Jan 052012


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.


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.

Dec 282011

L'amourose MAE+ on the left, Marc Dorcel Secret Remote Control Vibe up top, and the We-Vibe 4 Plus on the rightRemote control vibrators have an appeal that is special and can be something really awesome & kinky for certain folks (public sex toy play is very fun). I get a ton of people asking for recommendations on a really good model; you’ll see plenty of cheapies and definitely plenty that cost well over $100 so how are you to know which is worth the time and money? Hopefully I can help steer you on the right path and save you money and disappointment. Let me assure you, there’s more disappointment in this niche of sex toys than anything else. WHY is it so damn hard for a company to come out with a really awesome remote control vibrator? Honestly I’ve yet to come across one that meets the Remote Controlled Vibrator Holy Trinity.

First, you have to determine where you want most of the vibration (vaginal/g-spot, clitoral, or anal) and then determine if you actually want to be able to orgasm in public or you’re just looking for a tease. Just looking for a tease? You’re in luck because that’s about all many of these are capable of unless you’re very sensitive and find it easy to orgasm. So to me, a really good remote controlled sex toy has these three features nailed down – aka the Remote Controlled Vibrator Holy Trinity:

1. A remote that allows the remote-holder to know what the toy-wearer is feeling – they need to know when it’s on, when it’s off, what level of vibration it’s on, etc.

2. A remote that works from across the room, or 20 feet away while the person is in any position and wearing clothes – I’ve had a few that work fine if I’m spread-eagle and naked but since many people want this for public play…..that doesn’t work.

3. A design that fits and vibrations that feel good – why the fuck is this so hard? Who is designing these? Klingons?

What the Hell is Happening Here

Let’s talk about the first one. 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! The Marc Dorcel Secret Vibe (the secret being that achingly boring vibrations) has been the only vibe I’ve come across in the under-$100 category that had a decent remote – small, unobtrusive, didn’t light up or vibrate but it had an LCD panel that told me what was going on.

One last problem – most of these don’t tell the controller if the connection to the vibrator has been lost.

Many of these wireless remote controlled vibrators take batteries – weird batteries, lots of batteries and go through them at a rapid pace, so that’s another thing to keep in mine.

Bluetooth and Smartphone Apps

Newer versions are starting to use Bluetooth and can be controlled with an app which is really great in theory but so far isn’t working out. I couldn’t get the We-Vibe 4 Plus to reliably keep the Bluetooth connection, and I’m not alone in this problem.  I haven’t tried the blueMotion Nex 1 but the design requires panties (like the Club Vibe 2.OH design) and also won’t work for people with full labia and buried clits. Looking at the Google Play Store, both apps for We-Vibe and Ohmibod only rate about a 3.5 out of 5, with a lot of complaints that things just aren’t working the way they should. Another line of vibes with a Smartphone app is the new Je Joue Nuo and Duo – but the app is currently only available for the iPhone. WTF! In an age where plenty of people are using something other than an iPhone (like me!) this is a pretty dumb move. I won’t even review these until they make an app for Android.

A Remote That Works

So far, the Lelo Sensemotion line has the only remote I’ve experienced that kept a connection through flesh, clothing and across a room. It even worked from another room for me. I liked the Tiani design best; I don’t feel confident that the Tiani 3 has better vibrations than the Tiani 2, plus that boxy clitoral part may or may not be better. It is available in Canada and perhaps for less given the dollar conversion.

Just because a vibe has an app, doesn’t mean it’ll work – see also: We-Vibe 4 Plus review. I couldn’t even insert the We-Vibe the way it was meant to be inserted; as soon as I did it would drop the connection. Many other remote control vibrators are the same way, and the remote only works if I’m naked and legs-spread. Fail.

But What About the Vibrations!

So what if the Lelo Lyla 2 has a remote that lets the remote-holder know what’s going on and works through clothing, flesh and even a wall? If you’re looking for anything beyond a tease or you need more power, then you’re not going to love the Lyla 2. But if the tease factor is it? Go for it. The style is meant to be worn vaginally but that would be a total waste on me – so a snug pair of panties will keep it in place clitorally for most people well enough.

The We-Vibe 4 Plus’s vibrations were utterly boring to me, but sensitive folks might be more excited.  The vibrations from the L’amourose line are pretty powerful, but the designs work best for people who don’t need pinpoint stimulation and whose clitoris is more exposed.  The Marc Dorcel Secret Vibe was atrocious, so so piddly.

Remote Control Vibrators to avoid:
  • Anything by Bnaughty – the vibrations are piss poor and the remote is crap on the cheaper one, and doesn’t work through clothing on the pricier one.
  • Anything by CalExotics –  Whether it’s a gimmicky panty vibe or horrible butterfly, Dr Berman branded or their overpriced Embrace line, the quality is bottom of the barrel. Do not waste your money.  The vibrations are going to be surface-buzzy and weak, the unit will break easily and the remote will not work as advertised.
  • Anything from Pipedream and their Fetish Fantasy line, for the same reasons as I list for avoiding CalExotics.
  • I’ve heard more negative reviews than positive about the gimmicky Lelo Hula Beads and of course, avoid that damn Lelo Ida
  • Due to my own experiences and those of readers, I can’t recommend the We-Vibe 4 Plus.
  • As mentioned above, the Marc Dorcel Secret Vibe or the anal version, Genius Secret Vibe.
  • Anything under $50. So far, not a damn one under $50 has been worth 5 cents.
  • Jopen Envy 15 – I had high hopes, but the vibration placement is stupid, the vibrating portion glows red and the remote is fucking dumb. Horrible, really. BUT the motor is super powerful. It’s the most powerful of those listed.
Remote Control Vibrators to consider:
  • Lelo Lyla 2 – the vibrations aren’t super-powered but it’s the one in the line that might work for you. I would find a way to use it externally with a pair of snug panties, personally.
  • Consider the Lelo Tiani 2 or 3. Again, it’s not powerful in vibrations, but they’re a little better than the We-Vibe, plus I liked the fit of the Tiani 2 better than the We-vibe.
  • L’amourose’s line is decent, preferably the Mae or Lana – the bullet is very powerful but you can’t use the remote to turn it on. You’d have to turn it on first and walk into wherever you’re going with it already buzzing away. This isn’t ideal for most situations. If it had a functioning smartphone app, it would be pretty great.
  • Je Joue Nuo or Dua – I’ve heard good things about the vibrations. The pen style remote is wonky, but for iPhone users the app seems to work pretty well.






Black plastic bullet with control pack with velvety texture. Plastic vibrator kit that includes: a traditional vibrator, a pocket rocket, a bullet and controller and a 1 oz. water-based lubricant. Harmony Powerful waterproof bullet with two speeds


Ask Lilly: Tips for Traveling with Sex Toys

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Dec 112011

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.

Electric body massager coming with seven PVC heads.Multispeed massager made out of plastic and silicone.Mia is a discreet multifunctional massager.Small, elegant and discrete clitoral stimulator covered in smooth soft 100% body safe silicone, with 5 levels of surprisingly strong vibrations , starting with a nice low rumble + 5 different pulsingSoft silicone elastomer pad attachment for the Eroscillator vibratorOscillating vibrator with five different texture attachmentsPlug-in vibrator with two speeds and flexible headHitachi magic wand vibrator is a two-speed massager with a soft flexible head.

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. 

Fully sealed wooden sex toy with angled head and comfortable finger holds that make this intriguing toy perfect for g-spot or prostate stimulation.A multiple girth G-Spot massager with 7 functions of vibration and 2 stimulating ends, made from phthalate and latex free body-safe A.B.S. plastic with satin smooth coating.A waterproof prostate massager with 7 functions of vibration and 2 stimulating ends, made from phthalate and latex free body-safe plastic with satin smooth coating.Electric body massager coming with seven PVC heads.Multispeed massager made out of plastic and silicone.Black plastic bullet with control pack with velvety texture.

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 few of these left at Sephora 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.


Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store
Post sponsored by: EdenFantasys, a sex toy store with plenty of sales and deals plus all the newest sex toys!

  1. 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
Nov 102011

rabbit vibrator The Rabbit Vibrator. Were it not for Sex and The City1, would this type of sex toy ever have gained the popularity that it has? Probably. Why? Because we are lured into the promised land of one toy (and therefore one hand) doing the job of two or even three toys, stimulating many spots at once like a talented lover or two in bed with you. My opinion? Rabbit vibrators are perhaps the biggest gimmick in the sex toy industry. Why “Rabbit”? While I don’t know the detailed historical timeline of these toys, the infamous Rabbit Vibrator2 used in Sex and the City is made by Vibratex, a Japanese company, and we know how they like to use animals in their vibrators. The clitoral stimulator is a cute wittle bunny wabbit head and ears…ahem. sorry. Theory is that the long jelly/TPR ears will flutter and stimulate your clitoris. Great for women who don’t want direct vibration on their clits – terrible for women whose anatomy doesn’t fit the exact length of the toy or who want more vibrations on their clit. Companies that stick with the animal theme have gone with dolphins (they have a snout) and beavers (for the cliche?) and other choices. Some of the clitoral stimulators rely on the fluttering of the extended material while some models have the vibrating portion directly on your clit.

Many Rabbit style vibrators (for this term is now used synonymously with “dual action” vibrators, even if the blessed thing thankfully doesn’t resemble any animal of any kind such as the Jopen Vanity line or Lelo or FunFactory or many others) are praised and put on pedestals, recommended to beginners and frustrated collectors alike. My question is…..WHY? Just like I don’t understand the hype and prevalence of vibrating cock rings, I don’t understand why a sex toy expert or enthusiast would recommend a dual-stim / dual-action / rabbit vibrator as a great toy for the masses but especially confused on why it would be recommended for a beginner. 

Three things you need to know to buy a Rabbit Vibrator that will work for you:
  1. The exact layout of your vulva including how far in your g-spot is, how far up your clitoris is from the opening of the vaginal canal, and also how long your arm is or how flexible you are
  2. Does the vibrator in question have the type and intensity of vibrations you like and has it stood the test of time with other users
  3. The exact specifications and dimensions of the vibrator, not just length of the insertable portion or the clitoral arm but the angle and etc

I’m betting most buyers don’t know that stuff. I once bought a Rabbit style vibrator long ago and far away. A Doc Johnson one. I’m not sure if it was jelly or pvc but the material was sub-par but that was common back then. Did I like it? Hell yes! I loved it the first few times, but loved it more when my partner used it on me because he could get a more appropriate angle on it than I could solo. It also didn’t last very many uses and it certainly didn’t live up to its price which was over $75 at the time. There are certainly even more expensive dual-stimulator vibrators on the market (Hello, Lelo and Jopen Vanity). I still ask for them to review sometimes….it’s like the hope for winning the lottery. It lingers despite your logical brain knowing the odds. On Shevibe.com there are 170 sex toys in the “Dual Stimulation” category. That isn’t even every single one available on the market, I’m sure.

A rabbit vibrator or dual-stimulation vibrator is usually going to be expensive – if it is not, it is made from jelly/rubber and you all know how bad that is, right? And, sadly, price (as we all know from my reviews) doesn’t line up with quality or longevity or compatibility with your body. I have reviewed or purchased I think 5 of these rabbit / dual-stimulation vibrators and ALL were over $100. Only one of those, the Vanity VR6, comes close to pleasing me but even that one is not perfect for my anatomy and certainly won’t be for even half of you. The Lelo Ina 2 is similar to the Vanity VR6 in design, but the clitoral arm is less clampy and the internal portion is less intense. It is still pretty decent though, and I’ve been able to orgasm from it. I recommend it but with cautions and caveats. The other downfall of the typical rabbit/dual-stim vibrator is that it is straight – even if the shaft is not straight (which, most of them are except the newest ones) the handle is straight and this is just not ergonomically proper. Unless you are in good shape, slender and are not cursed with shorter-than-average arms you will have a bit of trouble using the vibrator at the angle it is supposed to be used at. If you pull the handle/base of any vibrator or dildo upwards towards your body it of course angles the toy the other way – towards your ass and away from your g-spot. I’m not invalidating all the reviewers or other women who own a rabbit style vibrator and genuinely love it. All I’m saying is that they are expensive and can be very frustrating. I would much rather have to use both hands and two toys to achieve the type of penetration and clitoral stimulation that I enjoy, all at once, than choose a singular toy that does both things half-assed.


In the midst of writing this I just had to go download and watch the episode of Sex and the City, since it’s been a very long time that I’ve seen the first season. I put together the clips from that episode that focus on the toy. And now that I watch it I see it all with a very different point of view – I saw something…somewhere…like the greatest moments in tv for sex or something…I can’t remember. Anyways the Rabbit moment was discussed. It was put in a positive light, like talking about vibrators on the show opened things up for women everywhere. Maybe it did. But the way Charlotte, Miranda and even Carrie talk about the vibrator is pretty sex-negative. They’re comparing the vibrator to men, and of course men don’t stack up to it. In the show they’re pretty much choosing it over men. Is it any wonder why we have to deal with men who are insecure about their partners wanting a vibrator? Can a vibrator give me orgasms that a person can’t: Yes. For me personally. But that doesn’t mean I would choose a solo session with my vibe over a sexy hour with a partner! Sex and orgasms are about so much more than the final moment. But that’s a topic for another post…..anyways here’s the video clip I made up.

  1. Season 1, Episode 8 title “The Turtle and the Hare” which aired in 1998!!! So yeah I had to go download and watch it before finishing this
  2. But the box actually says “Rabbit Pearl” which uses the remote shown in the episode and this one is elastomer, not jelly

Ask Lilly: “My sex toy stinks – what should I do?”

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Oct 012011

A few weeks ago I got this question in my Formspring inbox and only now got around to answering it. All I know is what the person asked me, which was:

My vibrator has a lingering rubbery smell to it, how can I get rid of that? What should I wash it with?

Here’s my plain and simple answer:


The smell is coming from any number of things, and any one of those things has the potential to act like a toxic substance to the delicate mucus membranes of your genitalia. It could be that the toy is jelly and even if the packaging says “no phthalates” that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of other irritating chemicals that are leaching out. True Pleasures once wrote about her worrisome time as a CalExotics Sexpert and the dodgy toys (and responses) she’d receive from them1. She received items that were claimed to be TPR (CalExotics actually claims on their Product Information sheet on their site that their TPR & TPE is non-porous. I call bullshit and do not believe them one bit. Most TPR’s are porous; after all they’re the cheaper version of the material and CalExotics isn’t famed for their expensive toys) but smelled so badly they gave her a headache. Response? Oops, we think you managed to get a rare manufacturing error and it’s actually PVC. Oh we’re so distressed about this, we’re as upset as you, we paid for TPR! (I’m paraphrasing here). Again she received other TPR material toys that had funny, lingering odors. The ole “oh let it air out a day” response didn’t fly, as the smell was still there. She got one email that said the smell might be from an accelerant that helps release the toy from it’s production mold; then he say no, it was the glue, it didn’t cure long enough2. But all the while she is assured that these culprits are all non-toxic, phthalates-free, etc.

Every time True Pleasures would get a dodgy toy, her respondents (even Al Bloom) claimed to have gone out to the warehouse, opened up other toys like the one she had (even cutting them open, as she did) to see if others of the same toy had the same problem as hers. Of course, they were all ok. She just happened to get the one oddball. Also, they went out and ruined a case of toys? I’m sure their profit margin is high enough that it’s a drop in the bucket butt again I call bullshit.

Back to the issue at hand. We don’t even know what brand the toy is that the person is asking about.

A well-made toy shouldn’t have any lingering odors. A slight odor when you first open up the packaging – ok, I’ll consent to that. But it should not linger on the toy for very long if it is truly just part of the cleaning process or something to do with the packaging. Your supposed TPR toy could actually be PVC, or jelly/rubber. Who the hell knows. It’s not like there’s any real regulations out there. They can say what they want. Or it could be TPR, but what you’re smelling is indeed another chemical or glue or whatever. They say it’s non-toxic. Really? Show me the MSDS sheet then on all the materials and I’ll decide for myself.


Or you could attempt to contact the manufacturer and tell them your problem, be told it’s a one-off and maybe they’ll send you a new one that doesn’t stink. Maybe. Small chance the reseller will let you return it, depends on who you bought it from. But the bottom line is that you don’t actually know what’s causing the smell (unless of course it IS a jelly toy and I wasn’t told that the rubber-like smell is actually coming from a fucking rubber toy) and you don’t know what it might do to your body. You could use it once with no immediate repercussions and sometime down the line after a few more uses have this strange thing goin on down there and not know what’s up.

Buy from reputable manufacturers.
Buy hard plastic, pure silicone, glass, ceramic, metal, wood, and TPR only from trust-worthy manufacturers3.
If your sex toy stinks, there’s a decent chance that the stink is a warning: HEED THAT WARNING. THROW IT OUT.

If you actually do insist on using the damn thing, please use a toy cover or a condom on it. (use larger condoms for girthier toys, and if you have latex allergies shell out for the newer non-latex condoms).

Here’s another “test”: Would you put it in your mouth with that smell? Would you gag from the smell and taste? If yes, then why the hell put it in your vagina or ass?? There’s a million other sex toys out there that are not unsafe. Go buy one of those.

  1. Yes I’ve linked to it before, but I’m going to link to it again, because in my eyes it really shows that you just can’t trust CalExotics and the more of their shitty stuff I see, the more I want to steer people away from the company as a whole
  2. Dodgy overseas manufacturing that they just blindly trust to be doing things the right way
  3. Trust-worthy manufacturers are not synonymous with well-known manufacturers. I would consider many small companies trust worthy and would consider many big name untrustworthy like CalExotics, definitely Doc Johnson and Pipedreams, Topco is iffy, Hustler ehh
Jul 242011

Recently on OkCupid a very unlikely candidate messaged me and he eventually started questioning me on topics surrounding open marriage; apparently I was the first he’d run into on OKC who admitted to being in an open relationship. I suspect he wasn’t looking very hard.

I’m very interested in trying open relationships for a change. In the past I would fall in love quickly, spend too much money, make too many compromises, and then watch things fall apart for reasons that were beyond my control. I always thought that the open relationship lifestyle (if you want to call it that) was more natural and more honest than the sort of till-death-do-us-part mentality I had. I haven’t meet many people who are living this way, what can you tell me about it? How do you handle being married and seeing other people? Why be married at all?

My answer to him was:

You might want to do some reading research on the differences between polyamorous relationships and open relationships.

You can still have that “til-death-do-us-part” mentality and to a big degree my husband and I do. What we DID remove from our vows though was “forsaking all others” (it was a tiny ceremony and I re-wrote the traditional wedding vows in a way that subtly reflected our lifestyle and lack of religion whilst being showy and emotional enough that the parents never noticed what was missing). Many people DO want what’s called a “primary partner”. Someone to share your home and potential children with (if children is something you might want), a rock to always have around……but with the ability to explore other relationships. People in the non-monogamy camp firmly believe that no one person can be one other person’s “everything”. After all, your platonic friends to a degree provide something that your primary partner might not, so why not a lover?

It’s not easy. Unless you are mostly devoid of jealousy and have perfected (or are trying really, really hard to perfect) the ability to maintain compersion for your other partners’ joy in their other loves, as well as all parties having the self-control not to completely drown in their “new relationship energy” at the expense of their primary relationship. 99% of people are not that perfect. So that’s why I say it’s not easy. It has perks and benefits, yes.

Why be married at all? As I said before, just because I want to have the ability to lust and love others doesn’t mean I don’t still want a primary partner to lean on and raise a home with. As for the institution of marriage itself – it’s more the legal and common necessity than anything else. At one point yes, the romantic side of us wanted to be married for the sake of marriage, to wear the rings and say “husband” and “wife” but this was when we were younger. Currently I personally don’t feel the need for legal marriage to fortify our relationship, I don’t worry that if we weren’t married we’d be any less committed to each other. My husband and I have been serious since 1998, but only got married a couple years ago (we had been waiting until we were able to afford a decent wedding, the wedding I’d planned and dreamed about, not to mention a proper length honeymoon) solely because he really needed to be put on my health insurance as I was the one working and had really good insurance. So it was a tiny ceremony with just our parents and felt more like a “green card wedding” than what I’d always dreamed of. But, oh well. Beyond the health insurance issue is all other sorts of legal benefits, very adult and boring matters such as taxes and wills and etc.