Oct 042013

As a “plus sized”/fat lady, I have some unique needs when it comes to sex toys that my thinner peers don’t experience.  Often times I think that some of these issues/unique needs are very much ignored by the sex toy industry. It’s bad enough that when I walk into any given women’s clothing store, 75-90% of the clothes are for “straight” sizes whilst the plus size women’s clothing is shoved off in a tiny corner. Despite the fact that a whopping percentage of the American population is actually overweight, the 16+ sizing is hard to come by.

This is a very honest and personal post, holding nothing back. If you’re not cool with fat people talkin bout their fat, I suggest you move on. There will be NSFW photos hidden behind links, but this is your warning that those photos will, indeed, be very NSFW. This is a post to get conversations started and to get honesty and body acceptance out there – as well as to serve as explanations in how body size relates to sex toy use. Disrespectful/rude/mean comments simply will not be tolerated, and will be deleted. Another point I want to be clear on: the issues I list are not true for all plus-size people, and some issues might be true for bodies that are not traditionally considered to be plus-sized. You could have really thick/fat outer labia and pubic mound without being very much overweight.

So before we begin, a little visual aide is needed for some of you. Now, as I’ve already warned but will warn again: the graphics behind the links (don’t worry, files are on my site, it won’t redirect anywhere) are explicit. Porn. Legs spread. Most of my readers won’t need that warning, but who knows where some of y’all will be coming from.  All photos grabbed from Google Image, and copyright is unknown. I’ll remove them if need be.

Examples of thinner people with easily exposed clits: OneTwo

Examples of heavier people with plump labia/mound/etc and hidden clits:  OneTwo Three

Fat Labia

People come in all shapes and sizes. And the same is true for overweight people. Some may gain in their ass and thighs with a relatively flat stomach and thin face. Some may grow giant boobs and have a curvy bubble butt. Some may look pregnant. The clothing/fashion industry does a hideous job of portraying the fact that people don’t all gain weight the same way, but that’s a rant I had long ago and isn’t today’s topic. I mostly blame porn for the seeming misconception that when legs are spread, the clitoris is visible and easily accessible. A situation where a flat, broad vibrator would work just fine. But that isn’t the case for people with body fat, usually. 

For me, in order to get to my clit, I must spread my outer labia (I have no inner labia to speak of) to varying degrees. This is not unique to weight or body size. For a vibrator that is not slender, I would have to spread my labia pretty wide to get good clitoral contact. Vibrators that are easily dampened when surrounded by flesh also require this spreading. It was the case for vibrators such as the We-Vibe Touch, the Eroscillator, the Jimmy Jane Form 3. Is it that big of a deal to just spread em? Depends. After awhile, it starts to hurt. Especially if my nails aren’t trimmed way down. I’ve actually sustained tiny cuts from nail edges pressing into my labia for too long. Also, that means that clitoral vibration is a two-handed job. Forget using that other hand for anything else.

Examples of vibrators that have flat-out not worked for me because of my “plus size labia” include the Fixsation, iGino One, Tantus Panty Play, [redacted, reviewing it soon], Better Than Chocolate, JimmyJane Form 3 and nearly every vibrating cock ring on the market. Scratch that, make it /all/ vibrating cock rings.  The wearable vibrating panty sort of things would also never work on me, as they are flat and lay outside the labia. Dual-stim vibes aren’t ideal, unless there is no thrusting going on, as the clitoral arm would need to consistently part my labia (or I do it myself).  The early We-Vibes didn’t work for me because of the button placement; it was buried in my labia. When they added the remote to the We-Vibe 3, it took away my major issues with it.

Here’s an example that might spell things out better for you: When I’m using the We-Vibe or the Lelo Tiani, my outer labia completely envelopes the clitoral arm portion. Back in the day when I would use my corded silver bullet vibe in situations where I was clothed, my labia would completely hug and nearly cover the egg shaped vibrators. They would hold it in perfect position until I became too aroused and wet. My preferred method of masturbation using the We-Vibe Tango/Salsa is sitting up, reading/watching porn, with the vibrator nestled firmly in between my outer labial underneath panties. It stays in place perfectly, the clitoral hood doesn’t need to be pulled back because the vibrations are so deep they reach the internal clitoris, and I’m using more of the length of the Salsa than just the tip and it’s just an all-around happy time. 

Other things that mystify me: being able to orgasm from –  humping pillows/anything, tribbing, and wearing the dildo in a strap-on. For those thinner people with more immediate/easy access to the clit, all of those are very possible.  Just never will happen for me.

Reach Problems Due to Body Size

In addition to having the more round “apple” shape, I also have short arms. This currently means that anything I use for internal stimulation needs to be longer. It’s why the Pure Wand is so perfect for me. Internal vibrators, and dildos, that stick straight out of the vagina are sticking straight out the wrong damn way for me. I can’t use them easily. I have put on more weight now than 7 years ago, when I could use a traditional rabbit vibrator with only minor reachability issues. When it comes to sex toys like the Split Dildo or the G-Vibe by Fun Toys, having something that requires me to be squeezing the tips together during insertion is just an all around disaster.

I don’t know how often others of size have similar problems in this area. I don’t know if this issue is more or less prevalent than the fat labia issues. It’s a good thing that I don’t enjoy anal play because that, too, could be a bit of a reach problem. All of my weight seems to settle in the middle, front or back, much to my dismay. I know I’m not the only one like this, though, and it is what it is.

Traditional porn is fine, but it needs to come with an anti-reality warning. In reality, men don’t thrust from a 45-degree angle with one hand on their hip. In reality, clits aren’t out and proud for all people, there is body fat and cellulite, various levels of flexibility or lack thereof, and vaginal-only stimulation doesn’t usually lead to screaming orgasm in 3 minutes or less. I really feel like sex toy makers are using the size 2-6 body model for figuring out if their sex toy is going to work in theory. I say theory because most companies don’t actually test their prototypes on a real human body.  One sex toy that I thought could work great for me, due to the shape and length, was the J-Pop dildo by G-Spot Lollipop. As utterly ridiculous as I found their whole concept, the fact that the handle came back up towards the pubic mound felt like a positive aspect. Until Epiphora mentioned that the J curve really was a J curve, and not a more open lazy-C curve like the Pure Wand, and that even on her (of average body size and no fat belly to speak of) the handle was uncomfortably close to her mound and belly. It seems like the J-Pop was only tested, if at all, on a very thin person.

Someone recently came to me wanting my input on a sex toy design that they had, and I had to tell them flat out that their prized design would be considered an absolute failure for me personally due both to a similar shape/curve as the J-Pop and a design that required minimal labia and an easily accessible clit.

So, What’s the Point Here, Lilly? Are You Just Whining?

Nope. I have many reasons for writing this. First is that I want something to link to, to explain WHY a certain sex toy didn’t work for me if this is the reason, because I get damn tired of typing out the whole thing review after review. I cannot tell you how many of my reviews have a paragraph dedicated to why it was awesome for me and my Buddha-meets-T-Rex body or why it’s just Not For Fat Chicks.  I may even be going back through reviews and linking to this, and maybe even creating a “fat person friendly/not” tag. 

Another reason is to see what others like me experience. How our experiences are the same, and how they are different.  I’d like us all to really talk about it, and get the dialog started so that it’s out there. Talk about it on your own blog, comment here, hell even comment here anonymously – just get it out. Explain it. I want, someday, for the more conscientious sex toy makers to keep this in mind. To know that with certain designs, they are alienating an entire sector of their audience.  Could there, someday, even be an entire line of sex toys for the plus size person? Toys made for all of these issues in mind? Toys that would embrace those with limited flexibility for /all/ reasons? We can hope.  I want to hear from all genders, too, on all types of sex toys and the issues you have with them.  Tell us about specific toys that were bad or specific ones that were great.

When I first started reviewing, I knew that I wasn’t alone in what I liked and needed, and that others out there surely needed the info I had. I knew that there had to be others with clits of steel, who desperately needed to know just how strong that vibe was and what was your idea of strong when you said it “blew your mind”? But I’m also taking on the role of adviser for others with body size concerns, an aspect that is just not able to be pigeon-holed into a descriptive rating scale like noise and intensity.


TO BE CLEAR: My reviews, my opinions, are NOT strictly from the viewpoint of a larger person. I’ve been doing this review thing for 6 years now and I think my opinions and critiques of a sex toy are pretty damn worthwhile and valuable to various people of all sizes. But I also choose to mention when a sex toy might not be 100% compatible with my body type – this doesn’t mean all  of them, just some of them. A body type that is similar to many others’, and not classified as “sideshow freak”.  Vulvas, genitals, bodies…they’re different, yet similar. Should you choose to devalue me for my size, there are plenty of other “acceptable” reviewers over there in the sidebar. Just like there are other people out there the same size as me, there are lots of people with similar g-spot needs as me, similar clitoral needs, similar vulva shape. You think I’m a minority for this? Look around, honey.


Sep 122013

The other day I picked up my experimental Jar of Manky Sex Toy Bits and was surprised to finally see a discernible pool of liquid in the jar. I had been watching it for awhile ever since I made the jar back at the end of May, but the trickles and dribbles of liquid weren’t photogenic. I just had to share this with everyone. But first, let me start off with the back story.

In 2011 TruePleasures sent me a box of crappy sex toys. On purpose! I wanted to have demos of the bad shit to make my point when I would showcase the good stuff in a sex toy education workshop. The box of crap had been in her house for a year or so, and then it sat in my un-air-conditioned attic for a year or so before I got it out to take photos to share with Dildology. There’s a large, purple tentacle-shaped monstrosity that has the bubbly-champagne-looking base – it was supposed to be silicone but turned out to be more like PVC, the company admitted their oops, they weren’t trying to put one over on her. It’s the stinkiest. Reeks of “shower curtain” smell, something that indicates a high chance of phthalates.  The rest of the sex toys were made of the mystery-material “TPR”, jelly, etc.


Then after I was done taking photos of the whole toys, I decided to make a Jar of Horrors, just to see what would happen when there was no paper to soak things up. I cut up some of the worst looking offenders in the bunch, including the purple tip of the PVC stinker, and put as many in there as the jar would fit. That’s right, the jar was filled to the brim when I first did this.


I’ve ranted about toxic sex toys for so long. I’ve explained the dangers of jelly sex toys. Yet I still hear from people who don’t know or don’t get it or just don’t think it’s “all that bad”. Tell me, how can you look at these images and still want to put sex toys made of materials that break down over time and possibly contain dangerous chemicals inside your body? How is this safe?

I didn’t subject the jar to heat or sunlight. It was in my office all summer, my airconditioned office. Cheap sex toys have the potential to be harmful to your health. If your sex toy stinks, if it feels oily or sticky or slimy? Get rid of it. Switch to silicone – which, by the way, will never break down over time like this. Want proof? Below is a photo from Jenna who works at Tantus, a reputable maker of pure silicone sex toys. The dildos in the photo below have been in the drawer for many months, with no disfigurement, no “melting”, no leaching of oils, no damage whatsoever. So when you hear that you cannot store your silicone sex toys like this, touching? Bullshit. That’s a holdover from when most “silicone” sex toys were not, in fact, pure silicone. No oils or mystery substance has leaked to the bottom of her drawer, either.

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UPDATE: NOV 13th: I noticed some significant changes recently, and have decided to update the photos. I’ll do so occasionally to show the continued decline of material. I tried to angle the jar so that the comparison could be made as accurately as possible. For each of the two photos below, the photo on the left is the one shown above, taken in September and the one on the right was taken in November, just about exactly 2 months later.



 Posted by at 11:53 am
Jul 102013

Once you’ve developed a bit of a “presence” online, with good traffic and other blog-qualifier numbers, you’re bound to get contacted by a company asking if you’ll post their text link (some will outright ask you your rate, a few will try to pawn it off as a “link exchange” which is a topic for a later date). This can all be a bit difficult to navigate until you ask the more veteran bloggers. Here’s some starting info for you:

Updated July 2013I’ve recently done more researching and while the rates and ideas are pulled from the more mainstream sectors of blogging, it’s the only thing we have to go on. I’ve made this into a post because of the influx of bloggers who need more information, it was currently residing as a largely overlooked page.

Updated May 2013: This was written and has been around for a long while over at e[lust], however I decided to move it all here. Sidebar advertising is not as prevalent as it once was for bloggers, especially sex bloggers, because of recent changes made by Google on calculating pagerank. In Nov 2012 I actually had my own Pagerank stripped to 0 because Google felt that I was selling my Pagerank via sponsor text links in the sidebar. I had to add “rel=nofollow” to them all in order to get my rank back. Something that more and more companies want now is a sponsored *post*. To me, sponsored post is just simply my own post but with a sentence and link and maybe even small graphic at the foot of the post saying “This post was sponsored by XYC company who is great at BLAH and you should blahblah there”. To a company, their idea of a sponsored post is basically the entire post is an advertisement for them, including a few links. I won’t do that. I also won’t accept “guest posts” from anybody but a fellow blogger. 


The first question you likely have is the first question I had: How much should I charge? And that, my friends, is not an easy answer. Because it not only is based on your page rank and overall stats, but what others similar to you are charging. And I know that some people are, IMO, underselling themselves. Added July 2013:

Basing Your Rate on your Pagerank

Companies will likely only approach you for advertising if you have a google page rank of 3 or higher. By having a text link on your sidebar it helps increase their own site’s page rank. (http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php)

So the first thing that your rate depends upon is your pagerank. And to be honest, what else it depends upon – I’m not 100% sure. It could be traffic overall, it could be your Alexa rank. Ever since I started taking on advertisers I’ve been a PR4. I don’t know how I got there, nor do I fully know how to get higher. I’ve read a few tips and tricks but none have helped. After talking to another blogger whose site was considerably better than mine I took a stab at what I thought was a fair price, $30 a month, and that has turned out to be a good price for a PR4 site to charge. Many will prefer to pay for 3, 6 or even 12 months in advance and will ask for a discount. Just because they are taking away the hassle (for you both) of paying monthly doesn’t mean you should take a drastic cut. My personal opinion is to never give a discount greater than 20% of your quoted price. (As of 2012 I dropped to a PR3 and stayed there. Again, not sure why and I can’t raise it.)

IMO for banners, you should charge more. Banners command more of a presence in your sidebar and are used for garnering traffic moreso than raising a pagerank. For a 125×125 square banner, I’d recommend adding on $10-15 per month per banner. For a larger banner, add on $20-25 per month per banner as your starting price.

WARNING: By basing it on your pagerank, though, it means you’re “selling page rank”. That’s what I got in trouble for with Google. To do things on the up and up, every place I read says to add the rel=nofollow attribute to the text link. Inform your advertisers of this, because you don’t want to do anything illegal and lose your search engine ranking. If they’re buying a link just to get pagerank, then they won’t be happy and may not advertise with you. If they’re legit, they will continue.

Basing Your Rate on Daily Visitors

One site that I was reading recommended that you base it off of your traffic, your daily traffic. If you have a stats tracker installed (which, you absolutely should) you can tell how many visitors you get per day and how many page views you get per day. Base it off of visitors. Take your average (most stats trackers will give you your daily average in a summary section) and divide it by 10. This number should represent the most you could charge per month for something in a very visible “above the fold” spot, a banner. For a banner not “above the fold” (when viewing your site on a regular computer monitor/laptop, it’s whatever space is visible without having to scroll at all), deduct 10-15% if it’s still a big banner. For a banner that is small, deduct 20%. For a text link in the sidebar, deduct as much as 40-50% depending on location. If you’re allowing them to sponsor a post, something you’ve already written that will get a decent number of views (probably not a review, since it will have affiliate links, I’d include two text links and quote the full amount based on the formula — see this example of a weekly round-up post over at The Bloggess for what I mean by a sponsored post. I’d also say that if you’ve managed to get a consistent high, daily traffic but can’t get pageranked above PR2, also consider deducting 10-20%.  


A few bloggers I’ve spoken to had done this and I’ve been asked (rarely) for what they call a permanent link. What they mean is….they pay you once, and only once, for a link on your site until your site dies. I advise to never do this. Neither you nor the advertiser knows how long you intend to keep your site, for one. Two, these types of offers are generally given to test your mettle and see if you’re a newbie to paid advertising. If you don’t know any better and don’t have a resource, you might think this offer is grand and snatch it up. I can guarantee you that there is nothing they will offer you that will make it a fair deal in the end, for you. Sure it makes life easier on you, you don’t have to remind them. But by doing this you are A: throwing off the bell curve for the rest of the bloggers and B: You are losing revenue!!


Many will try to get you to allow them to write a post for you. Please avoid this if you want to keep the respect of your peers and readers. It will be a shit article peppered with their links. They’ll also sometimes allow you to write an article. This is slightly less irritating for your readers, but if it’s a post that you would normally write anyways, at least make it informative and useful to your readers. They will again want links throughout the post, so please give a small warning *before* the post that it is sponsored and the links will lead to the sponsor.


Always, always have them prepay. I’ve known a couple bloggers who put the link up on their site and then the company didn’t pay. The companies are all going to use Paypal. If you don’t have a Paypal account, get one. I’ve had one for a long ass time and never once had a problem. I know that some people who have little experience buying/selling/doing monetary business online are a little fearful of it. Some bloggers will say that Paypal is very anti-sex and will shut you down and take your money – just use a bland-sounding email address. Most of the companies that pay you do, too. I’ve been doing this for 5 years and have never had Paypal give me a problem.


Stick to your guns. They’ll ask you to go lower half the time. Don’t go drastically low just to get their business. I’ve sacrificed advertisers before, even though money is money. Once you give them an ultra-low and unrealistic price, they’re going to use that against other bloggers. They’ll say to me: “well I’ve got a link with this other PR5 blogger and they charged me less than you!” To which I say “You got a really good deal then, because it’s worth more than that. I’m worth more than that.”. They accepted my price in the end. The thing is, the sex blogging genre is likely the most undervalued. We get shafted by traditional ad companies, so companies assume we’ll just accept any old offer. And because *some* bloggers will, because they’d rather have $10 a month than $0 a month, it drives down the overall value of the “neighborhood”.


Sometimes, there’s not a rate high enough to make you want to deal with certain people. If you’ve given them your metrics, your rates, if you’ve explained in detail what you will and won’t do and they still ask you questions over and over as if they weren’t already told? If they argue a lot with the pricing? Just listen to your gut. You’ll know pretty early on when someone is going to be a pain in the ass to deal with. I’ve turned companies down just because the person I was dealing with gave me a big headache and that was halfway through the negotiation process!!! I recently had someone who claimed to have read my Media & Advertising kit and wanted to set something up right away. They sent over the banner but wanted it for two weeks. If they’d read, they would have known I start my rates per month. Then they try to get me to do an interview or post to further their campaign. No, sorry. Well, they posed, what if I write the post for you? I had to point to the numerous places on my site where I say, in no uncertain terms, that I do not take guest posts or content. I write the stuff here. I shouldn’t have been surprised, then, when they paid and it was a fraction of my rate.  My advice is to nail down early on how long they want the ad for. If it’s anything less than 6 months you shouldn’t tolerate anything other than a simple, easy transaction.


Set up a Google Calendar reminder; keep the info on a spreadsheet; have your husband make you a program (oh wait, that’s me) – whatever it takes to remind you to contact them about a week or so before their contract is up to remind them to renew. Check your PR before contacting them, in case it went up. If it went up, so do your prices. If you don’t hear from them in the expected timeframe (1-2 weeks for longer contracts, 1 week max for monthly renewals), remove their link from your site. Tell them you’ve done this and will put it back up once they renew their contract. You can’t have unpaid links up – it only helps them and not you.


Call your sponsors section whatever you want, don’t listen to them. They want their links to appear as if you put them there because you love the store…..not that you were paid to do so. I put my sponsor links lower in the sidebar. Places I like and support go up higher. Unless of course the sponsors are ALSO places you love and support anyways.


I’ve been asked in the past by bloggers about companies trying to get a link by telling the blogger that they’ll be put into an affiliate program in exchange and will receive 10/15/20% of sales on a commission basis. Unless you are reviewing toys for a sex toy retailer on a regular basis and you have high site traffic (at least 10K visitors a month), the chances of you making money off of an affiliate sale are slim. It means that someone has to click that little text link in your sidebar and then buy toys from that company. Very unlikely to happen. Again, this is a tactic used to separate those new to the text advertising game and take advantage. One example: I was recently contacted by a company who makes hetero long-distance sex toys that work via the computer and are way overpriced. They didn’t outright offer ones to me to review, they just wanted me to join their affiliate program. They tried to “sweeten the deal” by giving my readers 5% off. 5% off a $190 toy ($380 if you buy both male & female version – why would you buy just one?). I know my readers, at least I’d like to think I do, and I really doubt that even 1% would purchase these items. So instead though, people will click because they don’t know what the item is, and the site will get traffic. Meanwhile, I’d likely never make a sale, especially without ever reviewing the items and giving it a glowing review. Added July 2013


I’ve known this all along, but have also known that there is nothing I can do about it. When someone sends you money via Paypal, they will be given your legal name. There does not seem to be a way to circumvent this at all in Paypal. While nearly ever advertiser you will deal with will naturally understand the sensitive matter of your name, bear in mind that accidents can happen. It is a very small chance but it exists. I’m not telling you this to scare you off but merely to prepare you. I didn’t think about this until an accidental case of mistaken identity lead me to receive the real name of another blogger via a potential advertiser. I’m not going to do anything with the information and I don’t know how the other blogger feels; but what if situations were reversed and what if the person who received my personal information was not a friend and not someone nice? I could then have to deal with the worry of them outing me if they wanted to. While there are not a lot of unsavory characters in our community they still exist occasionally. I would recommend that you put in a clause in your email correspondence with potential advertisers that says something along the lines of “Your payment to me denotes acceptance of my terms, which includes that any and all personally identifying information you will receive about me shall remain in confidence.” or whatever. I’m not sure on the wording of this and how legally binding it is; this is something I’ll research further and would appreciate input on.  Added Jan 2012

Please ask questions or give your own tips! Thanks!


Jul 062013

Hot on the heels of the Blogger debacle wherein Blogspot.com owners were given less than a week to remove ads and affiliate links from their adult blog, WordPress.com gets in on the action.

Unlike Google/Blogger, though, WordPress.com gave no notice. Literally out of nowhere, it was noticed that some blogs were disappearing and in their place was a TOS violation notice from WordPress.com. While WordPress.com was never an ideal option for any sex blogger who also wanted to review sex toys, due to them saying that they would never allow advertising or affiliate links, plenty of sexy-words-n-photos bloggers still clung to the free landscape of WordPress.com.

Unfortunately for everyone, there is a lot of confusion about well…..everything.  First of all, what exactly did these bloggers do to violate TOS? We don’t know yet. If they find out, I’ll update it here.

Second, since WordPress is what most self-hosted bloggers are using, confusion again arises. Are you at risk because of that?

Nope. WordPress.com is the Blogger/Blogspot/Livejournal equivalent. It’s free, you’re limited in what you can do to tweak it, but they’ll of course offer you the ability to buy a domain, get rid of the “wordpress.com” part of your blog’s address, and you’re completely bound by their TOS. The Toyswap Network’s public “face” is on a WordPress.com account. This blog here is “powered by” WordPress, and I’m fine.

If you’re under the thumb of WordPress.com, your dashboard likely looks like this:


If you’re self-hosted, this means that you went to someplace like Hostgator or Dreamhost or GoDaddy, you bought your domain and hosting, and you *installed* WordPress. WordPress is a Content Management System. This is also referred to as “WordPress.org”, because in order to get support or plugins, you need a WordPress.org account. This is what your dashboard may look like in part:


Basically, the company/person who can have any control and say over what you, their guest, can post is the host. In this situation, WordPress.com is the host. WordPress as a CMS is NOT a host, it is an application that is downloaded and installed. When you bought your domain, you had nothing but an html file. Until you (or the host) installed WordPress.

We (the folks at Automattic) run a blog and web site hosting service called WordPress.com and would love for you to use it. Our basic service is free, and we offer paid upgrades for advanced features such as domain hosting and extra storage. Our service is designed to give you as much control and ownership over what goes on your site as possible and encourage you to express yourself freely. However, be responsible in what you publish. In particular, make sure that none of the prohibited items listed below appear on your site or get linked to from your site (things like spam, viruses, or hate content).

Today, we assumed that people’s blogs were being yanked because of adult content. But, it’s actually been against TOS since 2009 to have “pornographic content”.  The only recent change to the TOS, visible in the TOS Change Log at the end of the page, is “June 12, 2013: Edited “Attribution” paragraph to specify that footer credits and the WordPress.com toolbar may not be altered.”. I doubt that this is the reason.

Things become fuzzy even more because WordPress.com offered a few services for a steep upcharge to people who were too intimidated to go seek out hosting and such. It allowed you to buy your domain, and some other services, to get rid of the “wordpress.com” part of your blog address. These people are still at risk. The “host” is still a company who is against a fuck ton of shit.

One other blogger, The Sin Doll, briefly had her blog pulled. We couldn’t figure out why, until a who.is revealed that despite being self-hosted, her host, Gandi, uses wordpress.com nameservers.  This could be the reason. It’s got to be the reason, since there is no other. Sure, she bought a theme from WordPress, but that’s a theme. That’s not control over your content. Only your host has that control. Unless the domain butts in…..which maybe it did. It makes no sense. 


Look at your dashboard. Can you see this -> “You are using WordPress 3.5.2.”? And did you go to someplace like GoDaddy, HostGator, DreamHost, etc and purchase a domain, hosting, etc? YOU’RE FINE. If you can look at your dashboard though and see “Store” in the left menu? You’re not fine. Go get thee self-hosted, STAT. And back that shit up

 Posted by at 9:42 pm
Jul 012013

If you’re arrived here from elsewhere, be sure to read Part 1 first.

As “toxic sex toys” are being talked about more and consumers and retailers are slowly being educated more, the idea of the “novelty use only” tagged sex toys is being held up as the poster child for all the is bad and wrong in the sex toy industry. But I learned something when I started talking to companies – some of them just don’t know jack shit. They’re doing it because there are no legalities or formal ways to do things, there is no governing body or regulations of any kind. Some companies are taking tentative steps out on a limb and doing away with the wording of “novelty” in any fashion; some get more creative and legal with their warnings. Some companies still use the term….companies that we have come to trust and respect. One such example is Standard Innovations, the Canadian company responsible for the We-Vibe family of vibrators (and my beloved Salsa/Tango). They are regarded as a company who only produces body-safe sex toys; “luxury” sex toys. Their vibrators are made of silicone or hard ABS plastic. They are clearly not a “joke” vibrator, they are clearly meant to be used for sexual purposes. Below is a disclaimer from Evolved Novelties that comes from a pack of their Vibrator Enhancer add-ons (since those are just a hunk of silicone, it’s clear the disclaimer is their stock one), the one from the We-Vibe Salsa, and the one from the Jopen Intensity. Hover over the thumbnails to read the full disclaimer.

Disclaimer from Evolved Novolties reads: ""This product is sold and should be used as an adult novelty only and should never be other than for external use. It should not be used on a prolonged or frequent basis. It should not be used on swollen or inflamed areas or near or on skin lacerations. No medical claims are warranted or implied by the use of this product."  Disclaimer for We-Vibe / Standard Innovations Salsa vibrator: "Sold as an adult novelty Only, not for Medical Use"  Novelty disclaimer for the Jopen brand Intensity vibrator: "This product is intended for use as an adult novelty product only. For external use only. Any product use for medical purposes or for a use that has an adverse effect on any function of the body is prohibited"

But they’re not exactly denying the sexual part of usage in their disclaimer. They are contradicting themselves, sometimes, by telling you to use it externally only in the disclaimer (after giving explicit directions to insert it in to your body, like Jopen did with the Intensity as seen here). I’ve yet to run across a disclaimer that outright says : “This is not for sexual use”; they’re denying a medical use: “not a medical device, it is designed for pleasure only. No therapeutic benefits are claimed” is one that I’ve seen. I think it’s akin to the warnings on bottles of herbal remedies like taking Turmeric pills for inflammation – “these statements have not been proven by the FDA”. Does this mean that Turmeric is bunk, that it will have no chance of reducing inflammation? Nope. Just that big company pharmaceuticals is where the money is at, and where all the testing goes. The redirect of language to avoid trying to look like a “medical device” is simply to avoid getting in to bed with the FDA when it comes to exporting since, as we’ve learned, a large percentage of vibrating sex toys are produced in China or Japan. After receiving some “blowing smoke up my ass” responses from a few companies, I contacted Jopen. I know that they’re a division of California Exotic Novelties1 but I still see them as a little bit separate since the designs for most of their items come from a company called Swan. However, the blunt response I outright asked, nay, begged for came back from Al Bloom of CalEx:

Actually, it is quite simple. To avoid being classified as a medical device by the FDA, we have to make a clear distinction in our labeling that our products are strictly for pleasure, and not a medical device of any type. Once pleasure products fall under the auspices of the FDA, the thousands of choices that consumers enjoy today, at prices they can afford, would dry up, and they would be left with a handful of very expensive products that weathered the storm of FDA testing, retesting, and multiple fees and costs along the way.


 Listen, we support FDA testing and protections on consumables, medications, and actual medical devices, but when it intrudes into the bedroom, the consumers will end up losing choice, affordability, and a whole lot of varied degrees of fun!


 Now, please understand that because we are classified as pleasure products, and labeled as novelties, does not mean that we disregard safety issues regarding our products. In fact, we go overboard in this area. We use only body safe materials, and our motors and internal wiring conforms to the strictest testing using European Union guidelines for RoHS and WEEE.

I respect him for this answer. I may hate 99% of the stuff that CalEx puts out and feel that they still produce toxic toys and I may now be feeling that Jopen is a highly overpriced trainwreck, but I still respect Al as a person for telling me this stuff. When I asked for clarification about the tariff rates as I mentioned in my first post, he responded:

Yes, US Customs classifies medical devices at a much higher tariff rate than pleasure products. That is not our main concern, it’s really the hoops you mention…and, it can take years to get a product through FDA testing, a huge stumbling block to get over.

He’s not exaggerating – a friend told me about the piles of paperwork, the fees and the hoops and the time that someone had to go to to get a sexual lubricant FDA-approved. Now, they can still use FDA-Approved materials, and make that claim. That doesn’t necessarily mean that, for example, Lelo went to the trouble of getting their silicone FDA approved. It means that their material supplier did, and they can carry that certificate on themselves to inform their customers (to the best of my knowledge, and practice assumptions are gleaned based on facts derived from a company I’ve done work for that does work for medical companies – they have to use medically-approved supplies but they don’t have to get the FDA approval, the supplier of those materials does).  Interested in what Lelo had to say? I’ve annotated it with comments from my anonymous friend to decipher the smoke-blowing:

As all LELO products are made of 100% body-safe, FDA-approved2 materials3, we have never used the word “novelty” on any of our packaging, so this part of your inquiry does not really apply to us.  It is good you are bringing this issue to attention on your blog though, as consumers should realize that the word “novelty” on sex toy packaging can sometimes serve as a legal loophole4, since the materials may not necessarily be body-safe certified5. It is best for consumers to always research a company’s reputation online, ask questions to in-store sales representatives, seek advice from bloggers like yourself, etc.


Yes LELO is manufactured in China, but the thing that sets us apart from any company worldwide, is that LELO manufactures all of its products fully in-house6. When we say that we believe in and stand behind our products, it’s not based solely on faith. All of our products are put through a rigorous pre-testing and post-testing regimen to ensure that LELO’s high standards of quality are met. Being the only company in the industry to manufacture products fully in-house7, we are able to keep a close eye on these testing processes. And even after our products have passed our in-house tests, they also go through independent testing agencies like Intertek and SGS to receive official product certification, and to ensure all health and safety requirements have been met8.

Alright so let’s hear from SI/We-Vibe who produce sex toys that I (mostly9) like (even if some don’t work for me) and who do use a disclaimer:

We-Vibe products are labeled, “Sold as an adult novelty. Not for medical use.” Although our products are often found in pharmacies, OB/GYN and therapists offices they are not classified as medical devices and we want to ensure there is no confusion with consumers. Medical devices must meet a host of defined regulatory standards unique to specific jurisdictions.  We-Vibe products are designed for pleasure purposes with safety as a top priority. Our products meet or exceed many international standards for consumer electronic products10


The silicone used in We-Vibe products is sourced from a medical manufacturer and undergoes a series of inspections and quality control processes before it makes its way to our production facilities11. We-Vibe regularly, as often as once a week, conducts manufacturing inspections to ensure our high standards are being met.  In addition, our products are routinely inspected by an independent lab to ensure they meet or exceed REACH (the European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use), RoHS (an electronics standard to reduce hazardous materials found in electric components) and other international consumer electronic standards12.  Body-safe and eco-friendly is not just a stamp on the box – We-Vibe’s primary concern is quality products and consumer safety. 


You’ll also want to let your readers know about counterfeit products that are showing up more often and being produced without concern for the health or safety of consumers. Beware of highly discounted product, if a deal seems too good to be true, it’s likely the product may be counterfeit and the safety claims may be questionable. Authentic We-Vibe products are available from authorized distributors and retailers. Consumers should purchase our products from reputable, established and trusted businesses13.

All in all, I’m disappointed with their answer….but yet there are other ways to look at it. First, that they don’t take me seriously. Second, that perhaps they’re shutting the door on a trade secret. Third, that perhaps they just don’t know why they label it that way, but everybody else does/did and they will too. There was not an ounce of facts there that came even close to answering my question. At least Al Bloom answered me without a crap ton of marketing fluffy bullshit. On the other side of the coin, at least they answered. The contact I have couldn’t answer it so they passed it along to someone else internally. Half of the companies I contacted wouldn’t even respond to me.

Okay so what about companies who produce mostly in the US, like Tantus? I know that a few items need to be outsourced. I don’t know which items. Do those items have a more strict disclaimer? Tantus, though, isn’t using “novelty”. In fact their disclaimer on the suction cup is kind of intimidating. I’ve shown the disclaimers below for one of the Secret Vibrators and the Suction Cup.  Mouse over the photo to get the text of the disclaimer to pop up if you don’t feel like clicking.

Disclaimer for Tantus on their Suction Cup attachment: "To the fullest extent permitted by law, Tantus makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever whether express or implied, and specifically no warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose and in no event shall Tantus by liable, whether in contract or tort for any damages to the user in respect of economic loss, any loss or damage to property or death or injury to any person of whatever nature and however or wherever sustained that arises out of or in any way connected with the purchase, delivery or use of this product"  Disclaimer on Tantus Little Secrets vibrator: "WARNING FOR VIBRATING PRODUCTS: To avoid injury or aggravation of pre-existing conditions, this product should not be used on swollen or inflamed areas or skin lacerations. No medical claims are warranted or implied by the use of this product. Do not use on unexplained calf pain"

Aneros is also a little concerning, especially (in my opinion) since the item is meant to do prostate stimulation. The butt seems to be just a little bit more ….. sensitive, or maybe that’s just mine. “Disclaimer: Use of Aneros products is at your own risk. Neither the manufacturer nor retailer assumes any responsibility or liability for use of Aneros products” Again, I don’t know if this negates any legal claims if you get hurt. As Davis told us before, they can’t prevent a lawsuit. But it sure will deter the consumer.

I attempted to contact Vibratex, to ask them why they’ve never had to use a disclaimer, but they wouldn’t respond to me even with repeated attempts.  I put out an email to Evolved Novelties, but received no reply there, either. I’ll wrap this up with a little bit of industry history courtesy of Metis Black of Tantus:

When the industry was a baby Ted Marche made toys in his garage and he sold them very prolifically. This was the first US large manufacturer. He made a toy that had a wire inside the soft latex which rotated, much like the modern rabbits do. On one toy the interior wire was not capped, the edge of the wire as it was being used inside a man’s rectum chewed through the toy and did severe internal damage to his body. I think this was the mid 70’s. He (Marche) was sued and lost. The judge gave the victim a $14 mil settlement- which of course Mr. Marche couldn’t pay. That is how Ruben Sturman, and later Ron Braverman, got Doc Johnson. He took it off Mr. Marche’s hands.


I don’t know, but I suspect that was the turning point for having a disclaimer on the box. And that is why legal liability is so important in the industry. We are an industry that pays through its teeth for our liability insurance. You never ever have to see a claim and still, because of what we make as an industry, we are charged an arm and a leg and we are told we are lucky to even get it since 99% of insurance companies won’t issue insurance on our products.


I honestly don’t think it has anything to do with the quality, or lack thereof, of a sex toy. I think it has to do with history. Small manufacturers are less likely to use this terminology. Large one’s are more likely.

I’m going to continue to work on this list, with the help of others – if I have something listed incorrectly, let me know and if there’s a brand not listed, let me know how to categorize it. If you see a brand we trust with a disclaimer of any type, can you photograph it and send it to me? It’s going to be a given that the larger and older companies will continue to use the disclaimers.

Companies that do not use a “novelty” “not medical” or anti-liability disclaimer:  LELO, Je Joue, Vixen, Fun Factory, Vibratex, Vamp, BS is Nice, OhMiBod

Companies that do include a “novelty” “not medical” or other anti-liability disclaimer: Jopen, We-Vibe, Tantus, Aneros, CalEx Novelties, Doc Johnson, Pipedream, Topco, BSwish

  1. which I am vocally not a fan of
  2. “‘FDA approved materials’ is nothing more than a clever marketing ploy to confuse consumers into thinking their products are FDA approved”
  3. “The fact that they use FDA approved materials has nothing to do with anything.  The FDA is concerned with the final product, not the individual materials used, so it has no bearing on importing, costs or otherwise.”
  4. “There is no “legal-loophole” and they are perpetuating the spread of misinformation for their own gain.”
  5. “Who is the certifying agency of their “body-safe certified” products?  I have never heard of such a thing.”
  6. “I am assuming this means they have their own factory?” Me: Maybe yes? See this
  7. This is a false statement. They are far from the “only” company manufacturing their own toys. Doc Johnson, Blush Novelties, Odeco (which is also the factory for NS Novelties), IMToy and Maia Toys are also producing their own lines, along with many, many other factories.”
  8. “While this is true, what she is not saying is that they HAVE to perform these tests if they want to sell in the EU.  There is NO WAY around this and every single toy that has vibration goes through the same testing procedures, no matter what the company (unless they don’t want to sell in Europe). These are the RoHS and CE certification tests.  The only question in regards to testing that would be worth asking is WHO does the testing and Intertek and SGS are in fact, the most reputable testing facilities.”
  9. Still hate that Thrill
  10. NONE of this is an answer, it’s marketing
  11. Yep this is what I was talking about up above with Lelo’s claims
  12. Once more WITH FEELING! They do these tests because they HAVE TO
  13. What on earth did THIS have to do with my question?? Nothing
Jun 282013

There are a lot of guides to using Twitter out there, but I really feel like sex bloggers are a smaller group. We talk to each other a LOT and we even talk to the manufacturers and companies that are germane to our needs (see? Texas taught me a new word). I don’t know of many other sectors of bloggers where the manufacturers and bloggers can be on a first-name basis so often.

With the Exodus of Eden, there are a lot of people coming over to Twitter who are new to Twitter and/or new to blogging as well. Here are some tips and tricks to help you use Twitter better for you and your blog without irritating your followers. Disclaimer: I’m crankier than most people. I’m one step away from being a full time Grumpy Old Man. What I find to be annoying, others don’t mind. YMMV.


1. When you’re trying to help promote other bloggers/companies in a tweet, don’t start the tweet with their username. Doing so will mean that the only people who will see that tweet are people who also follow who you’re mentioning. To see what I mean, go visit the Twitter full profile of just about anybody. You’ll see tweets in their timeline that didn’t show up in your stream, because they were directly talking to someone you don’t follow. Instead of typing “@Username is having a contest!”, try adding in another word or just a period. “.@username is having a contest!” will ensure that everybody sees that tweet in their stream.  Sometimes I’ll see people also do this if they’re in a conversation with someone and they want everyone in their timeline to see the response. Do so sparingly and in the right circumstances.


2. RT = retweet. This shares someone’s tweet. Do this if it’s informative, funny, whatever but don’t do it excessively. If you’re using Twitter via Twitter.com, when you click on “retweet”, it doesn’t show up as RT @username: tweethere. This is useful if that person’s tweet is using the full 140 characters. Doing RT @username tweethere uses up characters. You can see the two differences below in how it’ll look on your stream and others:


If you like doing RT the old fashioned way (the way Twitter.com used to do it) but the whole thing won’t fit, you can do MT instead of RT. MT= Modified Tweet. I only learned that this week!

3. Depending on which Twitter client you use, often when you reply to someone, if they have @’d someone else, that other person will automatically get included in the tweet unless you delete their name. This is great if you’re all having an ongoing conversation or you want everyone to see your response. However, take note. Have all parties actually gotten involved in the conversation? If not, at some point in the conversation stop using the name of the person who isn’t participating. Otherwise their Mentions will be bombarded.

4. When you do a sex toy review, tweet the link and call out the company by their Twitter name so that they’ll see the tweet and your review. This is one of many ways to engage with companies, which may end up benefiting you.

5. If you follow someone who abuses the RT function or tends to RT stuff you don’t care about, you can turn off RTs via Twitter.com. Of course, this only works if they use the auto-RT feature (example 2 above).

6. If you’re using Twitter.com primarily, be sure to click on the “Connect” tab often. Here you will be able to see which tweets got the most mileage and action, but you’ll also be able to better see every tweet directed at you. This is also the only place you’ll see a tweet to you that is from someone you don’t follow.

7. Use the “favorite” as a way to essentially let someone know you saw their tweet/response, liked it, heard it, whatever. When you favorite a person’s tweet, Twitter tells them.

8. Try to install a Sharing plugin on your blog. This makes it as easy as a few clicks for people to share your posts. I have a few more social-media-based tips in this Blogging 202 guide.

9. Curious as to who is following you? Click on the number of followers that shows up on the main Twitter.com page, right above the compose Tweet box. Curious about who UNfollowed you? Sign up with Who Unfollowed Me and check back every few days or week.

10. To see how relevant your links are, sign up with Bitly and use it to shorten all of your links. It’ll track them and tell you how many people have clicked.



1. #FF – Follow Friday. You don’t have to list out everybody that you follow. That kinda defeats the purpose. Have a topic, a group, a reason. Do a few groups. But don’t do more than 3 or 4 tweets like this. It gets annoying for those who do follow you. It IS a great tool to use for finding like-minded people to follow and it is a great tool to promote the people and companies you like, yes. Just don’t go overboard.

2. Speaking of #FF…..don’t retweet every #FF mention you get. If you want to thank the person who gave you a #FF, please do, but you don’t need to also tweet your thank you to everybody else included in that #FF group.  Doing this stuff makes you look a bit like a braggart. Doing it right:


3. And again, speaking of….you don’t need to RT every plug or compliment you receive. Sure it’s great and nice to toot your own horn sometimes. Absolutely. Just….easy on it, okay? We already follow you and like you. We already know you’re great!

4. Mix it up. Don’t do too much of just one thing on Twitter. Don’t feed Twitter every photo you reblog on Tumblr. If people want to follow your Tumblr, they will do so. Don’t fill your tweets with little other than links to your blog posts. Again, yawn. And for the love of pete space out those contest tweets. 75% of your followers don’t give a rats ass about them.


5. ENGAGE if you want people to follow you. Yes, say witty things. But also just talk to people – respond to their tweets, ask them a question. On the flip side though, if your tweet stream is filled with nothing other than replies to people that I don’t follow? I’m not going to follow you. You don’t say anything! Of course, you may not always get a response to your response, and that is the nature. It doesn’t mean you’re being ignored.

6. IF you have locked your Twitter account for more privacy, then ONLY the people who follow you can see your tweets. This means that if you tweet someone directly who does not follow you OR if you’re jumping in on a conversation and one of the people doesn’t follow you…..they will never see your tweets. @’ing someone directly doesn’t mean that they will see your tweet regardless of privacy. You’re locked. Period. This also means that you can’t enter a contest, unless the contest haver follows you back. They’ll never see your contest tweet….but also, neither will anyone other than your followers.

7. Don’t auto-DM people who follow you with a sales-pitchy impersonal thanks. It’s generally hated.

8. Make sure that the email address you used to register with Twitter is one you use frequently so that you don’t miss DM’s.

9. Try not to ever DM someone with something that would cause you or your reputation harm. If you want to snark about someone or give out your phone number, take it to email. Because the one time you don’t want that message to be public is the one time you’ll screw up. This happens more to mobile users than anything else, I’ve found. It’s harder now to do this with Twitter.com.

10. Finally…..watch what you say. It’ll be archived somewhere even if you go back and delete an old tweet. Rants and inappropriate comments have lost people a lot more than just a little respect.

I forgot one. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s because I do use Who Unfollowed Me, and I get email notifications of new followers. But here’s the thing with Twitter….follow someone because you like them. You like their tweets and want to keep up with their goings-on. But don’t follow someone just to get them to follow you back. And especially do not follow and unfollow and follow again and unfollow again because you’re trying to get them to follow you. There will always be people you follow that will never follow you back and vice versa. It’s not always personal. So quit being twitter-passive-aggressive.

Nope I forgot two. Sometimes people are passive-aggressive and sometimes Twitter glitches. Sometimes Twitter will stop following accounts despite you not telling it to do so. You’ll think to yourself “I could have SWORN I was following her” only to find out that somehow, you’re not. Also consider this before you get offended that someone unfollowed you once (and if you do get offended, you’ll need to get a thicker skin).


Questions about Twitter?? Ask me! Have a tip of your own to share? TELL US!



 Posted by at 9:30 pm