Dec 122017
 

For years now I’ve kept up a tradition of talking about the Best (and Worst) things I’ve reviewed over the prior year. But this year I looked at my reviews (lacking though they are) and found that there were actually very few things I reviewed and loved. I could make a list of the worst, easily. My goodness so many things let me down – whether they were loud and weak, over-promising and under-delivering, simply not worth the hype and cost, the cause of literal injury and pain or pretty okay except for some bafflingly unfortunate button placement. Many others just left me bored. But love? Adoration? Not this year. At least, not that I’ve had time to review, yet.

I dealt with a lot of personal bullshit this year, while also feeling the terror of my worst fear coming true: Trump as president. Depression, anxiety, and stress played a big role in my life this year and kept me from giving a shit about a lot of things – one being this blog. I’m trying to get back here, though. Our patience for bullshit hit an all-time low this year, collectively, so it’s no suprise my Blacklist got a little bigger. And while one sex toy brand came off of my Blacklist, another went back on it due to their heinous behaviour at Woodhull 2017 and their complete lack of understanding of consent and privacy. Fuck you, Screaming O

I can tell you that you’ll have a few good reviews to look forward to in 2018, like the Blush Real Nude dildo or the Sola Cue vibrator. I’m hoping that my reviews trend more positive in 2018, at least a little, because I really do want to be able to wholeheartedly recommend some awesome new stuff for you. Yes yes, it’s important to uncover the shitty things and I’ll never stop doing that but, yikes, it’s been bleak. You know I’m picky so let’s hope the industry ups its game!

I did manage to write a couple of articles I really like, topics that have needed to be addressed for a long while now:

You’re going to see posts between now and the new year about some of my favorite things from 2017. I’ll be updating this post as a sort of Master List but I’ll give you a little preview: I’ll be talking about my favorite apps & software that help me run my blog; my favorite “I need to chill the fuck out” place; my favorite brand rep; my favorite Twitter account; and a few more. And if I can think of anything else or YOU can think of anything else, I’ll add to it!

First up: My favorite sex toy retailer: Shevibe.com – publishing Wednesday! 

 

 Posted by at 8:19 pm
Oct 122017
 

CN: mental health, grief, weight/loss and physical health issues

“This is a call to all my past resignations, it’s been far too long.”

Every time I draft a post like this I wonder “Should I really publish this? Does it really belong here?” but then I remember that at the end of the day this is MY blog. A blog. A personal space to write whatever the fuck I want and I do not have to be perfect and be “on-brand” with every post. I never have been so why start now, right? Being authentic online is not something everyone does because, hey, we like to appear that we’ve “got this” but I’m just tryin to be me.

You may have noticed a distinct lack of posts this year, but it ebbs and flows. I’ve written half as much as I did in 2016. I’ve already discussed mental health issues earlier in the year but they don’t seem to be letting up. I’ve spent my year dealing with anxiety worrying about my partner’s mental health and our jobs. It’s eaten away at me. My depression is likely a symptom of my overall terrible mental health.

I thought for sure that attending Woodhull’s 2017 Sexual Freedom Summit would revitalize me, and the blog. But it didn’t. That same month was the 20th anniversary of my father’s death. Why is it that this anniversary hit me so hard when other years the date passed by without my even noticing? I’m not sure yet, but it wrecked me. For weeks I couldn’t stop crying. I’ve tried talking with psychics and mediums for some relief/closure, but that has opened up another can of worms. There’s really a lot more to it than that but this paragraph is all I have it in me to write about this topic.

I’ve spent a good part of this year worrying about, being anxious about, so so much: a family member, my partner, a few good friends, my health. I’ve spent a lot of time worried over politics. There’s been impatience and spinning tires. Worry. Anxiety, Tears. Anger. “Where’s the good stuff?” you’re probably asking. Well – I don’t know. I mean, it happened. There’s also been love, laughter, and support. But there’s also a big disconnect for me.

I’m currently trying, for the 15th attempt, to lose weight. My health hasn’t been good and frankly I’m worried about dying young but that could just be my health anxieties taking over. I have a few diagnosis reasons to have some concerns and that’s why I’m working so hard, again, and hoping it sticks this time. But as usual I’m being hard on myself. I’ve lost 20 pounds but that’s not good enough; it’s a drop in the bucket; it happened too slowly, etc. #noadviceplease

I haven’t been able to write, lately. That last post was something I’d actually written months ago but never published. The thought of writing a review, for the most part, makes me want to retreat. Maybe a real good salt-report hate-on review would get my attention but otherwise it’s hard. And my list is growing. I have some Blush Novelties items and a Sola vibrator that deserve attention, but I know they’re understanding. I have those new Je Joue Bullets. I have a bunch of Kegel exercise products I need to write about but I’ve been having a weird disconnect with my vagina this year and penetration/insertion isn’t on my top 30 list of things to do. Hence my using and reviewing things like the Funkit Cashew plug hasn’t happened yet. Because of the way I write my reviews, with many comparisons to other, similar items it’s been hard to deal with writing about the O Wand, those Je Joue bullets, etc. I have a lovely Doxy 3 to tell you about, and a confounding Hot Octopuss Queen Bee to figure out. There are even items I have some interest in (or feel an obligation to) but I’ve refused to be sent anything anymore until I can get through this review queue to mitigate guilt a little. 

My depression and overall mental health made me skip my blogging anniversary this year. I will admit I’ve had a few passing thoughts lately of “maybe I’m done?” but I don’t know what to do with that. A psychic told me that “this” is my career – that thing you do for passion and love, that thing that drives you. She told me I’m good at this career and that it needs to evolve. But, according to her, that evolution needs to involve me disclosing to my immediate family and being more “out”. I don’t think I have the courage for all of that, though. And really, evolve to what? Being an educator is HARD. I’ve seen the hustle and the struggle from so many of you. I don’t want to put myself through that – frankly I’m too damn old and cranky for all that. But what else is there that is “next” from this?

Instead of writing I’ve put what I could into other things – supporting friends, building a new/old project, fostering a little more community, and attempting to course-correct my poor health. So this is where I’m at. I don’t know when the next review will be, I don’t know how good it’ll be. But this confession had to be written and that’s that. Please, don’t feel the need to comment. I know folks mean well but hearing “hey it’s your blog, you can write when and what you choose” is more harmful than helpful in some odd way. This is the State of the Union and well…..we’ll see what’s next, I guess. I have things I want to accomplish here but it all somehow seems too hard.

 Posted by at 9:29 am
Jun 222016
 

Last week, the 15th, was technically my blog anniversary but I felt that bitching about Lelo and Charlie Sheen took some priority.

I started out this calendar year doing things different. I tried to vow to write something every week. Every month I’m giving away gift cards to my RSS subscribers. I’ve mostly posted every week, although sometimes I’ve missed. When I started 2016 out I really thought that my 8th year would be a bigger deal to me, that I would know for sure where I stand.  I wrote on my 5-year blog anniversary that it was my 800th post; I checked in to see where I was at for year 8 and was confused at first to see I was only at 837 posts.

But then I looked at the private posts section and found 140-some posts that I’d taken away – the trying-too-hard “sexy” photos, the erotica that was written mostly for someone else. At the time I hid those posts I was starting to divulge the blog to a few people in real life and I didn’t want them to see the photos or read those words. I also thought I couldn’t be taken as seriously if I had those posts up. Seriously by who? I don’t know anymore. But it doesn’t matter. The girl who wrote those words and posted those pictures doesn’t live here anymore. I’m a full-time dildo-burner and toy-critic, heavy in my “sex toy activism” and, yes, SJW posts. I’ll go ahead and claim that label. I don’t see why it’s a bad thing.

I found it interesting to look back at blog anniversary posts over the last few years. At year 3 I was deeply depressed after having moved to a new state the month prior. I didn’t expect the move to be bad, in fact, I’d looked forward to it. But the change and isolation was tough. Year 4 I just apparently ignored the blog anniversary, with nary a mention.  At 5 years I was dealing with some personal stuff and thought I was going to have to quit blogging. I was planning a slow fade-out but after 9 months the situation changed and my time freed up. My attitude changed. And my blog continued to change. Year 6? Big fucking change. I was lighter, I was happier, I was back. I was sure of myself, my blog and grateful. Year 7 I mused on the fact that all of my friends now are friends I have through blogging. You guys GET ME. I LOVE YOU, MAN.

It’s now officially 8 years. At least I’m not breaking tradition by forgoing a blog anniversary giveaway! I just don’t have time for the prep and the stress and the things one must do over the course of a big blow-out giveaway. I’ve opted for the kinder, gentler thing this year which is reward those who read me. Fear not, there’s a giveaway or 10 every month now in blogger land. They’ve become so commonplace! I could start an “In MY day” story but oh, you already know I’m an ole fogey so I don’t need to confirm that, now do I? If I make it to 10 years then I will do something major, I promise. But right now I’m getting used to working full time for the first time in 5 years (and in a job where I cannot be on social media and my blog all time, go figure) and it’s killing my scheduling and my writing! But hey, I’ve done some writing things this year that I’m a little proud of:

For now though, I am literally counting down the days until the Sexual Freedom Summit of 2016. It will be the Best Thing Of The Year.  AND I haven’t yet gone a whole month without a post, so that’s good. Year 8 is still lookin good. I don’t have plans for anything big and groundbreaking the remainder of the year so I will take suggestions!

 

We’ve come a long way, baby….

 Posted by at 9:02 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
Jan 222015
 

Note that says: "You're never alone, okay? Someone somewhere cares about you and wants you to be alright. Even if it's just a random person you met on the internet. You are loved. Don't forget that."I need to preface this post. You won’t learn anything from this. I have no answers, no treatment plan, no quest. I have uncertainties and questions.  It isn’t an eloquent post. If you need a visual, I am huddled under a hoodie unable to make eye contact, I’m fidgety and exhausted. I’m skimming in some parts because I don’t have enough introspection to be able to elaborate. This is raw and uncomfortable and it’s not a pretty post. Like I told Reenie when I got her opinion on this post, this is a glimpse of me in therapy (and a clue as to why I don’t DO therapy). I’m all over the place, I skip details, yet I repeat. I’m saying all of this the best I can. This isn’t for fame or notoriety, because let’s face it, I’d like to think I normally write better than this. But if I take the time to polish it, it will never get published. Take it or leave it. 

For the last year or 18 months, I’ve mentally been on a downward, slow spiral. Stress and unknown other factors have made me subtly feel less awesome. It’s been so subtle that I’ve only recently thought “hmmm, maybe this is depression?”.  I want to write about this because it’s high time. My friend JoEllen has been writing about it for awhile now; plus there’s Crista’s world-famous OrgasmQuest. My angle is a bit different though. 

 The Vibrators

Despite the fact that it’s my job to use sex toys, I feel some internal guilt about having an orgasm by myself when it’s not “for work”, since I’m getting off by myself and not bringing my husband into it for something that could benefit us both. Even though intellectually I know that masturbation is healthy and there are tons of reasons that partners in very healthy relationships with great sex lives would masturbate. I know this. I still feel guilty sometimes though. Yet my orgasms, the ones from masturbation, aren’t really for pleasure. I don’t take my time and luxuriate in sensual self-play; there are no candles, no erotica, etc. Everything’s usually done in 10 minutes or less and often my pants don’t even come off. Most of the time I’m using my Tango (lately the L’amourose Rosa Rouge is helpful if a climax is being particularly stubborn) and I flip over to Tumblr for some audio and visual stimulation, enough to help with an orgasm. And then I’m done. Close out Tumblr, no more porn, no residual sexy feelings or thoughts; it’s like flipping a switch on and off. When I start masturbating through to finish, I’m not aroused. I’m not horny. So why the fuck am I masturbating, you might ask?

 For something to do. To maybe help myself sleep. To relieve some anxiety. To maybe not feel melancholy for a little while. Maybe it’ll wake me up. The reasons are varied but 99% of the time my libido is not in the deck of cards that contains my reasons. Sometimes an orgasm is not much different than brushing my teeth, as an activity.  It feels good but it’s not really registering, there’s a brain-body disconnect. 

The Sex

I’ll be honest, most of the time lately I have no sex drive. Luckily (an ironic sort of luck) my husband was going through his own lack of sex drive and issues, so while we both still love each other deeply the lack of sex bothered us only on a more cerebral level. A “shouldn’t we be bothered by this?” kind of bothered. A “it’s been HOW long??? Wow…that’s bad…we really should have sex this weekend” (and then we wouldn’t) kind of bothered. I think this past year we’ve both felt a bit of a strain due to the physical disconnect, but we both know that it’ll come back and we’re happy together regardless. But for two people who love each other dearly and still find each other attractive….the frequency of the sexing is frighteningly low. I don’t know yet how to fix it. 

The Depression

So I may, or may not, be clinically depressed 1 and I’m not being treated for it, nor am I seeing anyone. I’m not on any medication that is hampering my ability to orgasm, like Crista is dealing with on her #orgasmquest. I’ve had such awful experiences in the past 16 years with mental health drugs that I’m reluctant to go down this path again. The hazing period of newer drugs is intolerable sometimes. So I’m not actively seeking help. But I’m not happy, like overall – I mean, duh, right? And I have these weird “quirks” that I never had when I was younger – primarily, the ability to cry at the drop of a hat. Reading a book/watching a TV show where someone else cries? I cry. Happy cry, sad cry, the tears are just always there right under the surface. I also have a really hard time sticking with something I like – you know the whole typical depression question of “do you find yourself no longer getting pleasure from hobbies you previously enjoyed” thing. It’s, quite frankly, amazing that I’ve kept up with this blog for so long. I have definitely had feelings of “why the fuck am I still doing this” over the last 2 years. I tend to let my insecurities and the need to feel accepted and liked by my peers rule too much over me. When I start feeling like my peers don’t give a flying fuck about me/my writing/reviews, I consider throwing in the towel. But then I get thank you notes from my readers, the people I actually write the reviews for, and my brain returns to normal and I stop being such a pain in the ass. Needing validation is a sign of weakness for me because of past, unhealthy  experiences. 

I don’t know what I’m going to do. The thought of finding a psychiatrist/psychologist that doesn’t annoy the crap out of me feels too daunting. But I think I owe it to my husband to try and get my sex drive back. I’d say I owe it to myself, too, but my brain is like “pffft don’t care” so that thought doesn’t even occur to me. And yes, a tiny part of me feels like a fraud of a “sex blogger” for having no libido and reviewing sex toys. Thank goodness I dropped the whole “sexy” sex blogger thing years ago or I’d be feeling double the pressure. 

I guess all this rambling is to say that there is no normal, we need to talk more about sex & depression and masturbation & depression and depression in general, and I’m just as nutty as the next squirrel. I expected that writing this would be like therapy, but you know what? I feel twitchy. I feel like I’m in a therapy session with the therapist staring me down and after 10 minutes asking a “how do you feeeeeeel about that” question and my only response is “I dunno”. Oh hey….it IS just like therapy. Ha.

So uh……yeah. I think I need that orgasm right about now.

 

Links to help:  ADAA page on Depression  –  1-800-273-TALK  – NAMI

  1. But I absolutely do have ADD-Inattentive type and fibromyalgia, and I’m not really on anything for either and both of those, left untreated, can cause depression
 Posted by at 10:59 am