Lilly

Aug 262015
 

Woodhullsfs15[pstWhen it came to past conferences, I wrote about my experiences and it seemed to all flow out – whether it was that first year when it was still good, or that last year when I knew I wouldn’t be returning to Catalyst (and thought I’d never go to another conference again). But Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit 2015 was just…so…

When I think of moments, of people, I get all emotional and I cry. I can’t find words that will do justice to the amazing time I had. How much it transcended past conferences. How much I love the Blog Squad1, Shevibe (my sponsor for the trip, I cannot thank them enough), Tantus and Smitten Kitten. Rather than being a ball of nerves and gluing myself to the side of one person for the whole thing, I was able to relax and just hang out with various people thanks in large part to the overall atmosphere at Woodhull and in large part to the Tantus-sponsored bloggers’ lounge. Having a place where we could all relax and talk to each other and hide during/between sessions was amazing and vital. It was simply the start of things for us, as bloggers, as we kept being thanked by Ricci and others for being there, for tweeting, for the publicity, etc. When the collective Twitter reach is at least 25,000 (not taking into account Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and our blog readers without social media) I cannot imagine why bloggers would NOT be welcomed with open arms and treated kindly. Suffice to say this was new territory for us all, this gratitude and welcoming. No longer merely tolerated, flat-out ignored or chastised, we felt respected, and that we matter.

This post is long and I’m not sure all of you will care to read the whole thing because so much of it is personal. But I have to write this whole thing because I need to be sure in later days that it happened, that it wasn’t a dream and it wasn’t Oz (although when it came time for me to leave, I certainly thought it had to be Oz). I also need you fellow non-blogger sex geeks (or fellow bloggers who haven’t attended a conference) to understand what it’s like because I think you should attend the next one if you can. Find a fellow sex-geek friend to hang out with and then revel in the workshops and the brain sex and the glory that is being able to have these discussions with a big bunch of other like-minded individuals. 

Thursday

I registered, which had some funny moments. In the bags they hand out many people had some interesting items from Lelo but my bag had none. I’m sure that’s how Lelo would have wanted it, anyways, so it all worked out but I found it funny. Then they hand me a lanyard for my ID based off of my photo preference – I don’t want my photo taken so I’m given this florescent yellow lanyard……that has Pipedream all over it. Slowly, others came in and I got my first looks at new Tantus dildos and the glory of the Tantus coffee mug. Dizzy2, Luna and a few others like myself with Pipedream lanyards moaned about how it felt like punishment because if there is one company we wouldn’t want around our neck, it’s Pipedream. I could almost feel the burning on my neck, like water on the Wicked Witch. Thankfully Lunabelle3 packed a Sharpie so I was saved. Since I was the sex toy mule for Reenie’s4 Woodhull giveaways, a few of us ran up to her & Lena’s5 room to help her fill goodie bags and squeeze silicone from Damn Average and Frisky Beast. I wanted to steal one of the FB squishy paws and DA squishy cubes but I was good! Once we’d spent a lot of time in the Blogger Lounge we headed for a room and hung out awhile, with Bex6 finally rounding us up to order Chinese delivery (she was a lifesaver because getting us to agree and do something was like herding cats). The only sex toys I brought were the horrific ones, like the Rockbox Finger because really….seeing people’s reactions in person is just priceless. When I explained that I needed to run the batteries down because the battery cap was stuck, it was passed around the group like the Sword in the Stone. Artemisia7 proved to be the most cunning and mighty and finally killed the beast. Then it was off to Bedpost Confessions. Ricci Levy – after thanking the bloggers for attending and tweeting and being awesome8 – told a story of her lifelong struggle with weight and accepting her weight. For those in the audience also battling the F word and the stigma around it, it was a particularly emotional story. After Ricci received a standing ovation Epiphora9 , on the other side of Artemisia, says to me “Do you need a hug?”. I did and I got one right then and there, an awesome healing hug that I will not forget. We eventually all headed back to the hotel room and loudly talked about everything under the sun, including (shocker) shitty toys and toxic toys. It was a good day.

Friday

I got up early to eat and stress out about my upcoming session that Caitlin10 helped bring to light. I felt like I said weird things and talked too fast during our panel but no one seemed to agree (at least to my face). The session was amazing and powerful. Having some of the Blog Squad up front11 was super helpful, giving me friendly faces to focus on if I felt like I didn’t know where to look when I was talking. A true testament to the fact that millions of grown-ass adults walk around right now with a limited understanding of the anatomy of their bodies and their partners bodies as it relates to pleasure was evident in Jennifer’s story. They told us of an elderly couple who finally came into the store after trying everything they knew (and advice from doctors and therapists) to bring her to orgasm and nothing worked. Jennifer asked the simple “Do you know where her clitoris is?” and he replied that he must, for he rubs in that general area. She educated them and he called her the next day saying that, while they didn’t reach their goal in one night they finally knew they were on the right path and finally had been told the key piece of information they’d been missing for years. Jennifer sobbed at the end of the story, we all cried, and it was a powerful session. I collected the tweets from our session and plan to reread them whenever I need strength and reminders that what I am doing matters and I need to keep doing it. We cried during Monster Under the Bed. We felt all sorts of horrified, angry feelings about the lube industry at Sarah’s lube session. After so many feels, and then an awesome dinner with Shevibe12, Metis, Piph, Penny13, JoEllen14…. I’d had enough for that day. I ran out of spoons, as did many. Many of us crashed early that night, but woke up ready to learn and socialize for Saturday. 

Other awesome Friday things: passing around the Hello Touch X in the blogger lounge and griping about the user manual; me toting around the Pleasure Purse and showing people the Jar of Horrors in person; I got to see the shiny gorgeous metal Doxy and feel the Doxy Skittle in person, both of which I will be reviewing when they come out. 

Saturday

I slept in and missed a morning session I wanted to attend, but got my afternoon session – Yes All Genders. Afterwards I stopped at the Njoy table and saw prototypes that I cannot share publicly but I feel they need a signature petition to be made for public consumption. Greg has all these ideas that he deems “not good enough” and so they don’t see the light of day which is SAD because his “not good enough” is already many times better than many exisiting sex toys. I also got a great cleaning tidbit from the “don’t do this” files and I’ve added the update to the Care & Cleaning Materials Guide. Then onto a pool & pizza party with Smitten Kitten and the blog squad. Then we stopped in at the Liberty Ball for a little while, long enough for a few dances and long enough to see Buck Angel go all Magic Mike XXX on us which, if you missed it, I’m so sorry you missed it. Soon though a group headed up to Piph’s room for the blogger PJ party. There were so many conversations going on at once and fun things happening and I finally got to spend good quality time with Mary and Harry15. Next year we need a sound-proofed room away from sleeping quarters for this shindig where we can cackle as loud as we want after midnight (boy are we loud). I saw Luna’s dildo collection and just was in awe of colors, sizes, and squish factor. Reenie tried on a harness and dildo and was adorable. I stayed in Piph’s room just past 3, not long after we were finally reported to hotel security for aforementioned loud cackling. As I walked back to my room alone I couldn’t help but cry already missing those I just said goodbye to. Despite being tired and knowing I needed to sleep for my drive the next day, my brain wouldn’t let me sleep. 

Sunday

Waking was painful. The hall where the sessions and vendors had been was empty, and sad like a ghost town. I went to the brunch but didn’t eat and realized I needed to go pack and get on the road. I said goodbye to those I didn’t say goodbye to in Piph’s room and packed and checked out. I ran into JoEllen and Elle in the hotel lounge and got to say goodbye to them. Leaving was hard. The drive home was filled with tears (partly because my car and my GPS turned against me, partly because the 6 hour drive turned into an 8.5 hour drive, but mostly because I didn’t want to leave my friends). Here’s how I really and truly knew that the conference was the best I’d ever attended: I wasn’t ready to go home. As much as I’ve loved events in the past, my limit was right about around the 4 day mark – the few times I’d stayed til Monday I ended up cranky on Sunday night and Monday morning, ready to be in the comforts of home. But this time I wished I’d stayed, I wished I’d arrived earlier. 

Ok but what was it REALLY like?

There were actually a number of sessions I thought were interesting enough to attend besides the 3 I did attend and the 1 I fully expected to attend, but I also knew that I had to be picky and limit myself. To jump from workshop to workshop would have worn me down much faster. For the first time since my very first conference, I felt that the array of sessions was diverse and interesting. For those looking to really educate themselves, the longer 3-hour academies were probably wonderful – but I know myself I don’t have the attention span to finish a movie in one sitting, much less a 3-hour academy. I don’t like leaving/entering when one has already started, though others did this, however I would consider it if the subject were a necessity to what I do on this blog. But there were many choices for workshops (maybe too many during some time slots?) and everything was kinda fast-paced – I would have liked more time for lunch break and maybe a little more time between workshops BUT that fast pace allowed for the workshops to be 90 minutes; the past conferences I’ve attended it was 50 minutes and that just felt too short. 90 minutes was pretty necessary to fully dig into the topics in the sessions I attended. In fact, Caitlin, Jennifer, Metis and myself had so much to say that I don’t feel we took enough questions/feedback from the audience. I was hoping to hear from store employees about their attempts/successes/failures at educating customers. If anyone was at that workshop and wants to chime in on things, please feel free to do so in the comments.

The hotel was, I think, better than the Crystal City hotel of prior conferences if only for layout, design and the fact that where we were put, the hall of meeting rooms we used, didn’t feel like we had to hide. In the hotel used for Momentum and Catalyst the registration area was right outside the elevators and we shared a floor with the hotel pool, so there was a lot of “think of the children and the offended adults” hiding of stuff. There were some issues with the hotel front desk staff and confusions (due to the hotel apparently changing ownership?) but overall (despite my room being used for someone’s smoke break) the room I was in was great and the hotel was great. Of course there was an issue with the pipes? I think? Causing some very loud whale-song noises during workshops which made it hard to hear and pay attention. Yes, we had less food options vs Crystal City but I think we still made it work.

I would like to be in another workshop next year, if possible, despite how stressed out I was about speaking in front of people. Or, maybe not, maybe I’ll just listen and learn next year. We’ll see. You can expect posts from me over the next month inspired by what I learned about trans inclusivity, sex & depression & anxiety, and of course LUBE.  Something else you can expect: A renewed commitment to supporting my fellow bloggers. I was reminded that weekend that Jennifer’s motto “It’s good business to do good business” also means that as a community there is no harm to support others. I will not support my Blog Squad any less because, what, they may get an affiliate sale that I didn’t? No. Invalid. We are all mighty individuals but together we are loud, we get shit done and we are fucking fabulous. We are changing the world.

When you’re a sex blogger and especially an anonymous blogger you may not have the ability to have these conversations often about sexuality and sex toys. Any of you can imagine – find something you’re passionate about, something that 95% of the people in your everyday life don’t get or you don’t want them to know about. Now imagine you are in a place where EVERYBODY is passionate about that and it’s like an oasis of wonder. It’s brain sex. So you’re excited and happy and overwhelmed and then….then it’s over. Con-drop is a thing and in these situations it’s so hard to return to your boring life, where you can’t just rattle off things about the subjects you’re most passionate about to a room of others who are just as passionate and you certainly can’t talk about burning dildos in everyday company or admit to just anybody what the state of your bed looks like. And I don’t know that I’ve ever had a “vanilla” friend admit so freely how alike our bodies are in what sex toys we like and ask if my clit is a lefty or righty but Mandi and I just talk about it like it’s coffee16. A whole entire long weekend of being my “authentic self”, able to say anything I want, is freeing.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Shevibe.com for sending me to Woodhull; to Ricci Levy & The Board for making the Summit so amazing and welcoming; to Tantus for the blogger lounge; to the Blog Squad for letting me hang out with ya. 

Everyone has a different perspective of the conference and attended sessions I didn’t, so if you’re curious to hear more please read their posts:

 

  1. Calvin of Smitten Kitten came up with this since we all seemed to travel in a pack. Being the geeks we are, we embraced it with glee – Artemisia, Penny, Caitlin, Bex, Epiphora, Mary, Dizzy, Mandi, Reenie, Lena, Lunabelle and me
  2. Quiet but easy to talk to, Dizzy was among the first I was able to sit down with and it was great to ease into social-ness with her
  3. Smart, funny, kind, amazing Luna packed the most useful stuff, from Sharpies to a mobile bar to a suitcase of dildo brands many of us have never seen in real life
  4. Reenie is just as cute and sincere as you would imagine. I adore her completely. She says fabulous things, like after donning a Spareparts harness and a dildo says “OMG! Does this mean I can send dick pics now???? And she just walked around, waggling fantasy cock dildos in the halls and hotel areas like NBD. I can’t wait to see her again
  5. SASSY. That is Lena. Well, after some vodka. Pre-vodka Lena is still sassy and awesome, friendly and sweet, I can’t wait to see what her blog will bring
  6. She of cleavage and fabulous smile, full of energy and hugs, so easy to get along with and so caring.
  7. Caring and kind, beautiful and easy to talk to, rolls with anything – whether someone wants to call her Jill because she looks like a Jill or Piph thinks her avatar isn’t nearly as hot as she is in reality and needs to be changed, pronto
  8. Yes, we were all shocked at that, and it ended up being only the first time of many that weekend where all bloggers were thanked
  9. True story, I was intimidated to hang out with her but she’s great – sweet and funny and adorkable, unapologetically honest, she will not hesitate to say exactly what she’s thinking – Piph will be the friend who will tell you what you need to hear, the whole “not sugarcoating it” stuff applies to all aspects of her which is fabulous
  10. I had a lot of femme-clothing envy this weekend but Caitlin raised the bar. Their outfits? ON POINT like whoa. Head to toe fancy and “put together” and retro and so awesome. Having them moderate the panel was a great help to my anxiety.
  11. I remember most the faces of Bex, Penny and Lena but my mind was so hyper and messed up, I know others were in my viewline but my brain didn’t register them in the memory banks
  12. As a company, you know I love them but as people? Sandra and Thor are gems and I am so amazed I get to consider them friends
  13. I really wanted to learn some photography stuff from Penny because she is amazing, but there wasn’t any time. Penny in wonderful; sweet, funny, down-to-earth and fun to be around. I think she’s great
  14. Joellen takes more introvert-time away to recharge, so I didn’t get to hang out with her nearly as much as I’d wanted but I already knew that she is fabulous and smart and bullshit-free. She is eloquent and amazing
  15. a fabulous couple, I really loved talking to them and having them around. Mary thanked me for being her inspiration to leave her toxic-toy-slinging ex-company and finally love what she is doing, and that was both weird for me to hear yet awesome
  16. Mandi is damn awesome and so fun to talk to, she is pretty and funny and sweet. At first I didn’t know who she was because I wasn’t wearing my glasses enough to see her nametag and she looks different from her avatar so I kept wondering “Who is this cool blogger?? Why don’t I know of them yet?? Must remedy”
 Posted by at 10:16 am
Aug 202015
 

I often wish there was a sex toy / sexuality version of snopes.com. There are so many myths, uncorroborated theories and flat-out wrong ideas. This will have to do! Comment with your own myths or ask if one you’ve heard is myth or fact. 

You can test a vibrator in-store by putting it on the tip of your nose.

photo of a brochure from CSPH saying: Fun Fact: Test vibrators out on the tip of your nose while in the store, it will give you a better indicator of how the vibrator will feel against your genitals (vs testing the toys out in your hand). If it makes you sneeze, it is probably too strong for you. This isn’t really myth or fact, it’s just subjective. The theory is that if it “makes you sneeze” it is probably too powerful for your clitoris. I actually saw this tidbit in a brochure for the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in my Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit 15 swag bag and it saddened me1. I love this organization and have supported them, but this “fun fact” worries me that those who need something strong will feel shamed or will not get the vibrator they really need. My clitoris (and I know I’m not alone) is not very sensitive. I require strong, rumbly vibrations. If the vibrations are particularly rumbly, then it doesn’t have to be super-strong (hello, Tango, I love you even on level 1). Every vibrator that will work for me bothers my nose. Hell even vibrators that will never be enough for me can make me sneeze, particularly surface-buzzy ones. 

You won’t know if a vibration type or strength is good for you until you try it. You can start with cheap vibrators and one that I like recommending for external play is the Doc Johnson Black Magic Bullet. It’s not high quality and might not last you more than a couple months. But it’ll give you a really good idea of where you stand especially if the last vibrator you tried was too mild. Maybe the Black Magic isn’t enough, maybe it’s pretty good but not quite enough for some days, etc. Whatever the case may be, you now have a barometer. Put THAT to your nose (or drop your jaw and put it in the hollow of your cheek – see how far the vibrations spread) and or your hand and memorize how that feels. Did it make you sneeze? Ok, so what. It’s what you need, so it’s fine.

If there were such a thing as “too powerful” then the Magic Wand wouldn’t have gained a cult following as a genital vibrator for masturbation.

Toy Cleaner is all you need to keep that PVC dildo perfectly safe

Myth until the end of time. The whole thing is porous (but not absorbent) so you can only clean the surface. Since the material breaks down over time and things are living in the pores, the community in your dildo will come out to play. And you definitely don’t wanna hang with that crowd. This goes for rubber, TPR, jelly, “realistic materials” of unknown origin, etc. “Toy cleaner” for non-porous is just kinda pointless unless you’re traveling and plan to share with non-fluid-bonded partners because there are other easier and cheaper ways to clean/sanitize your sex toys. 

Covering a sketchy sex toy with a condom will solve all your worries

Unproven. This might (and boy do I stress might) help for a little while with TPE/TPR dildos if it’s a polyurethane condom. TPE/TPR seems to be the only porous material that doesn’t give a chemical burn (I could be wrong, FYI, and they could be lying) but it is porous and unstable (hence using polyurethane condom because the instability means its leaches oils and oils ruin other condoms). The condom might buy you some time with regards to keeping bacteria out of the pores, or to keep fungi in the pores from coming at you during use, BUT you need to cover 100% of the sex toy surface. I don’t mean the surface going in you or on you. I mean the whole. damn. thing. Handle too.

Silicone sex toys will “melt” or deform if you let them touch in storage.

I have covered this to death but I couldn’t leave it out of this round-up, simply because I hear it so often. Even when I make a post specifically showing that it’s not a thing.

Large girth sex toys will “ruin” a vagina or make your butt incontinent

For most people and in most circumstances, the body is really damn elastic. Vaginas can birth a 10 pound baby and not have the cavernous qualities of a small garbage bag afterwards.

Can the PC muscles lose their tone and affect things like tightness and bladder control? Yes, but they can be toned and exercised and brought back to full strength – without necessarily needing surgery. 

Wood sex toys will splinter, glass sex toys will shatter

I’ve already covered the wood thing in great detail. Glass sex toys, even if they’re not annealed or even made from tempered glass, are very unlikely to shatter in use into tiny pieces as is suggested here. It could crack, yes, if it’s a cheap glass item. But unless you’re shoving something like a lightbulb inside of you (btw….don’t do that) you’re using something that is solid, not flimsy and hollow. More details on glass sex toys and their quality/strength to come shortly, by the way – I plan to do testing and research that will educate you and yes concern you but I will  not use scare tactics based on dramatized situations.  Straight dope, y’all.

If you want something soft, you HAVE to buy jelly or “realistic” mystery materials

After Woodhull I can personally assure you this is wrong. I squeezed so many super-duper soft silicone items from Lunabelle’s treasure trove. I was shocked that someone could even use something so soft. These aren’t mainstream brands (yet) but it is out there. Damn Average, Frisky Beast, Bad Dragon, and so many more. Even the Vixen Vixskin and Tantus O2 is very soft and squishy – they have solid cores to make it easier to use, but it’s still soft. Yes, many silicone toys are very firm but not all. Don’t let that deter you. 

Vibrators will desensitize you and make it so that you cannot orgasm without them

I will not disagree that certain vibrators (for me, it’s the Magic Wand and similar) can give you a very temporary numb feeling. I am not a doctor (not that most doctors know a damn thing about sex toys and pleasure) but I feel pretty confident in saying that this is a myth. In fact, over my time with sex toys, I’ve been able to orgasm with less vibration strength than I used to need. I’ve had more instances of hands-only orgasms since I started using vibrators and those orgasms used to be about as rare as a brown spider monkey2 but are probably at African Penguin3 level now.

Sex toys are only for single people (who aren’t having partnered sex)

This is like saying that now that you’re in a relationship, you never masturbate anymore, in any way. Masturbation is healthy. It’s not something you necessarily do because you’re not attracted to your partner. Masturbation/orgasm can be very relaxing, can help you sleep, can help you focus, can ease anxiety, and so on. Sex toys are merely a tool. That’s it.

Sex toys can be used in partnered sex and to great results. Again, they’re a tool to enhance sex. It’s not like a sex toy says “You, the person I care about, are not attractive enough / good enough sexually for me”. Do you wear lingerie for your partner? Do you light candles? Yes? So how is a sex toy really any different? The notion that only your partner’s body should/can provide you with pleasure is very antiquated, and very damaging.

Does your partner like a hand job (penis)? Do you enjoy seeing them receive that kind of pleasure? So a masturbator sleeve is going to feel even nicer than your hand – this you can surely understand, yes? It’s softer. It might have nubs. So why wouldn’t you want to use this on your partner and watch them experience even MORE pleasure? Now think about this in relation to every other body part and every sex toy on the market. When my partner uses a sex toy on me, or watches me use it, it is just as (if not moreso) intimate than applying the body part to the body part. If you live giving your partner pleasure then why wouldn’t you want to give them even MORE pleasure? 

Sex toys made specifically for partnered sex are The Thing and need to be Hands-Free

Every couples” toy I’ve tried has not worked for me. The idea behind these specific things is that the vulva-owner wears them for PIV sex; they’re supposed to be unobtrusive, and require little effort once they are in place. But when you combine friction and slippery stuff, the chance something could really stay hands-free is fairly slim. Plus they usually rely on your body being built the exact way that the toy makers demo vulva/body is, and if not may not fit just right.  The We-Vibe can work for some and I hear good feedback. But I also hear just as many disappointed people who experienced all fails. In my opinion that’s a lot of money to spend for a maybe, when you could just re-work your foreplay and sex positions to include your toys. Would you rework those things if one of you became injured or disabled? There’s your answer.

Hands-free is very hard to achieve, so maybe let’s let that one go? Or consider the toys with suction cups, or the Liberator toy mount pieces.  And there’s no need to look for a specific “sex toy for couples”. If you’re using it together, during partnered sex….guess what? It’s now a “sex toy for couples”. You’re welcome.

I got a man! (What’s your man got to do with me?)

FYI someone needs to remake a video for this song and have a dildo be the dude in the song.

To the cis men saying their “girl” doesn’t need a “rubber penis” because: cis dude exists: Your penis is not a god. Let me ask you something, cis dude: You have consensual access to a vagina/butt/whatever now that you have a partner. Are you really trying to tell me you’re never gonna jerk off? Ever? That is some bullshit. Ever stick your dick into something other than another human, and had it feel good? Yes. Why should your partner be punished because you have a god complex? Try using that dildo you’re so afraid of on your partner, with your partner. It’s sexy to watch. You can get a view you normally wouldn’t during sex. And you’re still participating in giving them pleasure.

For those who think that because they “have a man” they don’t need a silicone dick, well, that’s your choice I guess. You’re the receiver, so you choose what you want. You can angle a dildo in a way that the attached penis probably can’t move. You can twirl and twist the dildo, and an attached penis cannot (should not) do that (unless the body attached to the penis is rigged to the ceiling like a Cirque du Soleil gymnast and there’s a whole lot of complicated…stuff…going on). That’s neither bad nor good, it’s just a thing and if it feels good then do it. Maybe you have tried dildos and do not like them. Maybe you tried dildos that weren’t right for you (been there, done that, so keep going and maybe try a Pure Wand) but hey maybe you just don’t like dildos. THAT’S COOL. I’m not saying you have to like a dildo. If you have zero trouble getting off clitorally with your hand or your partners fingers/tongue? Bravo. You’re lucky. Carry on and don’t experiment with pleasure if you don’t want to. BUT YOU CAN, ok? And if you cannot orgasm at all or with any frequency/reliability from your partner’s fingers/tongue/penis? You are not broken. There is no shame in using a sex toy to help. 

Cis men who enjoy anal/prostate play must be gay/queer

It’s not about the things you like having done to you during sex, it’s who is doing them.  The prostate is often called the “male” g-spot (starting to hate that term but, whatever, if it helps the cis men I talk to, then fine) and it feels fucking awesome for most people to have it stimulated. The ass also has a ton of nerve endings – these are there regardless of gender. We all have the same nerve endings. Every butt, regardless of gender or sexuality, has the ability to really fuckin love the sensation of beads, penis, dildo, plug, or vibrations in and around this sensitive zone. Don’t like it? Fine. But it has nothing to do with your gender or sexuality. 

Calling it: Myth now and forevermore.  Wanna read more? Start here

Anything can be a sex toy if you’re brave enough

That should be changed to actually read “dumb enough”. Just the other day I found someone selling anal beads on Etsy that consisted of sead beads and larger round beads strung onto jewelry-making beading wire with other wire involved. The beads? No. They are glass and those can break off. Plus cleaning between them??? OH NO. No. And then, the wire?? It could puncture you internally. It could be fatal. The seller doesn’t seem to agree with me and others, it seems. Primary email interaction isn’t getting my point conveyed and they seem to feel their stuff is safe. Kinda like the person who made those clay and wax dildos, but he got super angry with me. 

See also: carrots/vegetables/food, markers, salami, syrup bottles and cold cream jars – not a dildo

Sex toys are amazing tools and you should try one or 24 at some point in your life

Fact. Or I wouldn’t be here right now on this blog, doing all the things I love. Granted, not all sex toys are amazing but speaking in generalities? Magical stuff, people.

Thanks to Artemisia, Girly Juice and Reenie for reminding me on a few of these. 

  1. Actually, it’s what prompted this whole entire post. And I also want to reiterate that I love the Center and Megan and all who help run it, but I don’t like that tip/fact and wanted to speak about it, it just happened to lead to other myths
  2. Critically endangered
  3. Endangered
 Posted by at 7:22 pm
Aug 132015
 

1439404332234Months ago, I asked the FUCKING AMAZING ARTISTS at Shevibe to draw me for a business card for the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. Shevibe.com is also my generous sponsor; without them I wouldn’t be able to attend the Summit. I showed the art off before, and naturally am so in love with it, that it’s now my avi everywhere. But when I saw the silhouettes of sex toys in the background it inspired me to expand on that for the back side once I figured out which toys they’d used. This made me think up the contest! I’ve never done such a quick giveaway before but I hope I gave fair enough warning by mentioning it in my newsletter and talking about it on social media. 

So here we are, even better than before thanks to Tantus donating a super new Duchess O2 (shown at left – it’s the same as their Duke but with vibrator and O2 layer) as First Place prize. Second place is the Jopen Key Comet 2, in blue, and third place is the We-Vibe Glow accessory for the Tango (Tango not included, sorry). My apologies to my sight-impaired readers; I know this contest excludes you.

bizcardfrontCONTEST2

bizcardbackCONTEST2

What You Need to Do:

Name all 17 sex toys that appear on the back side (black and gray) of my business card, from left to right, in order. 

You also need to answer this question: Which of the depicted toys have I NOT YET reviewed? Name them. 

The answers need to be all in one single comment, and shouldn’t be answered anywhere else (as in, don’t post your answer on Facebook or message me, or reblog on Tumblr with the answers).

Rules:

First place winner can live anywhere and get the Duchess O2. For the others, if you want it for free, you need to live in the US. If you’re outside the US, you need to pay for shipping. How much is shipping? I don’t know yet. That depends on where you live and which prize is yours. Let’s take a stab at a max of $25. I’d be using USPS.

You need to make sure that you see “your comment is awaiting moderation” after you click “post”. If you don’t, then re-do it. I cannot control the Internet and if your comment doesn’t make it through, there’s no entry for me to count.

I will be at Woodhull during this competition, so winners will be chosen as soon as I’m able to view all of the comments and find the winners. Once winners have been determined, all comments will get published. I’ll check the spam filter section, too, don’t worry.

This should go without saying, but you should be certain that you include a WORKING email address. You may, in your comment, include your Facebook ID, your Twitter or Tumblr name but I’d advise against putting it in as a link. However, you still need to include a working email address. I will update the post to show the first three winners.

How The Winners Will Be Chosen:

Once the contest has ended, I’ll separate out everyone who got everything right. From that group, I’ll randomly select three winners. You don’t get to choose your prize; your speed in answering determines the prize. The three randomly chosen winners will be ranked by the timestamp of their comment. If you are selected and don’t want the prize you were selected for, then another winner will be chosen to replace you.

 Posted by at 12:58 pm
Aug 052015
 

Pulse2soloWell, this is going to be a hard review to write. I hate phoning it in, but the bulk of the review has already been written before – the Hot Octopuss PULSE II SOLO, whose counterpart is the PULSE II DUO, was originally just one toy: the Hot Octopuss Pulse. It was meant for solo OR couple’s play and while it had some flaws and areas of improvement, it was an item my husband really enjoyed. And how you use it, how it works, has remained the same. They’ve changed the buttons and added in pulsating patterns but the gist remains the same – apply to penis, vibrate, ejaculate.

Most people out there don’t treat sex toys like the latest iPhone; they don’t purchase the upgraded version when their older version functions just fine or even just “good enough”. For those who DO purchase upgraded versions, you’re in luck: just about everything you wished they would change, they did. There’s now a dedicated on-off button on one side, and intensity controls on the other side. You now have the added option of pulsating patterns. And finally, the blessed thing is more quiet. Not “whisper quiet”, but it’s a big change. In order to make it more quiet, though, they did have to shave some intensity. My husband enjoyed the intensity of it, the deep rumbles of the vibrations, but he doesn’t feel they tamped it down too far. It’s still intense on the upper levels.  But wait, there’s more: The Hot Octopuss PULSE II is now waterproof. Before it wasn’t even splash-proof. 

Hot Octopuss decided to make two versions this time around. With the new PULSE II DUO you have the *option* of turning off the exterior vibrations, and you have a remote to help control things (which is a necessary upgrade for using it this way). With this distinction in models, it allows for one version to cost less (there’s a $40 price difference), so that’s nice. Those who only ever plan to use it solo aren’t penalized with the higher price tag for the dual motors and remote.  Reports have come in that the external motor on the PULSE II DUO is stronger than the one on the original Pulse, but is not rumbly like the interior motor and can actually overpower the interior motor for the penis because the higher-pitched motor wins out, in a bad way. I never found the design comfortable to use as a couple’s toy especially because it gives very broad stimulation and I need pinpoint.

The silicone wings still accommodate a large range of cock girths. With a lot of lube, you can use it in motion but as with the original Pulse, my husband felt that it’s best keeping it in about the same spot – that sensitive point on or near the frenulum. I think that for some people, this sweet spot location will vary slightly. The vibrating pad that gives off the most sensation is about the size of a quarter. How do you know if you’re going to like this sort of sex toy? I’d suggest first trying out a regular vibrator, one that’s very powerful. Good test subjects would be the Vibratex Mystic Wand, the We-Vibe Tango or Touch or any very powerful and rumbly vibrator that you or your partner already have on hand – if you don’t have an immediate “WOW” reaction to the level of vibration, then it’s not really strong enough to give you a good idea of how the Hot Octopuss Pulse II Solo will feel. Some people respond well to concentrated vibrations, and some don’t. Before you drop $99 – $139, you should be certain this is something you’ll enjoy.

Since I wrote my original review, I’ve heard from a number of people with erectile dysfunction who rave about this and its ability to provide pleasure and orgasm even if they can’t get a stiff erection (which would be necessary to use penetrative masturbators). I’ve even heard from a few disabled people who find the Hot Octopuss Pulse much easier to manipulate and use versus penetrative masturbators. We still feel that it’s not totally hands-free because applying a little pressure to keep the vibrator on-point is necessary but it requires less effort than many sex toys for penises. In my original review my husband loved it but felt it would be better with some upgrades – and all of those have happened. So if you were waiting around on them to make a better, updated version then you’re in luck. We don’t have anything bad to say about this sex toy!

The Hot Octopuss PULSE II SOLO comes highly recommended from us both, and can be had for $99 from the lovely Shevibe, who graciously sent me one ages ago in exchange for my honest review.

 

 Posted by at 11:10 am
Jul 102015
 

August 13th-16th 2015 is the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit, a sexuality conference that I’ll be attending (and speaking at!!) thanks to the amazing folks at Shevibe. There’s a lot of good stuff packed into this long weekend, like workshops, academies, day-long institutes and more.

The panel I’ll be on is at 10:45am on Friday (whew, not too early!) and I’ll be sharing it with a freaking stellar line-up: Caitlyn Murphy who blogs at Sexational!; Metis Black of Tantus, and Jennifer Pritchett of Smitten Kitten and Badvibes.org. I’m pretty verklempt to be in such company.

Every adult retailer, manufacturer, and sex blogger has been, at some point if not regularly, inundated with questions about topics ranging from surviving and struggling with trauma, relationships, sexual pleasure and health, anatomy, and are asked to troubleshoot issues people are having with allergic reactions to materials and ingredients in sex toys, lube, and other items. Some have risen to this call and centered sex education- sexual pleasure and health- in their businesses. Some have also attempted to rise to this call and spread misinformation in an industry that has many murky areas and lacks research. Those who try to center sex education have also encountered people who would detract them for not being a “respectable” business or topic, or claimed that they’re just providing information in order to upsell people. How do we help people access inclusive sex education as people who are often not equipped with the degrees, certifications, and resources to do so? How do we gain recognition for this work? How do we help others answer this call? This panel’s goal purpose is to answer these questions and more.

This Summit really is going to be a combination of fun and learning. There are a bunch of fun social events that trigger extreme social anxiety in me, as much as I wish they wouldn’t, and a lot of really great topics in the workshops. If you can be in DC (specifically, Alexandria VA) that weekend, you should come learn and have fun with us! A number of bloggers are going – AFemmeCock, Bex, Reenie, Epiphora, Caitlyn, JoEllen, Crista, Joan Price, Lena, Mandi, DeAnn, and…there are likely a few I’m forgetting (please remind me in comments!), and a few that I am unsure if they’re coming (I’ve been so busy with the house thing that I’m a bit out of the loop and brain is just fried lately). The point is, there will be a lot of AWESOME people at the Summit. You’ll get to see the fine folks of Shevibe, of course, and TANTUS will be there. Also listed as speakers? Buck Angel and Nina Hartley! The speaker list is really impressive, honestly.

I’m equally excited for Woodhull and terrified. My social anxiety means that I assume most people don’t/won’t like me, and in an order to be a people-pleaser I sacrifice my own needs and comforts. I’m honestly already stressing about being the “difficult one” when it comes to meals, because of the gluten thing. I don’t want to miss out on social gatherings at meals just because everyone else wants to go to a place where I won’t be able to eat. Nor do I expect people to change what they want, just to suit me.

I hold such high admiration and mini-crushes for so many bloggers and am so excited to spend time in person with all of the bloggers who are going – but the social anxiety and low self-esteem that accompany it rear their ugly heads and threaten to ruin my good time with the negative voices in my head. I will do my level best to remember that normal society expects eye contact during conversation; I will force myself to remember that when my shyness wants me to look at the ground and go quiet, others take that as a snub. Also, spending so much time around beautiful people, some of whom I’ve perved on from afar because they post very hawt photos, makes me nervous because I don’t want to be inadvertently inappropriate.  So here’s the thing if you’re also going to Woodhull: I’m far more likely to be comfortable if I don’t have to approach you first. Don’t mistake my shy and awkward self for disliking you; I’ll become more comfortable in short order. I’m more nervous to meet you than you are to meet me.

 

 

 Posted by at 1:33 pm
Jun 162015
 

 

DangerousLillyAvAs someone born before 1985, I am apparently part of the last generation to know life Before and After the Internet. I remember dial-up and AOL, ISCABBS and the time when we used multiple “web portals” instead of just “Googling it”. The internet was neat but it was still pretty geeky. You were a social loser if all your friends were “on the internet” and it was hard to admit to others if you met your mate through the internet. But it’s fairly normal, now, right? In fact it’s probably weird or quaint to relay a story of meeting a new, serious significant other through completely offline means.

Yes. Pretty much all of my friends live in this “box” on my desk. A few years ago I moved to a new city; a few years after that I moved to a new state. I still have friends from past places I’ve lived but I don’t speak to them much. I have a handful of acquaintances where I live now, but the vast majority of my real friends? I met you through this platform, through blogging, through the internet. And many of you I have ended up meeting in “real life.” Which, btw, do we still say that? I mean this…this IS real life. My life has never felt more real and more meaningful. My friends have never been such a diverse yet equally awesome and amazing group. I have never before had such fabulous people to call friends who teach me things, who broaden my ways of thinking, who make me a better person. I have never before been able to have a “job” that I so thoroughly enjoy, that I feel really matters to some people, before becoming the blogger I am now. A sex toy critic / concierge / consultant.

Some say the internet is evil. I can see the downsides, absolutely. But for me it is fabulous for it brought me you. My friend, who lives in this box. Who I talk to through Twitter and Facebook and IMs and email and Skype and then once in a while I get the privilege of hugging you in person, but maybe not. Without the internet I would never have found my calling in life, my niche; and I would not have met you. I would definitely be living a much more narrow-minded and much less fun life.

One thing that the book author, Harris, says is bad about the internet is:

“When you wake up, you have this gift of a blank brain. You could fill it with anything. But for most of us, we have this kind of panic. Instead of wondering what should I do, we wonder what did I miss. It’s almost like our unconsciousness is a kind of failure and we can’t believe we’ve been offline for eight hours,” he says. “It is habits like this that are insidious, not the internet itself. It is a personal thing.”

The author, while writing his book, took a month off from the internet. And while he didn’t “experience any epiphanies” he did say this:

 “I think what you get is a richer interior light and the ability to see yourself in a critical light, living online. Because if you’re in the middle of something you can never see it properly.”

While I didn’t take a month off, I did have to seriously limit my online time due to moving to a new house. Unlike the last time we moved, which was from rental to rental, I wasn’t frothing at the mouth to get back to my 6-hours-a-day-outside-of-work of precious internet time, doing so in short order. I had a lot more going on (hell, I still do, I am still not at my computer nearly as much as before we bought the house) and this time I went a whole few weeks without spending a lot of time on social media in all of its many facets. And yeah, I did feel left out and I did miss a lot of things going on. But I’ve also enjoyed my break and I’m wading back in much more slowly. The break did give me renewed vision on what things I’m going to keep devoting time to, what has to be cut or cut back on, and who matters to me.

All of this is also to thank the internet for these last 7 years because they’ve been awesome. I’ve changed a lot and my blog certainly has changed a lot 1. Many blog anniversaries I’ve celebrated by hosting a large sex toy giveaway on the blog, but obviously that’s not happening this year. If that’s what you stick around for, well, you’ll find other places to frequent. Go see Piph, she never misses a blogiversary giveaway and she’s a hell of a lot more reliable with such traditions than I. Maybe later this summer or in the fall I’ll host a giveaway, but, I don’t have the time for it. Those things are time sucks, they take a LOT of work.

So yeah. Stick around. I have a lot of important and interesting articles to work on, a few more guides that should be helpful and many more sex toy reviews. I’ll be here for year 8, that’s for certain. To those who are my friend: I adore you. You are extremely important to me. And hopefully I’ll be seeing a bunch of you in 2 months!!

 

The artwork is part of my snazzy new business card that I’ll be bringing to Woodhull, created by the fabulous team at Shevibe, Alex and Keith and Sandra and Thor. I think it’s pretty fucking spectacular, and very much me.

  1. A  fact which someone who has been around awhile decided to point out to me, they apparently miss what my blog used to be (the noodz and smut) and they thought I should know that. Well, fuck them, because I don’t fucking do what I do for them