Feb 152017
 

Cadillac of Vibrators. Top of the heap. One to rule them all. Everybody needs one! If you spend enough time on Reddit boards, Buzzfeed or other online mags that talk about sex/sexuality you will soon see posts talking about the “best” sex toy. They give readers no indication of qualifiers, and yet inevitably there will be a dozen proclamations that the Hitachi Magic Wand is THE BEST and SHE WILL LOVE IT and it ALWAYS WORKS and MAKES ME CUM IN A MINUTE. These proclamations and recommendations are also often given in r/sex when someone is asking for a first-timer’s vibrator recommendation.

And I twitch. I used to end up ranting and lecturing on Reddit, but now I avoid the place for my own sanity. Yet I can’t avoid the holiday lists put out by such experts as Buzzfeed, Cosmo and retailers and every damn time they make me mad. Why? We’ll get to that in a minute.

Wherein I Dislike The Wand, Any Wand

I’m not really a wand fan. I used to be; 9 years ago it was the only thing that sometimes could “force” an orgasm out of me. I took a notoriously long time to orgasm and when I’d tried the Magic Wand I had yet to own anything that worked truly well for me. I assumed that I needed sheer power. After all, I thought I’d tried everything else the industry had to offer, it must be an issue with the intensity.

It took me years to figure out that it wasn’t a need for power that was the key, it was a combination of rumbling, penetrating vibrations and pinpoint clitoral stimulation. I have one spot on the right that responds the most to sensations and the more precisely I can target that spot, the better off I am.

Even so, I’ve reviewed many wands because hey, people like them. Many people enjoy them, many people need them and I want to be able to give my thoughts on the quality and buzz vs rumble so that I can accurately give advice. But I don’t like reviewing wands, really, because I know they’re not what I need and it will be even harder to please me. I think most are ugly (but some are beautiful). I think they’re over-rated sometimes. I’ve notoriously hated wands that others have adored. I think that the Magic Wand and similar wands are buzzy, numbing, overkill for many folks and not really the best “first vibrator”. I don’t think they’re bad, and I don’t discredit that, for many folks, they are The Key to Orgasm. And, for others, they’re not the Only Key, but they can be a fun tool to hammer out an orgasm in a minute or two. I’m definitely in neither camp, so I feel obligated to often rally for the Not A Wand Lover camp because if you’re Not A Wand Lover and you read all about these thousands of people who can come in a minute, and you can’t, you might feel broken.

Wherein You Dislike The Womanizer

There’s another sex toy that is leading to fans (and companies) making orgasm guarantee claims: The Womanizer (or Satisfyer). I delayed trying the Womanizer but eventually had to settle my own skepticism. I thought for sure I would be the first review of dissent.  It’s a rare occurrence but I was wrong and the Womanizer ended up working for me, with one caveat: Others talked about coming in under a minute. It took me sometimes as much as 15 minutes, but usually more like 5-10. Regardless, I find that it’s a unique sex toy and if I can use the right model then sometimes I can keep going and have another orgasm in the nearly-immediate future. Are the multiple orgasms that some boast about with the Satisfyer or Womanizer the norm? Probably not. So don’t expect it.

Womanizer, or epi24, literally has an orgasm guarantee. If you buy their overpriced Womanizer Deluxe Pro Super Spectacular W500 and it doesn’t work for you, they’ll give you your money back if you contact them within 30 days. They haven’t put the same guarantee on their Womanizer PRO40, which baffles me, but what are you gonna do.

The Womanizer, or any other sex toy similar to it, is not going to work for everybody. It can’t possibly. Do I know who is more likely to enjoy it? I think so. I think you have to like clitoral stimulation – direct clitoral stimulation – versus broad vulva stimulation and have extreme difficulty with orgasm via manual stimulation. I think there are other factors, but this is one of the only common threads I’ve seen amongst folks who hate the Womanizer and it doesn’t work for them. I was talking to JoEllen after re-reading her piece about how the Womanizer doesn’t work for her, and we had a really hard time putting things into a short “sound bite” but came away from the conversation understanding that there’s no normal, there’s no standard, there’s no best. JoEllen likes wands; in large part, because direct clitoral contact is painful and wands allow for broad areas of the vulva to receive vibration as an indirect method of clitoral stimulation. If that’s you? Ignore what they say about how it’s “touchless” clitoral stimulation because touchless doesn’t matter if you don’t like direct clit stim.  I talked to Sarah who also hates pinpoint vibrators, loves wands, and definitely cannot orgasm without a sex toy. She talks here about how a much-loved small vibrator doesn’t work for her at all, and has told me that the Satisfyer simply doesn’t feel like anything to her. Her body just doesn’t register it.

There’s No Best Sex Toy

Yep, I know, I have a page titled “The Best Sex Toys“. To be honest? SEO is a big reason for it. But I also wanted a place to list out all of the sex toys I personally love mixed with some stand-out sex toys I always recommend in the right circumstances. Not all are perfect for me, but I think they’re all top in their class.

I can’t just recommend a sex toy to someone without knowing a lot about them, and I tend to think it’s a bit reckless to toss out promises that are as hard to keep as a wriggly puppy. When someone1 polls the mob and just says “I need a sex toy recommendation” and people start shouting out names and promises, I can’t handle it. I need to know what body part they want to use it on; what sort of stimulation they’ve liked so far; how difficult it is to orgasm manually; if they’re tried other sex toys; and a few other key questions. Only then will I give a mostly-confident recommendation, with the heavy caveat that if it doesn’t work, they shouldn’t despair.

This need for clarifications and questions and caveats and if-then statements leads to a burning rage when places like Buzzfeed list out “sex toys you can’t live without”, or uncontrollable twitching when someone (anyone) claims that XYZ sex toy will work for everyone. It’s why I can’t give a singular recommendation when a place asks me to tell them my favorite sex toy recommendation for a Valentine’s Day piece. It’s why it took me so long to even write the review for the Womanizer W100 – because I couldn’t figure out why I liked it, or who might agree/disagree with me. I am caught between this high-strung desire to not let you waste money and to assure you you’re not broken and you may not find your Holy Grail sex toys until the 12th try. “Try, try again” and “let’s not waste money here” are kind of at odds with each other, but I subscribe to both.

Works For You? Great!

A lot of folks who go around insisting that their holy grail will be your holy grail sex toy are missing a crucial point: everybody is different. I’m so glad that you found a sex toy that works for you, without fail, and to your desired degree of swiftness. I know the frustration of owning many sex toys yet not having any that work truly well. So in your enthusiasm, there is a bit of blindness. If you love a certain sex toy, try explaining why you love it when you recommend it. Talk a little about your level of sensitivity or ease of orgasm without sex toys. Give an example of something that was absolutely terrible for you, and tell them why.

I’m not trying to take away your well-deserved love of your favorite sex toy. I have them, too. I fucking adore the Tango and Womanizer equally, but I know they’re not the best for those who are more sensitive and it’s a bit much to spend until someone knows for sure that they like pinpoint, intense stimulation.

And finally, maybe most sex toys aren’t your thing, and you don’t see the fuss. You prefer your hand or your lover’s mouth. That’s completely valid, and while it’s foreign to me, no one is superior. Needing a vibrator is absolutely okay, and so is NOT needing one.

Bloggers, Not Magazines

Want to avoid the pitfalls of hearing that something is “the best” without them knowing you at all? Not everybody does, but if you do, if you want to get a recommendation on a great sex toy for YOU, don’t read those listicles from Buzzfeed, Cosmo, or hundreds of other online magazines. Avoid the reviews on such magazine sites, too. You’ve got the best, most experienced, most critical squad to call on when you need answers: reviewers. Don’t be afraid to ask multiple reviewers their opinions, and read enough of their blog to get a good understanding of what works for them. Find someone who seems to be similar to you in needs, likes and dislikes. And if you see those dreaded words “every woman needs one”, run for the hills.

Let’s love it, but let’s stop trying to make “the best sex toy” happen. It’s never gonna happen.

  1. Whether they’re a dude looking for something for their girlfriend, or a person overwhelmed with the choices in general
 Posted by at 12:14 pm
Jan 222017
 

The most popular session I attended at #SFS16 was #SFSMedia or ‘Navigating Social Media Practices for Adult Businesses’ and as you’ll see, this post is drawing heavily on the tidbits of wisdom dropped by panelists Sandra Bruce (Shevibe), Metis Black (Tantus), and JoEllen Notte (Redheadbedhead.com). While I was taking notes and tweeting as best as I could I realized during that session that it would spawn a blog post or two but I didn’t realize that every month thereafter I would be reminded by others‘ social media fuck-ups that this post needs to be written.

Today I’ve partnered with Formidable Femme, Red Hot Suz, and marvelous darling to create a multi-post guide to sex industry social media. Hopefully, through these guides, new and old companies can be educated on how to maneuver through marketing sexuality in a professional way. I plan to pull this post out like your mother pulls out that annoying pamphlet on whatever health condition she is sure you have or will have. I will present this to companies and hope they have the sense to read the whole thing.

As more and more adult-industry companies are created, or simply joining social media, the occurrence rate for social media fuck-ups is also rising. It seems like every month on Twitter the blog squad will notice new1 companies saying things that fly in the face of everything our side of the industry2 stands for: sex-positivity, body-positivity, inclusivity & tolerance, and correct education. As a business, your social media posts go beyond fun & marketing – they are your reputation. Reputation is currency. Reputation can be the difference between being named someone’s favorite company of the year and living on their Blacklist; between being recommended consistently to readers & customers or never mentioned. Reputation is currency. Understand this and you’re on your way to understanding how to handle your fuck-ups. It’s easy to make mistakes – listen to the community and take heed when we tell you you’ve fucked up.

Alright, so you’ve fucked up. Your mentions/comments are filled with people calling you out on your fuck-up. What’s the first thing you should do?

Step 1: STOP. Remove yourself from this equation, and don’t take it personally. I say that to prepare you for this: It doesn’t matter what you think right now. It doesn’t matter what your intent was. What matters is how it was received. Full stop, the end. Sit with this for a minute or ten and repeat it like a mantra until you fully believe it – and don’t you dare respond to folks until you believe it. So many companies make the storm worse by getting offended and upset, by doubling down on the bad behavior we’re calling out or throwing us a half-hearted fauxpology.

When you’ve done wrong, every hour that ticks by, from the moment the river of hate floods your screen, is affecting the perception of your business. As a business, a brand, the longer you take on damage and stay silent, the worse it will be for you and the harder it will be to come back from it.

Step 2: Delete the offending post(s). They’re terrible, offensive and hurtful. The post that got you into hot water is not going to do you any good by leaving it up. By bringing it down and quickly following up with Step 3 you will hopefully stop the bleeding. Stop the bleeding, and start the mending.

Step 3: Apologize and tell us you were wrong, we were right. Because no matter what is in your head our reaction is what is correct right now. Apologize publicly, apologize privately, apologize to individuals and acknowledge the validity of their complaint to them. However, and this is very important, make sure your apology isn’t a fauxpology. A fauxpology shifts the blame – to the complainant for their feelings or that they saw something you didn’t, for example. A fauxpology is “We’re so sorry you found this offensive, it was never our intent” which can be re-written as: “I’m very sorry; I didn’t see it that way but understand my error”.  Crafting a good apology is as simple as expressing regret/remorse, admitting you’ve done wrong, and promising that it will never happen again.

Step 4: Sit there and take the beating.  This doesn’t mean you need to engage in discussions about it and reply to every single tweet in your mentions. It’s a delicate balance; a dance of sensitivity. Apologize, make it look heartfelt but understand that more angry tweets will follow. When a tweet is popular, it will show up in someone’s timeline later on – 9 , 18, 24 hours later. And that may be the first time they’re hearing about Your Awful Thing. And maybe they’re so disgusted/incensed/hurt by what you did that they need to jump in and be another voice telling you. This may come hours, or a day, after your apology. Let it happen. Take it.

Step 5: Do better. Don’t let this happen again. Learn. If this happened because you handed your social media accounts over to someone who doesn’t understand the language of sex-positivity and inclusiveness, who has never run a social media account for a sexuality company? That’s on you for letting them go unchecked. At the end of the day, this is your company and you shouldn’t be hands-off on something so important. Hire someone better and make sure you have the login information for all of the social media accounts others are handling. Make sure you’re logged in so that notifications are seen immediately by you.

If this happened because you, the owner, are running your social media accounts then you need to consider handing them over to someone else who has experience running social media for sexuality companies. Otherwise you could be damaging your own business.

Educate yourself and your employees, specifically on the topic you were called out for. Understand the nuances of consent, shame, gender, sexuality, and more. And if you read up on these topics and still feel that you were right, we were “over-reacting” or being “too politically correct”? Then you have no business being the voice of your company. Hire someone to do it for you.

What Not To Do

DON’T block the people who are complaining. That’s literally never a good idea. It does absolutely nothing but make you look like shit. It earns you a bad reputation amongst the folks who are giving voices to your brand; the folks who might have considered forgiving your fuck up.

DON’T ignore us. The apologies are necessary. You can’t just delete the offending post(s) and be done with it. No response will land you in hotter water than you started in. It signifies that you don’t give a shit and/or don’t care to understand your mistakes.

DON’T insult us. Don’t get defensive. We’ve seen too many folks lash out at the people doing the call-out. Again, this is only going to make your situation worse and pretty much ensure that most bloggers won’t recommend your brand.

DON’T assume that the followers who are vocal are the only ones who care. I can assure you that there are other brands, companies and important people following you who also care but couldn’t say anything. If you are a retailer, consider if you’re prepared to have brands pull their stock from your shelves because you fucked up and handled it poorly.

And finally, get over your belief that any publicity is “good”. Sure you may be getting attention for your bad behavior but remember this: bloggers have influence. On their readers, on other bloggers, and sometimes on the retailers they work closely with. In addition to never shutting up, we don’t forget.

This Could Be You

Let’s say you don’t believe me and don’t think there will be a lasting impression. Let’s look at a few examples of companies who fucked up and didn’t fix it:

Lelo – They never took responsibility for naming Sheen as the face of their terrible condom. They’ve never acknowledged our anger (about multiple issues). Instead, they tossed out some condescending responses and look where we are now – many bloggers finally gave up on supporting them and recommending their products. Many retailers who were already half out the door before this catastrophe finally decided to stop carrying their products.

Blush Novelties – Many bloggers are reluctant to recommend their products. I’m still blocked by their Twitter account; I’m still pissed off at how they reacted when we called them out on blatant copycat reproductions of Tantus designs. When I do reluctantly recommend a product of theirs I never fail to also educate my readers on my reluctance and will continually mention their treatment of bloggers and their too-casual attitude on Intellectual Property.

Kiiroo – They offered up a half-hearted fauxpology on a rape joke and have had multiple complaints from freelancers – including tales of how they want to commission blog posts about decidedly un-feminist, not-sex-positive topics. When esteemed company Standard Innovations (We-Vibe) announced their pairing up with Kiiroo the blogger reaction on social media was loud and swift. Numerous bloggers have said they won’t review any We-Vibe products that are a Kiiroo partnership.

To close, I need to add this: This post is about dealing with companies – not individuals. You may notice tweets from #sfsmedia where JoEllen talked about “blocking early & often”, or see where someone said it’s okay to wait out a social media shitstorm by going silent. Those comments were about dealing with individuals as an individual or dealing with a shitstorm based on lies from a troll. My post is dealing with the very simple and straight-forward multi-platinum hit: You Done Wrong. It’s often re-mixed and covered but the song remains the same.

 

It’s been said by some that instead of, or in addition to, calling out companies for their bad behavior we need to be educating them. Consider this your education.

 

 

  1. or old, because most of us had muted/blocked the companies for posting graphic porn
  2. some would call it a utopia but this Pollyana believes in what we can become
 Posted by at 7:05 pm
Sep 082016
 

I Gave Up Vibrators for 4 weeks (just to see what would happen)Despite this being 2016; despite the enormity of the sex toy industry; despite the amount of tech, pomp and circumstance that is being shoved into all manner of vibrators… for many people, vibrators are “naughty”. They’re inferior to “natural ways”. They offend teh menz who think that, thanks to porn, people with vaginas can come easily, often, and loudly with just some vigorous thrusting of objects into the vagina. Some people can. I envy them! Many can’t, and for that we have the work of many many scientific things and people and polls to thank: It’s a much-trotted out fact that most people with a vagina actually need clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm.

My sexual history pre-vibrators is rocky. I found vibrators in 2005. I probably found my clitoris roundabout oh…..2000? 1 But I didn’t know what to really do with it. I knew that things felt nice, usually, but then it would stop feeling nice and I’d be left hanging….So when I found vibrators, and found one that actually brought me to orgasm – not as efficiently as maybe I would have liked, but finally an orgasm I FELT and KNEW what was happening and could say YES I CAME! – it was a change that marked a turning point for me. I’d not often faked feeling intense pleasure from sex, but I faked the climax for a long time because well, enough is enough at some point. It did take me awhile though to start incorporating a vibrator into my partnered sex life. Flings and one-timers? Nah. They never saw the vibrators. But when I did bring it into my committed partnered sex life, my husband embraced it thoroughly.

We adapted our sex to fit around vibrators, instead of expecting to find a vibrator that seamlessly fit into how we have sex. But that’s a rant/discussion for another post….

So. I’ve known for quite some time now that instead of vibrators “ruining” me for non-vibrator playtime, they actually made manual orgasms easier. Of course, when you’re talking about “easier” being it moves from a 0.5 to a 3 on a scale of 0-10….it’s relative. But still, I learned a lot about my vulva and clitoris thanks to vibrators. I learned about my spot, and that when I can repeatedly ping that spot correctly, over and over, I don’t need extreme power. I learned that I dislike broad vibrators, and buzzy vibrators. I learned that my impossible-to-please clitoris o’steele was maybe just finicky and a bit Goldilocks. But could it be “reformed”?

I Sent My Clitoris to Reform School

I took advantage of my time away at Woodhull and then my weeks-long illness2 to put this to the test. I left everything alone, untouched, for 3 weeks. Then I tried masturbating “manually” over the next week; I even tried three times, thinking there could still be outside factors. It simply felt the same as it’s always felt – decent, but the stars weren’t aligned and my wrist wasn’t up for a 40 minute session so there was no orgasm. There may not have been even with 40 minutes to spare (I gave it 20 – what can I say, my attention span is shit).

When I did use a vibrator again I didn’t even need less – at least not the first time. I didn’t magically become more sensitive. I still needed a higher intensity setting and about 10 minutes. The second time (2 days later) I did need less intensity, but who knows why. Even when I’m using vibrators daily sometimes I can come in minutes, and from a lower intensity setting. Some days I need more time, more intensity. It’s just the way it is, and depriving MY body isn’t going to change this. And I don’t want to.

Might as Well Face it You’re Addicted to…

No. I don’t buy into the “vibrator addiction” rhetoric thrown about by people who feel threatened by vibrators. In talking with other bloggers about this post a number of them have said that before vibrators, they had few problems getting off – and it’s still the same after vibrators. They don’t need to take a break.

Many people are under the incorrect assumption that vibrators will desensitize you, numb you, so that you keep needing more and more and more. SOME vibrators can temporarily numb you – like the Magic Wand Original. It’s super powerful and kinda buzzy. You only need to take a little break (a few hours) and you’re back to normal. But that’s a topic I’ve written about before because I kept getting a lot of hits from the search term “are vibrators dangerous” 3. A number of sex ed professionals have agreed that vibrators are not a bad thing – in fact they’re great because guess who just went from anorgasmic to gleefully enjoying solo and partnered sex? You did, my friend.

And a survey has been done, by Debby Herbenick, who found (among other facts): “Most women (71.5 percent) reported having never experienced any side effects associated with vibrator use. Those side effects that were reported were typically rare and of a short duration.”

Embracing My Vibrators

My experience isn’t your experience. Or maybe it is. Maybe some will hold fast to their “natural ways are better” viewpoint and insist I didn’t abstain from vibrators for long enough. But didn’t I already in my life? Didn’t I already spend years without a vibrator and then years without a decent vibrator to “prove” my need? Why the fuck do I need to prove my need? Why is this a thing? Why is needing vibrators a bad thing? Can’t I just fucking orgasm the way I want to, the way I feel I need to without someone telling me I’m “doing it wrong”?

If you feel “broken” because you need a vibrator to orgasm, I see you. I felt that way for quite some time myself. I see it as kind of equal to refusing to wear glasses because hey, you were born with this bad vision! Embrace it! Rawr! I’m just curious – Do you also wash your clothes on a scrub-board and hang them outside to dry? Do you use the broom and dustpan in place of a vacuum? I get it. Society (porn…doctors?) hasn’t quite embraced it all just yet. Ever is the quest to find a vibrator that can be used during sex that remains invisible, silent and requires no hands because let’s not talk about that, we don’t talk about these things, ignore the pink elephant. Let’s sweep it under the rug. OR! Now here’s a novel idea: We can all accept that every body is different and you know – a little helping hand is great.

But What About ME?

If you’re the partner of a person who needs a vibrator, you’ve probably had a whine-fest at some point about how their need of a vibrator makes you feel less than. Less needed. Like a failure. Because, after all, you’re supposed to be your partner’s everything, amirite? I mean you do provide them with every single possible other thing they need in life, 24/7.

Seriously though, what’s the difference between supplying the pleasure that results in orgasm from your tongue/fingers/penis and a vibrator? No, you can’t vibrate. You’re right. You can’t do that. So. Fucking. What. Would you rather effectively lock up your partner? Or get to watch as they have an intense orgasm? You can participate. There’s plenty you can do that is invaluable. You can be an extra set of hands and spread the pleasure around; nipples, g-spot, neck, lips, etc. You get the idea. You are just as much as active part of the whole thing as you were before but with the added bonus of watching something amazing. An orgasm from a vibrator is a lot better to watch/hear than a faked orgasm.

So jealous cis men, tell me this: would you turn down partnered sex for your own hand or even a sex toy of your own?

Just sayin.

~ ~ ~ ~

If you have personally found that your body prefers not to use vibrators, great. Good for you. You’ve found what works best for you, and hey congratulations on not needing expensive things to orgasm. But if you do need these marvels of technology? Well hallelujah, you’ve got options. You’ve got options coming out your ears. And if my body’s requirements don’t meet yours, I’m sure there’s a blogger out there who is your vulva-twin.

  1. For reference, I’m nearing 40
  2. it’s impossible for me to give a fuck about masturbation when I’m in pain, exhausted, and then sick as hell
  3. This is a rant we’ve all probably had before, but Piph had a great one from a few years ago
 Posted by at 7:50 pm
Jun 152016
 

A telling conversation on Twitter about Lelo's feelings on our anger about partnering with Sheen for the Lelo Hex. When asked why they are working with someone who has assaulted women, Lelo responds by saying they are not endorsing his past, that this is about promoting condom usage and preventing STIs. How many new sex toys has Lelo put out in the last 3 years that have made reviewers wonder “Did they even test this on a human first?”. But hey, prototyping, that would be the smart way to go. It also costs money, so Lelo is going to avoid that. Instead, they’re going to continue to make products that are often more miss than hit; they’re going to hype them up and add gimmicks like scent or music-responsive capabilities. They’re going to angle for that celeb market that Jimmyjane tried to corner years ago with their Little Platinum and Little Gold vibrators – they’ve started offering 24K gold plated versions of their half-assed sex toys. They’ve made offensive ad campaigns but nothing has angered the sex-positive, feminist community (and, arguably, well beyond) like their Lelo Hex condom.

FYI: The links to other articles are worth full reads. I couldn’t make umpteen quotes from them all so trust me on this one: You want to read these.

Why? Because they chose to use a celebrity who has been charged with domestic abuse on partners time and time again. Sarah chronicles this well, starting off with this gem:

If you only know Charlie Sheen as a man of negligible talent whose body composition is probably 13% cocaine, you might not be familiar with the night he spent in jail after assaulting his then-wife, Brooke Mueller. This was in 2009. He was charged with felony menacing, third-degree assault, and “mischief”. He was released on $8,000 bond. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault as part of a plea bargain and never set foot in jail for this crime again.

The comments have been furious and plenty on social media. I gathered up just a very small fraction of the best tweets about the Lelo Hex debacle; it should give you a pretty good idea of the flaws people are finding with their decision to partner with Charlie Sheen AND their condom design which makes it pretty imperceptible that there’s a hole/break. Just what we all want, right?

Lelo’s response has been to basically not give any fucks about the haters and just continue on sticking their heads in the sand. As written in the New York Times

Steve Thomson, LELO’s chief marketing officer, said in an email that Mr. Sheen was “the perfect choice for LELO, a tragic reflection of the current situation in sexual health of today, but more importantly, a symbol of change with the strength and the courage to confront key issues head on.”

And that is really the heart of the problem, and my primary reason for putting them on my Blacklist. They give NO fucks about their retailers, the sex educators, the bloggers, and their customers. Don’t believe me? This comment on my post that details all of my grievances with Lelo over the years is from someone in the industry who needs to remain anonymous:

I think the thing that upsets me the most is that Lelo – or at least the individual(s) at Lelo that are in charge of creating the most recent rounds of campaigns – simply don’t care.

I don’t say that as a ‘they obviously don’t care as they’d be back tracking if they did’. I say that as someone who is acquainted with at least one individual who orchestrates these decisions, as far back as the Pino shitstorm. I watched their personal Twitter account and their interactions with their peers who were asking them WTF they were thinking. They were proud of it. They *are* proud of their Hex work, and have made that abundantly clear.

They. Don’t. Care.

Publicity is publicity to them – negative doesn’t matter. They referred to sex bloggers and educators who were rightfully questioning their decisions as ‘whiney SJWs’. Our opinions mean zero to them – and in fact, the more we tweet, the more they can say they’re the hottest topics of conversation.

They feel they are too big to fall, too trenched in the industry to lose out. The more attention, the better even if it’s folks throwing out their Lelo toys in mass droves and swearing off never working with them again.

They. Don’t. Care.

I am not supporting the Lelo Hex. As Bryan Menegus at Gizmodo aptly put it: “Safe sex is important, and everyone should wear a condom. It just doesn’t have to be this one.” I am not supporting Lelo. I’ve spent 2 years actively trying to recommend other brands to people instead of Lelo, but some items are just (unfortunately) better than the competition. Not many, but a few. However, every single review I have published for them will link to this post. Every extraordinarily reluctant and infrequent recommendation will come with this post as a warning. I am done reviewing their products; if you are a reader and want to know MY opinion on their new items….sorry. I can’t do it. I won’t do it.

2r6ft54

One more choice quote that I have to pull; from Menegus’ article at Gizmodo, linked above: [the Lelo demonstrator/employee?] also insisted on showing me that, once fully unrolled, the HEX has the word “respect” printed in some sort of latex bas relief at its base. “Respect, what?” I asked, genuinely unsure of the message’s implications. “Respect the man who wears it,” was his impromptu answer. 

Further reading: 

Molly’s Daily Kiss – Is it just a big Con dom?

Ninja Sexology- Hex no, Lelo

The CSPH – Video: Why The CSPH Store No longer stocks Lelo

A small sampling of the many people on Twitter who proclaimed outrage and/or boycotting promises when the announcement came out.

The comments to my Tumblr post show even more people boycotting Lelo – this goes beyond educators and bloggers

The Smitten Kitten: Writing about why they won’t be stocking Lelo products

Educator Jill McDevitt with her thoughts about Lelo, and her boycott

Cara Sutra: When a Condom Fails

UK shop Sh! writes about their feelings on the launch party and the choice of Charlie Sheen as the rep

Horny Geek Girl, another blogger boycotting Lelo

The Daily Beast: Charlie Sheen’s Lelo Condom gets the shaft from sex bloggers

Because this whole thing needs a theme song:

 Posted by at 6:46 pm
Oct 072015
 

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

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

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

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

TouchofGlass1 TouchofGlass2 TouchofGlass3
TouchofGlass4 TouchofGlass5jennydillar

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

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

TouchofGlass6 touchofglass8

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

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

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

TouchofGlassTweet

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

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

TouchofGlasssolicitation

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

 

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

TouchofGlassJennyGTouchofGlassJennyLTouchofGlassfooter TouchofGlassStory

TouchofGlassCar1 TouchofGlassCar2JennyMomsTouofGlassJennyG+

Update 2:

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

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

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12162337_10153792491134683_670442011_o 12077271_10153792546494683_217176053_ndavidmattocks1davidmattocks2

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

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

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

ToGwarning ToGwarning2 2015-10-10 09.23.49

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

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

ATOGblocked ATOGPLeasureGlass1

  1. from their “About” page: http://www.theglassdildoshop.com/about-us/
  2. whereas in the About Jenny section of their website, Jenny is listed as Commercial Manager and Carol is listed as the person who started the company
  3. From their site, the About Lauren page: “Also – if you hadn’t already guessed it – before corporate life, Lauren was a model. Well, she is drop-dead gorgeous. And go take a look at our Twitter page and guess who’s picture that is. The one on the left. Yep! See what we mean now? Mind you, the stunning shot here is nothing short of eye-watering don’t you think? Lauren is currently busy with setting up our VIP Club that will include restricted member-only access to our exclusive Connoisseur Collection of glass dildos – which we’d rather refer to as ‘dilettos’ – plus a portfolio of photographs and videos which we consider to be far too racy for unrestricted public access. More details coming soon, but if you can’t wait, please contact Lauren for an update.”
  4. Who are no strangers to owning businesses, as was found here: http://www.endole.co.uk/company/04080498/sunbelt-solent-limited
  5. This will happen shortly, I have an item on its way and two other reviewers will be testing from afar – this will be listed in my large post about glass testing that will be live sometime later this month
 Posted by at 2:12 pm
Feb 172015
 

I started a bit of a rant on Twitter but I really had to go beyond 140 characters. I’ve seen a lot of great sex toy shops and a lot of crap sex toy shops and often it has nothing to do with their selection – it’s how they list their selection. Shops that insist on gendering their wares are honestly baffling to me. I wonder though, do they have any idea that they’re alienating a large portion of the sex toy buying crowd?

When I come across a store that immediately makes me choose between “For Him”, “For Her” and “For Couples” I am frozen. I don’t quite know where to turn. All I am looking for is a damn dildo, why are you making me choose between only two genders??? Why are you making me choose a gender at all?? EVERYBODY loves dildos! Butts love dildos. Vaginas love dildos. Ok, maybe not EVERYBODY as in every person, but any gender or any sexuality can love a dildo. When you gender the choices right off the bat, what are saying to people who don’t fit your cookie-cutter heteronormative structure? What are you saying to that dude who likes to use dildos, for example?

Yes, there are sex toys that are fairly specific to a certain body part, like pussy pumps or penis pumps or cock rings. So why can’t the sex toys be listed this way?

  • Vibrators
  • Dildos
  • Anal Toys
    • Prostate toys
  • BDSM
    • Impact
    • Restraints
  • Pumps
  • Penis Toys (is there a better more “friendly” / less clinical way to word this without going into gender i.e. “male toys”?)

There’s more to list out, of course, but you get my point. ANY sex toy can be “for couples” if you use your imagination, really. Stop trying to put me in a box! I may be a ciswoman married to a cisman but even I am troubled by these shops.

And somewhat off-tangent but still applicable: Unless you’re a specialty/fetish store, stop equating toys with sexuality. A lesbian is going to want the same sex toys as a hetero, csigender woman, for the most part. Sure someone who identifies as a lesbian might want a harness and dildo set but….so might a hetero ciswoman and her cismale partner. A person with a prostate who enjoys butt play is just that – a person who enjoys butt play. It doesn’t make them gay. Or straight. Or a man, even. I like vegetables, but I’m not a vegetarian. You follow?

Expand your view and be less restrictive. You won’t offend anybody this way. Okay? I realize it’s going to break your page structure but I’m more likely to browse your store or refer someone to it.

 Posted by at 8:00 pm