Lilly

Feb 192016
 

A few of the thank-you emails I've received over the years, they keep me going when the voice in my head doubts what I doI’ve been writing here for a long time now, nearly 8 years. My blog has changed drastically from that first year. My writing style is different, my topics are changing, my soapbox is growing to immense proportions. I didn’t start this blog to have a voice in the war against the toxic chemicals we put into our body in the name of pleasure, but that’s what it’s become.

You see, I’m the sort of person who gets mad when people are too lazy to walk their shopping cart to the cart return. I’m the sort of person who is enraged at the people who continue on through the intersection well after their light has turned red. I get angry and I let it show because somehow, something in my brain says that if they know it’s wrong (thanks to my horn and my middle finger) they’ll eventually stop1. Toxic and porous sex toys (and poisonous lubes) make me mad. And so I never shut up about it. I kept on finding ways to research and write about it. I eventually stopped working with shops that carried mostly porous sex toys. I do my best to continually tell people “hey…you know that’s porous, right? Do you know what that means for you?”. I spend my words fighting the myths that seem to keep spinning around. And eventually other reviewers started talking about it too. I don’t believe I was the first and I don’t believe I was the catalyst, but I think I had some influence on a few. And then those few had influence on a few more, and so on.

Over the years we reviewers have grown more and more vocal about safe sex toy materials. We send a message when we refuse to give our time to porous and toxic sex toys. We are sending a message to the manufacturers who, in recent years, have exploded with under-$75 (even under $50!) sex toys made from truly body-safe materials. With our honest reviews we are giving some assurance to people that when they spend $100 or more on a sex toy, we’ve thoroughly vetted it as best as we can. When we review the affordable toys we are helping people find safe, decent sex toys that fit their budget – our role is not only to make sure the high-end sex toys are worth their price tag, but to make sure the affordable sex toys are still as decent as they can be. After all, what’s the point of buying any sex toy, no matter the cost, if it doesn’t perform well? And when we continually reassure our readers that their pleasure is important, their bodies matter and that yes they need to care about the materials of their sex toys and the ingredients of their lubes we are validating that these items are important. They are not just for the lonely, the celibate, the single. They are tools for every body. And every person deserves access to safe pleasure tools.

I can’t tell you how many readers have assumed that because an item is for sale, because an ingredient is in a lube, it must be safe. After all who would sell us unsafe things like that? Who would so blatantly disregard common sense and decency to make a buck even if it is at the expense of our health?

If you’re comfortable, talk about your body and your orgasms and your sex life on your blog. We’re a society of grown ass adults who were never taught a thing about pleasure, who were taught the location of fallopian tubes but not the clitoris, who grew up believing the porn narrative of what orgasms look like. For years as a teen and young adult I did not know where my clitoris was. I didn’t know, and I couldn’t orgasm; I thought I was broken. We need sex-ed, and we need pleasure-based sex ed….who else will teach it, but us? We are blessed with some amazing educators who are allowed to talk to teens on college campuses; along with sites like Scarleteen and places like the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health we are slowly spreading the education. But never doubt the power of your blog to reach the people not attending seminars and classes.

I’m writing this to remind you how important it is to speak up on the matters of safe sex toy materials, safe lube ingredients, and to research your information. If you feel comfortable, write about these things. Remind your readers in your reviews that this is a non-porous material and why that matters. If you, our readers, also understand how crucial this education is then share our posts with your circle, even if your social media circle doesn’t expect you to be sharing things about sex toys. When I see people on Tumblr sharing my posts about materials, people who normally would never reblog something about sexuality, I then see other people who also wouldn’t normally reblog things about sexuality reblogging and commenting. Learning. Sharing the knowledge. Small ways of “preaching outside the choir” and not just waiting for them to find our blogs when they search “dildo burning me” or “black spots on dildo”. Learn about the issues with big name brand lubes; for some people this is the only “sex toy” they will have and they will suffer through years of irritation without knowing any better. Hell, bring up the conversation with your doctor when they reach for the KY or Surgilube during your next exam. Talk to them about the bad ingredients and how detrimental it can be to the vaginal health of at-risk people. Bring your own damn lube! Anywhere you feel comfortable, teach someone something that may end up impacting their sex life forever simply by opening their mind a little.

Pictured above is just some of the thank-you letters I’ve received over the years. I have them printed and filed, to be pulled out on the days where my own anxieties and insecurities threaten my sanity. When my brain says “you’re not doing anything important”.

We are mighty. As a group we are loud; we are getting shit done, and we are not shutting up. Please, keep writing. Your voice is important, your story is important. Somewhere out there is another hundred people with the same tastes, problems and worries as you – you are helping others. You are teaching. 

  1. My husband assures me I’m wrong on this logic, and they will never learn. I can’t help it, though.
 Posted by at 3:31 pm
Feb 172016
 

Doc Johnson Truskyn Dual-Density SiliconeThe Doc Johnson Truskyn line is their foray into the wonderful world of dual-density silicone. So many people are happy to buy porous/toxic dildos because they are squishy; they feel softer and more realistic than most traditional single-density silicone sex toys on the market. Until very recently, Tantus with their O2 line and Vixen with their VixSkin line were the only traditional sex toy companies making a dual-density realistic-feel dildo. Then, Blush Novelties (*sigh*) came out with their version of dual-density and now Doc Johnson Truskyn.

I’m really excited about the Doc Johnson Truskyn line because: affordability. While I do think that Vixskin is a bit more realistic and Tantus O2 offers people some more visually appealing options like the Cush and Flurry if you’re not into realistics, many people can’t afford to spend $100 or so on a very realistic dual-density dildo. Although, the Tantus Cush and Flurry are priced the same as the most expensive Truskyn at SheVibe.  I had a lot of requests last year to review affordable sex toys, and since my reviews are for my readers I have no reason to stick my nose in the air over trying out some lower-cost toys for you. So not only am I happy that this line exists…I’m happy that I LIKE it!  Not a single dildo in the line is over $69, and some are under $50! The plugs are super affordable, too, they’re all priced at $25.

Squishy Squishy In Your Butt

The Truskyn line offers up some dildos under $50 AND something we’ve never seen before: dual-density butt plugs. Yes, people wondered “will these really be dual density??” and they are. SheVibe sent me two to check out and found myself a stunt butt to help out with this review. I shipped one of them to the lovely Bex to actually use for me1. I was a bit concerned by the base because it’s pretty flexible; but a fellow sex geek who can take impressively large butt toys had no problems with the base and felt it was still very safe. Honestly it’s a delightfully soft and squishy design. While these butt plugs aren’t sex toys for size queens, they’re potentially really great for people who have so far found their standard silicone butt plug to be a little uncomfortable. They’re great for those newer to anal play who really want to ease into it.  Here’s what Bex had to say about the Doc Johnson Truskyn Tru Butt Plug Smooth (can you shorten these names, Doc?):

“The Tru Butt Plug Smooth from Doc Johnson is a unique product for two reasons: it is one of the first dual density butt plugs I have ever seen; and it is a product from Doc Johnson that, well, that I actually sort of like. Dual density butt plugs are the sort of thing that it never occurred to me should exist, but makes absolutely perfect sense once I actually see them. The size and shape of the Tru Butt Plug Smooth is comparable to the Tantus Juice or Ryder but compared to Tantus’ firm silicone, Doc Johnson’sTruskyn silicone feels much more plush and forgiving. In use I don’t necessarily notice the extra softness so much as I am aware of the lack of rigidity I am used to with my other toys. Where those toys can sometimes poke uncomfortably or feel larger than they are, the soft outer layer of the Truskyn Tru Butt Plug flexes comfortably with the body and feels much less obtrusive for long term wear. The base is also very comfortable and unobtrusive.”

Two things that are included in every Truskyn box that I think should just be tossed are a packet of cornstarch and a little bottle of shitty lube. First, the cornstarch. I don’t get it. Yeah, the silicone is a magnet for stuff but no other company like, ever, has been all “here buy our overpriced “dildo powder” and use it to make our dildos less sticky and more starchy”. And the lube, ugh. It has a whole bunch of bad ingredients and then some. Just don’t use it. Pick something nicer, instead. The one nice thing they include is a drawstring pouch for storage. It’s branded and not discreet, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless.

Truskyn Dildos

I’m usually not the sort of person who can wax poetic for 1200 words about a dildo, unless it’s the Pure Wand, or the Seduction. Usually my thoughts on a dildo are down to preferences on its size, concerns about texture or ridges being too much and being unimpressed by bendy dildos.  When you have a dual-density design thinner dildos are more likely to be bendy. You’d need a silicone dildo to be made of pretty firm silicone to not be very bendy.  Why am I so on about “bendy”? Because my g-spot likes pressure and that’s why the Njoy Pure Wand is king in my world. I’ve enjoyed other silicone dildos though when they’re the right width to hit that mark between “filling” and “not painful”, which is a roundabout way of applying g-spot pressure. I’m really liking the designs; some are very realistic, like the one I have, but others not so much. They are using interesting shapes and softly-ridged heads to ping the g-spot/prostate. Even the straight realistic one I have has a lovely prominent head ridge that is much softer than you’d think and feels really nice when thrusting. The head, like all dual-density designs, is all squish and the shaft has a good level of squish on the outside.  I am really not a fan of highly realistic dildos so this isn’t my visual cup of tea but if you are a fan of realistic dildos? This has you covered. There’s luckily a big range of sizes and shapes for the Doc Johnson Truskyn dildos so I think you’ll find something you like; soon Blissfully Orgasmic will have a review up of a few of the non-realistic dildos I also eyed up: The Tru Feel (quite bendy but love that head), the Tru Curve, and the Tru Touch. These are also harness-compatible and anal safe.

Also, the Tru Ride 6″ is the one I have and Doc Johnson lists the width as 1.7″, but I would say its 1.5″. This leads me to question other styles, especially ones that Doc calls “slender” but then lists as 1.7″. 1.7 inches is NOT slender. I’m now questioning the width on every dildo. I’ll update this when I know which measurements are real.

But Is It REALLY Silicone?

Doc Johnson Truskyn Dual-Density Silicone - Cut to show pure siliconeSo when I first announced that I had their dildo in my possession and I was liking it, a lot of Doc Johnson skeptics said “Okay but is it really silicone? Is it really silicone all the way through? We’ve been bamboozled before2.” And I get it, I do. These aren’t super cheap like $25 for a dildo cheap, but they’re affordable and we have seen companies create a filling or a different-material core to cut down on costs. While I’m not really sure these cores/fillings matter so long as the item is constructed well enough that your body will never come into contact with the other material, I was pointed to this mildly troubling review of a Doc Johnson Super Hung Hero dildo on Amazon. I say “mildly troubling” because, come on, it’s fuckin Amazon so that’s probably not a genuine product.  If anybody owns a Super Hung and doesn’t mind cutting it open (and thereby ruining it) for science, let me know.

Anyways, I sacrificed my Truskyn dildo for science. I recorded the cutting, but since it’s so realistic in design I decided not to include that video. I felt a little too Lorena Bobbitt. But: GOOD NEWS! It is indeed silicone through and through. I feel confident that their entire line is truly silicone. I wasn’t really very worried, because the one “flesh tone” piece of dildo in my silicone jar is an older Doc Johnson silicone dildo. I don’t think they make it anymore; it was priced in the $20s and I had my doubts a few years ago, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was silicone all the way through.

And yes, it passed the flame test. Hopefully you can rest easy knowing that this line is exactly what it claims to be: Really nice dual-density silicone at affordable prices.

All in all, I’m a fan! There’s even some textured “strokers” for a much-needed silicone penis toy; although they’re more “taco” than penetratable masturbator, it’s a start. The Truskyn strokers are all squish, there’s no real room there for two densities I think. This feels like a big step in the right direction, and while I will not forgive Doc Johnson for this sil-a-gel bullshit and want it gone yesterday, I’m happy with the direction things are going in. I’m hoping that in a few years they will eradicate the toxic3 and the porous materials (or at least cut way back on the porous materials, with silicone making up the majority) in favor of something that we can all agree on: body-safe non-porous silicone.

Much thanks to SheVibe for sending me these items in exchange for my honest review and not caring in the least that I chopped a dildo! Check out the entire Truskyn line at SheVibe.

  1. Little known fact that will maybe become a post someday: I discovered that, because of my IBS, I can’t do any anal play
  2. I may have inserted bamboozled myself but it’s the overall sentiment
  3. DJ claims their sil-a-gel enhanced PVC is phthalates-free, but there’s something toxic in there; so many people have complained about burning genitals!
Feb 122016
 

Doxy Die Cast vs Doxy Wand OriginalThe Doxy Die Cast wand vibrator looks like a high-tech work of art. But are the differences from the Doxy Wand Original just cosmetic? I’ve had a number of people ask me lately about the differences between the Doxy Original and Doxy Die Cast, primarily to know if the $60 jump for the Die Cast is worth it. I talked about the Die Cast in a pre-review video a few months ago but didn’t really get into the differences. (Note: In March, the minimum pricing for both Doxy Wands will increase – Original by $10 (so it will be $139 at SheVibe), Die Cast by $20, which puts the Die Cast just over $200 at SheVibe)

The Die Cast’s biggest difference is the looks, of course. A black head and shiny titanium body, glowing blue buttons and a cool grey case. It is pretty bad-ass looking. The head covering is silicone, which is an upgrade over the regular Doxy. They describe it as a “double-weighted” motor.

“Made from aluminum and cast on-site, the weight and mechanism inside the Doxy’s head means it rolls and rumbles, rather than buzzes. Offering powerful vibrations that penetrate deep into the body, it’s extraordinarily effective when used as a general body massager, or for intimate intentions. While many find themselves satisfied with the lower settings, the Doxy can reach up to 9,000 RPM: it’s the perfect tool for those who want the option to play hard and fast.”

Alright What About The Vibrations?

The RPMs: It’s a lot more than Magic Wand, but I don’t really put much stock in RPM. The We-Vibe was last reported as 5500 RPM (and I think the We-Vibe is pretty mild), the Magic Wand Rechargeable at 6300 and I think that the power level of the Doxy vs MWR is damn near identical. So moving on to….

The Double Weighted Head: It’s supposed to make the vibrations feel more thuddy, but I’ve always had a rather impressive measuring stick to hold “rumbly” or “thuddy” wands to: the Lelo Smart Wand Large. And it’s nowhere near that. In fact, the most I can really say about the Doxy Die Cast is that it’s definitely less buzzy vs the Doxy Original (or Magic Wand). I held both the Doxy Die Cast and Doxy Original in a cupped palm for a few minutes, damn near meditating on the differences, and after all of that my hand that held the Doxy Original head felt weird for about 10 minutes after – kinda tingly, kinda numb. On high, the Doxy Original is still numbing to my genitals like the Magic Wand is, but at least I can use the lower settings and be okay. On high the Doxy Die Cast actually numbs me quite a bit less.

Somehow the difference almost makes the Die Cast feel a tiny smidge less powerful; but the vibrations are more comfortable. I think that’s why they originally felt more powerful to me; it was actually because my genitals weren’t going numb so quickly. Hey, that’s a good thing and I’ll take it.

But It’s So Sexy

I’ll admit, the Doxy Original always kinda reminded me of the extra-large TV remotes for older folks back when universal remotes were a new thing and we didn’t have fancy cable boxes so you could get away with a remote with 12 buttons that were huge. The Die Cast just looks sexy. And all that metal means it can be COLD, too, so it’s not a great thing to use in the winter if your house is cold. The metal means it’s 6 ounces heavier (1 lb 8 oz). The silicone head vs PVC head is more firm, and that matters to people who like a lot of pressure with their wand toys. But for some people the cosmetic looks of a sex toy really matter, and the Die Cast is for those people. Plus it comes with its own case, and finding a good storage/travel case for the big wands is always a problem. The case is lovely – it comes with foam padding to keep the wand in place and protected, and the zipper is good. I took out the foam so that I didn’t have to fiddle with getting the large plug situated correctly each time. I actually wouldn’t mind leaving this out for use as a body massager; it definitely looks like something you’d get at Sharper Image (whereas the Lelo SMW is more Brookstone).

Is it noisy? Well yeah, compared to other powerhouse vibes like the Rave or Prism, it is. It’s a wand. I do have the Wands in a water-displacement / noise video which I made for the Doxy Skittle review here. The Doxy Original is at 1:14, and Doxy Die Cast follows it, at 1:35.

Doxy Die Cast with Vixen Gee Whizzard attachment Doxy Die Cast Case

Overall, I’m torn. I wanted the Doxy Die Cast to be more rumbly like the Lelo Smart Wand Large is rumbly; but Doxy’s customer service and warranty is a lot better (read: reliable, friendly, it WILL get replaced) than Lelo. And I do like the Doxy Wands better than the Magic Wand (unless you reallllly want rechargeable, then you’re out of luck with Doxy) because of the vast number of intensity settings. I think most people are gonna go for the Doxy Original because $189 (soon to be $209) at SheVibe for the Die Cast is harder for most people to swallow. I can tell you that both Doxy Wands are made well, and honestly seem to be a little bit better made than the Magic Wand Original. And they’re more versatile than the MW. Both Doxy Wands will be compatible with all attachments meant for the Magic Wand. In fact, I think they are MORE compatible. Just like the Gee Whiz worked far better on the Smart Wand Large vs the Magic Wand, it works far better on the Doxy than the Magic Wand. The vibrations transmit so much better, resulting in a lot of vibration in that shaft! Bonus points: The Gee Whiz matches the blue of the Doxy Die Cast buttons.

 

Doxy sent me this in exchange for my fair and honest review. Thank you Doxy!

Jan 312016
 

Looking for the most powerful G-spot vibrator? I list out 5 powerful g-spot vibrator that will rock your world. Some people, like me, need a seriously powerful G-spot vibrator. A little over 4 years ago a comment came in on a review for the Jopen Vanity VR6 – at the time the vibrator with the most powerful, most rumbly internal vibrations I’d ever felt – to ask if I still felt the same way about it after 8 months. At the time, I did. Over the years I would go back and update the post but the last update was in 2013 and my, how times have changed.

I no longer have to resort to finagling an ill-fitting rabbit vibrator just to experience internal vibrations that will rock the socks off not only my G-spot, but my internal clitoris. I have CHOICES! But I’m not just looking for a powerful G-spot vibrator – I’m looking for a seriously *rumbly* powerful G-spot vibrator. The rumbles make it powerful. I happen to be a rumble aficionado, doncha know. My genitals are a divining rod for rumble. Many a copywriter – and even a few reviewers – have tried to tell me “This is rumbly” but nay nay, I detected buzz. I have scoffed at vibrator claims of being the most powerful and “seriously rumbly“.  For a vibrator to be on this list, it must be devoid of buzz. I must be able to say “Hey, if Barry White’s voice were a vibrator, this might be it”.  Please note that this list is only for G-spot vibrators. I may end up doing a post on the top 10 most rumbly vibrators, period, if that’s of interest.

1.  We-Vibe Rave – The new Rave is currently the most powerful G-spot vibrator I own. It overpowers my beloved L’amourose Prism V and Rosa Rouge. It has a unique, asymmetrical shape to it that allows for a twisting motion to ping the g-spot, rather than just thrusting. It’s a very unique sensation, but less unique to those who have already been a fan of Laid dildos. Due to the shorter stature overall, and my laziness, the shape of the Rave doesn’t win out for me over the shape of the Prism V but I cannot deny that the Rave is indeed a damn powerful G-spot vibrator. It’s excellent for external use, too, as are all of these.

2. L’amourose Prism V – The Prism V gets second place which is technically a tie because the Rave is a bit more powerful; however the shape of the Prism V absolutely enchants my G-spot. It allows me to do minimal work for maximum pressure. It challenges my dildo preferences (which I usually prefer in the 1.75″ wide range) by being fairly slender, but the rigidity and curve remind me of my utterly beloved Pure Wand – it’s probably the closest thing to Pure Wand + Awesome Vibration as I’ll ever get.  The Prism VII works well too, but it’s billed as a dual-stim vibe and for me it fails as that. It could be the answer for a powerful prostate vibrator, though.

3. L’amourose Rosa / Rosa Rouge – Rosa Rouge was my first L’amourose love, and continues to be but I like it for external use where I can feel the heat the most. I really think L’amourose underestimates how much more effective the heat is on the vulva and clitoris vs internal. The Rosa / Rosa Rouge is a little more quiet than the Prism V but just as powerful. You’d prefer the Rosa if you are NOT a fan of firm pressure and want a vibrator with a little give to it. Naturally the Denia is the dual-stim equivalent, and also holds a strong place in my heart. Despite the fact that I use the Rosa Rouga externally more often than internally, I still feel that the Rosa is a fabulous g-spot vibe. It was the first vibrator in a very long time that got me excited about internal vibrations. Thrusters will love the not-overly subtle ridge at the bottom of the head, and the thinner body will appeal to those who want some girth at their g-spot but not their vaginal entrance. I’ve read glowing reviews about the Rosa as a prostate vibrator; it has downfalls for that aspect, which I can explain if you want to hear about it.

4. Fun Factory G5 – You’ll notice I didn’t list a particular model. I have the Patchy Paul but really I think any of the G5’s fit the bill as a powerful G-spot vibrator. The thick silicone does dampen vibration a little (which was why I didn’t love the G4 line, it didn’t feel impressive enough to me) but it is an option for those who don’t like solid, rigid g-spot vibrators with a hefty curve or for those who need girth (which the G5 Big Boss can deliver) for their g-spot instead of a curved head. The ribs on the Patchy Paul and ridges on the Tiger combined with Fun Factory’s draggy silicone can provide the tug and “tap” on the g-spot that many prefer over pressure. One caveat: Even if you’re not someone who normally needs lube, you’ll probably need lube with FF’s silicone. It’s very draggy/textured compared to Lelo/L’amourose/We-Vibe/Je Joue. Also: The Tiger has a bit of a flare to make it anal-safe, so this is potentially a prostate option. Pick up something awesome here.

5. Evolved Novelties Roulette LineIt’s been a long time since I reviewed one of these and now I own two. The Evolved Roulette line is a battery-powered silicone powerhouse vibrator. Rumbly and deep, it packs a serious (albeit kinda noisy) punch. The single wheel makes one-handed use a snap, and the silicone, while firm, still has bend and give to it. For those who can’t afford a rechargeable vibrator yet, this would be a great place to start. It’s powered by 2 AA batteries and to get the most bang I’d suggest using those extra-powerful batteries meant for electronics. They do seem to have a bit of an edge over standard Duracells but admittedly this can become a pricey habit. 

Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I have to sneak a bonus recommendation in here. It doesn’t really fit the bill and I think that the others will be gentler on your wallet but hey, it is a versatile suggestion.  This option is something I mentioned in an update to the original post and while it’s a less satisfactory option due to price, it’s still something to consider: The Lelo Smart Wand Large coupled with a topper like the Vixen Gee Whizzard. The Gee Whizzard (or Whiz) is a more pliable silicone and won’t provide pressure but the deep, rumbling vibrations from the Smart Wand Large turn the Gee Whiz into a seriously powerful G-spot vibrator and you get multiple toys in one! The Smart Wand Large is significantly more rumbly than any other wand on the market right now and as such the vibrations from it travel through dildo-wand-toppers so much better than the Magic Wand for which they were made. Unfortunately it comes with Lelo’s spotty customer service and a recent Lelo price hike which has turned this combo into something seriously pricey.

Those of you who love the Lelo Mona 2 might be side-eyeing me really hard right now for not putting it on the list. I feel like the vibrations on it dampen quite a bit for g-spot use and I simply enjoy the vibrations of the Rave and L’amourose considerably more than the Mona. If you feel I’ve made a terrible error in leaving out one of your favorites, let me know and I’ll debate it with you, haha. Or try it for myself.

Jan 222016
 

BWE1One of my first erotica books was a Best Women’s Erotica of the Year. My local Barnes & Noble had two shelves for erotica books and BWE caught my eye immediately.  Back then, BWE had a year name in the title but apparently this caused book stores to send them back at the end of the year, thinking people wouldn’t buy past year’s books. I always wanted to find back editions because I liked the book so much. So Cleis Press now is starting over with Volume 1, and the lovely Rachel Kramer Bussel is editing (and contributing!). Rachel is a prolific writer of both erotica and editorial pieces. Her work spreads far and wide in print and Internet. If nothing else from this contest, let me introduce you to Rachel because you don’t want to miss out on her writing1.

I don’t really review books anymore because I lack the time and post scheduling resources, but I love Rachel so much that I couldn’t say no to introducing my readers to her and Best Women’s Erotica of the Year. I’ve had time to check out a few stories in the book and what I’ve had time to read has been *really good*. BWE Volume 1 has 22 very varied stories, including BDSM, heterosexual, lesbian and bisexual stories, stories featuring women with trans men, one sci-fi story and one historical story, several women in their forties and more. I’ve got an excerpt for you below from Rachel’s story, but if you visit the book’s website, you can find excerpts from 5 more stories!

I highly recommend this book! The stories I’ve read so far have focused on hetero, cis couples but I know from Rachel’s info that there is a little more diversity. She is aiming to have more work by and about trans women in the next volume (which is open for submissions!). I have such faith that you will love this book too that I want one of you to win one, and you have tons of ways to gather entries. You’ll notice a lot of people down there that can be followed on Twitter for entries – besides myself, Rachel and Cleis Press the rest all are authors who have stories in this book. If you’re a fan of erotica, please consider following these very talented people! One lucky US winner will get a paperback copy. You can find BWE Volume 1 on Amazon in the US, UK, and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

From Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, published by Cleis Press, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Flying Solo

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

 

I’ve made sure my camera has plenty of battery left for this trip, because you’re not here to watch me. I wish you were, but life sometimes keeps us apart. You didn’t ask me to, but I want to send you photos of me naked, turned on, wet for you. Even though you’re not talking up a storm as you usually are when we travel, I feel you with me as I pass through security, and especially as I head to the gate and start casually, quietly, discreetly looking around, the way we did on our honeymoon. Has it really been four years? They’ve flown by.

I’ll never forget sitting with you and hearing you whisper, “Find someone to take back to our hotel room with us.” You didn’t specify if it should be a man or a woman, and although I’d never considered it before, the idea of being pressed between you and another man made me so excited I almost spilled the medium coffee I’d just purchased. You took it from my hand and blew through the small opening in the plastic top for me, raising your eyebrows. I giggled, then started looking. I reached for your hand for support; you squeezed it but then let me go. I fiddled with my wedding ring, twisting around the new gold band over and over, afraid I looked like a kid in a candy store.

You’d whispered to me again. “I’m just so madly in love with you, and I think this should be a new tradition; when we travel, we find someone to join us. Just for fun, no strings attached.” I’d spent the entire time before we boarded perusing every adult sitting around us, mentally undressing them, wondering who had piercings or tattoos, who was kinky, who was the best kisser. I pictured the tall man in a suit, speaking rapidly in Spanish on the phone, with his cock in your mouth. I pictured the short, curvy redhead with her head buried between my legs while you entered her from behind.

“Well?” you’d asked, as they started to board the plane.

“I can’t decide. And I certainly can’t go up to any of these people. What am I going to say? ‘I just got married and my husband wants to have a threesome?’” Yet even saying those unspeakable words made me wet, made my mind and heart race. I’d told you that I was bisexual after our third date, wanting to make sure you wouldn’t have that awful, frat-boy, “That’s hot!” reaction that even most seemingly sophisticated men busted out once I revealed I went both ways. You just nodded and let me tell you all about Simone, the gorgeous woman with the smoky voice and beautiful, curvy body I’d most recently bedded.

I’d fallen in love with you in part because you let me tell you anything, and in turn revealed some of your fantasies. We’d tried out many of them—bondage, strap-ons, hot wax. We’d talked about threesomes and orgies but in a fantasy way, until that trip. For whatever reason, you’d never mentioned wanting to be with another man, but I liked learning new things about you just when I thought I knew it all. “Let’s wait until we’re on the plane,” I’d said, and lucky me: my dream girl, the one whose face I kept returning to, was sitting next to me on the plane. You’d pretended to sleep while I made small talk with her, all the while working up the courage to say what I most wanted to. As it turned out, she’d been the one to whisper in my ear, “I wish I could be alone with you for an hour. I want to kiss you all over.”

I’d stared right back at her, barely hearing the screaming infant behind us, or the  blaring music from the woman’s headphones in front of us. I just saw her, Katia, her ripe, naturally pink lips, her jet-black hair, the tiny diamond glinting from her lightly freckled nose. When I reached up and traced her lips, you’d stirred, gently knocking my knee with yours.

 

  1.  Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) is an author, editor, event organizer and writing instructor. She’s edited over 60 anthologies, most recently Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, Dirty Dates; Erotic Fantasies for Couples and Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica. She’s the author of Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays and writes widely about sex, dating, books, pop culture, body image and feminism. Find her @raquelita on Twitter.
 Posted by at 12:06 pm
Jan 142016
 

Sex toy copycats

This is a think-piece that has been brewing for awhile, and it’s been sitting here brewing because I don’t really have answers. I’m just going to say right here and now that I’d like your opinions — reviewers, consumers, and store owners — on this matter.

There are three types of sex toy copycats in the sex toy world – one is a given and one feels like really shitty business practices – and the third? Flat-out counterfeiting which we see online in places like Amazon and Ebay and in shadier stores in large cities like we learned exist in NYC thanks to attending SHE NYC. The given: lower-cost sex toys that are merely “branded” and redesigned for various companies. Sometimes even different lines within the same brand. Some examples: Lovehoney’s “Cupid Smoothie” and then the line branded Annabelle Knight Oooooh! (the second of which is more expensive). Doc Johnson’s Black Magic bullet is the same as the Harmony bullet; Black Magic has a matte-finish PU coat and Harmony is shiny and slick, but Harmony has always been a little pricier.  Even seeing the same thing across different brands like basic vibrators – bullets, that curved egg-on-a-stick design, etc.

But then there are patent wars and companies directly copying other companies designs which is NOT a matter of the manufacturing plant’s “book of blank sex toys” that companies come put their name on. Examples here are the We-Vibe vs Lelo Tiani (which is more concept than design rip-off), the Split Dildo vs Funtoys G-Vibe, the Fun Factory Big Boss vs Funtoys GJack, and various Blush Novelties or Pleasureworks vs Tantus product. Or the Fairy Wands and BodyWand brand – they are very much identical but one is made very cheaply (Bodywand). Fun Factory, publicly, didn’t seem to care much that Funtoys totally ripped off their design, but I think they’re a big enough company that it doesn’t bother them. Smaller companies care. You know who else cares? The fans of the smaller companies.

Blush Novelties – Twitter Wars and Quiet Design Copies

The most recent design rip-off, done by Blush vs Tantus, caught the ire of bloggers on Twitter. Blush decided to fire back publicly – insulting and being nasty not just to Tantus and Metis, but to bloggers who defended Tantus. DUMB MOVE, BLUSH. I saved their tweets in case the social media manager gets fired in the morning.

BlushTantus BlushTantus2 BlushTwitter1BlushTwitter2BlushTwitter3

So yes, the tweets quickly disappeared. In DM’s to others, it is claimed that this person was a very new hire and has been fired. I personally call bullshit on this because what new hire would know all of this information OR be dumb/ballsy enough to behave in such a way? It would clearly be job suicide. I don’t actually believe for a moment that this was a new hire.  Bloggers are being told1 that we’re (bloggers and certain manufacturers alike2) spreading misinformation about their materials, insinuating that they’re safer than we think. The deleted tweet to Bex included in the screenshot shows that she talks about “gross porous materials” NOT saying it’s toxic, while the Blush person tries to roundabout claim they’re using non-porous TPE….um, no. Fuck you. But, this goes beyond the tweet claiming that some medical supply companies use TPR (which yes, there is a medically-safe TPE/TPR material but it’s expensive and I refuse to believe for a moment that a company making super-cheap TPE sex toys is using a medical-grade non-porous TPR). Really? We’re “manipulating the public”? Yes. That’s my goal here. Sure. Come ON Blush! Seriously? Seriously. Blush is also stating that “Tantus started it” with the design rip-offs, but no one but Blush seems to know what this is about. Really adult way to behave, Blush.

Yes, Blush, you do have plenty of silicone products, but you state ON YOUR OWN WEBSITE that you use materials like PVC and TPE/TPR that are porous. This is my big complaint, porosity. I will recommend porous TPR only when there’s literally no other option and with plenty of warnings and education – which is more than you do. No one is saying TPR is toxic but porosity fucking matters.  I would like to see a giant fucking apology from Blush on their bullshit statements, their treatment of people during that now-deleted Twitter exchange, and for them to remove their head from their ass. I will pepper my site with caveats about Blush as a company during the few times I recommend their silicone products; I will recommend other brands above theirs, even if they have the same product for cheaper. Ethics matters, Blush.

Update: Blush Novelties not only unfollowed but blocked nearly all bloggers on Twitter by Sunday afternoon.  Very adult.

Split Dildo vs Funtoys – Patent War Turned Blogger Harassment

The Split Dildo creator; he’s been fun. He cared so much about his design being copied that he started harassing bloggers who had reviewed the G-Vibe. He would email them and try commenting on their reviews with (empty) legal threats, telling the bloggers they had to remove their review of the G-Vibe because it was a patent violation. Whether or not this is true isn’t my concern and isn’t the concern of the bloggers; we are legally on the hook for our review from the companies who provided the toy to review, even if that company is Funtoys – we HAVE to keep those reviews up because we entered into an agreement. If the Split Dildo guy has an actual case then he should be talking to Funtoys, not us. After all, Standard Innovations didn’t come harass bloggers who had reviewed the Lelo Tiani; not even after it was banned for sale in the US for a few years.

If there is a valid patent that Funtoys has violated then I empathize with the Split Dildo dude but it still gives him zero right to harass the bloggers and threaten us. He not only has zero understanding of how this all works, but seems to not even understand what we say to him. A year later after I told him that he legally has no right to harass us and ask us to do anything with our review, he’s still at it and even telling some bloggers that he’ll go to court to get us to remove our posts. He feels our reviews somehow are discrediting his reputation. So what can happen here? At worst, the Split Dildo guy wins a case and it is decided legally that all reviews and written mentions of the Funtoys G-Vibe be removed. He still cannot be the one to come tell us this, it would have to be Funtoys or the retailers we received the product from. That’s it. He can’t do anything about the rest of our blog and reviews, because it’s not about us it’s about Funtoys.

I’ve reviewed both products and, aside from the Y-split, they are different in every way – size, silicone shore strength, flexibility….one’s a damn dildo, the other is a vibrator. But still. If his patent is valid, if his complaint is valid, then I empathize but if he’s just butthurt that Funtoys made it work and he didn’t? Not cool.

What Can We Do?

So that all said….what can we do as bloggers, and even retailers, when duplicates like this happen?  Do we boycott entire companies in cases like Funtoys, Blush Novelties or Pleasureworks? Or do we simply never recommend/carry the imposter sex toys? Blush Novelties is not a company I respect, but I can’t ignore that they do have some really decent silicone products that are affordable (and NOT rip-off designs) and many people need affordable silicone sex toys. I’m reluctant to boycott the entire company, but will always promote the better brand over them if I can.  At what point do we say “this is a company taking a product that is good and trying to make it better”? In many ways, as much as I truly hate to admit it, Lelo did the “couples’ PIV vibrator” thing better than We-Vibe. I’ve always liked the Tiani better. If the patent on a dual-motor c-shaped vibrator meant to be worn during PIV sex wasn’t a thing, would anybody be bothered much by it? I wasn’t.

I think we need to look at the bigger picture. See how companies react. When a company starts to react like Blush…when you look at their overall line and see so many problematic things…you have a decision to make. Do you hold the entire company accountable for someone who shouldn’t be anywhere near social media, behaving like an ass? I don’t know. I think that WE care as bloggers/retailers…but do consumers?

When faced with a patent war that is smaller that has not seen legal rulings, the answer is clear: We listen only to lawsuit rulings. We can change our reviews to say hey, I’m not sure who is at fault and who ripped off who, but here’s what I’ve been told. Let the customer make up their mind after hearing what we know and what we feel.

  1. There is alot of misinformation in this unregulated industry and marketing and social media titans use their clout to manipulate the public.” The current person in charge still maintains that everything this person spewed on Twitter that was deleted is true but was said in a wrong way.
  2. I felt it was really hypocritical of Tantus to get angry of copying us when they did it first.” They then had a tantrum about all of the people who were deriding Blush for their plethora of porous materials on Twitter, saying that we don’t know “the facts” only what “these manufacturers” tell them. Fuck you, Blush, I’ve done enough goddamn research outside of what one person tells me.
 Posted by at 10:25 pm