Jun 082015
 

35 Sex Toys for Under $35One of the perks of being a sex toy reviewer is that often we are handed vibrators and dildos to review that we normally would not be able to afford purchasing on our own. I can assure you that I would never have been able to allocate the funds for the Lelo Smart Wand Large, the L’Amourose Rosa Rouge, and so on. Many others are in the same boat. And so they buy cheap (yet terrible) sex toys because it’s what they can afford. Recently though we’ve started seeing actual, real silicone dildos and silicone-covered vibrators for $50 or less so hope is on the horizon.

But we can’t ignore those with budgets. The folks who might normally just buy a PVC nightmare that will arrive smelling up the room and possibly give them a chemical burn in the worst possible place. I need these folks to know that they deserve safe, quality sex toys on their budget. I have a short list of sex toys under $50 on my Best Sex Toys page, but that’s not really enough. I made myself a mission one day a few months ago; to comb through the Shevibe catalog and find “25 for $25 and under”. But honestly? That was hard to do. So I had to up the ante to $35. If you are in the US and get Shevibe’s cheapest shipping which is $5.95, then you can buy yourself a SAFE, non-porous sex toy for $40 or under, shipped.  Note: When I talk about “body-safe” I don’t merely mean toys that claim to be non-toxic. Body-safe sex toys are non-porous. Porosity has long been an overlooked issue.

I’m not promising that all of the vibrators will rock your world. Especially when it comes to vibrators, you get what you pay for. The vibrators on the list under $25 are going to be loud and possibly have very mild vibrations. They may not last long. If you can spend a little bit more, then I can point you to the Vibratex Mystic Wand, the Jopen Lust L2.5, the Picobong Moka, the Roulette Croupier, the Fun Factory Layaspot. Better quality and the Jopen is even rechargeable. You’re here for a reason, though, and whatever your reason, these 35 sex toys under $35 are all non-porous and range from decent to great 1.

What I also want to show you is that you can find safe, non-porous sex toys under $35 without resorting to the gamble that is buying sex toys from Amazon – a place I really want you to avoid.

Vibrators Under $35

Finding vibrators that I wasn’t certain would be utter crap, under $25, was damn tough. I was able to pick out some items that are actually pretty great once I let myself go past $25.

  1. Change in the line-up. The Berman Center Siena was ranked well in a comment below. At $20, can’t hurt to check it out!
  2. Pocket Rockets are usually fairly powerful, one-battery wonders. I once loved one! Consider the Sportsheets Waterproof one…
  3. …or the Vibratex Titan (just toss out the elastomer add-ons).
  4. The hard plastic Love Handle can provide g-spot pressure with moderate vibrations. 
  5. Rocks Off makes some longer bullet-style vibes that are simple but decent like the Golden Passion RO-80mm
  6. Can’t forget the butts! The Tantus Perfect Plug Plus!
  7. I’ve got three OVO recommendations for you. Their D2 impressed me well enough in person in vibrations and style.
  8. I’ve had a few readers try and love their F3 insertable…
  9. …and the F8 insertable2. All have a 15-year warranty.
  10. The Fun Factory Jazzie is moderate on vibrations & has one speed, but has a nice shape.
  11. And finally, the Doc Johnson Black Magic Bullet packs a very nice, rumbly punch for the price – the corded style needs extra attention to last you more than a few months and I don’t recommend it for internal use, but it’s a bullet vibe that kept me quite happy for awhile until I found the We-Vibe Tango.

Dildos Under $35

Again, once I upped the price cap from $25 to $35, things became so much easier. I went from struggling to find anything non-porous to recommend, to having more than enough to choose from.

  1. The Colours Pleasure Small provides a realistic design in bold colors, plus a suction cup.
  2. The My Little Heaven has a weird shape but reports say it provides great G-spot stimulation for those who need something slender.
  3. I wanted to include glass on the list, for those who want to try the firmness of the material but I am struggling with this recommendation. I really really hate to promote Pipedream products in part for their sub-par quality and in part for their shitty company ethics. About half of their Icicles line is under $35. It makes me twitchy though to even talk about them. 
  4. For a slender glass dildo with a great g-spot or prostate curve, consider the Sinclair Institute Crystal G Glass Wand.
  5. Another glass option is the Don Wands Cobalt Wand.
  6. For those who want size options and maybe something bigger, consider the silicone So Dildo from Marc Dorcel.
  7. The CalExotics Silicone Basics Long John gives us a realistic option in a limited range of flesh tones.
  8. Another suction-cup dildo option is the Maia D1 – it is silicone but has an inner core made from another material. Under normal circumstances you won’t ever come into contact with it and it shouldn’t affect the silicone. It should be noted that I don’t recommend anything other than the dildos for this company3.
  9. I’ve got Tantus items on the list – the Warm Up dildo is great for those new to penetration…
  10. …as is the Silk Small 4.
  11. For those who need a harness, the Fetish Fantasy Stay-Put Harness from Pipedream (ugh) has pros and cons – the snaps allow for bigger o-rings to be added but the harness only fits up to 44″ hips5.
  12. Those who need more room can get the even nicer Sportsheets Plus Size Beginner’s Harness, which fits up to 72″ hips, has a nice back side and has 4 different o-rings.

Butt Plugs Under $35

  1. All butt toys can stimulate the prostate, but some are designed for that specific purpose. The Doc Johnson Mood Naughty 2 …..
  2. …or the LUX LX1 are two decent choices. 
  3. For those who like the sensation of anal beads, try out the Fun Factory Bendybeads…
  4. …or the much smaller, not graduated Pleasure Works Casanova.
  5. There are actually a lot of butt plugs under $35, so I’ve chosen a few that rate well with others and one super-affordable, the CalExotics Coco Licious Plug.
  6. Fan favorites include the Tantus Ryder
  7. …or the Fun Factory Bootie.
  8. The Tantus Neo has a super-comfortable base and plug style, and comes in a silky smooth dust-repellent silicone 6.
  9. Those who need something extra big can consider the Renegade Plug V (Large)

Penis Toys Under $35

There are plenty of cheap masturbation sleeves but the material worries me with most, in terms of toxicity. All affordable sleeves are made from a porous material, but I trust Tenga to not be toxic. Their 3D sleeves aren’t quite under $35 but are still an affordable option vs Fleshlights and the Tenga Flip Holes.

  1. The Tenga Eggs are listed as one-time-use but I think if you rinse it and dry it and don’t wait weeks in between, people have gotten a few uses of them.
  2. The lowest-priced Screaming O rings are a sticky, jelly-like non-toxic material called SEBS that is porous 7, so I wouldn’t hang onto them for many uses. The affordable (silicone) Screaming O PrimO TUX isn’t going to pack a punch, and the batteries may be hard to find, but this would be a good way to discover if vibrating cock rings are something you’d like to delve into more.
  3. Cock rings in general are great because they can increase erection firmness and make orgasm more pleasureable (and delayed a bit); a good place to start for a nice reusable one is the Tantus Super Soft.

So we’ve learned that there are some really great dildo options for $35 and under, a lot of butt toy options for $35 and under, but the vibrator category still makes me sad. There are cheap vibrators, to be sure, but they’re just too crappy to list even if they are made from ABS plastic. I’d like to see more brands come out with sex toys under $35 like vaginal and anal insertables that aren’t either loud enough to wake your roommate or so mild that they won’t please most people; the “mild” vibrations are why I didn’t pick anything by Bswish or Blush because my experiences with those brands consistently show their vibrators are very mild and surface-buzzy. I’d like to see some realistically-styled vibrating dildos in the affordable price range,  because it’s apparently something that sells really well in the porous materials.

I don’t actually think that having silicone dildos/plugs that are only silicone on the exterior are a problem – unless the exterior can split or crack open. While it seemed shady and even a little weird to have a dildo advertised as “100% silicone” actually be stuffed with a foam insert or rubber rod, if this is what it takes to produce affordable items that have non-porous, body-safe materials where it counts? I think I’m okay with it. We’ve only found out about this practice when the items have been sliced/cut open, to my knowledge.

BONUS SECTION! Can you up your budget to $50?

While I’ve mentioned some under-$50 options above, I have more I want to highlight.  I also want to highlight the Tantus Grab Bag section. While their shipping prices aren’t super awesome (I think the lowest is $12/13, which eats up a lot of the $35 budget) if you can get your budget to $50 AND grab a sale PLUS use my Tantus coupon code LILLY to take 15% off, then you have some great picks for butt toys and dildos.

Vibrators:

Dildos:

Penis Toys:

  • The Tenga 3D sleeves don’t have a hard shell casing but feel great! The material is infused with Silver for antimicrobial properties which helps it’s porous stature.
  1. Actually the Tenga Egg is porous, but I had no choice, and it’s non-toxic
  2. Note that the width sizes listed are inaccurate, because OVO doesn’t understand how to measure. Both F3 and F8 are probably around 1.25″ wide at the insertable part
  3. Similar style but much more texture is the Maia D3.
  4. And the Silk Medium, even, is under $35!
  5. A more boxer/underwear style can be had for less than $30, but it fits an even smaller range of people than the Pipedream strappy harness – sad that they couldn’t take this anywhere close to plus sizes. These can be used as packer briefs or dildo harnesses
  6. For a little texture you can also consider the Tantus Juice Plug or for a lot of texture, the Tantus Twist Plug
  7. Although they do also make pure silicone vibrating rings under $25
 Posted by at 2:07 pm
Nov 272014
 

In case you’re new here, let’s review the rules. Everybody’s year-end lists differ;  I try to keep it to sex toys that have been introduced to the public this calendar year as much as possible. For the “Best” toys I only rank the ones I’ve used and loved.  For the “Worst” list I’ve gone outside my normal rules – I just didn’t review very many “new this year” sex toys that I really and truly loathed. Curious to see how I’ve ranked things in years past? I’ve got lists from 2013, 2012, and 2011.  This year’s list is quite different. For one, there’s no dildo! I wasn’t wowed by any dildos I tried this year that were new to the market. This is also the first year that toys for the penis/prostate made the list – not once, but twice!  Onward, to the Best Sex Toys of 2014! (and the worst)

Interested in picking up one or two of these for the holidays? Check out the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales!

Best Sex Toys of 2014

rosarougeBest Vibrator

L’amourose Rosa Rouge – So amazing. It’s technically a g-spot / prostate vibe, but I ended up liking it best as a clitoral vibe. The vibrations are phenomenal –super powerful and deeply rumbling– and the warming feature actually does enhance the vibrations. This vibrator from newcomer French company L’amourose had me so crazy in love that I emailed SheVibe within minutes of my first orgasm to say “Please stock this!!” Runner up would be the plain Rosa – same great design and vibrations, minus the warming heated shaft.

Tenga Iroha MinamoBest Vibrator ~ Honorable Mention

Tenga Iroha Minamo – This is nearly the polar opposite of the L’amourose Rosa Rouge! Not for anyone who needs powerful vibrations or filling girth, this is great for those who need the opposite – a softer touch. The plush body and decently moderate vibrations combine with a slender shaft to finally offer those who think Less is More a great vibrator.  It works really well as either an internal or external vibrator and has a lot more obvious squish to it than it’s sister vibe, the Mikazuki.  It’s not a vibrator that I love for myself, but because it fills a gaping hole in the sex toy world – slender, decent and soft.

PulseVibratorforMenBest Cock Toy

Hot Octopuss Pulse – The vibrator for the penis, stupidly called the “guybrator”. It can be used as a vibrating stroker, but in our house it’s best when held at the frenulum while he lays back to enjoy the sensations. It surprised both of us, and really went above and beyond expectations.  Unique in design, it boasts super powerful vibrations and is really easy to use. Also hailed as a couples toy, we felt it didn’t perform in that arena but as a solo toy for him, it was so awesome. Keep an eye out though, Pulse 2 will hit the stores by February.

Jopen Lust L12 Prostate VibratorBest Prostate Massager

Jopen Lust L12 – This little guy has everything but the girth – powerful, rumbling vibrations with pulsating patterns and both ends vibrate to hit the prostate from inside and out. Jopen tried to play it off as a vibrator for either g-spot or prostate, but the design and size really fail as a g-spot & clitoris dual stim vibe. Available in hot pink or grey, it’s rechargeable and only $69 at Shevibe.

PleasurePurseBest Accessory

Pleasure Purse – I love this bag; it’s so versatile. It’s a weekender bag, it’s an inconspicuous storage option for the closet, it’s lockable and it’s very well made. Pockets galore with a black leather exterior ensure a place for everything. The stitching is well done and will hold up, plus the zippers are good quality and won’t jam. I filled it up with a lot of stuff for a weekend away, and then crammed it full of sex toys just to test the capacity.

TouchCompareMost Improved

We-Vibe Touch – I wasn’t in love with the first gen We-Vibe Touch but their upgrade brought in silky, matte-finish silicone and much less vibration dampening from the silicone. The Touch no longer picks up all the dust in a 3 foot radius, and feels much stronger than the old version. Sure, I still love the Tango more, but now I can finally recommend the Touch. Good job, We-Vibe!

ovoBest Choice for Beginners

OVO – I’m not even picking a single toy here. I’ve only reviewed the K2, but I had the chance to check out a good portion of the line in person. Shevibe carries a lot of the models and everything is under $50; many are under $30! The vibrations are more rumbly than buzzy (note: this doesn’t apply to the teenie vibes, like the Ws, they’re VERY buzzy, and the S1) and they’re moderate (this applies to most of the items – I’ve seen only negative reviews for the cock rings, so avoid those, and the vibrations on their mini external bullets, W1 and W2 are best left on the shelf). Great for newbies and those who don’t need extreme power. Their 15 year warranty is pretty much unprecedented in the sex toy biz. Made from silicone and ABS plastic, you’ve got a lot to choose from in this line. My only gripe is that the company doesn’t know how to measure a sex toy; they’ve measured from the widest portion –often the handle– and not just the widest usable portion. This led to some really skewed measurements. I’m trying to get better measurements, but if you have your eye on a certain model or have a size requirement, ask me and hopefully I can help narrow it down!

 

Worst Sex Toys of 2014

Lelo  anything – Lelo really fucked up this year. Their Smart Bead seems to be mostly gimmick and that fucking “cock ring for BANKERS”? Uh uh. Nope. That video is so offensive and the marketing campaign as a whole pretty much shits on their overall image. So glad I quit last year.

Fun Factory Amorino – Take a mediocre rabbit-style vibe and add a silicone “rubber band”. It’s as dumb as you’re imagining. And painful, to boot. I had an experience that ripped a few hairs out.

Jimmyjane Form 4 – The review that caused Jimmyjane to think I’m being paid off to hate them so much. I hated the Form 4 so much, and for so many reasons.

PalmPower Wand Massager – A lot of people love this thing so I wondered what was wrong with me when I disliked it so much. It could have been something decent, but all the flaws were too glaring to ignore.

Marc Dorcel Secret Vibe – The only good thing about this vibe is the remote. But otherwise it’s $70 for something so buzzy, so weak that I forgot I had it inside of me.

 

 

 Posted by at 11:30 am
Nov 022014
 
Amazon Warehouse (image courtesy of theguardian.com) - Why Buying Sex Toys from Amazon is a Risky Gamble

Amazon Warehouse (image courtesy of theguardian.com)

People sure do like to buy sex toys from Amazon and it is troubling to me. Not quite as troublesome in my world as toxic toys, but nearly so. A lot of people are more comfortable buying their sex toys from Amazon than a sex toy retailer, because they feel certain that it will be more discreet – they know that anything “sold by Amazon” will come in an Amazon box and an Amazon mailing address. And most of the time, Amazon is cheaper…and to detriment of the reputable sex toy shops, too.  Many of the higher-end manufacturers put a limit on how low their items can be sold, and Amazon sellers often completely ignore this. Either they are just shady people or…..they’re counterfeit.  In the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve had more people report problems ordering from Amazon than any other sex toy problems combined. I’ve had readers tell me, even as far back as 4 years ago, that they bought a “luxury” vibrator and something went wrong after a month or two. They took their problem to the manufacturer because it has a warranty, and they found out it wasn’t the brand they thought they were buying and the company wouldn’t honor a warranty claim. Rightfully so; it’s not their product. The counterfeit sex toy market is bigger than you think and it’s found a nice home at Amazon (and Ebay).

So Which Brands Are Suspect?

While this is by NO means a complete list, and I’d be suspect of just about anything, the specific brands I’ve heard of are: Lelo, Fun Factory, We-VibeFleshlights, Tenga, Fairy Wands by Merci Toys, Magic Wand.  Njoy is probably the most copied brand I know of. Multiple times a month I am contacted by shady companies in Hong Kong, Pakistan and India, who specialize in metal sex toys. They often go so far as to use Njoy product photos. The prices are super low, and there’s no way it could be an Njoy product, much less made of medical grade stainless steel, for that low price (in the ballpark of 15% of the cost of an Njoy).  One shady seller on Amazon was including free Fun Factory Smartballs that were counterfeits….and not even made of silicone as was found out from a flame test. Other products that I would be wary of: low-priced metal toys that claim to be stainless steel. I’ve heard some really bad things about a crystal-ended metal plug that is selling for around $20.  I would absolutely be suspect of glass sex toys sold on Amazon, as I personally experienced what can happen (see update from 2015 below).  Further issues abound with BDSM items (which are outside my realm of expertise) as well as specialty items like chastity cages:

 Another brand that can be suspect is Tantus. It was officially noted to affiliates “in regards to Amazon & Ebay, we don’t sell directly to anyone that has an Amazon/Ebay store. Tantus does NOT guarantee the origin, product quality, or authenticity of ‘Tantus’ items purchased off of these sites.”

Could They Re-Sell a Used Sex Toy?

This part is just a theory but there’s another issue with third-party sellers that isn’t brought up much in discussions about Amazon – the returned sex toys. I’ve always felt pretty confident that there’s little to worry about when the major retailers who allow returns of sex toys (despite a few dramatic claims at the height of other issues with EF). Lovehoney and EdenFantasys both allow it. While Lovehoney is certainly bigger and more global, EdenFantasys used to hold its own quite well as a go-to retailer in its day. Logistically speaking, why would they risk their reputation and company on re-selling a returned (used or defective) sex toy? All it would take would be for one person to report it to the authorities and the doors would be shut. But with an Amazon third-party seller who doesn’t use Fulfillment By Amazon, a person could send back a toy and an unscrupulous seller could re-sell it. I’ve seen third-party sellers who do accept returns if it is “unused and unopened” but unless it’s been shrink-wrapped it’s not that hard to carefully open a box and make it look like it was never opened. On Twitter after this post was first published, this was said and very relevant:

Updated for 2016: Cosmo recently interviewed a person who has done a metric fuck ton of reviews on Amazon. This person is sent product from Amazon sellers; not Amazon directly. She noted that she has had products arrive “destroyed” or “be dirty like someone’s used them already”. This does not sound good!

The Amazon Shuffle – The New Shell Game?

Are all sex toys from Amazon possibly a counterfeit? Of course not. But the risk for getting one is high enough that I don’t feel that people should take the gamble. Many people have no idea that they even got a counterfeit some of the time, especially until it breaks.  Many think it’s okay to buy the item if it is listed as being “Sold by Amazon LLC”.  Here’s how it works: In the Amazon Warehouses, to save space, every We-Vibe Tango (as an example) goes into the same warehouse bin. Every seller who is storing their goods at Amazon for Amazon to ship has to give their item a UPC or Item Code or something. Everything with the same item code all goes in the same bin. They don’t have room to store every seller’s We-Vibe Tango in a different space. So now, whenever you buy a We-Vibe Tango someone at Amazon is grabbing from the communal bin. Since Amazon has many warehouses across the country, they’ll also ship your item from the warehouse closest to you that stocks the item. This means it’s not necessarily going to be the stock of the retailer you chose to buy from and there’s no control over that, either. You could be ordering from a reputable retailer on Amazon and still get the stock from a shady retailer.  The ONLY way you’re not taking a risk is if the item is being sold by AND shipped by a reputable retailer or manufacturer – of which there are very few on Amazon. And then, because it’s coming from the retailer/manufacturer and not Amazon, there goes all your assumed discretion in shipping and the possibility of “Prime” shipping. So what’s the point?

Update for 2015: For two distinct purposes, I purposely purchased sex toys from Amazon. One purpose was to determine what some of these Chinese vendors actually meant when they were calling a product “medical grade silica gel”, which meant I bought some items with dubious material declarations. Spoiler alert: it’s a crapshoot on whether you’ll get silicone (a material actually used for sex toys, whereas silica gel is not) or something…else. The second purpose was for my glass sex toy test. I purchased two that were listed as a branded item. Both came in identical packaging – which to say, it wasn’t manufacturer packaging. Both were purchased from different sellers. One I was able to confirm easily as a counterfeit, by being sent the actual branded item from SheVibe.

Is it Just Amazon?

No. While other sites don’t work the same way, there’s still a huge huge risk of the game ending badly if you buy from Ebay. If you find discount sites that look too good to be true….they probably are. Aliexpress.com is one such site.  Groupon has become another. I’ve been alerted to mislabeled sex toys on Groupon numerous times. Please just don’t buy sex toys from Groupon, either.

Stay Safe, Ask a Sex Blogger

So what would you rather do? Save ten or twenty bucks and take a big gamble on buying sex toys from Amazon or deal with a sex toy retailer that is vetted by your hardworking sex toy review bloggers, and is a company that actually cares about you? By buying from the companies we bloggers work with, you’re supporting the Good Guys in the industry. By using us bloggers as a sounding board before you spend your money, you could actually save money by listening to our advice in our reviews. I advise many people one-on-one on their purchase before they buy (email, Tumblr or Reddit). I’ve had too many people come to me AFTER their purchase, saying that they wished they’d seen my review before wasting their money and there went $100+ down the drain. Read all the reviews, email your favorite bloggers. Ask their opinion. And then, when you’ve decided, wait a little bit. Keep an eye on the sales. Tantus, for example, has a different sale every month. SheVibe has different sales every week. And don’t just take the word of one blogger. 

BOTTOM LINE: I’m such a huge advocate of safe, non-porous sex toys; I want every aspect of your sex toy buying and using experience to be as safe as possible. I can’t promise your safety if you buy sex toys from Amazon and Ebay.

When you CAN shop at Amazon

There’s really only three sexuality items you can safely purchase from Amazon, in my opinion. As always, do your research first! 

  1. Educational sex books / erotica books
  2. Condoms
  3. Lube, only after you’ve read up on which lubes & lube ingredients to avoid!

Where to Shop

If you’ve been here before, you probably know my most highly-recommended store is SheVibe.  My reasons are many and varied, but here’s the highlights: their stock is neither too specialized or too excessive. They don’t stock known-toxic toys. They educate their customers on the porous toys. The company is run by people who love what they do and who treat everyone – customers to industry people – with kindness and respect. Their prices are great, and they have many sales. They have a large and varied stock without trying to carry every product under the sun. They are often champions for smaller, indy brands like Fucking Sculptures, and are open to suggestions. Nearly everything under the sun that I could ever recommend for purchase, SheVibe carries. I can’t say that about any other store on my list.

I don’t often recommend buying directly from a manufacturer, but there are two that I’ll break that rule for:

Tantus is great, and every month has a really great sale (no sale you like? Coupon code LILLY gets you 15% off). Between their closeout section and grab bag section, you’re bound to find a safe, silicone dildo to fit your budget. And their customer service is great. Problem with your order? They’ll take care of it. Currently their shipping is a bit high though and can be a deterrent for small orders – although they do offer free shipping in the US if you spend $100. 

Crystal Delights is another wonderful manufacturer of truly high-quality glass items. Their specialty is glass plugs with Swarovski crystals at the end. They also make tail plugs and glass dildos. 

Other retailers I can recommend:

Early to Bed is a Chicago-based shop with an online presence. They have a great selection of items for trans and genderqueer people; however they have a habit re-naming the sex toys they carry. This makes it hard to locate a particular sex toy if you know it by brand and style name.

Smitten Kitten is a Minneapolis-based shop with an online presence. They have a great selection of kitschy and cute gifts, they carry an extended line of BS Atelier products, they’re the only shop I know of right now carrying Hole Punch toys, and they are the brains behind the Lube Guide and every starting point I’ve had for toxic toy research. Their educational book section is absolutely fabulous.

Goodvibes is a long-time shop with an online presence as well as a few brick stores in the US. They don’t carry anything toxic, but do carry some porous items. Their overall catalog tends to be slim and I have numerous favorites that they don’t carry. They also sometimes re-name toy, but more often I’ll find them stripping the manufacturer’s name from the lower-end stuff – since I try to avoid recommending certain brands, I’m not a fan of this practice. Their prices are not as good as SheVibe. They do have a decent on-demand porn store, though.

Come As You Are is a nice little Toronto-based cooperative shop with an online presence. They’re one of the few better stores that do carry a few toxic items – in fact the first few things that come up in their dildo section seem to have phthalates. However, they’re one of the few places that carry a silicone vaginal dilator set with the dilator sizes ranging from 1/2″ wide to 1 1/2″ wide and you can buy the sizes separately. Their prices seem to be good and they also have a great selection of items for trans and genderqueer people. They do have educational material on the site, but continue to (as most places do) insist that condoms will absolutely protect against phthalates (it’s not actually been proven true, nor has it been proven false).

I’ve never experienced them personally, but a number of Canadian friends spoke well of the shipping, prices and customer service at Lovedreamer. They seem to carry a fair amount of crap, but also have a good amount of sales going. Do your research before picking something out.

Lovehoney has bases in the US, UK, Australia. On the plus side, they have a 365-day return policy if you hate it. On the other hand, they carry a large amount of porous stuff without educating consumers about it and their prices are not as good as SheVibe. Stick to silicone (if in doubt, ask) and the other safe materials. Even if they call it “body safe”, if it’s not a non-porous, I’d avoid it.

Other places that are fine, I just don’t work with them: Babeland is best if you are at a brick store. Online their selection is kinda meh. UK shoppers can also check out ThatPosition or Vibrator Kingdom. Canadians, check out Pinkcherry. Australians, I’ve heard MissX and AdultSpice are good.

Sep 102014
 

Suction Cup DildosLike the rabbit vibrator, suction cup dildos are (for me) a great idea in theory but terrible in execution. I’m no spring chicken anymore and I have the knees of a person twice my age. I can’t deny though that plenty of people love these things. One reason why I have trouble with suction cup dildos is the lack of a compatible surface. The surface has to be completely flat and perfectly smooth, no imperfections that would break the suction seal. Bathroom tiles can sometimes work, but they need to be at least 1/2″ bigger than the base on each side to have a chance at working. Mirrors and windows work, of course. Painted walls though, normally do not. Before you get it in your head that the suction cup is for you, make sure you have a surface that’ll work with it. I see a lot of people buying the porous / possibly-toxic versions way, way too often so I’m providing a list of all known safe versions. There’s a surprisingly larger selection than I expected! As of my most recent January 2016 update, I’ve counted literally 101 silicone suction dildos (and plugs and vibrating dildos). This also doesn’t begin to take into consideration the smaller, fantasy dildo makers like Bad Dragon etc. I haven’t included any of those because I don’t own any, don’t review them, haven’t really seen them much in person.

Suction Cup Dildos Under $50

Early2Bed carries a few that I’m not yet seeing in many places. Max, Fairy, and Astral. Max is realistic-looking but small while Fairy and Astral (Maia brand) are completely non-realistic. It looks like SheVibe is now carrying a bit of the Maia brand, and using the manufacturer’s naming they carry the Maia Porpora D1 in hot pink and purple and the D3 (lightly ribbed) in Blue or Purple.  For a moderately sized (7″x 1.6″ for the D1, 1.75″ for the D3) silicone dildo, the price ($30) is quite decent. I want to note that the only products I recommend from Maia at this time are these dildos. They have a core that is another, non-silicone material (presumably to lower production costs) which you should never see and should not at all affect the safety of the silicone material on the outside (and it is silicone, and quite thick at that). I’ve also been told that the Maia silicone is very firm and has texture to it, making it a bit of a lube hog. Also at Early to Bed is this Rippler Love Rider dildo.

New-ish from CalExotics is their Packer Gear line. I don’t know anything about it other than the fact that it’s silicone. I don’t know if there’s another material at the core, but the prices are great. These are apparently, from the product line info, meant for packing. They’re flexible! They’re also all under $35. ETA: I have received one to check out and the silicone feels nice and smooth, without any grabby texture to it. The silicone is relatively firm but it still has bend. I don’t see how one would pack with this, but whatever. It’s still a very nice dildo.

Pipedream Fetish Fantasy Elite line has a number of silicone dildos & silicone vibrating dildos with suction cup bases but you know they’re not a company I trust. The price is pretty low for the dildos but I’m just in general unconvinced of their overall quality. I’ve not flame-tested anything from them; until I can get my hands on one to flame test and dissect, I’m reluctant to really recommend them but there they are. There’s such a big line that I can’t really ignore them, and they do offer the vibrating aspect which isn’t common for this list.  I’ve never received any reports that they are not silicone, but they are “hollow” with a foam core. The silicone covering the foam core is thick and I can’t see it really becoming a problem.  Silicone is strong and I can’t see it ripping or anything. But, it is false advertising on Pipedream’s part, reporting these as “100%” medical grade silicone. I don’t believe it to be medical grade; why would they cut costs by adding the foam core and then use a more expensive grade of silicone? It’s probably food-grade which is no less pure or safe. Regardless, that’s a bit of false advertising that is slimy, but not surprising to me given Pipedream’s basic reputation. Pipedream isn’t a company I can see supporting at all, but the choice is yours so I’ll list the option.

Blush, who makes a lot of crappy vibes and realistic cocks (and is in general not a company I fully support right now) has a dual-density pure silicone line out that is vaguely realistic. Every model (except for the ones now with balls as the base) in their Real Nude line at Shevibe has a suction cup. Prices range from $39 to $56 so they’re priced lower than Vixen Vixskin and Tantus. The Real Nudes seem to come in some non-realistic colors now but I’m waiting on retailers I work with to pick them up, otherwise there are limited realistic skin tone choices. The silicone on the older models is very shiny and attracts lint like crazy; I’ve been told that the squishy portion (all of the head and a layer along the shaft) is softer like Vixskin, but the core is very firm, like Tantus. However, photos have shown the Sumo (supposedly 2″ diameter) easily able to bend in half. I know that my larger Tantus O2 dildo can’t do that. Early To Bed carries a red version of one of the designs! Also from Blush the new Luxe Mio is short and very fat, 1.8″ and reasonably priced. The new Nude Impressions line are under-$60 suction-cup vibrators in 4 non-realistic colors – half of them are priced at $49.

Doc Johnson’s Vac-u-Lock line was always baffling to me – they require a special harness (none of which look all that awesome to me) and they were all always porous/toxic materials. But in recent years Doc Johnson came out with some silicone vac-u-lock options. These can be used by themselves as a dildo, but I noticed that Shevibe carries a Vac-u-lock suction cup accessory, directly copying Tantus. Since I’ve never owned a vac-u-lock toy I don’t know if the Tantus accessory could be used here instead, but the DJ version is only $10.  This means you can get a realistic, suction-cup silicone dildo for right around $50.

 The Colours line, from NS Novelties, has a variety of sizes of suction cup dildos in a bunch of colors.  The overall styling is realistic, but the most of the colors aren’t (there are pale skin tones but also pink, blue, purple, etc).  Sizes range from 1.5″ wide to 2.1″ wide, and only the 8″x2.1″ is priced over $50. I’ve been told that this brand is very firm and combining that with the veiny texture has been uncomfortable for some people especially when used anally.

 Available only from Lovehoney: LH-branded has a 7″ purple smooth dildo and a 5″ slender black smooth dildo. There’s a realistic one from Adrien Lastic (?) and they carry only one Malesation dildo but the Malesation dildo they carry is a direct knock-off of Maia and the two companies are not related. If you value company ethics, I’d avoid Malesation. But if the Maia Wavy D1 looked fun but you hated the pink and purple, pick up the Malesation Wavy in black. There’s now two vibrating, realistic silicone suction cup vibrating dildos at Lovehoney, and one of them is under $50. At $69 this one has a remote!

You can find all of these at Lovehoney UK also.

BUTT TOYS! Not to be left out, there are a few silicone butt plugs with a suction cup base: Cocolicious from CalEx (might have a foam or bead core, like Pipedream); Colt brand Jumbo (over 2″!) plug, and Marc Dorcel’s Ultimate Plug which also vibrates (but not much).

High-quality Dildos from Reputable Companies

Of course with Tantus, there’s the silicone suction cup attachment, which works with their vibrating dildos.

Fun Factory, usually known for the vibrators, have a few dildos. Amor, maybe the Boss (unconfirmed), Bandito and Tiger all claim to have suction-cup bases. The Amor and Boss are subtly realistic while the Bandito and Tiger are not at all plus are heavily textured. New to the line-up is the Bouncer, also with a suction-cup base.

Smitten Kitten carries CJ Hooker, a somewhat realistically-styled dildo from Hole Punch that comes in vivid color blends.  It’s got an interesting taper to it, but is 1.75″ at the widest.

Happy Valley vibrating dildos (Perk, Hottie and Little Hottie) might work with the Tantus suction cup attachment. When I contacted them, they responded with:

All of our dildos are designed with ergonomics and harness compatibility in mind. As the bases are shaped to conform to the natural curves of the body, this does not readily lend itself to suction cup styles. Whilst the Tantus attachment would definitely fit into the vibe hole for both Fuze and Happy Valley toys, I doubt that it would either be comfortable or function to its full potential, due to the different design criteria of ourselves and Tantus.

Vixen dildos sometimes have a naturally occurring suction cup base. I contacted Vixen to get the complete current line-up:

Vixskin: Tex, Raquel, Randy, Maverick (rumors have it that the Mustangs can be suction-cuppy, but Vixen didn’t list it)

Original Formula: All with the exception of vibe versions, or anything with testicles (Johnny). i.e. All of the Realistic Bents, Randy, Leo, Mistress, and Woody.

Filed under “but how would that even stay on the wall” is the ginormous Tom of Finland Kake Cock. Tom of Finland also makes a few sizes of a standard butt plug with a suction cup base.

 

 

 Posted by at 11:49 am
Dec 082013
 

Welcome to the 2013 “Best Sex Toys” list from The Pickiest Sex Toy Reviewer, Ever.  And because I really want to make sure you always get your dose of reality, we have a list of the Worst Sex Toys. If the sex toy is on this list, then I have some Very Strong Feelings about it. Be it good or bad!

This year’s list was a little harder to make; I had to take a hiatus and my reviewing was cut back all around this year. I wrote a mere 22 reviews this year; about 2/3 of those reviews were for products that debuted this year. That’s it! Add in the fact that I truly disliked half of what I did review and I was honestly thinking that I would have a tiny list this year, with no vibrators. Thankfully for all, a few newbies snuck in at the 11th hour.  In order to keep things fresh and up to date, I like to restrict my list to sex toys that hit the market this calendar year. For the “Best” picks, I’ve restricted the items to things that I’ve used and honestly liked a lot.  I don’t want to steer anyone wrong, so I always need to be sure that my recommendations are true.

Best Sex Toys of 2013

 

A01569-PRP-FRESHBest Vibrator: Leaf Fresh+  – I’m surprised at this choice since I wasn’t a fan of the first Leaf line; but with the new Leaf+ line, the power and rumbly upgrades tipped the scales for me.  The Fresh+ shape also means that it’s less susceptible to vibration dampening just from holding it (so many tiny vibes have that problem).  It’s small, but doesn’t give me hand cramps. It’s truly travel-friendly, has a non-aggravating charging method and clocks in under $100 at SheVibe. Sure, it’s now a baffling purple but I’m going to do my best to overlook that fact because I like the vibrations. If power is your thing, stick with the Fresh+. While all the vibes in the purple Leaf+ line are more powerful and more rumbly than their green counterparts, Fresh+ is the tops.

Get the Leaf Fresh+ from SheVibe!

11BA22Honorable Mention: Minna Limon – Limon didn’t make the top choice because it wasn’t perfect for me due to the shape, but the very deep and rumbling vibrations make this vibrator stand out. The air-filled squeezy pockets and ability to record your own perfect pattern are technologies that, while not something I personally need, would be awesome for so many people. It’s marketed as a couples’ toy (even though we’re used to couples’ toys providing simultaneous stimulation to both parties) but is great for solo and couple time. If Limon didn’t possess the vibrations it does, though, it wouldn’t have made my list. More sex toy companies need to utilize these deep vibrations.

You can pick up the Limon in Teal or Pink from Good Vibrations or SheVibe!

fuckingsculptures4Best Dildo: Anything from Fucking Sculptures – I usually don’t like putting something so high ticket on this list, but the glass dildos from Fucking Sculptures blew me away this year. They truly are the most beautiful creations I’ve seen. I was given two to review, I bought one, and I gave away one. All were well-made and gorgeous to look at with unique shapes and stylings. Sometimes the glass is sparkling, sometimes it is metallic; it can be opaque or translucent and the colors are things we don’t normally see in sex toys.

SheVibe is selling them and is selling specific models; they will tell you the exact sizes of the ones they have in stock (which are also on sale until 12-31 while supplies last). You can also purchase directly from Fucking Sculptures; you can tell them some size guidelines that they can follow or just give up control and give only narrow choices. Since each work of art is handmade, each one is slightly different and won’t look like the photos on the site.

raptor-xlHonorable Mention: Tantus RaptorXL – While the RaptorXL was a great dildo for me, I know that a lot of folks won’t be able to handle the size. It’s a firm, silicone dildo with a few stylings on the head that make for great g-spot stimulation despite the shaft being straight. For those who would need something smaller, the Raptor standard delivers all the same bullet points, just not as girthy.  The Raptors are harness-compatible in a bit of a unique way; normally when balls are present it is more difficult to utilize a harness but by moving the ball up, non-harness users still get a “handle” of sorts, but harness users aren’t aggravated. And, the Raptors are available in Tantus Orange! Yay for different colors!

Get the Raptor XL from SheVibe or from Tantus directly!

PaddlesBest Kink Item: Tantus Silicone Paddles – I don’t identify as kinky anymore and frankly these days consider myself to be fairly vanilla. However, the paddles were too good not to award. Do I personally like them? In theory. I can’t stand to receive pain and I’m not in a kink relationship where I can deliver the pain. However, the concept is fucking brilliant and it’s well executed.  For anyone who is actually in to spanking/paddling and can tolerate pain, I highly recommend these. For newbies just starting out? Nope.  The original 4 paddles have various sensations (various levels and types of pain, I should say) and flat handles. The Plunge has a dildo-shaped handle that is more ergonomic and doubles as a teasing dildo. Why silicone? It delivers a sensation unlike rigid paddles, yet is nonporous and can easily be cleaned and sanitized. 

Get the Tantus Paddles from Tantus directly, or Shevibe!

mia2Best I-Missed-It-Last-Year Item: Lelo Mia 2 – Yes, technically, the Lelo Mia 2 debuted in 2012 but I didn’t get to try it until 2013. I never ended up writing the review for it, which is something I really should do. As much as I wanted to like the original Mia back in 2008, it wasn’t quite enough oomph for me. The world of USB rechargeable vibrators was pretty new in 2008; now it’s nothing special. And while these days I tend to dislike a vibrator that has a magnetic cradle and charges only via USB, somehow the Mia 2 can get away with it for me. I guess because it’s small and doesn’t require a flat surface (rarely seen in my work area). While I would still recommend the We-Vibe Tango to the Mia 2, and the Mia 2 has quirks that I don’t like (the removeable cap and the silicone buttons create crevices that are a bit of a bitch to clean), Mia 2 can finally get me off. The motor employs just enough extra intensity and shift from buzzy to more rumbly necessary to please me. If you’re someone who really likes the method of charging, no cables, and the fact that it comes in black? Go for it. You’ll likely enjoy Mia 2.

 Worst Sex Toys of 2013

I don’t even know where to begin! There were so many items that I hated! So many “meh” toys, too, but I’ll try to stick to the ones with no redeeming qualities.

  • FunToys G-Vibe – Wimpy wimpy wimpy. The idea might work, but everything about the toy was so incredibly SUBTLE that it was like a whisper to my vag. Which, let me inform you, doesn’t do anything for me.
  • Lelo Luna Beads Noir – Luna Beads, the original, are my favorite vag balls. But then Lelo had to get roped into the stupid “50 Shades” bullshit and ripped people off. This set, while admittedly more visually appealing to me than the original pastels, feels incomplete and a lot less worth the money with only one set of weighted balls (the heavier weight), and only available in the Mini size. The rattle is more subtle, therefore the effects are more subtle. It’s just not going to be enough for many women, and I don’t feel they’re worth the price.
  • JimmyJane Hello Touch – I didn’t like a single aspect of this. I detested it. The too-tight finger straps, the ugly and limited wrist strap, the aggravating buttons, the disgustingly bland, buzzy vibrations….ugh.  I’m glad it got sent off for testing, never to return. Goodbye Touch! 
  • iGino One – The bizarre shape was painful to hold. The Hello Kitty color scheme, awful. The vibrations? Painful.  This was the only vibrator this year to actually scare my cats. They ran from it if it was turned on in the same room.
  • Lelo Ida – The vibrator that made me finally say I QUIT to Lelo.  Ida (and Tara) has got to be the DUMBEST design I’ve seen this year. 
  • Jopen Envy One and Three – It seemed so promising (despite the launch line of 3 varied length straight “classic” shapes), but failed to deliver. They heated up to a temp that was uncomfortable or arrived deader than a doornail. Multiple times. None of the 4 that I tried ever functioned properly. The vibrations were good, but that uncomfortable overheating and the dumb straight design ruined the decent vibrations.
  • LAST MINUTE ADDITION: Revel Body – I went back and forth on putting this on the list, until I found out (thanks to RB commenting on Epiphora’s review) that the version of the RB that I reviewed for Shevibe may not even be the version Shevibe is actually selling. RB sent me my review products directly from them, rather than from Shevibe’s warehouse stock. Now, no one knows what is up and what version is where. You know what? I’m done. If I’m reviewing a product for a retailer, and then someone buys that product and gets something different, both I and the retailer end up looking bad. That’s what RB has done.  I wasted at least a dozen hours on my review, and parts are not even relevant. Readers? Don’t buy this.

Missed Opportunities of 2013

There were items this year that I really wish I’d gotten a chance to actually try. It doesn’t mean I’m endorsing them, it just means that I optimistically think there’s a chance they could be decent.

~ While I did feel up the Fun Factory Stronic 1 at Catalyst in the spring, I never actually used one. Part of me thinks that it wouldn’t work for me. Fun Factory did try to offer me the Stronic 2, but it was being marketed as a prostate version for men – a very large prostate vibrator. Too large for my guy. I’ve sadly figured out much later that it could possibly be great for the g-spot, too.

~ Last year, I panned the original Crave Duet after listening to Epiphora. They’ve since updated the Duet, and come out with a few other vibes too. I’d like to at least be able to hold them in my hand and figure out if they vibrations are strong enough for me, but Crave doesn’t seem to like me very much. Are they afraid of me & my notorious negative reviews? Maybe I’ll try to find a NYC store that carries them, if I ever make it out there anytime soon.

~ Despite how much I disliked the Jopen Envy One and Three, I wish I’d been able to try out the Envy Five.  It’s supposedly wider (their measurements on the One and Three were WAY off) but has the angled curve that might make it serviceable. And who knows, maybe with the newer models they were able to fix the DOA and overheating issues. Maybe. I’m a glutton for punishment, I know.

 

Tell me what you think! Are you surprised by any of my choices, or absences? 

 Posted by at 10:47 pm
Dec 232012
 

I thought that this recent question deserved to be highlighted more:

I want to buy my girlfriend an anal plug/toy. She’s new to anal; she tried the finger and now I believe she wants to pass to another level… I just want to give her a toy and let her experiment a little bit. Now, I am new also in the toy buying and I need your advice. Can you recommend something for beginners? I am aware about the materials but I still don’t know what to choose. I believe she needs something soft, something with a “natural feel”. Any advice will be appreciated.

My response1:

A plug is something you wear around for hours or you can also just use it for the occasion, while just a simple toy is used as-is. The most comfortable plugs have a definitive difference between the neck and the body, with a decent base. The neck is what sits at the sphincter level; the sphincter prefers to be closed so a plug that will feel the most natural and least like she’s about to poop will have a thin neck.

I would also caution against looking for something super-soft and cushy/squishy simply because you need something with a bit of “backbone” to be able to penetrate the ass. That first sphincter muscle, especially, can be quite stubborn for beginners on letting anything inside the ass. Biologically speaking, it’s not natural. Your rectum and sphincter are built for exit-only; when the sphincter is open, it wants to close. And when things come out it is much easier than putting something in. That’s not to say that anal play is bad or dangerous; not at all if done right. I’m just pointing out that it’s not the biological function de facto which is why things may seem a little tricky at first.

If she’s taken nothing other than a single finger, I would highly suggest that no matter what else you get, you get her a warm-up dildo or two. Preferably two. The Tantus Silks are the absolute best. I have them both and in my opinion you cannot just jump to the medium if you’re brand new to anal.  I was steered towards the Silk Small as a warm-up and introductory toy to my Crystal Delights plug; despite the fact that I chose their smaller plug, it was still a little too big for me to just jump right to. The Silk Small was amazing. Only after sufficient play with the Silk Small would I graduate up to the Silk Medium. Even after numerous play sessions, to get used to the “weird feeling”, I would still start off each time with the Silk Small as a warm-up before moving on to the Silk Medium.  These are smooth, plain and great for getting the anus and sphincter used to having something there. Other small, silicone options include plugs like the Tantus Little Flirt which if you get from their “Grab Bag” section, is under $20. The same can be said for the Ripple Small from Grab Bag. Tantus Meteorite is slightly bigger than the Little Flirt, but the fun colors demand a higher price tag.  Tantus Warm Up dildo is a newer design, and is another small 1″ option. This would actually be great for prostate play introduction. If you’re looking for something a bit more realistic in design, consider the Vixen Small Bent. They make one in standard Vixen silicone, and then the Spur is the soft, Vixskin option. That will give you a little cushion and comfort.

Plugs that receive rave reviews from everyone are the Njoy Pure Plugs. I know that stainless steel can seem intimidating to a first-timer, which is why warm-up toys are imperative. The Pure Plug Medium though has a max diameter of 1.25″ and a nice, long thin neck. It’s built for comfort and to wear around for hours and hours. The steel might be cold at first, but you can warm it up in a bowl of *semi-warm* (not hot) tap water if you want.

If you’re already ready to move past the 1″ and under set, the Fun Factory Bootie is highly recommended for something under $50. The Tantus Ryder is also a good pick.

Make sure you use plenty of lube! Thicker gel-like lubes work best for anal play. While many companies will tell you that you should avoid silicone-based lubes with silicone toys, the higher quality silicone of Tantus can tolerate certain higher-quality silicone-based lubes. Hybrid lubes are great as they have a small amount of silicone so they don’t interact, but Tantus have recommended brands like Sliquid as having high compatibility even if it’s just straight silicone lube. As always though, you have to do lube research – too low of a pH for lube for the butt can lead to a stinging sensation which is not good! Use the Lube Guide to find a lube that is a good pH and devoid of irritating chemicals.

Random Important Anal Play Information:

  • Please AVOID anal numbing  / desensitizing creams, gels and sprays. I can understand that newbies will be nervous about it feeling weird or hurting, but the anus is very special – if you do not use enough lube and you use a toy that is too big, too soon, you can create tiny tears in the skin called fissures. This is bad because then you are at a high risk for getting fecal matter into the open skin; you’re also at a higher risk for transmitting diseases of all types through broken skin.
  • When you’re using fingers, it’s really best to put on a nitrile glove. This is a safety trick for both the receiver (fingernails!!) and the giver (broken skin? fecal matter under the fingernail?)
  • Never, ever ever ever share anything between the ass and the mouth or the ass and the vagina. Never. Ever. Have I made my point clear? Ignore what they do in porn. Those butts have been cleaned out better than your average endoscopy requires, and there is no fecal matter that might transfer. You or your partner could become very sick if you don’t heed this warning. This also applies to sex toys. The only toys that should ever be used in both holes are non-porous ones that can be properly sanitized  – silicone, glass, metal. And you absolutely must sanitize in between orifices.
  • There will sometimes be a little poop. It’s a fact of life, it’s going to happen. Just have warm, wet washclothes or baby wipes right near by.  If your partner cannot handle this, then you need to rethink anal play with them. Consider buying black sex toys, too, as they won’t show fecal matter like a pastel pink dildo would.
  • Anal play, when done right, can be very pleasurable – for women and men. Men have the added bonus of a prostate to enjoy, but that’s for another guide. Many women have experienced g-spot stimulation via anal play (the wall inside between the vagina and rectum is very thin).
  1. My response is directed to the asker, who has a female partner. However, my information is the same for all genders – I just am focusing on the butt, not the prostate this time