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.
STOP DOING THIS.
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.Read More
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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.
WE AREN’T LIKE THAT.
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There will always be people who don’t like you or something you’re doing. After all, you can’t please everyone all the time. And because I am me – emotional, headstrong, attached, fucked up – I tend to hear frequently “Don’t take things so personally”. I can try but ultimately I fail at that often.
Recently on Twitter Kit O’Connell shared his find of a WordPress plugin called Broken Link Checker and he mentioned that having a lot of broken links looks bad to Google. I paused for one moment when he mentioned that most of the links he was removing belonged to e[lust] and pleasurists but I quickly realized he was correct – there is absolutely no reason or need to continue to link to a blog that is gone or a post that is gone. It is gone! Logic prevails. And so I installed the plugin on both sites. When going through the broken links on e[lust] I would check things out if it came from a site that I knew was still up and running. A couple people have chosen to delete some old posts for various reasons; if they had moved the post I would have updated the link. I found some people who had deleted all their old stuff and with the deleted e[lust] submissions they also deleted the e[lust] digests. I’m sure that these people are not the only ones who have deleted old digests but they’re the ones I was alerted to for alternate reasons. One person continues his site and so I asked him why he removed the old editions from his site – yes, I took some offense to his action and his response. He said that he didn’t like e[lust] or any “aggregator” since Sugasm. I wrinkled my brow in confusion. Then he said (I am paraphrasing here or creating complete sentences) that they are repetitive and muck up blogs and feeds and are self promotional as opposed to curated, reviewed or filtered content.
Again I am confused but realize he can have his opinion and my words will never change his opinion – nor will his further explanation of his opinion change the fact that I think he is quite wrong. So I do not respond. I am offended in part because he said unkind things about the project I work the hardest on that benefits more of you than it ever will me and also in part because I chose to make guideline changes so that it was anything BUT an “aggregation” site and actually yes the content IS reviewed and filtered. By its very definition e[lust] is not an aggregation site. I summed up this change in the recent post on e[lust] about the upcoming changes for the new year:
I hope that my change this past year in what type of post/site is included in the digest has helped you all feel even better about participating and sharing the digest with your readers – unlike Sugasm I strive to include only real, genuine content from genuine bloggers as opposed to content from aggregation sites or highly commercialized “blogs”. While you may not see what goes on behind the scenes I do end up turning away a submission because it does not fit in with the new rules. I don’t want to promote those sort of sites anymore than you do. What I want, what I think we all want, is respectable method of putting our best foots forward and gaining new readers to our blogs while also finding new friends and promoting each other.
Newer bloggers are not familiar with Sugasm. The few veterans left that will read this surely remember. I don’t know about you but there were often times sites/posts that I did not want to be linking to. One could get around this because Sugasm only required participants to publish the Top 3 & Editors Picks on their blogs. And many people did just that, myself included. Did that mean a lot less cross-promotion of fellow bloggers who did not land in the Top 3? Yes, unfortunately. But it also allowed me to not publish those links I didn’t always want to promote. The ones to sites that actually were by definition an aggregation site; commercial sites filled to the brim with ads and pop-ups; posts that contained no real content, just links to services or items that they were selling. It was most definitely self-promotion at its “finest”. A number of the sites were high-traffic commercial sites and I still to this day get referral hits from them….perhaps that is the reason he preferred Sugasm; not for snobbery but greed? Sure we all could get more traffic if I allowed those sites to participate but I learned something back when I used to get included in Fleshbot: there is relevant traffic and there is useless traffic. Relevant traffic from other bloggers means you are getting someone to your site who is already interested in your type of site. The high traffic numbers from the commercial porn-type sites are people looking for fap material, who will never comment or participate or likely become a regular reader of your words. While I modeled much of e[lust] after Sugasm, I also changed a lot. Those changes were my effort to regulate via rules. Occasionally something fishy would still get in and so I took the bad guy role and now filter the content, disallowing submissions from sites that might at first look ok but contain sex-negative writing or are barely-disguised SEO blogs. The only thing that I don’t do is filter by talent. Are there some submissions that are…..well, not going to win any awards? Yes. But at the least it is all bloggers…..just like those who make derisive comments about e[lust]. But there are always going to be self-centered people in this for themselves once they find a way to start making some money off of their site and I feel offended not just personally but on behalf of everyone who does participate. Taking it personally on behalf of everyone is why I am so hard on the people who don’t re-publish – they’re not just hurting me, they are hurting everyone who participated who published the edition and are linking to them but they won’t do the same. It is why I go so far as to remove people from editions when they eventually refuse to publish.
The jerks and pompous douchebags are far outnumbered by the great folks of the community who participate in and help with e[lust]. And as I said in my post at e[lust] I welcome suggestions for change. The schedule change was inspired by a suggestion from Molly Rene about basing the schedule around a date, something more steady and concrete. Thank you Molly, you might just have saved e[lust].
I hope that the changes I’ve made are all for the better. And for those of you who participate faithfully in Wanton Wednesday, Sinful Sunday or HNT – if you ever see a photo that should be highlighted by e[lust], let the blogger know that I’m now taking self-submissions for consideration. It doesn’t mean that there will be a publishing of all the photos I am linked to….it means that I will cull the submissions to find something really great. I don’t want my own lack of time to prevent this feature/aspect of e[lust] that I liked.Read More
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In recent years I feel like I’m part of that little fairy tale called The Princess and the Pea. I chalk it up to my messed up back and fibromyalgia and myofacial pain syndrome, but it makes me a little high-maintenance when it comes to where I sleep. I can tell you exactly what I slept on and how I slept (and how I woke up) our first nights in our new places (both the current house and the old apartment) – because it wasn’t a bed. When we slept in our house the first time before we got the furniture delivered I remember getting up numerous times in vain to hunt down anything I could use to add some cushioning. Sleeping bag. Roll-up foam mattress meant for camping. Feather bed. Then I turned to the few bath towels we’d brought, the bath mat….you get the picture. But I still felt that hard floor underneath the carpeting.
You guys are used to me reviewing sex toys. So I know you’re wondering why the hell I’m basically reviewing a bed. It’s because it has made that much of a difference.
Two years ago I replaced my spring mattress with a not-very-expensive memory foam mattress from Ikea. I’d slept on it at someone else’s house, woke up without back pain for the first time in ages and came home and purchased one. Since it wasn’t even middle of the line in price or quality, it didn’t last me very long. I was more surprised than I should have been. For the last 2 months between my insomnia and my dislike of my mattress I’ve spent the majority of most nights sleeping on our couch. My husband missed my presence, even if we didn’t go to bed at the same time. Frustration culminated into doing a lot of online research about mattresses for the not-skinny with bad backs and fibromyalgia. That research told me to consider latex mattresses instead of memory foam. But you all know how I feel about unwanted chemicals in sex toys…..and my last latex foam pillow reeked so badly for so many weeks that it made me scared to sleep on it and breathe in the fumes that were off-gassing. And then I found a company that sells natural chemical-free latex mattresses. Here is some information right from their site about their mattresses:
Q: What is a natural latex mattress? Latex is a viscous liquid that exists within most plants – for industrial use however, the Hevea rubber plant has been the primary source for the natural latex we utilize today. A natural latex mattress contains natural latex as its primary component, and as a result offers a host of advantages that are innate to this material. Latex rubber is incredibly strong and durable, conforming, antimicrobial and hypoallergenic as well as biodegradable.
Q: How ‘natural’ is a natural latex mattress? It depends on the manufacturer – but at Tranquility Mattresses our products are 100% pure. Aside from natural botanically latex, the other main component of the mattress is air; purified (and then recycled) water – not harsh solvents or chemicals – is used to wash mattresses after the production process. And of course, latex is a renewable material that makes our mattress an eco-friendly and fully sustainable product.
Q: So is a natural latex mattress like a viscoelastic ‘memory’ foam mattress? In many cases it’s better. In terms of pressure relief, it is about 31% more effective. It does conform like memory foam, but does away with the ‘sinking’ feeling and heat retention that people complain about with memory foam. A natural latex mattress supports you in any position and adjusts on the fly as you move while you sleep. And best of all, a natural latex mattress is not synthetic and is completely chemical-free. In the whole damn thing, foundation, cover and all is pretty damn green. Organic cotton, real wood, etc.
I am always warm when I sleep, so the heat retention aspect interested me as well. But I admit: I was hung up on the price. That Ikea mattress was $199, and here I am looking at a mattress that’s over $1200, on sale? There was no way I could afford that! Until I realized that my credit wasn’t awful anymore and so I applied for their financing. And I was accepted. It’s something from GE Capital but I wasn’t expecting to get accepted. So all I need to do is make a certain amount in a monthly payment to have it paid off in 12 months and there’s no interest. I can do that. I’m an ADULT now ;)
Here’s where my bed information is a little different than yours and why my story might have sounded a little odd – we don’t have a king or queen size bed. When we moved in together we were given a lot of things. A bedroom set is one of them, but it was 2 twin bed frame and headboards. Which is actually just fine by us. We have our own bedding, my tossing and turning isn’t felt by him and nobody has a bare ass at 4am due to somebody else stealing the comforter. We just shove the beds together, put a body pillow over the gap so that cats and people don’t get lost when the mattresses drift apart, and it works and looks just fine.
Anyways. Unlike that Ikea memory foam mattress, this latex mattress from Tranquility Beds was ready to sleep on in hours (compared to 2 days). Since I was approved for financing – and I know that these beds require a better foundation than box spring – I got their wood foundation. It’s a little weird when you open the box because it is in pieces but it works out well. I tried the mattress on my old box spring and then the new wooden foundation and I could feel a huge improvement. And I think it’ll keep my mattress in better condition for longer. PLUS – it’s silent. No noisy springs to wake him up when I come to bed 3 hours later than him. NO NOISE.
In other words: Unless you’re banging the headboard off the wall, the bed won’t tell the other people in your house that you’re having sex. Which will result in fewer inhibitions and the ability to just let go and fuck like bunnies. In silence. If that’s your thing.
I’m deliriously happy with this bed. The people at the company were great (If you get Phyllis on the Live Chat or when you call, she’s a great help). Just make sure your FedEx delivery guy isn’t an idiotic douchecanoe who screwed up your delivery and gave you someone’s plywood instead of your foundation. The warranty is nice, the free shipping and the return policy took a lot off of my stress in buying this and there was no smell once the mattress had aired out a little (it comes vacuum sealed like those Space Bags are supposed to do with clothing and bedding, so there’s a little plastic odor for a bit from that) – and everything related to the bed is MUCH BETTER. My sleep, my back, sex, etc. I know that $50 isn’t a make-or-break when you’re about to drop $2000 but it’s a little something. I like this bed so much that yes, I’m naming names and linking and giving you a $50 coupon. And you know I don’t bullshit. If you decide you’d want to order just call and ask for Phyllis – she’s the only Phyllis there. Tell her you have a $50 off coupon code of “Lilly” and that’ll do it.
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)
- 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 ↩
- 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 ↩
- 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. ↩
- and no, I don’t have Vonage ↩
- Yeah I’m talkin to you, Lelo, with that Insignia line that looks really fancy but is actually just plastic and mediocre vibrations ↩
- Yes, I’m talking to you, Pipedreams, with your “cum dumpster” copy on overpriced body parts ↩
There’s a couple of Stand-to-Pee devices out there for vulva-bodied people. The most visible ones are those being sold by sex toy retailers who recognize that it’s not just something to help you take a pee in the woods without ruining your shoes. The ones that most will know the names of are the P Style, and GoGirl. I’ve read reviews on them but words only go so far, really.
It’s kinda something you need to see (or just buy it and try it yourself, in the bathtub). Maggie Mayhem is a blogger, does porn, is a feminist, an activist, kinky, and wonderfully nerdy. She’s been in my periphery radar for quite a while but her recent post on reducing rape culture in the BDSM community and all the posts it spawned brought her into focus more. And I quickly found her porn site that she does with her partner, Ned, called MeetTheMayhems. Something that was on the front page, and happened to be a free clip (their porn isn’t free) was an explicit how-to video of Maggie showing how to use the P Style. AWESOME. Maggie’s so friggin cute n saucy that it takes it from instruction video to fun video. There’s a few other toy review videos that are free to the general public; so far it’s just Ned, but I’m not complaining!
To view it, and you really should if you’ve never tried a STP device and are curious, first visit their site through the front door and proclaim your age. Then click my link here that goes directly to the P Style video. If you just click to the video first, the site kicks you back to the age verification and then to the homepage, instead of where you originally wanted to go.
As “pay sites” go, this one is unique. Maggie and Ned aren’t just posting porn, they’re sharing explicit video reviews, posts on various topics both sexy and sexy-nerdy, and the only part you pay for is the actual porn – and it’s really reasonable. They’re a unique couple with a unique site and I quite like them both.