Lilly

Feb 052017
 

Satisfyer Pro PenguinThe Satisfyer Pro Penguin is cute, I can’t deny it. It could be considered the most “femme” of all the Satisfyer designs, and it’s also the smallest. As I write the reviews on the Satisfyer models, and see others rate the Pro Penguin favorably, I wonder if I’m perhaps being too picky. And then I realize it’s coming from a place of having tried, and loved, a brand that simply did a much better job all around. Try as I might I cannot erase the comparisons from my brain and judge the Pro Penguin on its own merits, or faults. I’m doing my best, though. For a quick n dirty pro/con list and comparison vs other models, scroll down. For an in-depth (maybe too in-depth?) comparison guide complete with detailed specs chart, visit the Womanizer vs Satisfyer Comparison Guide (which will be updated to show the new models no later than 2.7.17)

Womanizer vs Satisfyer Comparison Guide photo

Strange Buttons, Strange Body

The Satisfyer Pro Penguin adds in a useless power button piggybacking on the same silicone button carriage as the intensity button; Satisfyer 1 and Pro Deluxe have a single button, whereas Pro 2 has separate power and intensity buttons and 2 has power as well as two intensity navigation buttons. It makes it hard to figure out where to press with the Pro Penguin when you’re not paying attention. It requires a long, firm button press to turn it off – terrible for when you need to turn the thing off NOW NOW NOW and don’t want to remove it from your vulva while it’s on thereby increasing the noise level. Another small gripe I have is about the body design: all other Satisyfer models, and Womanizer models, have a nozzle head that is basically at a right angle from the handle. With the Satisfyer Pro Penguin, the angle is less severe; meaning that the toy body is angled somewhat more away from your body. At least the power button is on the front side and closer to the end, so it’s not a total game-ruining design. But between the small nozzle head and strange angle I find I have a harder time keeping full contact over my clitoris with the Satisfyer Pro Penguin versus other models that have a big, wide silicone nozzle – the Satisfyer 1, Pro 2, and all Womanizers.

If the motor and nozzle head were more to my liking, I’d recommend the Satisfyer Pro Penguin for folks who prefer to masturbate sitting up; the small body and strange angle actually make it work for those situations. When I’m using the larger items like Womanizer PRO40 or Satisfyer Pro 2 I get the best results if I’m laying down or mostly reclined.

Penguin also has the same, glowing LED button as the Satisfyer 1 and Pro Deluxe, but it doesn’t have that strange, tech-y green glow inside. Maybe you want your sex toys to have that 1980’s glow, I don’t know. There’s also something … interesting to note about the brightly glowing power button on the Penguin – the Penguin is the only model with a button on what I call the “front side” of the body – the side facing your body. If you are a slender person using the Satisfyer Pro Penguin in the dark, well, you may be blinded by the light. Or at least give a really good scare to someone who may walk in on you using the Penguin in the dark, as your face will be lit up from below like you’re telling a scary campfire story about a rogue arm scratching the car roof.

Terrible Nozzle Head

Penguin is small, travel-friendly, and rechargeable but shares a flaw with the Satisfyer Pro Deluxe: a tiny, easy-to-lose and easy-to-displace silicone nozzle head. If you lose the silicone nozzle on these, they will be extremely uncomfortable to use. I know because I tried – well, “tried” indicates I did it on purpose. I didn’t. By the time I slid the Penguin in my pants the silicone nozzle was displaced and I spent 10 minutes wondering why it was so pinchy.  Also: the nozzle opening is square. Why. There’s nothing angular or square about my vulva. Also also: if the nozzle comes off you will need light and two non-slippery hands to get the nozzle back in place. It only fits in correctly one way, like a puzzle piece, but it may take you a few tries to get everything lined up. With the Womanizer heads, or the Satisfyer 1, 2, or Pro 2, it’s a lot easier. I can’t tell you how many times the silicone nozzle head has come off; it’s become my largest gripe about the Pro Penguin.

Satisfyer Pro Penguin and Pro Deluze have very tiny silicone nozzles, shown in the photo each on one of my fingers

Another factor about the short-canal and tiny-nozzle-head thing: you’ll have to clean the inside of the nozzle more often, and it’ll be difficult. When I use the Womanizers, the nozzle head is more than just the external portion. The canal of the nozzle offers protection of the unit meaning I only have had to remove the silicone nozzle and clean that, versus cleaning the entire inside of the thing.

Nozzle head measurements (and measurements of everything else) will be updated in the Womanizer vs Satisfyer Comparison page. (don’t go there yet, though, I’ll update the table & guide in a day or so)

Satisfyer Pro Penguin Motor

So you want to know how it FEELS, right? All of these nuisances during use and whining about design aside, I still have to tell you about the motor. I’ll be honest, I assumed at first that they would all feel the same. And figuring out how they all feel relative to each other is damn difficult – they feel best when you’re aroused, but then you’re aroused and maybe can’t get to test each one before you’re about to orgasm. For me to really get the best idea of how one compares to another I had to quickly swap them out. This means I either leave them all running at once, next to me on the bed, or deal with my clit’s short-term memory. Since having them all running on low at the same time sounded like a herd of idling motorcycles, I had to nix that idea. Anyways…

I’d say the Pro Penguin compares best with the original Womanizer W100 in terms of intensity. The Satisfyer 2 and Pro 2 are much more intense, and the Satisfyer 1 is a little more intense.

I think I may have cracked a code; I think that the smaller/shorter the nozzle head, the less intense the overall sensations will be. The longer, larger heads give you more “tapping” sensations and discernible pulses of pressure-air whereas the smaller and shorter heads have less oomph and waves. And while the motor of the Pro Penguin is similar in intensity to the Womanizer W100, the addition of a few upper intensity levels surpass the much-loved “thumping” and “tapping” and “waves” sensations and just move straight into something that mimics a buzzy vibrator – pretty much like every other Satisfyer model.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~  

A lot of folks want to know if I’d recommend the much cheaper ($55) Satisfyer Pro Penguin over the Womanizer PRO40 ($99), and I can’t in comparison. It’s cute and small, and many may like it aesthetically over the other Satisfyer models or pretty much any Womanizer. Penguin isn’t the worst you can do, but the flaws I’ve found are deal-breakers for me and I probably won’t ever reach for this one on my own. If I were forced to pick Satisfyers to recommend overall I’d pick the Satisfyer Pro 2 for it’s comfortable head, despite it’s noise and awkward buttons. Then the Satisfyer 2 for the intensity navigation buttons, and finally the Satisfyer 1 for the newbie pick. None of these stack up to the Womanizer PRO40 but as of this writing the PRO40 has been out of stock at nearly every retailer and I’m not sure when it’s coming back.

Stick around, the reviews on Satisfyer products will be coming at you quickly, and then Comparison Guide will also be updated this week!

tl:dr: Yay: Cute, small, rechargeable Meh: Brightly glowing LED button; not as “thuddy” or intense as other models Nay: Crappy button; strange angle of head to body; tiny silicone nozzle that comes loose easily

Better than: Satisfyer Pro Deluxe, Womanizer Deluxe Pro (W500)
Worse than: Womanizer PRO40, Satisyfer Pro 2, Satisfyer 1, Satisfyer 2
On Par with: Womanizer W100

 

Thanks to Shevibe for sending me the Satisfyer Pro Penguin in exchange for my honest review. There are many retailers you can shop with but I recommend Shevibe over them all; they have the best customer service and overall pricing/selection. They’ve been in business for over 10 years and can be relied upon for discreet shipping!

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Jan 262017
 

Tenga Iroha Yoru - Charcoal Whale-shaped vibratorThis looks like a really strange sex toy. I know. As I was using the Iroha Yoru during testing I found myself wondering what I was thinking when I requested to review it. I guess I was thinking “Everybody will be picking the Kushi and Tori, I should write about the Other One, the world needs to know about all three”.  But I was really sad to discover that the Tenga Iroha Yoru just doesn’t work for me.

Part of the problem is that I expected both sides of the “mouth” to be plushy, squishy, and moveable. In reality, only one side is. The other is just immovable, firm, silicone-covered plastic with a bit of squishy under the silicone skin. I can’t decide if my small clitoris would, in theory, be more or less compatible with this design. Would this work for a larger, more exposed clitoris? Regardless, I couldn’t get the mouth situated around enough of my clitoris for this to feel nearly as good as the pinpoint Kushi does. You can visually see the squishy areas in the video below but I’ll try to explain more.

The “belly” (ridged area) has a lot of squish. The side of the “mouth” that is moveable is on the belly side. There’s a lot of squish on the outer, belly side of the mouth, but not a lot on the inside. You can feel that there is a thin, pliable plastic piece in the lower portion of the mouth so that it retains a shape. If you press on the very tip of the mouth you’ll feel it easily. There is no squish on the inside of the upper mouth, and it is very solid/rigid. If I press my finger on the tip of the upper portion of the mouth there is a tiny bit of squish under the silicone skin but if you hit it wrong the rigid plastic is felt and this may be painful to those who like and need to apply pressure when using a vibrator. There’s a minor amount of squish along the back and the tail is pure squish. 

My review of the Kushi (the seashell one) is glowing from the beginning to end and I really expected that I’d be able to recommend the Yoru. I adore the pinpoint design of the Kushi and the way the design works with the great motor to deliver rumbling, lovely vibrations right where I need them. Kushi is versatile, where Yoru is more niche. I’m reminded of how much I loved the Tenga Iroha Minamo and then felt blah about the Mikazuki. It’s really the little things that make or break it for me.

Many things about the Tenga Iroha Yoru are the same as Kushi: Waterproof; has a cool charging case with a lid that doubles as storage; and has fairly rumbling vibrations. Most of the vibrations are focused at the “mouth” but you feel a decent amount in the body of the whale – the only part I don’t feel any in is the squishy tail. I can’t tell if the vibrations are different because it’s a different design than the Kushi, or if it’s simply the fact that the design doesn’t work for my body that makes the vibrations feel slightly less “wow” than the Kushi.

I’m left feeling really bland about the Yoru and it’s 85% because of the shape and the “mouth”. It simply doesn’t work for my body, or the way I masturbate. The other 15% is because of the vibrations as mentioned above. Super close in comparison, but it’s enough to make it a little harder for me to orgasm. As I try to think of folks who would like it, I’m again at a loss simply because it is just a tremendous fail for my body. I’m thinking it could be good for someone with an exposed clitoris who likes snug clitoral coverage without any movement during use. Mainly I just want to say: forget the Yoru, get the Kushi or Tori instead. Kushi and Tori are excellent, adorable and easy to recommend.

 

Thanks to Shevibe for sending me this cute, but off-the-mark vibrator in exchange for my honest review!

 Posted by at 9:48 pm
Jan 222017
 

The most popular session I attended at #SFS16 was #SFSMedia or ‘Navigating Social Media Practices for Adult Businesses’ and as you’ll see, this post is drawing heavily on the tidbits of wisdom dropped by panelists Sandra Bruce (Shevibe), Metis Black (Tantus), and JoEllen Notte (Redheadbedhead.com). While I was taking notes and tweeting as best as I could I realized during that session that it would spawn a blog post or two but I didn’t realize that every month thereafter I would be reminded by others‘ social media fuck-ups that this post needs to be written.

Today I’ve partnered with Formidable Femme, Red Hot Suz, and marvelous darling to create a multi-post guide to sex industry social media. Hopefully, through these guides, new and old companies can be educated on how to maneuver through marketing sexuality in a professional way. I plan to pull this post out like your mother pulls out that annoying pamphlet on whatever health condition she is sure you have or will have. I will present this to companies and hope they have the sense to read the whole thing.

As more and more adult-industry companies are created, or simply joining social media, the occurrence rate for social media fuck-ups is also rising. It seems like every month on Twitter the blog squad will notice new1 companies saying things that fly in the face of everything our side of the industry2 stands for: sex-positivity, body-positivity, inclusivity & tolerance, and correct education. As a business, your social media posts go beyond fun & marketing – they are your reputation. Reputation is currency. Reputation can be the difference between being named someone’s favorite company of the year and living on their Blacklist; between being recommended consistently to readers & customers or never mentioned. Reputation is currency. Understand this and you’re on your way to understanding how to handle your fuck-ups. It’s easy to make mistakes – listen to the community and take heed when we tell you you’ve fucked up.

Alright, so you’ve fucked up. Your mentions/comments are filled with people calling you out on your fuck-up. What’s the first thing you should do?

Step 1: STOP. Remove yourself from this equation, and don’t take it personally. I say that to prepare you for this: It doesn’t matter what you think right now. It doesn’t matter what your intent was. What matters is how it was received. Full stop, the end. Sit with this for a minute or ten and repeat it like a mantra until you fully believe it – and don’t you dare respond to folks until you believe it. So many companies make the storm worse by getting offended and upset, by doubling down on the bad behavior we’re calling out or throwing us a half-hearted fauxpology.

When you’ve done wrong, every hour that ticks by, from the moment the river of hate floods your screen, is affecting the perception of your business. As a business, a brand, the longer you take on damage and stay silent, the worse it will be for you and the harder it will be to come back from it.

Step 2: Delete the offending post(s). They’re terrible, offensive and hurtful. The post that got you into hot water is not going to do you any good by leaving it up. By bringing it down and quickly following up with Step 3 you will hopefully stop the bleeding. Stop the bleeding, and start the mending.

Step 3: Apologize and tell us you were wrong, we were right. Because no matter what is in your head our reaction is what is correct right now. Apologize publicly, apologize privately, apologize to individuals and acknowledge the validity of their complaint to them. However, and this is very important, make sure your apology isn’t a fauxpology. A fauxpology shifts the blame – to the complainant for their feelings or that they saw something you didn’t, for example. A fauxpology is “We’re so sorry you found this offensive, it was never our intent” which can be re-written as: “I’m very sorry; I didn’t see it that way but understand my error”.  Crafting a good apology is as simple as expressing regret/remorse, admitting you’ve done wrong, and promising that it will never happen again.

Actually, there’s one aspect I left out but it needs a little mention: a blanket “sorry, we did wrong” can feel empty if you don’t seem to really understand what you did wrong.  Months after this post went live a perfect example has occured. Godemiche put up a quick personal video to a social media account which showed the company owner discussing how he thinks a “hairy vagina” is “disgusting”. Many folks with pubic were offended and enraged, and rightfully so. The company put up a written apology that seemed sincere but vague. They later did a periscope video where they talked about their error in conflating vagina with vulva. Nowhere did they talk about how it was incredibly wrong to shame body hair like that or acknowledge that they crossed a line on their professional account. This left many folks feeling skeptical and unsatisfied that the company actually understands what it is they did wrong.

Step 4: Sit there and take the beating.  This doesn’t mean you need to engage in discussions about it and reply to every single tweet in your mentions. It’s a delicate balance; a dance of sensitivity. Apologize, make it look heartfelt but understand that more angry tweets will follow. When a tweet is popular, it will show up in someone’s timeline later on – 9 , 18, 24 hours later. And that may be the first time they’re hearing about Your Awful Thing. And maybe they’re so disgusted/incensed/hurt by what you did that they need to jump in and be another voice telling you. This may come hours, or a day, after your apology. Let it happen. Take it.

Step 5: Do better. Don’t let this happen again. Learn. If this happened because you handed your social media accounts over to someone who doesn’t understand the language of sex-positivity and inclusiveness, who has never run a social media account for a sexuality company? That’s on you for letting them go unchecked. At the end of the day, this is your company and you shouldn’t be hands-off on something so important. Hire someone better and make sure you have the login information for all of the social media accounts others are handling. Make sure you’re logged in so that notifications are seen immediately by you.

If this happened because you, the owner, are running your social media accounts then you need to consider handing them over to someone else who has experience running social media for sexuality companies. Otherwise you could be damaging your own business.

Educate yourself and your employees, specifically on the topic you were called out for. Understand the nuances of consent, shame, gender, sexuality, and more. And if you read up on these topics and still feel that you were right, we were “over-reacting” or being “too politically correct”? Then you have no business being the voice of your company. Hire someone to do it for you.

What Not To Do

DON’T block the people who are complaining. That’s literally never a good idea. It does absolutely nothing but make you look like shit. It earns you a bad reputation amongst the folks who are giving voices to your brand; the folks who might have considered forgiving your fuck up.

DON’T ignore us. The apologies are necessary. You can’t just delete the offending post(s) and be done with it. No response will land you in hotter water than you started in. It signifies that you don’t give a shit and/or don’t care to understand your mistakes.

DON’T insult us. Don’t get defensive. We’ve seen too many folks lash out at the people doing the call-out. Again, this is only going to make your situation worse and pretty much ensure that most bloggers won’t recommend your brand.

DON’T assume that the followers who are vocal are the only ones who care. I can assure you that there are other brands, companies and important people following you who also care but couldn’t say anything. If you are a retailer, consider if you’re prepared to have brands pull their stock from your shelves because you fucked up and handled it poorly.

And finally, get over your belief that any publicity is “good”. Sure you may be getting attention for your bad behavior but remember this: bloggers have influence. On their readers, on other bloggers, and sometimes on the retailers they work closely with. In addition to never shutting up, we don’t forget.

This Could Be You

Let’s say you don’t believe me and don’t think there will be a lasting impression. Let’s look at a few examples of companies who fucked up and didn’t fix it:

Lelo – They never took responsibility for naming Sheen as the face of their terrible condom. They’ve never acknowledged our anger (about multiple issues). Instead, they tossed out some condescending responses and look where we are now – many bloggers finally gave up on supporting them and recommending their products. Many retailers who were already half out the door before this catastrophe finally decided to stop carrying their products.

Blush Novelties – Many bloggers are reluctant to recommend their products. I’m still blocked by their Twitter account; I’m still pissed off at how they reacted when we called them out on blatant copycat reproductions of Tantus designs. When I do reluctantly recommend a product of theirs I never fail to also educate my readers on my reluctance and will continually mention their treatment of bloggers and their too-casual attitude on Intellectual Property.

Kiiroo – They offered up a half-hearted fauxpology on a rape joke and have had multiple complaints from freelancers – including tales of how they want to commission blog posts about decidedly un-feminist, not-sex-positive topics. When esteemed company Standard Innovations (We-Vibe) announced their pairing up with Kiiroo the blogger reaction on social media was loud and swift. Numerous bloggers have said they won’t review any We-Vibe products that are a Kiiroo partnership.

To close, I need to add this: This post is about dealing with companies – not individuals. You may notice tweets from #sfsmedia where JoEllen talked about “blocking early & often”, or see where someone said it’s okay to wait out a social media shitstorm by going silent. Those comments were about dealing with individuals as an individual or dealing with a shitstorm based on lies from a troll. My post is dealing with the very simple and straight-forward multi-platinum hit: You Done Wrong. It’s often re-mixed and covered but the song remains the same.

 

It’s been said by some that instead of, or in addition to, calling out companies for their bad behavior we need to be educating them. Consider this your education.

 

 

  1. or old, because most of us had muted/blocked the companies for posting graphic porn
  2. some would call it a utopia but this Pollyana believes in what we can become
 Posted by at 7:05 pm
Jan 152017
 

Unless you’re new here, you know I’m really picky about remote-controlled vibrators. My perfect RC vibrator will:

  1. Be powerful and rumbly
  2. Have a remote that lets the remote holder know exactly what is going on
  3. Actually work from 2 feet away and across the room
  4. Not be terribly loud, so that it can be used in public

Most fail. Yet I keep on reviewing them because this is a Thing People Want and I really don’t have many great recommendations, but I keep trying. So why are most failing? Am I asking too much? Maybe. Apparently, Bluetooth doesn’t like to work when water is in the way and our bodies are mostly water. So if the antenna isn’t fully outside your body, then the Bluetooth connection will fail. This explains why the We-Vibe always failed for me, since the location of the antenna is always going to be covered by flesh. Used externally, while fully clothed, the Sola Pip worked fine but used internally (as intended) remote use was more spotty. Sometimes it worked amazingly well, 30 feet away, but sometimes it didn’t respond. I have no idea what caused it work well sometimes and not at all other times.

Out of the Box

Dark Lilac purple Sola Pip remote controlled vibrator - egg and remoteFor $93 you get a rechargeable, waterproof, silicone remote-controlled vibrator. There are faux-metal accents on both the bullet and the remote, and the retrieval cord on the bullet is stretchy silicone. The bullet is also a bit too big to comfortably use externally for some, due to its size: 1.6 inches long and about 1.2″-ish at the widest part. The USB charging cable jack plugs into a port in between the silicone retrieval cord1. There’s also a pleather-ish storage bag which actually isn’t awful. The Sola website claims it’s anti-bacterial yet doesn’t go into detail about that. There’s a 5-year warranty; again, good, but given the quality issues I’ve heard about with other Sola toys (like the Wand) I have some doubts that the company will be around that long. Yes, that’s me in the corner, being jaded and cynical. It states on their website in one place that a full charge gets you 1.5 hours, and in another place that a full charge gets you around 1 hour. I let the thing run for 1 hour on level 3 and it was still going by the time my patience ran out and I turned it off.

The Sola Pip Motor

When I read this part in the ad copy, I was intrigued (and suspicious): “The Sola Pip has one of the most powerful motors on the market! Deep rumbly vibrations are all yours with the Sola Pip.” The vibrations do seem rumbly and powerful at first, but as you go up in intensity it brings a little buzz to the party, and then a little more. In-hand it seems more rumbly but when surrounded by flesh the rumbles get dampened and the buzzes come more to the forefront. It’s tolerable and rumbly-ish when I used it externally as a “panty vibe”2 but inserted vaginally I only felt the buzzy underbelly and it felt downright uncomfortable. Like “get this vile beast out of me” levels of uncomfortable. It turns out that buzzy vibes used internally are like nails on a chalkboard for me. It is absolutely nothing like the rumbling power of L’amourose or others.

Honestly, the first level will probably be too intense, clitorally, for a good number of folks. Under best-case scenarios, I was able to easily orgasm from the 2nd of 5 intensity levels. In a fairly quiet room, the noise factor was too much to use it on anything above level 3 intensity, or any pattern, if you’re in public and in a semi-quiet place. Naturally, Sola claims it’s whisper-quiet. Sola also claims that the Pip has the most powerful motor on the market and I feel like they’re wrong. The Jopen Envy Fifteen remote controlled vibe was more powerful and rumbly. Other non-RC vibes are more powerful. I realize I’m focusing on weasel words here and this is why objective reviewers are necessary, but come on. You know I’m gonna call you out on that, Sola.

The Remote

The remote has a central power button – if you press the remote’s power button and then the vibrator’s power button, they sync up but don’t start vibrating. This is good. You can turn the power off on the remote to turn off the vibrations, but don’t need to re-sync the two to get started again. Also good. The remote is small and rechargeable, easy to hide (or lose) and sadly necessary for using the vibrator. If you lose the remote, the bullet won’t work. This is bad; terrible, in fact. But, of course, my biggest bitch is that the remote-holder has no idea what setting the vibrator is on unless they paid strict attention to what they’re doing. And most people won’t remember how many times they’ve pressed the buttons in either direction over the course of some fun times. Asking people to pay attention and count during sexy times is just wrong. Unless that’s your kink – but that is a whole other topic and not for this blog. 

Ehhh…No

Because this is an “egg” and Sola intends for the Pip to be used vaginally, I tried it that way as much as I could stand it. I tried it under the extreme condition of wearing it internally whilst standing up and moving around because yes, some folks will use it this way. I felt more vibrations heading towards my bowels than my g-spot, firstly but secondly and most important? 1.6″ doesn’t seem long but it was apparently too long. Between the vibrations and the moving around, it kept trying to poke its head out of my vag like an over-saturated tampon. Comfy, eh?

So the vibrations aren’t terrible. The Bluetooth isn’t actually abysmal. Why am I not recommending the Sola Pip? The remote and the price, mainly. And yes, I’m being picky. I realize that any lower price point will get you junky toys and prices over $100 require even more justification but I’m not in love with the Sola Pip, period, price notwithstanding. Just because it’s rechargeable and has a powerful3 motor doesn’t mean it’s worth the $93 price tag at Shevibe. It’s just not. Hysterical fact: It’s literally $1 more than the Jimmyjane Form 1 remote-controlled vibe (which also, naturally, claims to be the most powerful wearable vibrator because Jimmyjane) and at least the Form 1’s remote tells the remote-holder what is going on. Granted, I have not tried the Form 1 and I feel pretty sure that the Sola Pip’s motor will be more powerful than the Form 1 because obviously, but I’m just as shocked as you are that I had a good thing to say about a Jimmyjane product. I promise, that won’t last.

 

My thanks to Shevibe for sending me the Sola Pip in exchange for my brutally honest opinion!

  1. At first you won’t believe that’s where you shove the pin, but I promise, it is. And yes, afterward the silicone there does look “pierced” and different, but it’s also still waterproof. I dropped the egg into a large glass of water while it was running and it escaped unharmed
  2. because of my vulva and the way I was sitting to use it like this, there was a decent amount of pressure put on the egg, ergo rumble-dampening
  3. yes it’s powerful but slow down bucko, you’re not winning awards
Jan 012017
 

Traditionally, a lot of the things in this post have been included in my Best & Worst Sex Toys lists but I decided that for 2016, I had a lot to say just about sex toys, and sex toy companies. But also that I had a lot to say about the year in general. I wanted to not be afraid that I was “being too wordy”. You know, in many ways, this hasn’t been a good year. For the country, the world, and even for personal reasons. It certainly hasn’t been my personal worst year but…it’s definitely one for the charts. I hope for a better 2017 personally but have deep fears about the next 4 years overall. This post officially closes the book on 2016 and welcomes 2017. I’m looking to 2017 as some sort of arbitrary reset button that I hope will make things better, somehow. Ridiculous, perhaps, but I’ll take what I can get.

Rankings

Now, you’d think, wouldn’t you, that being ranked as the #1 sex blog on Kinkly’s Sex Blogging Superheros list for 2016 would make me happy, right? Not so much. It came with a lot of strange guilt, mixed feelings, and unease. I still feel uneasy about the whole thing if I’m honest. I’m going to start working on a new sort of un-ranked directory in January, to get exposure to folks without relying on competition.

I also hit the #2 spot on Molly’s Top 100 list, which didn’t make me feel as oogly as Kinkly’s list. Perhaps it’s because I know how she ranks, and it’s not a popularity contest and has strict, laid-out guidelines. Whereas the Kinkly ranking blurb talked only about my reviews, which I don’t think are the absolute best in the business, Molly looks at everything and her words made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

AND Kate named me as one of her 5 Sex-Savvy Superheroes.

I’ve peaked. It’s all downhill from here, folks.

Stuff I Wrote

A few really big projects finally saw the light of day this year – what I’ve dubbed the Great Glass Post which talks about cheap glass, how to test your own items, and what to avoid1. Also, the Big Lube Guide which is constantly being updated. A long-time project, the Jar of Horrors, had its own little “where are they now” post showing photos over the years. The Jar turned 3 this year.

Some research posts I really enjoyed doing included the post about clear silicone vs clear TPR, and a post discussing if there’s any point to putting a condom on your sex toy. I ranted about sex toy copycats and counterfeits and raved about the powerful, rumbling g-spot vibrator options we finally have. After screaming about a really shitty Amazon-only sex toy brand, I wrote a guide on how to report that dodgy sex toy you bought from Amazon before you decided to stick with reputable shops.

I wrote a post about my mantra, “Never Shut Up” about how so many bloggers so often put on their activist hats and how damn important it is that we keep on talking – and condemning unsafe sex toys and lubes. “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.” I also wrote about my mental health and how it has affected my libido, and how that has affected my being a sex blogger. 

This year I started reviewing sex toys that are truly new to the industry. They’re so different that I don’t even know what to call them. They’re not a vibrator, really. And definitely not a dildo. They don’t fit in with any existing category. I’m talking about the Womanizer and everything the original model spawned. Writing the review for the Womanizer W100, by the way, was hard. It’s perhaps the most difficult review I’ve ever written because I couldn’t really understand why it was working for me, and who it would work for. Perhaps the most surprising thing: it’s become my preferred clitoral stimulator. Well, the Womanizer PRO40, technically, but really any of the ones I’ve tried are the first thing I’ll reach for now above everything else in my arsenal – yes, even more than the We-Vibe Tango. I know, I’m as surprised as you are.

Stuff Other Folks Wrote

Many fellow bloggers wrote important, insightful, and powerful posts this year. JoEllen’s Surviving a Bully (When You’re 35) spoke to a lot of us. Kate’s “I’m a Good Girl” piece really hit home for me; I identify less with kink these days but I’m a “good girl” through and through. Lorax of Sex got their hands on the awful Lelo Hex condom and showed us what happens when you poke it with a needle – and more importantly educated folks on why this is so bad. Sarah wrote two posts I couldn’t choose between – her post on why she calls companies out is close to my heart just as much as her post “Fat People Aren’t Your Goddamn Punchline“.

Molly bravely agreed to review a truly heinous dildo – you know those reusable heating devices that contain liquid and you click a metal disc inside to solidify the liquid and make it warm? Yeah someone thought that making a dildo like that would be a good idea. Spoiler alert: It’s not. Lunabelle wrote up a guide to buying decent sex toys from Etsy, because too many questionable items are on that site like antler dildos and wax-covered clay dildos. Erika talked to us about arousal nonconcordance, a term I wasn’t familiar with but is super important to understand. And Rose is writing about sex from a chronic illness perspective, which needs to be talked about more in general. So many people deal with various types of chronic pain, disability, and more and yet we’re still sexual beings! Who knew!

Finally, Epiphora wrote about the importance of her name. As someone who has also chosen their own blogger name and will never use her legal name in this context, I love the post. For a while there, Lilly was more like my alter-ego but in recent years I’ve come to realize that “Lilly” is just as much who I am, if not moreso, than the parts of me you don’t see or read about. As Lilly I’m more outspoken and making a small difference in the world. And, like Piph, I seemed to have chosen a name that shouldn’t be hard to spell correctly but people fuck it up all the time and insist on calling me the flower.

Good Things, Good People, and Changes

I wrote a whole post about my time at Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit, but I feel like I can’t say enough good about it.  It’s just that good for me – so much so that even when a moment or two wasn’t perfect, the overall lasting effect and memories are golden. They’re protected and shining, and keeping me going some days.  It was easily the highlight of my year and I’m already making plans for SFS17, including working on a session proposal with a few other bloggers.

In my 8 years here I’ve worked with/for a lot of companies and a lot of affiliate managers. I’ve had the privilege of being more picky about who I work with this past year, who I link to, who I recommend. It doesn’t take much for me to tell a company “no”, or stop working with them. You’ll be noticing a lack of Lovehoney links soon (and the ones here don’t work). While I realize that it’s hard to compare other companies to the bright light of Shevibe, Lovehoney just hasn’t excited me. Sure, customers love their kinda ridiculous returns policy, but I’m on the fence about a lot of things. When bloggers found out that we would suddenly have to change every affiliate link and then accept a much lower percentage for our efforts, it felt like the sign I’d been waiting for. I’ve been doing this too long to force myself into anything that doesn’t make me happy. I’m on the lookout for other decent UK companies that carry the brands I endorse.

And all of that is also to say: Every retailer that disappoints me makes me put Shevibe (and Smitten Kitten, Early to Bed, Come As You Are) up on their pedestal a little higher. Every industry idiot who turns their social media management over to a disgruntled teenage boy sporting the “no fat chicks” snapback and “no homo” t-shirt makes me run to Shevibe like a kid hiding behind their parent’s legs. We’ve had so many incidents this year alone with Companies Behaving Badly on social media; it’s exhausting.

And even though my well-intentioned blog post probably ended up making everything worse, I hold such deep regard for the bloggers I am lucky enough to consider friends. The Blog Squad bands together, fighting for truth and justice in this shady industry.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

yearreview

I’ve tried to think of Blog Goals for 2017; things to do better, things to start anew and you know what? I can’t. Every time I ask folks what they want, they want more of posts like this and this. And while those are great, getting that information is sometimes damn hard. I’ve been trying for years now to get insider info on the metals used for our sex toys, but it’s tough. I would love to find a way to help you know if that affordable stainless steel sex toy is made of a truly body-safe alloy2.  I’ve mentioned it on Twitter but I’d like to get some sex toys with my name on them – can I take it a step further and see if I can get one from every major body-safe material? That might be taking it too far!

I’m happy, for the most part, with the way my site looks. My header image has never been better – which hey, tick off another goal! I’m so in love with the image SheVibe came up with and I have a feeling this is my forever banner3. I feel like the site is easy to navigate. And now that I work 40 hours a week4 it’s proving harder and harder to get out a post a week5. I’ll keep trying my best to put out content as often as I’m able. I looked back at the goals I’d set for 2016 and I think I accomplished most of them, blog-wise. I finished the Glass post and the Big Lube Guide. I didn’t get to the Library page. I didn’t really end up doing more videos; I grew to hate the way I looked and sounded and just kept trying to make a video but would delete it every time. I committed to focusing on reviewing even more affordable sex toys, and I think I did okay – Doc Johnson Truskyn, the Blush vibrator, the Boom Olive vibrator, the boring Jazzie, the awful Jimmyjane Intro line, a few random things to avoid, and a Jopen vibe. I’m definitely going to keep reviewing the lower-cost sex toys.

The 2016 goals I failed to meet were the personal goals. I haven’t lost weight. I haven’t exercised much. We didn’t get the garden started. I did, though, escape that horrible, soul-sucking job – albeit replaced it with one that leaves me with much less time to devote to the blog and all that is periphery to that. Frankly, I’m afraid to set any personal goals given my rate of failure on those in 2016. I will be hitting a milestone birthday in 2017 which I am… not ready for. I’m not ready to be that age. Age is but a number, most say, but there is a real stigma against women post-40.

The Lubies that I talked about here are still happening, albeit more tentatively, and slowly. The in-fighting caused a lot of folks to lose momentum and hope, I think, and it will take a small army to get this to happen. 

I’m always open to suggestions, though, so please leave them if you have them! I’d love to know what YOU want to see more of here and what would make my blog even better.

 

 

  1. and has led to me owning way more unusable glass sex toys than I’ve ever wanted to own, and I still don’t know what to do with them
  2. Knowing the grade of the steel can help folks know if they may have contact dermatitis due to a metal allergy. Also certain grades are less prone to rust, such as the grade that nJoy uses. I’ve also seen companies claiming to sell stainless steel when it’s really just chrome-plated something else which will be problematic if the chrome gets a scratch
  3. I think I’ve had at least 5 header images by now so it’s about damn time I settle on one
  4. I started this blog while working a full-time job, but with that job I had no real supervision and not a lot of work to do so I could easily do bloggy stuff all day long
  5. I don’t know how the fuck people with kids ever find time to blog, especially the parents who also have jobs beyond the blogging
 Posted by at 12:26 pm
Dec 252016
 

Due to something that was an experiment-turned-Big-Thing1, I wrote more frequently this year than I have in recent years. I’m branching out a little with this list to talk about sex toys I loved, loathed, wanted to love, and hope to love. Sometimes though I couldn’t pick one item so there’s also a few companies I want to highlight – good AND bad.  This post won’t be my only 2016 round-up though, so stay tuned for more.

Stand Out Sex Toys of 2016

Womanizer PRO40Womanizer PRO40 – The PRO40 didn’t get it’s own review, but it was part of the Womanizer vs Satisfyer comparison post. Despite me liking the PRO40 the best of all of them, I couldn’t be bothered to do a full review since, by and large, it was the same thing as before with some seemingly minor changes. But oh, the changes they were. A lower price! Waterproof! Up and Down buttons! No rhinestones! It’s the same technology as all other Womanizer versions, but it is cheaper. The motor is better than the Satisfyer Pro 2 but perhaps a little less finessed than the Womanizer W100 or W500. I first tried the Womanizer W100 last fall and was blown away. This year this type of sex toy has become my go-to clitoral sex toy. Yes, even more than the Tango. Seriously.

TengaIrohaKushiTenga Iroha Kushi– It’s squishy. It’s cute. The vibrations are fairly rumbly and have enough power to get me off. And that tip is super-pin-point in the best way. I wasn’t in love with the first line of Iroha squishy vibes, but I’m a convert now. I love the seashell look and shape, and my reservations about the grooves were erased when I saw how easy it is to clean. I’ve tried the whale (Yoru), but didn’t like the shape at all. If the shape and color of a red bird appeals to you more then try the Tori– I think it’ll be just like the Kushi.

NudeImpressions1Blush Nude Impressions 01 – I’m not a fan of Blush overall so it was hard for me to put this here. Really hard. But I couldn’t help myself with this darn good, affordable vibrator. It’s waterproof. It’s rechargeable. It has a strong suction cup. It’s silicone (of course). The vibrations are fairly strong and rumbly – it’s no We-Vibe Rave but for the price range and qualities, I think it gets overlooked. It can be used in a harness. It’s butt safe. It’s good for g-spots. It’s even good for external stimulation. Should I go on?

Favorite Sex Toy Companies of 2016

funkit2Funkit -This year I was blown away by the designs of Funkit. Yes, the first thing I focused on was the clear silicone and swirls of pigment but then I noticed the designs. I noticed how hard Kenton was working to perfect the designs and the lengths Kenton will go to to ensure that everything is as high-quality as possible. At first there were just a few dildos and a plug, but now there are paddles and hand-sex rings and even ball gags. Fancy a certain color combo? Funkit can abide. Shevibe is now stocking a few select colors/models from Funkit (including the rainbow “Crista” design)!

crownedjewelsCrowned Jewels -In a world rife with counterfeit stainless steel sex toy designs the originality and beauty of Crowned Jewels stood out.  Offering up stainless steel alternatives in either titanium (anodized for extra awesomeness) or aluminum alloys, these lightweight metal designs can be especially great for folks who worry that the heft of Njoy steel is too much. While their designs, for now, are a bit on the short and slender side, bigger (and better?) things are coming!  I’m excited to see the direction this company will take and their future designs.

wevibesyncpositionsWe-Vibe – “Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a g-spot vibrator with the motor of the Tango?” is probably something many many folks have said over the years. So We-Vibe listened, and created the Rave. Then they listened to the many complaints and downfalls of the typical rabbit vibe, and fixed that too by adding the motor of the tango. And making a unique and powerful clitoral arm. Nova is my number 2 favorite dual-stim sex toy (the L’amourse Denia is the top, but it was on last year’s list). And even though the flagship We-Vibe, that c-shaped couples vibe, has never been something I needed or loved, I have to give props to their new Sync. They fixed the “fit” issue so that it would accommodate the genitals of more people2, and made the motor more rumbly and powerful. It’s not perfect, of course – the Bluetooth doesn’t work when surrounded by flesh because of the position of the antenna3. Because of that it’ll probably never work for me, or others with large full labia, but who knows – maybe they’ll listen, and change that, too. I continue to look forward to their future vibrators! 

DoxyvDoxywideDoxy – While I love the Doxy Don (it used to be the Skittle), I don’t use it much these days. And while I appreciate the Doxy Wands, I never use them because I’m not a fan of broad stimulation or vibrations that aren’t deeply rumbly.  So why are they here? Because they are a stand-up company. Their products are high-quality, their customer service is superb and they’ve managed to hire a stellar manager for their US-based operations; Ruby is an amazing human. AND they sent Girl on the Net to us for Woodhull’s SFS16. Doxy has a few products coming down the pike for 2017 that I am 98% certain I’m going to fall in love with, so be EXCITED.

Problem Child Sex Toy Companies of 2016

lelohex22Lelo fell out of my favor years ago but it’s been getting worse. They started the year with a useless piece of fabric called the Penis Tuxedo, and took up the rest of the year on their even-more-useless condom, the Hex. They partnered with Charlie Sheen, a celeb known for abusing women, to act as their spokesperson and liaison to breaching Civilian Land as they try to fancy themselves a condom maker and sex toy maker. The promotion of a condom that can break and users don’t even know it broke is dangerous, ironic (Sheen is HIV+) and plain stupid. Any sex educator who promotes the Hex as a good condom has earned my distrust, and I’m done recommending Lelo products, period.

tracys-dog-burnTracy’s Dog – I loathed the company for a long time based on the brand name and the fact that they only sold their products on Amazon. Then I saw that they were including fake lab test reports on suspect dildos sent to reviewers; they lied about the lab tests and lied about the material. So when I was searching for a cheap, clear sex toy to use in my clear silicone post I couldn’t resist the purchase of the Tracy’s Dog rabbit, especially since 90% of the Amazon listing called it silicone. It’s not. I wouldn’t recommend buying anything from this brand; there are other brands to support instead, and Tracy’s Dog doesn’t have anything truly unique.

meoMEO.de – What happens when a sex toy retailer puts out a line of house-branded Njoy steel knockoffs, sells house-brand silicone lube mispackaged as water-based lube4, and labels a TPR-headed wand vibrator as silicone because they believe silicone is a “concept”? “We mainly use the concept of “silicone” in the German-speaking world. Our customers understand the term “silicone” a plastic, which is soft and moldable.” I get mad. Other bloggers get mad. And I realize that I can’t recommend them to my readers.  I don’t have a way to test which grade of stainless steel a company may be using and if it’s truly the most body-safe choice, so when I see something priced much lower than njoy, it is highly suspect in my eyes. MEO isn’t the worst ever but have made enough mistakes to cause me concern.

Worst Sex Toys of 2016

Fiera Arouser for HerFiera Arouser – The Fiera “don’t call it a sex toy” Arouser was only given to me for review by the company because I demonstrated the apparent ability to make them feel that I wouldn’t be mad in my review that it didn’t give me orgasms, because it’s not for orgasms, and also because I’ve been dealing with a very low libido. It’s a $200 (or $249 depending) item that is meant as a “warm up”. By combining some suction and light vibration, this sex toy is supposed to basically get you in the mood for sex, or something. But it won’t give you an orgasm, they don’t want it to, and insist that’s not the point. Your husband should give you the orgasm – and please read that bit with the incredulous sarcasm that is in my head. Also, the silicone head has to be replaced every few uses and they’re about $5 each.  It is gendered, hetero, and frankly – insulting. Try literally any other sex toy to achieve the same results. Yes, sex toy, because that’s what this IS.

JimmyJane Intro 4 and 6 with the Form 4 in the backgroundJimmyJane Intro Collection – I tried to give it a chance. I even psyched myself up and expected to enjoy it – rather than expecting to hate it like most Jimmyjame products I’ve tried and verbally (or literally) lit aflame. And boy was I sorely disappointed. I said in the review that I don’t hate the Intro pieces but I’m far from loving them, however as time has marched on I’ve gotten more salty over it especially after reading more about the Intro 2. There are plenty of other affordable sex toys that are better than anything in the Intro Line so please, do not waste your money on these buzzy, half-ass vibrations covered in lint-attracting silicone with some strange shapes.

missvvMiss VV’s Mystery / Miss On The Go – I couldn’t even give this one a proper review because this crappy product requires an app to be useful. And the app never worked for me, an Android user with the latest Samsung phone. First, the app claimed my Bluetooth wasn’t compatible5, and then the app just kept crashing. They don’t anticipate a fix for months, apparently. Good fucking thing I didn’t actually pay for this! To boot, the kegel exerciser is painful to wear as there is no “bend” or give in between the two sections. And that tail! So long! I couldn’t keep it in my pants. Even more strange was the fact that I kept getting notifications on my phone saying that “pillowprincess has canceled the invitation to play”. This means that someone supposedly was allowing me to chat with them and control their useless vibrator. How could this happen though with an app that has never worked? Maybe it’s the Ashley Madison syndrome – not enough users, so bots are available to control or be controlled to make you feel like the experience isn’t totally worthless.  And at $169, with buzzy, weak vibrations, Miss VV’s (real) Mystery is that someone thought this was a good idea. Raise a glass to yet another crowd-funded failure, folks.

Sex Toys of 2016 I Expected to Love More

tantusrumbleTantus Rumble – I wanted to love it, because Tantus. The body design is wonderful – ergonomic and lightweight, with removeable silicone heads for easy cleaning and sanitization. The let-down lay in what many of felt the name implied: rumbles. We admittedly all expected powerful, strong and rumbling vibrations due to words used in marketing. What we have are more gentle vibrations that are somewhere in between buzzy and rumbly. I can recommend it for folks who like broad stimulation and gentle-to-moderate vibrations, but for myself I just don’t love it.

vibratex mystic rechargeable wandMystic Wand Rechargeable – With a motor that felt just a bit buzzier than the original and construction problems making my wand not safe for further use, I was underwhelmed. Even if the silicone were glued on better, the vibrations are just not as amazing as the battery-powered version. It’s such a disappointment because otherwise I adore the body design. Another lightweight, ergonomic wand – albeit with vibrations more powerful than the Tantus Rumble.

swanwandSwan Wand – Fellow lovers of rumbling vibrations urged me to try the Swan Wand, and my few sessions with it left me a little disappointed. The larger end is the rumbly end and boy is it powerful and rumbly, but it’s too large for me to insert. No problem, it could just as easily be an external, broad stimulation vibrator – except I don’t prefer broad stimulation. The Swan Wand is dual-sided and nice, and it clearly is a favorite of many bloggers….just not my favorite. But I don’t hate it, either. I hope to get my full review up soon. The lovely Nashville-based Friction sent it to me and if you are in the Nashville area, contact RoseMarie!

Sex Toys I Look Forward to Trying in 2017

cravebulletCrave Bullet – I got to feel the vibrations when I visited Sexplorations in October, and liked it but I need more use time. I know that the world doesn’t really need another bullet, and I know it can’t best the Tango but something in me needs to try it. Despite the higher-than-Tango price tag on some colors. Hell I’d also like to try other Crave products, like the soft Crave Flex or Crave Solo – although the $139 price tag on the Crave Solo has kept me away all this time and it may prove to keep me away for good.

funkitFunkit CashewCashew is their plug, which can be for vaginal or anal use but I think it was designed to be a vaginal plug. I’m lazy and usually don’t like to thrust dildos anymore so a plug sounds dandy. Ages ago I used a particularly short and curvy wood dildo as a vaginal plug and loved it; then I tried a plug version of the defunct Jollie and hated it because it lacked an exterior base, so removal was a real bitch – it was like a silicone potato. But the Funkit base reportedly won’t get in the way, much, keeping the path for clitoral stimulation open while giving an easy out. The blue-green color of Cashew is at Shevibe now! Bonus!

bswishBswish Wand – Historically I’ve hated every Bswish thing I’ve tried; their motors were always weak as fuck as super buzzy. But the buzz on the street is that the wand is equal to or slightly better than the Mystic Wand so I’m intrigued! Given the price point on this, $31.99, I’m having conflicting feels. I can’t judge anything by the required 4 AAA batteries, since my beloved-and-now-departed Mystic Wand also took batteries.

lumberjillLumberjill Leisurecrafts – Soon to be stocked at Shevibe, I’m interested in trying out more wood sex toys. The designs of Mr Dick Carver have proven to be unique and interesting, without looking anything like Nobessence or, worse, a table leg. Wood is an amazingly beautiful material that is safe when coated properly, and no…..no splinters. It’s probably the least-understood and appreciated safe sex toy material. When coated in a permanently-slick waterproof coating, wood is as slick as glass but les fragile.

 

Hopefully you’ve found things to buy, things to avoid, and know where to spend your holiday money now. Did you have a favorite (or awful) sex toy this year that is notable? Let us know in comments!

  1. It turns out that by offering my RSS subscribers the chance to win not one $50 gift card, but three $50 gift cards, with the link to the gift card entry page only published in the weekly RSS newsletter, I felt compelled to write enough to have at least 3 RSS newsletters go out per month. Many years I would have months in which I only wrote a single post, but not 2016
  2. but like any sex toy, it won’t work for everyone
  3. on the side, under the serial numbers – if that spot is not “seeing the light of day”, Bluetooth won’t really work well and for me and my labia, that will never happen
  4. Causing toy damage with users – they recalled via emails
  5. if the latest phone isn’t compatible….then what is??