Everybody goes on and on about how “green” and environmentally superior rechargeable sex toys are, but I’d bet that you didn’t know this fact:
Alkaline batteries can be safely disposed of with normal household waste. Never dispose of batteries in fire because they could explode.
Due to concerns about mercury in the municipal solid waste stream, we have voluntarily eliminated all of the added mercury from our alkaline batteries since 1993, while maintaining the performance you demand. Our alkaline batteries are composed primarily of common metals—steel, zinc, and manganese—and do not pose a health or environmental risk during normal use or disposal.
It is important not to dispose of large amounts of alkaline batteries in a group. Used batteries are often not completely “dead.” Grouping used batteries together can bring these “live” batteries into contact with one another, creating safety risks.
Proven cost-effective and environmentally safe recycling processes are not yet universally available for alkaline batteries. Some communities offer recycling or collection of alkaline batteries—contact your local government for disposal practices in your area.1
So the typical AA and AAA batteries you go through fast enough to warrant purchasing them in bulk from Costco are actually not that damn bad for the environment! I did not know this. However, rechargeable batteries – both the AA kind and the ones permanently lodged in your luxury sex toy – should be recycled. I’m betting a lot of don’t do this.
Due to the chemicals in them, you should recycle rechargeable, lithium, lithium ion, and zinc air batteries.
In addition to “traditional” rechargeable batteries like AAs or AAAs, rechargeable batteries like the ones found in everyday household items such as cameras, cell phones, laptops, and power tools should also be recycled. Look for the battery recycling seals on rechargeable batteries.
As part of our commitment to the preservation of the environment, we help fund the nonprofit Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) and its Call2Recycle® program. To find a rechargeable battery recycling location near you, visit www.call2recycle.org.2
Sex toy recycling sites have started disappearing. I read about one guy based in Tampa, Florida who had a site and the article (from 2009) stated that he was currently operating at a loss. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise then that the website named in that article is now gone. Another sex toy recycling site that seemed to be active, also around 2008-2009 appears to be defunct. LoveHoney does still run their “Rabbit Amnesty” program where they’ll give you points towards future purchases for sending them in sex toys (for some reason turning in a rabbit vibe gets you more points) to recycle. Unfortunately this is a UK site and I’m having trouble finding anything like it in the US. Of course, there’s always going to be idiotic media bloggers who are all “Ewww recycled sex toys?? That’s so gross!!” because they’re fucking idiots who don’t even know what an anal toy is, but I digress.
So here’s the section of my post wherein I don’t have an answer and I look to geeks who are geekier than me to tell us: Let’s say we can’t find an actual sex toy recycling program. But can we remove the rechargeable battery from our high-end sex toys if we decide that they’re taking up space and we hate them and no longer use them and just want to be rid of them? I have to be honest I wouldn’t even know how to go about breaking open something like a Lelo vibrator. As much as we are given the argument that all these rechargeable sex toys are greener and better for the environment, I have to wonder about that given that 98% of the sex toy owning population doesn’t recycle their expensive toys. Let’s face it: You’re going to buy a rechargeable sex toy that you hate at some point if you haven’t already. Fuck, most of my rechargeable sex toys I’ve ended up hating or just not liking enough to use. But then again, I keep half of them for comparison purposes for future reviews and the other half of them go to new homes via the ToySwap network. But if I didn’t have those two reasons, I would most likely just toss it. And that is not green.
As I quoted from Duracell up there, the alkaline batteries actually aren’t that bad for the environment but some of those rechargeable ones really can be. Lithium-Ion/Polymer batteries are not toxic but *should* be recycled3. Upstanding companies like Lelo4, Fun Factory and Swan/Leaf etc use Li-Po batteries. NiCad rechargeable batteries though are bad for the environment and really must be recycled and disposed of properly. But with shady companies making sex toys out of “silicone” when it’s really a porous silicone blend, can I trust them that they’re not using a cheaper rechargeable battery on their $125 sex toy? I actually looked at the CalEx site and there are no specs there that tell me what kind of rechargeable battery is in their toys. I couldn’t find out anything on my Topco brand Climax Twist rechargeable toy. I don’t know what Vibratex is using either.
I could go on and on about more aspects of “green” and sex toys, but that’s a topic for another day. Really though I just wanted to point out that your Energizer or Duracell standard batteries are not going to turn our earth to a manky, gooey pile of decay and if you think you’re being green just by trying to choose rechargeable sex toys…..think a little harder about green aspect beyond just the battery. While no electronic item is truly green, there are varying levels of “green” and it all comes down to how the sex toys are produced. Technically if you want the greenest vibrator, you could choose a Tantus sex toy. The pure silicone is chemically inert; the vibrator portion is small and can be removed easily and replaced when the motor dies (instead of replacing the whole sex toy); the Tantus toys that use an N1 style bullet, the bigger ones that resemble the RO-80mm style, take an alkaline battery.
Want to recycle your batteries, no matter what? Go here.
- Courtesy of Duracell ↩
- Also courtesy of Duracell ↩
- Unless of course you feel like purchasing a Li-Po battery drainer thingie and soaking the battery in salt water THEN you can throw it out ↩
- I might not think much of their products anymore from a cost vs quality aspect but I do respect that they are using the better type of rechargeable battery and that they appear to be running a more conscientious China factory ↩
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Silicone sex toys are heralded as the most superior sex toy material to many people. Silicone dildos can vary through a range of densities and silicone vibrators can feel plush without the potential for harm (like jelly or rubber). I picked the brain of Metis Black1, the fabulous woman behind Tantus Inc, makers of some very awesome silicone sex toys. She is one of very few sex toy manufacturers that I fully trust to tell me the truth. Get your sex geek on and find out some myths and facts about silicone sex toys!
Myth or Fact: Silicone sex toys will “melt” or degrade if they touch each other while in storage
I own a lot of silicone. Scratch that; I own a lot of quality, true silicone. And I’m not diligent about storage. So if there’s anybody who can say that this is a myth, it’s me. And Metis. I asked her about this and she said:
I think this came from so many toys that were TPR or TPE that were (and continue to be) mislabeled silicone. Thermoplastic materials melt because they are unstable (they have free electrons that try to bond to other materials). As these electrons leave the toy, the toy disintegrates. No silicone is going to melt. At 600 degrees F it turns ashy. A silicone toy like the O2, with extra soft silicone, may burn off some of the dimethicone – flaming a little and becoming sooty- but still not melting.
So in other words if your silicone sex toy has any issues in your toybox, then it’s either not truly silicone or some rogue silicone lube from another toy got on it.
Myth or Fact: Silicone lube should never, ever be used with a silicone sex toy!
99% of the time you will be told that you shouldn’t use silicone lube with a silicone sex toy. I’ve parroted that info as well because it’s all I know. However a couple of manufacturers, Fun Factory for one, used to2 advertise that you could use silicone lubes with their silicone sex toys.
The Metis quick-n-dirty science geek answer:
The only thing that links silicone molecules is silicone so that’s why you may need to avoid lubes. The quality of the silicones in the lubricant and in the toy make a lot of difference.
Let’s say you really like your silicone sex toys and you really like using them in the bath or shower. Water-based lubes will fail you here. Are you out of luck? Not quite. A higher quality silicone lubricant won’t mess up a silicone sex toy - usually (Metis recommends Sliquid and Pjur brands)
Even with these brands we recommend you do a patch test (just like you’re supposed to with hair dye): on the base of the toy put a dab of lube and see if the lube gets gummy (it doesn’t ever melt). If it does get gummy it will happen pretty quickly and with only a small patch, you can clean it off with your finger nail.
So if it’s possible that yes, the two CAN meet, why the drumbeat of “Use only water based lubes!”? Litigation.
It became a liability issue when someone claimed it “melted” the toy as they were playing with it and so the customer went to the hospital. The companies who made the lubricant and the dildo paid that hospital bill and made a settlement; they also started publicizing that their materials were not compatible.
If you purchase both high-quality lubes and sex toys3 then you should be safe to mix, but test it first. I can tell you that the Fun Factory Body Fluid was smeared all over a Fun Factory and 2 Tantus silicone items with absolutely zero reaction that damaged the toy. There was a little bit of a “machine shop” odor though (see really-long-footnote #2 if you haven’t already).
Silicone is perfect, it is non-porous and the ultimate in safety! Right?
A few weeks ago I pulled out some travel bottles called Go Toobs that are a soft, silicone body and plastic flip cap. They boast as being really great for travel. What they don’t tell you is that they’re using a lesser grade of silicone. It’s food-safe grade, which is still pretty good quality, but everything in my travel tubes dried up. I thought, how is this possible? And the woman from the company tells me that silicone is porous. Wait, what? This went against everything I’ve been told and have told others about silicone sex toys. They’re non-porous! Body safe! Yes, they are. For the most part.
Technically silicone has very tiny pores and is virtually non-porous. The pores are smaller than virus’ and bacterias- but some smells can be absorbed4. With time those smells will go away- you can try putting lemon juice on it (though I haven’t tried it) and see if that helps.
Ok so they can still be sanitized. They’re not going to hold onto larger-spored things like mildew, viruses or bacteria. This is the important stuff. An odor can be gotten rid of. Just keep an eye on your anal toys consider 10% bleach washes more often on those.
ETA:Super-soft silicones, like the outer layer on the Tantus O2 dildos, can absorb small amounts of dye depending on the situation. A few years ago it was reported that ForYourNymphomation sex toy cases had a lining with a dye that could transfer to certain toys. The more solid silicones will not take on any dyes but really soft types can. They’re still medically non-porous, however.
Myth or fact: If you see a clear (or stretchy, i.e. a cock ring) “jelly-like” sex toy that claims to be silicone, it really isn’t
This is fact.
Contact Lenses can be made from silicone so yes it can be ultra clear- however silicone that clear is really hard, brittle and about 10 times as expensive for raw materials. It’s beautiful but I’ve never been able to figure out an application in toys where I could justify charging that much. If it’s clear and super stretchy- there is no way it’s silicone. Tantus is shortly introducing the first super soft c-rings- they are nicely stretchy. Every buyer who’s seen them has been really excited- they are coming out later this month, in about a week. As you’ll see however, these rings aren’t clear.
Which leads me to the next question…..
How can the consumer tell if their sex toy is truly pure silicone, and not a blend?
Really it’s still a buyer beware situation. After we burned “silicone” in Australia a few years back, another vendor friend said his stuff was silicone- I told him it wasn’t. I saw this friend’s website recently telling me and you that all their crystal clear super stretchy cock rings were silicone. They aren’t. China told them they were though, and they seem to be sticking to China’s authority. Remember most “manufacturers” don’t manufacture anything but package design and sales strategies. Sometimes they do some engineering but often they don’t even do that. This allows companies to rapidly enter the market- all they need is a warehouse for storing boxes.
Now, Metis isn’t recommending that we all turn into pyromaniacs, but the infamous “lighter test” will work to melt TPR, Sil-a-gel, silicone blends and other silicone-look-a-like materials. I’ve recently added a post all about the flame test for silicone sex toys which includes video so that you can see exactly what happens with true silicone products vs silicone blend products (which are marketed as merely “silicone”) when you light them on fire (or try to).
What do all these words mean, isn’t silicone silicone? What makes Japanese silicone better than medical grade and what is platinum? Why do they have to confuse us??
Because they’re salesmen? Platinum isn’t just a word used for high-selling albums and expensive wedding bands. Metis said first to me, in part replying about the lube compatibility issue that “It’s about different chemistry, some lesser grades of materials bonding. Originally it was a Tin not a Platinum silicone (this refers to chemicals that are in the silicone which make the two liquids into a solid– vulcanize it).” But of course you’ll never see Tin used to describe a sex toy.
The refining process of making silicone was originally created by GE back in the 50′s and they sold the patent to Dow. Then GE apparently figured out the value of it, and created a totally separate method of processing it. There are several other raw processors who make the base materials from sand, ‘silica’. One is a German company Wacker, another a Japanese company Shin Etsu. The only reason to reassure people that it’s Japanese or German is because there is inherent quality believed by consumers to belong to products coming from those two countries.
So apparently the general public has been heavily swayed by cars. Awesome. Also? “Wacker”. *snickers* Yes, I’m 12.
But on the other side of the naming coin is the trickery used by lesser quality manufacturers to make us think that something is silicone. Cybersilicone, TPR-Silicone, SEBS (Silicone Elastomer Blend), Sil-a-Gel, “Crystal Cote” toys – none of these are 100% pure Platinum, Medical-Grade Silicone. They may contain some silicone but they still retain the porous properties of whatever else they’re mixed with – i.e. they’re not as safe or hygienic in terms of being non-porous. They very well may be phthalate-free and latex-free, but they’re not non-porous.
Is there a difference between the shiny silicone, the matte silicone, the stuff they stretch over vibrators, etc?
Yes and no. I started off comparing things like the shiny and hard Feeldoe to the matte texture of the soft-exterior Cush O2. Metis said:
Matte silicone just has a different finish on the master or the mold. Molds on the Feeldoe, for example, are highly polished. The difference with the Cush is that the super soft silicone has a different chemistry- it has more of the silicones that are in lube, making it a little less stable (with silicone lubes).
Ok but what about the silicone that gets stretched over mechanical vibrators?
The silicone on a Lelo, or a WeVibe, etc, is an injection material that needs heat in order to cure. You can make dildos with this material too but it’s a process that is much more effective with thin small amounts than with larger amounts. You can tell a silicone toy that is injected like this because the molds have parting lines with small tolerances. Most of Fun Factories designs are made this way. Vixen and Tantus’ products mostly aren’t. The silicone again for both processes is very safe and stable.
I’ve also recently (after writing this post) read about Lelo’s silicone process. They coat their items with something called SST (Silicone Soft Touch) which aids in lending that powdery-silky feel. I know that a lot of other luxury silicone toy companies use this product (it’s basically a liquid silicone that is also body-safe) and so when you flame-test these toys you’ll get a different result than when you flame test the shiny/sticky silicone products. You can see in my video of flame testing that items coated with SST will show a scorch mark that rubs off whereas other non-coated silicone products develop a pale ash, from the dimethicone burning.
Myth: Silicone doesn’t feel as “realistic” though as Cyberskin/Jelly! Silicone isn’t as fun/sparkly! Silicone is expensive!
I hear too many people trying to defend lesser quality materials with arguments like these. Silicone doesn’t mimic a realistic feel or look? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Mentioned before, the Tantus O2 line is a dual-density that has a really firm core with a layer of plushy silicone over top. Vixen Creations also makes some very realistic dildos. Two things though that these manufacturers won’t have in the “realism” department that a gross rubber/cyberskin dildo will have: multiple colors for a realistic skin look (i.e. painted-on veins and a pink cock head) and/or fake pubic hair. I mean, if you really have a burning need for that dildo to fool you into thinking it is a magical, dismembered human penis then I can’t stop you. But that fake pubic hair will trap all kinds of gross shit and the painted-on realistic features? That will wear off after awhile. Where is it going???? Think about that one. Silicone might not be clear and gem-like, but they can certainly add glitter to it. I’ve seen both Tantus and the almost-defunct Jollies LLC do it.
People will also complain that silicone toys are too expensive. I know, they can be. Some manufacturers exploit the whole “luxury sex toy” angle. But there is a valid reason why silicone sex toys cost 2-4 times the prices of jelly, rubber or TPR. And frankly if after reading this whole post you don’t understand why……then I give up! But if you are on a super-strict budget, just watch for sales or keep an eye on the closeout bin at Tantus.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So have you learned a lot or are you more confused? For me this reinforced my thoughts that when you’re buying silicone sex toys (which you always should, in lieu of jelly, rubber, cyberskin or PVC/vinyl) you should be purchasing them from a reputable company who isn’t just going to trust what China is telling them. Is China bad? Sometimes. Not all the time. It’s more on the manufacturer to do their quality checks. And, by the way, Tantus isn’t made in China. They’re made in the US, in their own shop and Metis knows everything that goes on. They are never in the hands of an unknown mass production company. Thankfully Tantus is not the only sex toy manufacturer that is knee-deep is quality checks, but sadly they’re still in the minority.
- I picked it so much that she might need a few days to re-generate; I really came close to being annoying. I might make a good reporter! ↩
- While the site has changed and they no longer recommend that, they don’t forbid it, either. Manuals on the site will say that using a silicone lube might cause an unpleasant smell when the two collide. However, I found the packet of Body Fluid, FF’s silicone lube, and it came with my Ellove vibrator. The packet lists only two ingredients: dimethicone and dimenthiconol. Currently EF lists the ingredients of Body Fluid as dimethicone and Dimethiconol Cyclomethicone. Is there a difference? I opened my packet of Body Fluid and put it on the Ellove Vibrator, a Tantus dildo that is 5 years old and a Tantus dildo that is 2 years old. Nothing happened. Other brands of silicone lube include other types of silicone in with the dimethicone, so that could be why they will react with a silicone toy since like is touching like. End longest footnote ever. ↩
- a high-quality silicone sex toy will be labeled as “platinum” and/or “medical grade” ↩
- Kitty Stryker had mentioned to me on Twitter that she had an anal plug that has started to retain an odor ↩
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A Guide to Sex Toy Reviewers: Stop Using Achievement Levels When Recommending a Sex Toy as Good or Bad
It seems all too common in the reviewing community to label a crappy/weak vibrator as being “great for beginners”. I’m sure I even did it at some point when I first started reviewing, but that doesn’t excuse it.
STOP DOING THIS.
Just because someone is new to sex toys doesn’t automatically mean that they need or want a weak, surface-buzzy vibrator. Stop using this as a means to sugar-coat a crappy toy. You can surely say that someone who is very sensitive to vibrations and prefers subtle, gentle sensations would like that vibration that feels like a fairy blowing in the vicinity of your clit from a distance. That’s valid. But a beginner to sex toys is not always (frequently not) a beginner to sex or masturbation. In fact I might be so bold as to say that many women who are buying their first vibrator are looking for something to help them get off because they’ve not had great luck on their own. That was definitely the case with me. I purchased a few shitty, weak vibes back then and I’m so glad that they weren’t they first vibrators or else I might have given up totally, thinking that what I needed wasn’t out there. Because, of course, those shitty, weak vibes were heaped praises on the sites I bought them from for their strength and “perfect for everyone!” weasel words.
As a reviewer you also should not assume that every slim/slender vibrator is great for beginners. Again, they’re new to sex toys. Not necessarily penetration. And of course even the most well-honed sex-loving person doesn’t necessarily love/want/need girth. Many simply don’t. Conversely, many do. Base your recommendations not on someone’s “skill” level or familiarity with sex toys – instead, base it off reality: word it as “If you are sensitive to vibrations, this would be good for you” or “If you prefer slender insertable toys, this is good for you”. You can and should talk about the size of the toy in relation to how easy it would be to hide it or simply warn them that it’s a beast – are some people intimidated by big honkin toys? Sure. But let’s not lump everyone together like that.
I mean, is there some secret RPG-esque ranking that I’m not aware of? Is there a level 1 Beginner, a level 4 Beginner, after which you’re a level 1 Intermediate user and finally after the purchase and/or use of X number of sex toys you hit the much-lauded rank of Advanced User?
What should a “sex toy for beginners” recommendation look like?
- It should have multiple speeds/intensity levels so that they can figure out what they like and need
- You should always do your best to differentiate between surface-buzzy and deep-rumbly vibrations and know what the difference is – once someone knows that the vibrator they hated was considered surface-buzzy they know to then look for a deep-rumbly one next
- We should be steering them towards affordable yet body-safe materials – Jelly is not ok for beginners, it is not ok for anybody
- We should not be advising them to plonk down over $150 on a singular toy if they own 2 or less toys. They don’t know yet what they need and what works best for them in terms of size, shape and vibration type/intensity
- Ignore the size: Never say that a small or medium size toy is “good for beginners” just because of the size.
And for the love of holy sex toys, just stop sugar-coating reviews: call a spade a spade. It doesn’t help you as an affiliate because once you recommend a shitty toy to someone they won’t trust you in the future. And wouldn’t you want someone to steer you away from a vibrator that should not even be on the market, just like you’d want your friend to be honest and say “Honey, that pair of pants isn’t really flattering to you, let’s find something else”? I would. In fact that’s why and how I found sex toy reviews in the first place. I was so jaded and skeptical and wary of buying a toy that looked ok but I couldn’t tell what the vibrations were like and so I just started asking around in random places and it all led me to finding the blogger reviews (which were so much less saturated back then). And while a seasoned buyer eventually learns to take every review with a grain of salt and realize that what one person thinks is heaven inside silicone will be a piece of shit to someone else, that knowledge takes time, patience and a willingness to keep buying sex toys until they find The One. Or, The Five, whatever your heart desires.
All of this is why I have become unafraid to call out Lelo on their half-assed ventures their last two lines. They were the darling of the sex toy world in the beginning and everyone wanted one or seven of them. That reputation still exists. I think it still exists, in part, because we’re still inundated with too many shitty manufacturers and toys and we want, no need, to call a company Good. Worth It. We don’t have enough Good Eggs in the basket so when one starts to stink a little we perfume it up and try to believe – for ourselves and the sex toy world at large – that it’s still ok. It’s just one bad egg, right? When a company starts riding the coattails of their initial success then we need to pay attention and call that out.
What would I recommend as a good sex toy for beginners? First of all, a good bullet. And by “good” I don’t mean expensive. I mean something that has a variance in intensity levels, is deep and rumbly and isn’t so expensive that replacing it in a year is a hardship or hating it isn’t a waste of money. And then probably some sort of curved, insertable vibrator of silicone or plastic that is moderately priced, can be pull double duty and doesn’t require strange batteries.Read More
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One topic that I get asked a lot when I help people pick out sex toys is which wireless remote control vibrator I recommend for public play. Especially after the recent reviews of the Lelo Tiani and the We Vibe 3 people are hoping that finally something has come out on the market that isn’t the sex toy equivalent to what fast food really looks like – i.e. all hype with no delivery.
It saddens me that when people ask me to recommend a vibrator like this for public play, I can’t. And yes, I’ve seen them all. I played with a couple in the Seattle Babeland. I know how to read reviews1 and so far not one wireless remote controlled vibrator on the market does what they claim to do. If they claim to run “whisper quiet”2 then that is either an outright lie or it means that the vibrations are surface, buzzy and barely a tickle. Vibrating panties are pretty much always cheaply constructed and “one size fits most” which means the opposite. And for some reason the transmission from remote to toy is fickle at best. A lot of women like to actually insert these eggs internally (which I personally wouldn’t but that’s me) which means that now there’s not just fabric as a barrier between the remote and the toy, but flesh and bone.
A common complaint with many wireless remote controlled vibrators is that the remote control holder doesn’t have a damn clue what’s going on. They push a button and that’s it. Lelo, as you all know, set out to majorly change that and give the person holding the remote a much more active role in the process with their Sensemotion technology. The Club Vibe 2.OH from OhMiBod has a remote that kinda fixes that…except that it lights up, the remote is huge and it’s not at all discreet. The Club Vibe (both original and 2.Oh) is buzzy and weak, it looks uncomfortable and the 2.Oh has a button you must push on the vibrator to start it up and it lights up, too. I hope you don’t wear this in public with clothing that would show the lit up button through it! Many of these wireless remote controlled vibrators take batteries – weird batteries, lots of batteries and go through them at a rapid pace. Many of these sex toys also require the remote control for the vibrator to work (except for the We Vibe 3) so if that dies or gets lost, you’re out of luck.
Almost wireless remote controlled vibes are expensive. Really expensive. And thus far I’ve not really found one that justifies the price. The We Vibe 3 probably has the best type of vibrations, it doesn’t require the remote for use and the remote doesn’t required batteries plus the vibrator is rechargeable; however the range of the remote is a paltry 10 feet, it doesn’t do well through clothing unless it’s very thing and it simply wasn’t ever marketed/made to be a public use toy. The remote is no-frills and the remote holder won’t know what is going on. What about strap-on vibrators, like the stupidly infamous piece of crap the Venus Butterfly and the many variations? If you enjoy having a large animal-shaped hunk of TPR in between your legs that muffles the paltry bullet vibe and gives you untold frustration, go for it.
Updated Dec ’12: The Lelo Tiani 2 Design Edition is Lelo’s answer to the first runs of the Tiani being less than awesome. They increased the vibration strength somewhat, they made the remote finally work like it should, and they made it so that you don’t absolutely need the remote for the toy to work. The vibrations are probably equal to the We-Vibe 3, however this is still not going to be as powerful as the corded bullets or the We-Vibe cordless/rechargeable Salsa/Tango. If she prefers stronger vibrations then you’re just simply not going to find anything to fit the bill if an orgasm is the end result. If the intention is merely to tease her mercilessly, then you’re in luck. I have to firmly stand behind my statement that a good, public-play vibrator doesn’t exist yet. One that would be worth the money would:
- Have a range of rumbly vibrations that could induce orgasm in most women
- Have a remote control that has We Vibe 3′s “10 year battery” or something
- Have a remote control that allows the controller to know (discretely) what setting it is on – perhaps a dial instead of a push-button with LED lights?
- Have the ability to transmit through flesh and clothing AND do this up to 30 feet away
- Not require the use of N-type batteries or watch batteries
- Have the ability to stay nestled between the labia and resting against the clitoris
So what is an adventurous couple to do? My only suggestion is not the ideal and involves cell phones and trust and some finagling. Get a regular, corded power-pack bullet with good rumbly vibrations. Have her position it and then thread the cord outside of her clothes and tuck it into her pocket or waistband. When her partner is nearby they can whisper directions to turn it off, on, up or down a level, etc. From across the room or wherever he can text her the same instructions. This isn’t easy, and it takes getting used to (but hey it worked for me during work hours with an internet partner for a year) but at least you won’t drop $50-$150 on a toy that doesn’t work very well. Oh and always have a spare set of batteries in your bag when you do this.
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Traveling with sex toys is anywhere from “no big deal” to “they’re pulling out my giant sparkling rabbit vibrator in front of 50 other people and it is flashing and whirring” (or finding a note with your vibrator in your checked luggage from the TSA with words of encouragement on your next jerk off session). If you’re not flying then there’s much less of a chance that someone will be rifling through your bag – but if you have kids or are going to stay with family during holiday travels then a little thought should be put into things. Too many times I’ve traveled without a vibrator and ended up regretting that decision. Mostly it was because I was visiting family and there are two issues with that: First, you don’t want paranoia about the noise to be interfering with your orgasm. Second, there’s always that chance that a close family member will need to get something from your bag before you remember that oops, there’s a big dildo in there.
First up is lube: It’s important for nearly everyone. If you’re flying then you will definitely want to buy one of those little plastic travel bottles and decant about 1 fluid ounce of your favorite lube at home. Even if you’re not flying, transferring the lube into a plain, smaller bottle will save both space and questions. No matter how incognito your sex toys are, if you’ve got a bottle of Astroglide in there you won’t be fooling anyone.
Travel Friendly Vibrators
Discretion and trickery! I would want something that doesn’t look like a sex toy. Unfortunately when you look up “discreet vibrators” you get a mix of small shitty clitoral vibes that barely tickle the surface, novelty items like the yellow Duckie or “vibrating sea sponge” (also in the weak and disappointing category) or hairbrushes and lipsticks that will probably break down in half a dozen uses. This leaves high-priced luxury sex toys like MiMi or big, plug-in electric vibrators like the Hitachi, the Miracle Massager, or my beloved Wahl 2-speed. Of the plug-in electric styles I’d pick the Wahl – on Low, it’s pretty damn quiet. It’s also smaller than the others and the cord is pretty long too. Of course none of the plug-in styles are going to be all that lightweight – the Eroscillator is less heavy and if you’re clever you will store the attachments far away from the base and you might be able to pull it off as a plug-in electric toothbrush. Until they examine it closely and see the word “Eroscillator” in raised letters on the body, that is.
Rechargeable vibrators are frequently touted as “travel friendly” since many of them have a feature where you can press a few buttons and lock the control pad for travel. Which is great and this means you don’t have to include a pack of batteries in your bag – but also consider recharging it: Will there be a discreet place to do so? Remember that many of these take hours to recharge and if you damn near drained the battery it could take the night (or the day, if you’re using the We-Vibe). And if it should die on you before you’re finished you’re shit out of luck.
Battery-powered massager-style Mystic Wand is a possibility. You get vibration intensity, the believability that it is a back massager, and a motor that is moderately quiet (especially when compared to the Hitachi Magic Wand or the Miracle Massager). It will not take up as much room as the plug-in massagers and isn’t quite as heavy (unless of course you add in the weight of 1 or 2 changes of battery) but it isn’t nearly as small as say a bullet vibrator. If you’re flying, though, no amount of covert packing will hide something from those pesky airline baggage checkers. If you’re not at the mercy of the tactless TSA then you certainly could get away with packing a small vibrator of any type if you do it right.
When all else fails and you’re too paranoid to attempt any of these? A cheap, battery-op electric toothbrush. And a condom. Put the condom over the toothbrush head to minimize brush bristle abrasion to tender parts.
My travel-friendly sex toys
One of the sex toys that I plan on always taking with me is the Sweet Embrace. I’ve been using it more lately in a somewhat unorthodox fashion (meaning, not how they market it) and have been pleasantly surprised at the clitoral orgasms. My travel dildo of choice is now the Nobessence Fling because of the size, weight and discreet design that for me could also be coupled with a massager vibrator and written off as a merely a sore-muscles kit1. I’ve also purchased a spare spare (because I have a spare in case the current one dies) bullet vibrator that will be reserved just for travels – however as with all wired bullets, in my experience, if it is held at the wrong angle it can suddenly get really rattly and loud. I’ve had that happen in a public bathroom stall. So the bullet vibe will only be pulled out if I can feel secure that I won’t be heard.
How to Hide Your Sex Toys
Sure, you know how to hide your sex toys when you’re at home but what about for travel? If it’s a vibrator with attachments or is battery powered, separate the pieces. Batteries in one little pouch, half the vibe here, half the vibe there. If you need to really conceal it then you’ve likely chosen to travel with a sex toy that looks like a sex toy – creative concealment is a must if you prefer to be undiscovered.
- Inside a sock which is inside a shoe – Just make sure that it’s all firmly in there and won’t come tumbling out
- Small, wireless bullet vibes could be tucked inside a tampon wrapper and then put inside a travel-size box of tampons
- Spend the money on something called the Sneaky Sack – it’s meant to go on a hanger underneath a shirt (sweatshirt or bulky sweater is best, to hide the lumps). Only problem is….what if the Sack is seen? They have a bright white logo screened on the outside. But you could put this inside a sweater, pack it, and hang everything up when you arrive.
- A small camera case could work
- A small vibrator could be tucked into a small cosmetic bag which is then tossed into a larger toiletries case or makeup case, blending in with all the other items in there. Any number of options could be found if you have a case in a case like that where there are plenty of other objects to take the focus. I like this collection of cases from Sephora, it has a couple of great options. For a cheap and really small option, they have a although it looks like they’ll be sold out soon.
The Basics: Tips for Traveling with Sex Toys
If you take away nothing else, remember these points:
- Always remove the batteries. ALWAYS. If the control pad locks for rechargeables, LOCK IT.
- Be sure that your toy is clean prior to travel.
- Pack at least one set of new, never-used batteries (if applicable)
- Planning to have sex or jerk off while you’re not at home? Invest in a Marsona white noise machine. Small, portable and when placed strategically it will conceal quiet sex noises.
- Your cell phone is never an acceptable vibrator replacement, despite the cute apps for smart phones
- Pack a few toy cleaning wipes and keep the toy in a plastic bag if you plan on flying – because even checked luggage isn’t safe from inspections, and those inspections are done out of sight so you will have no idea what has happened to your sex toy in the hands of the TSA.
- My husband disagreed with me upon seeing it but then again he’s seen entirely too many sex toys. I say that if my mom didn’t recognize a glass marijauna pipe when she saw it, I could get away with that excuse on people like her ↩