Oct 072011

As I sit here in yesterday’s clothes and a forehead wrinkle that would make most upper class women instinctively reach out to rub it smooth and tell me the wonders of Botox, darling, I’m really happy that I have a job where I can sit here at home and do a little work and then do a little of this or that and put in my time in snippets. It works around my doctor visits and my grocery shopping and my trips to see/help my mother1. Some days it leads me to sex toys and sex toy manufacturers that absolutely disgust me; some days it simply leads me to companies that merely annoy me because of their cheesy crap and half-ass site; other days I’m shown the better side and see that there is good in the sex toy world.

I will start out addressing the small companies, the niche companies who are ultimately good eggs with products ranging from pretty decent to admirable. I write this post not to just let off some steam but with the smallest glimmer of hope that maybe…….just maybe….some of these words will land on the right computer screen and be taken to heart. Maybe one change will happen.

Dear Small Company;

You are trying hard. You are fighting the good fight, perhaps. You are making your items out of body-safe materials and you are not trying to pass off a wolf in sheep’s clothing as an innocent lamb2. But your online presence is really fucking important. Your website is super fucking important. As a customer I want photos and I want details. Lots and lots of details. I want to know the every dimension and exactly how it works. I don’t want some artistic/”French”/mysterious website that is more about the visual than the information. I can see your item or your kit and yet I have no fucking idea what exactly it is? I’m not going to buy it. As a person working for a reseller I want high quality photos of every item and every color and even more details than I’d want as a customer. Why do you make our jobs hard, when all we want to do is sell your product? How can we underlings write up your great products so that Consumer Joe Schmoe who doesn’t know jelly from silicone can see that they’re better and that they should buy your item instead of some dodgy crap from the Walmart-equivalents3 of sex toy manufacturing?

Update your site. Make it easy to browse and easy to read. Sure, go for your artistic merit but don’t let it take over the main goal: Showcasing your worthy sex toy product and telling us why it’s worth twice the money for what looks like the same thing from the Big Guys. Don’t skimp on the information about you and the toy. At all.

Dear Middle-but-good Company;

You’ve managed to become a name. A brand that people trust. You use silicone and I trust you that it’s actually and honestly 100% medical grade silicone. Now I will fully admit to not knowing a damn thing about how your stuff is manufactured and why your dildos cost as much as my monthly cable-slash-phone bill4 so I don’t feel that I can whine about them being so pricey. But it is really hard to sell your product to those people who haven’t learned their lesson yet or just are too cheap to care – all they see is $55/$75 for a sex toy when hey there’s one over there for $19.95! Some of those people will eventually learn; maybe after their doctor explains that the burning redness is from that dildo, or maybe after a storage mishap and their dildo melts.

Dear Luxury Sex Toy Manufacturers;

Despite being a toy snob, I’m not really a fan of you on the whole. Sometimes I am, like with Njoy but then they kinda fall into the small-niche moreso than luxury. But Njoy at least lives up to their price tag. You luxury guys….eh. You’re all about the bells and whistles and the super pretty packaging. A vibrator that you can customize to your preferred shape or rotation is impressive on paper but when I actually go to use it and find that all your promises are as useless as a fake Hallmark card? I’m gonna be harsh and pissed that I spent (or theoretically spent if given it for review) upwards of $100 on your sex toy, thinking that for sure YOU got me and finally…something good.

To you I have two things to say: Let your products speak for themselves – and save the buyers money by cutting back on that fancy ass packaging and the brooch5 and the extras. Second, for fucks sake gimme a better vibrator motor! If the cheap shit companies can use a motor that produces vibrations that go beyond tickling the surface of my skin so can you. The women and men who are buying your toys are not delicate fucking flowers. Put a decent motor in there that produces a vibration to be proud of, dammit, and then the controls for multiple speeds will make everyone happy – from the delicate flowers to the tough cookies. I do not like or support Doc Johnson on the whole (as an example) but unfortunately they make a couple bullet vibrators that are perfect – motor-wise. Zini, Lelo, Je Joue, JimmyJane, Nomi Tang, and others who create different/fun/new/pretty/innovative sex toys: I’d be backing you if your motors weren’t as limp as a wet noodle 9 times out of 10.

Dear Big Boys who’ve been around since the internet was invented and then some;

I’mma go ahead and name names right here – I’ve said this all before, it will come as no shock and I am not shy in voicing my disgust. CalExotics. Pipedreams. You guys make a lot of shitty products, some downright offensive products, and some eh products. I don’t trust you, I don’t like you. But you’re a big company and you’re everywhere. You have the Walmart angle. All of a sudden your previously labeled “jelly” toy is now suddenly body-safe non-porous TPR? Nope. Don’t believe you. Especially when it still fucking stinks to high heaven. Your perpetuation of disgusting gender stereotypes and bad ideas that you sell with copy that would make your own mother blush and you justify it by saying that it’s flying off the shelves so it’s what guys want6 and by golly you gotta give the people what they WANT! Fuck that. Have some fucking integrity. Topco, Doc Johnson – you might have some (minor) redeeming qualities/products but overall you’re crap. You, too, are contributing to the unsafe materials and shoddy mechanics and the bottom line is that you don’t care. You are a politician.

I can’t say anything to the powers that be in your companies. You will never EVER change. All I can hope for is that somehow those of us who know better are able to drown out your voice with the voices of the people who care and who are trying to produce something with integrity rather than make a buck.

Dear Resellers/Retail Stores who are determined to carry every product made;

I get it. You’re in this to make money. You’re one of a million other sites and the competition is stiff. But really, do you have to lower your standards and put flowery copy writing on utter shit and sell the items that might actually cause cancer, or at the very least are a colossal waste of the consumers money? Adam & Eve was the first site I bought a sex toy from. But when those first two sex toys quickly showed their ugly underbelly I lost faith in them as a whole. And I never shopped there again. You can make money AND have integrity. It requires a little more hard work, though. The internet isn’t the land of the quick, easy buck anymore.

I’ve been reviewing sex toys for 3 years. I’ve reviewed more than some people, but far fewer than others (which is probably because after the first year I was reluctant to review something that I just knew I wouldn’t like and it’s hard to review item after item that leaves you jaded and I’m not easy to please – but I’m not impossible either. I just refuse to sugarcoat a half-ass product). I’ve seen a lot. I’ve grown to know that I don’t have to put a positive, happy spin on every review I do even if the product wasn’t my thing or is overpriced. Would it help pad my bank account, as an affiliate? Sure it would. But that isn’t the reason I started reviewing toys and I’m going to be blunt. If that means I am the only person on the web saying that the latest high-tech Lelo toy is a sopping wet disappointment? So fucking be it. I’m not trying to be mean, I’m trying to be real and save other people like me the money.

It’s heartbreaking to see the little companies die. Jollies LLC made some great sex toys and they were really innovative without trying too hard (Zini, Je Joue, etc). Their products were at once simple yet unique yet just what we needed at the quality we wanted. But they went the way of the little corner bookstore after a Barnes and Noble moved in two blocks down. And it’s sad.


Jaded but Hopeful (in a cheerful Comic Sans font)


(If you are a “recipient” of one of these letters, for once I will allow companies to comment on a post. I generally don’t because they’re usually just trying to get a free link but if you are genuine in your response then I’ll post it. But don’t be offended if I remove the link to your company’s site and please….use your real name in the comment name field, and not the name of your company)

  1. Despite of course the fact that I can’t/don’t feel comfortable telling her exactly what I am doing and who for because I really don’t want to have that conversation and she’s a very suspicious woman of all things internet
  2. I’m looking at you, CalExotics, publicly proclaiming that ALL of your TPR and PVC and “Cyberskin” and other squiffy hybrids are all free of phthalates and are totally body safe. For trying to say even that all your TPR is non-porous when I’d bet it isn’t because you’re too cheap and only in this to make money
  3. I would consider this to be large companies who produce thousands of various items at low cost, mark them up 300%, don’t care what materials they’re using, mass-produce with shoddy quality control and are around because they were they first and they simply have the most stuff at places like Rt 15 Adult Book Store. Companies like California Exotic Novelties, Doc Johnson, Topco, Pipedream, BMS Enterprises, and Nasstoys.
  4. and no, I don’t have Vonage
  5. Yeah I’m talkin to you, Lelo, with that Insignia line that looks really fancy but is actually just plastic and mediocre vibrations
  6. Yes, I’m talking to you, Pipedreams, with your “cum dumpster” copy on overpriced body parts
Sep 302011

I’ll keep you my dirty little secret,
Don’t tell anyone or you’ll be just another regret.
~All American Rejects “Dirty Little Secret”

For some people, being or having a “dirty little secret” is erotic in and of itself. I might have considered myself one of those people in the past, but no longer. It’s taken being someone else’s secret for a few years to make me realize that it’s a sucky place to be. When the irony adds to injury, that there’s no reason for me to be a secret anymore because we’re now just friends, it stings a little more. And so, in my search on OkCupid for local friends, I’ve discounted married men who are not in an open/poly marriage. I specifically state that in my profile, yet of course they’re the type who won’t read a profile in full. Or worse, they’re the type who see that I don’t want what they’re offering and their ego says “Yeah but I’m different” and they contact me anyways.

I had one such debate recently with someone. Typical married-man profile: Not much information, no photo and in an introductory email he says he lives in city A when he listed city B on his profile. Usually I just tell these men to go to Ashley Madison instead, they’ll have better luck finding a mistress. The most recent guy insisted he just wanted a good friend. Nothing more. Except….I would still be a secret. It’s really hard to have a friend and be a friend when there’s secrets like that involved. For a number of years I knew that if my close friend should fall ill or worse, I wouldn’t know about it. No one in his life knew about me. I couldn’t text or call him whenever I wanted, no matter what. There were rules and restrictions. There still are. I explained this briefly to OKC guy and it was after the 3rd exchange that it sunk in my head that he wasn’t listening; was he even reading what I wrote? Or had he become such a master at evasion and redirection that he could be mistaken for a politician or lawyer?

“Sometimes it’s easier/better to keep things under a cover” In response to me saying I was not interested in being anyone’s secret, and I would only date/friend married men in open & honest relationships.

“I am sincerely lacking one aspect of a relationship, and you will get in return a Safe, Sane and smart companion. I don’t have anything else going, and no plans either, just one open and understanding friend.” Just one friend?

Again I reiterated that I’ve already been down this road and it doesn’t lead to a very fair or equal friendship and I wasn’t interested in doing it again. “I completely understand your stand, and there’s no force on my part. All I can do is try to tell you how “I” am. If nothing else worked out, I “was” pretty sure you’d be VERY much fun to plainly hang out with as a person. If you think this is about fairness, may be I was wrong.”

I know, you can’t fix stupid, but wow. So I’m no longer fun because I don’t want a secretive friendship? Nice.  I’m now ignoring all his messages because he can’t seem to get the hint. Something else he’s said three times in only 6 messages is that he won’t “force” himself on me/anyone, yet he keeps messaging me. The language he uses, the deflection and weasel words, all spell trouble. At least I’m smarter now.

 Posted by at 2:17 pm

Dear Dr. Berman – I call Bullshit

 Commercial/PR Fail, Sex Toys  Comments Off on Dear Dr. Berman – I call Bullshit
Sep 042011

Dr. Laura Berman’s line of sex toys has been around for awhile now. In fact when I first was purchasing sex toys back in ’05 they existed. Since then the packaging has changed; I’ve been able to see on the CalExotics website how some of the products have been slightly updated to look less cheap. But when you really get down to it my point is: If Dr. Berman were truly fucking serious about her sex toys then why the HELL did she partner with CalExotics?

Some of her products are eerily similar to existing CalEx products – they’ve just been made purple and rebranded. If she took a lie detector test (and passed) and swore up and down that she actually created the design of even half the toys in her line I would faint from shock. She does a great job of coming off as authentic and of course the MIGHTY OPRAH supports her.

I want to quote this, but since Dr. Laura’s site didn’t link to the original article, I can only link to quote on her site.

Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz about vibrators! The New York Times recently interviewed Dr. Laura Berman about her popular line of intimate accessories and the growing trend of women taking sex into their own hands. “Women are getting less and less caught up on an unrealistic and puritanical vision of what a good girl is,” Dr. Berman told the Times. “When they can embrace their self-stimulation, they can take ownership of their sexuality.” She pointed out that Sex and the City helped pave the way for sexual comfort in women and even the film industry is on board. Her products were in a recent episode of Private Practice on ABC, and in 2009, her vibrating panties appeared in The Ugly Truth, a movie starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. “That scene would not have been in a major Hollywood movie 10 years ago,” she said.

From Vibrators Carry the Conversation, New York Times, April 20

I do watch Private Practice and I don’t remember her products so I guess it didn’t stand out. “That scene” in the movie The Ugly Truth I definitely do remember and I also remember thinking that a woman would have to be highly sensitive and easy to orgasm if a pair of cheap vibrating panties sent her into epileptic convulsions. I’ve seen those panties in a sex toy store, I’ve read reviews. They’re most certainly not plus-size, in fact they come in only one size. Which is typical for CalExotics. They’re not exactly discreet, the remote is wonky at best and good luck being one of the few people for who the vibrating bit will be in the right spot (and stay there).

What else is typical of most CalExotics toys? They’re not “one size fits all” in situations where something claims to be; they’re cheaply made and even the higher end lines cut corners (like “couture silicone” dildos filled with foam, covered with a silicone skin) and they’re never going to last you very long at all. That’s fine for the 4,000 items they sell that are under $25, but it gives sex toys a bad name. When I first was buying toys and thought that Dr. Berman’s line was something special and better, I was so sorely disappointed by the reality – cheap, plastic, and somewhere out there is probably a similar version of it mad eby a different company and it’s much, much better.

If I were a famous sex sex educator I would *never* partner up with a company like CalExotics to bring my ideas to the public. Smart people who’ve bought toys with famous names on them like Sue Johanson and Dr. Joel Kaplan will probably lose respect from sex-toy-buying people after trying out their cheap unoriginal CalExotics toys. I’ve noticed that most of the old Sue Johanson line is discontinued on the CalEx site but can still be found elsewhere, mostly alongside crappy reviews. I recall once when I was considering a fancy and expensive clitoral/nipple pump system I looked at one that had the Dr. Joel Kaplan name on it. I was briefly suckered in until a reviewer friend pointed out that A: It was manufactured by CalEx and B: It was a copy of an existing item in their line up, just with different colors. Wow….talk about deflated! The credibility and reputation of all of these educators has plummeted in my eyes after seeing what crap they’re willing to pass off to unsuspecting sex toy noobs.

Lest you think I’m just ranting here against the shitastic CalExotics, I will state that I have (sadly) owned 4 of the Berman Center line of sex toys. And I owned them and hated them well before I was a sex toy reviewer with access to high end toys. /disclaimer.

Since this rant is mostly targeted at my disgust that a well-known sex educator would partner up with such a shitty company, I want to direct you to some more reading to know more (if my past reviews haven’t said it) about why I will never endorse/support/recommend 99% of CalEx toys. True Pleasures talks about her time as a CalExotics “Sexpert” and it really says a lot about the company. Please give it a read if you haven’t already.

 Posted by at 9:24 am
Aug 152011

….when a site scrapes your content, and the first thing they scrape…is a post about ANOTHER site illegally scraping / copyright violation.


It was so meta, AAG and I couldn’t even comprehend it this morning. She found out about it only because I have lots of links in that post and someone followed a link to her site and she noticed it in her stats tracker. On the plus side, I was (after much work) able to track down the hosting provider for this site (huggingandkissing dot com) – they didn’t use somebody mainstream. Also, due to the nature of their site’s layout, the scraped posts aren’t appearing on the front pages or for that matter, easily found. They’re being put under a category listing of “news”. http://huggingandkissing.com/?cat=1651 So keep an eye on that particular section of their site, bloggers, for your own content and your friends. I’ve already emailed about half a dozen people to let them know about it. Go here to report it: http://www.exmasters.com/about/about-contact/

I was told by the live chat agent that the “abuse” email is the one to use. I had emailed them, and then later when I found two more of mine pop up (perhaps an hour later?) the original post I’d claimed as copyright violation/scraping was already gone (but not before I got a screenshot). So while I was in live chat with this guy I gave him the direct links to my two posts and they were gone within a minute. If you can get the live chat when they’re online, it’s the quickest route.

Here’s something very interesting admitted by my chat support guy:

Lilly: If there are enough complaints, will the site get shut down?
Milo: this is first for whole time, so most probably not
Milo: also, reponsible provider is always better than e.g. chinese or russian provider, where can be the site moved after suspending by the owner
Lilly: I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean by that2
Milo: i mean that if we suspend the site, it can be online after 10 minutes on another provider3
Milo: so it doesn’t make any sense

Valid point. I was ultimately quite upset that HostGator outright said to me on Twitter that after a few complaints they’d take down scandalshack, but they never did. And scandalshack is STILL scraping posts.

But remember what I said in my post about them, how the reason I probably didn’t get scraped is because I’m self-hosted WP and can use plugins, specifically the one called NoMoreFrames which blocks the scraping script? Yeah, these new people are copy/pasting by hand from my feed. How can I tell? View the screenshots below, and I think you’ll understand why.

I don’t recall all of the people who got scraped in the scandalshack blowup a few weeks ago, but do any of you know if any of those being scraped showed a full feed (as opposed to partial feed which I hate)?

There’s plugins for self-hosted WP users to insert copyright protection aiding things into their RSS feed posts (just see mine as example) and I think that in Blogger now under settings you can add in your own footer for the feed, so you can add in a link to your blog, the blog name, a unique long set of alphanumeric characters, etc so that at least you can find it or others will know when they read the site that it’s been stolen. But I don’t know if there’s anything for free WP users, unless you aggregate your feed through Feedburner and they do have some options. I’m looking into finding out more.


  1. The site apparently caught on to me linking to their old category 164/news, so they deleted it and created a new one. The articles don’t show up on the site, but they ARE being fed to their Twitter stream. They know what they’re doing and are trying their best to keep on doing it
  2. They’re a Czech-based company and I his English is a wee bit rusty, heh
  3. Meaning, they are at least a responsible provider and will act immediately to remove your content. But you have to tell them each and every time. His point is that not all hosting companies would be so quick acting or even care. I ran into that problem with the freak safari guys
 Posted by at 8:25 pm
Aug 052011

It’s that time again…..much to my severe anxiety. I need to revisit birth control options. For the last 5 years I’ve been on the Mirena IUD. The decision that led to it was that my blood pressure was elevated and my OBGYN was convinced it was caused by my hormonal birth control. Specifically, the estrogen. Unfortunately, they were right. It could have been tied to my weight, but I was unable to lose enough weight to go back on it without my blood pressure going back up. My body wasn’t happy with that, but that’s not at all the point to this post.

When I was given the Mirena it was 5 years ago and new-ish to being prescribed in the US. The doctor I was seeing was head of a department that did clinical trials at their hospital and so I was able to not only get birth control options before they were officially “out” (like Nuvaring and the patch) but if I qualified I could be in studies and get free birth control. Unfortunately, I didn’t qualify for the Mirena study because I’d never birthed a child. Ok…..I wasn’t happy about that, but fine. Except that when it came time for me to be able to have it prescribed, that little fact cost me money.

A lot of money.

You see, because the FDA only approved Mirena for use in women who’ve carried a pregnancy to 20 weeks (my doctor didn’t further elaborate if it had to be a successful, live birth), it’s considered “off label” by health insurance companies when women like me want to use it. Off label usually means it either won’t be covered at all, or I’ll have to pay a huge portion of the cost.

Except, here’s my complaint: The FDA has laid down the law and is limiting my choice. Shouldn’t women be allowed to say “You know what, I waive whatever I need to waive and I don’t ever want children of my own, so the small risk of a sterilizing infection is of no matter to me” to their insurance companies so that it’s not considered off-label and therefore, quite costly. Other IUD’s do not carry this same stipulation; but my doctor feels that I would have better uterine/ovarian health & less issues being on Mirena as opposed to a non-hormonal IUD.

As I approach the procedure date I am not only sick with the anxiety of the level of pain & discomfort the procedure brings me but worried that we’ll have another huge bill. The last time we were able to go on a payment plan directly with the makers of Mirena, but given our low income it practically took as long as paying off a goddamn car.

Aug 012011

Those who follow me on Twitter (and on G+) figured out this morning that I’ve finally been banned from Google+. My profile has been removed. The other Google products that I currently use affiliated with the blog gmail address work (calendar, docs, etc) and that’s as far as I’ve looked. My profile photo was somewhat tame. I originally had my name in there as “Dangerous Lilly” so that others would recognize me better, but I ended up changing it to the name I have gone by on many sites: Lilly Dangeroux.  I did have public links in my profile (where you enter in your sites – be they your sites, your twitter, or just sites you like) to my blog, to elust, and wanton wednesday. I list in my public profile that I’m a sex blogger.

Then I see profiles like this still active on G+ and wonder what I did to catch their attention and get banned first:

Violet Blue has written a lot about this subject, both on her G+ account and elsewhere. Here’s her ZDnet article about Google deleting others.

Another article on ZDnet.com talked about how Google was handling the “fake name” thing and as I re-read it, this bit stands out:

Specifically, Google will give:

users a warning and a chance to correct their name in advance of any suspension. (Of course whenever we review a profile, if we determine that the account is violating other policies like spam or abuse we’ll suspend the account immediately.)
Source: ZDnet Blog

So….I guess it wasn’t my name. Because I’ve received no email, no warning, nothing. It’s got to be the adult content. Which means…a lot of fellow bloggers who are on there are your blogger self, even if you’re using a real name, should prepare for your trip to Googleberia. Links to your sex blog on your profile will do it. Links to your sex blog posts will do it. Of course, If you don’t have links available publicly, only to friends….will Google know? Will you then be safe?

After being in my blog gmail account and still seeing that I’m getting G+ notifications (how annoying!) I try to go over to the settings of it. At first I thought perhaps I’d been reinstated. But no. I finally then saw the official warning. And yet it’s so generic that I don’t know what the issue is, my name or my sexuality blog that I link to.


UPDATE 1: It was my name. After finally seeing the profile suspension notice when I viewed my own profile on G+, I clicked the link to submit it for reconsideration. I checked back on my profile today and see that they finally gave a definitive answer. It’s my name. Again, I can submit it for reconsideration and provide either a photo ID with that name or links to “reputable sites” where I am listed as that name.

UPDATE 2: This time they actually emailed me to tell me again that my name violates their community standards. So no, it doesn’t matter that I can show that I go by that name in multiple places online.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

G+ isn’t the only placed I’ve been removed from. I don’t remember to list my posts on Adult Blog Hub because well, I have to remember to do it. So imagine my surprise when I go there last month to add in a post and then I noticed that it doesn’t show up. Well actually it was because I went the next day to add another post and that’s when I noticed. I saw the posts that were listed and know that mine was added before these ones and after these ones. Not there. My blog wasn’t listed. I hop on over to their “Top List” and…..I’m no longer there, either. I hop over to another of their sites, SexPress and…..you guessed it. I don’t show up there, either. I’m registered. I’ve never received an email from them telling me I was being banned so I’ve still got my requisite links to them in the sidebar. I’ve sent 4 emails now to various ABH email addresses and have not once received a reply (yes I’ve given them enough time, it’s been a month since I first emailed). I thought it was a problem with my account.

Then I tried setting up a new account with ABH. I disabled the old one (removed my blog from the profile) and created anew. I added in a post. At first, it showed up on the ABH home page. Later that day, it was gone.

They are actively blacklisting me from their sites, and won’t even respond to tell me why. I’m upset, I’m confused, I’m angry. What the hell did I do wrong? The fact that they are actively blacklisting me from every one of their sites and will not respond to polite inquiries is surprising and upsetting.

Update: I even tried the personal emails for the owners and still, no response. Fuck em, then.