Jul 032017
 

Dame Fin, the finger vibrator from Dame ProductsBefore I talk about the Dame Fin, I need to talk about the company, Dame Products. This first section, while not being about the Fin per se, will still help give you some insight to what the hell is going on with Dame Products and help you determine if you should try the Dame Fin – or, even, bother supporting their next venture. Dame Products, the trendy, crowd-funding darlings du jour of the vibrator world, have funded and created their second sex toy aimed at hetero couples want an unobtrusive vibrator to use during PIV sex – the Fin.  Even though I really hated their marketing video for the Fin in their Kickstarter campaign, I began to have hopes that this time they could be better than their atrocious Eva.

This is some of the text from their Kickstarter page. Wouldn’t you, too, be lulled into a trusting sense of goodwill and hope? As a jaded reviewer I found myself saying “YES! THIS!”.

One of the main tradeoffs we identified was dexterity vs. power. If the product isn’t powerful enough, it isn’t worth using; if you can’t maintain dexterity, your movements don’t feel intuitive. Fin’s shape and placement between the fingers prevented the motor from interfering with testers’ natural movements.

We always test with women and couples from all different ages and backgrounds. If it doesn’t bring additional value to the sex lives of real people, we don’t put it on the market.

Vibrators worn on the hand have the potential to be great toys for first-time users, sex toy pros, couples or individuals. However, the market didn’t have a standout finger vibrator that balanced quality and ease of use with a reasonable price.

I thought about this market they speak of, the market of finger vibrators. They’re not wrong in saying that the finger vibrators on the market now are terrible – options include the weak-ass Jopen Key Aries or the pretentious and badly made Jimmyjane Hello Touch – that much I’ll give them. But moments before I was about to publish a different version of this review I read an interview with one of the Dame Products founders over at the NY Times and it changed my mindset. I went from forgiving, hopeful and respectful to “Wow, y’all didn’t do your research and this explains a lot“.  The interview starts off with this (emphasis my own): 

As a product designer, Janet Lieberman often finds flaws in everyday tech devices. This was particularly true when it came to vibrators, which she would spend hours shopping for on Amazon.

“I had always bought cheap vibrators and my bedside drawer was a graveyard for them,” said Ms. Lieberman, 31, who lives in Brooklyn and studied mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “You could replace the batteries but they still would stop working.”

After splurging on a pricey vibrator for a boyfriend’s birthday that also quickly died, she had an aha moment. “I realized there was a need for well-engineered sex toys,” she said. “There’s no real trusted brand and that’s what we’re setting out to be.”

Bone of Contention Number One: If you’re basing your entire opinion of the sex toy market from your experience shopping at Amazon? And mostly battery-powered vibrators, at that? You don’t know enough to make vibrators.

Bone of Contention Number Two: “There’s no real trusted brand” is the biggest line of bullshit I’ve heard in awhile. There are so many trusted brands who do actual good work in creating sex toys that work, and work well, and work for many. Brands that have been around for years. Ms. Lieberman just took a shit all over brands like We-Vibe, Je Joue, Vibratex, Doxy, Tenga, Tantus and even Swan/Jopen. I can’t trust a brand I can’t respect and I can’t respect a brand that tries to elevate itself by throwing everybody else under the bus.

Dame took the nearly $600,000 folks gave them during their Indiegogo campaign for the Eva and made a weak vibrator that failed to deliver on most of their heavy promises for many folks. Yet because people believe the hype and like the promises Dame Products make, Dame must have thought they were still on the right track. They used the nearly $400,000 folks gave them on Kickstarter and, after many prototypes and changes, could only come up with THIS. And THIS? This is not worthy of the $75 price tag. It is not worthy of the heavy promises they once again dished out. But I don’t think I should have expected much to begin with from a company that keeps erroneously, astonishingly, and with the unearned confidence of your average white cis man, making claims about the being first this1 and first that2, most of which is absolutely false.

What I Like About the Dame Fin

I was feeling generous when I wrote the other version of the review. I tried to tone down my salt. While there’s a lot about the Dame Fin, and Dame Products, that angers me there are some aspects of the Fin that I like. The two colors are interesting choices: Jade green and Coral orange which is more Dreamsicle orange than Coral. They’re not gendered colors but from what I’ve learned from seasonsed sex toy manufacturers, they’re not popular colors, either. Also lacking in gender: Most of the language on their Kickstarter campaign. Really happy to see that because this Kickstarter garnered a lot of attention and it showed a lot of muggles something about gender and language.

The underside of the Dame Fin The Dame Fin with the finger holster in place

I also don’t mind the shape of it. One side has a nipple for more pinpoint precision while the other side has a somewhat squishy bit that feels okay.  It is easy to hold and it will be fairly unobtrusive during PIV – something that is really important to a lot of people – so they did pretty well with the design in that aspect. Changing the power levels one-handed though is damn tricky without removing one finger from the sides of the body or swapping fingers. 

Holding the Fin between the tips of your fingers does work a lot better for me as a “finger vibrator” than something like the JimmyJane Hello Touch; it lets me use the same finger motion I’d normally use for manual stimulation. The finger holster helps to keep it between your fingers without fully relying on maintaining a strong finger grip, although it’s removeability feature means it can dislodge easily from the power button it hugs.

This is where I stop being polite, and start getting real. Cue the we’ve-heard-a-noise-in-the-basement-and-we’re-both-goin-down music.

The Dame Fin Is Noisy as Fuck

This is just insulting. This project was crowdfunded to Timbuktu and back; they received nearly $400,000 in pledges, far exceeding their original goal. So I cannot find it in me to understand, and be okay with, the cheap-sounding cringe-worthy rattle.  Lest you think I am exagerrating I recorded this video and can assure you it sounds worse in person. The other vibrator to compare it with is the Crave Flex which is a bit more powerful in use.

 

A post shared by Lilly Delvaux (@lillydelvaux) on

And yes, I wondered if mine was defective but then Grace told me hers sounds exactly the same. Sad trombone. It’s noisy when I’m holding it in various positions and then gets noisier still when you apply any pressure to the softer side of the Fin’s body. You cannot predict which way to hold it to lessen the rattle. It’s like a fun game! Wait, no. I don’t like that game. The bottom line here: A $75 vibrator shouldn’t fucking sound like this. Hell, a $49 vibrator shouldn’t sound like this.

But Is It Powerful?

Dame Fin has three power levels and blessedly no patterns. I mean, holy fuck, can you imagine the noise level on PATTERNS? You’d end up wondering if somebody snuck up behind you with a maracca. The first level is very mild yet rumbling; my hope (still intact by this point) grew because it feels like the beginnings of rumble – nay, the whisper of rumble. The second level kicks it up just slightly while remaining rumbly; my hope continued to grow. Could it be? Could it be rumbly? I had visions of the Fin reaching the first level of the Tango in terms of rumble and intensity. And then, folks, I reached the 3rd and final level. My face fell. My hopes were incinerated. A song was immediately stuck in my head; “Didn’t we almost have it allll my friend?”. Indeed. We almost had it all. The third level of the Fin, you see, suddenly changes. You can still feel an undercurrent of rumble so it’s almost like there’s a second motor in there and this second motor is like a ghost of girlfriends past – I’m reminded of the Eva. I could swear that they just put the Eva motor in there. It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t seem possible yet I’m at a loss for another way that I could be feeling both buzz and rumble like this.

I know that powerful is subjective. And the Fin is definitely more powerful than the Eva.  I’ve felt worse, many times over. I have no doubt that some of you will find that the Dame Fin is powerful enough for you. And you know what? It’s technically powerful enough for me – I say technically because I did orgasm. That one honestly shocked me. But it apparently lives in the gazebo with the Vesper – between the natural movements of my finger doing the rubbing motion plus the pinpoint precision I was able to weild, a surprise orgasm snuck up on me. I didn’t enjoy using it; it was kinda awkward and physically uncomfortable because of my reach issues.

In trying to find something small and similar in power, I looked at Crave brand. The Crave Vesper is just a bit more powerful; nay, more rumbly. The vibrations I think are deeper and that makes it seem more powerful in comparison than it probably is. The Crave Flex feels a notch or two more powerful in hand. Fin isn’t quite the surface-buzzy bullshit that we saw in the Eva but if the best I can say is “Meh, I’ve felt worse”? I can say it’s not bad but it cannot be called “powerful” – just maybe “powerful enough”.

Dame Fin vs Jopen Key Aries

When asked about how this compares to the similar Jopen Key Aries I decided to pick up an Aries and try it out. Both have a t-shaped finger wedge for resting between two fingers, both are small, etc. The Key Aries is powered by 1 AAA, the body is a little bigger and the button is at the front/back depending I guess on how you hold it. The t-shaped grip is soft, pliable silicone. Compared to the Jopen Key Aries, Dame Fin is a goddamn gem. That’s how bad the Aries is. The surface-buzzy vibrations aren’t worth $15, much less $25. The squidgy silicone finger gripper doesn’t give as much support, and overall it’s less ergonomic. Hey, it’s quiet though.

Dame Fin Needs Work

At this point I’m fed up with Dame Products and I realize this is going to be an unpopular opinion3. I’m not sure why I expect better vibrations simply because both of their crowdfunded projects have been excessively backed, but I do. If the vibrations were better – not utterly useless on the first level and deeper/more intense on the third level – it would raise my opinion.

I keep wibbly-wobbling on which fault is more glaring – the noise or the intensity so we’ll call it a draw. I could deal with the fumbling to change the setting if those two factors improved. I’ll only recommend the Dame Fin if they fix this terrible noise and if you, dear reader, are dead set on the design and don’t need powerful vibrations. Then, and only then, can I be okay with this.

Until that happens I’m gonna point you to the Tango, the Touch, the Flex, or the Jopen Lust L2.5. Or I’ll extol the virtues of repurposing a g-spot vibrator into a PIV-sex clitoral vibrator because the handle keeps your hand farther from the pubic bone and recommend the L’amourose Prism V, the Minamo for something less bone-shaking, or hell even this ultra-affordable egg-on-a-stick.

Thanks to SheVibe for providing me with the Dame Fin in exchange for my honest review.

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  1. Eva is the “first hands-free strap-free” vibrator for PIV sex. Nope, that’s the We-Vibe
  2. I’ve seen interviews where they talk about being the first by-women-for-women company, and nope. Definitely not
  3. I have heard from a number of industry folks who’ve met the duo that they’re lovely and nice, they have ideals and morals we’re not quite yet used to seeing, etc
Jun 222017
 

Womanizer 2GO next to some regular-sized cosmetics. It dwarfs everything. Folks, I gotta tell ya – I’m worn out from all these “pressure air wave” sex toys. But it’s become my Thing. Some people review All The Wands, and this is my deal ever since I sealed my fate with the Womanizer vs Satisfyer Comparison Guide. People start asking me if I’ve tried the latest models before they’re even released and I feel compelled to stick with this and review every fucking one of them. I was, at first, excited about the Womanizer 2GO because I thought, for sure, that it would be smaller and easy to hold, and come with a more manageable price tag. But then they slapped a $169 price tag on it and now I have to figure out if this thing is worth that high price. And yet, like with any Womanizer, I feel like I can’t seem to tell you much except that I prefer it over the Satisfyers.

It’s Yuge. Lorge.

We can’t get any further without discussing the hilarity of the size of Womanizer 2GO. The product photos lulled me into a complacent acceptance that this would be a certain size – when you see a photo of an apple, with no size signifiers, you assume the object was average apple-sized, right? It’s what our brain does. Sure I was skeptical about a Womanizer literally the same size as a lipstick; I wondered about the nozzle and how it would be big enough to work well. I wondered how the motor could fit into such a tiny housing when prior versions are all very large.  So when I opened the Womanizer 2GO box I just couldn’t stop laughing and the feeling was mutual – we were all shocked at the size. This was the kind of laughter that gets mocked, that isn’t pretty – full of snorts and wheezing and animal sounds.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been surprised by the size of a sex toy but was definitely the most hilarious.

womanizer 2GO collage   

I get it – no lipstick vibe, not even the well-designed Tenga Iroha Stick, will actually fool anybody upon inspection. Most lipstick vibes on the market are a scootch bigger than an actual lipstick but never are this far off the mark. I am not going to pretend that this will fit nicely in your travel makeup bag. I’m not going to find some other obscure cosmetic to favorably compare it to. Let’s be real – it’s ridiculous; but when the cap is on it definitely doesn’t look like a sex toy. I think that snoopy, curious people may look at it funny – and it definitely won’t blend in with your lippies – but it still is a discreet design? Sort of? I mean I felt comfortable leaving it out on my nightstand when we had HVAC people at our house this week, doing work in our bedroom. So it’s got that goin for it, at least.

I think that the most interesting part here is not just the comedic effect of the hugeness, but the fact that it’s really not that much smaller than some other models. It’s about the same length as the Deluxe W500 and a slight bit longer than the Satisfyer Penguin.

Size comparison of the Womanizer W500, Womanizer 2GO and Satisfyer Pro Penguin

Now that I’m done mocking the size (for now), let’s get down to business.  How does it perform? We’re seeing numerous design changes here – a different head, a single button, an uncommon body angle. They’ve even changed the number of intensity levels, taking it down to just 6.

Womanizer 2GO – How does it feel?

One thing that I’ve loved about the Womanizer models is their first few intensity levels – they’re mild and if air pulses can feel thuddy, that’s what these are (unless it’s the Womanizer Plus Size). The uppermost levels of the Womanizer products have air coming so fast that you can’t hardly distinguish the pulses anymore, it’s suddenly more like a vibrator.  The lower levels  allow you to ease into the intensity of these concentrated sensations and even, for me at least, allow me to leave the sex toy in place during orgasm to seek out an even more intense orgasm and perhaps let me continue on to a second orgasm without stopping – it’s not something that happens a lot, but I do try for it. But that can only happen if I can quickly drop down to level one with the touch of the power button.

Whether it’s a different motor or the pressure waves are simply greatly affected by differences in design and size, the Womanizer 2GO feels different. Even more surprising to me is that the two heads feel very different in use! I only noticed a minor difference in use between the two white silicone heads found on the other Womanizer models but with the Womanizer 2GO the difference for me is night and day.

All of the Womanizer heads - standard sizes on the left, XL sizes on the right  Showing Womanizer 2GO head differences

The “original” head has comfortable, rounded edges that feel better to me than any other Womanizer head, but it makes the air pulses on the lowest level feel really intense – they’re thuddy, but intense. Sometimes too intense for me! Using that head I almost never go above level one. The “XL” head loses the rounded edges and has a wider, cone-shaped interior. This head made the Womanizer 2GO feel like a normal intensity (as Womanizers go) and less thuddy. Using the XL head I needed to go up to level 4 or 5 to orgasm. It was still a good, strong orgasm but it was no quickie like the original head!

Original head: 
Interior: 12.6 mm x 17 mm
Exterior: 21mm x 25mm

XL head:
Interior: 19.5mm x 23.9mm
Exterior: 22.5mm x 26.8mm
 

The Single Button

You know the thing I raved about with the PRO40 – the up and down intensity levels? Or how any model of Womanizer allows you to quickly go back down to the “gentle” level 1 with the tap of the power button? Of course you do, I talked about it three paragraphs up. Yeah, that’s not the case with the Womanizer 2GO and boy am I sad.

Showing the bottom, and button, of the Womanizer 2GO

Some folks may like a single button but I like having more control. And yes yes I know I know, there’s no room for any more buttons. I know. But it’s hard to accept when you’ve become accustomed to the multi-button way of life with these things. Womanizer, you spoiled me with multiple buttons! How can I cope with just one?

Unlike other models the Womanizer 2GO requires you to press and hold the single button to turn it on or off. This means that, unlike their other models, it won’t turn on accidentally in your travel bag. The only other model that is protected from this is the discontinued original model which came with a case that helped prevent accidental turn-ons. Unless I can find a similar hard-sided foam case for my Pro40 it looks like the Womanizer 2GO will end up being my travel Womanizer.

The Design

Before I talk about the functionatilty of the design I need to talk about the femme and gender stereotyping going on. epi24 has never been a progressive brand in terms of gender and such; their earliest designs were in line with what a clueless dude might think “all women” want: pink everywhere, animal prints galore, and faceted baubles. The Pro40, especially in white, is pretty incognito (it looks a lot like a cheap ear thermometer). There are a lot of ways they could have done a “travel friendly” Womanizer without picking the tired cliche of creating sex toys that look like cosmetics. Something this overtly femme bulldozes over the fact that not all clitoris-owners identify as female or feel comfortable with something this femme.

All of that said…I actually really like the lipstick-shaped head. The “original” head fits me well and feels comfortable. What I didn’t personally love is the straight shape of the body – it’s much less ergonomic for me during use versus the standard styles we’ve seen thus far that bring the handle/body towards your belly versus pointing out away from your vulva.

Previous Womanizer styles had a confounding red glow to the head which was done away with for the Womanizer 2Go. Instead, the power button glows red during use because how else will we know it’s working? What can I say; I don’t like my sex toys glowing brightly in the dark.

In addition to looking like a classic-style supersized lipstick, the cutesy “W” has caused many Americans to say “Um….that looks a LOT like the Walgreens logo” and sure enough, the similarities are striking.

Womanizer 2GO cap logo vs the Walgreen W logo

There are a few aspects of the design that I really dig – namely the silicone nozzle shape and the cap. It’s a built-in case and prevents the silicone from attracting any cat fur or dust! And the nozzle won’t pop off easily like the Satisfyer models do. I have the tendency to just toss my in-use sex toys in a drawer, on the desk, etc so this cap thing is super for me. However – and this is a big however – the cap comes off easily. If you tossed this in a bag with other items the cap will come loose. I knocked it over (on the bed) and the cap came off. I held it “wrong” and the cap popped off. I have to wonder if a super-thin itty-bitty smear of silicone caulk on the inside of the cap might make it stay on better, without making it impossible to put on or remove – but I haven’t tried that yet.

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Super Important Note: As I mentioned above there are actually 2 nozzle heads for the Womanizer 2GO. I found this out by accident and after Sarah did much searching for me1 it turns out the extra nozzle is stashed under the plastic tray, like up inside of it. I looked through the box when I initially received the product and never saw it. Since the 2Go isn’t on the Womanizer site I don’t know how consumers will realize this. I found this tidbit out the day before I wanted this review to go live and the thought of more pictures, more measurements, more testing exhausted me just thinking about it. But I must soldier on.

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Overall I’m torn on recommending the Womanizer 2GO – cartoon prop-size notwithstanding the case/cap is moderately handy for travel/keeping dust off the nozzle and the fact that you need to press-and-hold the single button is a de facto travel lock. The silicone nozzle is comfortable and they include two sizes. The angle I have to hold the thing it at isn’t comfortable, though. You can see why I go back and forth on my feelings for it?

I was initially listing the higher-intensity as a bit of a “con” before I found the larger head and noted that it provides the lower intensity. The price is still holding me back, along with the fact that personally I still prefer the Womanizer PRO40. If the Womanizer 2GO came with a more reasonable price tag (and okay, a separate power button) I’d be more able to forgive the body angle, the single button, the cap that falls off easily and the stage-prop size.

 

The Womanizer 2GO was provided to me by epi24 with no expectation of review or links; I’d recommend shopping at Shevibe.

Wondering how the Womanizer 2GO compares to the other “pressure wave” sex toys and other Womanizer models? Check out the Womanizer vs Satisfyer Comparison Guide.

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  1. I was at work when I found this out and my curiousity wasn’t going to wait 7 hours to find out the truth
Jun 202017
 

Womanizer Plus SizeThe Womanizer Plus Size information was up on the Womanizer website for months before I could get my hands on it, but I was excited – a sex toy designed for plus size people?? Could it be?? When I noted last month that the Womanizer Plus Size marketing campaign seemed to be a bit light on “plus size” people a rep for Womanizer made it sound like they weren’t interested in this being something specifically for plus size people1 and in fact the “name is wrong on the site” (i.e. they’re changing a product name after the fact, again) and it’s just going to be called the Womanizer Plus – actually, it’s been styled as Plus (+) which is utter horseshit for SEO. The “Size” is referring to the literal size of the product – it’s longer. I’m pissed about a lot of this, but I’ve already ranted about it.

So yeah – I waited with excited anticipation for months, sure that this would be my favorite Womanizer model. My excitement was dampened a lot when I found out the price would be the same as their high-priced Deluxe / W500 model$219 at SheVibe. Yes I love the Womanizer tech, but, that price is fucking ridiculous.

Womanizer Plus Size Design

I love the longer handle of the Womanizer Plus. LOVE. LOVE. It’s almost perfect. It brings the buttons within easier reach  – most of them.  The buttons you’ll use the most often, the increase and decrease intensity buttons, those are up at the tip of the handle and within easy reach. But if you’ve read my other reviews you’ll remember that Womanizer has had a feature I’ve used extensively – the ability to hit the power button once to quickly bring the intensity back down to the lowest level which allows me to leave the Womanizer in place during orgasm – and even continue using it for a second orgasm without stopping. With the Womanizer Plus Size this feature is mostly useless for me because the power button is placed all the way down at the head – practically out of reach for me. It’s the dumbest design and damn near ruins it.

Womanizer Plus Size vs Womanizer Pro40 vs Womanizer Deluxe W500

Womanizer Plus Motor and Intensity

12 Levels! I worried about this at first – the upper levels are already so incredibly intense!! But instead they’ve added more levels at the lower end. I thought that I was having an off day because I needed to quickly  increase the intensity a lot more levels than I usually can tolerate!

I can’t figure out what the difference could be chalked up to but the sensations feel different. All other Womanizer models that came before it – PRO40, W100, W500/Deluxe – have lower levels that feel gloriously “thuddy” – it’s like a ghost tapping your clitoris2. You could feel each puff of air and it was amazing. But the Womanizer Plus Size feels lighter, less intense and maybe slightly…buzzy? It’s not as annoying as the Satisfyer motor but the change means it takes me longer to get off with the Womanizer Plus Size than with the Womanizer Pro40. I actually prefer the motor on the Pro40.

I still like the Womanizer Plus Size motor over the Satisfyer motor, though. I think that folks who may worry that the intensity could be too much for them should consider this model over other models.

What Else?

The Womanizer Plus Size does come with an additional head, the larger size, like most models do. It also includes a simple drawstring storage pouch. It’s USB-rechargeable but requires a less common charging cable – unlike other versions which are micro-USB ports. This means I have to keep track of another cable.

Looks-wise it’s a more “elegant” design but the overall construction doesn’t feel like a $200+ sex toy – the seams between the plastic pieces, for example. The fact that there’s no travel-lock – or even just low-level accidental-turn-on barriers like requiring a longer press of the power button – also irritates me for the price.

The Good News: That 30-day money-back guarantee that Womanizer has had since the early days does apply to the Womanizer Plus Size – and of course there is a warranty.

Womanizer Plus Size vs Womanizer Pro40Despite how much I love the added length of the Womanizer Plus Size handle I still have to choose the Womanizer Pro40 as my favorite model. I wasn’t expecting that. If the power button on the Plus Size were not down at the head, maybe I’d feel different but I have to go with overall comfort and ergonomics and that makes me lean to the Pro40. Combine that with the better motor and Pro40 having a more manageable retail price, and the choice seems obvious to me. The difference between the two motors is minor, but enough – you’ll only know this if you have them to compare, of course. If you have been waiting for a more accessible (in use if not price) version of the Womanizer and don’t care about the placement of the power button like I do, the Plus could be the one for you. If you can’t bring yourself to spend that kind of dough, however, catch the Womanizer Pro40 when it’s in stock at SheVibe – it seems to be so popular that they’re frequently waiting on new stock! Even with the recent price hike from $99 to $129, the Womanizer Pro40 is much more reasonably priced.

 

Thanks to SheVibe for sending me the Womanizer Plus Size in exchange for my honest review!

Wondering how the Womanizer Plus Size compares to the other “pressure wave” sex toys and other Womanizer models? Check out the Womanizer vs Satisfyer Comparison Guide.

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  1. He claims that their marketing uses “all shapes and sizes” when in fact they do not – there are literally only 2 images of very slightly plus-size folks in ANY of their marketing, and those people appear on the page for the Plus Size. They also seem to use exclusively white folks, as far as I can tell. If I’m being generous I may assume there’s a Latinx in there or two
  2. No, I have never had a ghost tap my clitoris. I’m not sure where I pulled this extremely strange analogy from but I’m sticking to it for reasons I also cannot explain
Jun 112017
 

Crave Bullet Vibe Stainless Steel with Silicone Cap off to the sideSome sex toys are multi-purpose, and others are good for just one thing – the Crave Bullet is a very decent bullet if you’re buying it to replace the short, watch-battery cheap bullets that come with things like cock rings, dildos, etc. But if you’re looking for an external, rechargeable vibrator? You can do better.

The Good

Crave is pushing for this bullet like a bad infomercial: why spend money on all these batteries when you can have just one rechargeable Crave Bullet? I imagine the infomercial would feature folks fumbling with stacking and dropping in the button-sized batteries, or spinning the battery racks at the store looking in vain for the type they need.

Is it better than watch-battery bullets? Yep. It is definitely a decent upgrade in both power and rumble. This isn’t to say it’s a powerhouse, just that it is better than what they’re comparing it to.

Not only is the Crave Bullet made from quality steel, but it’s waterproof, rechargeable and more rumbly and powerful than the bullets it aims to replace. It’s not vastly overpriced if you get the simple silver-tone vs the strange duo-tone or gold-plated version. I can get behind this for a bullet replacement when it’s priced at $59, but not at $99. It is really well-made, though. I’m impressed.

The inset button means that this Bullet won’t get accidentally turned on whether it’s floating in your bag or you’re trying to push the bullet inside the cavity of a vibrating butt plug. Smart!

The Bad

The motor isn’t perfect for me even though it is probably identical to the Vesper motor. What worked about the Vesper, for me, was the slender, super-pinpoint nature and warm heat function. When you put the same motor in the less-pinpoint Bullet it feels a bit “less” to me, and I have to work harder to get off with it.  I’m sure you’re wondering:  why is the motor “bad”? Isn’t it just bad for me, Lilly, but maybe it’s great for you, dear reader? Very good question, I’m so glad you asked!

While the Crave Bullet is a really decent upgrade in strength from the cheap watch-battery bullets it still doesn’t have the oomph to travel through a lot of silicone. I put it inside a Tantus vibrating dildo and was instantly underwhelmed with the vibrations traveling through the silicone dildo. If you’re using this is in something much smaller like a cock ring or prostate massager / butt plug? It’s an upgrade you can feel. I put also put this in the Tantus Prostate Play and, while it’s still a lot less powerful and rumbly than some rechargeable, vibrating items on the market, it was an upgrade over the included bullet from Tantus.

You sensed a “but”, right? Here’s the “but”:  Yes it’s an upgrade but there’s already an upgrade on the market which is loads better – the Tango. Unfortunately, I cannot help comparing all rechargeable bullets to my ultimate love, the We-Vibe Tango. Tango performs really well when replacing a bullet in another sex toy, and should be your choice if the sex toy takes the longer Tantus bullets or the Rocks Off RO-80mm bullet.  Why? Well, you ideally want a bullet that fills the whole cavity in the sex toy, for maximum performance and maximum vibration transference. The Screaming O Vooom, pictured below in pink, I think is also meant to replace these little bullets but it’s just a little bit too chunky to fit in the cavity of most sex toys. That said, the Screaming O Vooom is considerably more powerful and rumbly than the Crave Bullet – Still no Tango, but hey.

L to R: Tantus 1 Speed, Crave, Screaming O Vooom, Tango, Tantus 3 Speed (RO-80mm)

L to R: Tantus 1 Speed, Crave, Screaming O Vooom, Tango, Tantus 3 Speed (RO-80mm)

The Strange

The Crave Bullet comes with a silicone half-sleeve. They recommend donning this sleeve when you use it externally; for the texture improvement, supposedly. Yet a “feature” of the Crave Bullet is that it heats up. A heated vibrator can help wake up a sleepy clitoris, but only if the silicone sleeve is left off. Otherwise, you won’t feel the heat much.

You would expect the entire bottom portion, especially the tip, to vibrate evenly, right? I would. But the Crave Bullet has stronger vibrations along the sides than the flat tip. If you look at this design and see yourself applying the flat tip to yourself, you’ll want to look elsewhere. If you think you’d like to use the edge of the tip, probably still look elsewhere – unless of course you don’t need a ton of power. If you prefer mild-to-moderate vibrators, this motor will be just fine for you.

Which Sex Toys are Compatible?

I wanted to find out at least a partial list of sex toys that take a similarly sized bullet. According to customer support at Crave:

“The Crave bullet is designed to fit products that accept a standard size plastic bullet which is generally less than 65mm in length. We do not have a specific product list of items that fit Crave bullet since the plastic bullet is a common size. If a product will accept a standard plastic bullet it will fit the Crave bullet.”

After speaking with SheVibe and Tantus, though, I have a better idea with specific suggestions. Vamp Silicone dildos do occasionally come as a vibrating dildo, and they use the smaller bullets. SheVibe currently doesn’t have any in stock, but may in the future. Vixen Creations is the same; one current example is the Leo or Mistress. Fuze seems to be compatible as well. You’ll also run into this bullet size in vibrating cock rings, but for this kind of money you’d be better off just upgrading to a rechargeable cock ring.

 

Thanks to SheVibe for sending me the Crave Bullet in exchange for my honest, if picky, review.

 

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Jun 072017
 

Maybe I’m off my game. Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I really wanted the HIKY to be good. I thought that it could combine the sensations of the Womanizer with the appeal of a traditional vibrator so that folks could always find something to like about it. I scoffed at the terms “suction” and “vacuum” because I’ve seen those terms used to describe the Womanizer or Satisfyer and have been told they’re inaccurate for those items (and have never felt either applied, personally, either). I didn’t expect to end up screaming, terrified and fearing literal bloodshed.

Yes, I truly mean literally, unlike half of the people on social media these days.

Update before we get much farther: I couldn’t find any other reviews, at first, of this sex toy so the owners of SheVibe were going to test it for themselves to see if the clit-trap issue was unique to me or a true flaw with the toy. That’s above-and-beyond, folks. But then a Danish reviewer commented on my IG post and said she had the same thing happen to her! Google translate is awful so I’m not sure if it happened to her because the battery also died out during use, or what, but one other report of this problem was enough for SheVibe to pull it from their site. They don’t fuck around with their customers safety, and that’s one reason I love them so.

HIKY is the second time I’ve tried a true clitoral suction toy; the first being the not-a-sex-toy Fiera Arouser. HIKY and Fiera are such opposites – Fiera was so mild you weren’t sure anything was happening, while HIKY can’t be ignored. At first, HIKY was delivering unpleasant suck-and-release pulses. The suction didn’t feel arousing and the release was reminiscent of when someone uses their thumb and forefinger to flick you – sharp and painful. I started blindly fiddling with the out-of-sight buttons and eventually turned on the vibrating portion of the clitoral head. Also, I tried to get a better seal, I think? I’m not entirely sure – I wasn’t paying strict attention to what I was doing because this was just a quick trial run and I was curious. But then we moved from suck-and-release to straight suction and things got dicey.

The motor died out and quit during the suction action, and suddenly the HIKY was stuck to my genitals like a mechanical lamprey.  I tried to rock the HIKY to one side to release the painful suction; nothing happened but a feeling of intense pulling on my clitoris. I tried to gently push down on my vulva, using my fingers, near the vacuum hole to release pressure. Nothing happened. The pain increased. I couldn’t tell if the suction was increasing despite the motor being off or if my panic and pain just made it seem that way. I had flashes of That Scene where someone sticks their tongue against a frozen metal pole. The pain of trying to pry the HIKY off of my clitoris was intense and frightening – I truly thought I was going to cause actual damage to myself. The two minutes my clit was in this Chinese fingertrap of a sex toy felt like an hour. My husband was outside mowing the lawn; I thought I was going to have to waddle to the back door with the HIKY dangling from my vulva like a rotted dick and somehow get his attention to come help me. Luckily, I managed to remove it myself.

Silly me for doing a quick test before errands! The car ride was pretty uncomfortable for another half hour or so. I’d been wondering if the name was pronounced “hike-y” or “hickey” and now my days of wondering are gone – pretty sure I landed myself an uncomfortable suction bruising.

Unlike many sex toys on the market over $75, the HIKY has no exaggerrated set of warnings for use. I don’t know if the unit is defective, if I fucked up, or the whole shebang should be wiped from existence because nobody fucking prototype-tested this abomination. I have a feeling that the suck-and-release stopped releasing as the battery started dying on me suddenly – and it died in the suction part of the cycle, leaving me literally stuck. The vacuum suction of the HIKY should ideally have a release valve for situations like mine, yet it doesn’t. Every other vacuum suction pump on the market, even the cheapest CalExotics model, has a release valve.

Because maybe this hasn’t deterred you; maybe you enjoy having your clitoris hoovered into oblivion or maybe you feel certain I was Doing It Wrong and you’ll perfect it – so I do need to tell you about the other features the HIKY has (or, doesn’t have).

Soft, silicone mouth

I have a small clitoral head and not a lot of hood exposed, combined with fat outer labia and minimal inner labia. Due to the width of the suction side (2ish inches) and how flat it is I had to spread my outer labia to a point of discomfort plus smush everything down like an unruly cowlick. They talk about the “mouth” almost like it’s a Fleshlight mouth, but don’t get your hopes up. It’s “soft” in the way powdery, smooth skin is “soft”, not plush squishy soft.

Internal vibrator

They promised strong vibrations and failed to deliver. I’m not exactly surprised because pretty much every vibrator company promises riduclously strong vibrations and only a few brands have lived up to their promises. I like a g-spot vibrator to have a larger head than the body but the HIKY is shaped very much like an antique carved horn. They don’t give you much room to work with if you want to insert it and still have access to the buttons. The width goes from 1″-2″ but you’ll never get to 2″ if you stop short of the buttons. Holding it this way is also incredibly uncomfortable and even with the buttons outside of the vagina, they’re hard to reach.

Pinpoint external vibrator

Please, stop, you’re embarassing yourself. The carved-horn design should in theory mean that the insertable end also works well as a more pinpoint, external vibrator except that the vibrations are, again, underwhelming. It’s not reason enough to buy this sex toy. It’s them trying to squeeze out as many jobs as possible, like a really bad infomercial – because we all know it’s not worth it to have single-job tools that do their job well, ho no. The world needs more mediocre does-everything-but-wash-your-clothes tools, right?

The "mouth" of the HIKY

I’m at the point in my sex toy reviewing career where, to be honest, I often don’t even have to use a vibrator multiple times to get a really good understanding of it and know my opinion. But I do it anyways because our bodies are different day-to-day and maybe mine was having a cranky day. But this time I won’t be using the HIKY again. Nope. It’s possible that what happened to me was a one-off and that my clitoris will never again be stuck but the trauma of that event was intense and I cannot bring myself to test this again for you – I can definitely say that I disliked it even before it tried to swallow part of my genitals and I feel very certain with my assertion that you shouldn’t buy this.  If you want air pulses, get a Womanizer. If you want a vibrator, get a vibrator – L’amourose Prism V is awesome for both external and internal use. If you want to explore clit pumps, get something silicone like this. Do NOT get this one from CalExotics (also called the Clitopatra elsewhere), reports say it’s also dangerous. Just don’t buy the HIKY. Given my experience SheVibe removed this from their site, because they don’t like to stock sex toys that can harm you (for obvious reasons). If you’re coming to this review and considering purchasing it elsewhere, well….I just can’t give you my blessing. There are a lot of sex toys on the market that I’d recommend before the HIKY which I like about as much as I liked the Rockbox Finger.

 

Thanks to SheVibe for giving me the HIKY in exchange for this review whose purpose will serve to warn and protect and also ensure that my top 10 worst sex toys list next year will have worthy entries.

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Apr 302017
 

Sensevibe Warm with charging caseThe SenseVibe Warm had a strange advantage right out of the gate: You all know how picky I am, but did you know that there’s one thing that can pique my interest despite all jaded misgivings? 

Cool storage.

Yeah, I know, I know. But I like cases, pouches, bags and totes. I’ve been suckered into buying makeup I don’t need because it’s a kit and comes with cool storage. I’ve fallen for this marketing trick in the past with sex toys; I’d gleefully gone after the long-deceased Topco Vida line because it came with a pocketed pouch AND a mini zippered train-case-style bag only to be massively disappointed in the quality of, well, everything about the set. I even felt swayed a little by the Barbie pink Womanizer case because it was handy and functional and had pockets. Pockets make everything better, yes?? YES.

Casing the Joint

The SenseMax SenseVibe charges through a closed case for discretion – plug the case in (thankfully using standard micro-USB) and then lay the vibe inside the case and shut the lid. If I had to find a complaint about the case it would be that the magnets holding the lid shut aren’t strong enough to use this as a travel carrying case. If it gets turned upside down or jostled in your bag the vibrator will just fall out. For stationary purposes, though, it’s a good case. The vibe nestles in there perfectly, yet is easy to pluck out.

The SenseVibe Warm and open charging case

Since you’re buying a vibrator, though, and not a storage case, I hate to tell you this (spoiler alert): the case is the best attribute of the SenseVibe for me. I wanted to like this vibrator; even though I was pretty certain it wouldn’t fit my anatomy, I still could have loved it for people who aren’t me. Alas.

Shopping in the Petite Department

The SenseVibe is designed and marketed as a dual-stimulation G-spot & clitoral vibrator. Since vulvas come in various configurations there are definitely some folks out there whose clitoris is close enough to their vaginal opening for this design to possibly work. You have to know this about yourself to know if this is gonna work for you, and the Sensevibe’s clitoral nub is definitely way too short for me. Combine the shortness with a lack of flex in any way in the clitoral nub AND the fact that the nub aims away from the clitoris and it feels like it’s going to work only for a specific portion of the population – those with a clitoris close to the vaginal opening who also don’t need super-rumbly powerful vibrations externally. I was able to angle the vibe to get close-ish to my clitoris and provide the pressure I need but then the internal arm was pressing against the rear vaginal wall and away from my g-spot. Not good.

Comparing the SenseVibe to the L'amourose Denia

If you like the idea of a base that doesn’t put the buttons 2 inches away from your body but feel that the base of the L’amourose Rosa/Denia may be too chunky and cumbersome, then the design of the SenseVibe would be right up your alley if everything else lines up. There’s not much to hold on to with the Sensevibe, but it’s within easier reach. If I angled the Sensevibe so that it makes contact with my g-spot, making the clitoral nub far enough away from my body to allow for a smaller clitoral vibe to also be used, I could use this as a g-spot vibrator. I’m all for using sex toys outside of the prescribed use but only if it does the job as well as or better than other things that are otherwise designed for the job. I feel like there are better g-spot-specific vibrators on the market that won’t get in the way of whatever clitoral vibe you want to use.

Sizewise the shaft is a bit petite – larger than the Prism V, smaller than Rosa or Denia yet it lacks that obscene curve or pronounced head that my g-spot likes best. For me, it’s the very definition of “meh”. Tepid. Neither offensive or awesome.

Captain Crunch

There’s a good amount of flex at the base of the internal shaft, much like the L’amourose Rosa or Denia. It can flex in any direction. Even though I really like rigid things up against my g-spot (which makes me prefer the L’amorouse Prism V over my first love, the Rosa Rouge, for g-spot stimulation), I really like flex action for dual-stimulation vibrators to ensure a wider range of fit. However…there’s a disconcerting crinkle-y crunch-y sound when I flex the SenseVibe – and I’m certain I’m not purposely over-flexing it. It concerns me for longevity reasons, primarily. I’m worried about what exactly is causing this sound and will repeated flexings cause a wire to dislodge or break or something? I don’t know. It does have a one-year warranty, though this is a seemingly new company.

You Push the Button, We do the Rest1

The travel lock on the buttons is nice, and a feature that is shared by L’amourose; there are no seams and it is 100% silicone on the exterior, so it is waterproof.

The center button only changes modes2 but there is no “rapid off” feature – you just press the minus button until the vibrations work their way down the scale to nothing. Note: According to the minimalist user manual that is literally part of the box, you should be able to press and hold either the minus or center button to get it to turn off, but this has yet to work out for me. Similar to the L’amourose Rosa Rouge, though, you CAN press and hold the center button to allow the internal shaft to warm up before you start using it.

Speaking of buttons; since they control the motor I’m gonna say that this is the best section to briefly compare and contrast the vibrations. The internal shaft is damn near as rumbly as the L’amourose Denia or Rouge motor – a hair less intense overall (but still quite powerful). It feels more rumbly than That Brand I Won’t Recommend. Like many dual-motor vibrators, there can be dissonance when both motors are running, leaving you with this weird semi-pulsating feel that can be distracting to some. Because the vibrations in the clitoral nub aren’t very strong I don’t feel much vibration in my hand when holding it.  There is one faintly glittering star in this cloudy sky: The vibrators of the clitoral nub aren’t buzzy and numbing. They may not be nearly enough for me but they’re not awful.

It Coulda Been a Contender

I admittedly have a hard time reviewing sex toys completely of their own merit and not comparing them to what I currently own. Would I be this nitpicky if I hadn’t tried the L’amourose line, or the We-Vibe Nova? Price is playing a factor here, too, because the SenseVibe starts at $129 for the “Classic” version. Many folks can only afford a couple sex toys of this cost in their lifetime.

While I know that many people feel that the dual-stimulation, or “rabbit”, vibe is the Holy Grail because it’s two sex toys in one, I hate them because each one is fairly unlikely to hit all your spots unless you have created 3D life-size cast of your vulva AND vagina and know for sure that the measurements will line up for you. So I’m really confused about SenseMax’s decision to only make a dual-stimulation vibe AND for it to have such a short clitoral stimulation section which cannot be adjusted in any way for better fit. I really enjoy the powerful, rumbling vibrations of the internal shaft and I like the button placement over the L’amourose Rosa or Denia. But these two things, plus the charging case, aren’t enough for me to love this vibrator. I can love a vibrator with some flaws, and this is not a bad vibrator but it doesn’t make me want to write poetry about it.

Comparing the SenseVibe to the L'amourose Rosa and Denia

So far SheVibe only carries one item from SenseMax, the SenseVibe (Classic or Warm). I went to the SenseMax website to find out more about their products and it seems the brand is heavily leaning towards virtual reality stuff with their masturbator, wristband (???) and VR goggles. There is an app, Sense Lovers, but it is strangely not in the Google Play app store. The company explains that “unfortunately due to the nature of the content on the app we are not able to be listed in either app store. We sincerely hope Apple and Google will soon reconsider their attitudes towards adult entertainment.” And I’m confused. There are apps for We-Vibe, Ohmibod, and more. Exactly how is the Sense Lovers App so different that not even Google Play store will allow it? I wasn’t willing to find out because I’m not a fan of installing apps outside of the app store, which is what is required here. I also don’t like using apps with my sex toys, so it’s no loss to me on this one. 

In the end, I don’t feel like I can recommend the SenseVibe Warm to most people. Sure, the SenseVibe Warm is much more reasonably priced ($149) than the L’amourose Rouge Denia ($209) BUT the L’amourose Denia has a design I can enjoy with rumbling motors on both shafts and I feel it’s likely to fit a larger percentage of folks. Since the warming feature is only present on the internal arm of the SenseVibe Warm I feel like if you’re considering this design you should just opt for the less expensive SenseVibe Classic, priced at $129. The heat isn’t enough to really feel when it’s in your vag – it didn’t earn the slang term “hot box” for nothing-  but the heat on the shaft is lovely when used externally. Again, though, it’s not comfy or logical to use it that way. SenseMax could definitely be on the map for rumbling, powerful vibrators if only they could improve and expand their designs.

Also: No, I don’t know why it’s called the SenseVibe. There is no “sensing” of anything here. There’s no AI, no VR, it’s just a vibrator and I’m really confused.

 

Many thanks to SheVibe for sending me this in exchange for my very honest review. I feel like the brand is on the cusp of perhaps branching out into something really cool, so keep an eye on SenseMax.

 

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  1. Quote attributed to George Eastman
  2. You can have both motors on, or just internal or just external, and then the rest of the settings employ various patterns which I’ve naturally skipped