“BS Is Nice“ is a newer silicone company making hand-poured 100% pure silicone products in Madrid. SheVibe.com has started to carry some of their products and graciously sent me one to try out.
BS has a lot of interesting color schemes and designs; some (not on the SheVibe site) are a little less fun and are just single or dual colors. Others are much more interesting. There’s a cow print, one that looks like a sports sock, crazy asymmetrical stripes and zebra stripes. You can see roughly what it’ll look like on the site, but since it’s hand-poured they’re not all going to be exact. The rainbow levels on mine are not quite as uniform as the one photographed for SheVibe, but they’re unique. I’ve seen photos from BS on Facebook where the rainbow levels were more uniform and more thick, going a little farther up. I’d say that the only thing I would improve about the designs where it encompasses the base, is to bring that design farther up from the base just a bit, maybe a half-inch or so more than mine show? When I put my Rainbow G-Spot in my Aslan Leather Harness, most of the colors were hidden, and it didn’t quite fit right in this particular Aslan style. If you want the BS dildos for use in a harness, I’d suggest that they will look best and work better with harnesses that are more minimalistic, or at least don’t have you pushing the dildo through fabric or leather. The Aslan Commando harness would be better, as would the Sportsheets ones since the dildo only goes through the o-ring, not the fabric. This might fit RodeoH or Spartparts styles, it’s not oddly small or wide, but you’ll cover up most of the design by using those types of harnesses.
The G-Spot style is the only BS dildo style that SheVibe currently carries, but I happen to think it’s a pretty good choice. I’m not usually a fan of perfectly straight dildos (unless the girth is the factor) and this heavily curved design combined with a slightly-flat more snub-nose tip (reminiscent a bit of the Lelo Ella, shown below to compare) will be great for g-spots and even prostates. I happen to have the Medium size, which looks like it’ll give you an extra inch in length over the small, and a little bit more girth. Honestly the girth is hard to measure. The shaft seems to be 1.3 inches wide and the head juts out a little to be more like 1.4, 1.45 inches wide, but the base widens a little bit on a slope, making it sit less flush against a harness o-ring than I’d like. SheVibe does a pretty good job of measuring the items they list, especially when there are multiple sizes available. For size/shape comparison below, I’ve shown the BS alongside the Tantus O2 Cush in blue, and a black Tantus P-Spot dildo.
The G-Spot design is just flexible enough for me to be able to straighten it out fully, so for those that really like and almost require a firm curve and specific pressures/angles for g-spot or prostate stimulation might not love this line. The silicone isn’t quite as squishy as the Tantus O2 outer layer, but is quite a bit softer and more flexible than very firm Tantus pieces. BS silicone is about on par with Vamp silicone in firmness. For those that like some give and dislike rock-solid materials, you’ll really like the BS silicone. It does of course gather up fur/dust/link like crazy.
I actually really like the BS packaging design. It’s minimal, yet reusable. It comes in a clear, plastic pouch but it is a very thick mil of plastic, more like heavy plastic sheeting than the bags that a Tantus dildo might come in. And yes, I said reusable. It comes to you like a food item – you tear off the sealed portion of plastic up top and then it has a “Ziploc” style closure for the bag. It’s not discreet since it’s see-through, but it’s great for people who don’t have a lot of storage space options and want to put the dildo in something to keep it clean in between uses.
Since it’s pure silicone, you’ll probably need to use lube with this, the silicone dildos usually tend to naturally create a little more resistance (unless they’re super glossy in finish). I’d suggest a water-based lube, pure natural coconut oil, or you can try to spot-test your favorite silicone or hybrid lube on the base. If it gets gummy/tacky in a minute, scrape it off right away. If there’s no change, leave it there an hour and see if there’s any further change (like the lube gets absorbed). To clean these, you can pretty much do anything. Soap and water for most situations, dishwasher, boiling water, or 10% bleach solution if you’re going to use it both anally and vaginally (although never in the same session, please) or share it.
SheVibe.com is becoming known for showcasing the smaller companies, and I think that BS Is Nice offers a few really great choices that are unique. I have a feeling that this rainbow-and-black color scheme will be a big seller. Thank you, Shevibe!!Read More
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First let me say that I really do applaud the individuals and small companies who try their hand at making sex toys and improving upon them, who see problems that could be solved and want to genuinely spread to joy of orgasm around via a sex toy made of safe materials. Of course many like to utilize as many advertising jargon words as possible and lay out their proclamations of being THE best sex toy, the be-all end-all, the best thing you’ll ever try, if you’ve tried the rest you’ll be instantly in love with this next new thing yaddayadda. I don’t think that the iGino has quite tipped that scale, but they do claim to be “What Women Want”. Yet despite all of these wonderful entrepreneurs trying to Build a Better Sex Toy, many fail.
That’s kinda where the i-Gino One comes into play. I can appreciate the reasons behind the developers design. It’s based somewhat on the fingertip with vibrations as well as a back-and-forth side-to-side sort of motion. The designer made what she feels is a supreme vibrator for clitoris-bearing people. The design is made to be discreet, slim enough to fit between the bodies during sex, it comes with a cap to prevent it from getting dirty, etc. All good things …….in theory. I do encourage you to please check out the information available on their website and their Indiegogo campaign to get a full picture of the intent of this design and the specs. I couldn’t cover everything, or this review would be over 4000 words.
According to the Indiegogo funding campaign:
- iGino® integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of “what women want”.
- By improving the design, feel and innovation of our pleasure objects with sensual purpose, they stand as the most desirable products for individuals and couples alike.
- All pleasure objects by iGino® give amazing sensations and complete peace of mind in whatever situations arise. Each product blends craftsmanship, design and innovation to give it distinctive character and style.
The shape and design of it is, I’ll grant you, discreet in that it does not resemble any current vibrator on the market or a penis in any way. If someone where to happen upon this, their curiosity might make them explore it, wonder what on earth it is. Maybe if the colors were different? Like if this were say…black and grey, or all white maybe it could be mistaken for a tech item. My husband thought that perhaps it was something for my e-cigs. My friend thought it was a case for candy (yeah I don’t get it either so I don’t ask), or a spare battery for a phone or an e-cig case. So I suppose that my original skepticism over the true “discreet” claim is just me being jaded. Or me having spent 28 years living with a VERY nosy mother who would most likely wonder what it is if she saw it and would try to pry it open. But for once I was able to show my husband and friend a sex toy and they didn’t at first know it was a sex toy until I took the cap off. Watching their puzzled reactions as I quizzed them “What do you think this is?” was kinda fun.
This is a little harder to describe. Instead of vibrating like you’re used to, the little head there actually moves at a very high speed side to side. The speed is so high though, and the sensation fairly intense, that it doesn’t exactly feel like anything different or special. One odd thing: you can completely bring the motor to a halt with decent pressure on the head. I’m not sure this is a good thing. Logically, if you’re stopping a motor from doing what it’s trying to do, it would sustain damage over time? That’s what my logic says, anyhow. I could be wrong. I don’t think you’ll apply enough pressure during normal use for this to happen, though. Maybe during sex if your partner on top gets too close? I know that pressure can stop it because did happen to me but I’ll explain that in a minute.
Here is where I’m baffled by a material choice. The entire body is made of shiny ABS plastic, except for the little light pink bit and the “skintouch head”, they’re made of EVA. From what I can tell, it’s body-safe. It’s foam. The everyday thing that I equate this with are those really lightweight sandals, or floating pool mats, I think even the soft colorful interlocking pieces of floor frequently used for flooring in kids playrooms is the same stuff. So, it’s water-resistant I guess, since it floats. Does that mean it’s non-porous? I asked iGino and they said that it IS porous but reiterated that it is “used in various medical products.”. Which is fine, I don’t believe it has any foul chemicals, there is no scent, etc. I’m just concerned that it is porous and easy to lose/destroy by accident.
The Skintouch Head is kinda silly, really. It weighs nothing, you’ll likely lose it, it gets deformed quite easily and could also very easily be completely ruined. It adds a little bit in the positive during use, but yet not. It looks like a Lucky Charms marshmallow and feels like one, too. It doesn’t feel “warm and soft”, it doesn’t replicate my fingertip.
This same EVA material that makes up the removable “Skintouch Head” is also present as…some sort of….buffer pad? I don’t understand how it relates to being a critical aspect of function. Is it to prevent lube/fluids from getting inside while allowing the toy to do its movement? If so, it is mediocre at best at doing that job. The nature of the moving-vs-vibrating head means that there will be something exposed, I guess, unless the design were altered. But the fact remains that the manual states that the iGino is not waterproof, nor splashproof, nor should it even be placed under running tap water to clean it. This is a bit troublesome to me. I am unsure if it has these restrictions just because of the exposed USB charging arm, or if it’s because of the gap between the head and the rest of the thing.
The manual says only to use water or silicone-based lubes; this takes out oil-based lubes from the equation. However, I asked and iGino found out that you could use a natural oil, such as Coconut Oil as a lube and it would be fine.
The design completes its weird look by having a cap. This is to prevent the massager head from getting dirty. Ok, fine. I guess. It’s plastic. How dirty can it get? Problem is that the Skintouch Head can’t stay on if you want to put the cap on. Now, I was able to figure out that the cap will go on and stay on if I put the Skintouch Head bit up inside the cap, off to the side, but the bare minimum manual doesn’t tell you that. I think you’re meant to maybe keep it separate. Which means you will lose it. It will become a cat toy, or something your dog will eat in one gulp. Something your kid will ruin in 3 minutes flat if they’re young. Something a baby or toddler could choke on, since it does highly resemble a cereal marshmallow. But while the Skintouch Head is stored in the cap, something happens. When you flip the switch from off to on with that in place, nothing happens. No sound, no vibration. It’s because the pressure is preventing it from working. Which could be a good thing, unless that means that the motor is burning up….because if you’re traveling with this, there is no travel-lock feature and the slide button on the side is fairly easy to switch on.
Using the iGino One
This is, obviously, an external vibrator only. I’m going to go ahead and narrow this down even further: this design will best be enjoyed by people with small outer labia, who are not “plus size” and do not have a “fleshy” pubic mound and outer labia or crudely put, a fat cunt. I have a fat cunt because, surprise, I’m fat. My clitoris is not visible when I spread my legs, I need to part my labia for it to be visible. This is therefore a requirement for me to obtain contact between my clitoris and the vibrating portion of this massager. In fact, a lot more of the body of this massager gets in contact with my fluids and skin than I think was meant to. My body and vulva shape are just not meant for this type of sex toy. Simple fact. It’s similar to the Fixsation in that regard. Both products claim to be universal, “every woman” will like them, although iGino is less obnoxiously forceful about that implication.
While the iGino One is “discreet” in appearance, it is not during use. I’d say that it’s nearly as noisy as my electric razor. You would never be able to use this in the bathroom. This could be heard whilst under the covers and from outside the closed-door room. If your house is quiet, it would be heard down the hall, even. The Magic Wand is more noisy, of course. I tried looking around for another vibrator that would be almost as noisy, and I couldn’t find one. It was so noisy that it woke up the cats who were soundly sleeping 3 rooms away and made them come investigate what the sound was. Below is a simple sound clip:
And here is a very crude video shot from my cell phone to show you what it looks like during use. At the end I’m manually moving the head back and forth with my fingers without it being turned on just to show that it does indeed move side to side.
There is one, single speed. This speed is NOT for a person with a sensitive clitoris; if you can get off fairly easily with just your fingers? Stay away. If this speed is not enough for you, you’re out of luck. I pretty much never endorse a vibrator that has only one speed. 3 speeds are generally a “must” in all but the most rare circumstances. The feel of the vibration is somewhere in between buzzy and rumbly. It’s hard to classify. It’s also hard to like, but I think that also is down to the fact that the portion of the iGino One that actually vibrates is so goddamn tiny. It is not easy for me to use, at all.
The design is also meant to be slim enough to fit between bodies during sex. When I shared this fact with my girlfriend, she looked at me funny and then looked at the vibrator and then gave me that same, confused look. I asked her if it would work for HER body for it to lay flat against her pubic mound and she agreed that no, it certainly would not touch her clitoris in such a position. She is of slim build, and doesn’t have my “fat cunt problems”.
The charge vs use time on this is also ridiculous. It says that the iGino does not arrive charged, but mine did. I was able to turn it on to an eyebrow-raising speed immediately (my girlfriend’s eyebrows raised, not mine, they’re too jaded). However, the manual states that for a “one time use” you should charge it for 8 hours. I would say that mine has been turned on for no more than a total of 15 minutes and it is not yet showing any signs of decline in the vibration/”moove” intensity. A full charge is achieved in 12 hours, and the vibrator will last for 40 minutes.
12 hours gets you 40 minutes.
12 hours gets you 40 minutes.
Yes, that did bear repeating.
This thing charges via USB, with the cool looking USB port arm that swings out. You can plug that directly into your laptop, or use included extension cable, or plug that extension cable into the included wall socket adapter (you’ll get both voltage types of wall plugs). I can sort of appreciate the cool factor of charging via USB, of plugging this into the side of my laptop (if I had a laptop, which I don’t, I’m a desktop girl who dabbles in tablet) but it’s no longer a feature that tips the deciding scale for me. It used to be, but like I said…I’m jaded and frankly, all of my USB ports are taken. Yes, even with a hub.
Here’s the thing. I pretty much knew by looking at the design that I wasn’t going to like it, and I was very up front with the designer when asked to review this. She responded with “I can not be sure that our product can meet your personal needs, but we believe that our technology works well and your personal honest review would be much appreciated. ” and I respect that. I really do. So that’s why I’m trying hard not to be snarky or mean, despite the fact that I would not recommend this to anybody. I think that the design, style, vibration type, etc is going to only appeal to and work for a very small portion of the population. I don’t think that it is worth $99 for that reason. I actually dreaded having to use it for a second time to see if I could reach orgasm1, because I at least owe the review a fair shake at that aspect. But the angular case just isn’t ergonomic and frankly, it’s not a pleasure to use. It’s almost worse than a boring, weak vibrator! This also reminds me of the Fixsation, with how I feel about it.
My recommendations on improvement would first ask that the EVA foam pieces be changed out for something more practical, more sturdy. That little buffer piece? I ripped mine while poking around the vibrator. Good thing they give you a few extras. The massager should also be at least splashproof. If this means concealing that USB port and changing the head, then so be it. Also, the color scheme and design is very much Japanese-cartoonish and overtly femme. When you put the Skintouch Head on the massager, it looks like a flower. Not every clitoris-owning person is feminine or even likes pink. Give this thing at least 2 speeds, an on/off switch that won’t be so easy to activate, and a better charge-to-use ratio. Ditch the “velvet pouch” because it looks just like every other cost-50-cents-to-manufacture “velvet” pouch out there and it attracts dust and fur better than a Swiffer. A plain, cloth pouch (see: Jopen, G-Vibe, Extase) would look better and perform better.
*Disclaimer: As I mentioned above, I was provided this massager in exchange for an honest review by the iGino company.
- I lasted 30 seconds my first attempt, 2 minutes the second attempt and maybe 4 minutes on the 3rd attempt. It’s just not comfortable for me to hold, it’s not comfortable to use, the noise is extremely distracting, and I simply couldn’t stay aroused long enough to even think about orgasm. I think that, in theory, it is powerful enough to bring me to orgasm ↩
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Not usually like me, I’m pretty behind the times on reviewing the Round 2 versions of many revamped Lelo products. Honestly I wanted to review the Ina 2 partially out of sex toy reviewer obligation, partially out of a pipedream that Lelo could produce something to rival my only dual-stim love, the Jopen Vanity VR6 (which was never perfect). So what I’m aiming here with this review is to answer two questions: if you owned and weren’t impressed with the original Ina, should you give the Ina 2 another shot? And, if you’ve not tried Ina at all, is it worth the money and will it have a limited or broad scope of appeal?
While I find that the Ina 2 is most definitely more powerful than the original Ina, it still retains a commonality with the VR6 that I don’t quite understand: on its own, the clitoral arm is pretty unimpressive vibration-wise. However, the internal portion is packed with a nice amount of rumbly power so if the clitoral arm were say, equivalent to the We-Vibe Tango? I might be coming in a minute flat. A quick orgasm is really nice sometimes, and there’s always the ability to turn down the power, right? Well, sort of. For some reason, there is a great divide in the world of Rabbit Vibes. If you insist on silicone, then you will have fewer bells and whistles. If you want all of the bells and whistles, then you’re stuck with a vibrator made of TPR or Jelly, which may or may not contain phthalates and VOCs but it’ll rotate in 2 directions, have a shaft of pearls under the TPR skin, and allow you to have complete control over the external and internal arm independently; one on, one off, one on and at high power while the other is on at low power, etc. With the silicone rabbits, you’ll be lucky if you can find one that rotates (and is actually 100% pure true silicone). You won’t always be able to have either/or running on the external internal portions, and if you can then it is only going to be one arm is off while the other is on. You can control the vibration settings, but the power levels will affect both the internal and external simultaneously if they’re both on.
As is standard these days in Lelo toys, the Lelo Ina 2 is waterproof and rechargeable. The control pad locks for travel, and the standard accoutrements are included: satin bag, sachet of lube, manual, 1 year warranty, charger.
Ina 1 versus Ina 2
So the Ina 2 will let you have either the internal OR the external arm running and change the power settings / patterns, or have both arms running at the same speed and same pattern. The Ina 2 is a claw-shaped rabbit vibrator, meaning it will apply pressure to your clitoris (many rabbits have a more V shape to the design, the clitoral arm extends straight out at an angle from the body, whereas claw shaped curves in). The original Ina applied too much pressure, and that is one of the major changes in the Ina 2. In fact, a lot of things in general were changed. Let’s review:
- The clitoral arm is positioned farther away from the g-spot tip on the shaft
- This allows for more insertion length of the internal shaft – original Ina had about 3.5″ insertable, Ina 2 is closer to 4.5″
- The clitoral arm is angled slightly more away from the internal shaft, giving a less “clampy” tight feel, less pressure applied to the clitoris
- The seam between the while plastic handle and the silicone skin seems to be more snug, allowing for less dirt and fluid build-up to stick around after a quick wash
- The vibration intensity of the internal shaft has been doubled (however, the vibration intensity of the clitoral arm remains the same)
- The clitoral arm flexes away from the internal shaft more easily, while still applying pressure to the clitoris
One clarification that I want to reiterate, one that I wish I’d known before getting this, is that the vibration intensity is labeled as “100% more power than the original”, yet they fail to differentiate that this only applies to the internal shaft. The clitoral arm’s vibration strength and style is exactly the same. Since I prefer my vibrations to be primarily on the clitoris, I’m disappointed that they did this. However. I will say that the increase in strength in the internal shaft did make a big difference. I wasn’t able to orgasm most times with the original Ina, but I can with Ina 2. The increased vibrations on the internal shaft do a good enough job of stimulating the internal clitoris that I almost don’t mind that they didn’t increase the power overall. Almost.
Another oddity that seems to be more noticeable in Ina 2 is that the two motors can become imbalanced fairly easily. In the position I tend to use it in, there is nearly always this slight ~~~~~~~~ going on. I can’t really describe it in words. The vibration strength doesn’t waiver, just the motors themselves. And if I’m honest, I can’t say I complain about this. It allowed me to just position the Ina 2 into place, keep it in place with my thighs (since the handle is so short, my arms are short and yadda yadda) and get this nice added slight sensation with the vibrations.
Lelo Ina 2 versus Jopen Vanity VR6
How does the Ina 2 compare to my much-loved Vanity VR6? It definitely is not as powerful on the internal arm, however the clitoral arm on the Ina 2 provides the proper amount of pressure for me and hits me in the right spot. The VR6 doesn’t quite, which is odd because when you look at them, visually they are very similar. I think it is because the arm on the Ina 2 is more flexible, allowing it to “open up” more and sit where it should. The VR6 has no patterns; the two buttons control the internal and external portions separately, which the Ina 2 does not do. You can lower the intensity of the internal arm on the VR6 whilst keeping the external arm at high, or whatever you want. On the Ina 2, as mentioned, it’s either both motors are on, or just one is on. The clitoral arm on both Ina 2 and VR6 feel powerful when you hold the vibrator in your hand and lightly touch the clitoral arm; but when pressure is applied, the vibrations dampen drastically on the VR6 and significantly on the Ina 2. Yet the internal arm doesn’t suffer this same fate. The Ina 2 is less girthy compared to the VR6, in all facets. I appreciate the internal girth of the VR6 over the Ina 2, but like the Ina 2 clitoral arm better than the VR6.
I still prefer the vibrations of the VR6, but the fact that the Ina 2 fits me a bit better means that I’m not working as hard for the orgasm. And while the Ina 2 still isn’t built right for my round body and short arms, the VR6 is even worse with a smaller handle length. Both of these, though, provide definitive pressure on the clitoris. If you do not like that, then you will not like this style of rabbit. Many Lelo users have stated that the design of the clitoral arm and flexibilty is the reason behind them choosing the Soraya over the Ina 2, however the Soraya is much higher priced ($195 vs $144 Ina 2) with serious cosmetic flaws that will occur for most users. You could consider trying the Picobong Kaya, but the g-spot curve is not as pronounced. The clitoral arm appears to be a little more flexible perhaps than Ina 2, but not by much. The Kaya also seems to have a much longer shaft so if your g-spot is shallow then you’d do better with the Ina 2. Most who have reviewed Kaya vs Ina did so with the original Ina. I would hazard an educated guess that the Ina 2 would be a little more powerful than the Kaya, if the vibrations of the Kaya are similar to the Moka. The Kaya is a lot less expensive ($90), but it is battery powered, not rechargeable like the Ina 2 and Soraya. Of course, with any rabbit-style vibrator, these are far from one-size-fits-most.
Currently at EdenFantasys, all Lelo toys are 30% off. I’m not sure how much longer this will continue, so if the color and style you prefer are in stock, grab it up!Read More
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Before I even write anything about CatalystCon, I’m writing this post because I feel that this information is too important to wait.
We all were once ignorant about sex toys, because the truths were never talked about. Truth, fact and education is slowly being spread around in the hopes of a revolution. I’m playing the small part that I can, and sharing with you everything I learn. Many fellow bloggers know this now, but a lot of consumers do not so I will say this for the benefit of all: there are no regulations on sex toys. None. You have one method for safety, and that is to buy only toys made by a trusted company. But this whole unregulated thing goes far deeper down the rabbit hole than I realized. I learned so much at the Toxic Toys panel, and this post is about EDUCATION. Is it scary? Yes. Does that mean it should be covered up? No. Never. On this blog, I’m sorta like The South:
“I’m saying this is the South. And we’re proud of our crazy people. We don’t hide them up in the attic. We bring ‘em right down to the living room and show ‘em off. See, Phyllis, no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they’re on.”
— Julia Sugarbaker, “Designing Women”
I’m bringing this crazy, and scary, information out to the front porch, not just the living room, and giving it a cocktail. I’m waving the banner high and I’m asking that you read it, learn it, and make changes to keep yourself and others healthy. Because there are wonderful, safe sex toys out there: Silicone, Glass, Stainless Steel, even hard Plastic. And wood!
The 10% Myth
There is a “fact” that has widely been spread around between reviewers, blogs and social media, like a game of telephone to the point that we don’t even know its origins, that a sex toy need only contain a minimum of 10% in order to garner the use of the word “silicone” on the packaging. During the Toxic Toys panel at Catalyst, Metis and Jennifer of Smitten Kitten confirmed to us that the 10% thing isn’t even true. There is NO regulation, so why would there even be that? But really, regardless, whether there is 10% or 50% silicone, there is still a percentage of that item that is something like elastomer and is therefore porous to some degree; and while it’s not likely, it may even contain phthalates or heavy metals or VOCs. Might. If they can and do lie on the 100% silicone claim, what else are they lying about?
Bottom line: A company could have the manufacturing plant in China put “silicone” on the label when it’s far from silicone. Nothing and no one can stop them.
Except…for us. Consumers would have to file class-action lawsuits against a sex toy company who mislabels. WE CAN START THE CHANGE.
April 8th: Edited to add: In research trying to find out what exactly is the bizarre material that Screaming O calls SEBS I happened upon my old review for their unfortunate Studio Line MakeUp Brush Vibrator, which was my first foray into the world of failed flame tests. On my review at EF, another reviewer noted that while I was panning S.O. for calling it plainly “silicone” when it is not, that she was told it was “SEBS”, I contacted Screaming O and received this response:
No, Screaming O, “our government” doesn’t say SHIT about sex toy material listings. You can see, then, how easily this myth got spread around.
So if there are no regulations on the silicone thing, can they lie about the phthalates-free claim, too? YES. Nothing on that packaging has to hold a grain of truth. NO REGULATION. I asked because my Sex Nerd Spidey Senses went up a year or so ago when I was doing some work for a new sex toy retail site and saw that a lot of cheap, crap jelly, PVC, UR3, and Cyberskin sex toys made by the big companies all of a sudden were labeled as phthalates-free – simply because this had become the big buzz word that consumers were responding to. It is not the only toxic element that can be present, but it is the one getting all of the attention because phthalates are banned from children’s toys, dog chew toys, etc.
The Brand Thinks it is Silicone
It’s simply a fact of the industry that the vast majority of the sex toys are being made by a third-party plant in China because this is where it is the most affordable to do so. This is mostly true for vibrators, anything containing electronics, moving parts, etc. So the brands/companies go to China and find a plant and they agree on a material and formulation, etc. They can tell China that “Hey I do want this to actually be 100% silicone.”. The big companies are going for price point – a low one- so unless there is someone in the plant regulating and watching over the plant, that plant may not make the sex toy out of the exact same materials the subsequent times after buyer approval isn’t happening.
Phthalates are Not the Worst Thing Out There
Pigmentation can be an issue. The Danish did their big study on sex toys (Tantus Inc. kept a PDF of the study so that you can read it yourself). They took 16 random sex toys and analyzed them. Metis summed it up here:
In 2006 the Dutch EPA did a study where they randomly chose 16 adult toys from a store. Out of those 16 tested 3 had arsenic, 6 had antimony, 12 had lead and 7 had cadmium. Cadmium is a heavy metal. Every time you expose yourself to those toys your cadmium level increases. One of the cadmium toys had levels so high that the EU would have required a radioactive sticker on the product had it known this had been imported into the continent. So what was it? The radioactive sex toy was a Chinese made Slimline vibrator made of safe ABS. The issue wasn’t what the toy was made of but what it was pigmented with. This toy was yellow and cadmium was its pigment.
Should you avoid ALL yellow sex toys? I don’t know the answer. Cadmium is also used as a plastic softener, so it’s not necessarily tied to the color yellow. I also want to point out though that this big test was done in 2005. The sex toy industry has come a very long way in the last 8 years. I would be especially interested to see the same testing done again, now.
So Now What
NOW how do we, as consumers, protect our bodies?
1. Call the Dildologists. After the writing of this post, a new organization as been formed to serve as an industry watchdog, who will raise money and independently acquire material validation from accredited labs through funding.
2. I can point you again to the flame test; however, this test is not 100% accurate. You can perform this on a tiny little section near the handle, near a part that doesn’t touch your body and the results will be quick and obvious. If there is a different method that will be more reliable, I’ll tell you. At Dildology, we’re also currently working on “Kitchen Tests” that you can perform on materials using items that you may have in your house; when we formulate the tests we will pass the information on to you.
3. Here’s a weird test recommended by Ducky Doolittle, also part of the Toxic Toys panel: Lick it. Your lips are very sensitive. If your lips tingle, go numb, etc? Do not use that toy. Your mucus membranes absorb things so quickly, both the good and the bad. A mindframe of “It’s just a sex toy that I only use occasionally, and I just really prefer jelly!! But I don’t use it much, and it doesn’t burn me, so I’m fine!” is not going to keep you safe. A lot of bad things in cheap sex toys won’t give you a clear cut reaction, but can indeed slowly cause damage to your body that you don’t even know about until it’s too late and no one will be able to pinpoint it.
I think you might be reading this and freaking out. I don’t want you to stop using sex toys. Just be careful on which manufacturers you buy from – in this post I have listed out the brands that I’ve researched and found to be reputable. That isn’t to say that each one makes only non-porous toys but I believe that, as an example, Evolved, is trustworthy that their porous TPR toys are still non-toxic. If this changes, I’ll let you know. If you get a sex toy that has an odor? Ask the manufacturer/brand. Call them out on it (Consider the packaging, sometimes a smell can be from the packaging – if so, the smell will dissipate after separating it from the packaging for a few days). Also keep an eye on the Coalition Against Toxic Toys for their recommendations and to Dildology as we begin to build our catalog of results.
This isn’t the end, the information here isn’t finite. Things are changing, education is being passed around, and reporting will continue to happen. I will keep writing. I want you all to do your research and keep writing. Take off your blogger hat sometimes and put on your journalist hat. YOU CAN DO IT! We can be the revolution, we can be the change.
Newsflash: Sometimes, I’m lazy.
Sometimes? I get cranky AND lazy.
I know, you’re shocked. I seem like such a sweet, brilliant, put-together person, right?
When you’ve stopped laughing at that last one, continue on. You asshats.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~
Sometimes I buy sex toys and then never review them. Lazy, right? I know. Usually I just bought them for my own damn curiosity. Like the OhMiBod Freestyle W. Quick review: Meh. and a little Yawn. Compared to other higher-cost sex toys, it’s awfully noisy, sometimes sounding just like a blender on low speed. The shape and such isn’t bad I guess. The silicone is weird – not quite matte, not glossy, a little texture to it, but not as much texture and drag as say…Fun Factory. The vibrations are firmly in the moderate camp and lean more towards buzzy.
I got the Touche Ice (small) free with an order and I picked it for non-sexual reasons: I have tendonitis in my elbow and one thing that I’m supposed to do when it gets really inflamed is massage the problem area with ice. I figured “hey, why not get it? it’ll at least hold the ice for me, and maybe add in a little massaging vibrations”; I was half right. It has this little knob the sticks down into the ice so the ice will stay in place until it melts down more than halfway. The portion that holds the water and molds the ice actually is silicone, it passed the flame test. But the vibrations? I’m sorry, what vibrations? There’s this tiny little bullet that may, on its own, do something for someone but when it is shoved firmly in the handle? The vibrations don’t even travel to the knob, much less the ice. Oh well. It’s useless for adding vibrations but great for those with injuries. I don’t think I’d pay full price for it, though.
I’m not sure if I’ll write up a full review on the Tantus Panty Play, or not. I’ve recommended it because a few others I know thought it was decent, and because of the three similar styles available Tantus is the company I trust the most but I have to admit that I hate it. I can see how it would work for some women. Your anatomy has to be just right for this one. My mons and labia are too full due to my weight (I think) and so the ridge that is meant to rest down in between the labia just doesn’t reach my clit. The thing is way too long, too, for me. When I inserted the Salsa I was expecting that it would simply take it from meh to amazing….but instead it vibrated the crap out of the “tail” portion of it, the part that extends back past the vaginal opening, and turned it into something…annoying.
Speaking of the Salsa….it’s out of stock again, but according to the site it’ll be back in stock around March 14th. There is currently a site-wide sale going on that lasts through the 15th so if their estimations are correct, you may be able to nab a Salsa for $59!
OH HEY. One more thing. Did you know that I’ve secured a beautiful Fucking Sculptures dildo to give away during my 5 year blog anniversary giveaway extravaganza in June? Well now you know. It’s preeeeetttyyyy. A mottled white and silver, curved, bloopy design that was originally called Bedpost but I believe is now Pussywillow. Oh it’s lovely. But you shouldn’t have to wait until then! SheVibe.com is giving away the Fucking Sculpture dildo OF YOUR CHOICE. Click that banner below to enter. It’s really easy, the entries include Twitter, Facebook, G+ and Pinterest options.Read More
FYI: This review has been updated on the “100% medical grade silicone or not” issue, below
In general, I seem to have the reviewer’s equivalent to a trained drug dog’s nose when it comes to spotting outrageous marketing claims on sex toys. JimmyJane has a knack for turning out highly modern, yet obscenely priced luxury sex toys, many of which have fatal flaws in the design or have lackluster vibrations. I can still recall my visit to Babeland Seattle as the Day The Wool Fell Off My Eyes, as I turned on item after item from JimmyJane and cringed. Their Iconic Collection, as an example, is merely a bunch of overpriced, white-only reproductions of common, mass-marketed (and cheap) sex toys like the pocket rocket, vibrating bath ducky, slimline straight plastic vibe, etc. That line is 100% “mutton dressed as lamb”. Or then there is the mind-boggling one-speed-buzzy-wonder (and by wonder I mean “someone actually buys these??”) that is the Little Chroma/Steel, etc. I’ve owned the Form 3 and Form 6, but frankly couldn’t be arsed to even review the Form 6. I hated it, not quite as much as I hated the Form 3, but not enough to be bothered to review it.
So when I saw what appeared to be another “Iconic” attempt from JJ, I agreed to review it if only to prove that it’s not worth the money. Yes, I know. That’s awfully jaded. But you don’t get to where I am in reviewing without being able to smell the shit past the air freshener. I owe no one anything but the honest, hardcore truth in this review (one reason why I adore SheVibe).
JJ was promoting this sucker hard, and sent out press releases touting how “innovative” it is. Sure, they’re made a lot of changes but innovative it is not. There have been similar vibes, mainly by Fukuoko. Sure, visually this thing is an improvement on the glove. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the power of the glove, some say that the Hello Touch is more powerful than the Fukuoku glove. But “three times the power”? Of what?
I think it’ll be easier if I break everything down. Step by step down the road to the corner of OhGodWhy Lane and You’reKiddingMeRight Blvd.
Packaging and Copy
The packaging is actually pretty damn minimal. In fact, likely the most minimal I’ve seen from a luxury sex toy company. I’m actually not complaining about this, though. Fancier packaging leads to a higher priced item, and ain’t nobody got time for that shit. But you see…when things like these are said….I tend to call bullshit:
I get it. They need to say things that will sell. It’s like the whole advertised-burger-vs-reality-burger thing that I’ve mentioned before, except this has to do with performance rather than visual aspects.
But these? Please, don’t listen to these people. None of them actually tried the thing, I’d bet my last month’s commission on that. So these words are why I write this review. Because people deserve to know the truth, and that truth isn’t sparkly or pretty.
But the thing I take the most issue with is this, and it will be explained further down:
Product Design (Flaws)
Prior to the Hello Touch, Fukuoku was the only company to make something like this. I seem to recall that there was a product just like the Hello Touch, except 3 fingerpads instead of just two. The Glove has 5 vibrating pads, but the downside is that it looks and feels like a damn ski glove. It’s not sexy, which I think is why JJ went to such lengths to create the Hello Touch with such a minimalistic, low profile.
Fingerpads: You can, in theory, put the fingerpads on any finger or your thumb, if it’ll fit. I do not have particularly large or fat fingers, although thin women will have smaller fingers than I. But these pads are uncomfortably tight. There is no pain, but they do stop bloodflow. After 4 minutes of wearing them, my fingertips were cold and starting to hurt. If someone with big, burly hands were to try this? Well, they can’t even get it on. A friend attempted to try these on for me; his hands were big with thick fingers – he couldn’t even tolerate it for half a second, it was so tight. You can see below what it’s doing to my fingers. Also below I just wanted to show you what I mean by “big, burly hands”. My awesome friend and his lady sent me this requested pic to show what I mean. If your hands look like his? Forget it. You’ll have no hope of wearing these fingerpads. Hell if you’re even close to his finger size, you’ll have no prayer.
Also, the fingerpads CAN be removed from the vibrating pods and you should do so for more thorough cleaning. When everything is lubed up and has been in use, the lube can get inside these pads, in between the vibrating pod and the pliable material, making it quite easy for the pod to slip out. It is not, however, easy for the to slip back in. If you don’t get it just right before you shove it in, you’ll be trying for a few minutes. Sometimes I was able to get it right away, sometimes not.
Vibrations: I’m just not sure what JimmyJane thinks the Hello Touch is 3 times more powerful than. When you first turn it on, if the pads aren’t on your fingers yet, you might think it has a bit of a kick. But of course when a vibrator is held firmly near it’s motor, the vibrations will always dampen to some degree. That’s what happens when you put the pads on your fingers, especially since these things are so damn tight. But while the vibrations in this thing are not ever going to be enough to even tease me, they might be enough for those who don’t really need much in the way of vibrations for a clitoral orgasm. I wouldn’t at all classify the vibrations as deep, or rumbly, or thuddy. They are just shy of being surface-buzzy, so I have felt more buzzy vibrators (a perfect example is the Extase Liberte – the Hello Touch is actually just a smidge more oomph-y than the Liberte and definitely not buzzy in comparison to it). My very first reaction to the vibrations was “wow, this is utter crap” but I’ve shown this to a few sex toy noobs and am, uncharacteristically, amending my initial judgment …..slightly.
However, I don’t think that the vibrations would be enough to be felt internally, on the g-spot, nor would they really do a whole lot for a penis if you can manage to adjust your handjob so that the fingerpads touch flesh. Should you try to turn the fingerpads around so that they are on the top side of your finger and hope for just proxy vibrations coursing through your fingertip, you will be disappointed. I also don’t feel that the vibrations would really be enough to aid in body massage, at all. They’re about as effective as blowing on skin. I have actually read a couple of reviews that indicate that the vibrations on this can be considered “powerful” and I am left shaking my head. I know that everybody likes something different but if you truly feel that the Hello Touch is powerful in use, then that is a good indication to me that I can’t read any of your other reviews because our idea of “powerful” is at opposite ends of the scale. On a scale of 1 to 4, as SheVibe rates things, I would rank the intensity of this absolutely no higher than a 2. If halfsies were allowed, I’d go firmly with 1.5. The beloved We-Vibe Salsa (Tango) blows this out of the water on its LOW setting. RO-80mm bullets are also much more powerful than Hello Touch. Even the Lelo Mia 2 on a Lowish-Medium setting (there are at least 10 discernible power settings) is more intense than the Hello Touch.
Power Pack: Moving on to the power pack, we find even more flaws. The most obvious being that the buttons take a good amount of pressure to turn off and on. If you have any sort of disability or weakness to your fingers, please don’t bother with this. I personally had to press really hard and dig my fingernail in, especially to turn it off, and that action therefore jammed the power pack into my wrist which also hurt like hell. In fact, sometimes I actually had to yank the thing off my wrist and use two hands to press hard enough to turn it off. When you take out the battery holder, you can see on it the buttons that turn it on and off. These line up with plastic dots glued to the silicone(?) button pad. When the battery pack is out of the case, the buttons are easy to push, so it’s merely just yet another design flaw. Also, in order to replace the batteries, there is a cap on the end that you must pry off. I have found that this is impossible to do without good, strong fingernails.
The grey wristband that holds the power pack is unbelievably confusing at first. If you don’t use this thing often, you’ll at first forget which button turns it on and which turns it off, because JimmyJane wanted to be so modern and minimalistic that there is no indication which is which. To up the confusion factor, they have imprinted three circles on the wristband. The top and bottom circles correspond to the buttons on the power pack, but that middle circle has no purpose except to annoy and confuse you. Actually when I looked inside (the inset bottom-right photo above) I could see that there were 3 raised buttons there on the inside of the power pack sleeve, yet as seen on the inset bottom-left photo, there is nothing in the middle for it to depress. The non-adjustable wrist band holds the power pack. The wrist band fit me mostly fine, but had to stay closer to my hand; on my girlfriend who is skinny, the wristband was too big and so the pack just flopped around. Could you sew the wrist band and make it fit a smaller wrist? Sure, but then it may not fit your partner. Another design flaw, although minor in comparison, is that the wire that runs from the pads to the powerpack is a lot longer than in the photos on the JJ site. I have a lot of extra length and that would just end up getting in the way and getting caught on things during use.
And yes, there is only one speed, and no patterns. Adding insult to injury, the power pack takes AAAA batteries. No, this is not a typo. I actually thought it was a typo when I read Joan Price’s review because I had never even heard of AAAA batteries. The only thing that I’ve seen that these are used in are those portable blood glucose monitors. The average price for a 2-pack is around $3.50 from what I’ve seen, and the power pack runs on 2 of these. They do include 2, thankfully. But a AAA battery isn’t really all that much bigger, I don’t understand why they couldn’t add on a few millimeters and allow the use of a more common battery. If you’re feeling adventurous though, you can rip open a 9-volt battery and steal the AAAA’s from there.
Included: Alright so we’ve determined that the box and such is minimal and definitely not good to be reused for storage. They do give you two of the required AAAA batteries. They also give you a pouch. I think. Did they perhaps forget to put a snap on mine? Because honestly, this makes no damn sense. It only snaps on one corner and it really doesn’t take much jostling around inside a bag to open up. I had mine in a section of my handbag and sure enough after a day or so I pulled out just the pouch. The manual is very minimal and is basically a series of drawings.
Anal Play?? OH HELL NO
Yes. JimmyJane actually recommends the Hello Touch for anal/prostate stimulation. I am utterly dumbfounded and frankly, upset at this. NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. NO. This is NOT safe. If for any reason you are dead set on doing this, then please use a fingercot to cover the pads and hold them on.
You see, each vibration pod is removable from the finger pad/strap. They are not one solid unit. This design does allow for easier cleaning, but it makes it not very safe for anal play. Once you are using this internally and rubbing around, lubrication (natural or from a bottle) will start to get in between the plastic vibration pod and the finger pad harness. With pressure applied, especially the sort of pressure that the rectum can provide, there is a chance that the finger strap harness thingie will slide off the vibration pod and stay in your butt. If the straps are not super tight on your finger, then the pressure combined with lube could make the whole thing slide off your finger, remaining inside. This isn’t a problem vaginally but could be anally; vaginally you could use your fingers to go retrieve it while anally you would likely end up tugging it by the cord. This could damage the vibration pod, or again separate the vibration pod from the silicone finger strap and leave that part inside the rectum.
BAD, JIMMYJANE. BAD.
Silicone? Actually, Yes
Edited April 28th 2013: Originally, I performed a flame test on this and it behaved in the exact same way as the Bedroom Kandi Hold on To Me kegel bead holster that was the flaming star of my Flame Testing video. Pure silicone is not supposed to burn up, melt and disintegrate like this. The material that was left was sticky, and there is a piece of missing material where I burned it on the finger strap part. Interestingly, the portion that holds the vibrating pod didn’t catch to flame quite as easily as the straps – it did burn, there was ash (both could be indicative of actually being pure silicone) but there was material destruction after the ash was wiped off, and the material was left sticky/tacky. At last year’s MomentumCon, where the Flame Testing video was filmed, I got confirmation from a few industry pros who know what they’re talking about, that that behaviour is not indicative of pure silicone. It IS indicative of a TPR-silicone blend called SEBS. The material on these finger straps doesn’t look like the obvious jelly-like elastomer of cock rings; in fact, it more resembled the O2 layer that you’ll see on certain Tantus dildos. But trust me, the O2 silicone from Tantus doesn’t behave this way in a flame test. I’m willing to say that it appears to be a blend and not medical-grade silicone, but at least it appears to mostly be a blend that is more parts silicone than what I found with the Bedroom Kandi piece. Still, though, the fact remains that Hello Touch failed the flame test, and I am extremely disappointed.
UPDATE: A fellow silicone warrior, Jacq of Sugar in Baltimore talked with me at Catalyst recently. She flame tests the toys she sells, and we compared our results. Her Hello Touch passed the flame test – she held a light to hers for 5 minutes, and it never caught on fire. There was no material destruction or loss, just a black scorch mark that could be wiped off. I showed her mine and she concurred that mine was not silicone. I also showed this to a few other industry silicone professionals who again concurred that it was not pure medical grade silicone. Another reviewer, Blacksilk, has perf0rmed the flame test and her results were exactly the same as mine: material goes up in flames in less than 5 seconds, destruction, loss, change. I have now contacted JimmyJane via Twitter (twice), Facebook and finally I sent them a detailed email. I have been ignored. I am equally as upset by the material issue as I am their reaction.
I put out a call to arms to my readers and rounded up the funds to get this officially lab tested. This lab test ended up being the premiere validation test for our new organization, Dildology. Surprisingly, despite what had been regarded as a “fail” in the flame test, the JimmyJane Hello Touch was confirmed to be pure silicone, specifically Polydimethylsiloxane. The lab told us verbally that it was “almost pure”, however the report given did not go into details about that, it merely confirmed that there was no other polymer present, no organic additives and no polymers. We are waiting to see the actual data from the FTIR test to understand what was meant by “almost pure” —> Another update: I talked to the lab, he didn’t mean to imply that there was any polymer in there besides polydimethylsiloxane, and there were no additives or plasticizers. He actually DID run both FTIR and GC-MS to be sure, since I told him about the flame test. So, you should feel confident that it is silicone, ok? <—
Regardless, the flame test ended up failing us, the consumers. It is less accurate than previously thought. Currently the only way to ever know the truth is to employ FTIR and GC-MS testing at a lab, which is what Dildology plans to do for the industry and consumers.
- Visually, it is an improvement over the Fukuoko gloves
- Very small all around
- The vibrations are not so surface-buzzy that they have no hope of getting someone off
- Might be decent for a scalp massage, but you’ll certainly make a mess of their hair, possibly yank some out
- Retail is about $65 for this, I feel it’s too much since it isn’t even silicone
- Vibrations won’t be enough for most people
- The buttons on the powerpack are obscenely hard to push
- The powerpack wrist band is not adjustable, and will not fit very thick arms or thin arms
- The finger straps are only comfortable on the smallest of feminine fingers
- Requires an expensive and more-obscure-than-watch-batteries battery, AAAA size
- Cords are mostly minimal but can still snag and get in the way
- Vibrating pods require patience and dexterity to put back into the silicone fingerpad strap things
- Useless even as a body massage companion, the vibrations are just not enough to add to the experience
- You will need a travel pouch, as the silicone material will attract dust/powder/fur/hair, but the included pouch is fairly useless
So, NO Gizmodo, this is NOT the “best sex toy ever invented”, not by a long shot.
Unfortunately, this style of vibrator just cannot seem to be perfected yet. It’s kinda like the remote control bullet or panties. These types of sex toys are nearly always very expensive, fairly weak in vibrations, aren’t going to fit the majority of the population and simply don’t deliver on their pie-in-the-sky promises. These actually are “novelty” items. So I have nothing else to recommend to you instead of this, if the idea is something you like. I think that JimmyJane should knock it the fuck off with ridiculous shit like the “Jet Set” and the damn Bouncy House, because their collective brain cells are needed to produce something decent in the sex toy world (which this isn’t).
The Hello Touch was provided to me by SheVibe in exchange for an honest review.Read More