Jan 242012

Today I happened upon a sex toy reviewing blog whose mission statement proudly proclaimed that they don’t publish negative reviews. If they receive a product that has no redeeming qualities, they simply won’t write a review.

I died a little when I read that. And then I got angry. They boast this, like it makes them better people, better reviewers. To companies and products, sure. To consumers? absolutely not. I think I touched on this a bit about a year ago when I wrote about ethics in blogging, but this is a full-scale 4-alarm rant.

When I first started buying sex toys I was buying them from a couple of sites who I don’t think let a negative customer review go live. It was nothing but moderate-to-glowing. And then when I’d buy the toy with high expectations, only to be grandly disappointed, I’d be pissed. I’ve come across this phenomenon more and more. When I had 3 really bad experiences in a row with Shari’s Berries I finally went to the site and wrote out long, informative (complete with photos) comments on the items. Those comments never got published. Instead, the only comments and ratings are all glowingly positive. Bullshit.

I’ve seen arguments for the anti-negative-review people along the lines of “just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it can’t work for someone else” and I will agree to that. But when you sugar coat things in a way that would make a cupcake jealous you’re only helping out the company. You are not helping the people for whom you presumably write the reviews: the clueless mobs who are absolutely overwhelmed with all the choices1. I was one of those people. Many of us were. So please, place yourself in the shoes of the old, sex-toy-noob you and think “How would I feel if I had spent $125 of my own money on this toy after reading this wishy washy review only to find that there are faults galore?” Your opinion is valid. Your opinion matters. I want to hear your opinion in all of its bluntly honest glory before I drop the money on, well, anything really. Your review that details out just the facts, because you couldn’t like it enough to praise it, isn’t telling me anything.

There are degrees of negativity in reviews of any kind. I’ve read them all myself, not just in sex toys but in computer parts and accessories, clothing, you name it. You can always tell when someone is just pissed off at a defective item (or they didn’t read before buying) vs it’s an actual problem that should concern you before you buy. My utterly scathing reviews of items such as the Lelo Tiani or the JimmyJane Form 3 are not scathing because they didn’t work with my body. They are scathing because I’m pissed. You want me to pay WHAT for a toy that doesn’t even do what you claim it will, or do it WELL? Just like I won’t let you buy a damn jelly toy, I won’t encourage you to spend the equivalent to a week’s worth of groceries on a sex toy that feels like another brick in the wall. The Lelo Isla – is it pretty? Sure. It’s pretty. Does my vagina care about pretty? Does pretty give me an orgasm? Nope. Nor should “pretty” also equal “to get the bitch clean you’ll need 20 minutes of your life, a toothbrush, and the edge of an old credit card”.  I think that I do a pretty good job of noting that my extreme dislike of the vibrations or the size or the design didn’t work for me personally and that they could work for someone else. And I feel that I can still note that and give a negative review. Because if I were the one looking at reviews to figure out what 1 sex toy out of 100 I should drop $100 on, I want the truth. Does your truth equal my truth? Not always. Not frequently, even. But if I can see that you as a reviewer have the full spectrum of reviews from “ZOMG LOVE” to “DIE IN A FIRE” with plenty in between then I trust you. And I’ll work my way through your writing and reviews to figure out if we like the same thing and whether or not I would agree with your assessment of “Wow, this baby is STRONG!”.

So let’s say that you are someone who doesn’t like to write really critical, negative reviews. Why? Who are you helping?

Are you afraid that the company you review for will get upset and not give you anything else to review? If so, fuck them. They’re unethical.

Are you not brave enough to be a dissenting voice? Stand up. Be heard.

Do you think that you won’t make any affiliate sales? Then you care more about the money than anything else and that’s sad. Here’s how to commission-perk a negative, shredding review: Suggest two or three other alternatives that you think are better.

The truth, even if it’s the awful truth, isn’t mean. Oh, sure, you can be. But for the love of orgasms, tell me the fuckin truth! Is it wimpy and mediocre and nothing special and not really worth $139? Tell me. I will have $139 worth of greater respect for you.When you hide your negative review from seeing the light of day you are doing yourself a disservice but mostly you are doing every other potential buyer a disservice. Shame on you. You KNEW it was a piece of shit and you didn’t tell me?? I’d like my money back, please, from your pocket. Yes, that’s how much it pisses me off.

Hi, I’m Lilly, and I write nothing but no-holds-barred honest sex toy reviews. I call a spade a spade, and name it out for being crap no matter if it’s $39 crap or $139 crap. Crap is crap and you shouldn’t have to buy it. You, the person who is searching Google for reviews and information on sex toys in general, on dildos for beginners, on Fleshlight vs Tenga, on the We Vibe 2 vs the We Vibe 3….. YOU ARE THE PERSON I REVIEW FOR. Nobody else.

okay maybe my clitoris a little bit.


  1. not at all dissimilar to the experience you get when you’re sick and you’re standing in the cold remedy aisle looking at 60 products that are all somehow nearly identical but totally different and you just want to sit down and cry. No? Just me?
Jan 142012

Oh how I’m feeling the snark after this last week. Remember my spiffy, new contact form? And how I get them to check a box, agreeing that they’ve read all of the above? Guess what that means? When I get a sneaky idiot I have every right to share their idiocy!

This busy man chose the “I have a question on sex toys” option. Oh, sneaky sneaky man, did you think you could get away with that?

Hello! My name is Gavriel I am a 25 year old Orthodox Jew. My wife is a big fan of your site. Me and my wife own a website kosher*sex*toys.net. (I bet you didn’t see that coming LOL) It is a shop that markets sex toys to religious people who may be uncomfortable going onto regular sex toy sites. We have gotten a very positive response and have been featured in the New York Post and other news outlets. I would be honored to know what your opinion is on my site and if you have any ideas on how I could improve it. Also if you would be interested I believe it could make an interesting, unique and funny subject to talk about on your blog.

I mean, where to begin? I chastised him for trying to get his “will you give me free advertising” shit in the sneaky back door. I then kinda ripped on Orthodox Jews and how they seem to be pretty sex-negative and body-shaming. And then when I look at his site and realize that the Orthodox Jews don’t want to see any nudity or profanity….I realize…wow. What a line! He’s using the “my wife is a big fan of your site” tactic when she can’t even technically VISIT my site because I show skin and talk about bad things! He never responded. I was comforted though to see that Jezebel, who will write about anyfuckingthing, wrote about their site and religious sex toy sites in general. But they forgot to mention the Baby Jesus Buttplug!

This next one REALLY ticked me off. “I’m a reader of your blog and just wanted to say hello” is the option she chose. Bolded bits are my doing.

General Sexual Health Quiz – Sexual Health Inventory Hi, Your blog is just awesome. I would like to share something with you on the same topic. The following is a simple questionnaire to help you assess your general sexual health. Your interest in sex, ability to become aroused and incidence of pain during sex are indicators of sexual function/dysfunction and can help you reflect on the quality of your sex life. www.centerforfemalesexuality .com/sexual-health-inventory.html Obviously problems cannot be diagnosed by one questionnaire, but it might help you think about your sexual situation in a thoughtful way, and flag problems if you are having them. This tool can be of great help to your readers. Share the joy. Pattie

I’m dysfunctional because of my interest in sex and ability to become aroused?? And where have I said I experience pain during sex, other than the kind I fucking ask for? Fuck you, Pattie, share the hellfire flames. My sole response to her was “Shame on you! You shall be publicly mocked!” *shrugs* I wasn’t kiddin, Pattie.

A few weeks ago someone from BDPR contacted me about Screaming O’s new “Studio Collection” of vibrators and other products supposedly cleverly concealed as makeup. Um, no, there’s no clever concealment here folks. This guy’s first PR email to me seemed related somewhat to my recent Tips for Traveling with Sex Toys post, referencing women having sex toys “yanked” from their suitcases in public in the airport security line. I expressed a vague interest and had more questions, but he never responded to me. When I looked up the line more myself I found that it warranted a spot on the Best & Worst Sex Toys of 2011 – in the “worst” side. A few weeks later, Aaron hits me up again. And again. 7 times that day the same email:

Hi 88314:

Women sometimes love their battery-operated-boyfriends more than their real ones (at least for brief period of time).

Based on the fact that 70% of US women have never experienced an orgasm, two male entrepreneurs have begun a mission with the establishment of the Screaming O, a line of fun, mainstream and approachable products of which women cannot get enough.

For your Valentine’s Day gift guide, you might consider The Studio Collection, B.O.B’s cleverly disguised as a lipstick, mascara, blush brush. Not even an airport security guard, or snoopy kid will know the difference.

Sample? Interview with the creators of the product?

No, I’m not kidding about any of this. Epiphora was #88316. There’s so many things about this email that made me angry, so I forwarded it to Screaming O. I told them to “reign in their PR company” and suggested that they have a heavier hand in what a PR firm does for them because this content makes me dislike the company even more. You know I’m serious when I actually go through the trouble TWICE of verifying my email to Screaming O execs by responding to an automated spam-filter email to say that no, ironically, I’m not spam. Unlike your PR company. Who then emailed me again two days ago. Twice. Seriously?

And the last entry for this week’s Saturday Snark is about the very WTF “magazine” called XBIZ that gives vague and crappy AP-wire-esque posts about happenings in the adult industry world. The lovely Tantus Jenn linked XBIZ’s “Best Sex Toys of 2011” to see what her reviewer army thought of it. Some short thoughts:

  • They link to 2 Don Wands glass items. One of which is definitely not new for 2011, it’s been around (and it’s a copy of something else).
  • They rave about the above-mentioned Studio Collection. And Lelo’s Sensemotion Insignia line. Um hey Ariana, have you even seen these items in person??
  • In fact, let’s continue on with the hits parade where their “Best” is on my “Worst“. Club Vibe 2.Oh. Really?
  • They named a couple valid “new this year” items that are good, but just as many items that aren’t new and most items leave me shaking my head. They seem to have an odd love for all things Pipedream, listing the ridiculous 20-pound masturbator and various other dumb items.
  • Capping off the WTF-Parade they use the term “tranny” not once, but twice. And “shemale”. Oh yeah, I’m realllll sure that the “love doll” by CalEx is an “exact replica”.
 Posted by at 3:20 am
Jan 052012


A Guide to Sex Toy Reviewers: Stop Using Achievement Levels When Recommending a Sex Toy as Good or Bad

It seems all too common in the reviewing community to label a crappy/weak vibrator as being “great for beginners”. I’m sure I even did it at some point when I first started reviewing, but that doesn’t excuse it.


Just because someone is new to sex toys doesn’t automatically mean that they need or want a weak, surface-buzzy vibrator. Stop using this as a means to sugar-coat a crappy toy. You can surely say that someone who is very sensitive to vibrations and prefers subtle, gentle sensations would like that vibration that feels like a fairy blowing in the vicinity of your clit from a distance. That’s valid. But a beginner to sex toys is not always (frequently not) a beginner to sex or masturbation. In fact I might be so bold as to say that many women who are buying their first vibrator are looking for something to help them get off because they’ve not had great luck on their own. That was definitely the case with me. I purchased a few shitty, weak vibes back then and I’m so glad that they weren’t they first vibrators or else I might have given up totally, thinking that what I needed wasn’t out there. Because, of course, those shitty, weak vibes were heaped praises on the sites I bought them from for their strength and “perfect for everyone!” weasel words.

As a reviewer you also should not assume that every slim/slender vibrator is great for beginners. Again, they’re new to sex toys. Not necessarily penetration. And of course even the most well-honed sex-loving person doesn’t necessarily love/want/need girth. Many simply don’t. Conversely, many do. Base your recommendations not on someone’s “skill” level or familiarity with sex toys – instead, base it off reality: word it as “If you are sensitive to vibrations, this would be good for you” or “If you prefer slender insertable toys, this is good for you”. You can and should talk about the size of the toy in relation to how easy it would be to hide it or simply warn them that it’s a beast – are some people intimidated by big honkin toys? Sure. But let’s not lump everyone together like that.

I mean, is there some secret RPG-esque ranking that I’m not aware of? Is there a level 1 Beginner, a level 4 Beginner, after which you’re a level 1 Intermediate user and finally after the purchase and/or use of X number of sex toys you hit the much-lauded rank of Advanced User?

What should a “sex toy for beginners” recommendation look like?

  • It should have multiple speeds/intensity levels so that they can figure out what they like and need
  • You should always do your best to differentiate between surface-buzzy and deep-rumbly vibrations and know what the difference is – once someone knows that the vibrator they hated was considered surface-buzzy they know to then look for a deep-rumbly one next
  • We should be steering them towards affordable yet body-safe materials – Jelly is not ok for beginners, it is not ok for anybody
  • We should not be advising them to plonk down over $150 on a singular toy if they own 2 or less toys. They don’t know yet what they need and what works best for them in terms of size, shape and vibration type/intensity
  • Ignore the size: Never say that a small or medium size toy is “good for beginners” just because of the size.

And for the love of holy sex toys, just stop sugar-coating reviews: call a spade a spade. It doesn’t help you as an affiliate because once you recommend a shitty toy to someone they won’t trust you in the future. And wouldn’t you want someone to steer you away from a vibrator that should not even be on the market, just like you’d want your friend to be honest and say “Honey, that pair of pants isn’t really flattering to you, let’s find something else”? I would. In fact that’s why and how I found sex toy reviews in the first place. I was so jaded and skeptical and wary of buying a toy that looked ok but I couldn’t tell what the vibrations were like and so I just started asking around in random places and it all led me to finding the blogger reviews (which were so much less saturated back then). And while a seasoned buyer eventually learns to take every review with a grain of salt and realize that what one person thinks is heaven inside silicone will be a piece of shit to someone else, that knowledge takes time, patience and a willingness to keep buying sex toys until they find The One. Or, The Five, whatever your heart desires.

All of this is why I have become unafraid to call out Lelo on their half-assed ventures their last two lines. They were the darling of the sex toy world in the beginning and everyone wanted one or seven of them. That reputation still exists. I think it still exists, in part, because we’re still inundated with too many shitty manufacturers and toys and we want, no need, to call a company Good. Worth It. We don’t have enough Good Eggs in the basket so when one starts to stink a little we perfume it up and try to believe – for ourselves and the sex toy world at large – that it’s still ok. It’s just one bad egg, right? When a company starts riding the coattails of their initial success then we need to pay attention and call that out.

What would I recommend as a good sex toy for beginners? First of all, a good bullet. And by “good” I don’t mean expensive. I mean something that has a variance in intensity levels, is deep and rumbly and isn’t so expensive that replacing it in a year is a hardship or hating it isn’t a waste of money. And then probably some sort of curved, insertable vibrator of silicone or plastic that is moderately priced, can be pull double duty and doesn’t require strange batteries.

Dec 162011

Women fake orgasms. Not all women or not all the time. It is slowly becoming less prevalent but it still happens. Just a few generations ago women were not taught much (if at all) about their sexuality, their sex organs, or about sex and pleasure. Our grandmother’s mothers probably told them that “sex is for men and making babies”. Virgin brides were worried about it hurting and were told that it would hurt. Word of mouth was all that they knew; if you came from a Catholic family …. forget it.

So a few months ago a post was highlighted either on Facebook or Twitter and I skimmed it and bookmarked it for later; the title, “He Doesn’t Deserve Your Validation: Putting The Fake Orgasm Out of Business”, didn’t leave me feeling negative about the article. I was prepared to write a post agreeing with the author.

I’m not agreeing with the author on many things. I do agree to the basic message though – a faked orgasm doesn’t do us (either person in the equation) any favors. And as soon as I typed that out my brain went “Well…..sometimes it does….”

A woman faking an orgasm is now sort of, just part of the deal, isn’t it? You just do it; it’s almost like something that’s passed down from generation to generation, like makeup tips or a recipe. It’s a gift women give to men, because it’ll just keep him satisfied and calm. Many of the women I’ve talked with see faking an orgasm as a little gift, a favor for the man they’re with. That makes no sense to me. Faking an orgasm is not like making him a snack after he comes home from work or remembering what kind of beer he likes to drink.

Really? A gift to men? I used to fake….a lot. I did not ever view it as a gift to my partner. Did I do it sometimes to keep him from feeling inadequate? Yes. But then again in many aspects of life I’m the one asking “Well what do YOU want to do?” Because I’d much rather go along with their plan and see them happy than me choose the restaurant/movie/place we’re going and feel guilty the whole time because they’re miserable. Is that my responsibility, is that fair? No.I really want to know though what many women this guy is talking to, what their age range is. I am 34 and I have faked orgasms. There ya have it. But I have never and will never qualify doing so as “I did it for him”. For US though? To keep both of our happy glows? Yeah. Mostly. Sort of.  Because deep way down at the heart of the matter it wasn’t JUST about avoiding that let-down look of “I’m terrible at sex and now I feel guilty” that would end up ruining what had actually been fun and pleasurable experience and even bonding for me or emotional (It felt good. Great, even, but I couldn’t quite orgasm).

I faked orgasms because I didn’t know how to have one.

In fact, I don’t think I would have recognized an orgasm if it bit me in the face. And when I compare sensations and those little after-shock contractions now vs then….um yeah I actually did have orgasms. The contractions, and especially the twitchy minutes-long aftershock contractions, are never present for me if I didn’t orgasm. Ever. I know this now. I didn’t know it then because I didn’t know how to orgasm. I didn’t know what I needed. I didn’t know how to give it to myself much less ask for it (pre-vibrators). The first boyfriend I had sex with (I was 18) I also watched some soft porn with occasionally. We were horny little bastards. I liked the sex. I liked most of what he did to me. What I didn’t like I didn’t know why I didn’t like it so I couldn’t give him any feedback. Did I see fantasy-world porn and fantasy-world “orgasms”? Yep. Did we both watch that porn and use it as our manual and expect our results to be the same? Yep. I don’t think though that I faked it modeling after what I saw on porn. I think I was mimicking him. His pleasure built and built and built and it was obvious and then….crescendo! angels! choirs! He was exhausted and delirious and right there was the proof positive of his orgasm, filling up the reservoir tip of our condom.

I’ve almost never been with a guy who wasn’t like me in some regard – my pleasure was his pleasure and vice versa, our arousal and enjoyment fed off of the other’s arousal and enjoyment. So yeah he was going to make sure that I came, too.

I was too embarrassed to tell him I didn’t. That I didn’t know how to have an orgasm, that I’d never (to my knowledge) had an orgasm and that frankly I wasn’t positive that I knew where the clitoris was (I didn’t, I found out in my mid-twenties).

I faked an orgasm (or 300) because I was self-conscious and woefully un-sex-educated.

Because even when I would finally learn where things were and what I (or my partner) was supposed to be doing with them I still couldn’t orgasm. I’d get close….and maybe I did actually have a mild orgasm but I didn’t know it. I thought it was supposed to be bigger, better and more obvious. “You’ll know” I was told by the few female friends who had experienced an orgasm. Fireworks. Earth moving1.

I faked orgasms because I didn’t want to explain all of the above.

Many of my “fakes” were faking in the way of saying “Yes I came”. Actually verbalizing the words because I was asked if I had. Did I? No clue. Did it feel realllly fuckin good though? YES. I’ve had a lot of really good sex where he’s hitting my g-spot over and over and it just feels fucking fantastic and I’m vocal about that. My “holy shit”s and “oh fuck yes”es are not theatrics and they’re not lies. It feels awesome. And then he came and it was done and I knew I wasn’t going to come because I just don’t/can’t get there and I didn’t  want to ruin the awesome sex and the whole vibe by saying that I didn’t come.

Many women fake their orgasms as a means to end an un-pleasurable sexual process.

Ok….yeah. If it’s a one-night-stand or new boyfriend or whatever…yeah. I will totally fake for that reason. I’d tried the honest route and was met with puppy-dog “Let’s try it again!”. No no, I’m dried up and rubbed raw and no longer aroused.


In the end I appreciate the effort this guy and others are trying to put forth. It’s the thought that counts. Kinda. But seriously, would the people talking about this shit stop fucking assuming that there aren’t a multitude of reasons why we fake and that many aren’t “a means to an end” or “a gift”??? You’re. Not. Helping.

I try to avoid being and sounding prescriptive in my writing, but in this case I am begging women to put the fake orgasm out of business. Men don’t need or deserve more validation—we get it every day, in many different ways.

I do not fake to GIVE YOU VALIDATION.

Most women have yet to discover their true sexual power—not power over others—but the power they can feel within themselves. So when men maintain women by doing a little here and there in the bedroom, and women fake it, it just leads to a diminishing of female power.

No, honey, I just had yet to discover where the fuck my clitoris was, what was required to stimulate it enough to orgasm and that the magic answer for me was “vibrator”2. And once I discovered “vibrator” I had to discover what kind and what style and how best to use it. Some women do that with fingers and tongues. I spent 10 years on fingers and tongues. I should have a fucking PhD in the failure of the application of fingers and tongues to my clitoris.

There are so many women who are going to disagree with me. Am I giving others permission to fake? Well, no. A lot of the women agreeing with the original article all proclaim that they have high sex drives (Hi, me too!). Do they perhaps have higher self-esteem or better sense of self than me? Were they taught or just inately knew all their years where everything was and what you were supposed to do with it? Quite possibly yes to all of those. I have distinct memories of high arousal as a girl and then teenager. But I had no fucking clue what to DO with that arousal. You’re hungry? You eat food, you don’t feel hungry anymore, you feel happy and sated. You have to pee? So go, pee freely, “aaahhh” as it comes out and your stretched bladder feels more normal. But as a woman/girl who just knows that there’s all these feelings and sensations and they generate from perhaps the vulva-region but were not taught that masturbating relieves the built-up sexual tension from arousal and you feel sated like you just ate a chicken after not eating for 2 days.

For men it’s pretty easy. You get aroused and there’s no question about the origin of those sensations because it’s sticking straight out suddenly and so as a kid you touch it and….hey…..please may I have some more? And then oh! There ya go! Isn’t that better? That was pretty easy.



  1. That bit came later, courtesy of Mr. Pure Wand and the accompanying vibrator of choice
  2. Please take note of the “for me” in this answer and note that I did not say “for everyone” or “for you”.
Dec 052011


Many bloggers will start out on the free Blogger/Blogspot services (it seems to be the AOL of blogging platforms, more people start out there than WordPress) and somewhere down the line decide that it’s time they have their own domain. And then they make a huge mistake.

They delete all their posts.

I presume they do this because they’ve read that Google penalizes for duplicate content. Perhaps they do it because they don’t want people coming to the old blog anymore. But if you have ever submitted to Sugasm, Pleasurists, e[lust], or simply had any post from your old blog linked from anywhere….deleting the posts will cause you to lose traffic. As I run the broken link checker plugin on both of my sites, I’m seeing this happen more and more. Did you know that you can tell the search engines not to crawl/index your site, that you can set this in the dashboard at Blogger and say that you don’t want to appear in search engines? That’s all it takes, and then your content won’t be seen as duplicate. When I left my old Blogspot blog a few years ago I looked high and low for things to do to help transfer people over to the new site. I had found some code that would automatically redirect (unfortunately since the New Blogger change over happened, that code doesn’t work – if I could find something again that worked I’d set it up); I changed my header, my sidebars and my front page post all to say that I’ve moved and here’s the link. So at least if someone would come to a post linked from Sugasm or Fleshbot, they won’t find a dead page and they might click on through to this site. If I really felt like doing a whole lot of work I’d go back to every post that has been linked to from Sugasm and Fleshbot, on the old blog, leave up only an excerpt of the post and put in a big link to the post on the current site. Since I was only at Blogger for like 3 months that wouldn’t be so bad for me.


PR Companies

It’s a dirty business, I know. But didn’t anybody ever teach these guys that sending me a press release or a non-personalized email isn’t going to catch my attention and make me give a shit? And when you send things to the e[lust] account and expect me to publish ANYTHING there, I know goddamn well you didn’t even look at the site. I put up a Contact page and removed the direct links to my email/Twitter/Facebook etc so that hopefully one out of ten assholes trying to reach the “site administrator for a link exchange”1 might read why I don’t want what they’ve got and maybe they won’t email me. Yeah…right. The latest in the circus (and no, I didn’t change a thing, just bolded the wtf bits):

Hi – 
I know you’ve written about (relationships, sex, blah blah) so I thought you might be interested in Bedsider. I’m helping Bedsider, http://www.bedsider.org, a new public service campaign from The Ad Council, connect with bloggers and social media influencers like you. I’m hoping you’ll be able to blog/post/tweet about this women’s health initiative.   
Bedsider is all about preventing unplanned pregnancies and helping women find a method of birth control that’s right for them and stick with it. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of unplanned pregnancy in the entire developed world. Nearly one in ten unmarried young women (ages 20-29) has an unplanned pregnancy each year. This means fewer opportunities to complete their education or achieve other life goals, and increased health and social risks for mother and child.
At Bedsider.org women can explore, compare and contrast all available methods of contraception, set up birth control reminders and view videos debunking myths about birth control..Here’s the press release: http://prn.to/uqx9zuAn embeddable widget shows where to get free birth control: http://bedsider.org/widgets/costAnd funny, new videos http://www.youtube.com/bedsider
Please let me know if you need any more information, hi-res images, video or if you’d like to conduct an interview.  And let me know if you do post about it so the Ad Council can thank you from their social media channels2.

1. Wow. “blah blah”?
2. She fucked up the links and half don’t even work
3. I left off the singlelineoftextthatcontainshernamenumberandPRsiteaddress because it all ran together like that and I don’t want them to get traffic, but the company (if you can call them a company) is helpsgood. Yeah, even the name is bad grammar.

I actually forwarded this monstrosity to Bedsider, saying that if this is the best that their hired PR can do they might want to rethink using them3. I’ve left in the one working link to Bedsider because despite the atrocity that was the PR4, the campaign is actually decent – I would have liked this site about 4 months ago when I was reconsidering my birth control (all because I was terrified of a repeat performance with Mirena IUD, the first insertion was awful and the next 3 weeks were awful. The second was painful during, but fine afterwards). They tell you how to get free birth control, they give you the highlights (or lowpoints) on each method of birth control, where to get emergency contraception, and other good stuff. Of course, some of their “articles” could use some heavy work, like this one on side effects. Brushing off a woman’s consideration of the possible side effects of birth control – hell any person considering any medication is going to have some concern over possible side effects – is just plain bad.

Know Your Audience – Also, try not to offend or piss off your audience

I think a lot of bloggers can agree that lately the level of ridiculous bullshit arriving in our inboxes is at an all-time high.

I don’t accept every advertising request (just like they don’t all accept my pricing) because sometimes the site or item is just so….bad. Like the guy who wanted us to talk about his blowjob book. But first he wanted me to be an affiliate and get a percentage of sales. It was so many levels of vomit-inducing horribleness. I’m not sure he ever truly wanted to pay for advertising, he was just one of those who wanted people to “review” his shit. I’m also not going to accept a banner ad for a penis enlargement site that says this: “Most women want an endowed partner with a big and thick penis, capable of satisfying their most secret desires”. Wow. Way to go. MOST women?

Do I look stupid? Naive? Do I sound like I’m gonna take bullshit? News flash, I’m none of those. I’m also too smart to agree to crap like this:

Howdy there,

Hope keeping well. I’m just getting in touch to ask if you’re open to reviewing content from freelance writers at This Could Be Dangerous – if so, I’d love to put together a high-quality article written specifically for the site. I’m 29 and have been working as a professional writer and researcher for five years now, and in that time there isn’t a lot I haven’t already covered (I’ve attached a few samples below for you to check out).

As long as you’re happy with the resulting material, you’d be welcome to publish it as you see fit and the content will be owned by you entirely (in that I won’t send it to anyone else, either before or after publication).

There is absolutely no charge for this and no strings attached; the only thing I would ask in return is that I’m able to include a link to a site of my choosing within the article – nothing shady or unethical, just one of the professional businesses I freelance for.

Do let me know if you’re interested, and if so I can get something written for you over the course of the next few days. Needless to say, the offer is open to any other sites you might own as well as dangerouslilly.com. I appreciate you may not be interested in this kind of mutual back-scratching however, so if I don’t hear from you, no offence taken and I won’t trouble you again.

Oh, it’s goldmine. “Free Professional Writing” and oh goodie, it’ll be owned by me!! “Mutual back-scratching” …..really? Really?? To make matters even more ridiculous, I get emails like this on the e[lust] account, too. Yes because that site is just brimming with “articles”. I’m actually not sure what I find more aggravating about emails like this….that they’re trying to go for the whole “FREE” angle as if I’d actually pay someone to write a post here or that they’re conning me into a free advertising/SEO link and not even willing to pay for it. I get requests/offers for paid articles, too, as in they want to pay me to publish it on my site.

Here’s the thing: Any post by these people will have a link. Or two. More if you accept payment. This is free, permanent advertising. Those links there in my sidebar, under Site Sponsors? Those people pay for those links, and I don’t take contracts longer than a year. You all know how I feel about douchebags like Dave who try to spin the permanent link for a price that would offend anybody. A post is up, presumably, forever. Now would the people who paid you to put up the post check in a year to see if it’s still up? No clue. Will your readers lose respect for you? Most likely. Those sidebar links rarely get clicked on. I know this. They know this. We both also know that a link in a post is pretty damn likely to be clicked by half of the people. So to offer me the equivalent of one month of text link advertising in the side bar for a post containing links is offensive to me.

Another thing I won’t do anymore is review a website. If I talk about a site and if I link to it then I genuinely like it – and I’m going to do so all of my own volition. But to ask me to review your (pay) site in exchange for a few weeks of free membership is…..no. No. I also won’t do a site review post for money, either. As I said above…it’s permanent advertising. This review post that they will offer you a small one-time payment for will likely contain a couple links of their choosing using anchor text of their choosing. And since it is a post and not in the sidebar more readers will be clicking the links. So it’s SEO AND TRAFFIC. And they act like the blogger is being properly compensated. There’s no way that any company will ever pay me a fair rate for a site review post – I mean, just do the math: Let’s assume there’s 2 links in the post. If someone wanted 2 text links in the sidebar for a year the price (very discounted, due to the year and the second link) would be in the neighborhood of $400 and some change. There is no way that any site owner would agree to pay that much for a review. I mean I could be wrong, I’ve never actually quoted anybody who’s asked (maybe I will in the future, just to see). My point is that even if I charged them this discounted advertising rate they’re still making out because presumably the post would remain on my site until my site is gone which will not be happening anytime in the next year. Are their links going to remain on the front page? No. But for rank and SEO purposes, that doesn’t matter. I would also assume that a condition of them paying me to do a site review post is that I not hate their site and write bad things about it – in which case the review would be false. And I don’t do that.

The latest site owner guy to irk sent me three emails, all the same. Twice to the blog email, once to elust. The first two times I responded with my advertising rates and information. No response5. So the third time I responded with “500”. That’s it. Just “500”. It was a test. And to THAT he responded. !! All confused and “I’m not sure what you meant there” and shit. So I replied days later and explained. He then apologizes, says that “they” were sending emails out to “several lists online” of sex related blogs so a few people were receiving multiple emails. A: You’re lazy and B: what lists??? He also said he’d follow up with me at the other email address when he returned from traveling and big surprise, never did.

I know that a lot of bloggers have been getting thoroughly annoyed by the repeated emails from purePassionate (hint: pitching free design services to bloggers who designed their own site, pitching free blog hosting and free setup of a WordPress blog on their servers to bloggers who already own their own domain….is fucking dumb) but I didn’t realize just how bad it was until I did an email search on the term “link exchange” (I was thinking about setting up a Gmail auto-responder to just people who have that in the Subject line, redirecting them to actually read the Contact page) and found that overall I’ve received emails from 5 different people at this company since summer. Exactly what makes companies think that sending an unresponsive person email after email is ever going to result in anything good?

Think before you get a blogger to do a contest for you

Really think about it – especially if you’re not a sex-related company and the blog in question IS a sex blog. A few months ago I won a giftcard to Shari’s Berries from KinkyWorld. They’d met at Blogher (which isn’t about sex blogging, just all kinds of blogging) and a contest and a product review was granted. So Shari’s was more than happy to take on the traffic from a sex site; they were happy to have their product talked about, linked to and etc from a sex site; they were happy to have sex-blogger-profiles on Facebook follow them. But they would NOT allow my sex blogger profile on Facebook to complain on their wall – they removed it because my photo was not “family friendly”. My profile is not public, my photo shows cleavage and an item that most wouldn’t know is a sex toy. Because I complained vocally about my very bad experience (Hint: do not ever order their Tiramisu cake, and trust me that those fancy dipped strawberries are simply not as good as they look – nor do they look anything like the promo photos) that was very bad TWICE, the company has refused to publish my onsite reviews of their products. I think people deserve to know when something is crap. It’s why I don’t hesitate to write a bad sex toy review. But berries.com apparently just hides the really negative reviews! Way to be trustworthy and transparent!

  1. Update: In the midst of writing this post, a full week or so after making the Contact page, what did I get? Yup. 2 link exchange emails. *headdesk*
  2. something tells me that even though I’ve technically written about the organization, they won’t be thanking me from any of their social media channels
  3. Someone did respond, properly horrified and apologetic about the spammy and crappy attempt
  4. Even though the PR chick tried to contact me yet again to see if I’d write about  Bedsider  and again STILL has not managed to detect or fix the broken links – she blames her mail client, I blame lack of common sense or ability to do one’s job
  5. If you’re going to ask me for a response and my rates, at least have the common courtesy to say “no thanks” or something
 Posted by at 11:08 pm
Oct 232011

I hate that I’m writing this, but I am. It makes me feel like I’m becoming some sort of dictator/bitch. Unfortunately, not all sex bloggers & sex toy reviewers run in the same social circles online and so not enough people (like me) knew about the first time Amanda ripped off a blogger. I guess it’s because I tend not to follow a lot of review-bloggers on Twitter; sometimes those who have blogs just for product reviews have Twitter streams that largely consist of contest entries. That’s fine, but I don’t follow them for that reason. And therefore I missed this when it happened last November. Jenn wrote about how Nichole got ripped off by a blogger/reviewer. There was much drama, as there tends to be, because the guilty party started threatening to sue for libel or slander and she continues with much more.

The snowball of con started last week when a ToySwap member hesitantly contacted me saying that she had sent Amanda money in lieu of swapping an item for an item, but hadn’t heard from her in weeks and she wanted advice on what to do about it. I used the email address she’d signed up under, a few days later I used the email address she has listed in her ToySwap profile and asked her repeatedly to please respond to me. I didn’t even say why. The other member also tried again. My gut told me to temporarily suspend Amanda until this got resolved; so I posted in our forums that I intended to suspend her but if anybody else had a pending swap with her that I wouldn’t, in case ToySwap was their only means of communication. 1 person simply said they have a pending swap, but I don’t know if it is in the same state of affairs as the other two – yes, two more for a total of three who sent Amanda money and then have not heard from her. Since she had completed a few swaps with good results with other members, these people trusted that all would go well again.

(we’re not even going to get into the whole “why are people selling instead of swapping” aspect, there are pros and cons to each side of that debate and all three could easily have sent this chick items instead of money and still gotten ripped off)

I’ve tried to track Amanda down. The blogs that she has listed in her ToySwap profile are both gone/empty (thisthatandmyself.blogspot.com/ and thrapport.wordpress.com). She used to have a Twitter account linked, but that is gone. She has gone by the following names on Twitter / EF / ToySwap: Amanda, AmandaAgan, LadyA, AKAme, AKA2010 and is currently on EF as Secret. There are probably more but I’ve never followed her for various reasons so I haven’t kept up with the merry-go-round. The blog she started with promises to pay people for their reviews (and apparently she never did) was reviewcentral2010.wordpress.com. I considered posting her email addresses here, but I won’t, even though most of them are still out there publicly on her defunct sites. She linked to an Amazon wishlist from her ToySwap profile, and so far as I can tell it lists her real name so despite the fact that it looks like she’s scamming others, I’m still reluctant to publish that info. The last name on the Amazon wishlist is the same last name as the Paypal account that is, presumably, in her husband’s name. She’s also done something called thefunroom.wordpress.com and there are mentions on there about her paying people for things. Again, it’s a site that doesn’t last long. .amandasplayground.wordpress.com is yet another dead site, as is funroomwebcams.blogspot.com. The trail of dead sites, projects and abandoned email addresses and usernames is frankly dizzying. I will say that the person who appears to be connected to her (or at least her paypal account) is also vanished from his blog/twitter/etc but his EF profile remains. I’m posting all this in order to help someone else in the future identify her/them as scammers. Presumably because all monetary thefts were $100 or less, nobody bothered to take legal action – but I’m not so sure any would, given the adult nature of things. I’d heard on MakeupAlley of people who would alert authorities when they were “swap-lifted” but that was cosmetics.

Even though I merely host the site and I know that I’m not responsible for people’s swaps, a little part of me still feels responsible. But just as in life, we can’t trust everybody we meet. Plenty of bloggers have been outed as untrustworthy, scammers or worse. I can only hope that the swappers she screwed over didn’t send her a lot of money or that Paypal will be able to help them (I’ve suggested that all three log a dispute with Paypal; hopefully if Paypal sees that three people are complaining about the same person, they will take some action but the account isn’t even in her name). I also hate that this whole drama will give other innocent people and ToySwap a bad name. But, then again, I don’t know of anyone else who has changed their name online as much as her. That should have been a big ole red flag…..but if you’re new to the community or not a daily EF visitor, you probably wouldn’t have known. I wish that Ning had a feedback system like Etsy / Ebay does, but Ning isn’t meant for this sort of thing. Amanda deleted all the comments from her profile except the few “thanks for the swap!” ones to show she’d done a few. Those currently leaving a comment on her wall will get nowhere. The only thing that can be done on ToySwap that she is unable to delete is forum posts about her.

I sincerely hope that this sort of thing won’t ever happen again but…..we can’t give blind trust. Just be careful and do more research, I guess. And when someone does screw you over, speak up. It’s the only way to hopefully attempt to prevent it from happening again.

Update: As a commenter “suggested” below, I do want to update this post no matter which way things turn out. I’ve tried to keep in the loop with those who are still, as of Nov 18th, waiting on the items they paid her for. Another member stopped by the site and mentioned that she’d sent money more than 4 months ago with no responses. Amanda’s reviewing on EF continues. I can understand life problems very well but to be updating your toy reviews and somehow still be oblivious to everything else going on with emails and whatnot?? She started a new blog (agardenofsecrets.blogspot.com, posting as Amanda Ruckman) and will be swapping on her own there. She mentioned in her first post that items will be sent out very soon (this is what she said 3 weeks ago) but she presents a distorted view. “I have stayed in contact with everyone and did not realize there was a problem until I found out that I was going to be removed via a forum post that I happened to read.” Umm…..no. That’s not true. If she’d stayed in contact with everyone, I wouldn’t have had 2 people come to me and others chime in that they’d paid her ages ago and have had no response or items. I sent her email to all of her known addresses and the first she hears of any problems is happening to read the forum post?? No. False. I considered saying that in a comment on her site but then realized that it was highly unlikely she would let the comment publish. Like I said, life happens, shit happens, but to pull the ignorant doe-eyed act and pretend like it’s something that it isn’t….that’s not cool. It’s not trustworthy.

 Posted by at 5:12 pm