees. We need to find a way to educate without judging and without scaring them away from all sex toys or thinking we’re trying to “upsell”. I’m not trying to force everyone to buy expensive silicone toys; if they know the dangers and choose to use a PVC stinker, that’s them. Yes the porous stuff is gross and the toxic ones have bad chemicals but not everybody believes it’s a problem for their body. They’ve had no reactions and no problems thus far and they’re not going to change. Okay, fine. But so far for every one of them I’ve encountered, I’ve educated at least 5 more who happily want to use only body-safe, non-porous sex toys. And I feel like I have to stress one thing here: even though many sex toy companies are going the phthalates-free route (even if we don’t believe them, some really did achieve this) not all companies are doing this; not all are non-toxic as advertised. And we can’t overlook the potential harm and pitfalls of porous sex toy materials. It’s a real problem.

Affordable, even cheap, silicone sex toys are coming on the market all the time. Reviewers need to look at these and try them out; flame test and look under the hood. Because the day when we have the ability to recommend more than a few under-$40 sex toys made from safe, non-porous materials is the day we can start winning the war. They choose the porous crap often because it’s cheaper. When companies see how well the silicone is selling and when (dare I dream?) the silicone outsells the cyberskin, the PVC, the rubber, the jelly – then they’ll change their tack and their product line-up.

I’m interested in hearing from sex toy shop workers who have managed to educate a customer without scaring them off; and those of you who have been educated. What has been the best tactic?

 Posted by at 8:35 pm
Jan 082015
 

Crave Vesper NecklaceI’m well aware that big vibrations can come in small packages but I have been looking at the Crave Vesper with quite a bit of skepticism since their crowd-funding campaign. Vesper is thin and long and the catch is that it’s “wearable”; meant to be worn as a necklace so that you can always have your vibrator secretly with you. Oh and it’s powerful, naturally. I’d read a few reviews of other Crave products that had wimpy vibrations so you can understand my hesitation. 

Let’s Talk Power

My favorite vibrator, the We-Vibe Tango, is extremely powerful. The vibrations are rumbly and gorgeous. The low setting is also still pretty damn powerful, and I don’t tend to recommend the Tango for people who can quite easily orgasm clitorally from fingers, because it may be too powerful. To give you some comparisons, I’ve pulled out a number of bullet vibes from my collection. Lelo Mia 2 can actually get me off half of the time, on high, because the vibrations are fairly rumbly. But Mia 2 on high is equal to Tango on low. The Vesper is about equal to the Mia 2 on medium-high like…level 8 of 10? Mia 2 has a lot of power increments, but Mia 2 is a bit more rumbly than the Vesper – just a hair. Vesper is slightly more powerful than the Tantus 1-speed bullet. But of course, the Vesper is much more pinpoint than any of these. And therein lies the magic. And by magic I mean “wtf is happening, I shouldn’t be able to come from this”. Companies keep calling their vibrators "powerful" - You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Yeah. Me, the one with the clit-o-steel who has been unable to orgasm with the Form 4, Revel Body, We-vibe 4, Leaf Spirit, and most rabbit styles. Me who prefers the Tango to the Magic Wand. Well, now I know why. My clitoris, which is a righty btw, responds just fine to some pressure and localized vibrations to the magic spot there on the right side. Many vibrators can’t get to that exact location because they’re too big or the vibrations don’t travel well enough to reach that spot. My clitoris isn’t on Main Street, it’s in a gazebo on the town green surrounded by land with only one sidewalk leading to it and it can’t hear you from the road unless you’re loud . You’ve got to be able to walk right up to it or have the power to yell from the road. The Vesper can walk right up to it. The Tango stepped onto the sidewalk but it has a bullhorn, so it doesn’t need to be up close. The Rosa Rouge is fine from the road. (i think we’re done with this weird metaphor, yeah? too much?)

I’m about as shocked as you are, trust me. 

This isn’t to say, though, that it’s a powerful orgasm. It’s not. Not all orgasms are satisfying. At least the orgasms from the Vesper are not painful. And the orgasms aren’t consistent, like with the Tango. I think one factor is something I discovered before – my clitoris responds well to the right amount of added warmth. It draws in more bloodflow and makes everybody happy. Vesper, as you’ll see from the stupid sticker right on the vibrator, is meant to gently warm-up during use. I think it’s likely less intentional and more natural by-product of such a slender housing combined with the heat-retention of stainless steel. But whatevs. It’s a nice bonus. 

It’s a bullet! No, it’s a nail!

Vesper resembles a sniper bullet. Or a sleek, modern-art version of a nail (pull one over on your Christian family, perhaps?). Or a sleek, modern-art version of Joan’s necklace from Madmen (which is supposed to be a pencil? pen?). You can get away with claiming it to be any of these things, really. Plenty of people are making a knock-off of this necklace that Joan wears on Madmen, and quite a few really resemble the Crave Vesper. But there’s one thing that Joan knew, that Crave doesn’t: A 26″ chain isn’t long enough to make wearing a 3.8″ long slender pendant feasible if you have a rack like I do. Either the pendant rests on top of my shirt and sticks out at odd angles, or it falls between my boobs and gets trapped in the vice grip of my cleavage. God forbid this should happen when my head is bent forward, otherwise it’s like wearing a damn noose and I can’t lift my head up until I free the Vesper from it’s boobie-jail. I could just buy myself a 30″ chain but why should I have to pay this boob tax? I wish Vesper gave the option of a longer chain with purchase. We can’t all be thin with wide-set B-cup boobs that gracefully hover around the Vesper, making it all look effortless and sexy.

Crave Vesper  - showing the power button. If you wear it correctly it lays against you, not facing outward.  Crave Vesper - trying to peel off the stupid notice sticker that assures you the Vesper is meant to warm up during use I'm not a B cup.  showing the Crave Vesper resting atop my cleavage, sticking out at a weird angle. The chain needs to be a lot longer.

So I’m at a loss though on what to do with it.  I wanted to put it on my keychain but the stupid power button prevented that. You would think that having an outtie power button, smart design would say that you either have travel-lock or require the button to be depressed for a second or two before it turns on. That’s not the case at all so it gets turned on easily if I have it on my keyring. Stupid. More stupid is that you do have to press and hold a second to turn it off. When it turns back on, it’s at the setting you left it. Except that the act of pressing to hold actually changes it to the next setting up. So if I was using it on high (duh) when I turn it off and then back it, it’s on the pulse setting, not high. Every damn time I turn on the Vesper I have to cycle through the settings to get back to the one I really wanted to be on: High.

I tried to be trendy (forgetting that I’m actually NOT) and attempted to layer the Vesper with other pendants for a “fun” trendy look. It’s a thing now, right? I don’t know. My husband didn’t like the look of the layering OR the Vesper. My 74 year old co-worker who thinks tattoos and piercings are gross (who is also racist and classist and everything elseist) gave me this “what the hell are you wearing” look and then actually said “what the hell is around your neck?? FLASHLIGHTS???” Yeah, Norma. Flashlights. It’s what the kids are doing these days. *sigh*

Everything Else

It IS easy to clean, but it’s only splashproof. Another annoying feature is that you’re not supposed to let the battery get drained and then not recharge it for awhile. This apparently will permanently kill the battery. I’m not the best with remember to recharge vibrators I don’t use consistently. I don’t see myself constantly keeping the Vesper fully charged, especially since charging requires a specialty cable which I will inevitably lose.  I was able to get about approximately 45 minutes actual use time but this included a lot of turning off and on, before it died on me.  And in case you didn’t see the specs at Shevibe, it’s 3.8″ long, as thin as your average pencil and weighs 20 grams. The chain is said to be stainless steel as well (both nickle-free) but I don’t see the chain lasting unless you’re very gentle on your jewelry. The lobster clasp is dubious.

OH! Weird bonus usage: I’m not sure about you iPhone peeps but the Vesper works as a stylus on my HTC Android phone. 

Bottom line: I don’t hate it. It’s interesting. I don’t think it’s right for most power queens, though. As a necklace, it’s very modern and I don’t feel it would be obvious. If you’re well-endowed like me, you might want to put it on your own, longer necklace chain. I think that the price isn’t too bad for the silver (stainless steel – $69) or the rose gold tipped ($79), but the $149 for the 24K gold plated is a bit too luxurious for the vibration intensity (or lack thereof) it puts out. You would have to be certain it is powerful enough for you and that you like the looks of it as a necklace. This isn’t something I can see wearing all the time or even often, but I might learn to like it more. 

 

Much thanks to my lovely Shevibe for sending me one to review!