Lilly

May 292016
 

Is your glass sex toy safe? Image shows an array of glass sex toys on a teal backgroundEverybody and their brother claims to be creating/selling high quality glass sex toys; they may tout brand names like Pyrex or toss out the term “borosilicate” as if those words automatically mean quality anymore. When we know how shady many sex toy companies can be and how they can say whatever they want about their product without the need for truth in advertising, people naturally get skeptical regarding the true safety of glass sex toys. I’m always trying to find new ways of testing sex toys at home for quality, material, and relative safety. Since one of the few things I could do is burning to see if it’s silicone or not, I never thought I’d be able to test a glass sex toy at home until Crystal Delights talked about using a polariscope on some glass pieces which shows stress in glass. I figured out how to run the test at home, cheaply, and then proceeded to spend more than a few dollars buying various brands to test. I tested them all for glass quality and lead content  – I have no way of testing for Cadmium or other harmful heavy metals, though. I have always received questions about the relative safety of inexpensive glass sex toys and I can finally give you some more in-depth answers. I suspect we won’t stop with this post; I’ve already talked to Crystal Delights years ago and I plan to present you with a more in-depth chat with the people behind Fucking Sculptures, soon.

Please note: This piece is to inform and educate, not scare you. If you are worried about the glass sex toys you own after reading this, please contact me. Send me a link, send me photos, etc. I’ll help you determine if you need to toss it or just baby it.

Pyrex Means Nothing

You probably associate the name Pyrex with tough glass – glass that can stand up to a drop, that can be boiled, etc. On the boiling front, you’re right – borosilicate glass can be boiled or can be the vessel for boiling. But Pyrex just isn’t what it used to be anymore – namely it used to be well-made borosilicate and now it’s soda-lime.  Sometime in the 1990s Corning and their Pyrex name were bought out by a Chinese company called World Kitchen. Since then, Pyrex items just aren’t as tough. I ran the glass test on some Pyrex branded items I own – the new Pyrex measuring cups showed rainbows in the parts. The lid from my 1950s CorningWare casserole dish was completely clear on both the polariscope and polarimeter. A lab flask from the 60s was also showing clear on both tests. So when you see glass companies bragging about how they use Pyrex glass? They’re full of shit. Pyrex isn’t a type of glass, it’s a brand and it is no better or worse as a name brand than anything generic. If you want glass brand names that mean something look for people talking about Simex or Schott glass, which are used for medical purposes. Plus, if the glass isn’t annealed then nothing matters. I’ve seen a lot of cheap glass sex toys boasting “Pyrex” and they’re not annealed. Most of these same sex toys that use the term “Pyrex” also say “borosilicate”. Since Pyrex is no longer borosilicate this presents a bit of Pinocchio situation. So what are they really? They may very well be borosilicate glass, which is fine but just saying that doesn’t really make it any better than soda lime glass that is annealed – soda-lime is used by Fucking Sculptures, Steele Malone, Standard Glass and Simply Blown, to name a few. Even when annealed though you can’t plunge a soda-lime glass dildo into boiling water. But annealing does strengthen glass and make it able to withstand some abuse. My Fucking Sculptures soda-lime glass dildo may not be able to withstand boiling water but it definitely is hardy and break-resistant because FS makes their pieces carefully and properly. The cheap “Pyrex” now made in China hasn’t been made carefully; my newer measuring cups have all chipped on the lip/spout.

What Annealing Means (and doesn’t)

I talked to a lot of glass experts when researching this and I could include information from many people here. Some have said that it’s nearly impossible to anneal away all stress in thick glass sex toys; some disagree. Some “internet experts” have gotten the terms annealing and tempering confused; you probably wouldn’t find a tempered glass dildo.  First, here’s some information from Maria at Fucking Sculptures:

It is both theoretically and actually impossible to remove all stress from any glass, and especially so with objects that vary in thickness, shape, and color. Some stress actually strengthens glass, that extreme being known as “tempering” (also from metallurgy) or quick cooling, which is done to car side windows (not windshields!) and some drinkware. It makes them VERY hard to break up to a certain point way beyond that of annealed glass, but at which point they break into a zillion pieces. Do note that as stressed out as they are, car windows and drinkware never break themselves! Someone has to do it for them. So, having said all that, yes, our dildos do have some stress. We do anneal them in a longer cycle than most anything else made in our studio, because they are relatively thick. We anneal them in the upper part of our oven, which provides more evenly controlled heat. We also know that having some stress makes them stronger, having dropped them on various floors, even sometimes concrete won’t break them. There are other issues going on, too. Hard or soft, the skilled and careful glassmaker has to keep whatever object is being made fairly evenly hot throughout the sculpting process, thus taking a lot of the stress out of the glass before it even reaches the cooling oven. Design plays a part, too. That butt-plug ring you mention should never have existed in the first place, and more subtle things are prone to break as well – abrupt changes in thickness or angle can be interesting features in metal, for instance, but doomed in glass. Factory production of course is riddled with risks- harried or unskilled employees, quotas, deadlines, budgets- all of which increase chances for error, or worse. We avoid all that by having 2 people (sometimes a third) make everything.

Next, I want to share with you what Standard Glass told me:
 
Looking for strain with a polariscope is not just as simple as rainbow or no rainbow.  Yes, totally clear is a good sign.  But there are varying levels and intensities of coloration, and reading them is something that takes training.  Strain in glass doesn’t always make it weak, it can also make it strong.  Think about tempered glass, like is used in skyscraper windows.  Tempered glass has a controlled pattern of stress put into it during manufacturing.  It is very flexible and durable, and takes immense amounts of bending from wind, earthquakes, etc.  Regular, annealed sheet glass would surely snap, but the tempered glass doesn’t.  However, once the tempered glass reaches its limits, it blows up into little square chunks like auto glass does.

This would be bad for a sex toy, but is an example of how complicated strain is.  The junk import “pyrex” toys are just formed at a torch and likely allowed to cool on a tabletop.  Maybe they go into a kiln, but I’ll bet not.  This is not good strain in glass, and it’s not safe.  I’m not expert enough to properly read the stress in the images you sent, but my basic understanding is that the tighter/brighter the rainbows are, the higher the stress levels are.  The mellow brown/purple haze is likely safe for use.  You might try going to your local university and seeing if they have a scientific glassblowing lab in the chemistry department somewhere.  Down there, there will be someone who knows quite a bit about polariscopes and glass.  They will likely also have a much fancier polariscope with graded dials, one that can let the user rate strain in ranges and give a better idea of its stability.

The toys we produce at Standard Glass are of soda lime glass, not pyrex, and if we put our toys on the tabletop after making them, they would blow up before they’re cool.  Everything we make goes through a computer controlled cooling process in a large, well calibrated, custom kiln.  We have made clear toys and both polariscope tested them (polariscope only works on clear glass), and also test them by breaking/sawing them into pieces.  Glass with stress breaks/cuts differently than well annealed glass. 

Color is also a source of stress.  Making colored glass changes the physical attributes of the glass, and so the color formula needs to be chemically tweaked so the final result “fits” with the clear glass you’re using.  At our shop, our color is made in New Zealand, is tailor made for our clear glass and our process, and is tested at their factory.  We also test each batch of color with our product/process here at the shop before we use it.  In China or any other glass shops, there’s no telling what’s happening.  Hopefully they’re being thorough, but that’s why it’s best to stick with long time, tested toy manufacturers. When I see a Chinese glass dil with two or three colors in it for $17 retail, I definitely wouldn’t recommend putting it inside anyone.  Stick with older, more trusted brands.  Stay domestic.  Pay a fair price.

What’s the Big Deal?

Cheaply made glass sex toys are still unlikely to break while they are inside of you. When a cheap toy has a stress point (thin necks, like butt plugs or handles) there is a greater chance that it will break at this spot. As you’ll read below I’ve come across one instance of a glass sex toy breaking while inside someone’s body.

What is more likely to happen is that your glass sex toy will simply break/crack easily even with great care. As it gets used and handled over time the stress inside the glass gets worse until one day it falls off your bed onto your carpeted floor and breaks in half. Or a chip forms on the base of your plug. As long as you thoroughly examine your glass toy before every single use and after every single time you clean it I don’t feel that there is a huge risk of bodily harm in most cases.  I’ve heard from many people that cheap glass sex toys have arrived to them already broken, scratched, etc.

Sadly, as is the case with porous materials versus body-safe materials, there will always be a large number of people unwilling or unable to buy a properly made glass sex toy. When an improperly made glass sex toy can be had for under $20 while an annealed, hand-made glass toy can cost hundreds of dollars the choice to take the risk is understandable. Amazon is, naturally, appealing but take a look at what happened when I tried to order a few “name brand” pieces from Amazon as part of my testing phase.

Bottom line: cheap glass sex toys will need to be replaced; high quality glass sex toys won’t. A cheap glass sex toy may break easily; a high quality glass dildo won’t.

How to Test Your Own Glass Sex Toys

The test only works on clear or light-colored glass. Dark glass won’t show you much, if anything. Pastel blue, pink, lavender and maybe glass with small shots of color running through will all work well in the test. All you need is a computer monitor and a circular polarizing lens – I used this exact one in part because it was a lot bigger than my existing camera lens 1 (my c-polarizing lens that I use on my camera is 40-some mm, fairly small) and in part because it was cheap. Since I wanted to take photos that showed both the view from behind the lens and naked glass, I didn’t want to attach the polarizing filter to my camera lens. I also used a small light tent box to make sure that what I was seeing wasn’t a reflection of other things. It seemed to work best when the room was dark with no overhead light. It also worked best to have a totally blank, bright white screen, so I used this webpage and F11.

Depending on which way you look through the lens you are creating either a polarimeter or a polariscope. The polarimeter shows color where there is minor to moderate stress, but it requires a degree to figure it out. The best answer I could get was from Glass Alchemy who said that “totally clear is best, but those showing gold and indigo are still relatively strong and shouldn’t be a problem”. You will only see the gold and indigo if you’re using it as a polarimeter. How to tell if you’ve got -meter or -scope? When you hold the lens and rotate it, the -scope side should at some point black out the monitor, as shown in my photos below. Now according to Glass Alchemy and Fucking Sculptures, showing some stress isn’t bad. According to Crystal Delights, showing any stress is bad. If I test items that I know are made to withstand drastic conditions (vintage Corningware Pyrex casserole lid and a lab flask) they show zero stress. Personally, with the small market share of glass sex toys that have been annealed being what it is, I’ll still recommend some brands that show *some* stress versus a lot of stress just because the list of “no stress” perfect glass sex toys is woefully small. I know you need choice

How to Evaluate the Results

This is pretty much the one time in life where rainbows are bad. It doesn’t matter which side of the filter you look through, if the piece is mass-produced in China with no tempering or annealing in any way then you will see rainbows. This means the piece is holding on to a lot of stress at various points and can break easily. It can be fine for a few years and then one day break easily – Sunny Megatron described this to me with a dildo that was great for a couple of years and then one day it took a light fall 2 feet from the bed to the carpeted floor and it broke.

goodandbadglass minorglassstress

crystaldelightsstress Pipedreamstress

Conversely, a properly annealed glass sex toy could be dropped from a few feet onto a hard surface and probably suffer no damage. Maria from Fucking Sculptures has said that they’ve dropped their annealed pieces on a concrete floor and they didn’t break. Standard Glass has said the same.

annealedglass

What you ideally want is a glass sex toy that has been annealed – and it’s highly unlikely that the mass produced China products have been. Annealing means that after the hot glass piece is done being created, it is put into an oven which is brought up to a certain high temperature, over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, and then slowly cooled at a precise rate. This takes two things the China plants usually don’t have – time and money. In my testing I only ran across 2 mass produced brands that had pieces that weren’t filled with rainbows.

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Are Colored Glass Sex Toys Safe? Is Painted Glass Safe?

I’ve seen some shady stuff in my searches, like CalExotics dildos with decals painted on and Pipedream dildos with a weird irridescent glaze to them. I’ve also wondered about the colored glass bumps, dots and swirls we often see added to the design. According to Ryan at Luscious Playthings: “There are “lusters” that can be applied to the surface of glass and then fired on in the kiln, sort of like a glaze, but they’re highly toxic. As for bumps or texture being added to the surface, as long as it’s melted in good it should pose no threat.” Nearly all glass artists are using colored glass – they get pre-colored glass rods to create the lines, swirls and flowers/mushrooms or “frit” which is crushed colored glass that can be used inside the clear or rolled onto the outside (the latter is how Fucking Sculptures does it).

Another interesting tale which involves, naturally, Pipedream’s Icicles line. Jane told us about someone who boiled a red Icicles dildo and the water turned red! Whatever was going on here, they weren’t using red glass. It sounds like they were using some sort of luster or paint. Not safe! I tried boiling some colored dildos to see if there would be any bleeding in the water and I didn’t detect anything. Someone else commented here about the color flaking off during boiling of their Pipedream Icicles.

And what about metallic coatings? How hardy and body-safe are they? Unfortunately I don’t know. It would take lab tests to find out the material they are using combined with extensive wear tests to see if it rubs off like the metallic coating on Lelo items.

Another question has been about leaded glass – is the cheap stuff riddled with lead? Turns out, nope. Not a single item in my possession tested positive for lead. Only one glass thing in my house did test for lead, but that was a decorative ornament. I used the 3M Lead Check swabs.

Glass Sex Toys to Avoid

At this point, I’m reluctant to tell you to avoid certain brands. Sure, if I had my way about it I’d tell you to avoid Pipedream and retailer-branded glass, and of course everything from Amazon. They’re not going to be annealed, ever. I don’t feel, nor does anyone else I’ve spoken to, that most of these designs will break/snap while inside your body. I don’t see you exerting enough force on the object, nor would the temperature change from cold to internal body temp be enough to stress it to breaking.

There is one major design I cannot recommend: The style with a pull-ring at the end. If you see this style made by the cheaper companies, AVOID IT. The following story is true:

An employee of Nitecap Megastore on Staten Island shared the photo with me. She purchased this to use on her partner, after finally working through his skepticism on trying prostate stimulation. The piece in question had been handled with care on her end and this happened the first time they used it – the pull ring broke while it was in his ass. “Luckily the plug wasn’t even fully situated in his ass yet so he was able to contract his muscles and push the piece out on his own”, she told me. I’ve spoken many times about the amazing “vacuum” nature of the butt; if a large salami or bottle of pancake syrup can get sucked up and require a doctors care for removal, I’m sure you can imagine how easily that incident with the broken glass piece could have been a serious accident. The lacerations he would have sustained internally could have been life-threatening.

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Other tips for deciding if a glass piece from an artist is truly their own, or not: check to see if the design(s) are common. One of the most common designs was (originally? I think?) the Don Wands Bent Graduate. SSA Glass called it the Amethyst. I’ve seen it all over Amazon and I’ve even seen it in the small Etsy shops where they claim to hand-make all their own glass to the highest of standards. Could they just be making that design because it’s popular, and it’s still a quality handmade piece? Sure, absolutely. But when I look through their shop and see generic designs that feel familiar, I move on.

One company I will tell you to avoid is The Glass Dildo Shop aka A Tough of Glass, a UK seller. The company owner is a lying sack of crap, so there’s that, but their site has this ridiculous scare-tactic post warning you about low-quality glass sex toys, how easily they break and even show a photo of a shattered glass plug to scare you further. The irony here is that their pieces are the exact things they warn you against. In the height of the drama as we uncovered more info about The Glass Dildo Shop someone sent me one of the dildos they received for review and it didn’t pass the polariscope test. Rainbows galore! Their post which talks about “regular window glass” is an infuriating piece of bullshit, especially given their lies. It’s not about the glass, it’s about the annealing!! They talk about second-hand glass dildos leading you to “contract something nasty”, and while used products are certainly a possibility in some crappy markets, glass is truly non-porous and very easy to sanitize.  I fucking hate this company and would like to see them disappear from the internet for good, along with the owner David Mattocks.

Glass Sex Toy Brands I Endorse

When I was gathering up glass from various companies, and in many cases speaking to the company owners/glass blowers, it became clear on who you can trust to give you a high-quality product.

Crystal Delights: They inspired me to write this piece and do the testing; I couldn’t get the polariscope they used, so I fashioned my own. I fully trust every product from Crystal Delights. I even tested an item from them myself and it was perfectly clear with no visible stress. You can buy direct from CD, or purchase select pieces at SheVibe.

Fucking Sculptures: I couldn’t test their pieces with the polariscope because of the colored glass they use, but I’ve dropped a piece (no damage) and have talked extensively with Maria. I’ve seen videos of their work and I fully trust that every product from Fucking Sculptures is annealed and made properly. You can also buy these at SheVibe.

Luscious Playthings: They currently sell on Etsy, and used to have a few styles that were sold by GoodVibrations under a different name. The piece they sent me shows as nearly clear in my tests, I only notice a bit of gold/indigo when I turn the product certain ways – however the piece they sent me is also much larger/thicker than the other items I’ve tested. It has been noted that with the thick pieces it would be pretty damn difficult to get rid of all stress from annealing. I’d rate their glass highly. While their stuff isn’t as fancy as Crystal Delights or Fucking Sculptures, you’ll find a lot of moderately-priced interesting designs that work well. They have a lot of glass butt plugs, and a really interesting handled dildo (which they sent me to try out) which I quite enjoyed – the shaped and handle were great but I don’t like textured bumps as a personal preference. I tried not to let the bumps affect how I feel about their piece overall. You know I like dildos with a long handle and curve for easier use and theirs certainly lived up to my standards. I would definitely recommend Luscious Playthings as a safe company with great products.

Glass by Woozy: They also sell on Etsy. I purchased a really small, clear piece from them just to test and it passed the annealing test. A number of bloggers have reviewed their items and have always been happy with the end result.

Standard Glass: They only sell to particular stores; Babeland and Smitten Kitten being a few. They sent me a totally clear version of their product to include in my testing and it showed absolutely no signs of stress. It’s well made and the colored versions are beautiful.

Ttamage: Another Etsy seller; also has seen a good number of blogger reviews. I haven’t tested anything from them but I have spoken to the owner/blower when I’ve done research and he knows his stuff. I would recommend them.

Simply Blown, Steele Malone, and Phallix Glass are also brands that I’ve heard good things about. Phallix is hard to find, and so far I’ve only seen it at Holistic Wisdom.

Glass Sex Toy Brands and My Testing

The following items I purchased or received for testing purposes did not pass – results were obvious with a lot of rainbow action: Lovehoney brand, 50 Shades of Grey line, 2 knock-off dildos from Amazon, Spartacus Blown, Pipedream Icicles, Edenfantasys brand, A Touch of Glass/ theglassdildoshop.com brand.

The following items showed extremely little or zero stress: Crystal Delights, Standard Glass, Glass by Woozy. These items are as perfect as my vintage Pyrex/Corningware lid and my lab flask.

The following showed indigo/gold (low-to-moderate) stress: Luscious Playthings, Jopen Key Comet G Wand, Glas Chili Pepper (this one showed the most indigo), NS Novelties Heart Wand, Sinclair Institute.

A few miscellaneous things I wanted to note: as part of my test I was going to send an already-photographed rainbow-y dildo over to Crystal Delights and have them anneal it. Yes, they can anneal an already-made toy, and have done so on their own to show that it wasn’t the glass quality giving a bad polarimeter reading, it was the lack of annealing. However, the research and massive undertaking of this project meant that I first started researching and gathering product as early as August of 2015 and only now in almost-June of 2016 am I publishing this piece. I feared that if I put this off any longer I would never get this beast of a post published.

Also in the vein of “I need to get this published, it is looming over me and stressing me out” my photos aren’t as awesome as I wanted them to be. I guess it only really matters that I am showing the differences, but still. My apologies here.  When I locate the larger lens filter I’ll re-shoot the images here.

 

 

  1. By the time I was ready to click publish I realized I didn’t have nearly enough photos – and suddenly I couldn’t find my large polarizing lens. Squinting to see through my little 40mm one was pure hell
 Posted by at 10:12 pm
May 152016
 

It was September of  2013 when we first met the cast of the Jar of Melted Sex Toys aka Jar of Horrors…..

When I filled the jar May of 2013, I filled it to the lid. After seeing the Smitten Kitten original jar (which you’ll see in the video here) I knew that I could put these old sex toy bits to good use. The blue Blossom Sleeve and the clear pieces are TPR; the purple bit is from an old tentacle dildo from ZetaPaws and it was PVC probably with phthalates. I’m not sure anymore what the orange things are made of – I’d assumed TPR but they’re not deflating as much (probably because they had less fillers and softeners) so your guess is as good as mine. The sex toys had a bit of a head-start with breaking down, as they had been in storage for awhile. The Blossom Sleeve was the last thing to be shoved in. It only took three months though to have a small puddle of oil and overall content shrinkage of about and inch-ish.

wholejar meltingglitter

In November of 2013 I noticed that the liquid in the bottom of the jar seemed to have doubled. The purple thing had drifted down into the abyss a little, while also losing a bit of its mass. 

purpleshiftNovember

Fast-forward a year, to November 2014. By this time I’d already unveiled my boring Jar of Silicone in February (which is still unchanged, btw…no reactions).The purple bit which was once up to the Ball logo is now down at the bottom. Overall, the contents had fallen even further, leaving more empty space.

MeltedJarNov14 MeltedJarNov14pt2

In June of 2015 I unpacked my jars a few months after our move. Because the Jar of Horrors ended up on its side for a few months the contents really shifted. It was then that I realized that the clear, glitter-filled TPR rabbit vibe material seemed to be a glacier-like mass of goo, probably about the consistency of half-set jello, maybe? It was capable of looking like a puddle of oil or just a mass of ice. It only took a few hours of the jar being uprighted to see the glacier of goo shift and change. To be honest I was pretty fascinated.

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Today I decided to take more pictures as I come up on another year since the last time we checked it. The jar took a trip to Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit in August of 2015 so that people could see it in person, but I’d pretty much ignored the jar since then.

JarMay16-Whole JarMay16-4

JarMay16-1 JarMay16-2

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I don’t think that what appears to be oil filling nearly half the jar is actually a liquid. I think it’s a combination of this clear TPR which has deflated and transformed, plus all the oil. Let’s take another look though (sorry about the noise – it’s windy today!)

 

These materials, toxic or not, are all porous and “chemically unstable”. The materials have a high amount of plasticizers (plastic softener) which is sometimes phthalates, sometimes mineral oil, sometimes….who knows what. There is oil in all of these materials; you can tell this when they start to first decompose and “sweat” and feel greasy. I believe that for some toys, even if stored alone and in proper conditions, they won’t break down very quickly. All it takes is some stop-touching-me contact though and suddenly it’s a horse of a different color – it’s like a snowball effect. They touch and the oils from each somehow start a reaction in the other toy. This multiplies and continues; the more oil, the more touching, the more it all deforms and deflates and oozes. The liquid in the jar is heavy and thick like mineral oil, maybe even a little thicker than that. It’s fascinating in a science-geek way. It’s gross because this is how these crappy materials behave, this is how unstable they are and thousands upon thousands of people are using them. They don’t know because they assume that if these materials are being sold to us, then they must be safe. They don’t start researching online until something bad happens – until their sex toy deforms in their drawer, grows mold (which shows up at first as black dots) or burns their genitals.

And lest you think that this only happens in certain conditions, like a jar, I can point you to other images. Like this time that a reviewer left a TPR masturbation sleeve on the PVC head of the Doxy Wand for an extended period of time (past his use of it).

 Posted by at 11:49 am
May 082016
 

JimmyJane Intro 4 and 6 with the Form 4 in the backgroundYou know how I feel about JimmyJane so you’re wondering right now why on earth I’m reviewing part of the new JimmyJane Intro line, yes? Well it was suggested by a trusted friend that I check them out, especially because of the price point – which has always been a sticking point with me when it comes to JimmyJane. I just don’t feel that the Form line is worth their price tag. So when JJ came out with these new Intro vibrators I felt that I just had to give them a chance. At $391 for the most expensive version – a battery-powered Form 2 (which they’ve so originally called the Intro 2) – the line is affordable and “simple”. But so many vibrators right at (or under) the $35 mark can have lackluster vibrations or flaws I can’t overlook, so we already know that this will be a tough battle. However with a clean slate – past grievances momentarily forgotten – I ripped the JimmyJane Intro 4 and Intro 6 from their packages and hastily turned them on. I tried brand-new name brand oomphy batteries as well as the nonames included in the box.

Here’s Me Trying to be Objective and Nice

JimmyJane is certainly not the first “luxury” sex toy company to come out with a more affordable line. Lelo did it first with Picobong; with one exception I remained largely unimpressed – Picobong is kinda overpriced and has horribly placed controls and terrible cap-handles. Despite the fact that I hate the design flaws of Picobong, and their price points, the Picobong Moka is stronger than the JimmyJane Intro 4 or 6. Picobong Moka also takes 2 AAA batteries like the JimmyJane Intro 4 and 6 do, so it’s not the batteries holding back such a motor.

The JimmyJane Intro 4 has a weird shape, much like the JimmyJane Form 4 but the Intro 4 is even more weird for my body. It’s straight with an hourglass-like shape that doesn’t do anything for me. The shape of the JimmyJane Intro 6 is much better, and much more universal. So I wanted to like it, honest to Pete I wanted to like it. And in hand the vibrations aren’t BAD. I’ve felt worse. They seem to come pretty close to the Boom Olive and the OVO K2 Rabbit‘s internal arm is a bit more powerful and rumbly.  I was definitely kinda disappointed and underwhelmed when I first turned on the Intro 6 but I’d been expecting more rumbly vibrations. I also wish that both the Intro 4 and Intro 6 were a little longer. However these are waterproof, and able to be submerged a little bit (1 meter).  So if you want a cheap, bathtime vibe and don’t need power, this is a decent option – especially since bathtime is the only time the silicone will be clean.

The cap on the Intro 4 or 6 doesn’t come off easily during use, and the single button is in a good place. I have enough room to rest a finger on the end for added grip and leverage while trusting without turning the vibe on or off.  This is good. Nothing horrid, so far, right? I mean I could totally do without it existing, but this isn’t the hate-filled tear-down I’ve given them numerous times in the past.

This Fucking Silicone Though

OVO is around the same price for battery-powered pieces and their silicone covering is so much better.  Smooth and silky, it doesn’t attract dust, dirt or fur. The same can be said for the Boom line, or Picobong (which is even silkier than the Ovo K2). But Jimmyjane Intro is covered in that grabby-draggy sort of silicone that manages to attract more dust and fur than a Swiffer. Lube is fairly necessary for most people to comfortably use the Intro line.

I love the navy blue and wine colors, but they don’t make up for a silicone that cannot be used without cleaning first. The picture below shows the Picobong Moka and the Intro 4. I’d recently washed off the Intros for their photoshoot but after a mere 15 minutes any dust in the air landed on the Intros and any cat fur on me ran for the Intros like metal shavings to a magnet.

JimmyJaneIntroDUST

Let’s Not Get Too Excited

I’ve been told on good authority that the JimmyJane Intro 1 should be passed over – weaker than the 4 and 6, it’s kinda useless. Having avoided the polarizing Form 2, I didn’t ask for the Intro 2 so I can’t comment on how the Intro 2 compares. Unless you prefer a straight vibrator, I think that the only one in this line that I could half-heartedly recommend is the Intro 6. I think that the Picobong Moka has much nicer vibrations, but it’s also $20 more for no damn good reason. I think that the Ovo F3 has a sorta-similar shape to the Intro 6, same price point, with ever-so-slightly better vibrations, plus nicer feeling/cleaner material. 

We’re all wondering how the vibrations compare to the JimmyJane Forms, right? I’ve hung on to my Form 4 and here’s how it breaks down: the Form 4 has 5 levels of intensity. Level 3 on the Form 4 is equal to high (level 3) on the Intro 4 and 6. Level 4 on the Form 4 is equal to OVO F line. Level 5 on the Form 5 is about the same as the Picobong Moka. If the motor on the Form 4 never went past 3 then I would swear to you that the motors in the Form 4 and Intro 4 and 6 are identical; the vibration “tone” and level of rumbly is identical.

I don’t hate the JimmyJane Intro 6, but I am far from loving it. How hard would it have been to get a motor that is rumbly or just a smidge more powerful? How hard would it have been to use a better silicone? A little extra rumble goes a long way and if JimmyJane really wants me to believe that this motor is the absolute best they could do for a $492 vibrator (bitch, please) then we need to have a chat. It can be done, I know it can be done. I’m sure that the motor on the Blush Nude Impressions isn’t what makes it cost $49, it’s the rechargeable aspect. The motor in the Picobong Moka is proof – it probably doesn’t cost more to include, it’s that Lelo likes to overcharge for everything. I just will not accept that at $49/35 THIS is the best we can do in terms of power and rumble. My Doc Johnson Black Magic Bullet is proof of that to me. It seems that I am destined to dislike the motor in every single JimmyJane item.

I would possibly recommend the Intro 6 as a first vibrator for someone only if they are apprehensive about vibrations in general – if they can already orgasm *fairly* easily from fingers or tongues, then this is perhaps enough. I very much dislike the notion that everybody’s first vibrator needs to be either the overrated Magic Wand (an 11 on the scale) or something mild / tame. Where are the simple, affordable vibrators that have rumbly-ish vibrations which go from mild to spicy? I guess it just depends on your level of affordability, but I won’t stop trying to find something under $40 that is great. I just don’t think the JimmyJane Intro 6, or Intro 4, are good enough. I don’t think that JimmyJane deserves the vast amount of praise and accolades I’ve read lately; this line isn’t groundbreaking. It is not unique. If I could compare it to something, it’s like this Michael Kors bag I got off of a tag sale group on Facebook that is a knockoff – the big logo plate on it is cheesy and clearly not real, especially when you compare it to a real Michael Kors bag. The knockoff is still leather and still a nice bag, don’t get me wrong. The Intro line doesn’t look bad, but it makes the Form line look downright posh.

 

Many thanks to SheVibe for indulging my whims and sending me these vibrators in exchange for my brutally honest review, and especially for not sending me the day-glo pink variety. Also, gratitude to Shevibe for pricing the Intro line at a reasonable amount, rather than following JimmyJane’s grabby-hands prices as listed on their homepage.

  1. Keep in mind I’m quoting the very-reasonable SheVibe prices here – the prices at JJ’s site are an appalling $59 for the Intro 2, $49 for the Intro 6 which is just fucking insulting
  2. The Jimmyjane price because if I’m gonna rant here, I might as well go hard
 Posted by at 10:00 pm
Apr 292016
 

Fiera Arouser for HerArouser, “pre-hancer”, “before-play” whatever you want to call the Nuelle Fiera Arouser for Her – Don’t call it a sex toy

That’s the first thing I learned about the Fiera Arouser. From their uncomfortable presence at SHE NYC1 to their interactions with review bloggers who genuinely wanted to work with the company. So despite me writing about my issues lately with mental health and low libido I wasn’t sure how I’d be received by them when I contacted them to review the Fiera. So far I’ve only seen some questionable (at best) magazine “reviews” and I knew that it needed some input from a professional sex toy critic because at the end of the day, it’s still a sex toy. I know that the word “toy” cheapens it and “sex toy” (according to Nuelle) means that people will expect it to deliver an orgasm, but that’s what things are called in this industry. It’s a catch-all term, it’s generic. Is it something you use to make your sex life better? Then it’s going to be called a sex toy in some way or another. A cock ring doesn’t necessarily give you an orgasm, but they’re a “sex toy”, right? 

So despite my initial skepticism I started to have high hopes for the Fiera Arouser for Her. I wanted my sex life back! I wanted to WANT sex again! But I had to wonder….was I really their target audience? Nuelle seems to be firmly entrenched in their demographic being post-menopausal cis women in hetero relationships who have lost their sex drive2. I had pointed out in my conversations with them that plenty of younger people have low libido problems, too, due to mental health / brain chemistry imbalances or even the mental health drugs they’re being treated with. Often people who fall into either of those camps are much less sensitive and require more effort to orgasm. So again I had to wonder what the Nuelle Fiera could do for those of us who fit that bill. Since it’s not meant to make you orgasm – it’s meant to make you aroused -could it still be a beneficial tool? 

In the website/manual, Nuelle states that it’s going to take you 3-4 attempts to really get the hang of using the Fiera Arouser for Her – figuring out placement, which of the two included SofSense heads are right for you, etc. But they do stress that once properly positioned it should work for you within 5-15 minutes of use. It says right on their site that a study was done that showed that after using Fiera for 4 weeks many saw increases in arousal, etc. Yet when I asked for more SofSense rings to continue my trial and be as thorough as possible in my review, I was smoothly and subtly denied3. I’ve never had a sex toy testing session cut short like this.

Because I may be the only sex toy reviewer to write about the Nuelle Fiera Arouser for Her I wanted to be certain I’d answer every question that people had about it. You can read the answers to the most-asked questions below but I also recommend the video because you’ll learn more about the Fiera, how it works, what it does and get a closer look at this mystifying SofSense ring.

This review is so lengthy because I wanted to cover everything, yet at the same time I still feel very unhelpful. I’m just one person. I checked out the reviews on the Fiera website and, to their credit, it appears they have not removed the negative reviews. There are a lot of “reviews” and it clearly doesn’t work for everyone – it seems to be rated well by most, though. But it seems that they have so many reviews because they gave a lot of units away for free with this House Party thing. Many of the reviews noted that they received theirs for free this way. Now that Nuelle is also selling the Fiera Arouser on Amazon, it seems that some people who also posted a review on the Nuelle site are posting the same review on Amazon.

What You Should Know

The Nuelle Fiera is, first and foremost, not going to give you an orgasm. They do say (on the site and in the manual) that in their studies some people preferred to leave the Fiera on and “wear” it during sex and feel that they were able to have a clitoral orgasm with its aid. The Fiera also uses true suction, as you’ve seen in the video. It’s strong enough to leave marks on my skin (hand, cheek) but I’ve not consistently seen my clitoris become engorged like I would expect from something with suction. And really, that’s the primary way it’s supposed to work as far as I understand it – to bring in blood flow. Aroused genitals have a rush of blood flow so if you work backwards then the theory is you’ll be aroused from extra, encouraged blood flow. Fiera is not intended to be used like a vibrator (Fiera feels subtle and is meant to encourage blood flow and create interest). Because Fiera utilizes gentle suction and stimulation, it does not feel like a vibrator and you are not meant to achieve an orgasm while using it.

They talk a lot about “figuring out” which SofSense ring is right for you, without ever telling you what the differences are. They will only say that most women prefer the “clear” ring. It turns out that one is deeper than the other. I’d say that if you have minimal labia / more exposed clitoris, you’ll want the clear ring. If you have large labia, a chubby vulva and/or a buried clitoris, you may need the white ring. What if neither work? How will you know if it’s a case of the Fiera not working for you, or the ring not working for you? I don’t have an answer. I wish I did. For all I know my problems with the Fiera could be that the white ring is not deep enough. Perhaps they did not prototype test their rings on overweight women?

 

How the Fiera Arouser Feels In Use

I can never feel the suction on my vulva/clitoris. Ever. And if I don’t turn up the vibrations, then I’m not really feeling anything and it’s not doing anything. I can lay there for 15 minutes on a very low vibration, relying on the “suction” to bring in bloodflow but it’s just really suctioning to my labia. I don’t feel that my clitoris is in on that action, certainly not like when I apply it to the fleshy pad under my thumb on the palm of my hand. Then I feel suction, and can see the lines on my skin where it’s clear suction was happening. I do not feel confident that that is happening with the plush, wavy landscape of my vulva. When I’ve experimented and finally really felt something GOOD it’s been the vibration. On the almost-high setting you can use the patterns and there’s one that hits the three vibrating lumps in succession so that it feels a bit like something is touching your clitoris in circles around it. That felt nice. But the setting that feels the nicest to me is the very high vibration setting – it’s a rapid pulse of all three vibrating nubs (the patterns aren’t accessible here) and it feels …. thuddy in the most gentle way that thuddy could feel. It is not buzzy, I wouldn’t maybe go so far as to say it’s rumbly but it’s NICE. I like it. If I then grab the body of the Fiera and, taking care, press down a little more to get more clitoral contact and move it around ever-so-slightly I almost feel like, given some time and some porn, I could come. Almost. That will never happen though because it is on this setting that they’ve installed a fail-safe; a clit-block, if you will. It will overheat and abruptly shut off and refuse to work for 5-10 minutes by which time you’ve moved on to something else – since the Fiera is not designed to give an orgasm, I suppose this makes sense…somehow. But this brings me right back around to this – if what I’m primarily feeling is the vibrations, then why won’t a standard vibrator work just fine?

Don’t get me wrong though – this isn’t strong, this isn’t going to make you orgasm if you need vibrators to orgasm. There’s a chance this could make you orgasm if you’re particularly sensitive, if you come easily, and you like pinpoint stimulation. If your genitals require a lot of sensation/time/effort to orgasm from anorgasmia or lack of sensitivity from meds or that’s just how your body is wired, you won’t find that the Fiera Arouser is helpful for building arousal through stimulation because you simply won’t feel very much.  Nuelle has said that some women in their studies continued to “wear” the Fiera Arouser past the “pre-game” session and through PIV sex4. I think that the ability to do that will depend greatly on how you both position yourselves to fuck, how large his penis is and how much space there is between your clitoris and your vaginal opening. I apparently have less space because the edge of the SofSense ring was very very close to my vaginal opening and even taking care with dildo thrusting I knocked into the Fiera and knocked it off course. 

Where the Fiera Arouser for Her Goes wrong

It shuts off after 10 minutes on high – yes, you read that right. They recommend anywhere from 5-15 minutes of use “pre-game”. But what if you need MORE? More time, more vibration? You won’t get it if you need more vibration. When put on the highest vibration setting the Fiera Arouser for Her will overheat and shut off. You will need to turn it off and leave it off for 5 minutes, effectively killing the “mood”. This is in competition for the dumbest thing about the Fiera. Why even have a high setting if it’s going to shut off and not allow you to turn it back on for 5 minutes?? This feels like a way to control the usage of Fiera to forcibly keep it in the category they want it to be; a way to get away from the “icky” connotations of the term “sex toy”. Either don’t have that setting, or fix the overheating -> shutoff situation.

The SofSense Rings need to be constantly replaced – Nuelle tried many versions of the ring and the one that worked best unfortunately has such delicate silicone that they say it’s only good for 2-3 uses. Or 3-5. I’m not sure. The manual says 2-3, the website says 3-5. I don’t know if they’re being very conservative or I was extra careful but I know I got more like 8 uses out of each head.The reason is because the silicone is so delicate and there will be micro-tears occurring (where? I don’t know) that will compromise the ability to suction and stay put on your genitals. I can confirm that that starts to happen. I know that I got way more than 5 uses out of each ring before finally my preferred ring stopped working quite as well.  Here’s the biggest problem, h/t to Thor for pointing this out to me – Nuelle is a newer company. They, for now, make just one thing: the Fiera. What happens when they go out of business? The product that is actually working for you is now a hunk of junk because you can’t buy any more rings. This might lead some people to just buy up 100 rings to stockpile like Elaine and her sponges. “Is tonight Ring-worthy?” will be a thing people will wonder. They will start to carve hashmarks in their nightstand to keep track of how many times their rings have been used and every 5th hash gets a new ring. It will spawn Lords of the Rings joke in the more geeky of couples.

In the manual they insist you cannot share the device or rings with another person. What if both you and your partner have vulvas and wanted to share? Well. I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know why they say this. Is it because the silicone in the middle of the ring is nearly condom-thin? At first I worried that they say this because it’s not really silicone but it passed my flame test5.

It’s $250 and for now is only available buying directly from Nuelle‘s website or Amazon for $260 because they don’t want sex toy retailers carrying it because it’s “not a sex toy”. For $250 you get a small fabric pouch and 1 each of 2 styles of SofSense rings6. Available separately is a hard-sided case that will do a much better job of holding your extra heads safely + all the accouterments, and the case reminds me a lot of the Womanizer case which was, by the way, included with the Womanizer W100. Nuelle is selling the case for $15 – for fucks sake just make it standard! And for that matter, they should either include 2 of each Sofsense ring OR a voucher for a completely free first refill kit of rings. Each pack of 3 rings will run you $20 including shipping which is astounding – however if you buy more at a time, you’ll save because the shipping remains $5. This means that if you like the Fiera Arouser and use it often enough to go through 3 rings a month, let’s say, you’re going to invest at least $200 a year in rings if you buy them two 3-packs at a time.

Sometimes they have a $50 off coupon for the unit itself, sometimes $25 off, but a great many people are going to balk at even $200 for something that may or may not work, that you may or may not end up having to abandon due to inability to buy more SofSense heads, etc etc.

How does the Nuelle Fiera Arouser compare to the Womanizer? 

The Nuelle Fiera Arouser for Her and the epi24 Womanizer W100 (or W500) are nothing alike. The only similarity is that they both work on the clitoris. I think it’s the “suction” aspect that is making people form this connection between the two but they couldn’t be any less alike. I’ve maintained that the Womanizer isn’t using true suction – it’s pulses of air and it can form a slight suction seal when it’s properly placed on the clitoris, but that’s about it. The Womanizer also doesn’t really vibrate in the traditional sense – the air pulses may mimic vibration but I’ve never felt vibration that could be accounted for from any other source. If there were a motor for vibrations I’d have felt it on the nose of the Womanizer but you don’t.  Also the Womanizer focuses rather pin-pointedly on the clitoris and the Womanizer is guaranteed to make you orgasm or your money back. When it works for you it usually works well and will give you a strong orgasm. For some people the build-up to orgasm with the Womanizer is very quick; for others it is slow and that slow climb is either boring and bland or (for me) a really nice, arousing build-up that feels quite a bit like oral sex.

Are there better methods for increasing arousal?

While the Nuelle Fiera Arouser can provide suction that most other sex toys cannot7 I do believe that a “regular sex toy” may provide similar benefits. But I don’t have trials and studies to back me up, like Nuelle does.

Suction is not the only thing that can increase blood flow: “stimulating” arousal balms 8 and cannabis treatments work for some people. These balms and topicals are probably the best place to start, since they are the cheapest. 

You know what else also increases blood flow? Heat. I’ve used the Rosa Rouge for that exact purpose in the past with success by applying the length of the Rosa along my vulva. Of course the Rosa Rouge may be even pricier than the Nuelle Fiera (but at least with the Rosa Rouge you’ll have a super-powered vibrator that can help you orgasm if you have sensitivity problems or other reasons for finding manual orgasms difficult). The also-expensive Afterglow Vibe supposedly uses infrared light which can (in addition to claiming to produce stronger orgasms) build arousal. A much more affordable option is the old-school Berman Aphrodite wand which has an infrared panel on it that warms and can be held to the genitals (I’m unsure though of how warm it really gets).  Moderately priced is the umpteen-in-one Wahl Heated Massager.

If you’re looking for a vibrator to wake things up just by using it on low I’d recommend going with one that at least starts off gentle but definitely has rumbling vibrations – surface-buzzy vibes can just numb and irritate. The Crave Vesper, We-Vibe Touch, Je Joue Mimi Soft or even Eroscillator are some that I’d recommend in addition to the Rosa Rouge. A cheap option is the Doc Johnson Black Magic Bullet – if this works for you, then invest in a nicer vibrator. For a softer vibration intensity and softer vibrator overall, consider the Tenga Iroha Yuki, or maybe the Tori for a version with some more intensity.

DOES Physical Arousal Create Desire? Is the Fiera Arouser a “cure” for low libido?

In my experiences, no. But I think that that was because the Fiera didn’t really create physical arousal for me except for one time. I stress “physical” arousal because it did not lead to desire for sex. In the past, for me, things that have more consistently created desire were things that stimulated my BRAIN – erotic images and graphic gifs on Tumblr, or erotic short stories. If I care enough to try out the Fiera for purposes of increasing my overall libido then I should care enough to try out other methods that are less costly, first. I should browse my Tumblr dashboard, but not masturbate for a quick fix – I should transfer that over to my partner when possible. Due to my low libido I’ve often used sex toys in recent months out of duty and not desire – a good toy and some good Tumblr porn can get me to orgasm even though I started off feeling absolutely nothing sexual; meaning I didn’t reach for the vibrator because I was aroused, I just used it for the review purposes. Arousal and the desire to keep using the toy through to orgasm has definitely happened though, even with the shitty toys that won’t ever bring me to orgasm. I simply reach for another sex toy.

Are people with low libido due to mental illness or mental health drugs different from women with arousal issues due to hormonal changes from menopause? I wish I had the answer. I’d like to see someone with the experience of a sex toy reviewer review the Fiera from Nuelle’s stated target demographic – menopausal women aged 40-65. Why do I make the distinction of it being someone with experience in sex toys? Because those who have reviewed dozen and hundreds of sex toys tend to learn their body and genitals a bit better than a good portion of the population – especially when you consider that some people in this age group may not have ever really masturbated.

Further reading on the subject of arousal, desire and more: Emily Nagoski who wrote Come As You Are.

I’d also like to point out that this general concept isn’t actually as new and unique as I thought. Mandy pointed out that this sounds quite similar to something called the NuGyn Eros. Mary Roach interviewed some people, asking the same basic question I’m asking – what’s so special about the suction? The device? Couldn’t someone just masturbate and achieve the same end which is increased blood flow? Couldn’t someone just get the stimulation from their vibrator? Experts surmised that perhaps one could but there hadn’t been any studies done on that. You can get the Eros but you need a prescription.

My Personal Trial Period With the Fiera Arouser for Her

For 9 days I played with the Fiera Arouser, before losing interest in continuing use. I tried it with little vibration; I tried it on the almost-highest setting. I tried it for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes. One day in the first 9 days I used it on high (and that’s when it overheated and shut off) and that was the day I felt the most aroused9.  I took a break for a week and then, with renewed insistence on giving this thing the very most fairest of shakes, I went back to using it. Out of the times I have tried it (maybe 13 times total on my vulva) only about 3 times led to clitoral engorgement and some increase in vaginal fluids. Of those 3 times only one time led to a slight increase in arousal – otherwise there was a big brain/body disconnect and frankly I started to wonder if I was broken.  There is one thing I did in my trials that I am betting the company will use to say that my testing was inaccurate: I did not schedule sex with my husband and then use the Fiera right before sex. I used the Fiera to get me in the mood for sex and if I was in the mood then I would have said “Honey, let’s fuck”.  It didn’t work out that way for me.  But maybe it could have. Maybe using the Fiera is a different thing altogether for situations like mine, where my low libido is due to mental health issues. Maybe it requires more patience, more days of using it and it not working and just being okay with that. Maybe. But I’ll never know, because my trial period was heavily limited because the rings wore out.

Here’s the thing: I like sex toys. I’m not adverse to having them feature prominently in my sex life. My husband isn’t adverse, either. Our sex has gotten so much better for us both ever since we brought good toys into the equation. I see absolutely no reason for me to use the Fiera instead of a vibrator on a setting that won’t make me come just yet, used during “foreplay” until I decide I want an orgasm. Is my way of doing things the right way for everybody? Of course not. But a great clitoral orgasm pre-PIV-sex is just the ticket for me, and us. It ramps up my arousal and it makes my body produce a ton of natural lubrication plus it wakes up my g-spot to the point where I’m in near-constant ecstasy during penetrative sex. It takes the pressure off him to “give me” an orgasm (since we’ve already established that I’m not an easy-comer and have issues with sensitivity) and it also takes pressure off of him to last longer during PIV sex. I’m not trying to orgasm during penetration so then the penetration is all about making my g-spot continue to feel good and making him feel good and orgasm if he can. And if things are so good for him that PIV sex only lasts a few minutes….that’s fine! We’ve both already reached a mutually agreeable and wonderful conclusion to our fun!

 

 

I was provided the Nuelle Fiera Arouser for Her at no charge in exchange for my honest review. I wanted to try it out because of my long-term issues with low libido due to brain chemistry / depression. Links contained within are affiliate links. 

 

 

 

  1. Where they actually said out loud that they didn’t belong there because their product wasn’t a sex toy
  2. Their website mentions “relationship fatigue” and talks about “sex after the baby” but in discussions with them they are saying that their biggest target is ages 45-65. Also, please note that for this review I will be using the term “woman” and being less gender-inclusive than I normally am. This is probably a product that really is meant for cis women. If you are a trans man and your clitoris is larger, then I don’t think this will fit. The Nuelle Fiera site is very focused on using the term “woman” to refer to someone who has a vulva and for the sake of continuity and understanding who most of the readers of this review will be, I’m just going to use “woman” when I need to
  3. By that point I’d outright said that I wanted to be sure that it’s not a case of it not working for me on the given days I tried it and really wanted to see if the 4-week trial could do something for me, but was told: “The purpose of our testing was not to claim that repeated use leads to better results (or that you have to use it for a specified period of time in order to feel the results). Once you get the hang of using the product, you should feel the results immediately. It often takes women a few tries to get proper placement and the sense of what level of intensity and which pattern they prefer, but the results are immediate. It’s the physical arousal that creates the desire.”
  4. And that those women feel that the Fiera was then instrumental in their orgasm
  5. I had to be super careful – the silicone is very soft and very thin, I would have had the entire thing go up in flames easily if I let it go but that would be normal since the silicone is so delicate and thin. NOT a sign of it not being silicone. The telltale grey ash was present after smoldering.
  6. Only one of them will really work for you – the difference is the depth. I needed the white ring which has more depth because of my chubby vulva and tiny clitoris
  7. I have yet to find a silicone clitoris/vulva pump, or really a clitoris pump that walks the line between hard-core serious suction with glass tubes and cheesy, tacky likely-not-to-work hand pumps in glittery purple TPR by the various Big 5 companies
  8.  It’s pretty evenly split between people who try the toxic ones that contain irritating ingredients and experience a bad, burning sensation, people who try it and like it, and people for whom it does absolutely nothing. I have found two items which Smitten Kitten carries that may work and do not contain toxic ingredients (but DO contain natural ingredients that some people may find irritating) – ON Natural Arousal Balm and Southern Butter Enhance Stimulating Butter.
  9. However, this wasn’t an arousal that led to my brain wanting sex – it simply led to my genitals having the equivalent experience of my mouth being allowed a small taste of a sugary treat and wanting more more more. I just wanted an orgasm. I didn’t want the “hassle” of sex. So I grabbed a vibrator
 Posted by at 11:16 am
Apr 212016
 

DIY setup for making my own vaginal THC suppositories like Foria Relief. Photo shows finished domed nuggets of pea-green cocoa butter, a mini ice cube mold, mixing bowl, jar of cocoa butter and syringe of medical THC oil.Foria became known to the sex toy world when they created a THC-enhanced lube that has gotten a range of reactions; but I’m not talking about any of that today. I’m talking about Foria’s latest product which is sadly not available to most of the US – the Foria Relief vaginal suppositories.  Yeah, I know, this isn’t my usual topic but it still involves Lilly being a geek, doing experiments.

Not long after Foria released Relief my Twitter timeline was buzzing with reactions and opinions – from “Cool” (mixed with damn, I wish I could have this) to some really infuriating, uneducated judgment and misconceptions. I expected better from the people I follow because they’re mostly pretty open-minded folks. No, you’re not “shoving weed up your vagina”, you’re not going to get high and yes, it’s perfectly fucking healthy. Let me assure you that using any Foria product or any topical THC item (or really any form of cannabis that isn’t burning the flower to ashes) is a whole lot healthier than drinking alcohol – which is quite easily socially accepted. It is certainly healthier than taking prescription or OTC pain relievers.

I live in Connecticut and have a medical marijuana card. I officially received it to help me deal with anxiety related to PTSD and I also unofficially use it for pain relief and all of the health benefits that come from CBD (the non-psychotropic other beneficial component to marijuana). Here’s something that most people do not know: Using THC topically will not get you stoned. It will work quickly, and safely, to relieve pain wherever it is applied.

A few days before my experiment I started having bad menstrual cramps – uncommonly bad. Nearly always my cramps are silenced with 3 Advil, but not this time. My mind immediately went to the Foria Relief suppositories but I, of course, didn’t have them and can’t get them. I do, however, have concentrated THC oil in syringes which I use to make my own medibles and my own topical pain relief. Nothing else on the planet has given me pain relief in my feet (I suffer from severe, incurable plantar fasciitis or something else that they have yet to diagnose) and I easily get to the point now where I am in agony just to hobble around after moderate activity but a home-made foot spray gives me short-lived relief. At one point in my life I was getting expensive (painful, useless, unhealthy-for-me) corticosteroid shots in my back. I relied on patches that I would plaster all over my lower back – one for pain relief, one to relax the muscles. These methods barely worked. Topical THC in a coconut oil salve works nearly immediately and almost totally with zero side effects. It’s only drawback is that it tends to only last 1-3 hours. So I’m well-versed in how and why these Foria Relief suppositories work.

Now, this isn’t a review specifically for Foria Relief since, as I said, I can’t get them. But after reading a few other reviews – one of which was super informative despite the irritating headline – I learned what the suppositories are made of and decided to create my own. My current syringe of oil doesn’t have much CBD in it so my version is 96% THC composition, 4% CBD. Mine are also an odd shade of green (from the yellowish hue of cocoa butter plus dirty-motor-oil-brown of the THC concentrated oil-goo) but that’s okay. At first I tried to just use the coconut oil salve I already had on hand, but I ended up with a mess as coconut oil quickly seeped out of me. I did shove a thumb-sized chunk of solid coconut oil in my vag, after all. I also temporarily had a sort of itchy vulva but I think it was just from the sensation of the oil slowly leaking out of me? It may also have been a tingling sensation from the THC since I’d never experienced topical THC on the sensitive mucous membranes. I’ve never had an itchy vulva from coconut oil before. I celebrated 4/20 by making my own more “proper” suppositories with cocoa butter. Even with the smaller amount of melty stuff in my DIY suppositories, oil still leaked out of me. I feel like this would pair best with a menstrual cup, perhaps, to help keep the melted oils in your vagina while you wait for the cannabis magic to happen – which incidentally happens pretty quick. I get much faster pain relief from topical THC than I do from swallowing a few Advil.

Whether it was the spur-of-the-moment low “dose” coconut oil or the homemade 60mg THC “pastille” shaped domes, I experienced something amazing. I can tell you more of how I made these if anybody wants to know but I think I know what you are really here to find out: Did it work?

Skeptics, marijuana critics, judgy-Judys and the ill-informed can shut the hell up because this was a godsend. Even my “back cramps” went away. I don’t think I really needed to make these as strong as I did and I will try out breaking a piece in half for the next time. The cost of the THC oil, for me, was $70 for 760 mg and I made 12 very strong suppositories. Is this affordable? Not for most. Is this available to everyone? Sadly no, but you’re more likely able to DIY a cannabis suppository than buy Foria Relief which is only available in California. If you suffer from debilitating menstrual cramps and currently take liver- and stomach-harming pain relievers that come with a host of unwanted side effects, this will be a welcome relief if you can find a way to get it.  I will be saving these for the bad days, when I can’t ignore the cramps and instead of reaching for Advil I’ll use my THC suppositories. The only thing that the cannabis suppositories don’t relieve is the phenomenon known as period poops and the nausea that many sometimes also have in the first few days. It was disheartening when my uterus cramps died off but my intestinal cramps did not. Still, something was better than nothing. I am currently writing this 4 hours after my last dose and am still pain-free from uterine cramps.

If you’re in Canada you can get Cannalife products but they don’t yet have a special suppository – they do have a Foria Pleasure-like genital oil. There’s the Salve1 which I can attest to working well as a pain relief salve but the odor is very musky and earthy and not really my favorite. It does indicate use for menstrual cramp pain relief, they’re just not outright saying “shove a thimblefull up your vag” so before you try that, consider asking the company first. The ingredients in the salve are all body-safe.

 

Author’s Note: I wasn’t compensated by anyone to write this post, and I’m not partnered with Foria or representing them here. I’m writing about this because I want to; it’s a product I needed and a product that many are skeptical about. If you want to know more about how cannabis and sex relate to each other, please go check out my friend Ashley’s site, Cannasexual.

 

 

  1. I used this stuff on my gallbladder removal surgery scars and my doctor was amazed at my 2-week followup on how well I’d healed in that time. It didn’t help the extreme itch from the healing but it made the wounds less painful, it made the muscles they cut into hurt a lot less and I didn’t need to use the Percocet they prescribed me.
 Posted by at 4:28 pm
Apr 102016
 

13 Tips to remove odors from your butt plug - photo shows a purple butt plug on a kitchen towel with coconut oil, vinegar and baking soda containers in the backgroundMany people like to wear a butt plug overnight or during the day, and we’re all told that silicone is a fabulous sex toy material – truly body-safe, essentially non-porous1, able to be sanitized, etc. Yet for all day wear like this it’s a secondary material to glass or stainless steel. Some people are not able to afford a good glass or steel butt plug or may have found that the material doesn’t feel as comfortable to them for all day wear2, so they stick with silicone only to find that sometimes when the plug is removed it basically smells like a fart. When you’re dealing with butt play, shit happens3.

I’ve talked to people who have even experienced some staining if they wore it for long enough and their rectum wasn’t completely free of fecal matter4; this can happen after one use or slowly over time. They all wonder how this can happen with silicone, it’s non-porous! It’s safe! Yes, but this isn’t uncommon. I’ve had it happen with silicone kitchen stuff – never let tomato sauce stick around on those more expensive, softer silicone spatulas, let me tell you. Also, never use a silicone ice cube tray for making ice cubes from anything smelly5. Softer silicone is more apt to staining. If the staining issue would be a concern to you, then purchase black or very dark-colored silicone plugs.

From what I’ve read the odors on your silicone sex toy tend to happen because the bond between the oil-soluble odors and the silicone is strong. One of the better tips I’ve seen therefore involves oil – smearing the silicone plug with coconut oil for a little while and then washing it well with a very mild soap and hot tap water. I’ve also heard that if you use a plant-based oil as your lube (and thoroughly coat the silicone toy with it) it can prevent the odors from clinging to the silicone.  Many people have reported that boiling their sex toy does nothing – while some have reported that a long (30 minutes) boil has helped.

Keep in mind that you should consider checking with the manufacturer of your plug before trying these. Tantus specifically has recommending baking but will this work for cheap $20 silicone butt plugs? I don’t know. I’d assume so, but I’m obviously not an expert on every brand.

13 Tips for removing odors from your butt plug:

  1. DO NOT shove the stinking plug into a plastic bag or other container and shut it. This will only trap the odors and make it worse.
  2. Try to simply air it out for a day or three. Even better if you can get it exposed to sunlight for awhile.
  3. Boil it! Add a little vinegar to the water, but don’t boil straight vinegar. This only works if the toy is 100% silicone, no other materials. (this option has worked less often)
  4. Bake it! Yep. Start out at 250 degrees for 20 minutes6. This only works if the toy is 100% silicone, no other materials.
  5. Some menstrual-cup companies recommend a brief soak in hydrogen peroxide, but I’ve also read that this could degrade silicone. Try it as a last resort.
  6. Try soaking it in room-temperature vinegar. A 15-30 minute soak should do the trick. Please be sure to wash it well as soon as you remove it from the soak, soap and water, and then let it air dry for awhile.
  7. Try soaking it in a 10% bleach solution. Please be sure to wash it well as soon as you remove it from the soak, soap and water. (this option has worked less often)
  8. Try soaking it in a liquid solution of Oxyclean for 15-20 minutes. Follow with a good wash in warm tap water and a mild soap.
  9. Create a solution of baking soda water – maybe a cup of baking soda in 4 cups of water, doesn’t need to be scientific. Soak for an hour to a few hours. Rinse well, air dry.
  10. DO NOT ever boil a bleach solution!
  11. Smear it first with coconut oil, let it sit like this for an hour or two and then wash well with mild soap and warm water.
  12. Don’t be afraid to try a few of these tips if one of them doesn’t dispatch the smell/stain 100%
  13. Try a bit of preventative measure: Pick up unlubed condoms (because most use a cheap silicone lube) and cover the plug with the condom; to be extra safe I’d recommend bringing the condom down over the base and tying it off like a balloon.

None of these options will work though if your sex toy isn’t actually silicone. Make sure that it’s not PVC, rubber, TPR, etc. If it is, then simply throw out the stink bomb and buy something in a better material.

If you have additional tips or can report one of these working well/not at all for you, please comment below and let us know!

  1. I say essentially because it is technically porous, but bacteria/mildew/yeast/etc cannot live in the pores
  2. Although every report I’ve had about the Njoy Pure Plugs has deemed the very comfortable for all-day wear
  3. Sorry. I couldn’t resist.
  4. And I think it has to do with your body, your health, etc
  5. Before I found powdered buttermilk I would freeze my liquid buttermilk in cubes since a carton would go bad before it could all be used up in baking recipes – after doing this twice the silicone retained an odor I couldn’t remove, but then I never tried these tricks. It was no doubt the fat in buttermilk making the odor stick around
  6. Tantus has stated it’s safe for their silicone to go to 350 degrees for 30 minutes
 Posted by at 1:14 pm