Mar 152018

The official sign on Tulip Toy Gallery's front door notifying customers that the business has shut down and cannot legally sell anything. This location housed the Vamp Silicone production center. Tulip and Vamp Silicone are sister companies. Last July it appeared that Tulip Toy Gallery and sister company Vamp Silicone were gone for good – various people reported that a few Tulip Toy locations were shuttered, and the Tulip and Vamp websites were down. The phones were down. Customer emails weren’t being answered, either; a fact that by itself wouldn’t lead us to think the company had closed completely; we’ve been reading about problematic Vamp Silicone orders for a while now on Tumblr and elsewhere – since 2014, at least. On Tumblr there were reports of some customers were getting their orders completed; some completed, but incorrect, and some never completed. I’d made the decision to recommend that my readers not purchase from Vamp directly and only purchase Vamp premade items from reputable retailers.

Not too long after we discussed this apparent closure on Twitter, Camila Klinger (owner of both Tulip and Vamp) sent out an email to retailers:

Vamp Silicone has a deep passion for, and commitment to, hand-making creative silicone adult novelties. As a small LGBTQIA owned and operated business making functional and high quality toys, we take great pride in serving our community.

Recently our company has gone through a hardship. During this difficult time it has also been an opportunity to regroup and meticulously plan an exciting future for our products and we are happy to announce that our production will resume next week, starting August 1st, 2017.

They never did resume production and emails were still left unanswered. So, what happened?

Negative Online Reviews

There are negative reviews on Facebook but not a ton – of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot more disgruntled customers out there who lost money. There are a few Better Business Bureau negative reviews. The Vamp Silicone Facebook page is gone, but both Twitter accounts still exist (but with no recent activity). The Vamp Instagram account is still up, with no activity for almost a year. There are a lot of negative Google reviews for Tulip Toy Gallery’s physical locations – citing they didn’t receive product or refund – and all locations are listed as “permanently closed” on Google and Yelp. There are some tweets about unfilled/non-refunded orders, too.

The reviews have a lot to say1 – this is just a sample of the ones I’ve found for Tulip and Vamp:

“It was an item that for some reason they don’t actively carry in stock, so the woman working told me I’d have it in 4-10 days by mail. 2 weeks pass and nothing. I tried calling the store over and over again and the line was not in service. I finally make it back to the store and the person working that day says that the first person spoke in error, that it’s not 4-10 days, bur 4-10 weeks, and that if I want I can email the manager for a refund. I give them the benefit of the doubt and wait the 4-10 weeks. 11 weeks after ordering and still nothing. I emailed the manager and have had no response after waiting a few weeks. I just went into the store the other day, only managers can issue returns, but they only work from like 3-5. The woman working took all my information and told me that the manager would call me the next day (after apologizing profusely) since I work and can’t make it in when the manager is in. No phone call. I have had it. This place has essentially stolen over $100 from me and I plan on reporting them to the Better Business Bureau. This is absolutely ridiculous.” (Tulip) (see follow-up report number 1 below)

“This place is an absolute effing JOKE. I placed an online order back in May. MAY!!! I’ve called numerous times and sent several emails to find out the status of my so called “processing” order. Their phone is disconnected and no one has responded to my emails. Absolutely AMAZING business etiquette. NOT!!” (Tulip) (see follow-up report number 2 listed below)

“I recently ordered an item and waited a week, finally I emailed inquiring about the item and why I have not received it and requested a refund.. received an email two days later stating that it was out of stock and were waiting to receive it to send to me.. and that a refund can take up to 30 days.. I emailed asking if I’m going to receive a confirmation about the refund being processed … haven’t received a response back. If I do not receive my refund within the time specified will be reporting to better business bureau.” (Tulip)

and a follow up to that review was: I received a call that they processed the refund two weeks ago and the funds have not made it to my account.. I have called and emailed the phone number is now temporarily disconnected!!!! So upset at this point. Going to file a claim at this point.” (Tulip)

“Still unable to get in contact, I have emailed and Facebook messaged as phone is dissconected they have read my Facebook message but have failed to reply my order of $180 worth of stuff has still not arrived it has been 8 weeks!! Give me an explanation and deliver the product I have paid for or give my money back!” (Tulip)

“Placed an order towards the beginning of July, understood it would take a bit of time since these are oftentimes handmade items, but it is now nearing the end of September and my order is still marked “processing.” I contacted them September 18th requesting the status of my order, and told them if it still wasn’t ready, I wanted a full refund because at this point I was out $80 for nothing. Still no response, emailed them again tonight (09/20/2017) and threatened to file a complaint this time if no one tells me what the heck is going on. At this point I don’t even want my items, I just want all of my money back, but I read someone else’s review and it seems they never got a refund… Fingers crossed. ” (Vamp)

” I placed an order on August 7th and my credit card was charged for the purchase. I have emailed several times to check on my order that I still have not received as of September 14th and have not had any response from this company. I am concerned that this company has taken my money and I will not receive product or refund. ” (Vamp)

But as early as last summer a fellow sex toy review blogger visited their main location and had nothing but good things to say.

Behind the Scenes of Tulip Toy Gallery and Vamp Silicone

Because of my tweets last year asking about the companies an anonymous source reached out to me recently to shed a little light on the mystery of Vamp Silicone and Tulip Toy Gallery2. Back in October 2017 an official sign was placed on the door to let people know that Tulip Toy Gallery (the main location and, by that time, the only location still open) was legally shut down and not allowed to sell anything. That was the last time any employee went to work.

The customer complaints paint some of the picture, but then it gets worse. I was told they kept their doors open – both brick and online – with a severe lack of stock at Tulip and a lack of silicone at Vamp. The source says that they “ran out of silicone” for production of Vamp dildos back in May of 2017, but had unfulfilled orders reportedly going back as far as 2016. When customers would reach out for their refund they would be told that it had to be approved by the owner who I’m told never (or rarely) approved the refunds.

With regards to Tulip Toy Gallery unfulfilled orders, I was told that employees were reportedly instructed to lie to customers and say that there was a delay with the distributor and their order would be in soon. Soon never came. After the employees were told to lie to customers, I was told that Camila would eventually reach out to the customer (most times) and tell them the refund was in process but could take up to 30 days to go through – but reportedly most people never received a refund. 

I was also told that towards the end of being in business, Tulip Toy Gallery barely had any actual stock to sell in their store and there were reportedly as many as 75 customer orders as of October 2017 that needed a refund from Tulip Toy Gallery or Vamp Silicone.

All of this information has been verified and deemed accurate by a second anonymous source.

I’ve looked up business licenses and cannot find any that match the address of Tulip/Vamp, the name, or other reportedly connected names such as Three Red Peaches. If a business license is suspended or revoked for something like unpaid taxes it could be reinstated when the taxes are paid. I am unsure how a website could be owned and operated without a business license, as I do not understand law to that degree.

Reaching Out to Upset Customers

I was able to reach a few of the people who’ve left reviews; I wanted to see if they received a refund or the items they ordered.

The first person responded: “No. And the bank couldn’t give me back my money because by the time I knew there was an issue, it was beyond the limit of time they allow to contest a change.” This person had gone back to the store repeatedly, and ended up waiting a total of 4 months because of the delays the employee kept giving them – first the 4-10 days by mail delay, then the 4-10 weeks they claimed to have originally told them to wait. I asked if they reported it to the BBB, and they said “I did. The BBB didn’t/couldn’t do anything. They eventually closed the case.”

One person said that they did not receive a refund or product; they “even contacted Vamp and told them what had happened.. suggested to them that the same thing has happened to others as evident in the comments. Never received an email for phone call from Vamp either.”

One person did get their money back – it seems that complaining to the Better Business Bureau helped: “One of the workers reached out to me personally on her own private fb page so she fixed it up for me. the company itself kept ignoring my messages on there Facebook page and emails as there phone was disconnected. I only heard back from the lady when I lodged a complaint from some organisation in America and they actually contacted tulips on my behalf. I sent about 10 Facebook messages and 4 emails all up and every message on Facebook I could see that they had seen it and ignored.

Great! I told her I was glad she had gotten a refund, that two people I’d spoken to thus far had not. She continued: “Yes well I only had mine refund by a worker who said she was horrified hearing someone else that worked there telling her about my complaints so she personally got in touch with me and refunded me.” I was also privately wondering how an employee could have issued a refund when anonymous sources confirmed that only Camila could authorize and put through refunds. Because the messages were exchanged via Facebook, I asked her if she had their name and would pass it along. Her response? “Camila Klinger”. When I told her that Camila was not an employee, she is an owner, she said: “That’s weird she said she was one of the workers and she had not been there for that long and was not aware.”

I also was able to reach Autumn, who had sent out a warning last summer via Twitter as linked above and who had, by November, still not received product or refund. She confirmed that no refund has been issued yet. Autumn tried to contact Vamp by email, Instagram, and by calling Tulip Toy Gallery to no response.

Response from the Owner, Camila Klinger

Camila has been responding to my emails over the last week, and this is what I’m allowed to share3:

“Thank you for bringing possible pending refunds to my attention. We were operating with limited resources during a very challenging time and it’s possible some customers were not properly refunded for their orders. As I previously expressed, I’ve been working to regain access to restricted accounts, working to retrieve dispute activity and will work with the companies to release funds if needed. To help remedy the situation and take care of customers I have posted the following notice.

As for the other allegations, I believe there are some misunderstandings. Since my current focus is on past customers, I will keep this brief and to the point:

I have never instructed employees to lie to customers and I have never myself lied to any customers.

If Vamp took orders, it’s because we were equipped to do so or had inventory to offer in the meantime during silicone shortages. Many times we didn’t expect silicone shortages to delay as long as they did. While things weren’t all handled well, we would not have acted recklessly in the way that your sources have characterized.

I believe honestly and in good faith that these are misunderstandings and I would like to work hard to clarify them.

Needless to say, Vamp and Tulip are tiny, independently owned businesses. We operate in a highly competitive market place and in an economic landscape that offers virtually no incentives for small businesses such as ours. Loans and other funding options for adult type businesses add to the challenges. We do the best we can. There were a lot of financial hardships that led to the closing of the company, there were problems that weren’t handled well at the time, all I can say is that we will work hard to, and I hope we will, do better in the future once Vamp is again fully operational.

As for Tulip, I am working on a statement as well. I have a part-time job working nights and so I am doing the best that I can with my limited time and resources. But this will be addressed ASAP, I can guarantee that to you.”

Camila also included in her email to me a list of positive customer feedback quotes. I don’t doubt that over the years there have been many satisfied customers. There are plenty of positive reviews on the web, visible at the locations I’ve linked already.

I do want to note that Camila seemed to take it very seriously when I informed her that there appeared to be outstanding Vamp Silicone orders that are due a refund. At this time I don’t have any information on outstanding nonrefunded Tulip Toy Gallery orders, but will do my best to press more for answers on that. There is more evidence of outstanding Tulip Toy Gallery orders than Vamp Silicone orders but it should be noted the Vamp Silicone Facebook page has been gone for some time, and we cannot know about reviews that may be been on that page.

While my initial email to Camila focused a bit more on Vamp than Tulip, I am still trying to get more answers about Tulip. I have asked many specific questions and not received the specific answers I would like to see. Camila is citing a lack of time and a preference to focus on cleaning up issues with Vamp and Tulip that I have brought up (in regards to orders). I have asked, specifically, about points the anonymous sources made such as the number of outstanding orders, the fact that Vamp ran out of silicone in May, the issues with refunds and the reportedly purposeful delays of refunds.

My interpretation of the most recent email leads me to believe that Camila may attempt to revive Vamp Silicone in the future.

~   ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

My aim for writing this post is to ensure that customers are well-informed. I hope that this post finds anybody who has still not received a refund; if that is you, then please contact me or respond in comment to this post. I would hope that Camila will ensure you get your overdue refund, and I will pass on all information of overdue refunds. 

During my investigation and contact with Camila she began working on ways to refund the outstanding Vamp Silicone orders I discussed. There is currently a page up at Vamp telling customers how to get their overdue refunds. Email all of your order info to When writing, please include your order information and any other relevant details.

It should be noted that if you are a customer having problems with an order, do not let it go longer than 28 days4 before you contact your bank to reverse the charges.

I hope that anyone who has shopped at or will find this post if they are overdue on a refund. I would also hope that anyone deciding on whether or not to shop with them finds this post, to better make their own informed decision about shopping there. I don’t know the future of these two businesses, but is currently operating and taking orders.

I have withheld my personal opinions and speculations from this post for legal reasons, but have left the comments open for others to express their own opinions, share experiences and ask questions. I hope that any questions others may post here will also be answered by Camila.

I will update this post if I get new information.

  1. I have screencapped receipts for all of these in case these reviews ever get removed
  2. It should be noted that, at first, this source was only telling me information to answer my questions, not with any intent on me passing the information on. At first, everything said to me was off the record, but we talked about it and they changed their mind
  3. note that there have been prior conversations that I have not been given permission to share
  4. all banks/credit card companies vary so double check how long you have to contest charges
 Posted by at 10:05 am
Mar 062018

Coconut Oil and Silicone Sex Toys - A jar of coconut oil is surrounded by various silicone sex toysThe world is divided on their feelings about coconut oil as lube, but I didn’t know that people truly believed that coconut oil and silicone sex toys were incompatible. It doesn’t work well as a lube for everyone; it’s not the perfect lube (there isn’t one perfect lube). But it does work well for many folks! It’s not good for those who use condoms – unless you can use the hard-to-find polyurethane or nitrile condoms – but it is great with all body-safe sex toy materials.

I’ve talked about the fact that coconut oil and silicone sex toys are compatible but then recently a sex toy shop published a Very Incorrect article on why they hated coconut oil as lube. Among their many opinions touted as (incorrect) facts was that they claimed it would destroy silicone sex toys, making them look “decayed”. That’s…that’s not a thing that happens…ever.

Despite myself and other bloggers chiming in about their long-time use of coconut oil lube with silicone sex toys, the shop’s social media manager was not swayed and they got really shitty with folks. But since they were not the only ones surprised that coconut oil and silicone sex toys can have a long, happy marriage I decided to run a little experiment. Y’all know how much I love experiments.

Geeky Metrics

I wanted to be sure I could tell you that there was no change to the silicone with no doubts, so I had to use proof beyond my pictures and my words. I borrowed a durometer to tell me the shore strength (squish level) of the sex toys before and after their exposure to coconut oil. I weighed them in grams to make sure that no oil was absorbed. I photographed them before and after each time they bathed in coconut oil.

Coconut oil and silicone sex toys - showing various silicone sex toys with coconut oil on themThe first time I put the coconut oil on the sex toys I had melted the oil and brushed it on with a basting brush. I did it this way because once the coconut oil is in your body it’s warmed up enough to liquify. But this meant that I was worried there wasn’t enough oil on the sex toys to be convincing because the oil slid right off the shiny Tantus dildo and dripped off the others in slow motion. Because we keep our house temps at 68F, though, the melted oil eventually solidified on the sex toys. I waited 30 minutes before I washed and dried them. 

The second time around I scooped out some slightly-softened-mostly-solid coconut oil and spread it on the sex toys. This time I left it on the TPR toys for only 2 hours and decided to leave it on the silicone sex toys overnight. The coconut oil and silicone sex toys marinated for 15 hours the second time.

Coconut Oil and Silicone Sex Toys

My first test time of 30 minutes “marinating” the coconut oil and silicone sex toys was based on this poll I ran asking people how long their sex toys were usually covered in lube.

My second test time of 15 hours1 was because I wanted to make sure that a cumulative effect of many uses would also not have any effect. I was too impatient / couldn’t gaurantee the consistent cleanliness of my kitchen to run 5 or 9 half-hour tests so I figured that a long exposure would be fine. 

As expected, the coconut oil had no effect on the silicone. There was no absorption of oil into the silicone. There was no change in shore strength. There was no “decayed” look. There was no effect: coconut oil and silicone sex toys are perfectly compatible.

Coconut oil and silicone sex toys - close up views of silicone sex toys before coconut oil was applied and after the final 15 hour test

Coconut Oil and Fun Factory Toys

It came to my attention tonight, thanks to Epiphora, that it does void the warranty on Fun Factory toys if you use coconut oil or other oils – however, it’s not because of the silicone. I find this kind of ironic because one of the toys I tested was Fun Factory. WHOOPS. The toy is fine, though. Anyway, it’s because oil damages their plastic handles / the controls. I’ve never personally experienced any issues with coconut oil and other plastic sex toys or their plastic handles but I cannot tell you to risk voiding your warranty when the manufacturer is so explicit.

Which Coconut Oil?

I did my tests with “extra virgin, unrefined” coconut oil. When I first did my research on coconut oil as a lube information seemed to point to unrefined, organic, extra-virgin as being the “best” and healthiest. Refined goes through processes to sanitize it but those processes also destroy a lot of the good stuff. According to LiveStrong:

Of the two options, refined oil remains a cheaper choice. While the refined product still contains the valuable medium chain fatty acids, the damage done to many nutritive factors such as the polyphenols during processing means that the unrefined oil stands out as a healthier choice.

Some refined coconut oils can have partially-hydroginated fats added in, which could increase the pore-clogging factor of oil for some people. I think that as long as you make sure it has nothing added and it’s organic, there’s no harm. Fewer benefits, but reduced cost.

If you’re someone who is most worried about pores being clogged because you’re prone to that then you could try liquid coconut oil – it has the solidifying fat removed so it’s considered non-comdedogenic. Of course this is also the most refined and it removes most, if not all, of the health benefits you may want from coconut oil (anti-fungal, anti-microbial, etc).

You can also try out the new options on the market that are specifically marketed as lube, which includes Coconu and Sliquid. Both are combinations of various plant-based oils and butters; I have no idea how much of the anti-fungal -microbial properties would remain in these lubes so if that’s an aspect that is important, go back to unrefined coconut oil. It’s also considerably more expensive that buying plain coconut oil – 2 ounces of Sliquid is $12, but 32 ounces of organic, unrefined coconut oil is $14.

There are no studies on coconut oil as a lubricant that I’ve found, but a number of studies showing that coconut oil is great at killing candida. I’ve found a study on mineral oil and vaginal use, which is bad, but not coconut oil. No studies talk about the pH because, as far as we know, oils don’t have a pH. Some people have reported increased vaginal infections with coconut oil and feel it’s down to the fact that oils can help bacteria hang out for longer in your vagina – they can, but unrefined coconut oil is anti-microbial. So what could be the problem?

Well, it could be how you’re getting the coconut oil on your bits. Are you digging a finger into the tub of oil? You’re introducing bacteria. I suggest “decanting” an ounce of oil into a smaller container with a lid. The article linked above also suggests that using too much coconut oil can disrupt the flora balance and make an existing yeast infection worse, not better, so it’s a delicate balance. People who easily get yeast infections may want to take caution.

“The fact that coconut oil kills candida and yeast can help with yeast infections and candida issues, but can also cause a healing crises or candida die off when used internally. If you have never used coconut oil internally before, start with a 1 teaspoon (5 grams) and test your body’s response.”

A little goes a very long way with coconut oil as a lube.

Oil and Silicone Elsewhere

A few months ago the myth of “silicone toys touching in storage” came up again on social media in part because of Lovehoney’s incorrect assertions that some silicone wand toppers shouldn’t be used on silicone-headed wand vibrators and my jar experiment of a few years ago didn’t seem to be “enough”. I went to a kitchen supply store, I looked around my own house and pointed out the many many silicone kitchen ephemera that exists peacefully as a group, all touchin’ up in each others’ business. The silicone items at the kitchen store touching in long-term storage. Nothing. Happens.

People seem to forget that silicone exists in the world outside of sex toys. Silicone wedding bands, and gasket rings, and various kitchen and bath items, and cell phone cases. How many times do you use oil in your cooking and baking and it comes in contact with a silicone item? For me it’s a lot – spatulas and basting brushes and measuring spoons. Many people wear a silicone wedding band and I’ve not heard of one problem with the band being destroyed due to contact with oils. They don’t warn you in the care instructions to avoid oil.

Like the myth that silicone-touching-silicone will result in damage to your sex toys I think this myth is something that has hung on from the unchecked industry issues of companies or retailers saying that something is silicone when it’s actually TPR. If your sex toy is damaged, melts, deforms from storage or oil? It’s not silicone. You’ve reached an timely end in your adventure, now turn back to page 14 and start over, this time by flame-testing that sex toy to make sure it’s actually silicone.

Bonus Section: Coconut Oil and TPR

I expected to see visible destruction given the results of my jar (the liquid in the jar is the oil that’s leached out of the toys and my theory is that that speeds up and encourages more breakdown of material). What actually happened mildly surprised me. 

I could not find any change in the texture or softness of the two TPR sex toys. One was more firm than the softest silicone and one was so squishy it reminded me of a masturbation sleeve and it was softer than the Shore A durometer could measure. What I did notice, however, was how the oil behaved. The liquid oil on the TPR never solidified. The solid oil on the TPR started to melt AND seemed to draw out some of the oil in the material. You can see the differences in this video. The oil on the cutting board beneath each TPR sex toy was slightly sticky, too. 

I even left the softer TPR dildo in contact with coconut oil for an entire day – the coconut oil in the dish solidifed (I’d melted it) but the oil I’d put on the dildo was gone and the oil that dildo was touching in the bowl also remained liquid. It’s really strange. I couldn’t see any damage like visible material distortion or anything but I could see some literal holes in the dildo that teared easily when I pulled on the material a little.

Without having access to more in-depth scientific tools I can’t tell you exactly what happened to the TPR. It’s a known thing in the industry that you can’t mix TPR or PVC with oil lubes so this wasn’t a thing to prove – it was merely a “compare and contrast” and “because I can” addition to the test.


Do you use coconut oil as lube? What have been your experiences?

  1. In the video I said 10 hours but that is because I have no concept of time, and guessed. But when I looked at my IG post from the day before to see when I’d actually put the oil on the toys the second time, it said 15 hours
Mar 032018

Definition:: what is a body-safe sex toy?Toxic. Non-porous. Body-safe. Skin-safe. Non-toxic. These are all terms you will see used to define sex toy materials. Toxic, non-toxic, and non-porous are all pretty self-explanatory terms but we’ll go over them here. The term that seems up for debate is body-safe, so today I’m going to give you various answers on what a body-safe sex toy is.

But, let’s start by talking about the other, more easily defined terms, before we define a body-safe sex toy.

Toxic Sex Toys

The topic of toxic toys is one this blog is familiar with; I have a whole page dedicated to the ins and outs. When you get down to the nitty-gritty of language, though, you may wonder if “toxic” is accurate. Toxic, by definition, means “containing poisonous substances” or “containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing serious injury or death

While there are no cases of a sex toy material killing someone we do know that some sex toys contain phthalates, a chemical that can do bad things to the body. The occurance of phthalates in sex toys is sharply declining, thankfully, as evidenced by recent lab tests. One or two uses won’t likely hurt you, and sex toys are not the only place to find phthalates but they’re a thing you can control and avoid.

We’ve also seen the presence of heavy metals, like Cadmium which is dangerous, but this is rare. We may see irritants, such as chlorine, which may cause a burn or rash on your skin. But the chances of a sex toy truly being “toxic” to the point of serious illness? We don’t know. After all, no one is subjecting mice to a Basix dildo and observing them.

The lab tests on sex toys have largely been performed on the more well-known brands but the market is flooding, unchecked, on sites like Groupon, Amazon, Ebay and AliExpress. Brands come and go and they are usually not the focus of testing. These are the brands I am most skeptical of; they are white label brands usually (another definition post to come on that) and their manufacturing isn’t watched with a careful eye like the more major brands.

Because the sex toy industry is much less regulated the chemicals in sex toy materials are not monitored by any governing body. Packaging can say whatever the company wants it to say with no regard for the truth. As consumers become more savvy and bloggers educate more, I feel we’re seeing fewer companies lie on packaging but it certainly still happens.

There are a few things we know to be true, though: You’ll never find phthalates in silicone or hard materials. Due to the nature of the material you don’t find phthalates in TPR/TPE but you may in latex rubber or PVC. PVC/Vinyl can contain high levels of chlorine, while TPR/TPE has been shown to be free of harmful and irritating chemicals. Visually, it can be hard to tell the difference between a TPR and PVC – your nose may know, but all soft sex toy materials (even silicone) can have a bad chemical odor due to manufacturing chemicals not being removed before the toy is sealed up in packaging.

Non-Toxic Definition

Non-toxic is a definition I use for materials that are porous but are either very unlikely to contain harmful or irritating chemicals or the company claims they are free from harmful or irritating chemicals. TPR/TPE and various trademarked “flesh” like materials will fall in this category – such as masturbators like Fleshlight and Tenga. PVC that claims to be phthalates-free could begrudingly go in this category if we’re feeling charitable or have repeatedly seen that the brand never fails on lab tests. 

Unfortunately, as noted above, it can often be hard to tell the difference between PVC and TPR/TPE. Both can be jelly-like and clear, or completely opaque. I am more wary of this difficulty telling the difference when you’re relying on white-label brands direct from the Chinese manufacturing plant than of major name brands carried at most retailers.

Non-toxic, porous sex toy materials may not ever harm your body in the ways a toxic toy can – they are unlikely to cause a rash or chemical burn, for example. They will, over time, become a happy home to bacteria and yeast because these materials can only be cleaned on the surface – the same can be said for toxic toys because they are also porous. Their pores will always freely feed bacterial colonies and encourage them to thrive. The material is not chemically stable and will break down over time. It will happen slowly if left on its own: it’ll sweat an oily substance, lose it’s coloring, or take on coloring from anal use or simply the place it’s being stored. It will happen rapidly if stored in a place that gets hotter than body temperature or if two porous toys are stored touching each other.

Non-toxic, porous sex toys can also potentially cause vaginal infections in some people.

Skin-Safe Definition

I’ve only seen this term used by a few retailers, namely Lovehoney (and anybody setting up their site who copies Lovehoney). My best guess is they use this term as a nicer way of describing materials that are porous yet claim to be non-toxic.

Why “Skin safe” and not body-safe or, more accurately, non-toxic? Perhaps even they recognize that “body-safe” is a higher level of quality yet they still want to give you a false sense of security. Given all the issues that can happen with porous materials I would never call them “skin safe”.  PVC without phthalates is non-toxic but could burn your skin from chlorine…that doesn’t sound “safe”.

Body-Safe Sex Toy Definitions

Like “skin safe”, some retailers and manufacturers use “body safe” as a blanket term for anything that is merely non-toxic. The issues with porous sex toys, like repeated vaginal infections, won’t happen for everyone. If you replace the porous material after 4-6 months and take very good care of it1 then you may never have to worry about shoving a bacterial colony of squigglies in your body. These exceptions, maybes and loopholes mean that, to some, TPR/TPE and similarly named products (elastomer, for example) are “body-safe”.

I don’t consider microbial stowayas “body-safe” but, unless you’re a microbiologist, you won’t know the bacteria and yeast there. They could be. I’ve heard of people giving themselves repeated yeast infections because of the microbes in the toy; I’ve heard of people feeling like they’ve had food poisioning after using a porous sex toy anally.

While many retailers will push you towards sex toy cleaners for the porous materials, I don’t recommend it. The chemicals from the cleaner could potentially stick around in the pores. Do we know this to be 100% fact? No. Again, a lack of specific medical studies but enough people who know more about

To most bloggers, educators, and retailers, though, a body-safe sex toy is something that is both non-toxic and non-porous.

The Exceptions to Body-Safe Sex Toy Materials

Taken a step further a body-safe sex toy means being certain that the metal alloys in metal toys are considered surgical-grade or marine-grade, like njoy’s 316 grade stainless steel or Crowned Jewels’ body-safe aluminum and titanium. Good stainless steel shouldn’t be highly magnetic. It also means that the glass has not been painted and non-toxic pigments in frit are the only pigments used. It means that the wood has been sealed with food-grade sealant (or medical-grade) that will not wash away. It means that only non-toxic food-grade pigments are used in ABS plastic or silicone.

The tricky part, then, is knowing the answers to those exceptions for every brand you buy. You can get to a safe and trusting place by only buying from brands endorsed by sex toy reviewers, sold by trustworthy retailers also endorsed by sex toy reviewers. I am always very wary of recommending unknown brands of metal sex toys especially if the brands are only found on sites like Amazon, AliExpress, and so on; I can also tell you that you are very unlikely to get a body-safe metal butt plug for under $25 – especially the jeweled kind.

I’ve given you the tools to know more about the safety of your glass sex toys but there are no easy, fool-proof home tests yet for metal. Wood sex toys are usually easier because, for the most part, manufacturers/crafters know what they’re putting on the wood as a sealant and are up front about this. This article talks about the sealants you should avoid. You can try your hand at flame-testing to determine if something is silicone or not – not all PVC and TPR looks like “jelly” so at first glance you may be unable to tell visually.


A body-safe sex toy doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Buy from a trusted retailer – not Amazon, AliExpress, Groupon, Ebay – and you can find many options to fit your budget. You can’t find many body-safe sex toys under $10, for example, but you can find hundreds under $35. I want you to have the best, safest experience possible and that starts by knowing your materials, the risks, and how to shop.



  1. clean it immediately before and after use with a mild soap, let it air-dry 100% before storing it in a dark environment, storing it by itself in unbleached cotton bags/wrapping
Feb 132018

Gaia Eco on coral photographed against a wood backgroundYou are probably wondering why a reviewing veteran like me is talking to you about a $10 vibrator and the answer is: the material, the vibrations and the sheer novelty of liking a $10 vibrator. The Gaia Eco is *biodegradeable* and *recyclable* which is rare for sex toy materials. When this first came out and we read about the starch-based plastic a number of people imagined something much more delicate and single-use; something that might be made out of “starch” more than “plastic”. Rest assured it feels like plastic and acts like plastic; it won’t be disintegrating atfer a few washes. What’s more, the Biofeel bioplastic uses less energy and creates less greenhouse gas emissions to create. 

Just because I’m recommending this as a good “first vibrator” option doesn’t mean you should expect it to be weak – too often reviewers have attempted to sugar-coat mediocre or sub-par sex toys by proclaming their weak motors as “good for beginners”. I was once that beginner who kept trying buzzy, weak motors and thinking I was broken because, newbie to vibrations or not, I needed more. I knew because fingers could only get me off maybe 1 in 15 times and tongues nearly never. I knew I needed more but every review I read on retailer sites kept proclaiming the vibrators “powerful” when they really weren’t to me – power is subjective but you can’t ask Raina in Ohio any follow up questions.

Let’s get back to this cool bioplastic for a minute. I needed to know more so I went to Ducky. Here’s what Ducky told me:

The Gaia Eco line is made from a food grade bioplastic. Like ABS plastic, our bioplastic is nonporous and compatible with all lubricants. The toys will not break down. You can not just toss it in your recycling bin and expect it to be recycled, but a person can take this product to their local recycling center and they can recycle them there.

Biobased polymer need to be proceed in industrial composing units which have a measured dose of heat and microbes. In this environment the toys will degrade in 180 days. To toss it in a landfill or your home composting bin will not expose the vibe to the right elements. City recycling facilities should also separate the metals and electronics from the casing. Can we guarantee that every consumer will follow through? No. But the vibe does encourage conversations around how to recycle and the availability of sustainable plastics. 

So yes, it can be recycled but perhaps not as easily as tossing it in your blue bin. But at least we understand more about the material, now!

Gaia Eco Size - 7 inches long, 5.75 inches insertable, 1 inch wide, 3.5 inches circumference. The Gaia Eco is about as basic as a vibrator can get: Straight, rigid, battery-powered with a control dial on top for a range of steady vibrations. It’s slender and long enough for vaginal insertion (but not anal-safe!) and works really well as an external vibrator, too.  I personally don’t like this as an internal vibrator because I want a more girth and a lot more curve, but plenty of folks like this style for insertable use.

Here’s the kicker: the motor is actually pretty darn good. It’s powerful and fairly rumbly. A lot of cheap vibrators can be mild on the vibrations and surface-buzzy but the Gaia left me pleasantly surprised – so surprised that as it sat on my desk for months I kept turning it on briefly as if to remind myself that the vibrations weren’t something from a fever dream, they really were that good.  In fact, the power level is so good that if you have a sensitive clitoris and can orgasm fairly easily from just fingers it might be too powerful for you. The vibrations are concentrated in the tip and lower third. You do feel some residual vibrations in your hand as you hold it, but it’s not much. I didn’t find it irritating and the vibrations are definitely enough to get me off. I had a much easier time orgasming with this $10 vibrator than I did my first three Lelo vibrators.

You’d probably also expect a $10 vibrator to be loud and obvious but the Gaia Eco is quieter – and more powerful – than the Dame Fin, the JimmyJane Intro line, the Fun Factory Jazzie, or the Crave Bullet.

I’d recommend the Gaia Eco as a first vibrator because it will help you understand your body better: you’ll find out if your vagina/g-spot responds at all to vibration; you can see if you may prefer pinpoint or broad stimulation by using the very tip or the side against your clitoris and labia. You can use this to find out if any of your external parts like vibration – just don’t insert this up your butt. You’ll regret it. And hey, because it’s battery powered it makes a decent “whoops my other vibrators are in the shop1” back-up and even is good for travel – no accidental turn-ons and if you forget it you’re only out $10. It needs 2 AA batteries – I use Duracell copper-topped batteries. If you use rechargeable batteries you’ll get less oomph from the motor and, of course, as the batteries (any type) drain in power your vibrator will slow down, as well. 


Thanks to Blush Novelties for sending me the Gaia Eco in exchange for my honest review – you can find it for $9.99 at SheVibe in colors I can really get behind like aqua blue, spring green and coral pink. The coloring does have a lightly speckled look to it, like a robin’s egg!

  1. Because everybody forgets to charge their rechargeables at some point
Jan 282018

Zumio Classic Review - Zumio shown on top of multi-colored papers with craft scissors and a paint markerI don’t think I’ve ever held a sex toy as awkwardly as I hold the Zumio. It doesn’t endear me to the strange, purple antenna. Every single time I’ve used the Zumio I curse the button location. They had so much room to work with, but instead one button is nearly inaccessible to me. And so, this review begins on an ominous note. I’ll warn you right now: while many other reviewers really enjoyed the Zumio I’ve found too many quirks and problems to be able to recommend it. I’ve had my Zumio since November. Like the original Womanizer I didn’t want to like it, but suspected I would. Unlike the Womanizer I found I was different from most folks who’ve reviewed it. I consider myself to have a very hearty and stoic clitoris but even mine cowered in fear of the sometimes-painful Zumio.

Don’t Tell Me What To Do, Zumio

Many sex toys that I like end up being pretty versatile – you can use a lot of G-spot vibrators externally with great success, many clitoral vibes are great for perineum, penis, testicle, external anal stim, labia stim, etc. I’d say that the only sex toy I really love that is limited in use is the Womanizer and all other varitions/knock-offs. I’ve been told that it can work great applied to the frenulum on the penis but haven’t had my partner agree. But the Zumio – right out of the gate they’re telling you how it’s supposed to be held and then damn near giving you a paint-by-numbers diagram of how to use it, and what spots to hit in which order. There are literal instructions on how to achieve this supposed (not guaranteed) 60-second orgasm that the Zumio was invented to provide.

It wasn’t until I really poked around the website that I realized why it’s so awkward for me to hold and use the Zumio – I’ve been holding it “wrong”. They’re holding it like a paintbrush and I’m still holding it like, well, a vibrator. With the buttons facing me and the body perpendicular to my vulva. So I tried to hold it their way and it was worse – the power button is the most obvious to my fingers so I kept accidentally turning it off because I just couldn’t remember that the other buttons are that damn far down the body, so close to the tip.

Folks who are flatter in chest and tummy and can easily see what they’re doing, folks without reach issues and “short arms” will find this less awkward. Folks with less pubic mound padding and less labia may not have a problem accessing the top-most1 button but the top-heavy feel of it in your hands, the overwhelming feeling that you’re not about to buzz your way to orgasm but paint your clitoris, may deter you like it’s deterring me. Those with wrist/hand pain/arthritis may also find that holding the Zumio is painful.

I also want to address another aspect of Zumio’s prescriptive stance: their early marketing “studies” and ridiculous “proof” of the ultra-quick orgasm that is supposedly the hallmark of the Zumio. Early on they kept throwing around these comparisons and percentages that, frankly, are a terrible way to market. You end up alienating people for whom your product doesn’t work. You may make people feel broken. I repeatedly called them out on this and pressed for more details; it was then we found out that this study they’ve been touting like it’s a religious tome was based on a mere SIXTY FOUR SUBJECTS. That’s it. 64. They claimed a wide range of participants but they eventually stopped using these numbers and claims. It also took them awhile to “gather the responses” to give me more data. Can you feel my side-eye from there? I haven’t seen them trot these percentages out in awhile and can’t find them on their site anymore. Hmmm…

But Lilly, Don’t You Love Pinpoint Stimulation?

I agreed to review the Zumio because it’s supposed to be the be-all end-all pinpoint sex toy2 and we all know how much I love pinpoint vibrators. Except Zumio isn’t really a vibrator, technically speaking, it oscillates3. And despite the company’s ridiculous claims and promises of a quick orgasm, I had problems and found that, perhaps, there was such a thing as too pinpoint for me. Quelle surprise!  Sometimes I was able to orgasm in a few minutes  – but I can with the Womanizer, too. Sometimes I wasn’t.

Every other pinpoint vibrator I’ve tried and liked was pinpoint, yes, but they also provided just enough extra surface area to stimulate more than the exact spot they were honing in on, not to mention stimulating the internal clitoris legs to some degree. Not the Zumio. For once I had trouble finding my spot, that one spot on the right side of my clit, because the tip of the Zumio is so precise and rigid that I simply don’t feel much pleasure until X marks the spot. It was a frustrating game of pin-the-tail-on-the-clitoris. Zumio acknowledges this on their site, buried in the FAQ. If you look at the question “Is Zumio as strong as a vibrator?” you’ll see that they say no, it is not. “Vibrators shake everything that touches them including the clitoral region, hand and arm and even the entire body. Your body is full of nerve endings. All of them pick up these energy pulses in some form and can be overwhelming signals to your brain. It’s like a sledge hammer to drive a tack!”

Your entire body? Really?

It is a big pet peeve of mine when a sex toy manufacturer puts so much emphasis on putting down other, similar products. You don’t need to be like “Vibrators? PAH. THEY SUCK. TRY ZUMIO” to get sales.

The Zumio claims to replicate the feeling of your finger circling your clitoris – which couldn’t be farther from the truth. It feels exactly like what it is – a vibrating plastic tip. It’s intense. It feels a lot like if you took the vibrator motor – the kind with the off-balance head that wobbles around – and applied it directly to your clitoris. I would know, I did that once with my first sex toy.

I’m also usually a person who needs pressure – whether it’s applying pressure to my clitoris or needing a vibrator that won’t be diminished under the “pressure” of my surrounding labia. When I apply a very light amount of pressure, the sensations change and feel less intense and almost more rumbly, if that’s possible. But when I apply a little bit more pressure the Tip stops moving completely although the motor is still going. A number of times during use as I tried to find the right combination of my spot and Zumio placement and intensity I would apply enough pressure for it to stop moving. 

A Strange Orgasm

I can orgasm, but not in 60 seconds, on the lowest setting of the Zumio if I’m aroused or watching something erotic on Tumblr. The resulting orgasm is mild and feels like nothing within seconds. It takes awhile, anywhere from 10-20 minutes.The Zumio is too intense, too direct, for me to continue to use it for additional orgasms like I can with the Womanizer, so if I want another orgasm – because the first one was disappointing – I have to wait a little bit.

I can increase the speed on the Zumio – I can only go to 3 or 4 because any higher than that and it’s even more sensitive to whatever pressure I am trying not to apply – and the resulting orgasm is stronger but afterwards I still don’t feel like anything happened, if that makes sense. At level 3, the Zumio did force an orgasm but it was an empty orgasm. It left me as quickly as it started and I don’t feel it bodily – it’s like the orgasm and its aftershocks are strictly located in my clitoris and I just don’t feel it anywhere else.

Every time I’ve used the Zumio I looked longingly at my Womanizer Pro40 and wanted to abandon ship for it, but “I must continue on. For science.”

A Few SpiroTIP Warnings

FYI, the following is not mentioned in the manual. I’d assumed that the Tip was purely ABS plastic, through and through. But one weekend I was carrying the Zumio in my handbag. When I finally removed it I panicked because the Tip was bent at almost a 75-degree angle. I thought I ruined it completely. It seems that the top half of the tip is bendable wire covered in a plastic of some type? After I accidentally bent it once it was easy to accidentally bend it again, and now the purple plastic in the spot is lighter, showing signs of stress. The moment there’s a break in that covering, the Zumio won’t be safe for use anymore4.

Zumio only gives you a standard-issue drawstring pouch for storage so I feel like this damage to the Tip could happen to anyone, whether they’re carrying it in their pocket, their handbag, their suitcase or even if it’s just in a jumbled nightstand drawer.

This second problem happened as I was preparing to take a photo of the tip to show the damage to the plastic. As I was cleaning my Zumio I noted that a not-inconsiderable amount of dried lube/fluid had congregated in the space between the base of the plastic-covered tip and the silicone of the body. I gently ran my fingernail along the seam, like you do. This caused the plastic portion of the Tip to pop out of the body. I was able to eventually work the tip back into place, as the silicone covering is flexible around the joint of the tip, but the damage was done. My Zumio is now completely dead. The tip is covering a metal rod which feeds into the motor – the metal rod isn’t fixed into place so when it was lifted up along with the plastic SpiroTip I couldn’t get it back into place again so that it works.

Close-up image of the broken Zumio - the plastic tip slightly separated from the body, with a lighter purple spot in the center of the tip, indicitative of where it bent

And this part leads me to concerns about their Limited Warranty…

Notes on the Zumio Limited Warranty

The warranty only covers any defects in material or workmanship under normal use during the warranty period of 1 year after the date of purchase. Is my accident with the bent SpiroTip considered a defect? I spoke with a rep from Zumio who said that no, it’s not considered a defect5 and probably wouldn’t be covered under warranty. Yet they do not warn about this and give you no way to to prevent it happening during travel. I haven’t bothered to ask if my second, and fatal, break would be covered under warranty – I doubt it. At this point, I have serious concerns about the build quality and their warranty.

I would also like to note that despite their constant claims of a 60-second orgasm on their site and social media there is no “satisfaction guarantee” and if this product doesn’t give you the 60-second orgasm they talk so much about don’t expect to get your money back. You wouldn’t expect that with any other sex toy, I know, but this feels like a weird juxtiposition to me.

It’s also noted that, according to the manufacturer, the average life span of the Zumio is about 2 years, which may vary with usage patterns. I suppose this might mean that if you apply a little pressure and if you really love it and use it a lot, it probably won’t last you two years. While the Zumio is 10 times more intense than the Eroscillator, to me, the Eroscillator has a much better track record for longevity even though their warranty period is the same.

An Exceedingly Long Charge Time

It’s not noted on their website but it is noted on the SheVibe page that charge time is “16 hours, from low battery to full battery” and this charge time gets you up to 4 hours of use, but as little as 75 minutes of use if you apply pressure and use it on a higher intensity setting a lot. Since applying pressure dampens the action considerably, you probably will have to increase the intensity, like I did. I can tell you I got nowhere near 4 hours of use on a full charge. I never ran a stop-watch while I was using it but if your use time on a full charge is under an hour then you have a defective unit. You can absolutely just pop it in the charging stand and charge for say, an hour or two, and then use the Zumio again. You don’t always have to fully charge it.

If you’re lucky enough that the Zumio works quickly for you then even just 75 minutes of total use time would equal a lot of orgasms, right? Except that I don’t know how normal non-use battery drainage works here. It’s not a lithium battery, it’s NiMH 350mAh. I’ve had plenty of sex toys lose their charge during dormant periods of use and I don’t claim to know if it’s related to a certain battery type.

Should You Buy The Zumio?

Obviously, I’m not a fan. I don’t hate the Zumio and it’s not the worst thing ever but it’s certainly not what I would expect from an “award winning” sex toy. If I do my best to get over my hatred of their prescribed useage and empty promises full of marketing lingo that makes me stabby, my opinion still slants towards “maybe give this a pass”. The button placement is a major issue for me and while the sensation it provides is certainly unique it’s also only going to be perfectly right for a small portion of people. I can’t just say “if you know you like pinpoint vibrations” because that’s me and I didn’t love it. The Zumio Classic is currently $140 – a lot of money to spend on such a finicky sex toy. Given my problems with the build quality and the extremely restrictive warranty I’m reluctant to recommend purchase. I can’t recommend the Eroscillator instead simply because the Eroscillator isn’t nearly as intense so it’s still apples and oranges. I’d pick the Tango but I’ve been told that for some folks it’s not pinpoint enough. The Womanizer feels nothing like the Zumio but, for me, is much more satisfying and provides a true build-up in intensity from light to “whoa nelly”.

The company has already created a slightly different model, the Zumio Caress, which will be out in a few months. I’ve attached a guide sheet that the company provided me with and it shows that the Caress has a shorter tip made out of softer material (I don’t know what it is) and that it is less intense than the Zumio Classic. The overall design is still the same and with a shorter tip I would have even more difficulty accessing the buttons, making this even more awkward to hold and frustrating to use. I think that I could appreciate the Tip redesign but it needs a body overhaul.


My thanks to Shevibe for providing me with the Zumio in exchange for my honest review! You can get the Zumio at Shevibe here.

  1. lowest? depends on orientation – regardless, I mean the “increase” button
  2. according to the manufacturer, of course
  3. but not nearly as effectively as the Eroscillator
  4. Why? Because the cracks in the plastic will harbor bacteria and potentially scratch/abrade/irritate the delicate tissue of the labia and clitoris
  5. In fact, they expressed surprise at what happened and said that it would take “considerable force” to bend the tip – I disagree
Jan 142018

My last post was written more for creators and businesses about Facebook Pages, but this post is for you, dear reader. Just like entertainers would be nothing without their fans, bloggers (like any other type of writer) would be nothing without their readers. You literally make or break us. It’s our job as bloggers to be interesting to you, to provide you with hot/funny/smart/helpful blog posts, but it’s hard sometimes. We do our level best to write great content and promote ourselves but then one by one the places we connect best with you, the places we were told we could be, are silencing us and throttling our reach. Every post that someone writes from the depth of their soul, whispering a thing they think they’re alone in feeling/doing/wanting, someone else out there feels a little bit better knowing that they are not alone. 

The Social Media Problem

Facebook is throttling pages. Twitter has been shadow-banning. Tumblr hides adult content from the searches. Instagram, and Facebook, can decide on a whim if you’ve shared a photo they deem too revealing and suspend or delete your account. They all automatically try to tell us that we, too, can reach more people if we just give them money yet every single time they say “NOPE. You write about sex. Some of our audience finds SEX offensive. We don’t promote you in exchange for money. Good day, Sir. You lose! I SAID GOOD DAY!”

Every one of these social media platforms uses algorthyms to better determine what they think you want to see. I mean, you’ve followed us, so you know you want to see our content but these networks want proof. In triplicate. Repeatedly. 

So what can you do? Like. Retweet. React. Comment. Reblog. Share. These actions all tell that social media network that you love us, you really love us and you want to continue to see our content.

Currently, you can find me on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, and Facebook (but please click “Follow” rather than “Friend” if we don’t actually know each other). Follower counts mean a lot, more than I wish they did, so that would be awesome if you follow.


An update to this post about Instagram: If you follow us on IG and feel up for it, comment (4 words or more) on our pictures. React as soon as you see something. Because Facebook owns Instagram, they are similarly deciding to throttle IG. Shit gets really complicated and it seems like there’s a lot of hoops to jump through.

The Money Problem – Advertisers and Sponsored Posts

Often you may see ad banners in your favorite bloggers’ sidebars or notice a sponsored post. If they’re good, and many are really good, that sponsored post is nothing more than a post they were going to publish anyways but someone with a business relevant to the subject matter said “hey, I’ll pay you to put a link to my porn site into that post about porn” and that’s it. The best sponsored posts aren’t written by anyone else but the blogger and don’t read like a giant advertisement, but they’re making money on what is truly a job – yes, blogging (writing) is a job.

So you notice the ads and you see the sponsored links, but maybe they don’t appeal to you. Maybe it’s for a sex toy shop that you know your favorite blogger wouldn’t really want you to shop at, because they care about supporting feminist sex toy shops that give accurate product descriptions, educate their buyers, behave well on social media, and more. But it would still be rad if you just click on the link or banner because then those advertisers feel like they got their money’s worth which means they very well may renew their ad banner or work with the blogger again on another sponsored post. Some bloggers list their advertisers as “sponsors” because companies get salty about such blatant words that convey that money changed hands and we’re not organically recommending them. If you’re ever unsure about which banners are for companies the blogger recommends and which banners are there because they paid to be there, ask the blogger for clarification. 

Another easy thing to do? Comment on our posts. Any of them – but preferably make your comment relevant and if it’s a big detailed “help me find a sex toy” thing, send an email instead. Comments on the posts are the easiest way for advertisers to know we have an engaged reader base, that people are actually coming through from social media to read our stuff. This makes them more likely to meet our rates or pay us at all. Not sure what to say? Literally the simplest things can be enough; from “Oh, cool, I didn’t know that!” to agreeing with a reviewer’s opinion on an aspect of the sex toy they loved/hated, or “This was a great post, thanks for writing it”, and even just “Sharing this!”. Your favorite bloggers may, or may not, respond to every comment so don’t go in expecting that but do know we see you, we appreciate you, we thank you.

I currently use Disqus for commenting, and hold everything for moderation because hey, it’s the internet and that means spam. You can have a Disqus account, or not, on my site. How? Click in that field that says “Sign up For Disqus” and instead, go check the box below it that says “I’d rather post as a guest”. Please still use your email address, a valid one, if you ever want a response – your email address won’t be visible to others!

The Money Problem – Affiliate Earnings Explained

Many bloggers, especially review bloggers, have affiliate links. Most bloggers are ethical and are not recommending any old thing just to get you to spend money. Most bloggers who review sex toys give you their opinion, be it good or bad. Most of us don’t want you to buy that crappy sex toy we just couldn’t like, so our review will be negative but we’ll probably tell you which other sex toy you’d like instead. My point is: affiliate links are not the devil, they’re not proof we’ve “sold out” or can’t be trusted.

We can’t exchange our vibrators for cash and our landlords and electric companies and web hosting companies won’t take a dildo as payment. We’ve tried, no dice. I got some Looks at the grocery store when I tried to feed my out-dated vibrators into the Coinstar machine. After the 9th sex toy you’ve reviewed that just doesn’t work for you and will never be used again you, as a reviewer, start to realize that the “free sex toy” isn’t compensation enough for the hours you’ve spent writing the review and testing the toy.

Here’s the thing about how affiliate links work: It doesn’t cost you anything. There’s no upcharge at the retailer for buying your stuff through our links. The retailers don’t charge more overall to make up for it1. But you do have to buy something; just clicking the link doesn’t do anything for us. If you tend to visit a lot of review bloggers looking for the review that tells you what you need to know and you’ve been clicking on a bunch of affiliate links, the best way to make sure the blogger of your choosing gets credit for the sale is to clear your cookies for that retailer’s site and then click the blogger’s link. It doesn’t matter if you click their link to the Magic Wand and end up buying the Doxy, it’ll still give them credit for the sale.

Buy through the stores I support to support me: SheVibe, Early to Bed, and Smitten Kitten are US-based but will ship elsewhere. Come As You Are is in Canada. I’m also affiliated with GoodVibes, and, if you’re shopping at Amazon I am also an affiliate there. Naturally I would rather you not buy sex toys from Amazon but I get a bit of a commission on anything you buy. I do still have an affiliate account with Lovehoney US, even though I’m no longer supporting them.

If you can’t purchase anything, you can still comment on our reviews, and share them far and wide! This helps the shops know that our reviews are seen and anybody new who sees our review might end up buying from our links.

Support Us With Money

What if you come to me for sex toy buying advice but, due to your location, can’t buy from a website I’m affiliated with? Easy – send me a little something via Paypal, if you can. If you can’t, that’s okay too, just find the other ways here to support us. When we spend multiple back-and-forth emails with you we’re helping you because it matters to us that you find a great sex toy, but it’s also a lot of labor. It’s not mandatory but it’s definitely appreciated2. Other bloggers might use something other than Paypal and you’ll probably find a button for that in their side bar. Don’t see anything? Ask. They will happily tell you.

Have I helped you, but you couldn’t use my affiliates? Drop me a few bucks at Paypal.

If the blogger you follow has a Patreon account, support them there. If they have a wishlist someplace, buy something from it for them.

Other Ways to Let Us Know You’re Out There, For Free

At the end of the day, unless a blogger never wants to have advertisers, never cares about having many readers, never wants to make any money for their time and efforts at all, it’s important for us to have tangible proof that you like us. Ranking lists use our follower counts across all platforms to determine our popularity and therefore value. Advertisers look at our traffic and our subscribers and followers to know that they’ll be getting something for their money.

But you know what? We also just want to know that our words matter to someone. That we’re doing an okay job. I’ve seen too many bloggers who were decent and on the path to being great just quit because they simply didn’t think anybody was reading their stuff. It’s hard sometimes to put forth the immense effort (and some money) to write when it feels like you’re basically an astronaut floating in space, nobody listening to your mic, no one there to see or be seen.

**You can help by sharing the posts that you liked; many bloggers have a sharing plugin installed like mine that shows up beneath each post and lets you quickly and easily share this post in a multitude of ways.

**You can help by signing up for our newsletters, even if you already follow us on social media. It’s another measuring stick but it’s also a great way to ensure you really do see our posts. Those of us who have newsletters also often put content in them that isn’t on the website, or give you perks when it comes time for giveaways. You can also subscribe to our RSS feeds.

**Some bloggers are only on Twitter, some are on multiple social media platforms. Try sharing their stuff on a platform they don’t use! Many of us can’t stomach the harsh environment of Reddit, but it can be a really big boost to our traffic and earnings to find that someone linked to our review or our educational post, etc. I used to spend a lot of time there, helping people with their sex toy questions, but the toxic environment got the best of me. If you see someone recommending a shitty brand or a shitty material, educate them with my posts! Share responsibly, though. You never need permission to share a link but you do need permission to quote large tracks of posts or share our photos.

**Some bloggers are also educators – they’re doing workshops at stores or online, and signal-boosting their marketing for those workshops is important and helps. Their audience turn-out will determine if they get hired again, and sometimes the stores themselves don’t do a great job at promoting all workshops.


Many years ago we sex bloggers started getting the shit end of the stick from the free blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress. Blogs would be deleted with no warning, no way to back up. Bloggers have realized that they need to rely only on their hosting company and own their domain, but that costs money. Nearly everybody in the sexuality spectrum online is working for peanuts – educators, bloggers, podcasters, Youtubers. The way YouTube is censoring sexuality and LGBTQIA ‘Tubers from making any ad money means these folks are working for tips (aka affiliate earnings or literal tips), often times. And I know from experience that making a video is harder than writing a blog post. We are educating you, we are supporting you, we are letting you know you’re not alone but we need your help. So make note of those bloggers you enjoy the most and do whatever you’re capable of to signal-boost or line their pockets. Every single little bit matters.

Thank you for reading, and for wanting to take care of your bloggers.

Thanks especially to those folks who’ve already purchased through my links; 2017 was a fucking hard year for me and my partner, and he missed a lot of work. A lot a lot. If we didn’t have a ridiculously understanding boss and this blog, he would be unemployed and we would have lost our house. For as hard as the year was, I still have a lot to be grateful for.

  1. How do I know? I don’t know everything about every company, sure, but I’ve worked with enough retailers in my time to see that some charge more than others while either not having any affiliate program or having one but offering a very low percentage of the sale. I’ve come across companies who don’t yet make enough consistent sales to afford giving a percentage of their profit to affiliates, but I’ve never found a company willing to charge more than other retailers simply to afford paying affiliates
  2. but please don’t let this stop you from asking us for help – we know our limits and when we have the time and ability to help
 Posted by at 5:17 pm