Nov 232016
 

blackfriday2

It’s that time of year, again. I’ve got some pretty great deals for you below, from the shops I support the most.

svbf1Shevibe is doing a progressive sale again, where the more you spend, the more you’ll save. Spend $85, save 10% (KRINGLE10); spend $100, save 15% (KRINGLE15); spend $125 and save 20%(KRINGLE20). NOTE: CODES STACK. You can use all of the ones mentioned here! Given the cost of a really great sex toy, it’s not hard to get above that $125 mark. Some of my top recommendations:

* Pretty much anything from L’amourose. The Prism V is great if you’re not ready to splash all out, while the Rosa Rouge and Denia are big winners for me.

* Now’s the time to try out the We-Vibe Rave, Nova or even the new Sync. And if you don’t already own it? The Tango! There are so many great We-Vibe items that I endorse.

* Any of the Womanizer models are great, but my current fave is the new Pro40.

* And of course, don’t forget some of the amazing (premium-priced) dildo makers like Njoy, Nobessence, and Fucking Sculptures.

There’s more! If you are into Fun Factory toys (like the ultra-rumbly extra-powerful G5 line) you’ll get a free Fun Factory Toybox when you spend $109.99 on FF products (after discounts) while supplies last.

toybox

These two deals are just for my readers. In order for these codes to work, you’ll have to click through to Shevibe.com from my site. All codes can be stacked, so no worries on choosing just one.

Free mini lube with code LILLYLUBE

For now, the lube is Earthly Body Waterslide – Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Propanediol, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Citric Acid

Spend $125, be entered to win a $300 gift card. Enter LILLY300 to be eligible. For this cool extra, just spend more than $125 (BEFORE discounts!) and you can be entered into a drawing for a $300 gift card. Use the code LILLY300 for this, and remember – gotta place your order by clicking from my site first. That’s how they know you’re MY lovely readers!! <3

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Tantus! 40% Off Sitewide* Thursday starting 12 am PST through Monday 11:59pm PST with code DANGEROUSLILLY


*sale excludes Doxy, Magic Wand, Joque Harness and lubes.

tantusbfwide

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Hot Octopuss Pulse II Solo and Duo

So there’s going to be a Pulse III coming out, I don’t know what the price point will be. Given that SheVibe sells the Solo 2 for $99, I’d reason that the 3 will be the same or slightly more. The 3 Duo will have a stronger secondary motor for your partner, and both models will be more quiet, have a “turbo” mode to go straight to high-power, and magnetic charging vs the port it is now. Directly from Hot Octopuss the Pulse 2’s will be 60% off on Black Friday, and I’ll have a coupon code that’ll get you that 60%, otherwise it’ll be 50%. Go HERE to purchase, but the sale won’t be live until Nov 25th UK time, which I think is going to be sometime late Thursday night in the US.

Save 60% on the Pulse II Solo or Duo with BFDL60

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Canadian shop Come As You Are has the following:

  • Festive Bundles: Awesome stuff massively reduced in price
  • Get a $15 gift card from us when you spend $50 on Fun Factory with coupon code FUNFACTORY
  • Get a free Simple Massage Melt with coupon code MASSAGE
  • 20% off all sex toys over “Black Friday” weekend with coupon code AMERICANTHANKSGIVING
  • Automatic free shipping in Canada on all orders over $50, free shipping on orders over $100 in the USA with coupon code USA

Another Canadian shop, Lovedreamer, has some pre-Black Friday sales? I don’t know if these will change, if there will be more, or they’re just announcing early. Right now I just see this 30% off “Sneak Peek” thing.

 

Keep checking back through Friday – if a few of my fave little indy shops announce deals for Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) I’ll let you know! 

 

 Posted by at 1:01 am
Nov 102016
 

Note1: This is a post about bloggers, for bloggers. Readers you can probably feel free to skip this one. Note2: The majority of this post was written prior to November 8th. As warriors and activists for underserved groups, we have our work cut out for us. We feel defeated right now. We don’t know where to put our energies. I’ll do my best to keep American politics out of this but I will say: a world where Trump is president scares the shit out of me, and I suspect many of you reading this feel the same. So let’s do our best to stand together, not apart.

Blog Squad - Truth, Justice and CaffeineI’m not the authority on this. I’m not the gate-keeper, the mafia don, or anyone of power. I’m simply the person who has chosen to write about it since I embrace the term “Blog Squad” so strongly. I’m writing this in the hopes to bridge divides and correct a lot of wrong assumptions I’m seeing amongst bloggers. I may say “we” and “us” a lot in the post, and it’s only because those of us who have been to Woodhull and are “blog squad” have had long talks about the accusations of exclusivity, the divide, and what we need to do to bring down the “wall”. If they disagree with anything I’ve said here, I’m sure they will comment and correct for themselves (please do!).  I’ve tried my best to organize my feels here, and this post is partly about Blog Squad in general, as a global thing, and it’s in part just about Woodhull. Some of this may not apply to you.

Blog Squad Origins

August 2015 – A dozen sex toy bloggers attended a new-to-them sexuality conference, some with great trepidation. Some had had bad experiences at a different sexuality conference1, some had just heard about the negativity bloggers had dealt with at another conference, and still others were just anxious little bunnies about getting out from behind their computer. In part because of our collective anxieties and in part because without each other we felt lost, we bonded and stuck together at that conference. You were fairly unlikely to see just one blogger; we mostly traveled in packs. It was because of this that an employee of Smitten Kitten dubbed us all “The Blog Squad”. We’d never had a thing like that and it felt so superhero-badass that we jumped on it. So yes, it referred specifically to those bloggers at that conference, originally. And then with SFS16 the Woodhull Blog Squad grew with at least 2 dozen of us in attendance. It was glorious and I know we made a difference. Our social media posts, blog posts, tweets – they all educated someone.

What Does Blog Squad Mean To You?

Before I continue on with thoughts on accusations, cliques, inclusion/exclusion, and more, I want to include some words from Woodhull folks. I explained my post to them and asked them what “Blog Squad” means to them; who is the blog squad, etc. Ricci Levy is the Head Founding Honcho, and blog squad mama – her effusive inclusion of us at SFS15 made all the difference.

The #BlogSquad is a group of bloggers who were all at Woodhull together and who adopted a twitter hashtag and name to describe themselves. It’s not a formal group, there’s no application process, no membership dues, no real requirements.  In fact, anyone who wanted to say they were a member could – because there’s no governing body to say “nay.” It is our strongest hope that our bloggers and social media warriors will expand every year – both in terms of diversity and in terms of focus.

Metis Black of Tantus is on the board of Woodhull and created a Bloggers Lounge for us starting with SFS15.

The blog squad was so spontaneous in its becoming. I remember at other events, bloggers questioning if they were really sex educators, if they were just toy reviewers. Whatever it was at Woodhull SFS – respect and acknowledgement from the Executive Director (Ricci) and staff; sessions that had larger human rights themes; or just the battle scars from earlier events that made the camaraderie binding, the bloggers bonded in a unique unifying way. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t exclusive, no one coordinated it- it just happened. And the content for those initial writings also changed. There was more reflection of society, more consent issues, more writing about illnesses, more talk of personal journeys that brought the writers to bigger cultural issues.

Sandra, of SheVibe, (my sponsor) for SFs16 did her best to help bloggers feel at home by sponsoring a PJ Party. The SV crew also drew a Blog Squad design which gave me such sheer joy I don’t even have words. The original superhero trio is included in this post, and their comic-book cover for SFS16 is shown here.

Blog Squad did not (and does not) at all seem exclusionary to me. Any blogger in good standing (and I don’t know any who aren’t) is part of the Blog Squad. In good standing means to me: respected within the community who is working hard at their craft, contributing and learning. Someone who is producing quality work that is meaningful to sexual health and justice.

On Feelings of Exclusion

Over the last year, but particularly recently, we’ve seen folks complaining about the name “the blog squad”. They have felt that it’s purposefully exclusionary, and wonder if they’re a member, or assume they’re not. I’ve seen folks getting salty about it on social media.  But here’s the thing: It wasn’t a name we came up with ourselves, it wasn’t a thing created to exclude – it was created to celebrate. It was not born of malicious intent; quite the opposite. Yet it’s being used against us. Maybe you’ve never had the privilege of attending a conference, or maybe you have but it was just a different one. Maybe you have, or have not, felt the camaraderie that comes from spending the weekend learning, hearing uplifting words, and being around Your People. Woodhull wasn’t the first time I felt it, but it was the first time it was felt so strongly.

There seems to be this bizarre divide, a growing divide, and I don’t know what started it. There seems to be the Blog Squad who is willing to include anyone and then there are folks who are almost anti-blog-squad, who complain that we are a “clique”, who assume there is purposeful exclusion. If you were to talk to us and really listen, without prejudice or paranoia, you would understand that it wasn’t something we named ourselves but it IS something we’ve embraced because we needed the community and support. We needed each other to lean on. I would love to see it be a unifier, not a divider.

How to Be Part of the Blog Squad

There will still be the Woodhull Blog Squad, but I think that the term is important and very descriptive of what so many of us do – unrelated to the Summit. It’s not a club, with dues or criteria, really. It was born out of Woodhull but doesn’t require an invitation. Maybe you live far outside the US and will never be able to afford to come to Woodhull. Well, SFS16 Blog Squadders are working on a way to extend the education from Woodhull to everyone, but there’s not much we can do to extend the in-person experience and I’m sad for that. I really am. I wish you could experience this bonding. It’s so life-changing. But I think we can find other ways to bond and relate.

So you want to know who is blog squad, who isn’t? How to be part of it? Embody the Spirit of the Blog Squad. That’s it. You’re in. As I’ve said before, as a group we get shit done. We’re loud. We are mighty. We can accomplish so much more if we just support each other. This doesn’t mean everybody will be chummy friends; disagreements will happen and personalities will clash. But overall we can support each other in so many ways and elevate the community to a true Force To Be Reckoned with.  Also? The Woodhull Blog Squad isn’t limited to American bloggers. Firstly, there’s a number of Canadians that attended Woodhull. Poor overlooked Canadians! You definitely don’t have to attend Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit to call yourself “Blog Squad”, but you’d better believe that the moment you step foot inside the Summit bounds, you’re Blog Squad. You will be thanked, you will be honored, you will be mentioned as part of the mighty group of social media warriors.

I’ve already seen so much Blog Squad Spirit from many of you. When you write posts about companies who fat-shame in their marketing. When you call out a company on social media for shitty behaviour of any kind. When you educate others against toxic toys and irritating lube. When you feature interviews with other bloggers on your site. When you share each other’s important posts on social media.  When you review a sex toy and talk about flame testing, or encourage silicone over porous materials.  Really, it’s pretty open-ended. Take the name, freely, if you feel it suits you and be fucking proud of yourself because you’re awesome. The name has begun to evolve, to be synonymous with Bad Ass Blogging and Taking No Bullshit.

On Friendship, Anxiety, and Assumptions

I don’t know WHY this is the case, but man a lot of us are anxious bunnies. A lot of us, and by us I mean the bloggers in general, sometimes assume the worst of other bloggers. We are scared they dislike us; this is sometimes easy to assume when you’re in the context of text-only social media. If your mentions timeline is always busy, you don’t have the time to reply to every person who @s you. Maybe you just have time to favorite their tweet. Maybe their reply doesn’t really need a response. I can’t speak for everyone about everyone, but as someone accused of being part of the exclusionary clique, I can tell you that most of the time my non-response isn’t a signal of my exclusion of you – it just means I didn’t have a good response or didn’t see your tweet.

However, something that comes from meeting in person and hanging out is a bond – I’m sure that some of the UK bloggers have experienced this with ETO or Eroticon. There’s simply a stronger bond of friendship that forms, and it’s not against others, it’s not to hurt them. But it’s a fact of life. I feel that I can speak for those viewed as blog squad when I say that we are not closed off to making new friends, but out of comfort we can be more likely to talk to each other. That’s normal. But when folks starting making jabs to each other publicly on social media about the blog squad, accusing us of exclusionary tactics, of being a clique, of being this or that….take a moment to think of how that feels for us. How hurtful that is. It is tiring to frequently be told you’re a bad person for having some friends closer than others. For embracing a bonding, unifying “code name”. It is tiring to constantly assure people that there’s no evil clique, merely varying levels of kinship. If we were to send out engraved invitations, I feel that that still would not help some folks. Yet here I am, trying regardless. The very definition of the word “clique” means that those in it put up walls and refuse to let others in. We may not be handing out roses but that isn’t a good definition. We are friends. Some of us are close friends. Some of you are close friends. But purposeful exclusion on a large, group level? That’s simply not the case.

So many folks said “I wasn’t sure if I was part of the Blog Squad, you guys were this little group” after Woodhull. Or even, that they didn’t feel as much camaraderie or felt on the fringes. Confession: I had a mini break-down to Sugarcunt on Saturday before dinner. I had no dinner plans; I wasn’t sure if anybody wanted to spend more time with me. Yes, I felt like Everybody Disliked Me for a little bit. Why? No real reason, actually. Just my anxious, paranoid brain sticking it’s nose where it doesn’t belong. That doesn’t mean that it was right, though, you see? You may get worried that you’re being excluded but I feel I can speak for us all when we say “it was never intentional, we were doing our best which maybe isn’t all that good”. And I know that unintended hurts don’t erase hurts. Which is a great segway to this next topic…

Assume Good Intentions

Speaking here mostly for myself (they’ll chime in if I’m wrong) but when you’re anxious, nervous and feeling really overwhelmed by being around more people than you usually are – is it not normal to seek out a friend, use the buddy system? We often say we’re socially awkward – yes, around folks we don’t know well. Not around those we’ve already bonded with. But because we’re all up in our own heads, trying to read other people’s faces and words, trying to figure out where we’re going next, battling a lack of sleep, battling our introversion….it’s damn hard to be A Good Host. It’s really fucking hard to remember to find people and purposefully include them if they’re not right there. If you stand on the very outskirts and don’t introduce yourself? I’m not going to come talk to you. That sounds horrible, but I’d probably vomit if I had to do that. I saw a number of folks at SFS16 that I know by sight because they aren’t anonymous online, but they may not remember what I look like. And a bunch of them never spoke to me. I didn’t take it personally; how could I? I didn’t have the guts to go say hi and tell them who I am. I’ve been told that some folks at SFS16 felt that I gave them the cold-shoulder. I can assure you that I didn’t on purpose. Maybe I wasn’t as socially confident and proper as I should have been, but I was doing the best I could. Maybe I had somewhere to be next. Maybe I just had to fucking get out of that loud room, NOW. There’s plenty of reasons and I can pretty much promise – it wasn’t you.

So when we start tweeting pre-conference about how excited we are to see our friends but also all the anxiety, maybe try believing us? Try assuming that we’re sitting there unsure if YOU dislike us. That we’re terrified we’ll say something dumb. We all have battle scars, we’re all trying to support each other. Come sit with us in the Blogger Lounge. Throw your cents into a conversation. Put your name on the list next year for lunch buddies2. But mostly, understand that we’re individuals, not a mob. We may have a lot of similar views, but we are not the same. We don’t all agree on everything, and we don’t expect to.

Assume. Good. Intentions.

Stand together. Be kind to each other. Understand that friendships take time and many times need more than just tweets. If we support each other and ask as often as we offer, can you imagine the changes we can be part of for sexual health justice? To better the industry? Assume good intentions, and have good intentions.

  1. I won’t go into that whole story here, in part because it would take 1000 words, but if you really want to know, feel free to contact me
  2. yes it’s a thing we’re gonna try to do
 Posted by at 2:49 pm
Nov 012016
 

Three things to know about me before we get on with it:

  1.  I suck at accepting compliments
  2. I’m competitive in some aspects
  3. Yet I prefer fairness

So today I found out I was named Kinkly’s#1 Sex Blogging Superhero 2016. In my 8 years of blogging there has been at least one “Top 100” list every year – the Top 100 Sexy Bloggers1 and Kinkly’s list. Over the two lists my rank from 1-100 has spanned 1-84 – and no, I didn’t start out at 84.

You would think that after 8 years I would be happy, nay thrilled, to be at the number 1 spot on a list like this. After all, I did ask for votes – as much as I hated doing so. And I really hated doing so. But instead, I feel….uncomfortable. Unsettled. So I have to say at this point that if you like the Kinkly list and your ranking and you don’t see any problems (and I totally respect that, absolutely), you might want to skip to the last section, “Blogger Awards”. This is my space to say my piece but you don’t have to read my words if they’re going to hurt you.

Apparently, winning the #1 spot comes with a prize. I say “apparently” because I so much didn’t expect to get #1 that I didn’t pay attention to prizes. The $500 prize money is going to be turned into two $250 “scholarship funds” for bloggers to attend Woodhull in 2017. If I had more money to do more scholarships, then I’d simply say “any educational sexuality conference” but with only 2 scholarships I’m gonna just pick my favorite conference: Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit.

Why do We Have to Compete Against Each Other?

Over the last month I’ve spoken to many bloggers who approached the Kinkly list with dread. The thought of bugging everyone, repeatedly, for votes felt off to some of us. Others didn’t want to do it, period. Some felt they had to because of the credence that ranking high can give you (especially if your blog is newer). Even I felt like “well if I don’t ask for votes and don’t make the list, will I lose the respect of my peers and those who may want to do business with me? Will my blog be less desirable?”. It was a tough internal battle to ask for votes. 

Rankings can make people sad; angry; bitter; depressed. It’s really hard if you are upset by your ranking because you don’t want to pee in other people’s Cheerios if they ranked well and are thrilled. Conversely it can feel rough (hi, it me) to be ranked high when your friends are unhappy with their own rank. There is no denying that I spoke with many people last year, and this year, who looked at the Kinkly list with confusion (on their own rank and others’). A poor ranking can be the thing that makes a blogger stop caring, stop blogging – especially when the ranking criteria is vague and they don’t understand their rank.  And it fosters this “I’m better than you” attitude2 – I feel like we need to support each other, build each other up. We need many voices. You never know what it is about your blog, your post, that may get through to a reader. No matter how new or old your blog, we’ve all reached people who are reading this for the first time. You are different than me and yet similar to someone else – and often, especially with sexuality, we need to know we’re not alone, we’re not the only one like that. Reading something where you say “Oh, wow, that’s totally me” makes you feel less alone and broken, sometimes. We need that!

So, yes. I may be ranked #1 but I don’t really like the list. I don’t like the competition. The popularity aspect. I don’t like wondering how XYZ blog is ranked so high yet these other blogs I love are ranked so low (or, not ranked at all). I hate knowing that the low ranking is making my friends feel bad about their wonderful blog. I am wondering how a blog that ranked #1 last year is #68 this year. How a blog with very few posts is ranked much higher than a very active blog. And so on. And yes, I know that there’s no point in a list like this if we all rank the same year to year. I know that a blog might be stellar to the judges one year and the next they think that others are simply better, not that you got worse. I know these things. I say we break tradition – can we change how it’s done? Can it be better?

I bet a lot of you are shaking your head right now. You think I shouldn’t be complaining. I should be happy. Right? Well, it doesn’t feel fair. I’m ranked #1 in the Sex Toy Reviews category this year, with Epiphora ranking #2. Please, tell me who thought that was accurate? Seriously if I could get that changed, I would. I would rather be ranked #2 for that one. I’m proud of my blog, I am. I know that my reviews help folks who are similar to me. But as far as the quality of writing in reviews is concerned? Epiphora is better than me. I say it objectively and subjectively. She has more traffic, more comments, and more followers than me AND crafts the most amazing sentences. I actually feel that a number of bloggers write better reviews than I – more witty, easier to read, better with the appropriate zings. I can recognize my strengths, but don’t really feel that my reviews alone are it or deserve the #1 slot. I would feel so much more comfortable if the ranking were more like “here’s the top 10, and here’s everybody else, and you’re all great” like Rory did in 2014So I’m having a hard time being happy for my success at the detriment of others, and that’s really the bottom line. That and the fact that I hate the votes and popularity contest aspect. And the vague criteria. I said that already, eh?

A New Kind of Blogger Awards

So the list fostered a lot of discussions between some of us bloggers and an idea I’ve had in the past is going to come to fruition in January. It will fully be a group effort, brought to you “by sex bloggers, for sex bloggers”. But because we don’t think that a sex toy review blog can be ranked against an erotica blog can be ranked against an essay/activist blog, our awards will be limited to the niche of sex education, sex toy reviews, and social justice as it pertains to sexuality/sexual health. If you like this idea but want other sexuality niches to be included, please borrow the idea yourself!

We don’t feel the need for another 1-100 ranking, or ranking by number at all. We don’t even really want to rank one person’s blog against another’s. But have you ever read a sex toy review that had you laughing out loud in public, enough to elicit strange looks? What about a social justice angled post that stirred great emotion? Or a review about a kink item that totally changed your opinion about that kink? Made you say “Damn, I wanna get my ass beat now!”? Is there an educational article you read that you think is really important, and everyone needs to read it? A sex toy photograph that has stood out? A bold piece about sexuality and mental health that digs deep and bares it all? A really salty/snarky review that you loved? This is what, and how, we want to highlight. We want to celebrate the little things. We want to have fun, be silly, and also be serious and reverent.  I think it makes more sense to compare like with like. I feel that removing the rankings and focusing on specifics, with a broad category range, will celebrate more people. 

I’ll be taking input from readers and bloggers and industry folks on categories, and how the list will be run. This Google Doc will allow you to comment – agree, disagree, suggest an alternative, suggest an addition. 

If you’d like to help out, please let me know. I want some judges who are bloggers but not sex-ed/review bloggers; I’d like some judges who are in the industry, but not a blogger. And yes, some judges will be eligible for nominations (but won’t be judging categories they’re nominated in).

I welcome comments – about your thoughts on the Kinkly list, how you feel about my critique of it, and your input/feelings on a less competitive Blogger Award set up (tentatively called The Lubies – yes, trophies will be awarded and they will be lube bottle based) – even if you think my idea is shit, tell me.  I’m nervous as fuck about this post, but this ranking has been eating me up all day. Can we all get lifted up instead of just some? Can we find a way to celebrate more folks, more equally?

As uncomfortable as I feel about being ranked above everyone else, as much as I dislike the linear ranking at all, I’m going to thank Kinkly because their choosing me means I can do something important to me: Help more folks get to a really awesome sexuality conference

  1. Started by Rory at Between My Sheets, run my Molly of Molly’s Daily Kiss starting last year
  2. Maybe you don’t have that attitude, but you can’t deny that competition creates that atmosphere
 Posted by at 6:25 pm
Oct 072016
 

Things That Happen When a Small Pack of Sex Toy Reviewers Descend Upon a Sex Toy Store

2016-10-01-14-12-41If you have a nice store that carries only body-safe products, like Sexploratorium in Philadelphia, then we slowly walk around as we point at the things we own and love, pet the things we don’t own but want, and talk with more authority than any regular customer would ever display. We get extraordinarily excited by a clear silicone dildo infused with a billion ruby red sparkles and wish our wallets could afford it. We purchase an item and if you seem like you might “get it”, we admit that we’re only buying it to burn it later For Science. Your customer overhears us in our excited babbling about vibrators and asks our opinion on deciding between a set of Palmpower attachments and at least one of us (ahem) Has Feelings and strongly advises for & against. We stand at your lube station and discuss ingredients and our various sensitivities. We are happy to see our favorite brands on your shelves, and are so over A Certain Brand that we don’t even notice its absence on your shelves until days later. We turn things on, not hiding our reactions. We confirm that a vibrator is shit and confirm that we might really need to review others.

We are not your average customer.  Hopefully we’re fun?

We also might walk into Condom Kingdom and do a very good Grumpy Cat impression at the entire section of Basix (toxic) dildos, which are slightly offset by silicone brands on the other side of the row. But we’ll still feel the need to escape quickly and leave the kitsch behind.

I wish we could have made it to other cool sex toy shops but by 4:30 I was in extreme pain from the walking and the standing. My body did not cooperate and just simply failed me, and failed me hard. It took days to recuperate – but honestly it was worth it to have 24 hours with some blogger pals – Sarah, Sugarcunt, Caitlin and Rose, as well as the amazing Sarah from Smitten Kitten. You can see more tweets here about our weekend, if you wish.

Satisfyer Pro 2 Update

True to their word, the company behind the Satisfyer did revamp their Pro 2. This new model has the word Satisfyer in script on the handle, has a few levels of much more subtle-feeling “pulsations”, and is indeed a lot more quiet on those lower levels. But they stated that the new Pro 2 would be “90% more quiet” – sure, on the lower few levels. Once you’re up in the upper levels (5-11) which match the original Pro 2, the noise level is identical. So overall the Satisfyer Pro 2 is still noisy, because you still cannot simply avoid those super-intense upper levels due to their lack of up and down buttons (unless you never go past the first few levels and never need to back off the intensity during use, or, if you do, you turn it off completely and start over). They kinda pulled a fast one on us with that “90% more quiet” claim, because it’s really only partially true.

Many has asked me how they will know if they’re buying the new or old model of the Pro 2: unless the retailer you buy from has updated the photos recently and notes in their information copy that it is the new version, you’ll have to ask. I can tell you that if you buy it from Shevibe (and you should), you’ll definitely get the updated Pro 2.

I will admit though that their lower levels of intensity now feel a lot more like the Womanizer, and are much more comfortable to start out with.  I’ve had a lot of requests for information on the new Womanizer Pro40 and I hope to review that in the coming weeks. Do I like the Satisfyer Pro 2 more now that it has those more-subtle less-intense levels added in? I do. And the price is hard to beat, at $59.99. I still have extreme Feelings about how they yoinked the air-pulsation technology from Womanizer but until now the Womanizer has been a full $100 more. Even with the lower-priced Pro40, at $99, Womanizer is more expensive.

Perfect Fit Silaskin

So yes, when I was in Philly last weekend I bought the Buck Off to burn. Now, I don’t want y’all to think I’m picking on the Buck Off – it just happened to be there and be the only Perfect Fit item the store carried. If they’d carried something else from that brand, I’d have picked it. But here we are, and I think I’d like to see if we can raise funds for silicone testing.  The first lab I used (same lab that BadVibes.org used) has refused to respond to me the last few times, so I’ve found another lab. But testing is expensive. Just an FTIR test is $475 (other, more in-depth options are thousands of dollars and well out of our range).  You may be wondering why I care – it’s in part because they list “Silicone” first when they talk about their proprietary blend on the packaging, and for some online stores this might mean that lazy employees will pick one material or the other when they have to check off attributes to load an item onto their website store and they’ll pick the first thing listed: silicone. This blend might give unsuspecting consumers a false sense of security and safety. The company doesn’t get into the details of porosity when they talk about their material. I also just simply have deep reservations that a TPR and silicone blend can be done. With this Silaskin getting attention because of the Buck Off, I had a renewed curiosity and again reached out to trusted industry contacts. A manufacturer (who makes both TPR and silicone products) asked around their R&D department for me and found that the vast majority of their material engineers said that TPR and silicone couldn’t be blended; a couple conceded that maybe a company could add a little silicone powder, but that that would take a lot of pricey research & development, and to what end?

Perfect Fit has responded to one direct request for information with a response that tries to minimize porosity, insinuate that silicone is over-rated, and more. 

If you’re interested in getting a lab analysis of this “Silaskin” and can contribute to the funds, get in touch with me via email, my contact form, or social media. If I can raise enough funds then I will get it done, but I can’t afford to even pay half at this point.

 

 

 Posted by at 6:37 pm
Sep 232016
 

shevibe_blog_squad_woodhullIt’s been (way) more than a month now since Sex Blogger Christmas aka Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit. I expected to write about this sooner but got hit hard with a cold-turned-infection the day I was driving home from the Summit; I missed a lot of work, have spent weeks exhausted and have had a lot of brain fog. The brain fog has clouded a lot of my memories, making writing about the weekend pretty difficult. I realized at one point during writing this (with its 14 edits) that I’ve been procrastinating on publishing this post because I’ve been afraid – afraid that it’s not good enough, that it’s missing important things, that I can’t do justice to my gratitude for Shevibe (my sponsor), Tantus, and Ricci Levy and the entire Woodhull Board. Because really, nothing short of a ticker tape parade would do justice to their greatness.

The Sessions

I absolutely plan to write up a separate post dedicated to what I learned during the Sex & Depression + Side Effects May Vary sessions. I don’t feel like there was enough for me to write about from Likes and Liberations, and #SFSMedia may not appeal to some of you – but if you are running the social media for your company, then you absolutely need to know what was said in that session. So many companies that want to work with me have atrocious social media accounts – some are so offensive they start a tidal wave of backlash, some are boring, some are dangerous and predatory. I do plan to write a post just dedicated to what was discussed in the #SFSMedia session.

There were sessions I missed, and it kills me to have missed them. I wanted to learn from Sarah Mueller again and understand more about bacterial vaginosis. I wanted to be inspired and educated about the intricacies of consent, but something happened. Both of those sessions were first thing Saturday morning and I slept in due to a few nights of getting less sleep than I need. I read these few tweets from the session on consent and promptly lost my shit. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing so I finally collected myself slightly and headed off to the Tantus Blogger Lounge to get some hugs and eventually put on my makeup when the tears dried up. The fact that there were so many sessions I missed (in part due to their early hour or happening at the same time as another session or my lack of spoons) that I made the suggestion that Woodhull consider selling audio recordings of the sessions next year, somehow. The #blogsquad is going to work on making this happen, and sponsoring it. Tweets are amazing but they don’t tell the whole story. There are little points missed in between sound bites – plus when you’re the one live-tweeting with such skill you too may miss something.

Group Hangs

Thursday night’s group events didn’t work out for me entirely; they felt a little too loud or contained too many people I didn’t know. I ended up sitting them out for the most part. I was sad to have missed Crista’s thing at Bedpost Confessions but the popularity of that event led to a crowded room of people. There was a number of bloggers congregating in a circle in the parking lot, because reasons – Due to the collective anxieties of the group, I basically spent the weekend being some sort of fairy-godmother-Nancy-Botwin person. I remember showing Sugarcunt and….. I forget who else (ugh) the Rockbox Finger that evening and having to preface it with “Don’t. Scream.” before I handed it over. I went to bed, but not before catching a few Magikarp from my room!

Friday night’s Blogger PJ Party was amazing (and loud). Shevibe really did a fantastic job and we had so much fun. There were a few poetry readings from people braver than I; there were tunes playing that I didn’t really hear; and frequent pilgrimages to the parking lot (door! side door!). I have a photo I’ll treasure from the end of the night of a not-very-sober group hug between myself, Sandra (SheVibe), Metis (Tantus) and Ruby (Doxy), which I would love to share (but can’t).  And hey we got a bunch of cool stuff from the party sponsors! Tantus, Doxy, Fun Factory and Sliquid, to name a few. This isn’t to brag – I want to share! There were a number of things that I already have one of and I think one of you should have it instead. How can you win it? Simple: Donate to Woodhull. I’ll have more details about this at the end of the post.

Saturday night was the fancy party and even though I bought a dress, I didn’t have the spoons to get fancy and femme and attend a loud group gathering so first, Epiphora, Sugarcunt, April and I had some dinner. Then I remembered this alcove dining area in the “retreat wing” of the hotel that had large, round tables and we took over with the plan of snacks and card games. The problem was we quickly discovered we couldn’t learn a new game when we weren’t sober (and we were definitely not). It was a fun attempt though and soon other bloggers in their fancy garb came from one party to another and in short order we had an official Cackle of bloggers spread out over a few tables. And hey, no noise complaints this year! Score! There exists a group photo of most of us from Saturday night that I love, but next year we need to get a proper photo of the entire blogsquad, all together.

The Best People on Earth

I have so many little and big memories of moments with the #blogsquad. For example, Thursday, Sarah helped me navigate the deceptively short (and enormously frustrating) drive from the hotel to Union Station to fetch Artemesia and Caitlin. I couldn’t have made the drive without the collective help of everyone and their maps because my GPS is a sadist. I will do my best to avoid driving in the heart of DC ever again, though. Anxious little bunnies just need to avoid gridlocked traffic with directions that include the phrase “From the right-most lane, make a left turn” and a train station without a goddamn pick-up lane/parking area to wait in.

Once again, the Tantus Blogger Lounge saved me. I crashed there for a bit on Thursday while I waited for a room to be ready; I hid there on Saturday morning to recover from a large case of The Feels brought on by reading tweets from #sfsconsent. There were amazingly geeky conversations there with Lorax and Mary as we talked about how best to swab porous dildos to detect bacteria or how to soothe burning genitals. There were discussions galore in that blogger lounge, and there were stories of horrific DIY sex toys. There were hugs and coffee and the Best Fucking Chocolate delivered to me. I left out my Jar of Horrors so that it could educate people all weekend. And yes, at one point I opened it up and made people poke it with a stick. I’m not joking. The orange-y bits which used to be cock extenders (and therefore pretty soft and pliable, right?) are now rock solid. All of the plasticizers have “leaked” out into the jar. Next year I’ll have to tie an information tag around it so that there’s a bit of a “guided tour” of important info readily available.

I reveled in Girl on the Net‘s accent (we Americans are often easily impressed with accents, but she’s lovely to listen to – and talk with!); I finally met Polly who I’ve “known” for about 8 years online. Bex was the first face I saw, and my first of many hugs that weekend.  I soon met others I have only known online like Rebecca and Sammi, April, Taylor, Suz, Sarah and Sugarcunt – who all lived up to all my expectations (and then some). After many Facebook moments, I got to meet Ashley. I briefly chatted with Avery, had a little time with JoEllen, got in some amazing low-key chats with Epiphora, Bex, Girly Juice, Mandi, Rose and more. A bunch of us bloggers descended en masse to the hotel Dildo Factory as Kenton was creating a few things (and I even bought a Rainbow dildo!) after we’d spent more time fawning over Lunabelle‘s collection. I missed Penny, Lena and Reenie, though, who I spent a lot of time with last year. I met the lovely Rizzo from Tantus, and got to hang out and chat with Sandra, Thor, and Alex of SheVibe – they are a joy to be around and breakfast with them and Piph on Sunday morning was such a perfect cap to the weekend. I believe there are a few other bloggers who attended but an introduction/path-crossing didn’t happen.

Sunday, as many people were leaving, we all casually gathered (loitered) in the hotel lobby. This slow seeing-off helped me mitigate the worst of con-drop. We had fun; there were more hugs, so much conversation, and some fun pics. Sunday was really the perfect way to end the weekend.

I have Feels about these people. My people. Spending time with them, and being in the environment of a conference created with love and joy (a conference that celebrates everyone, including bloggers), was such a gift. I may not remember every conversation in detail anymore (thanks, sickness-brain-fog) but I remember laughter. Hugs. I felt heard, appreciated, respected. I may still have felt awkward, unsure and weird 1 at times but it all evened out.  I might be a lot older than most of these people but I still feel like many things in my life had to happen this way to find these people, to be changed for the better by these people and this community has changed me. The blogsquad is a rock for me; collectively they are my soulmate and I don’t know what I’d do without them. I’m a better person for knowing them.

Dear friends: If you have a memory that in any way involves  me from that weekend, please comment and share. It may help jiggle my brain fog. I’m writing this post in part to help me with my memory issues (which is why I write many things, tbh).

Next Year, Though…

My wish for SFS17 though is to fly a little less “seat of the pants” and plan a little more. A lot of us were able to talk in the week after Woodhull about our social experiences, others social experiences, anxieties, issues and more and it’s basically going to be even better next year. We’re going to get better about planning things for ourselves in groups and doing better at being inclusive with each other and those who are newer to Woodhull and the #blogsquad.

I want more small-group time to chat with people. I want to spread my time out so that I don’t leave and think “ugh I didn’t get enough time to REALLY connect more with that person!”, but also because I just personally do better in smaller groups vs 15 + people all at once.

If you are a blogger, or educator, or sex toy shop owner then you need to find your way to Summit 2017. If you are a company/manufacturer/etc looking to support one of the best sexuality conferences in the US, then you need to support Woodhull – both the yearly Summit and the Alliance. If you’re a sex toy company and want to connect with a ton of bloggers all at once, this is the conference to attend.  Supporting this conference means you’re supporting an essential non-profit that fights for our sexual freedom.

Thank Yous and Thank YOU

My biggest thanks and endless gratitude goes to Shevibe – for being the best sex toy shop I’ve ever worked with; for being amazing people; for being supporters of the crusaders and bloggers; for sponsoring my ass. Without them, I would be lost. My thanks to Metis and Tantus for the blogger lounge (which needs to be bigger next year!!). I have such gratitude to Crista for her hard work behind the scenes, and Mandi. And all the volunteers who ran around with seemingly endless energy to make this conference the best it can be.

And a ginormous thanks to Ricci and the Board for creating the best sexuality conference, where everyone is taken care of, honored, celebrated and no stone is left unturned. In 2014, after some unpleasant events, I wished for a true home for the bloggers – a conference to bring us together, not push us apart. A conference to welcome us, and foster true community. Ricci Levy made that happen in 2015.  Just like last year, the bloggers were thanked and treated with kindness and appreciation. For a number of us, this sort of treatment is still a bit alien (which is sad) but I feel safe in saying that for many of us, our heart is with Woodhull, firmly. The Summit is our superhero home base; it is where we gather to recharge ourselves and each other. Last year there were about a dozen of us attending and this year there was at least 2 dozen – safe to say this is the biggest gathering of bloggers in one space, ever. The Woodhull Summit – Ricci, the Board, the sessions, the volunteers all feed our souls in a way we’ve never experienced.  It really is like Blogger Christmas – our reunion with part of our chosen family. I will forever be grateful to those who make this happen for me.

~      ~       ~       ~

woodhullraffleAnd now, a little more about this Swag Bag package for ya. I have to thank all of my readers because without you reading and buying things and following me I wouldn’t have a sponsor and I wouldn’t get to go to Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit. Since you couldn’t go, the next best thing is reading about the things all us bloggers have learned, and getting some cool swag for yourself. Fun fact: I asked on FB if anybody else had a few items to throw in; Crista is now sending me a couple more items and Njoy, well….they took this from a mishmash bag o’ swag to a big grand prize.

You’ll get: A copy of the #NSFW coloring book from Shevibe, curated by Elle Chase. I have one, so you get my second copy! Bottles from Sliquid of their new coconut-and-plant-based oil lube, and their O Gel, plus a few packets of H20. A Mad Toto blindfold mask. A metal Doxy keychain! A literal dozen Tantus “tinies” and a bunch of Tantus stickers; a Shevibe logo sticker and Shevibe condoms. There’s also a Fun Factory logo pin and courtesy of me you’ll get a vulva/vagina pin and testicle pin from I Heart Guts and a couple of my Shevibe-designed sticker business cards. And not pictured, because it’s all en route to me, is Njoy swag. A small Pure Plug …. and an Eleven. Yep, an Eleven. Since the Eleven is such a big deal (and I know that people will want it who either went to Woodhull themselves or just don’t care about the swag bag stuff), it will be a separate raffle. The Pure Plug will be included with the Swag Bag.

How to be entered to win this pack? Donate $5 to Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit – every $5 you donate is a “raffle ticket” – plus there’re ticket bundles – using rallyup. The money goes directly to Woodhull2, not me. It’s open to everyone; I’d thought about limiting due to shipping costs that I have to pay, but fuck it. Anybody in the world can enter and I’ll happily pay shipping. You can buy a few tickets for each raffle, if you’re interested in both, and 1 winner for each prize pack will be chosen.

click here to enter the raffle (or just donate)

  1. despite attempts to rectify that with various helpful things like Girl Scout Cookies, Snow Dawg, and Blue Dream
  2. except for a teeny per donation fee of 5% which goes to rallyup
 Posted by at 2:49 pm
Sep 182016
 

We-Vibe Nova I side-eyed the We-Vibe Nova pretty hard when it came out, tbh. There’s a few sex toy styles that I roll my eyes at and reserve great skepticism for – shitty until proven otherwise: the “Rabbit” (or dual stimulator) and basically any remote-controlled vibrator. Both are usually expensive, with affordable options nearly always ending in deep disappointment. Both must meet a laundry list of requirements to be worthy of collecting, and most won’t meet your requirements. Most will merely sit in a drawer as an occasional reminder of that time you had high hopes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from someone who it using only one part of their rabbit vibe. It’s maybe all they’ve got, or that one part is better than the few other things they have – but if you’re using only one part of a dual-stimulation sex toy….what’s the point? I recommend very, very few of both styles so today I’m pretty pleased to tell you that I’ve found one that I enjoy almost as much as my current favorite.

The List

For a rabbit/dual-stim vibe to work for a person it must meet these requirements (the specifics of which vary for each person):

  1. The vibrations in both “arms” need to meet your requirements in intensity and type (buzzy or rumbly)
  2. The clitoral arm needs to sit where you prefer on/near your clitoris – to the side, nudging up from below, directly above, hugging both sides, etc.
  3. The clitoral arm needs to provide the correct amount of pressure
  4. The internal arm needs to be the right length AND width
  5. The internal arm needs to be curved to meet your g-spot or a-spot (or prostate, because dual-stim vibes can be used for that, too)
  6. The handle needs to be easy to hold with buttons that are easy to use without looking at them
  7. It should probably not sound like a kitchen appliance
  8. It should be made of silicone
  9. And if we’re getting into wishes and dreams territory, it should not be a budget-buster

Can you see why I’m super reluctant to recommend a rabbit vibrator, even though it’s one of the most asked-for types of sex toys? I have reviewed 14 dual-stimulation sex toys and have tried out at least 10 others. Out of those ~ 25 specimens two of them were close and okay for me, and two are really awesome for me – a few of the others aren’t terrible and might be good for others (just not me). We-Vibe Nova surprised me and is something I’ll probably recommend now if someone’s budget can tolerate it and they really, really want a dual-stimulation rabbit vibrator.

Why I Like the We-Vibe Nova

Herein lies the problem with me liking such a finicky breed of sex toys – I could go on about why I really like the We-Vibe Nova but this testimonial doesn’t mean it’s the right vibrator for you. Not everyone who has reviewed it likes it. I can’t promise you it will work for you. Of course, I can’t really promise you that any sex toy I love will work for you but most of them are a little easier to recommend.

We-Vibe Nova vs L'amourose DeniaTo understand why I like the We-Vibe Nova, I need to tell you a bit about other rabbit vibes I have. I once had a love-hate relationship with the Jopen VR6; the internal arm was powerful and rumbly as fuck but the external arm was weak, buzzy and didn’t quite hit my clitoris right. I once thought that the Lelo Ina 2 was pretty good but again, the clitoral arm was meh. Then came the Denia which showed me what I was really needing – a greater range of flexibility than most dual-stimulation vibrators can provide. It also helped that the Denia had amazing, rumbling and powerful vibrations all around and a base that I loved.

So while the We-Vibe Nova lacks the flex-y shift-y movement that the internal arm of the Denia has, it makes up for it (for me) with a pretty unique design. One downfall of the rabbit vibe has often been that you can’t thrust with it or the clitoral arm will lose contact with your clitoris. I need constant contact and the clitoral arm of the We-Vibe Nova is extra long but curls up to stay in place. Ok – Stick out your index finger; no, seriously. Like you’re doing that “come here” motion. You see how your finger curls up? That’s what the clitoral arm on the We-Vibe Nova does. You really need to check out the video here to fully get what I mean, but it really does maintain constant contact for me. The clitoral arm is rumbly and powerful – something we nearly never see with rabbit vibes. The internal arm is moderately powerful and somewhere in between buzzy and rumbly.  On its own the internal arm doesn’t hold a candle to the Rave (or to the internal arm of the Denia) which has me a bit disappointed.

It’s also waterproof, with a great magnetic charger – it stays where it needs to for charging and doesn’t get bumped off easily.

There Has to Be Cons…

Here’s my biggest problem: The app feels more necessary than I’d like. I hadn’t used the Nova in a few months so when I turned it on I thought I’d imagined my previous very enjoyable sessions with it. The internal arm was weak and under-powered. The external arm wasn’t as great as I remembered. Did it need a good charging? Nope, that didn’t fix it. Then I connected the We-Vibe Nova to the app and suddenly, all was right in the world. I cranked both sides up to full power and was assured that I hadn’t just had a wonderful dream. I don’t know why this happened; I don’t recall ever connecting the Nova to the app before which would be (I think) the only reason why it would be giving me problems. Otherwise though I don’t really give a crap about the app. I don’t fancy having someone else sit there and control the vibrations for me (but you might), whether they’re in the same room or in another country. I also would really rather not use the app as a remote control for the vibrator. However, even though my phone’s screen times out quickly and requires my thumbprint and the phone ends up covered in vag fluid and lube, it’s still probably a little easier than using the buttons. You see, the handle, when I’m holding it in use, curves slightly away from me. It curves like that right where the buttons are, so it makes it harder for me to change the intensity during use just using the buttons.

For me personally the shaft could be a little shorter, and maybe a little thicker at the head. But because I can thrust with it, I’m able to overlook the shaft length. Also, like with other rabbit vibrators that combine 2 rumbling, powerful motors there can be dissonance sometimes which can feel like a rapid pulsating. I don’t experience that frequently, but it may bother some.

A Bit of Comparison

Let’s briefly talk specs here, and compare. The We-Vibe Nova is thinner than the L’amourose Denia at the widest point of the internal arm. I generally find that the Denia is a better match for my g-spot. I usually don’t measure like this but the Nova is 4.2″ circumference and the Denia is 4.6″ circumference which works out to mean that the Nova is about 1.33″ wide and the Denia is 1.46″ wide. Not a big difference but as you can see from the photo above the Nova is more slender overall than the Denia.  The internal arm of the Denia has the most strength and rumble, whereas the external arm of the Nova has the most strength and rumble. I realize though that many people don’t need the heavy-duty strength of the Tango so even though the external arm doesn’t quite meet the intensity of the Tango (at least on Tango’s higher speeds) it’s still high-powered enough that many will love it.

~       ~      ~      ~      ~

All in all I’m probably more likely to recommend the L’amourose Denia over the Nova but I’m even more likely to recommend one of my few top favorite clitoral toys in conjunction with one of my favorite dildos or g-spot vibes because this way it’s easier to come up with a combination that suits your body. Of course, this method actually could be more expensive than the Nova or even the Denia (which are $149 and $169, respectively). Yes, even though I personally really enjoy the We-Vibe Nova I’m still reluctant to recommend it because it’s one vibrator doing one thing and replacing two vibrators (both of which could potentially work well on different body parts and in a larger variety of couples-centric situations). If you already own multiple vibrators and really want a twofer for the days you can’t be arsed to hold two sex toys – go for it. If you’re trying to find The One To Rule The Whole Vulva because you can’t buy 8 sex toys? Oye I am physically manifesting my wishy-washy attitude as I think about that sentence; sorry you can’t see it. DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE FOR YOU.

 

I was given the We-Vibe Nova in exchange for an honest review by the wonderful folks at We-Vibe. You can buy your We-Vibe Nova (or Tango, or Touch, or Rave) at the best sex toy shop on the planet – Shevibe.com.

 Posted by at 8:27 pm