Lilly

Sep 232016
 

shevibe_blog_squad_woodhullIt’s been (way) more than a month now since Sex Blogger Christmas aka Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit. I expected to write about this sooner but got hit hard with a cold-turned-infection the day I was driving home from the Summit; I missed a lot of work, have spent weeks exhausted and have had a lot of brain fog. The brain fog has clouded a lot of my memories, making writing about the weekend pretty difficult. I realized at one point during writing this (with its 14 edits) that I’ve been procrastinating on publishing this post because I’ve been afraid – afraid that it’s not good enough, that it’s missing important things, that I can’t do justice to my gratitude for Shevibe (my sponsor), Tantus, and Ricci Levy and the entire Woodhull Board. Because really, nothing short of a ticker tape parade would do justice to their greatness.

The Sessions

I absolutely plan to write up a separate post dedicated to what I learned during the Sex & Depression + Side Effects May Vary sessions. I don’t feel like there was enough for me to write about from Likes and Liberations, and #SFSMedia may not appeal to some of you – but if you are running the social media for your company, then you absolutely need to know what was said in that session. So many companies that want to work with me have atrocious social media accounts – some are so offensive they start a tidal wave of backlash, some are boring, some are dangerous and predatory. I do plan to write a post just dedicated to what was discussed in the #SFSMedia session.

There were sessions I missed, and it kills me to have missed them. I wanted to learn from Sarah Mueller again and understand more about bacterial vaginosis. I wanted to be inspired and educated about the intricacies of consent, but something happened. Both of those sessions were first thing Saturday morning and I slept in due to a few nights of getting less sleep than I need. I read these few tweets from the session on consent and promptly lost my shit. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing so I finally collected myself slightly and headed off to the Tantus Blogger Lounge to get some hugs and eventually put on my makeup when the tears dried up. The fact that there were so many sessions I missed (in part due to their early hour or happening at the same time as another session or my lack of spoons) that I made the suggestion that Woodhull consider selling audio recordings of the sessions next year, somehow. The #blogsquad is going to work on making this happen, and sponsoring it. Tweets are amazing but they don’t tell the whole story. There are little points missed in between sound bites – plus when you’re the one live-tweeting with such skill you too may miss something.

Group Hangs

Thursday night’s group events didn’t work out for me entirely; they felt a little too loud or contained too many people I didn’t know. I ended up sitting them out for the most part. I was sad to have missed Crista’s thing at Bedpost Confessions but the popularity of that event led to a crowded room of people. There was a number of bloggers congregating in a circle in the parking lot, because reasons – Due to the collective anxieties of the group, I basically spent the weekend being some sort of fairy-godmother-Nancy-Botwin person. I remember showing Sugarcunt and….. I forget who else (ugh) the Rockbox Finger that evening and having to preface it with “Don’t. Scream.” before I handed it over. I went to bed, but not before catching a few Magikarp from my room!

Friday night’s Blogger PJ Party was amazing (and loud). Shevibe really did a fantastic job and we had so much fun. There were a few poetry readings from people braver than I; there were tunes playing that I didn’t really hear; and frequent pilgrimages to the parking lot (door! side door!). I have a photo I’ll treasure from the end of the night of a not-very-sober group hug between myself, Sandra (SheVibe), Metis (Tantus) and Ruby (Doxy), which I would love to share (but can’t).  And hey we got a bunch of cool stuff from the party sponsors! Tantus, Doxy, Fun Factory and Sliquid, to name a few. This isn’t to brag – I want to share! There were a number of things that I already have one of and I think one of you should have it instead. How can you win it? Simple: Donate to Woodhull. I’ll have more details about this at the end of the post.

Saturday night was the fancy party and even though I bought a dress, I didn’t have the spoons to get fancy and femme and attend a loud group gathering so first, Epiphora, Sugarcunt, April and I had some dinner. Then I remembered this alcove dining area in the “retreat wing” of the hotel that had large, round tables and we took over with the plan of snacks and card games. The problem was we quickly discovered we couldn’t learn a new game when we weren’t sober (and we were definitely not). It was a fun attempt though and soon other bloggers in their fancy garb came from one party to another and in short order we had an official Cackle of bloggers spread out over a few tables. And hey, no noise complaints this year! Score! There exists a group photo of most of us from Saturday night that I love, but next year we need to get a proper photo of the entire blogsquad, all together.

The Best People on Earth

I have so many little and big memories of moments with the #blogsquad. For example, Thursday, Sarah helped me navigate the deceptively short (and enormously frustrating) drive from the hotel to Union Station to fetch Artemesia and Caitlin. I couldn’t have made the drive without the collective help of everyone and their maps because my GPS is a sadist. I will do my best to avoid driving in the heart of DC ever again, though. Anxious little bunnies just need to avoid gridlocked traffic with directions that include the phrase “From the right-most lane, make a left turn” and a train station without a goddamn pick-up lane/parking area to wait in.

Once again, the Tantus Blogger Lounge saved me. I crashed there for a bit on Thursday while I waited for a room to be ready; I hid there on Saturday morning to recover from a large case of The Feels brought on by reading tweets from #sfsconsent. There were amazingly geeky conversations there with Lorax and Mary as we talked about how best to swab porous dildos to detect bacteria or how to soothe burning genitals. There were discussions galore in that blogger lounge, and there were stories of horrific DIY sex toys. There were hugs and coffee and the Best Fucking Chocolate delivered to me. I left out my Jar of Horrors so that it could educate people all weekend. And yes, at one point I opened it up and made people poke it with a stick. I’m not joking. The orange-y bits which used to be cock extenders (and therefore pretty soft and pliable, right?) are now rock solid. All of the plasticizers have “leaked” out into the jar. Next year I’ll have to tie an information tag around it so that there’s a bit of a “guided tour” of important info readily available.

I reveled in Girl on the Net‘s accent (we Americans are often easily impressed with accents, but she’s lovely to listen to – and talk with!); I finally met Polly who I’ve “known” for about 8 years online. Bex was the first face I saw, and my first of many hugs that weekend.  I soon met others I have only known online like Rebecca and Sammi, April, Taylor, Suz, Sarah and Sugarcunt – who all lived up to all my expectations (and then some). After many Facebook moments, I got to meet Ashley. I briefly chatted with Avery, had a little time with JoEllen, got in some amazing low-key chats with Epiphora, Bex, Girly Juice, Mandi, Rose and more. A bunch of us bloggers descended en masse to the hotel Dildo Factory as Kenton was creating a few things (and I even bought a Rainbow dildo!) after we’d spent more time fawning over Lunabelle‘s collection. I missed Penny, Lena and Reenie, though, who I spent a lot of time with last year. I met the lovely Rizzo from Tantus, and got to hang out and chat with Sandra, Thor, and Alex of SheVibe – they are a joy to be around and breakfast with them and Piph on Sunday morning was such a perfect cap to the weekend. I believe there are a few other bloggers who attended but an introduction/path-crossing didn’t happen.

Sunday, as many people were leaving, we all casually gathered (loitered) in the hotel lobby. This slow seeing-off helped me mitigate the worst of con-drop. We had fun; there were more hugs, so much conversation, and some fun pics. Sunday was really the perfect way to end the weekend.

I have Feels about these people. My people. Spending time with them, and being in the environment of a conference created with love and joy (a conference that celebrates everyone, including bloggers), was such a gift. I may not remember every conversation in detail anymore (thanks, sickness-brain-fog) but I remember laughter. Hugs. I felt heard, appreciated, respected. I may still have felt awkward, unsure and weird 1 at times but it all evened out.  I might be a lot older than most of these people but I still feel like many things in my life had to happen this way to find these people, to be changed for the better by these people and this community has changed me. The blogsquad is a rock for me; collectively they are my soulmate and I don’t know what I’d do without them. I’m a better person for knowing them.

Dear friends: If you have a memory that in any way involves  me from that weekend, please comment and share. It may help jiggle my brain fog. I’m writing this post in part to help me with my memory issues (which is why I write many things, tbh).

Next Year, Though…

My wish for SFS17 though is to fly a little less “seat of the pants” and plan a little more. A lot of us were able to talk in the week after Woodhull about our social experiences, others social experiences, anxieties, issues and more and it’s basically going to be even better next year. We’re going to get better about planning things for ourselves in groups and doing better at being inclusive with each other and those who are newer to Woodhull and the #blogsquad.

I want more small-group time to chat with people. I want to spread my time out so that I don’t leave and think “ugh I didn’t get enough time to REALLY connect more with that person!”, but also because I just personally do better in smaller groups vs 15 + people all at once.

If you are a blogger, or educator, or sex toy shop owner then you need to find your way to Summit 2017. If you are a company/manufacturer/etc looking to support one of the best sexuality conferences in the US, then you need to support Woodhull – both the yearly Summit and the Alliance. If you’re a sex toy company and want to connect with a ton of bloggers all at once, this is the conference to attend.  Supporting this conference means you’re supporting an essential non-profit that fights for our sexual freedom.

Thank Yous and Thank YOU

My biggest thanks and endless gratitude goes to Shevibe – for being the best sex toy shop I’ve ever worked with; for being amazing people; for being supporters of the crusaders and bloggers; for sponsoring my ass. Without them, I would be lost. My thanks to Metis and Tantus for the blogger lounge (which needs to be bigger next year!!). I have such gratitude to Crista for her hard work behind the scenes, and Mandi. And all the volunteers who ran around with seemingly endless energy to make this conference the best it can be.

And a ginormous thanks to Ricci and the Board for creating the best sexuality conference, where everyone is taken care of, honored, celebrated and no stone is left unturned. In 2014, after some unpleasant events, I wished for a true home for the bloggers – a conference to bring us together, not push us apart. A conference to welcome us, and foster true community. Ricci Levy made that happen in 2015.  Just like last year, the bloggers were thanked and treated with kindness and appreciation. For a number of us, this sort of treatment is still a bit alien (which is sad) but I feel safe in saying that for many of us, our heart is with Woodhull, firmly. The Summit is our superhero home base; it is where we gather to recharge ourselves and each other. Last year there were about a dozen of us attending and this year there was at least 2 dozen – safe to say this is the biggest gathering of bloggers in one space, ever. The Woodhull Summit – Ricci, the Board, the sessions, the volunteers all feed our souls in a way we’ve never experienced.  It really is like Blogger Christmas – our reunion with part of our chosen family. I will forever be grateful to those who make this happen for me.

~      ~       ~       ~

woodhullraffleAnd now, a little more about this Swag Bag package for ya. I have to thank all of my readers because without you reading and buying things and following me I wouldn’t have a sponsor and I wouldn’t get to go to Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit. Since you couldn’t go, the next best thing is reading about the things all us bloggers have learned, and getting some cool swag for yourself. Fun fact: I asked on FB if anybody else had a few items to throw in; Crista is now sending me a couple more items and Njoy, well….they took this from a mishmash bag o’ swag to a big grand prize.

You’ll get: A copy of the #NSFW coloring book from Shevibe, curated by Elle Chase. I have one, so you get my second copy! Bottles from Sliquid of their new coconut-and-plant-based oil lube, and their O Gel, plus a few packets of H20. A Mad Toto blindfold mask. A metal Doxy keychain! A literal dozen Tantus “tinies” and a bunch of Tantus stickers; a Shevibe logo sticker and Shevibe condoms. There’s also a Fun Factory logo pin and courtesy of me you’ll get a vulva/vagina pin and testicle pin from I Heart Guts and a couple of my Shevibe-designed sticker business cards. And not pictured, because it’s all en route to me, is Njoy swag. A small Pure Plug …. and an Eleven. Yep, an Eleven. Since the Eleven is such a big deal (and I know that people will want it who either went to Woodhull themselves or just don’t care about the swag bag stuff), it will be a separate raffle. The Pure Plug will be included with the Swag Bag.

How to be entered to win this pack? Donate $5 to Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit – every $5 you donate is a “raffle ticket” – plus there’re ticket bundles – using rallyup. The money goes directly to Woodhull2, not me. It’s open to everyone; I’d thought about limiting due to shipping costs that I have to pay, but fuck it. Anybody in the world can enter and I’ll happily pay shipping. You can buy a few tickets for each raffle, if you’re interested in both, and 1 winner for each prize pack will be chosen.

click here to enter the raffle (or just donate)

  1. despite attempts to rectify that with various helpful things like Girl Scout Cookies, Snow Dawg, and Blue Dream
  2. except for a teeny per donation fee of 5% which goes to rallyup
 Posted by at 2:49 pm
Sep 182016
 

We-Vibe Nova I side-eyed the We-Vibe Nova pretty hard when it came out, tbh. There’s a few sex toy styles that I roll my eyes at and reserve great skepticism for – shitty until proven otherwise: the “Rabbit” (or dual stimulator) and basically any remote-controlled vibrator. Both are usually expensive, with affordable options nearly always ending in deep disappointment. Both must meet a laundry list of requirements to be worthy of collecting, and most won’t meet your requirements. Most will merely sit in a drawer as an occasional reminder of that time you had high hopes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from someone who it using only one part of their rabbit vibe. It’s maybe all they’ve got, or that one part is better than the few other things they have – but if you’re using only one part of a dual-stimulation sex toy….what’s the point? I recommend very, very few of both styles so today I’m pretty pleased to tell you that I’ve found one that I enjoy almost as much as my current favorite.

The List

For a rabbit/dual-stim vibe to work for a person it must meet these requirements (the specifics of which vary for each person):

  1. The vibrations in both “arms” need to meet your requirements in intensity and type (buzzy or rumbly)
  2. The clitoral arm needs to sit where you prefer on/near your clitoris – to the side, nudging up from below, directly above, hugging both sides, etc.
  3. The clitoral arm needs to provide the correct amount of pressure
  4. The internal arm needs to be the right length AND width
  5. The internal arm needs to be curved to meet your g-spot or a-spot (or prostate, because dual-stim vibes can be used for that, too)
  6. The handle needs to be easy to hold with buttons that are easy to use without looking at them
  7. It should probably not sound like a kitchen appliance
  8. It should be made of silicone
  9. And if we’re getting into wishes and dreams territory, it should not be a budget-buster

Can you see why I’m super reluctant to recommend a rabbit vibrator, even though it’s one of the most asked-for types of sex toys? I have reviewed 14 dual-stimulation sex toys and have tried out at least 10 others. Out of those ~ 25 specimens two of them were close and okay for me, and two are really awesome for me – a few of the others aren’t terrible and might be good for others (just not me). We-Vibe Nova surprised me and is something I’ll probably recommend now if someone’s budget can tolerate it and they really, really want a dual-stimulation rabbit vibrator.

Why I Like the We-Vibe Nova

Herein lies the problem with me liking such a finicky breed of sex toys – I could go on about why I really like the We-Vibe Nova but this testimonial doesn’t mean it’s the right vibrator for you. Not everyone who has reviewed it likes it. I can’t promise you it will work for you. Of course, I can’t really promise you that any sex toy I love will work for you but most of them are a little easier to recommend.

We-Vibe Nova vs L'amourose DeniaTo understand why I like the We-Vibe Nova, I need to tell you a bit about other rabbit vibes I have. I once had a love-hate relationship with the Jopen VR6; the internal arm was powerful and rumbly as fuck but the external arm was weak, buzzy and didn’t quite hit my clitoris right. I once thought that the Lelo Ina 2 was pretty good but again, the clitoral arm was meh. Then came the Denia which showed me what I was really needing – a greater range of flexibility than most dual-stimulation vibrators can provide. It also helped that the Denia had amazing, rumbling and powerful vibrations all around and a base that I loved.

So while the We-Vibe Nova lacks the flex-y shift-y movement that the internal arm of the Denia has, it makes up for it (for me) with a pretty unique design. One downfall of the rabbit vibe has often been that you can’t thrust with it or the clitoral arm will lose contact with your clitoris. I need constant contact and the clitoral arm of the We-Vibe Nova is extra long but curls up to stay in place. Ok – Stick out your index finger; no, seriously. Like you’re doing that “come here” motion. You see how your finger curls up? That’s what the clitoral arm on the We-Vibe Nova does. You really need to check out the video here to fully get what I mean, but it really does maintain constant contact for me. The clitoral arm is rumbly and powerful – something we nearly never see with rabbit vibes. The internal arm is moderately powerful and somewhere in between buzzy and rumbly.  On its own the internal arm doesn’t hold a candle to the Rave (or to the internal arm of the Denia) which has me a bit disappointed.

It’s also waterproof, with a great magnetic charger – it stays where it needs to for charging and doesn’t get bumped off easily.

There Has to Be Cons…

Here’s my biggest problem: The app feels more necessary than I’d like. I hadn’t used the Nova in a few months so when I turned it on I thought I’d imagined my previous very enjoyable sessions with it. The internal arm was weak and under-powered. The external arm wasn’t as great as I remembered. Did it need a good charging? Nope, that didn’t fix it. Then I connected the We-Vibe Nova to the app and suddenly, all was right in the world. I cranked both sides up to full power and was assured that I hadn’t just had a wonderful dream. I don’t know why this happened; I don’t recall ever connecting the Nova to the app before which would be (I think) the only reason why it would be giving me problems. Otherwise though I don’t really give a crap about the app. I don’t fancy having someone else sit there and control the vibrations for me (but you might), whether they’re in the same room or in another country. I also would really rather not use the app as a remote control for the vibrator. However, even though my phone’s screen times out quickly and requires my thumbprint and the phone ends up covered in vag fluid and lube, it’s still probably a little easier than using the buttons. You see, the handle, when I’m holding it in use, curves slightly away from me. It curves like that right where the buttons are, so it makes it harder for me to change the intensity during use just using the buttons.

For me personally the shaft could be a little shorter, and maybe a little thicker at the head. But because I can thrust with it, I’m able to overlook the shaft length. Also, like with other rabbit vibrators that combine 2 rumbling, powerful motors there can be dissonance sometimes which can feel like a rapid pulsating. I don’t experience that frequently, but it may bother some.

A Bit of Comparison

Let’s briefly talk specs here, and compare. The We-Vibe Nova is thinner than the L’amourose Denia at the widest point of the internal arm. I generally find that the Denia is a better match for my g-spot. I usually don’t measure like this but the Nova is 4.2″ circumference and the Denia is 4.6″ circumference which works out to mean that the Nova is about 1.33″ wide and the Denia is 1.46″ wide. Not a big difference but as you can see from the photo above the Nova is more slender overall than the Denia.  The internal arm of the Denia has the most strength and rumble, whereas the external arm of the Nova has the most strength and rumble. I realize though that many people don’t need the heavy-duty strength of the Tango so even though the external arm doesn’t quite meet the intensity of the Tango (at least on Tango’s higher speeds) it’s still high-powered enough that many will love it.

~       ~      ~      ~      ~

All in all I’m probably more likely to recommend the L’amourose Denia over the Nova but I’m even more likely to recommend one of my few top favorite clitoral toys in conjunction with one of my favorite dildos or g-spot vibes because this way it’s easier to come up with a combination that suits your body. Of course, this method actually could be more expensive than the Nova or even the Denia (which are $149 and $169, respectively). Yes, even though I personally really enjoy the We-Vibe Nova I’m still reluctant to recommend it because it’s one vibrator doing one thing and replacing two vibrators (both of which could potentially work well on different body parts and in a larger variety of couples-centric situations). If you already own multiple vibrators and really want a twofer for the days you can’t be arsed to hold two sex toys – go for it. If you’re trying to find The One To Rule The Whole Vulva because you can’t buy 8 sex toys? Oye I am physically manifesting my wishy-washy attitude as I think about that sentence; sorry you can’t see it. DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE FOR YOU.

 

I was given the We-Vibe Nova in exchange for an honest review by the wonderful folks at We-Vibe. You can buy your We-Vibe Nova (or Tango, or Touch, or Rave) at the best sex toy shop on the planet – Shevibe.com.

 Posted by at 8:27 pm
Sep 082016
 

I Gave Up Vibrators for 4 weeks (just to see what would happen)Despite this being 2016; despite the enormity of the sex toy industry; despite the amount of tech, pomp and circumstance that is being shoved into all manner of vibrators… for many people, vibrators are “naughty”. They’re inferior to “natural ways”. They offend teh menz who think that, thanks to porn, people with vaginas can come easily, often, and loudly with just some vigorous thrusting of objects into the vagina. Some people can. I envy them! Many can’t, and for that we have the work of many many scientific things and people and polls to thank: It’s a much-trotted out fact that most people with a vagina actually need clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm.

My sexual history pre-vibrators is rocky. I found vibrators in 2005. I probably found my clitoris roundabout oh…..2000? 1 But I didn’t know what to really do with it. I knew that things felt nice, usually, but then it would stop feeling nice and I’d be left hanging….So when I found vibrators, and found one that actually brought me to orgasm – not as efficiently as maybe I would have liked, but finally an orgasm I FELT and KNEW what was happening and could say YES I CAME! – it was a change that marked a turning point for me. I’d not often faked feeling intense pleasure from sex, but I faked the climax for a long time because well, enough is enough at some point. It did take me awhile though to start incorporating a vibrator into my partnered sex life. Flings and one-timers? Nah. They never saw the vibrators. But when I did bring it into my committed partnered sex life, my husband embraced it thoroughly.

We adapted our sex to fit around vibrators, instead of expecting to find a vibrator that seamlessly fit into how we have sex. But that’s a rant/discussion for another post….

So. I’ve known for quite some time now that instead of vibrators “ruining” me for non-vibrator playtime, they actually made manual orgasms easier. Of course, when you’re talking about “easier” being it moves from a 0.5 to a 3 on a scale of 0-10….it’s relative. But still, I learned a lot about my vulva and clitoris thanks to vibrators. I learned about my spot, and that when I can repeatedly ping that spot correctly, over and over, I don’t need extreme power. I learned that I dislike broad vibrators, and buzzy vibrators. I learned that my impossible-to-please clitoris o’steele was maybe just finicky and a bit Goldilocks. But could it be “reformed”?

I Sent My Clitoris to Reform School

I took advantage of my time away at Woodhull and then my weeks-long illness2 to put this to the test. I left everything alone, untouched, for 3 weeks. Then I tried masturbating “manually” over the next week; I even tried three times, thinking there could still be outside factors. It simply felt the same as it’s always felt – decent, but the stars weren’t aligned and my wrist wasn’t up for a 40 minute session so there was no orgasm. There may not have been even with 40 minutes to spare (I gave it 20 – what can I say, my attention span is shit).

When I did use a vibrator again I didn’t even need less – at least not the first time. I didn’t magically become more sensitive. I still needed a higher intensity setting and about 10 minutes. The second time (2 days later) I did need less intensity, but who knows why. Even when I’m using vibrators daily sometimes I can come in minutes, and from a lower intensity setting. Some days I need more time, more intensity. It’s just the way it is, and depriving MY body isn’t going to change this. And I don’t want to.

Might as Well Face it You’re Addicted to…

No. I don’t buy into the “vibrator addiction” rhetoric thrown about by people who feel threatened by vibrators. In talking with other bloggers about this post a number of them have said that before vibrators, they had few problems getting off – and it’s still the same after vibrators. They don’t need to take a break.

Many people are under the incorrect assumption that vibrators will desensitize you, numb you, so that you keep needing more and more and more. SOME vibrators can temporarily numb you – like the Magic Wand Original. It’s super powerful and kinda buzzy. You only need to take a little break (a few hours) and you’re back to normal. But that’s a topic I’ve written about before because I kept getting a lot of hits from the search term “are vibrators dangerous” 3. A number of sex ed professionals have agreed that vibrators are not a bad thing – in fact they’re great because guess who just went from anorgasmic to gleefully enjoying solo and partnered sex? You did, my friend.

And a survey has been done, by Debby Herbenick, who found (among other facts): “Most women (71.5 percent) reported having never experienced any side effects associated with vibrator use. Those side effects that were reported were typically rare and of a short duration.”

Embracing My Vibrators

My experience isn’t your experience. Or maybe it is. Maybe some will hold fast to their “natural ways are better” viewpoint and insist I didn’t abstain from vibrators for long enough. But didn’t I already in my life? Didn’t I already spend years without a vibrator and then years without a decent vibrator to “prove” my need? Why the fuck do I need to prove my need? Why is this a thing? Why is needing vibrators a bad thing? Can’t I just fucking orgasm the way I want to, the way I feel I need to without someone telling me I’m “doing it wrong”?

If you feel “broken” because you need a vibrator to orgasm, I see you. I felt that way for quite some time myself. I see it as kind of equal to refusing to wear glasses because hey, you were born with this bad vision! Embrace it! Rawr! I’m just curious – Do you also wash your clothes on a scrub-board and hang them outside to dry? Do you use the broom and dustpan in place of a vacuum? I get it. Society (porn…doctors?) hasn’t quite embraced it all just yet. Ever is the quest to find a vibrator that can be used during sex that remains invisible, silent and requires no hands because let’s not talk about that, we don’t talk about these things, ignore the pink elephant. Let’s sweep it under the rug. OR! Now here’s a novel idea: We can all accept that every body is different and you know – a little helping hand is great.

But What About ME?

If you’re the partner of a person who needs a vibrator, you’ve probably had a whine-fest at some point about how their need of a vibrator makes you feel less than. Less needed. Like a failure. Because, after all, you’re supposed to be your partner’s everything, amirite? I mean you do provide them with every single possible other thing they need in life, 24/7.

Seriously though, what’s the difference between supplying the pleasure that results in orgasm from your tongue/fingers/penis and a vibrator? No, you can’t vibrate. You’re right. You can’t do that. So. Fucking. What. Would you rather effectively lock up your partner? Or get to watch as they have an intense orgasm? You can participate. There’s plenty you can do that is invaluable. You can be an extra set of hands and spread the pleasure around; nipples, g-spot, neck, lips, etc. You get the idea. You are just as much as active part of the whole thing as you were before but with the added bonus of watching something amazing. An orgasm from a vibrator is a lot better to watch/hear than a faked orgasm.

So jealous cis men, tell me this: would you turn down partnered sex for your own hand or even a sex toy of your own?

Just sayin.

~ ~ ~ ~

If you have personally found that your body prefers not to use vibrators, great. Good for you. You’ve found what works best for you, and hey congratulations on not needing expensive things to orgasm. But if you do need these marvels of technology? Well hallelujah, you’ve got options. You’ve got options coming out your ears. And if my body’s requirements don’t meet yours, I’m sure there’s a blogger out there who is your vulva-twin.

  1. For reference, I’m nearing 40
  2. it’s impossible for me to give a fuck about masturbation when I’m in pain, exhausted, and then sick as hell
  3. This is a rant we’ve all probably had before, but Piph had a great one from a few years ago
 Posted by at 7:50 pm
Aug 282016
 

Dorr SilkerWhen Shevibe asked me to review something from a new brand, the Dorr Silker was the design that caught my eye the most. I love g-spot vibrators that have a swooping curve, but straight styles never do anything for me.  When I heard that the Silker would be priced under $100, I had to check it out! As you’ll read, there are some cons but a lot of pros and overall I’m a fan of the Silker. There’s a few things giving me pause, though.

 

Reservation for One – The Reasons I’m Torn on the Dorr Silker

You might be asking, as I was, “Who the hell is Dorr? And don’t some of those vibrators look familiar?” Indeed, they do. I’ve seen a few companies making this wand 1. This mini vibrator from NS Novelties is also being manufactured by the company behind Dorr2 – in the brochure that came with my Silker they talk about a mini vibe called the Foxy (shown in the photo below), but the Foxy isn’t on the Dorr website anymore. Instead they’re being sold by NS Novelties as part of their Luxe line. The designs (NS Luxe vs Dorr Foxy) are utterly identical – but are the motors? I’m not sure. Anyways, according to the company info, Dorr is based in Los Angeles but as with 90% of the vibrators on the market, their vibes are manufactured in China because that’s just how it is. The company does offer a warranty, 3 years, which took a little digging for me to find.

Dorr Silker brochure

All of this is really to say that I’m undecided on how I feel about the company/brand as a whole. I haven’t heard of any problems and nothing really strikes me suspicious, but I also don’t feel quite as good about them as I do L’amourose. I think at this point this is more of a gut feeling mixed with caution because they’re new and the designs feel more “white label” 3  than the things L’amourose is doing.

Dorr Silker metal plateThe Silker doesn’t seem to be cheaply made – in fact, unlike that similar wand up above, the decorative plate on the Silker (and all the Dorr products with said plate) is metal. Hard, shiny metal4. This means there’s no metallic paint to chip off. Of course, the metal plate serves no purpose, which means I don’t like it. Without it the Silker would be easier to clean; with it there is now a big groove to collect gunk.

And finally, the charging cable is proprietary which is becoming a new pet peeve of mine. Granted, the L’amourose chargers are proprietary, too. When a company makes a sex toy I can charge with the same cable I use to charge my phone, I’m happy. I hate having to dig up a specific cable just to charge a vibrator and it’s led to me allowing favorite vibes to die and wait weeks for a charge.

Lost in Translation

As I was photographing the “boring bits” (charger, box, brochure) I think I may have stumbled upon one aspect that makes me narrow my eyes and get a little picky. The brochure, and yes I’m going to keep calling it that even though they call it the User Manual, tells me nothing of value. It tells me about their other products. It mentions a warranty, but no specifics. The box itself talks about 6 patterns – I counted 5. The box also talks about a “turbo speed vibration mode”, yet the neither box nor brochure tell me how to access this Turbo Mode. I have tried pushing multiple buttons at once; I have tried pushing and holding the + button. I’ve tried holding the ~ (the button to access patterns). I have tried recanting spells. Nothing I’m doing is working and if me, someone who can usually figure out a vibrator without resorting to the manual, cannot find it….maybe it just doesn’t exist. Maybe the highest vibration setting is what they’re calling Turbo Mode just to have another talking point? When the company emailed me to ask me to review more of their line, they also brought up this Turbo mode and said it can be accessed via pressing and holding the “mode” (the ~ button?) button. No. Nothing happens.

It shouldn’t be this hard to figure out.

Dorr Silker - Back of the Box Dorr Silker charger

But the Good Bits! There are Good Bits!

Dorr Silker vs L'amourose Denia and Prism VOkay so here was the surprising thing: The motor on the Dorr Silker is identical to the L’amourose Prism V, and you know how much I love that vibrator. Identical. Even the patterns are nearly identical – 5 patterns like the Prism V, just in a different order. The noise level is identical, too. The pitch is identical. The buttons are located in the same place on each vibrator, so they’re in a convenient location. But the buttons on the Dorr Silker are a little more obvious – the button surface area is bigger, the “engraved” design into the silicone is a little more obvious under your thumb and here’s a surprising difference – the Dorr Silker buttons take less effort to press. Not too much less – not enough so that it’s too easy to accidentally change a setting or turn it on or off – but enough so that people with arthritis or grip issue would appreciate the Dorr Silker more. Like the Prism, Silker is waterproof.

The differences in design are subtle between the Prism V and the Silker – the swoop on the Prism V is just a little more pronounced, the neck is thinner and the head has less circumference. In fact the head of the Silker is a more closely related to the head on the Rosa in terms of size. The silicone on each vibrator is nearly identical, but I think the Silker has just a bit more drag (not much, barely noticeable) than the Prism V.

Aesthetically, I prefer the Prism V. I like how it can stand up on its own (no, the Silker can’t). I like the design, I like the color offerings better. On days where girth is not my friend I really appreciate the thinner neck on the Prism V and the subtle difference in degree of swoop means that the Prism V just feels a little more intense, a little more swoon-y, on my G-spot. If you want a bit more of a fuller feeling than the Prism V’s measurements but need the rigidity that the Rosa lacks, the Dorr Silker might be the right choice for you. Also? It’s $20 less than the Prism V.  If you favor cost over aesthetics or my gut feeling on a brand, go for the Dorr Silker.

The Dorr Line

I feel confident in telling you that the motor on the Iora (at least the internal arm) would be the same as the Silker, but I’m not ready to give blanket approval to the rest of the line. The blandly-shaped Aura would also probably have the same motor as the Silker, but why the fuck did they extend the metal plate so far up? Now it will be touching genitals and gather even more vag gunk. Their remote-controlled egg might have promise – the remote can also be a standalone vibrator (why?) which means it might tell the remote-holder what the egg-wearer is feeling, which I think is a crucial ingredient in the recipe for a good remote-controlled vibrator.

In the end, there’s a lot of good things to like about the Dorr Silker. A lot. If I didn’t have the Prism V to compare it to, I think I’d like it more. The cons aren’t very bad things. The Silker is like that FWB that is great in bed and great on paper but a few little things are preventing you from making the change to Significant Other. Maybe you can’t quite put your finger on why they make your vag sing but not your heart. Maybe they sometimes say weird shit. Whatever, you’ll keep coming back for the sex. I keep using the Silker, more than is necessary to get a review done and out the dorr5 and I can see myself using it more  – when the Prism V needs to be charged, for example.

 

Shevibe sent me the Dorr Silker in exchange for my very honest review. Curious about this? Read more about my blogger disclosures on sex toy reviews.

  1. The twin Lovehoney wand (whether it’s the 50SOG one I linked above or their Desire wand) has a plastic plate instead of a metal plate and different charging ports, and the motor may be a bit different but visually they’re identical
  2. See what I did there?
  3. What a white label (OEM) brand is: They have a name, they have a business but they don’t want to design sex toys. They want to pick them out of a book and say “okay, we’ll carry that” and then they pick the colors, etc. It’s much like the “store brand” foods at the grocery store – same ingredients from grocery store to store and probably all made at the same plant, but they get the grocery store brand slapped on the label. With white label brands you can find 10 different silicone-covered wand vibrators that all look nearly identical but have different motors. Maybe one brand wanted to go cheaper in the manufacturing and chose the buzzy, weak motor and another brand was willing to pay more for the rumbly, fairly powerful motor (as an example).
  4. Which they say is a “zinc alloy”
  5. Ha. I kill me
Aug 212016
 

Tenga Iroha Kushi vibratorThe Tenga Iroha Kushi is many things. Cute. Pinpoint. Soft. Plush. Rumbly. Powerful. Is it any wonder that I immediately fell in love with the Iroha Kushi and simultaneously cursed myself for having given away, years ago, my Iroha Midori? The Midori wasn’t for me; it wasn’t very rumbly and I didn’t feel it was powerful enough, nor was the squishy bits in the right place for me (or a necessary feature for me). But now I wish I had it for comparion sake because I felt so blown away by the power and rumble of the the Tenga Iroha Kushi – shocked, in fact! My contact at Tenga confirmed though that the Iroha+ line improved upon the originals with a waterproof design and a better, more powerful motor.

When you first look at the Iroha+ line, the Kushi, Yoru and Tori all have a very Japanese aesthetic, and look nothing like you’d imagine a vibrator looking but also leave you really unsure on where the motor might lie. And that’s a really important thing to know when you have vibrators that seem to have a heavy lean towards how they look vs how they may work. But unlike some brands that go for an artistic look and fail in execution I’m so far really impressed with the Tenga Iroha+ line; I’ve only tried the Kushi and Yoru but read many glowing reviews on the adorable red bird, the Tori (and now I want a Tori to round out my collection).

Ruffles Has Ridges

I was really worried about the ridges on the  Tenga Iroha Kushi, if I’m honest. I thought they’d be a deal breaker. I knew that the Iroha line has a unique silicone skin that feels like literally nothing else on the market, and that the ridges would still be pliable, but I dislike ridge texture on my sex toys and really hate anything that makes my sex toys harder to clean. Let’s face it, I’m pretty lazy. I don’t want to need more than my sex toy wipes or a quick rinse under the faucet to clean up a toy. But given the way I used the Kushi I didn’t get a lot of fluids into the deeper portion of the ridges so while clean-up was sometimes more effort than I wanted it to be, it wasn’t horrible. I think that they could have achieved the same visual appeal without such pronounced ridges. The way I use the Kushi meant that I never felt the ridges. Although I guess that when I use it whilst holding it (versus my other more lazy method described further down) the ridges did make it easier to grip, so there’s that….

Tenga Iroha Kushi is Smooshy. Squishy!

A lot of people dislike using hard vibrators, and even most small silicone vibrators are hard – they just have a silicone skin over a hard plastic body. So the entire Tenga Iroha line has really been something amazing for many folks who need to try a little tenderness. But the Tenga Iroha Kushi, and really all of the Iroha+ line, have been the first to impress me with squish AND power.

Imagine you have a soft, new piece of posterputty. Maybe Plah-doh. That’s what squeezing the tip of the Iroha Kushi is like. It’s pliable, soft, and moves with you when you use the tip to rub around the clitoris. There’s squish at the top of the “dome”, where the ridges are the most intense. There’s squish around the edges at the bottom, on what I’ll call the “front” portion, which is closer to the tiny tip. But it’s not a big vibrating marshmallow and can you press in with fingers and feel the hard inner bits. I haven’t been able to discern this when my vulva and clitoris are in contact with the vibrator. I could apply pressure and didn’t feel like the softness impeded anything or dampened the vibrations. BIG PLUS.

Impressive Vibrations

One test for me is whether or not I can nestle a vibrator in between my outer labia whilst sitting at my computer (my usual time and place for masturbation) and still love it. This positioning often dampens the vibrations of lesser species because of all the flesh surrounding the sex toy. With the Tenga Iroha Kushi I can situate it so that the tip is against my most sensitive spot and the rest of the body is hitting the area around my clitoris – so it’s kind of a combination of pinpoint with slightly-broad stimulation? And it works so fabulously well. The vibrations are not the most rumbly out there and I do detect a nuance of buzz at the upper levels but it’s not enough to bother me (and I feel like I have my buzzdar pretty well honed by now). However I still am gonna classify the Iroha+ line as rumbly and a great improvement over all other Iroha products. Good job, Tenga! It’s also super quiet – in the video above I turned it on during the last few moments and it’s pretty hard to hear the motor.

The motor really seems to be focused in the tip, and I didn’t get as much intense power if I tried using the ridged broad top of the Kushi as I did when I used the tip – but it’s still a nice amount of power there. And because the tip is so pinpoint, the vibrations feel more concentrated and for my clitoris this was a big win – I could target that one little spot on the right and orgasms were effortless and fairly intense. Another thing I love: with the motor so close to that tip, I don’t feel much vibration at the back end where I hold it, so it won’t make your fingers itchy with extended use.

Easy Charging and Storage

Tenga Iroha Kushi Terrarium ClocheLike with all of the soft Iroha line, the charger is part of the storage box – magnetic, easy and foolproof. The very sturdy thick plastic box has a clear top and a black bottom which I really wish I could paint a shade of blue or something. I feel like you could stick a few beachy things inside the storage case and make like it’s a little ….. well…. beach terrarium except without living things? As you can see from a photo I shot months ago, the Kushi blends in well with seashore themed things and when I posted the photo on Twitter a lot of people didn’t know where the vibrator was. So yeah I felt compelled to terrarium it up here.

I should note that at this point in the review I was looking for a word that better described a decorative display of little things under a glass dome, and someone suggested terrarium and I’m like no that’s really about plants and stuff right? and then I lost two hours on Etsy looking at the adorbs terrariums out there and imagined filling my house with them because maybe those I can’t kill? I’m fawning over these terrariums with miniature landscapes, these more modern air plant terrariums, and more. Someone rescue me.  Or make me a deep forest terrarium that I can insert this into and I’ll be happy.

BACK TO THE REVIEW Y’ALL.

Please note: the black portion of the case is the charging base and it can be charged with the lid on. Contrary to the vague descriptions the manufacturer makes in their copy, the charging base does need to be plugged in, it’s not like it’s got a battery in it that you can charge up like an external phone power pack or something. But man, wouldn’t that be really cool if it did?!?!

Here’s the long and short of it: I really love the Tenga Iroha Kushi. It’s not Tango powerful, but it’s still enough for me. It’s nice to hold, it’s adorable to look at and therefore super discreet. It’s waterproof so cleaning is easy. I’m digging the vibrations, the placement of the motor and how easy it is to use. I’d say the only thing I don’t love is the price: $129 currently at SheVibe.com. But it’s a quality product from a reputable company and I really feel good about telling you to buy this.

Tenga sent me this amazing lil vibrator in exchange for my very honest review. You can purchase the Tenga Iroha Kushi from my favorite retailer, Shevibe.com. I’ll be reviewing the more oddly-shaped Yoru soon, but will tell you now I don’t love it nearly as much as I love the Kushi.

 

 Posted by at 12:05 pm
Aug 142016
 

So I get a fair amount of people coming to me in fear, in panic and mostly in pain because they used a lower-quality sex toy made from a dubious material or a material that contains a supposedly “helpful” additive (hey, lookin at you Sil-a-gel) and they want to have their fears alleviated but also, you know, not be in pain. I’ve read the fear in emails from people terrified they have caused themselves some sort of permanent damage; or they went to their doctor who probably frowned and loosely diagnosed them (if they have a vagina) with BV or maybe a yeast infection. Maybe these people told their doctor about their sex toy. Maybe they themselves didn’t know that the sex toy could be the cause of their vaginal burning until they read my old post about jelly dildos or my newer post about Sil-a-gel. Regardless, they’re in pain and scared and want to be neither. Or, maybe, they used a lube with a nasty chemical in it that they have now reacted horribly to. I’ve read about mild chemical burns from shitty lubes, too.

I’m not a doctor. I’m not a medical professional of any kind. I did vet these solutions with a midwife, but you may want to check with your own doctor first. When you speak to your doctor, be honest about what is causing the problem, be it sex toy or lube. At the very least you’ll be educating your doctor because many of them don’t know that this is happening. Ask them for treatment advise for a chemical irritation/burn.

If You’re Pretty Sure The Burning Pain is From Your Sex Toy

And you are certain it is not made from silicone (and I mean CERTAIN), glass, or hard plastic – we then must assume there is some chemical in the softened plastic/vinyl (PVC is the usual culprit, possibly rubber, maybe some mystery material) that is causing this and that said material has probably begun to leach oils and break down. You may experience lingering pain and burning because the bad chemical is attached to an oil and you’re not getting the oil off your genitals. So first, let’s get those oils away from your sensitive mucous membranes.

Plain water douche OR milk douche (not skim milk) – The plain water may help, but the proteins and fats in the milk may be better. You know how when you eat something WAY too spicy from peppers and cold milk eases your pain? Same concept. This should be avoided if you’re allergic to cow’s milk. I do not know if non-dairy milks will help here – as Lorax explained their reasoning to this suggestion it was based on the proteins and fats in the milk.  You can expect to need to do this a few times over the first few days. You can also just buy a quart of organic cream and add it to water and do a sitz bath. Try both tepid water and cool water for this, see which gives you more relief. If your water is treated or hard water you may want to consider using filtered water or distilled water for this. You can get a sitz bath for your toilet at any pharmacy, they look like this.

While you (probably) don’t have a yeast infection, you might consider a vinegar douche as described here. It may help get rid of the oils, and it will also kinda reset your pH which will be helpful if part or all of the problem is that you used a lube with a pH much lower than your own.

Yogurt Everywhere – but first, the warning: You must use plain, unsweetened, unflavored organic yogurt. Anything else is bad. It would be best if it has live, active cultures. If you think that most of the burning is external then just generously frost your vulva with cold yogurt and lay there in awkward positions in the bathroom while it works some magic. If you think that some of the burning is also interior then get a plastic tampon applicator (unscented, please), toss the tampon, and fill up the applicator with yogurt. You could also use a needle-less syringe or a very clean turkey baster.

A note: While I most often hear about burning vaginas and vulvas, this could happen to the rectum/anus as well I believe. I don’t see why these things wouldn’t work for the butt – just get an enema kit from your pharmacy.

These methods will soothe & cool the inflamed tissue and remove the oils. Now what? Your flesh is still sore and inflamed so you need to keep babying it.

Methods to Soothe Inflamed Genitals

In between rinsing and sitz-ing to make sure you removed the chemical that is burning your vagina or vulva, you need to calm down the inflammation and help yourself heal. Since vaginal burning isn’t limited to sex toys, if you have vaginal burning and it’s not a sex toy or infection, look at your lube. If the pain lasts only while you’re using the lube and for a little while after, it could either be a pH imbalance or a bad ingredient. Read about that here, and get yourself some pH strips to test you AND the lube. Most likely if you’re reacting badly to a crappy lube, there’s no oil involved – unless it’s one of those warming/cooling lubes, then YMMV. If the following methods don’t give you relief, go up and try the yogurt or milk tricks.

Get an old fashioned menstrual pad (not the dry-top-layer kind, the cheap kind) or even just some clean fabric / fabric pads. Soak it in chamomile tea and then refrigerate the whole thing a bit. You want it cold. Let the chamomile tea + the chill of it all calm down the inflammation. Repeat as necessary.

For external use only, a midwife also suggested hydro-cortisone cream if things are really bad.

If you have access to it, a CBD or THC infused coconut oil salve will really help speed up healing. If you’re in Canada look for Cannalife products, especially the salve.

Ice – but please use a barrier like a thin washcloth so that you don’t burn your skin from the ice. I bet anything your local grocery store (where you’re already headed for yogurt, chamomile and pads or tampons) has an ice cube tray like this in their drinks aisle. The long, round slender shape can lay nicely between your labia. It can slip into a condom1 (giving you a little protection from the cold and tied off so that you don’t soak the bed) and then be inserted vaginally (hey, smear it with yogurt for a double-attack – yogurt as lube and soother). Smitten Kitten sells a thing meant just for the genitals but you probably don’t want to wait on the shipping.

You’re probably a bit drier than normal right now so consider moisturizing with organic, unrefined coconut oil (unless you’re allergic). Other natural oils can help, too, like grapeseed. It seems that most people that will react badly to oils around their vulva react to refined oils (like Vaseline). Keep in mind that oils destroy latex and polyisoprene, so if you insist on having sex, use polyurethane condoms.

Wear loose, soft underthings and avoid sex and masturbation until you’re fully healed.

Please let us know in the comments if anything else has worked for you!

This post is brought to you by a blogger roundtable on-the-fly had in the Tantus Blogger Lounge at Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit 2016 (where SheVibe was my sponsor). Many suggestions from the incredibly smart Lorax of Sex, with ideas also from Taylor and Caitlin. I thank you smart folks, and my readers will thank you. As we all tossed around ideas I started frantically entering them into a notes-taking-app on my phone; my phone which kept auto-correcting “douche” to “douchecanoe” and I had to just let that go, knowing I would understand the notes no less in a week or two.

 

  1. you should probably go with the unlubed kind just to be safe
 Posted by at 8:22 pm