Oct 072015
 

Author’s Note: This post is continually updated as things happen so please be sure to read to the bottom for the latest updates.

I’ve been accused once of being a bully, and a mean girl, on social media because I dare to stand up for myself and other bloggers. At the risk of facing more accusations like that I’m writing this piece and bringing this situation to light because the further we dug the more it went from “weird” to “predatory”.

In my research on glass sex toys I came across a scare-tactic article from “A Touch of Glass ®“, a UK glass sex toy retailer. Much of their information is correct (the cheap mass-produced China glass items are indeed cheap and can break easily) but they take it a step further, warning folks that shady companies might use “window glass” and insinuating that the glass dildo can shatter to bits while in use. That’s false, and it irks me.  Given that they sell many designs that are commonly found elsewhere in the industry from many companies, I have my doubts – one such design is known best in the reviewing circles as the Bent Graduate from Don Wands. It is replicated by EdenFantasys, SSA Glass, and dozens of no-name glass sellers on Amazon and even Etsy. Every version of that glass dildo that I have tested by polariscope has failed. Yet their company claim leads one to believe that one wouldn’t find a dildo in their shop that doesn’t pass a simple stress test: “To maintain such a venerable high standard, our glass dildo product range specifically excludes the cheap far-eastern imports of dubious origin and questionable quality, flooding the mass market these days.”1

I don’t follow this company on social media but I’ve seen them around and yesterday a photo they posted for #asswednesday, oddly enough, tweaked my Spidey Sense. I did a reverse image search and surely enough….there’s the photo they used but on The Chive, a “bro” site that frequently does round-up posts of selfies from around the ‘net. Then I did a reverse search on the avatar – and found that the unedited version is used on many adult dating sites as a “teaser” image for “some of their members”. This same avatar image is also used for “Jenny Dillar” on Facebook who is listed as the Owner/Partner2 of ‘A Touch of Glass ®‘.  On Twitter recently a new employee was introduced..yet even her headshot is fake. Why even do that? When you read the “About” pages on their website which introduces us to three lovely women (Carol, Jenny and Lauren) is it said that LAUREN is the person controlling the Twitter account….yet Jenny’s picture is used. It’s all very weird and shady, isn’t it? Now it could be that the photos that they are posting on Twitter and Facebook are really this young woman who also submits such photos to Tumblrs which causes them to get picked up and used without credit by these many adult dating sites, porn sites, and The Chive. It could be. I’ll allow that possibility to stand. But it is my opinion that that isn’t the case, that they have plucked these photos from the web and use them as their own. Their tweets and commentary on the posts when they share the photos usually insinuate that they are saying the photo is of them, “Jenny” or “Lauren” or whoever. 

TouchofGlass1 TouchofGlass2 TouchofGlass3
TouchofGlass4 TouchofGlass5jennydillar

Even if these photos are real…this is pretty unprofessional. It feels a bit odd that a retail shop would allow their social media manager or even a company partner to flirt, approach others for photos, and share personal risque photos of themselves on a company account. Of course, this might be something they think they need to do to stand out from the crowd of adult retailers. Since the website claims that Lauren is running the Twitter account they also fill us in on how Lauren is a model3.

No stranger to yoinking photos from the ‘net, ‘A Touch of Glass ®‘ is also using a random image of Jennifer Lopez on their homepage. I’ve got a feeling they’re not paying to use her likeness.

TouchofGlass6 touchofglass8

But the real owner of ‘A Touch of Glass ®‘ isn’t hard to find. When I was asking my fellow bloggers if they were as weirded out as I was, David over at The Big Gay Review did a quick web search to find that ESHOPS (UK) owns ‘A Touch of Glass ®‘ and that the owners of ESHOPS are David Mattocks and Janet Mattocks4. As David (Big Gay Review) puts it the “information is from Companies House – it’s from the UK governments business registry – so that is who owns ESHOPS, which in turn runs A Touch of Glass ®.” and this is public knowledge. Updated Info on this: It seems that they stopped doing business as A Touch of Glass last year, and now just operate as EHOPS, which Jessica pointed out to me last night. Neither place seems to show any employees, but I’m not certain one would have to report that in this manner? I’m not 100% that regular employees are shown on this site. Also note that ATOG was registered to: David Mattocks 44 Rectory Avenue Corfe Mullen Wimborne Dorset, his home address. He probably dissolved this when he ran for Town Council or whatever it’s called.

I haven’t had tests run on their glass pieces yet5 but my suspicions are strong that their glass isn’t what they represent it to be. And them using fake photos and creating what I speculate is a fake persona for social media isn’t criminal or anything more than weird, but things make a quick turn into predatory when I am told by no less than four reviewers that they were privately asked to send over explicit video of them using the product, in exchange for being sent the product for review. Luckily the bloggers who revealed this did NOT send this person their explicit video but I fear that others might, or already have. Here is the account of one blog reviewer who would like to remain anon for now, and I’m sharing this with her permission:

I was messaged via Twitter asking if they could send me products… in exchange for a VIDEO for the ‘VIP section’ on their site. I have no idea what or WHERE this ‘VIP area’ is. I said no and avoided them for a while. I have since reviewed for them (quite recently in fact) with no issues, but I know they are still (over a year on) unsolicitedly asking people for videos in exchange for toys and I just think it’s kind of, well… icky.

TouchofGlassTweet

This “VIP Section” is referenced when you view the “About Lauren” page on their site, they say that Lauren is running it. But it sounds like they have been asking this of reviewers for many months now with no VIP section coming to fruition. I don’t take kindly to my troupe being taken advantage of, and that’s what this seems like. It’s my opinion that the UK glass sex toy retailer ‘A Touch of Glass ®‘ selling at theglassdildoshop.com cannot be trusted by reviewers OR customers. A Touch of Glass ® appears to be misrepresenting the identity of the person running their social media networks, causing people to assume they’re speaking with (or sending photos to) a young woman when it fact it could very well be they’re sending them to an older man. When they use this misrepresentation of identity to make other people feel more comfortable about sending them explicit photos, this feels predatory. This feels wrong. It doesn’t feel like a company I could ever recommend you to trust, and that’s why I’ve decided to write this post. I can’t not tell you what I’ve found, so that you can make up your own mind based on that, versus the smoke and mirrors the company has apparently laid out.

I have not approached the company privately, because we are not connected on social media. If the company would be interested in replying and clearing the air here, they are welcome to do so. If my speculations and opinions are wrong, and there is a more honest situation going on here, I’m very willing to publish their story. I would have gone to them first if it were merely about the fake photos but once I found out that they had asked many reviewers to send explicit video (something I have never had ANY company ask me for) I decided that my speculations and opinions, and the information from other reviewers who may comment here and share, warranted public light. You can make up your own mind if you want to do business with this company, whether you are a reviewer or customer. I wouldn’t, and that’s my opinion. The image just below is a screencap of the account runner offering a mere dildo as payment for an explicit video.

TouchofGlasssolicitation

Readers and bloggers, does this information change your level of trust of this company, or any company that might do this? Have you ever seen these actions elsewhere by another company? Have you had any interaction with this company that strikes you as unprofessional, or troublesome? If you’d be willing to share your story but do not want to do so under your blogging identity feel free to use Disqus anonymously and I will make sure it’s published, and your identity won’t be shared by me.

 

UPDATE: Shortly after this post went live the @eroticglass Twitter account was made private. Those who are Twitter friends with the account say that some of the photos I called out above as being fake are now gone. The Jenny Dillar fake Facebook account is gone, however Jenny lives on still (for now) on Google Plus and Linkedin. The actual website for the shop used to list David Mattocks as the site designer and linked to his personal page, but they removed that as well, you can see the image below though that shows it was there. There is also a screencap of a little interview talking about “Carol” and her “friends Jenny and Lauren” starting A Touch of Glass. The entire story seems to be a fabrication. I wouldn’t expect this company to last much longer, as David seems to sell his businesses all the time. The detail someone else commented about below, matching car photos both about being in Colorado on the same day from David’s personal FB account (the post is public, btw, but I obfuscated details just because I’m wary at this point) and the ToG picture is shown, screencapped before they locked their account down. Speaking of Jenny’s G+ account – I can’t see much, but I can see two other photos that, judging by the filename (Jenny250) and their use on her page seems like they’re claiming it’s Jenny…despite that face looking nothing like her profile picture. A reverse image search found it being used by a Mary Thompson from Michigan on a Moms page; later on someone named “Jenny D” used it on a moms group page when the talk turns to “sex toy testers” re: Lovehoney.

TouchofGlassJennyGTouchofGlassJennyLTouchofGlassfooter TouchofGlassStory

TouchofGlassCar1 TouchofGlassCar2JennyMomsTouofGlassJennyG+

Update 2:

Day 2 after the post went live, there are new “closings” and changes. The Google + page for Jenny Dillar no longer has that fake profile photo.  The Twitter account that was made private in the hours after the post went live is now completely gone. The “About Carol/Jenny/Lauren” pages on theglassdildoshop.com site have been taken down, but we have screenshots. Other websites and Twitter accounts also owned by David Mattocks, like “Amelia of Mayfair” are now gone.  Kara found this page which talks about the businesses that David Mattocks runs; judging by this I wouldn’t be surprised if they close down A Touch of Glass and start a new one up in a few months or a year. Below are more screenshots of things now missing, or just more information as it’s found.

Also, David Mattocks has yanked his personal davidmattocks.com site which was pretty much just a page of pompous bullshit, no major loss. He seems to not understand that 1. The cat is out of the bag and 2. Erasing Twitter accounts, web sites, and pages from websites doesn’t erase them from the Internet Archives, doesn’t negate our screencaps, and doesn’t hide the fact that he runs the business and ran with this predatory deception for so long with A Touch of Glass.

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12162337_10153792491134683_670442011_o 12077271_10153792546494683_217176053_ndavidmattocks1davidmattocks2

UPDATE 3: I received an email from a very shaken-up UK woman who wanted to remain anonymous, as she no longer is a sex blogger, but she grew to trust the person running the Twitter account. She was talked into sending them video, and she did. She received video too, claiming to be Jenny, but she never viewed it. She was sent nude photos and sent photos in return, until one day when David Mattocks slipped up pretending to be Lauren: “I swapped some photos over DM again just last month but then a couple of weeks ago she messed up, I then realised I had been sending photos to someone who was lifting photos from sites after a photo was sent to me with a message and then the same photo but cropped and the same message was sent again, they obviously didn’t realise that they could delete the photo and message but I would still see it. I saw the Uncropped photo which was from porn hub of a Caity Minx. I felt thoroughly used, disgusted at myself and like a total idiot now I feel more of one. I spent so long tweeting this account in a normal way that I wasn’t suspicious when things were approached in a business way with a bit more of a fun twist shall we say.”

Another blogger tried to email Lauren and has received back an error message that indicates the email account for Lauren has been deleted.

Becks sent me her Moody Blue glass dildo to run my home polariscope test on. While the upcoming glass test post is a bit of ways off, this much I can tell you now: You do NOT want to see rainbows. Rainbows means not annealed. Not annealed means it was made cheap and fast, and most certainly in a China plant. They tried to claim to one person that the glass dildos they source are hand made in Germany. I think not!!! A Touch of Glass / theglassdildoshop.com specifically has warnings all over their site about cheap China glass, with assertions that THEIR products are not. Are we surprised that they’ve outright lied? Customers, you have overpaid.

ToGwarning ToGwarning2 2015-10-10 09.23.49

Update 4:  Another blogger contacted Jenny, Lauren and Support emails to request their affiliate balance be paid out – emails to Jenny and Lauren bounced, naturally, but the Support email went through. They did not receive any response, but DID receive a payment of the balance of their account. If you are an affiliate of A Touch of Glass and would like to cease your relationship with them, it seems they are honoring requests to pay out and close out accounts – albeit silently. Any attempts at emailing David Mattocks have gone unanswered.

Update 5 / November 8th: It was brought to my attention on Twitter that A Touch of Glass is BACK on Twitter as @PleasureGlass now and is right back to trying to solicit videos this time under the guise of instruction girls to be “information” rather than “pornographic”….but still explicit. Right. ALSO: Within mere hours the Twitter account went from private (but not before blocking all bloggers involved in this post) to deleted.

ATOGblocked ATOGPLeasureGlass1

  1. from their “About” page: http://www.theglassdildoshop.com/about-us/
  2. whereas in the About Jenny section of their website, Jenny is listed as Commercial Manager and Carol is listed as the person who started the company
  3. From their site, the About Lauren page: “Also – if you hadn’t already guessed it – before corporate life, Lauren was a model. Well, she is drop-dead gorgeous. And go take a look at our Twitter page and guess who’s picture that is. The one on the left. Yep! See what we mean now? Mind you, the stunning shot here is nothing short of eye-watering don’t you think? Lauren is currently busy with setting up our VIP Club that will include restricted member-only access to our exclusive Connoisseur Collection of glass dildos – which we’d rather refer to as ‘dilettos’ – plus a portfolio of photographs and videos which we consider to be far too racy for unrestricted public access. More details coming soon, but if you can’t wait, please contact Lauren for an update.”
  4. Who are no strangers to owning businesses, as was found here: http://www.endole.co.uk/company/04080498/sunbelt-solent-limited
  5. This will happen shortly, I have an item on its way and two other reviewers will be testing from afar – this will be listed in my large post about glass testing that will be live sometime later this month
 Posted by at 2:12 pm
Aug 262015
 

Woodhullsfs15[pstWhen it came to past conferences, I wrote about my experiences and it seemed to all flow out – whether it was that first year when it was still good, or that last year when I knew I wouldn’t be returning to Catalyst (and thought I’d never go to another conference again). But Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit 2015 was just…so…

When I think of moments, of people, I get all emotional and I cry. I can’t find words that will do justice to the amazing time I had. How much it transcended past conferences. How much I love the Blog Squad1, Shevibe (my sponsor for the trip, I cannot thank them enough), Tantus and Smitten Kitten. Rather than being a ball of nerves and gluing myself to the side of one person for the whole thing, I was able to relax and just hang out with various people thanks in large part to the overall atmosphere at Woodhull and in large part to the Tantus-sponsored bloggers’ lounge. Having a place where we could all relax and talk to each other and hide during/between sessions was amazing and vital. It was simply the start of things for us, as bloggers, as we kept being thanked by Ricci and others for being there, for tweeting, for the publicity, etc. When the collective Twitter reach is at least 25,000 (not taking into account Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and our blog readers without social media) I cannot imagine why bloggers would NOT be welcomed with open arms and treated kindly. Suffice to say this was new territory for us all, this gratitude and welcoming. No longer merely tolerated, flat-out ignored or chastised, we felt respected, and that we matter.

This post is long and I’m not sure all of you will care to read the whole thing because so much of it is personal. But I have to write this whole thing because I need to be sure in later days that it happened, that it wasn’t a dream and it wasn’t Oz (although when it came time for me to leave, I certainly thought it had to be Oz). I also need you fellow non-blogger sex geeks (or fellow bloggers who haven’t attended a conference) to understand what it’s like because I think you should attend the next one if you can. Find a fellow sex-geek friend to hang out with and then revel in the workshops and the brain sex and the glory that is being able to have these discussions with a big bunch of other like-minded individuals. 

Thursday

I registered, which had some funny moments. In the bags they hand out many people had some interesting items from Lelo but my bag had none. I’m sure that’s how Lelo would have wanted it, anyways, so it all worked out but I found it funny. Then they hand me a lanyard for my ID based off of my photo preference – I don’t want my photo taken so I’m given this florescent yellow lanyard……that has Pipedream all over it. Slowly, others came in and I got my first looks at new Tantus dildos and the glory of the Tantus coffee mug. Dizzy2, Luna and a few others like myself with Pipedream lanyards moaned about how it felt like punishment because if there is one company we wouldn’t want around our neck, it’s Pipedream. I could almost feel the burning on my neck, like water on the Wicked Witch. Thankfully Lunabelle3 packed a Sharpie so I was saved. Since I was the sex toy mule for Reenie’s4 Woodhull giveaways, a few of us ran up to her & Lena’s5 room to help her fill goodie bags and squeeze silicone from Damn Average and Frisky Beast. I wanted to steal one of the FB squishy paws and DA squishy cubes but I was good! Once we’d spent a lot of time in the Blogger Lounge we headed for a room and hung out awhile, with Bex6 finally rounding us up to order Chinese delivery (she was a lifesaver because getting us to agree and do something was like herding cats). The only sex toys I brought were the horrific ones, like the Rockbox Finger because really….seeing people’s reactions in person is just priceless. When I explained that I needed to run the batteries down because the battery cap was stuck, it was passed around the group like the Sword in the Stone. Artemisia7 proved to be the most cunning and mighty and finally killed the beast. Then it was off to Bedpost Confessions. Ricci Levy – after thanking the bloggers for attending and tweeting and being awesome8 – told a story of her lifelong struggle with weight and accepting her weight. For those in the audience also battling the F word and the stigma around it, it was a particularly emotional story. After Ricci received a standing ovation Epiphora9 , on the other side of Artemisia, says to me “Do you need a hug?”. I did and I got one right then and there, an awesome healing hug that I will not forget. We eventually all headed back to the hotel room and loudly talked about everything under the sun, including (shocker) shitty toys and toxic toys. It was a good day.

Friday

I got up early to eat and stress out about my upcoming session that Caitlin10 helped bring to light. I felt like I said weird things and talked too fast during our panel but no one seemed to agree (at least to my face). The session was amazing and powerful. Having some of the Blog Squad up front11 was super helpful, giving me friendly faces to focus on if I felt like I didn’t know where to look when I was talking. A true testament to the fact that millions of grown-ass adults walk around right now with a limited understanding of the anatomy of their bodies and their partners bodies as it relates to pleasure was evident in Jennifer’s story. They told us of an elderly couple who finally came into the store after trying everything they knew (and advice from doctors and therapists) to bring her to orgasm and nothing worked. Jennifer asked the simple “Do you know where her clitoris is?” and he replied that he must, for he rubs in that general area. She educated them and he called her the next day saying that, while they didn’t reach their goal in one night they finally knew they were on the right path and finally had been told the key piece of information they’d been missing for years. Jennifer sobbed at the end of the story, we all cried, and it was a powerful session. I collected the tweets from our session and plan to reread them whenever I need strength and reminders that what I am doing matters and I need to keep doing it. We cried during Monster Under the Bed. We felt all sorts of horrified, angry feelings about the lube industry at Sarah’s lube session. After so many feels, and then an awesome dinner with Shevibe12, Metis, Piph, Penny13, JoEllen14…. I’d had enough for that day. I ran out of spoons, as did many. Many of us crashed early that night, but woke up ready to learn and socialize for Saturday. 

Other awesome Friday things: passing around the Hello Touch X in the blogger lounge and griping about the user manual; me toting around the Pleasure Purse and showing people the Jar of Horrors in person; I got to see the shiny gorgeous metal Doxy and feel the Doxy Skittle in person, both of which I will be reviewing when they come out. 

Saturday

I slept in and missed a morning session I wanted to attend, but got my afternoon session – Yes All Genders. Afterwards I stopped at the Njoy table and saw prototypes that I cannot share publicly but I feel they need a signature petition to be made for public consumption. Greg has all these ideas that he deems “not good enough” and so they don’t see the light of day which is SAD because his “not good enough” is already many times better than many exisiting sex toys. I also got a great cleaning tidbit from the “don’t do this” files and I’ve added the update to the Care & Cleaning Materials Guide. Then onto a pool & pizza party with Smitten Kitten and the blog squad. Then we stopped in at the Liberty Ball for a little while, long enough for a few dances and long enough to see Buck Angel go all Magic Mike XXX on us which, if you missed it, I’m so sorry you missed it. Soon though a group headed up to Piph’s room for the blogger PJ party. There were so many conversations going on at once and fun things happening and I finally got to spend good quality time with Mary and Harry15. Next year we need a sound-proofed room away from sleeping quarters for this shindig where we can cackle as loud as we want after midnight (boy are we loud). I saw Luna’s dildo collection and just was in awe of colors, sizes, and squish factor. Reenie tried on a harness and dildo and was adorable. I stayed in Piph’s room just past 3, not long after we were finally reported to hotel security for aforementioned loud cackling. As I walked back to my room alone I couldn’t help but cry already missing those I just said goodbye to. Despite being tired and knowing I needed to sleep for my drive the next day, my brain wouldn’t let me sleep. 

Sunday

Waking was painful. The hall where the sessions and vendors had been was empty, and sad like a ghost town. I went to the brunch but didn’t eat and realized I needed to go pack and get on the road. I said goodbye to those I didn’t say goodbye to in Piph’s room and packed and checked out. I ran into JoEllen and Elle in the hotel lounge and got to say goodbye to them. Leaving was hard. The drive home was filled with tears (partly because my car and my GPS turned against me, partly because the 6 hour drive turned into an 8.5 hour drive, but mostly because I didn’t want to leave my friends). Here’s how I really and truly knew that the conference was the best I’d ever attended: I wasn’t ready to go home. As much as I’ve loved events in the past, my limit was right about around the 4 day mark – the few times I’d stayed til Monday I ended up cranky on Sunday night and Monday morning, ready to be in the comforts of home. But this time I wished I’d stayed, I wished I’d arrived earlier. 

Ok but what was it REALLY like?

There were actually a number of sessions I thought were interesting enough to attend besides the 3 I did attend and the 1 I fully expected to attend, but I also knew that I had to be picky and limit myself. To jump from workshop to workshop would have worn me down much faster. For the first time since my very first conference, I felt that the array of sessions was diverse and interesting. For those looking to really educate themselves, the longer 3-hour academies were probably wonderful – but I know myself I don’t have the attention span to finish a movie in one sitting, much less a 3-hour academy. I don’t like leaving/entering when one has already started, though others did this, however I would consider it if the subject were a necessity to what I do on this blog. But there were many choices for workshops (maybe too many during some time slots?) and everything was kinda fast-paced – I would have liked more time for lunch break and maybe a little more time between workshops BUT that fast pace allowed for the workshops to be 90 minutes; the past conferences I’ve attended it was 50 minutes and that just felt too short. 90 minutes was pretty necessary to fully dig into the topics in the sessions I attended. In fact, Caitlin, Jennifer, Metis and myself had so much to say that I don’t feel we took enough questions/feedback from the audience. I was hoping to hear from store employees about their attempts/successes/failures at educating customers. If anyone was at that workshop and wants to chime in on things, please feel free to do so in the comments.

The hotel was, I think, better than the Crystal City hotel of prior conferences if only for layout, design and the fact that where we were put, the hall of meeting rooms we used, didn’t feel like we had to hide. In the hotel used for Momentum and Catalyst the registration area was right outside the elevators and we shared a floor with the hotel pool, so there was a lot of “think of the children and the offended adults” hiding of stuff. There were some issues with the hotel front desk staff and confusions (due to the hotel apparently changing ownership?) but overall (despite my room being used for someone’s smoke break) the room I was in was great and the hotel was great. Of course there was an issue with the pipes? I think? Causing some very loud whale-song noises during workshops which made it hard to hear and pay attention. Yes, we had less food options vs Crystal City but I think we still made it work.

I would like to be in another workshop next year, if possible, despite how stressed out I was about speaking in front of people. Or, maybe not, maybe I’ll just listen and learn next year. We’ll see. You can expect posts from me over the next month inspired by what I learned about trans inclusivity, sex & depression & anxiety, and of course LUBE.  Something else you can expect: A renewed commitment to supporting my fellow bloggers. I was reminded that weekend that Jennifer’s motto “It’s good business to do good business” also means that as a community there is no harm to support others. I will not support my Blog Squad any less because, what, they may get an affiliate sale that I didn’t? No. Invalid. We are all mighty individuals but together we are loud, we get shit done and we are fucking fabulous. We are changing the world.

When you’re a sex blogger and especially an anonymous blogger you may not have the ability to have these conversations often about sexuality and sex toys. Any of you can imagine – find something you’re passionate about, something that 95% of the people in your everyday life don’t get or you don’t want them to know about. Now imagine you are in a place where EVERYBODY is passionate about that and it’s like an oasis of wonder. It’s brain sex. So you’re excited and happy and overwhelmed and then….then it’s over. Con-drop is a thing and in these situations it’s so hard to return to your boring life, where you can’t just rattle off things about the subjects you’re most passionate about to a room of others who are just as passionate and you certainly can’t talk about burning dildos in everyday company or admit to just anybody what the state of your bed looks like. And I don’t know that I’ve ever had a “vanilla” friend admit so freely how alike our bodies are in what sex toys we like and ask if my clit is a lefty or righty but Mandi and I just talk about it like it’s coffee16. A whole entire long weekend of being my “authentic self”, able to say anything I want, is freeing.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Shevibe.com for sending me to Woodhull; to Ricci Levy & The Board for making the Summit so amazing and welcoming; to Tantus for the blogger lounge; to the Blog Squad for letting me hang out with ya. 

Everyone has a different perspective of the conference and attended sessions I didn’t, so if you’re curious to hear more please read their posts:

 

  1. Calvin of Smitten Kitten came up with this since we all seemed to travel in a pack. Being the geeks we are, we embraced it with glee – Artemisia, Penny, Caitlin, Bex, Epiphora, Mary, Dizzy, Mandi, Reenie, Lena, Lunabelle and me
  2. Quiet but easy to talk to, Dizzy was among the first I was able to sit down with and it was great to ease into social-ness with her
  3. Smart, funny, kind, amazing Luna packed the most useful stuff, from Sharpies to a mobile bar to a suitcase of dildo brands many of us have never seen in real life
  4. Reenie is just as cute and sincere as you would imagine. I adore her completely. She says fabulous things, like after donning a Spareparts harness and a dildo says “OMG! Does this mean I can send dick pics now???? And she just walked around, waggling fantasy cock dildos in the halls and hotel areas like NBD. I can’t wait to see her again
  5. SASSY. That is Lena. Well, after some vodka. Pre-vodka Lena is still sassy and awesome, friendly and sweet, I can’t wait to see what her blog will bring
  6. She of cleavage and fabulous smile, full of energy and hugs, so easy to get along with and so caring.
  7. Caring and kind, beautiful and easy to talk to, rolls with anything – whether someone wants to call her Jill because she looks like a Jill or Piph thinks her avatar isn’t nearly as hot as she is in reality and needs to be changed, pronto
  8. Yes, we were all shocked at that, and it ended up being only the first time of many that weekend where all bloggers were thanked
  9. True story, I was intimidated to hang out with her but she’s great – sweet and funny and adorkable, unapologetically honest, she will not hesitate to say exactly what she’s thinking – Piph will be the friend who will tell you what you need to hear, the whole “not sugarcoating it” stuff applies to all aspects of her which is fabulous
  10. I had a lot of femme-clothing envy this weekend but Caitlin raised the bar. Their outfits? ON POINT like whoa. Head to toe fancy and “put together” and retro and so awesome. Having them moderate the panel was a great help to my anxiety.
  11. I remember most the faces of Bex, Penny and Lena but my mind was so hyper and messed up, I know others were in my viewline but my brain didn’t register them in the memory banks
  12. As a company, you know I love them but as people? Sandra and Thor are gems and I am so amazed I get to consider them friends
  13. I really wanted to learn some photography stuff from Penny because she is amazing, but there wasn’t any time. Penny in wonderful; sweet, funny, down-to-earth and fun to be around. I think she’s great
  14. Joellen takes more introvert-time away to recharge, so I didn’t get to hang out with her nearly as much as I’d wanted but I already knew that she is fabulous and smart and bullshit-free. She is eloquent and amazing
  15. a fabulous couple, I really loved talking to them and having them around. Mary thanked me for being her inspiration to leave her toxic-toy-slinging ex-company and finally love what she is doing, and that was both weird for me to hear yet awesome
  16. Mandi is damn awesome and so fun to talk to, she is pretty and funny and sweet. At first I didn’t know who she was because I wasn’t wearing my glasses enough to see her nametag and she looks different from her avatar so I kept wondering “Who is this cool blogger?? Why don’t I know of them yet?? Must remedy”
 Posted by at 10:16 am
Aug 132015
 

1439404332234Months ago, I asked the FUCKING AMAZING ARTISTS at Shevibe to draw me for a business card for the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. Shevibe.com is also my generous sponsor; without them I wouldn’t be able to attend the Summit. I showed the art off before, and naturally am so in love with it, that it’s now my avi everywhere. But when I saw the silhouettes of sex toys in the background it inspired me to expand on that for the back side once I figured out which toys they’d used. This made me think up the contest! I’ve never done such a quick giveaway before but I hope I gave fair enough warning by mentioning it in my newsletter and talking about it on social media. 

So here we are, even better than before thanks to Tantus donating a super new Duchess O2 (shown at left – it’s the same as their Duke but with vibrator and O2 layer) as First Place prize. Second place is the Jopen Key Comet 2, in blue, and third place is the We-Vibe Glow accessory for the Tango (Tango not included, sorry). My apologies to my sight-impaired readers; I know this contest excludes you.

bizcardfrontCONTEST2

bizcardbackCONTEST2

What You Need to Do:

Name all 17 sex toys that appear on the back side (black and gray) of my business card, from left to right, in order. 

You also need to answer this question: Which of the depicted toys have I NOT YET reviewed? Name them. 

The answers need to be all in one single comment, and shouldn’t be answered anywhere else (as in, don’t post your answer on Facebook or message me, or reblog on Tumblr with the answers).

Rules:

First place winner can live anywhere and get the Duchess O2. For the others, if you want it for free, you need to live in the US. If you’re outside the US, you need to pay for shipping. How much is shipping? I don’t know yet. That depends on where you live and which prize is yours. Let’s take a stab at a max of $25. I’d be using USPS.

You need to make sure that you see “your comment is awaiting moderation” after you click “post”. If you don’t, then re-do it. I cannot control the Internet and if your comment doesn’t make it through, there’s no entry for me to count.

I will be at Woodhull during this competition, so winners will be chosen as soon as I’m able to view all of the comments and find the winners. Once winners have been determined, all comments will get published. I’ll check the spam filter section, too, don’t worry.

This should go without saying, but you should be certain that you include a WORKING email address. You may, in your comment, include your Facebook ID, your Twitter or Tumblr name but I’d advise against putting it in as a link. However, you still need to include a working email address. I will update the post to show the first three winners.

How The Winners Will Be Chosen:

Once the contest has ended, I’ll separate out everyone who got everything right. From that group, I’ll randomly select three winners. You don’t get to choose your prize; your speed in answering determines the prize. The three randomly chosen winners will be ranked by the timestamp of their comment. If you are selected and don’t want the prize you were selected for, then another winner will be chosen to replace you.

 Posted by at 12:58 pm
Jul 102015
 

August 13th-16th 2015 is the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit, a sexuality conference that I’ll be attending (and speaking at!!) thanks to the amazing folks at Shevibe. There’s a lot of good stuff packed into this long weekend, like workshops, academies, day-long institutes and more.

The panel I’ll be on is at 10:45am on Friday (whew, not too early!) and I’ll be sharing it with a freaking stellar line-up: Caitlyn Murphy who blogs at Sexational!; Metis Black of Tantus, and Jennifer Pritchett of Smitten Kitten and Badvibes.org. I’m pretty verklempt to be in such company.

Every adult retailer, manufacturer, and sex blogger has been, at some point if not regularly, inundated with questions about topics ranging from surviving and struggling with trauma, relationships, sexual pleasure and health, anatomy, and are asked to troubleshoot issues people are having with allergic reactions to materials and ingredients in sex toys, lube, and other items. Some have risen to this call and centered sex education- sexual pleasure and health- in their businesses. Some have also attempted to rise to this call and spread misinformation in an industry that has many murky areas and lacks research. Those who try to center sex education have also encountered people who would detract them for not being a “respectable” business or topic, or claimed that they’re just providing information in order to upsell people. How do we help people access inclusive sex education as people who are often not equipped with the degrees, certifications, and resources to do so? How do we gain recognition for this work? How do we help others answer this call? This panel’s goal purpose is to answer these questions and more.

This Summit really is going to be a combination of fun and learning. There are a bunch of fun social events that trigger extreme social anxiety in me, as much as I wish they wouldn’t, and a lot of really great topics in the workshops. If you can be in DC (specifically, Alexandria VA) that weekend, you should come learn and have fun with us! A number of bloggers are going – AFemmeCock, Bex, Reenie, Epiphora, Caitlyn, JoEllen, Crista, Joan Price, Lena, Mandi, DeAnn, and…there are likely a few I’m forgetting (please remind me in comments!), and a few that I am unsure if they’re coming (I’ve been so busy with the house thing that I’m a bit out of the loop and brain is just fried lately). The point is, there will be a lot of AWESOME people at the Summit. You’ll get to see the fine folks of Shevibe, of course, and TANTUS will be there. Also listed as speakers? Buck Angel and Nina Hartley! The speaker list is really impressive, honestly.

I’m equally excited for Woodhull and terrified. My social anxiety means that I assume most people don’t/won’t like me, and in an order to be a people-pleaser I sacrifice my own needs and comforts. I’m honestly already stressing about being the “difficult one” when it comes to meals, because of the gluten thing. I don’t want to miss out on social gatherings at meals just because everyone else wants to go to a place where I won’t be able to eat. Nor do I expect people to change what they want, just to suit me.

I hold such high admiration and mini-crushes for so many bloggers and am so excited to spend time in person with all of the bloggers who are going – but the social anxiety and low self-esteem that accompany it rear their ugly heads and threaten to ruin my good time with the negative voices in my head. I will do my level best to remember that normal society expects eye contact during conversation; I will force myself to remember that when my shyness wants me to look at the ground and go quiet, others take that as a snub. Also, spending so much time around beautiful people, some of whom I’ve perved on from afar because they post very hawt photos, makes me nervous because I don’t want to be inadvertently inappropriate.  So here’s the thing if you’re also going to Woodhull: I’m far more likely to be comfortable if I don’t have to approach you first. Don’t mistake my shy and awkward self for disliking you; I’ll become more comfortable in short order. I’m more nervous to meet you than you are to meet me.

 

 

 Posted by at 1:33 pm
Jun 162015
 

 

DangerousLillyAvAs someone born before 1985, I am apparently part of the last generation to know life Before and After the Internet. I remember dial-up and AOL, ISCABBS and the time when we used multiple “web portals” instead of just “Googling it”. The internet was neat but it was still pretty geeky. You were a social loser if all your friends were “on the internet” and it was hard to admit to others if you met your mate through the internet. But it’s fairly normal, now, right? In fact it’s probably weird or quaint to relay a story of meeting a new, serious significant other through completely offline means.

Yes. Pretty much all of my friends live in this “box” on my desk. A few years ago I moved to a new city; a few years after that I moved to a new state. I still have friends from past places I’ve lived but I don’t speak to them much. I have a handful of acquaintances where I live now, but the vast majority of my real friends? I met you through this platform, through blogging, through the internet. And many of you I have ended up meeting in “real life.” Which, btw, do we still say that? I mean this…this IS real life. My life has never felt more real and more meaningful. My friends have never been such a diverse yet equally awesome and amazing group. I have never before had such fabulous people to call friends who teach me things, who broaden my ways of thinking, who make me a better person. I have never before been able to have a “job” that I so thoroughly enjoy, that I feel really matters to some people, before becoming the blogger I am now. A sex toy critic / concierge / consultant.

Some say the internet is evil. I can see the downsides, absolutely. But for me it is fabulous for it brought me you. My friend, who lives in this box. Who I talk to through Twitter and Facebook and IMs and email and Skype and then once in a while I get the privilege of hugging you in person, but maybe not. Without the internet I would never have found my calling in life, my niche; and I would not have met you. I would definitely be living a much more narrow-minded and much less fun life.

One thing that the book author, Harris, says is bad about the internet is:

“When you wake up, you have this gift of a blank brain. You could fill it with anything. But for most of us, we have this kind of panic. Instead of wondering what should I do, we wonder what did I miss. It’s almost like our unconsciousness is a kind of failure and we can’t believe we’ve been offline for eight hours,” he says. “It is habits like this that are insidious, not the internet itself. It is a personal thing.”

The author, while writing his book, took a month off from the internet. And while he didn’t “experience any epiphanies” he did say this:

 “I think what you get is a richer interior light and the ability to see yourself in a critical light, living online. Because if you’re in the middle of something you can never see it properly.”

While I didn’t take a month off, I did have to seriously limit my online time due to moving to a new house. Unlike the last time we moved, which was from rental to rental, I wasn’t frothing at the mouth to get back to my 6-hours-a-day-outside-of-work of precious internet time, doing so in short order. I had a lot more going on (hell, I still do, I am still not at my computer nearly as much as before we bought the house) and this time I went a whole few weeks without spending a lot of time on social media in all of its many facets. And yeah, I did feel left out and I did miss a lot of things going on. But I’ve also enjoyed my break and I’m wading back in much more slowly. The break did give me renewed vision on what things I’m going to keep devoting time to, what has to be cut or cut back on, and who matters to me.

All of this is also to thank the internet for these last 7 years because they’ve been awesome. I’ve changed a lot and my blog certainly has changed a lot 1. Many blog anniversaries I’ve celebrated by hosting a large sex toy giveaway on the blog, but obviously that’s not happening this year. If that’s what you stick around for, well, you’ll find other places to frequent. Go see Piph, she never misses a blogiversary giveaway and she’s a hell of a lot more reliable with such traditions than I. Maybe later this summer or in the fall I’ll host a giveaway, but, I don’t have the time for it. Those things are time sucks, they take a LOT of work.

So yeah. Stick around. I have a lot of important and interesting articles to work on, a few more guides that should be helpful and many more sex toy reviews. I’ll be here for year 8, that’s for certain. To those who are my friend: I adore you. You are extremely important to me. And hopefully I’ll be seeing a bunch of you in 2 months!!

 

The artwork is part of my snazzy new business card that I’ll be bringing to Woodhull, created by the fabulous team at Shevibe, Alex and Keith and Sandra and Thor. I think it’s pretty fucking spectacular, and very much me.

  1. A  fact which someone who has been around awhile decided to point out to me, they apparently miss what my blog used to be (the noodz and smut) and they thought I should know that. Well, fuck them, because I don’t fucking do what I do for them
May 262015
 

Earlier this month I was nominated by Will and Vixenne as having a “Real Neat Blog”, which was super sweet. I am shamefully behind on blogging much of ANYTHING these days. So by the time I’ve gotten around to writing this, nearly everybody that I planned to nominate has probably already been nominated by someone else and has written their post. 

Everybody told me how much “_____” it would be buying/owning a home. You think you know, but you have no idea. We have wayyyyy too much stuff, the house needed quite a bit of work (and still does in many ways) and my schedule got completely thrown out of whack. I started dropping off to sleep before 10pm most nights (hell, sometimes before 9pm) and waking before 6am. Nearly every day before work, I am running errands. I probably have gone to Home Depot 4-5 times a week, every week since the move a month ago. It’s all a bunch of insanity; moving and home-owning is a literal pain. I’m in so much bodily agony it’s ridiculous. 

But I’m seriously content. Happy! I smile for no reason. I look at the kitties as they lay in 45 different positions on the bay window, and know that we did good. I look out at our (very lumpy, needs much work) vast lawn and half-acre of trees and feel at ease. It’s all very….odd. I’m not used to this. I keep wondering when the honeymoon period will end, skeptic that I am. 

So yeah. I’m trying to get back into the habit of being at my computer, blogging, reviewing, being active on Reddit and social media but it’s hard right now. We’re SO busy. I spend so little time at the computer some days which is honestly just a foreign concept to me. Anyways, on to the post. The two people who nomm’ed me had different questions, so I’ll answer the ones I can/that apply. 

1. What was the reason you decided to start blogging? Has that reason changed over time?

I think this is something I’ve talked about before; I started blogging because I was looking desperately for a way to ask a real person a question in real time about a specific sex toy I was considering. I’d already wasted a few hundred dollars on toys that didn’t work for me and I just had a question! In 2008, there weren’t a ton of reviewers. So I found my answer by way of finding a blogger. I decided I wanted to do it too! But back then, there weren’t blogs solely about sex toys, or very few. So I was a sex blogger. I wrote juicy stories and diary entries and took half-nekkid pics to entice readers and get traffic to my reviews. I had a lot of fun and it did me good, for a while. But then I felt the need to be more “serious” and “professional” and stopped wanting to flirt with other bloggers and always be “sexy”. I just wanted to rant about the stupid sex toy industry shit and write reviews and do my research. 

2. If your site had a goal, what would it be? How do you feel you’re doing with that goal, right now? How do you feel you’ve done with that goal over all?

Hmmm. I wanted traffic. Then, I wanted affiliate earnings. Then, I wanted to educate people. I wanted to research and educate and peel back the curtains. I wanted to cause a ruckus and make people think. 

I’m not the top, but I’m doin all right. 

3. How has blogging influenced your life?

The people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made. I see the world differently. I am a better person. I am so much more educated about LGBTQ issues (I grew up quite sheltered, really) and gender issues and all of that. I am more open-minded. I am overjoyed to finally find people who get me, who are similar to me. I’ve traveled, I’ve had experiences that I would never have had. 

And I more sex toys than I know what to do with. 

4. What is your favorite part of blogging?

When I can help someone narrow down their choices in finding them their perfect sex toy. 

5. What website on the entire web, besides your own, do you spend the most time on?

Twitter and Wikipedia, probably. 

6.  Gotta ask one toy question. Name your absolute favorite sex toy. (More than one is fine.)

I normally hate, detest, “choose 1 thing as your favorite forever” questions. I’m awful at it, I cannot choose, I cannot decide. But this? I got this. We-Vibe Tango. It’s no contest. I could give up everything else I own, truly, and be fine with my Tangos. 

7. What is the most important thing about you that you want everyone to know?

I am weird. I can be awkward. You might think I don’t like you, but I probably do. I’m terrible with maintaining contact and friendships in the way most people do it, but I adore and treasure my friends no less. People have said I’m intimidating, I’m scary, I’m not approachable. I’m truly baffled by the wide berth some give me. I’m just a socially-awkward, slightly-extroverted introvert who is shit at small talk but engage me about a topic I like and I’m babbling away. 

My nominations are: 

KaraSutra

Marvelous Darling

Naughty Reenie

JoEllen, the Redhead Bedhead

Sugarcunt

Bex Talks Sex

But yet….these aren’t the only blogs I love. These aren’t the only bloggers I love. Look there in the sidebar, because there’s so many fantastic people writing great stuff. 

 Posted by at 3:09 pm