Lilly

Aug 122014
 

“TPR-Silicone”? Silicone blends? NOPE. Not possible.

For quite some time, we used to believe that there was some bizarre “10% rule” where a manufacturer only had to create a sex toy that contained 10% silicone in order to actually call it silicone for marketing. When I learned that there are no regulations, I learned that the “rule” was a myth and companies could be lying about the material. They could use any material, and claim it to be any material. There is nothing stopping them from out and out lying. And then the lies get spread further because the retailers usually have no option but to parrot the information given to them by the manufacturer.

When I first started reviewing in 2008, we (the consumers) thought that silicone blends and “TPR Silicone” was a thing. The manufacturers called it that, the retailers (of course) called it that. In fact, many retailers still do! A google search of that term shows that it’s still being used on many sites. I don’t know, can’t know, which retailer was the first to explain the various materials – Edenfantasys, for all its downfalls, did a service in providing their material safety rating scale which helped educate a number of people about jelly, cyberskin, etc. The material safety was ranked on a scale from 1 to 10. In order to give credit where credit is due, the material safety scale was created by Shanna Katz and someone who went by “Delilah Douglas” on EF.  Sadly though, they still list TPR Silicone as a material. Many new sites model after their material list, and the myth/misinformation perpetuates. Given the drastic decline of Edenfantasys, I highly doubt that there’s anyone there who would care enough to change their information.

How to Tell TPR from Silicone

Ever since I started burning sex toys, I’ve noticed certain traits. For one, jelly and TPR can be completely clear, crystal clear, but silicone can not be. Silicone can be clear, but it is a somewhat “cloudy” clear. TPR and jelly has also a certain feel that you’ll never get from silicone, and an elasticity you’ll not get from silicone. So if something is crystal clear and can stretch to fit around your ankle? That cock ring is not silicone. Yet brands like Screaming O want you to believe that it is, or could be. They are one of the few companies I can find that are still hanging on to the “silicone blend” bullshit.

ScreamingO

Most often, when I find a sex toy still being advertised as “TPR Silicone” on a retail site, a look at the manufacturer’s site shows that they’re merely calling it TPR. It’s hard to say who is to blame for the inaccurate listings…..did the manufacturer wise up and the retail store hasn’t made changes to the listing? Or is the retail store trying to fool you? Information changes, so what we used to believe as fact is no longer, and when this old, incorrect information still persists, the myths persist.  Sites like this are not out to purposely misinform, but I hope that the information given will be changed as more is learned about these materials and the truth.

The Confirmation – TPR Cannot be Blended

I have a few industry friends I can turn to for further investigation when I get one of my hunches, and this was no exception. I can’t name names nor say anything about my “informant” but they work with materials and and have worked for a few large sex toy manufacturing companies. They confirmed for me that it is not possible to blend TPR/TPE with silicone. They’re different materials, and simply cannot be “blended” to create one material type.  They said that one could, technically, layer the TPR and silicone, so that the silicone layer is what is seen by the consumer, but it’s a stretch and it’s very expensive to do so – therefore that negates the whole reason for it. This person reiterated what I’ve suspected, which is that “a lot came from [earlier in the industry] when silicone started to become popular and some were trying to pass it off by saying TPR/TPE silicone”.

Once Again I Lash Out at Screaming O for their “SEBS Silicone” Claims

I decided to dig deeper because of the material naming discrepancies that I still sometimes see; one culprit as mentioned above is Screaming O. I’ve burned their cock rings that they claim are made of a “material” called SEBS, which they claim stands for “silicone elastomer blend”. Not only can you not even blend silicone with a thermoplastic elastomer, but everywhere else in the chemistry world, SEBS stands for styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene.  The Screaming O cock rings are extremely stretchy and soft. They’re probably over 80% plasticizers (likely mineral oil). When lit, they burn like Indiana Jones’ torch – hot, bright and resistant to extinguishing from a gust of air. The Screaming O rings were the only thing I’ve burned that I couldn’t extinguish by blowing out, I had to toss them under running water. Silicone doesn’t behave like that. And of course, after being burned, the Screaming O rings left no ash — the hallmark of silicone — just a look of melted plastic.  I can’t tell if the material Screaming O is using truly is this SEBS stuff or if they’re just using that acronym as a made-up term for their made-up material. I’d have to raise funds to get a ring sent to the lab like I did with the Hello Touch to find out for sure. I’m skeptical of their material, though, highly skeptical. Styrene is a chemical that many are side-eyeing pretty hard, and aren’t sure how toxic it could be.  If we’re gonna continue to get all technical and science-y, Screaming O (and other sex toy companies too, like Vibratex) use the term “Elastomer” as a material name, when it’s actually a material type. I’d be willing to bet that when most companies are describing their item as being made of Elastomer, it’s really TPE – thermoplastic elastomer. Wikipedia says it’s “also called” thermoplastic rubber (TPR) so I am not yet sure if there is a chemical difference between TPR and TPE, if they’re the same thing, etc. There are different types of TPEs, but I don’t know if all of those types could be used in the sex toy application. We’ve seen these mystery materials come in a variety of shore strengths, too. The softer they are, the more porous they are, and the more likely they are to break down. There’s a big different in how the TPR like these items behaves vs the TPR of say the Eroscillator. I’ve yet to hear that someone’s Eroscillator attachment melted or started to break down, or got “greasy”. Those attachments have much less softening content, though, too. I’ve tried to contact Eroscillator about the material, but they won’t respond.

The term TPR Silicone is very misleading and very incorrect; people hear “silicone” and think that it’s safe, and non-porous. I’d like to see retailers eradicate the language, and I can only hope that when they’re contacted, they will change the terminology.  If you see a site selling items listed as “TPR Silicone”, please consider contacting them to change the wording.

 

Disclaimer: I am explaining things in the best way I know how. I’m dealing here in many “facts” that I can’t promise are all 100% accurate – we lack the ability to be super scientific about this. I don’t have a chemist by my side, I don’t have a lab. I’m sharing with you what I think, what I’ve been told, what I am inferring from my own test results thus far, and what my reason and logic is filling in. The information here may change as we learn more–this post is evidence that as the years go by in the sex toy industry, things are changing and past truths are becoming myths.

 

Aug 062014
 

PalmPower Wand MassagerAfter reading a number of glowing reviews, some even saying that the PalmPower is their new favorite vibrator, I broke down and tried it. I’m not really a fan anymore of being tied down by a cord, so I had ignored this thing for awhile. PalmPower Wand Massager is made by BMS Factory, makers of that “PowerBullet” you keep seeing in Jopen, Leaf, and other vibes. I had been interested in trying out this design for some time now, back when CalEx was making it. Yes, from everything I can see, the PalmPower is the same thing as the CalExotics Couture Inspire just in a better color scheme, thankfully1according to BMS a few years ago, the only thing as powerful as the Vanity VR6. Since I loved the VR6 (internal arm only, though) I assumed the PalmPower / Couture Inspire would have the same deep, rumbling vibrations.

I was mislead.

Yeah, PalmPower Wand Massager is super strong. And it, at times, has deep, rumbling vibrations. But something is getting lost in translation here, and I can’t put my finger on it. It does feel rumbly on the lower levels, but only on the sides of the cap. The top of the cap has drastically less vibrations on the low-to-mid settings. On high, it’s all a blur. On high, the PalmPower Wand Massager feels identical to the Magic Wand -  just a smaller head.

But the problem with the more pleasing vibrations in the lower range being more rumbly and lovely on the sides, is that now you can feel that cap’s edge since you’re using the sides of the head. If I were to call it a “seam”, it would be the most obvious seam in sex toy history. I found it quite irritating in use. I could feel it, pinching and making me itchy. I kept trying to press it harder against my vulva, trying all levels of power in an attempt to orgasm, but it was so much more difficult than it needed to be. This could be because of the way I’m built, and maybe not everyone is irritated by this. But I am.

And then when I removed it from between my labia, the silicone cap came off.

*sigh* I suddenly have labia of steel?

To make matters worse, it’s tricky to get the cap lined up just so so that it fits on there properly.  I can understand, I suppose, why they made the design this way. It allows for other caps to be put on. They have a set for body parts and a set for genitals. The body parts set did nothing for me, but I don’t really use a wand massager for my hands. So I tried out the caps for dual stimulation with much hope. I figured that this would allow me to harness the power for good, er, I mean, concentrate the power where I wanted it. That didn’t happen. The part that sticks out, sticks out from the top of the vibrating head…..remember me saying I felt a lot less vibration at the low-to-mid range on top? Yeah. In order to then get decent vibrations traveling through the attachment, I had to crank up the power. And it was no longer the rumbly power I was trying so hard to nail down. Neither attachment worked out for me. It was close, but not quite right enough for me to orgasm without fighting for it.

PalmPower Wand Massager Cap PalmPower Wand Massager Cap
PalmPower Wand Massager Attachments

Another aspect of the PalmPower that I dislike  is the single button. You have to press and hold to increase the power. It can be easy to screw this up mid-use and then it turns off on you altogether because you just clicked the button once. I accidentally turned it off a lot during use. The ramp-up to full speed also seems to go on forever. It’s the vibrator version of the longest pee. I clocked it at 8 seconds. Paltry in the grand scheme of things, but annoying mid-use if you want to jump straight to full power. And, while the PalmPower is easy to hold, a good amount of vibrations do travel down throughout the handle.

PalmPower Wand Massager Compared to Hitachi Magic Wand and Vibratex Mystic WandAnd yes, despite the diminutive size of the PalmPower Wand Massager, it plugs in to the wall. They do give you a long cord, longer than the Magic Wand. The cord, oddly, isn’t permanently attached. It plugs in via jack to the bottom, which – from reading Amazon reviews  – is pretty confusing to many people who went on to complain about their “defective” unit not holding a charge.  I can’t find these reviews anymore, of course, since it was Amazon and they were being sold by shady sellers, so the listings with reviews are now gone but there were many reviews that complained about the cap popping off, the motor overheating, and other issues with the Couture Inspire. I don’t know which wand came first, or why there are two. I asked BMS, but never heard back, so my review has to go live with questions dangling like a participle.

 

You must be thinking to yourself by this point “Jeezus Lill, is there anything you like about this or are you just the pickiest twat on the East Coast?” So I’ll tell you yes, there are things I like. I like that half of the head, and the attachments, are silicone. It’s a nice silicone, with not much drag and it doesn’t attract a lot of lint and fur. I actually do like the smaller size; easier to take with you than the Magic Wand, and gets in the way less if you like to use it during sex. It’s certainly quieter than the Magic Wand. The price isn’t awful. At $69.99 on SheVibe, it’s a bit more than the Magic Wand but still much more reasonable than the Doxy Massager. If they would just make the plain head a permanent “cap” and make it the entire head silicone, with the attachments fitting over that – like every other damn wand is made – it would improve the whole thing greatly. For what it is, it’s pretty decent. It’s not in my top 5 or even 10 because the flaws are too flawed for me to love it. If you adore the Magic Wand’s vibrations but hate the short cord or the large size? This is your vibe. So many other people love it, so I must be the only odd person out who focuses on flaws. That’s the only thing that makes sense here. I just want a high-powered, rumbly vibrator that doesn’t have glaring flaws that stand in my way of enjoyment. Is that too much to ask? Oh, wait……

 

 

I was given the PalmPower Wand Massager and its accessories in exchange for an honest review thanks to BMS Factories. I recommend purchasing the PalmPower at my favorite retailer, SheVibe.

  1. Inspire was only available in pastel hues of pink and purple. While the PalmPower still has pink, it’s a much better pink to me, the magenta color as an accent to the dark grey
Aug 012014
 

The 1st of the month is always a busy blog day for me as I update new sales, especially the new monthly Tantus sales. Lately they’ve been knocking it out of the park with the best sales I’ve ever seen buying direct from a manufacturer – but then, that’s just one of the reasons why I love Tantus so much.

EDIT: FREE SHIPPING OFFER CHANGE: I’d previously reported that everybody could get free shipping just by spending $100. Today, 8/8/14, that has been amended. Free shipping in the U.S is available at the spend-$100 mark, but free International Shipping isn’t available until you spend $200. Although, for Tantus fans, it’s not hard to spend that much. And if you’re a fan of Tantus, I’m sure you already have a wishlist. Some of my favorites include anything O2 but especially the Cush and Flurry; the Black Widow harness; their handled dildos like the Anaconda; their unique silicone paddles….. ok I really could keep going, because I love so much of their stuff. If you can’t narrow it down for yourself, feel free to email me, comment here, message me on Reddit or Tumblr, whatever.

UPDATE!!!!!!!! While the August sale is over, the free shipping is NOT. They’ve decided to keep this offer!

 

This August, the Vibrating Velvet Harness is the star of the show. Spend $100, and get the harness for free. Spend more, get more.

TantusAugust2

Aug 012014
 

SedeuxFlareI wanted to review the Sportsheets Sedeux Flare Dildo for two reasons:

1. It’s affordable

2. It’s not fleshtone, pink or purple.

Lofty goals, right? Also, it’s really the opposite of many dildos I’ve reviewed in the past – it’s simple and small. I can’t, and shouldn’t, always review only the things that my vagina loves (if I did that, I would have just stopped at the Pure Wand years ago) but the problem with trying to give a review that’s equal parts objective and subjective on a dildo that is a size I would never love…..well, it’s damn difficult. So I’ve been dragging my feet on writing this, because I don’t hate it and yet I don’t personally love it. But I WILL recommend the hell out of it for the many people who want a smaller dildo. This would be awesome for pegging, and great for vaginal penetration for those who don’t like thick dildos.  It’s only 1.25″ at the head, and closer to 1″ in the shaft.

It’s reasonable to say that the color of your Sedeux Flare might vary from piece to piece. The overall color is a brick/slightly orange-y red, with hints of purple-y opalescent glitter swirling about. The glittery-purple-pearl is much less noticeable on mine than the product photos I’ve seen on various sites. In fact many product photos on retail sites show that the pearlescent coloring is both pink/purple and orange.  But regardless, it’s still a color choice that isn’t horribly gendered and isn’t very common. Mine has much less “fire” to the coloring but it’s still a nice addition, nonetheless.

SedeuxFlareandSilkMedium

The dildo I own that is the closest in shape and size to the Flare is the Tantus Silk Medium. The Tantus Silk Medium is listed as 5.25″ long and 1″ wide, while the Sedeux Flare is listed as being 5.75″ long and 1.25″ wide (this measurement comes from the manufacturer; Lovehoney lists it a bit differently for some reason). The slightly angled tip is a bit wider than the shaft; so if you like the Silk Medium but need something a little less straight, the Sedeux Flare would be a perfect choice.

The gentle slope of the head means it should be okay for those sensitive to certain shapes catching their pubic bone, and overall it should be great for those who don’t require girth or extreme pressure on their g-spot. Overall it’s a pretty firm silicone, but the thinner shaft means it has a bit of bend and give while still being firm enough overall to give pressure to the prostate or g-spot. I’ve successfully used Wet Hybrid lube on this, with no detriment to the silicone. You can also pair it with coconut oil if you’re not otherwise using condoms. It can be sanitized in the usual ways.  In short, this is really a very serviceable moderate dildo that’s versatile and comes in a unique color.  So long as you know what you like and need in terms of size, I can’t really find any flaws with the Sportsheets Sedeux Flare. So why don’t I love it? I can’t fully blame it on the width, because the Pure Wand is awesome for me and it’s not what I’d consider a girthy dildo. It’s really down to the length for me. I just simply need something longer – not for insertion, but just for comfortable handling and use with my body type. It’s a great harness dildo, though, and would look smashing paired with a certain Tantus harness.

 

 

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me the Sedeux Flare in exchange for my honest review! Don’t forget, Lovehoney has a great return policy and UK shoppers can get the Sedeux Flare here

Jul 272014
 

Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t, but I haven’t been as active on social media much in the last few weeks. I’ve slowed down a little on the blog posts. The answer is quite simple: I had to get a civilian job. I didn’t want to, but I’m just not making enough from all of this right now.

Luckily, I managed to snag a part-time job where I’m alone basically babysitting an office and the office isn’t very busy. In my two weeks so far, many days I had no customers coming in. So, once I get myself all set up (now that I’m past the training, and am finally left on my own) I should be able to do bloggy stuff while at work. After all, that’s how I started 6 years ago! 6 years ago I was working full-time in a boring government job, and I had plenty of downtime at work to be on social media, writing posts, etc. But the blog was very very different back then–more personal, more sexy. It might prove difficult for me to work on reviews someplace other than my home office.

For the past two weeks, though, I’ve basically sucked at time management. For 3 wonderful years I was able to stay home and have the blog be my full-time job. I had no restraints and restrictions on my time, I had no schedule. Now, though, I’m somewhere else for a firm 4.5 hours a day in the afternoon. By the time I come home at close to 5:30, it’s time for little miss Corrupt Donna Reed to think about putting dinner on the table. If I need to go to any stores, it has to be done in the mornings. So fitting in blog time has not been managed just yet, but I’m workin on it. I specifically took this part-time job so that I could have more time for the blog, because this IS the job of my dreams in many ways. I just wish the pay was better!

I’m notoriously bad at time management, I always have been. I’ve pretty much been the ADD poster child all my life. I don’t have routines, I don’t do schedules…..for better or worse. Now I have to learn, though. I have to learn to use the scheduled Tweet stuff on Hootsuite. I think I need to find a new “tweet old post” plugin and bring that back. I’ll be able to do Reddit stuff from my tablet at work (especially now that I’ve solved the main issue with tablet usage – I’ve found a way to hook up a real mouse, and have an external keyboard), and social media from there. But I really need your best tips on how to manage my non-work time. I’m a pretty low-key person, and some might call me lazy. I don’t “work hard”, I don’t run like the Energizer bunny. But I have to fit everything in now, and try for something that looks like “being productive”…..every day.

So tell me, how do you balance your worlds? How do you make sure you get it all done?

Jul 222014
 

Welcome to HedoVibes, a collection of reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of adult product reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.

Want to read more reviews? Check out HedoVibes for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. HedoVibes is also accepting photo submissions for each edition.

CONTESTS

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ANAL TOYS

RINGS & STROKERS

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LUBES & CONDOMS

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EROTIC BOOKS

MISCELLANEOUS