Jan 152015

Update: This post has been edited with information I’ve been given that completely changes the narrative; information that hadn’t been made as public as their lab tests. It changes the story from one of me being angry, to me feeling like the industry is actually, slowly, getting better and getting somewhere. Update at the bottom. 


For a long while now I’ve been a big critic of The Screaming O brand for one big reason:

They lied about their materials.

This misrepresentation of material content has continued to perpetuate firstly the myth that there is such a thing as a TPR/Elastomer/Silicone “blend” and secondly it perpetuates the myth that silicone will melt and degrade or that silicone can look crystal clear.

I’ve put their basic rings to a flame test before and they created such immediate, hot flames that I had to pour water over them to die down – a simple wave in the air wasn’t enough. Consistently, Screaming O has claimed that the material of their cheapie rings is “SEBS silicone“. The SEBS part confuses retailers, so they’ll just omit that and call it silicone. I’d strongly suspected prior to a flame test that these cheap rings are not silicone because they are so soft, so stretchy and crystal clear. This has not been a hallmark of pure silicone. Flame test revealed no grey and material destruction that was like it liquified in the heat.


A few months ago there was a dust-up on Twitter between Screaming O and some bloggers and part of this stemmed from a few of us talking about sex toys that are labeled silicone when they clearly are not. Of course, Screaming O came up and made this bold bullshit call:

Tweet that says:  "@sex_ational @dangerouslilly @RaavynnDigitaL Our products that are silicone are labeled and the ones that are not, are not. #wedontfakeit"

Product packaging, and the website, has always listed these as “SEBS Silicone”, and the language I’ve taken issue with is “silicone”



TO BE CLEAR: My problem with Screaming O is that they’ve been misrepresenting their material for ages. I do recognize that some of their products are silicone, like  their Primo line. They look completely different. They look like they could actually be silicone, unlike their cheap jelly products.  So you can imagine how rankled I got with their tweet claiming they don’t lie. The products have been sent out for  independent lab tests:

“I think we can finally put to rest the critics with our data that shows our products are what we say they are,” Hodder said.

Polymer Solutions Incorporated, a material analysis laboratory in Virginia, conducted tests on the Screaming O Original Ring, made from clear SEBS (styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene), and the PrimO Apex, which is purple silicone. Since there are no standardized tests in place for pleasure products, the lab conducted tests that fall under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which covers baby products and other children’s items.

The tests proved that the PrimO Apex is made from silicone, that the Screaming O Original Ring is made from SEBS.

Let me clarify: “made from clear SEBS (styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene)” FULL STOP. That’s  it. That’s all. No silicone.


UPDATE: I have been informed that Screaming O DOES plan to update their information to reflect the lack of silicone in the SEBS products. So, my apologies for my anger this morning, Screaming O. The information that they “get it” and are making changes wasn’t included in that press release, and I think that’s the most important information of all. Hopefully all retailer sites will be told to update their product listings, and stop calling them silicone and confusing people. I want to thank the warriors behind the scenes who prompted this re-evaluation on their wording, geting the test done, and making the changes. I’m under the impression that the site will be updated soon, and slowly product packaging will change.

I was so upset at what appeared to be a compete “they don’t get it” moment because I was going by the press release information, that I didn’t take the time to ask before I got angry and ranted. I need to do that more, and now I feel like an asshole!



 Posted by at 10:35 am
Jan 112015

A few weeks ago I received a lovely note that reminds me why I do what I do, why I’ll never back down and shut up and why I keep on researching and thinking, testing and theorizing, why I geek out about sex toy materials.

This may sound silly, but I wanted to thank you for all the information you share on your blog and on /r/sextoys. My husband asked for a BBD (big black dildo) for Christmas. I knew from previously buying plugs that we needed a good quality silicone, but was nervous about getting something online that I couldn’t really gauge the size of. So, I went to the local toy shop and asked for help picking out a silicone dildo. The lady there confidently directed me to Doc Johnson, ensuring me that Sil-a-gel was even better than pure silicone and that of course it would be fine with the coconut oil we use for lube. :/

A few days later, I found /r/sextoys and your blog. I’m so glad I did before I gave my husband that gift and we used the Doc Johnson! I tossed that stinky pvc thing and went shopping. Because money is tight, I settled on the Tantus Vamp grab bag, knowing I couldn’t pick the color. Well, it showed up today (just in time for the holiday!) and it’s perfect! The size is great. There’s no smell. Best of all, it’s black with just a hint of purple sparkle in the right light!

So, thank you. You’ve made one woman very safe and very happy this Christmas! …and I’m sure I’ll have a very happy husband when I give him his gift tonight!

And with this note, I’m both happy and pissed. Why pissed? Because for every one of us, in this army fighting against unsafe sex toy materials, there are 5, 10, 15 other retail sex shop employees spouting off bullshit like “sil-a-gel is better than silicone and it’s fine with coconut oil for lube”. A: it’s porous AND whatever sil-a-gel is has been known to cause skin reactions in some people and 2: using coconut oil on a PVC toy would destroy it super quick, because like attracts like and oil will cause the toy to melt like these. So this shop employee bluffed and lied their asses off at the expense of the buyer’s health and wallet (I say wallet because sure it’s cheaper to buy that POS Doc dildo but they would have had to replace it after one time using coconut oil on it).

It’s a fact that you’re not going to get the safe sex toy education in your average store, yet it still pisses me off; just like it pisses me off when people leave their shopping cart in the parking space rather than walking 9 feet to the cart corral. I can’t help it.

There’s only one answer here: We can’t stop. We need to keep educating other people, all the time. We need to educate to the point where our readers are then going to their local shops and educating the employees. We need to find a way to educate without judging and without scaring them away from all sex toys or thinking we’re trying to “upsell”. I’m not trying to force everyone to buy expensive silicone toys; if they know the dangers and choose to use a PVC stinker, that’s them. Yes the porous stuff is gross and the toxic ones have bad chemicals but not everybody believes it’s a problem for their body. They’ve had no reactions and no problems thus far and they’re not going to change. Okay, fine. But so far for every one of them I’ve encountered, I’ve educated at least 5 more who happily want to use only body-safe, non-porous sex toys. And I feel like I have to stress one thing here: even though many sex toy companies are going the phthalates-free route (even if we don’t believe them, some really did achieve this) not all companies are doing this; not all are non-toxic as advertised. And we can’t overlook the potential harm and pitfalls of porous sex toy materials. It’s a real problem.

Affordable, even cheap, silicone sex toys are coming on the market all the time. Reviewers need to look at these and try them out; flame test and look under the hood. Because the day when we have the ability to recommend more than a few under-$40 sex toys made from safe, non-porous materials is the day we can start winning the war. They choose the porous crap often because it’s cheaper. When companies see how well the silicone is selling and when (dare I dream?) the silicone outsells the cyberskin, the PVC, the rubber, the jelly – then they’ll change their tack and their product line-up.

I’m interested in hearing from sex toy shop workers who have managed to educate a customer without scaring them off; and those of you who have been educated. What has been the best tactic?

 Posted by at 8:35 pm
Dec 102014

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Pipedream. They’re one of the “Big 5” companies, having been around for many years. They like to think they’re a Mafia Boss the way they treat smaller companies in the industry. They take their ability to make mass amounts of sex toys every day and create so much crap. They’re no stranger to misogynistic ad copy on their sex toys but their latest little stunt is above and beyond.

I’m sure any of you reading this are aware of the big celeb phone hacking dubbed “The Fappening”, where dozens of stars had their cell phones hacked and the photos shared for the world to see. Some of these were naked selfies. It was a violation of their privacy, it was a violation of consent. Jennifer Lawrence rightly called it a sex crime.

“Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this,” she told Vanity Fair. “It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting. I can’t believe that we even live in that kind of world.” (Vanity Fair)

“It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change. That’s why these Web sites are responsible. Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it. It’s so beyond me. I just can’t imagine being that detached from humanity. I can’t imagine being that thoughtless and careless and so empty inside.” (Vanity Fair)

Knowing all of this do you think there’s any chance Jennifer Lawrence would have consented to have her likeness made into a SEX DOLL? I don’t fucking think so. In true gross fashion, Pipedream had to take it up a notch. It’s not just a Jennifer Lawrence doll. It’s a JLaw “Hacked” doll…..complete with a JLaw-lookalike model dressed as Katniss Everdeen plus posing in selfies made to look just like the ones leaked. Since they’re using a model and not the actual leaked photos, Pipedream isn’t doing anything illegal. But it’s disgusting. It makes light of anyone whose consent has been violated with naked photos leaked to the public. What’s next, Pipedream? Are you going to start making dolls from photos found on Revenge Porn sites?  Here’s the wonderful ad copy and then a quote from their press release:

We’re not sure what came faster, news of J-Laws leaked selfies or the thousands of guys waiting for this day to finally come! She did the world a favor when her sexy selfies spread across the internet, and now Hollywood’s honey is getting naked for the money! If hacked cell phone pics weren’t enough to make J-Law our favorite new selfie slut, her brand new blowup doll is proof that this blockbuster babe is ready for primetime penetration! Just add air and this American hustler transforms into America’s hooker right before your eyes! There’s no silver lining to her 3 love holes, but if you add a little lube they feel great wrapping around every inch of your pleasure rod! Her cloud got hacked so you can get jacked!

“Nobody creates products with mainstream crossover appeal like Pipedream,” Pipedream CEO Nick Orlandino said. “The publicity we receive when one of these celebrity dolls hits the market is priceless. Our customers will definitely experience rising sales as J-Law blows up — literally!“  (Xbiz)

Of course, the JLaw Hacked doll isn’t their first trip down the rabbit hole called Bad Taste. Their “Fuck Me Silly” toys are extremely offensive.  They, of course, justify their ad copy choice when called on it. Just when I think they’re maybe, possibly okay-ish to support for their silicone toys (because people do need access to affordable sex toys and if it’s a crap brand’s silicone butt plug vs buying a porous one, well I’ll choose the lesser of two evils), I find that they include AnalEaze  with all of their silicone butt toys. Their Fetish Fantasy line of low-priced silicone vibrators and cocks are not made of medical-grade silicone like they advertise (medical grade requires clean-room facilities which I cannot fathom them having) but that’s fine – we don’t need medical grade. It would be nice, though, for them to disclose that it’s not pure silicone through-and-through. The core is foam.  I’ve not dissected their Fetish Fantasy line and I can’t yet tell what the chances are of something happening to the silicone exterior enough that moisture could get to the foam core.

What I find the most ironic of all is this email I received earlier this year from their social media manager:

We keep a close eye on all the review blogs and it’s no secret that you’re not a fan of us. We know how influential you are to the blogging community and to customers. Since we so highly value your opinion, we wanted to reach out to you and offer you a trip to Pipedream. We’re hoping to talk to and show you what our company is all about, as well as learn from you and hear your personal feedback. If your opinion doesn’t change after meeting us – no hard feelings! We’d just like the opportunity to open up a dialogue with reviewers, show you what we do and who we are, and have a sit down conversation to more clearly hear your concerns. And, of course, your trip is completely on us. 

 I never responded because really….what could they say that would change my mind? ETA: Actually, since a few people who know nothing about me personally are ripping on me for not taking PD up on the offer, I now feel the need to expand on this. I never responded to the email because there was nothing they could say that would change my mind AND VICE VERSA. But I didn’t GO because, paid trip or not, the ability to take time off and fly there was not in the cards for me. I had multiple, valid personal reasons for being unable to make such a trip. I’m not young, single and without obligations enough to just pick up and go to California.  

Here’s my personal feedback, Pipedream: CLEAN UP YOUR FUCKING ACT. Stop being the douchey bros of the sex toy world. You don’t need to disrespect women to sell sex toys.  Why is “She Never Says No” such a common theme in your ad copy?

Many people have given me shit for being so vocal about not supporting this company. I’m supposed to just give a free pass to any company producing affordable silicone sex toys. And what about their affordable glass toy line? Their ceramic toy line? I’m sure there are other companies making cheap glass toys. If you want to support a company with rape culture ideals that’s your choice. It’s my choice to recommend brands other than Pipedream, and to educate my readers on why. 

 Posted by at 10:06 am
Nov 272014

In case you’re new here, let’s review the rules. Everybody’s year-end lists differ;  I try to keep it to sex toys that have been introduced to the public this calendar year as much as possible. For the “Best” toys I only rank the ones I’ve used and loved.  For the “Worst” list I’ve gone outside my normal rules – I just didn’t review very many “new this year” sex toys that I really and truly loathed. Curious to see how I’ve ranked things in years past? I’ve got lists from 2013, 2012, and 2011.  This year’s list is quite different. For one, there’s no dildo! I wasn’t wowed by any dildos I tried this year that were new to the market. This is also the first year that toys for the penis/prostate made the list – not once, but twice!  Onward, to the Best Sex Toys of 2014! (and the worst)

Interested in picking up one or two of these for the holidays? Check out the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales!

Best Sex Toys of 2014

rosarougeBest Vibrator

L’amourose Rosa Rouge – So amazing. It’s technically a g-spot / prostate vibe, but I ended up liking it best as a clitoral vibe. The vibrations are phenomenal –super powerful and deeply rumbling– and the warming feature actually does enhance the vibrations. This vibrator from newcomer French company L’amourose had me so crazy in love that I emailed SheVibe within minutes of my first orgasm to say “Please stock this!!” Runner up would be the plain Rosa – same great design and vibrations, minus the warming heated shaft.

Tenga Iroha MinamoBest Vibrator ~ Honorable Mention

Tenga Iroha Minamo – This is nearly the polar opposite of the L’amourose Rosa Rouge! Not for anyone who needs powerful vibrations or filling girth, this is great for those who need the opposite – a softer touch. The plush body and decently moderate vibrations combine with a slender shaft to finally offer those who think Less is More a great vibrator.  It works really well as either an internal or external vibrator and has a lot more obvious squish to it than it’s sister vibe, the Mikazuki.  It’s not a vibrator that I love for myself, but because it fills a gaping hole in the sex toy world – slender, decent and soft.

PulseVibratorforMenBest Cock Toy

Hot Octopuss Pulse – The vibrator for the penis, stupidly called the “guybrator”. It can be used as a vibrating stroker, but in our house it’s best when held at the frenulum while he lays back to enjoy the sensations. It surprised both of us, and really went above and beyond expectations.  Unique in design, it boasts super powerful vibrations and is really easy to use. Also hailed as a couples toy, we felt it didn’t perform in that arena but as a solo toy for him, it was so awesome. Keep an eye out though, Pulse 2 will hit the stores by February.

Jopen Lust L12 Prostate VibratorBest Prostate Massager

Jopen Lust L12 – This little guy has everything but the girth – powerful, rumbling vibrations with pulsating patterns and both ends vibrate to hit the prostate from inside and out. Jopen tried to play it off as a vibrator for either g-spot or prostate, but the design and size really fail as a g-spot & clitoris dual stim vibe. Available in hot pink or grey, it’s rechargeable and only $69 at Shevibe.

PleasurePurseBest Accessory

Pleasure Purse – I love this bag; it’s so versatile. It’s a weekender bag, it’s an inconspicuous storage option for the closet, it’s lockable and it’s very well made. Pockets galore with a black leather exterior ensure a place for everything. The stitching is well done and will hold up, plus the zippers are good quality and won’t jam. I filled it up with a lot of stuff for a weekend away, and then crammed it full of sex toys just to test the capacity.

TouchCompareMost Improved

We-Vibe Touch – I wasn’t in love with the first gen We-Vibe Touch but their upgrade brought in silky, matte-finish silicone and much less vibration dampening from the silicone. The Touch no longer picks up all the dust in a 3 foot radius, and feels much stronger than the old version. Sure, I still love the Tango more, but now I can finally recommend the Touch. Good job, We-Vibe!

ovoBest Choice for Beginners

OVO – I’m not even picking a single toy here. I’ve only reviewed the K2, but I had the chance to check out a good portion of the line in person. Shevibe carries a lot of the models and everything is under $50; many are under $30! The vibrations are more rumbly than buzzy (note: this doesn’t apply to the teenie vibes, like the Ws, they’re VERY buzzy, and the S1) and they’re moderate (this applies to most of the items – I’ve seen only negative reviews for the cock rings, so avoid those, and the vibrations on their mini external bullets, W1 and W2 are best left on the shelf). Great for newbies and those who don’t need extreme power. Their 15 year warranty is pretty much unprecedented in the sex toy biz. Made from silicone and ABS plastic, you’ve got a lot to choose from in this line. My only gripe is that the company doesn’t know how to measure a sex toy; they’ve measured from the widest portion –often the handle– and not just the widest usable portion. This led to some really skewed measurements. I’m trying to get better measurements, but if you have your eye on a certain model or have a size requirement, ask me and hopefully I can help narrow it down!


Worst Sex Toys of 2014

Lelo  anything – Lelo really fucked up this year. Their Smart Bead seems to be mostly gimmick and that fucking “cock ring for BANKERS”? Uh uh. Nope. That video is so offensive and the marketing campaign as a whole pretty much shits on their overall image. So glad I quit last year.

Fun Factory Amorino – Take a mediocre rabbit-style vibe and add a silicone “rubber band”. It’s as dumb as you’re imagining. And painful, to boot. I had an experience that ripped a few hairs out.

Jimmyjane Form 4 – The review that caused Jimmyjane to think I’m being paid off to hate them so much. I hated the Form 4 so much, and for so many reasons.

PalmPower Wand Massager – A lot of people love this thing so I wondered what was wrong with me when I disliked it so much. It could have been something decent, but all the flaws were too glaring to ignore.

Marc Dorcel Secret Vibe – The only good thing about this vibe is the remote. But otherwise it’s $70 for something so buzzy, so weak that I forgot I had it inside of me.



 Posted by at 11:30 am
Nov 272014

First, I hope that everyone who is celebrating Thanksgiving is having a wonderful holiday with the friends and/or family. I am thankful for all of you and for this part of my life, and those I’ve met because of it. I’m sad that due to having a very conservative family I cannot share this part of my life with them; it is fulfilling and fun and I have met some of the best people in the world because of it. I live a double life in some ways but I’d rather have that than none of this.


ARE YOU READY?? Not sure what to buy? Check out my Best Sex Toys page and this year’s picks for Best Sex Toys of 2014 (posting later!). These sales will go into effect as soon as the clock strikes FRIDAY. Sleep? Who needs it. Unless of course you’re in a mild coma from that turkey and alcohol and 3 pounds of filling/stuffing/dressing you consumed.


First up, the most simple one: SheVibe.com. Starting at 12:00 am on Black Friday, through Cyber Monday, SheVibe is having a progressive sale – the more you spend, the more you save. 10% off of $75 / 15% off of $100 / 20% off of $125. Codes are TURKEY10 / TURKEY15 / TURKEY20, and these sales are only good for shipping to customers in the US, AUS, CA, and UK. And when you spend $75, your shipping is free in the US! Make sure you browse their current hot deals page to grab something for a super good price.


Tantus has a lot of deals, and will have a flash sale on a different item each day; that info will be updated as I get it.  The best part? None of these sales at Tantus require a coupon code; your discount for the bundles and individual items is automatically deducted when the items are in your cart, so you can use my code, LILLY, to save an extra 15%. And when you spend $100, you get free shipping in the US; spend $200 and get free shipping anywhere else! All of these deals are good from 12:00am PST Friday through Monday. 

There are 4 different bundle deals: 

Black Friday Tantus sale bundle - Any O2 dildo plus the Vibrating Velvet Harness = 30% off
Black Friday sale at Tantus - Buy a paddle plus a gag, get 40% off both
Black Friday sale at Tantus = Buy  any prostate toy plus a cock ring plus a bottle of Ride Bodyworx lube, get 40% off all
Black Friday sale at Tantus - Buy the suction cup attachment plus any vibrator and a bottle of Blossom Organics lube, get 30% off everything

These individual items are also on sale: 

use code LILLY at tantus checkout to save an additional 15%



Lovehoney does stock a lot of porous toys. A lot. So please, pay attention when you shop. Unless it says “silicone” or stainless steel, aluminum, ABS plastic, or glass….reconsider it. I don’t believe in “body-safe rubber”.  There’s a few decent items on their sale page, but otherwise you can save 25% off your order of $80 or more at Lovehoney.com when you enter code BLACKFRI14 here. Check prices between Lovehoney and Shevibe – I’ve often found that Shevibe is cheaper so even though their discount percentage is less, your total might be less overall vs Lovehoney.


There’s one more, and I’m very reluctant to even mention it. I don’t support EdenFantasys anymore for a large variety of reasons. I’d really rather you shop at Shevibe.com. EF isn’t an ethical company, for one. Two, their stock sucks. They decided to mostly to sell their own branded crap which is cheap and shitty. But for example, in the 70% off section, is a small bright silver Tantus Sport for $17. That’s pretty much one of the only items in the 70% off section I’d recommend. In the 50% off section there’s quite a lot glass, and more discontinued Tantus items. If you’re going to grab up any deals, do so with caution. Don’t buy Eden’s brand. And when you get your order if ANYthing seems funky or off….send it back. I am still very wary of the claims from a few years ago of used toys (since they do accept returns) because logically it makes no sense – why would a company who worked so hard, paid so much money to be seen on the internet as the #1 place to go risk it all by sending out previously owned and used toys? One report to the Health Department and they’d be shut down.  Anyways, I’m mentioning the sale because there are a few super good deals, but just be smart about your order.

 Posted by at 4:44 am
Nov 022014
Amazon Warehouse (image courtesy of theguardian.com)

Amazon Warehouse (image courtesy of theguardian.com)

Amazon and sex toys. Not quite as troublesome in my world as toxic toys, but nearly so. A lot of people are more comfortable buying their sex toy from Amazon.com than a sex toy retailer, because they feel certain that it will be more discreet – they know that anything “sold by Amazon” will come in an Amazon box and an Amazon mailing address. And most of the time, Amazon is cheaper…and to detriment of the reputable sex toy shops, too.  Many of the higher-end manufacturers put a limit on how low their items can be sold, and Amazon sellers often completely ignore this. Either they are just shady people or…..they’re counterfeit.  In the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve had more people report problems ordering from Amazon than any other sex toy problems combined. I’ve had readers tell me, even as far back as 4 years ago, that they bought a “luxury” vibrator and something went wrong after a month or two. They took their problem to the manufacturer because it has a warranty, and they found out it wasn’t the brand they thought they were buying and the company wouldn’t honor a warranty claim. Rightfully so; it’s not their product. The counterfeit sex toy market is bigger than you think and it’s found a nice home at Amazon (and Ebay).

So Which Brands Are Suspect?

While this is by NO means a complete list, and I’d be suspect of just about anything, the specific brands I’ve heard of are: Lelo, Fun Factory, We-VibeFleshlights, Tenga, Fairy Wands by Merci Toys, Magic Wand.  Njoy is probably the most copied brand I know of. Multiple times a month I am contacted by shady companies in Hong Kong, Pakistan and India, who specialize in metal sex toys. They often go so far as to use Njoy product photos. The prices are super low, and there’s no way it could be an Njoy product, much less made of medical grade stainless steel, for that low price (in the ballpark of 15% of the cost of an Njoy).  One shady seller on Amazon was including free Fun Factory Smartballs that were counterfeits….and not even made of silicone as was found out from a flame test. Other products that I would be wary of: low-priced metal toys that claim to be stainless steel. I’ve heard some really bad things about a crystal-ended metal plug that is selling for around $20.  I might even go so far as to be suspicious of glass toys sold on Amazon, too. A cheaper manufacturer could potentially use unsafe pigments containing heavy metals to color the glass but I need to do more research on this. Further issues abound with BDSM items (which are outside my realm of expertise) as well as specialty items like chastity cages:

 Another brand that can be suspect is Tantus. It was officially noted to affiliates “in regards to Amazon & Ebay, we don’t sell directly to anyone that has an Amazon/Ebay store. Tantus does NOT guarantee the origin, product quality, or authenticity of ‘Tantus’ items purchased off of these sites.”

Could They Re-Sell a Used Sex Toy?

This part is just a theory but there’s another issue with third-party sellers that isn’t brought up much in discussions about Amazon – the returned sex toys. I’ve always felt pretty confident that there’s little to worry about when the major retailers who allow returns of sex toys (despite a few dramatic claims at the height of other issues with EF). Lovehoney and EdenFantasys both allow it. While Lovehoney is certainly bigger and more global, EdenFantasys used to hold its own quite well as a go-to retailer in its day. Logistically speaking, why would they risk their reputation and company on re-selling a returned (used or defective) sex toy? All it would take would be for one person to report it to the authorities and the doors would be shut. But with an Amazon third-party seller who doesn’t use Fulfillment By Amazon, a person could send back a toy and an unscrupulous seller could re-sell it. I’ve seen third-party sellers who do accept returns if it is “unused and unopened” but unless it’s been shrink-wrapped it’s not that hard to carefully open a box and make it look like it was never opened. On Twitter after this post was first published, this was said and very relevant:

The Amazon Shuffle – The New Shell Game?

Are all sex toys sold via Amazon possibly a counterfeit? Of course not. But the risk for getting one is high enough that I don’t feel that people should take the gamble. Many people have no idea that they even got a counterfeit some of the time, especially until it breaks.  Many think it’s okay to buy the item if it is listed as being “Sold by Amazon LLC”.  Here’s how it works: In the Amazon Warehouses, to save space, every We-Vibe Tango (as an example) goes into the same warehouse bin. Every seller who is storing their goods at Amazon for Amazon to ship has to give their item a UPC or Item Code or something. Everything with the same item code all goes in the same bin. They don’t have room to store every seller’s We-Vibe Tango in a different space. So now, whenever you buy a We-Vibe Tango someone at Amazon is grabbing from the communal bin. Since Amazon has many warehouses across the country, they’ll also ship your item from the warehouse closest to you that stocks the item. This means it’s not necessarily going to be the stock of the retailer you chose to buy from and there’s no control over that, either. You could be ordering from a reputable retailer on Amazon and still get the stock from a shady retailer.  The ONLY way you’re not taking a risk is if the item is being sold by AND shipped by a reputable retailer or manufacturer – of which there are very few on Amazon. And then, because it’s coming from the retailer/manufacturer and not Amazon, there goes all your assumed discretion in shipping and the possibility of “Prime” shipping. So what’s the point?

Is it Just Amazon?

No. While other sites don’t work the same way, there’s still a huge huge risk of the game ending badly if you buy from Ebay. If you find discount sites that look too good to be true….they probably are. Aliexpress.com is one such site. 

Stay Safe, Ask a Sex Blogger

So what would you rather do? Save ten or twenty bucks and take a big gamble on Amazon or deal with a sex toy retailer that is vetted by your hardworking sex toy review bloggers, and is a company that actually cares about you? By buying from the companies we bloggers work with, you’re supporting the Good Guys in the industry. By using us bloggers as a sounding board before you spend your money, you could actually save money by listening to our advice in our reviews. I advise many people one-on-one on their purchase before they buy (email, Tumblr or Reddit). I’ve had too many people come to me AFTER their purchase, saying that they wished they’d seen my review before wasting their money and there went $100+ down the drain. Read all the reviews, email your favorite bloggers. Ask their opinion. And then, when you’ve decided, wait a little bit. Keep an eye on the sales. Tantus, for example, has a different sale every month. SheVibe has different sales every week. And don’t just take the word of one blogger. 

BOTTOM LINE: I’m such a huge advocate of safe, non-porous sex toys; I want every aspect of your sex toy buying and using experience to be as safe as possible. I can’t promise your safety if you buy from Amazon and Ebay.


Where to Shop

If you’ve been here before, you probably know my most highly-recommended store is SheVibe.  My reasons are many and varied, but here’s the highlights: their stock is neither too specialized or too excessive. They don’t stock known-toxic toys. They educate their customers on the porous toys. The company is run by people who love what they do and who treat everyone – customers to industry people – with kindness and respect. Their prices are great, and they have many sales. I don’t often recommend buying directly from a manufacturer, but there are two that I’ll break that rule for. Tantus is great, and every month has a really great sale (no sale you like? Coupon code LILLY gets you 15% off). Between their closeout section and grab bag section, you’re bound to find a safe, silicone dildo to fit your budget. And their customer service is great. Problem with your order? They’ll take care of it. Currently their shipping is a bit high though and can be a deterrent for small orders – although they do offer free shipping in the US if you spend $100.  Crystal Delights is another wonderful manufacturer. Other retailers I can recommend:

Early to Bed is a Chicago-based shop with an online presence. They have a great selection of items for trans and genderqueer people; however they have a habit re-naming the sex toys they carry. This makes it hard to locate a particular sex toy if you know it by brand and style name.

Goodvibes is a long-time shop with an online presence as well as a few brick stores in the US. They don’t carry anything toxic, but do carry some porous items. Their overall catalog tends to be slim and I have numerous favorites that they don’t carry. They also sometimes re-name toy, but more often I’ll find them stripping the manufacturer’s name from the lower-end stuff – since I try to avoid recommending certain brands, I’m not a fan of this practice. Their prices are not as good as SheVibe. They do have a decent on-demand porn store, though.

Come As You Are is a nice little Toronto-based cooperative shop with an online presence. They’re one of the few better stores that do carry a few toxic items – in fact the first few things that come up in their dildo section seem to have phthalates. However, they’re one of the few places that carry a silicone vaginal dilator set with the dilator sizes ranging from 1/2″ wide to 1 1/2″ wide and you can buy the sizes separately. Their prices seem to be good and they also have a great selection of items for trans and genderqueer people. They do have educational material on the site, but continue to (as most places do) insist that condoms will absolutely protect against phthalates (it’s not actually been proven true, nor has it been proven false).

I’ve never experienced them personally, but a number of Canadian friends spoke well of the shipping, prices and customer service at Lovedreamer. They seem to carry a fair amount of crap, but also have a good amount of sales going. Do your research before picking something out.

Lovehoney has bases in the US, UK, Australia. On the plus side, they have a 365-day return policy if you hate it. On the other hand, they carry a large amount of porous stuff without educating consumers about it and their prices are not as good as SheVibe. Stick to silicone (if in doubt, ask) and the other safe materials. Even if they call it “body safe”, if it’s not a non-porous, I’d avoid it.

Other places that are fine, I just don’t work with them: Babeland is best if you are at a brick store. Online their selection is kinda meh. The ToolShed, SheBop and Smitten Kitten are great places, instore and even online. UK shoppers can also check out ThatPosition or Vibrator Kingdom. Canadians, check out Pinkcherry. Australians, I’ve heard MissX and AdultSpice are good.

 Posted by at 12:32 pm