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.

black-friday

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.

SheVibe!

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!

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!

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 toys from Amazon 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 would absolutely be suspect of glass sex toys sold on Amazon, as I personally experienced what can happen (see update from 2015 below).  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:

Updated for 2016: Cosmo recently interviewed a person who has done a metric fuck ton of reviews on Amazon. This person is sent product from Amazon sellers; not Amazon directly. She noted that she has had products arrive “destroyed” or “be dirty like someone’s used them already”. This does not sound good!

The Amazon Shuffle – The New Shell Game?

Are all sex toys from 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?

Update for 2015: For two distinct purposes, I purposely purchased sex toys from Amazon. One purpose was to determine what some of these Chinese vendors actually meant when they were calling a product “medical grade silica gel”, which meant I bought some items with dubious material declarations. Spoiler alert: it’s a crapshoot on whether you’ll get silicone (a material actually used for sex toys, whereas silica gel is not) or something…else. The second purpose was for my glass sex toy test. I purchased two that were listed as a branded item. Both came in identical packaging – which to say, it wasn’t manufacturer packaging. Both were purchased from different sellers. One I was able to confirm easily as a counterfeit, by being sent the actual branded item from SheVibe.

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.

When you CAN shop at Amazon

There’s really only three sexuality items you can safely purchase from Amazon, in my opinion. As always, do your research first! 

  1. Educational sex books / erotica books
  2. Condoms
  3. Lube, only after you’ve read up on which lubes & lube ingredients to avoid!

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. They have a large and varied stock without trying to carry every product under the sun. They are often champions for smaller, indy brands like Fucking Sculptures, and are open to suggestions. Nearly everything under the sun that I could ever recommend for purchase, SheVibe carries. I can’t say that about any other store on my list.

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 of truly high-quality glass items. Their specialty is glass plugs with Swarovski crystals at the end. They also make tail plugs and glass dildos. 

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.

Smitten Kitten is a Minneapolis-based shop with an online presence. They have a great selection of kitschy and cute gifts, they carry an extended line of BS Atelier products, they’re the only shop I know of right now carrying Hole Punch toys, and they are the brains behind the Lube Guide and every starting point I’ve had for toxic toy research. Their educational book section is absolutely fabulous.

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. 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
Sep 222014
 

It took 6 years for me to be accused of being bought off. Also, I’m officially notorious. Perhaps I should change my handle to Notorious L.I.L?

SheVibe is All That

Some people, even other bloggers, have questioned my love for SheVibe. As one of the biggest mouths in the Toxic Toy “hysteria” scene, I’ve had a few question it because they carry stuff that’s porous. They don’t carry anything that isn’t labeled by the manufacturer as “phthalates-free” so in that regard they ARE a non-toxic shop. As you all know I don’t love porous toys and won’t recommend them for insertables 98% of the time.  Plus I have deep reservations about trusting the phthalates-free claims from certain companies. Hey, they can lie. So while there are items in stock that I personally don’t agree with, it’s better than most shops. More importantly, SheVibe has changed with the times and now they warn customers about porosity. This still doesn’t mean that customers necessarily understand porosity or why it matters, but that’s another story for another day.

So yes, a few have even questioned if I’m being paid to be so loyal to SheVibe, and work with them/recommend them above all other retailers. Not only am I not paid off to be loyal to them, but I make less money in commissions by directing my readers to them. The affiliate commission percentage at SheVibe is a bit less than most other places I’m affiliated with. But there’s really nowhere else I’d rather my readers shop. I’ve come to realize in my 6+ years that the integrity of the company as a whole and the humans running the company is incredibly important. You will never find SheVibe trying to control their affiliates and what they write in their reviews. You will never find SheVibe bad-mouthing their competition just to get ahead in business. They do not want to succeed to the detriment of another company.  They have never, to my knowledge, threatened a reviewer in any way, or screwed over a customer. SheVibe is run by a bunch of people whom I consider to all be Good People. They have a sense of humor (that maybe all don’t agree with) and they have a unique style; they’re not cookie-cutter, they’re not posers, they’re not schmoozers. They listen to their trusted reviewers and value them.  In my 6 years I’ve come across a lot of douchebags and awful people. SheVibe is a goddamn gem. Which is to say nothing of the fact that their stock selection is good, they’ll carry things if requested to do so, their prices are great, their customer service is great, they have sales all the time, they don’t try to hide who the manufacturer is of a toy or change the name of it, and if you’re lucky you might get some box art

Jimmyjane is Clueless

I recently received this awesome note of thanks from an employee at a retail store down south, saying that she and her co-workers often learn more from me than many company reps and they credit me for teaching them about toxic & porous toys – honestly the note was awesome and it made my week…not just for the thank you but for this next part. Apparently, their Jimmyjane rep is not only unprofessional but clueless as well. When the rep tried talking up the Form 4, one of the employees countered back with complaints about the charging dock, the price and…..the seam. At the word “seam” the rep woke up and said “You must have read Dangerous Lilly’s blog. She hates us… I don’t even know why she hates us so much. I think she’s being paid by Lelo to leave us bad reviews.”

I’m both insulted and laughing my ass off. Are you fucking kidding me??? Clearly the rep only reads what I write about JJ and never read this post.  They don’t know why I hate the company? Let’s see. OH OH I KNOW. Hmm everything I said in the beginning of this review which of course she read since that’s the product in question that created the entire exchange. Not to mention the fact that I just cannot respect a company that, in earnest, has tried to sell a $35,000 plane ride or a $4,000 bouncy house (to say nothing of the fact that they think people will pay $40 more for gold-plating on the charging contacts). Jimmyjane is a company for the 1%, and I am not1.  Listen, I’m not about to hate a person because they work for a company who puts out products I don’t like. You do you. JJ isn’t making toxic crap; they’re just overcharging like whoa for stuff that isn’t worth the price tag.  But at least have a better line of defense than that. At least TRY, Jimmyjane Rep. Try to defend your product without being totally fucking classless and making me think you’re a really great fit for that company.

 I’m really just a Mouthy Bitch

Here’s the thing. I am a customer, first and foremost. My reviews here are no different than my reviews and opinions on products anywhere else. I’m opinionated and picky. If I hated that batter dispenser I got from Amazon, you better believe I’m going to leave a negative review when it broke after the 4th use. Welcome to the life, folks – there’s shitty companies everywhere trying to make something cheaper and for more profit, customer happiness (and quality) be damned. It’s true in sex toys as much as kitchenware. 

I’m also not a salesperson. I have affiliate links, yes. It’s my way of getting paid for the work I do. I will occasionally review products when there’s no chance at affiliate commission but by and large the affiliate system is a roundabout way of paying for the long hours put into each review and every educational guide. But either way, I’m not going to give a bad review to a product I won’t get affiliate commission for and I won’t give a glowing review to a product just to earn a sale from you. I was once in your shoes, too, unsure where to spend my money. I’ll never purposely steer you wrong.

Any other rumors you’d like me to clear up? :)

 

  1. To be fair, Lelo is guilty of this crap too, to a degree, with their gold and silver/platinum versions of the Ella and Bob and whatnot….but they didn’t do the bouncy house and plane ride so they’re the lesser of two evils
 Posted by at 4:21 pm
Sep 202014
 

Earlier this year I ranted on a topic similar to this; many companies have no idea the sort of effort we put into our sex toy reviews. The testing, the photos, the writing, the editing, and even the promoting. For the cheap toys, we’re getting screwed in the conversion if the sex toy is seen as “payment” for the review.  But many of us spend at least half a day’s work time (if we’re comparing this to an hourly full-time job) if not a full day or even MORE than a full work day’s time on our reviews.

So today I saw a post from a blogger, not a sex blogger, talking about fair pay for bloggers. We’re not the only ones doing reviews! During my short time as a food blogger, I was indeed doing some reviewing. Perhaps because I was new, perhaps because that’s how they do it, but I was never sent a retail size product for review. If it was for, say, something that comes 6 per box….I was sent one individual item. I was tempted to review it as “ew yuck, tastes like poo, avoid” and that be that. Compared to the retail value of the sex toys I get? 140 characters for a total review would have been generous.

Regardless, the post is very good and raises some good points. Go read it. I’ll be here. Come back and talk amongst yourselves.

Maybe what I’m doing is fighting for equal pay: equal pay with journalists, critics, columnists.. or just being paid at all. It’s not a perfect proposition, I know that, but something needs to change. My idea has many reasons why it won’t work – but I just feel that it needs to be addressed and we get a conversation going in order to try and start to make a change.

Some points that have already been raised on twitter include integrity of the review/reviewer…..wouldn’t a company only want to pay for a positive review? Would this change how the reviewer talks about the product? Is there a way to get fair pay to bloggers for the hard work of a review without compromising anybody’s integrity? What about a payment to spotlight the review? For some reviewers, they don’t post often so a new post will stay on the homepage awhile. For others, it might scroll by quickly. One option could be that a blogger is paid a special sort of advertising fee for a sidebar banner that leads to the review or the company’s site or extra social media attention to the review maybe. I don’t know. I don’t know how it would work, if it could work, if any company values us enough to do it.

The blogger who wrote this post did a follow-up, and there is one point someone else raised that I found interesting:

Under the heading “Do you get paid for Product Seeding?” her answer was

“…No. Unless you are required to use specific links, post specific verbiage or do specific tasks in relation to the gifting. If you are being sent a product, you are at liberty to post in whatever context on whatever time frame you deem appropriate. If celebrities don’t get paid to wear a pair of jeans, you aren’t either”

Except that….in the sex toy world we are often required to have certain words appear, and appear as links, links that don’t have our affiliate link in them. We’re hounded if we have the product longer than a few months.

Do you agree? Disagree? Retailers and manufacturers, we’d love to hear your thoughts, too. Be anon if you must!

Would you think the blogger is getting fair pay, or would you think they’re less trustworthy?  If you respond on twitter, let’s use their hashtag, shall we? #fairpayforbloggers

 Posted by at 10:15 am