Dec 252016
 

Due to something that was an experiment-turned-Big-Thing1, I wrote more frequently this year than I have in recent years. I’m branching out a little with this list to talk about sex toys I loved, loathed, wanted to love, and hope to love. Sometimes though I couldn’t pick one item so there’s also a few companies I want to highlight – good AND bad.  This post won’t be my only 2016 round-up though, so stay tuned for more.

Stand Out Sex Toys of 2016

Womanizer PRO40Womanizer PRO40 – The PRO40 didn’t get it’s own review, but it was part of the Womanizer vs Satisfyer comparison post. Despite me liking the PRO40 the best of all of them, I couldn’t be bothered to do a full review since, by and large, it was the same thing as before with some seemingly minor changes. But oh, the changes they were. A lower price! Waterproof! Up and Down buttons! No rhinestones! It’s the same technology as all other Womanizer versions, but it is cheaper. The motor is better than the Satisfyer Pro 2 but perhaps a little less finessed than the Womanizer W100 or W500. I first tried the Womanizer W100 last fall and was blown away. This year this type of sex toy has become my go-to clitoral sex toy. Yes, even more than the Tango. Seriously.

TengaIrohaKushiTenga Iroha Kushi– It’s squishy. It’s cute. The vibrations are fairly rumbly and have enough power to get me off. And that tip is super-pin-point in the best way. I wasn’t in love with the first line of Iroha squishy vibes, but I’m a convert now. I love the seashell look and shape, and my reservations about the grooves were erased when I saw how easy it is to clean. I’ve tried the whale (Yoru), but didn’t like the shape at all. If the shape and color of a red bird appeals to you more then try the Tori– I think it’ll be just like the Kushi.

NudeImpressions1Blush Nude Impressions 01 – I’m not a fan of Blush overall so it was hard for me to put this here. Really hard. But I couldn’t help myself with this darn good, affordable vibrator. It’s waterproof. It’s rechargeable. It has a strong suction cup. It’s silicone (of course). The vibrations are fairly strong and rumbly – it’s no We-Vibe Rave but for the price range and qualities, I think it gets overlooked. It can be used in a harness. It’s butt safe. It’s good for g-spots. It’s even good for external stimulation. Should I go on?

Favorite Sex Toy Companies of 2016

funkit2Funkit -This year I was blown away by the designs of Funkit. Yes, the first thing I focused on was the clear silicone and swirls of pigment but then I noticed the designs. I noticed how hard Kenton was working to perfect the designs and the lengths Kenton will go to to ensure that everything is as high-quality as possible. At first there were just a few dildos and a plug, but now there are paddles and hand-sex rings and even ball gags. Fancy a certain color combo? Funkit can abide. Shevibe is now stocking a few select colors/models from Funkit (including the rainbow “Crista” design)!

crownedjewelsCrowned Jewels -In a world rife with counterfeit stainless steel sex toy designs the originality and beauty of Crowned Jewels stood out.  Offering up stainless steel alternatives in either titanium (anodized for extra awesomeness) or aluminum alloys, these lightweight metal designs can be especially great for folks who worry that the heft of Njoy steel is too much. While their designs, for now, are a bit on the short and slender side, bigger (and better?) things are coming!  I’m excited to see the direction this company will take and their future designs.

wevibesyncpositionsWe-Vibe – “Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a g-spot vibrator with the motor of the Tango?” is probably something many many folks have said over the years. So We-Vibe listened, and created the Rave. Then they listened to the many complaints and downfalls of the typical rabbit vibe, and fixed that too by adding the motor of the tango. And making a unique and powerful clitoral arm. Nova is my number 2 favorite dual-stim sex toy (the L’amourse Denia is the top, but it was on last year’s list). And even though the flagship We-Vibe, that c-shaped couples vibe, has never been something I needed or loved, I have to give props to their new Sync. They fixed the “fit” issue so that it would accommodate the genitals of more people2, and made the motor more rumbly and powerful. It’s not perfect, of course – the Bluetooth doesn’t work when surrounded by flesh because of the position of the antenna3. Because of that it’ll probably never work for me, or others with large full labia, but who knows – maybe they’ll listen, and change that, too. I continue to look forward to their future vibrators! 

DoxyvDoxywideDoxy – While I love the Doxy Don (it used to be the Skittle), I don’t use it much these days. And while I appreciate the Doxy Wands, I never use them because I’m not a fan of broad stimulation or vibrations that aren’t deeply rumbly.  So why are they here? Because they are a stand-up company. Their products are high-quality, their customer service is superb and they’ve managed to hire a stellar manager for their US-based operations; Ruby is an amazing human. AND they sent Girl on the Net to us for Woodhull’s SFS16. Doxy has a few products coming down the pike for 2017 that I am 98% certain I’m going to fall in love with, so be EXCITED.

Problem Child Sex Toy Companies of 2016

lelohex22Lelo fell out of my favor years ago but it’s been getting worse. They started the year with a useless piece of fabric called the Penis Tuxedo, and took up the rest of the year on their even-more-useless condom, the Hex. They partnered with Charlie Sheen, a celeb known for abusing women, to act as their spokesperson and liaison to breaching Civilian Land as they try to fancy themselves a condom maker and sex toy maker. The promotion of a condom that can break and users don’t even know it broke is dangerous, ironic (Sheen is HIV+) and plain stupid. Any sex educator who promotes the Hex as a good condom has earned my distrust, and I’m done recommending Lelo products, period.

tracys-dog-burnTracy’s Dog – I loathed the company for a long time based on the brand name and the fact that they only sold their products on Amazon. Then I saw that they were including fake lab test reports on suspect dildos sent to reviewers; they lied about the lab tests and lied about the material. So when I was searching for a cheap, clear sex toy to use in my clear silicone post I couldn’t resist the purchase of the Tracy’s Dog rabbit, especially since 90% of the Amazon listing called it silicone. It’s not. I wouldn’t recommend buying anything from this brand; there are other brands to support instead, and Tracy’s Dog doesn’t have anything truly unique.

meoMEO.de – What happens when a sex toy retailer puts out a line of house-branded Njoy steel knockoffs, sells house-brand silicone lube mispackaged as water-based lube4, and labels a TPR-headed wand vibrator as silicone because they believe silicone is a “concept”? “We mainly use the concept of “silicone” in the German-speaking world. Our customers understand the term “silicone” a plastic, which is soft and moldable.” I get mad. Other bloggers get mad. And I realize that I can’t recommend them to my readers.  I don’t have a way to test which grade of stainless steel a company may be using and if it’s truly the most body-safe choice, so when I see something priced much lower than njoy, it is highly suspect in my eyes. MEO isn’t the worst ever but have made enough mistakes to cause me concern.

Worst Sex Toys of 2016

Fiera Arouser for HerFiera Arouser – The Fiera “don’t call it a sex toy” Arouser was only given to me for review by the company because I demonstrated the apparent ability to make them feel that I wouldn’t be mad in my review that it didn’t give me orgasms, because it’s not for orgasms, and also because I’ve been dealing with a very low libido. It’s a $200 (or $249 depending) item that is meant as a “warm up”. By combining some suction and light vibration, this sex toy is supposed to basically get you in the mood for sex, or something. But it won’t give you an orgasm, they don’t want it to, and insist that’s not the point. Your husband should give you the orgasm – and please read that bit with the incredulous sarcasm that is in my head. Also, the silicone head has to be replaced every few uses and they’re about $5 each.  It is gendered, hetero, and frankly – insulting. Try literally any other sex toy to achieve the same results. Yes, sex toy, because that’s what this IS.

JimmyJane Intro 4 and 6 with the Form 4 in the backgroundJimmyJane Intro Collection – I tried to give it a chance. I even psyched myself up and expected to enjoy it – rather than expecting to hate it like most Jimmyjame products I’ve tried and verbally (or literally) lit aflame. And boy was I sorely disappointed. I said in the review that I don’t hate the Intro pieces but I’m far from loving them, however as time has marched on I’ve gotten more salty over it especially after reading more about the Intro 2. There are plenty of other affordable sex toys that are better than anything in the Intro Line so please, do not waste your money on these buzzy, half-ass vibrations covered in lint-attracting silicone with some strange shapes.

missvvMiss VV’s Mystery / Miss On The Go – I couldn’t even give this one a proper review because this crappy product requires an app to be useful. And the app never worked for me, an Android user with the latest Samsung phone. First, the app claimed my Bluetooth wasn’t compatible5, and then the app just kept crashing. They don’t anticipate a fix for months, apparently. Good fucking thing I didn’t actually pay for this! To boot, the kegel exerciser is painful to wear as there is no “bend” or give in between the two sections. And that tail! So long! I couldn’t keep it in my pants. Even more strange was the fact that I kept getting notifications on my phone saying that “pillowprincess has canceled the invitation to play”. This means that someone supposedly was allowing me to chat with them and control their useless vibrator. How could this happen though with an app that has never worked? Maybe it’s the Ashley Madison syndrome – not enough users, so bots are available to control or be controlled to make you feel like the experience isn’t totally worthless.  And at $169, with buzzy, weak vibrations, Miss VV’s (real) Mystery is that someone thought this was a good idea. Raise a glass to yet another crowd-funded failure, folks.

Sex Toys of 2016 I Expected to Love More

tantusrumbleTantus Rumble – I wanted to love it, because Tantus. The body design is wonderful – ergonomic and lightweight, with removeable silicone heads for easy cleaning and sanitization. The let-down lay in what many of felt the name implied: rumbles. We admittedly all expected powerful, strong and rumbling vibrations due to words used in marketing. What we have are more gentle vibrations that are somewhere in between buzzy and rumbly. I can recommend it for folks who like broad stimulation and gentle-to-moderate vibrations, but for myself I just don’t love it.

vibratex mystic rechargeable wandMystic Wand Rechargeable – With a motor that felt just a bit buzzier than the original and construction problems making my wand not safe for further use, I was underwhelmed. Even if the silicone were glued on better, the vibrations are just not as amazing as the battery-powered version. It’s such a disappointment because otherwise I adore the body design. Another lightweight, ergonomic wand – albeit with vibrations more powerful than the Tantus Rumble.

swanwandSwan Wand – Fellow lovers of rumbling vibrations urged me to try the Swan Wand, and my few sessions with it left me a little disappointed. The larger end is the rumbly end and boy is it powerful and rumbly, but it’s too large for me to insert. No problem, it could just as easily be an external, broad stimulation vibrator – except I don’t prefer broad stimulation. The Swan Wand is dual-sided and nice, and it clearly is a favorite of many bloggers….just not my favorite. But I don’t hate it, either. I hope to get my full review up soon. The lovely Nashville-based Friction sent it to me and if you are in the Nashville area, contact RoseMarie!

Sex Toys I Look Forward to Trying in 2017

cravebulletCrave Bullet – I got to feel the vibrations when I visited Sexplorations in October, and liked it but I need more use time. I know that the world doesn’t really need another bullet, and I know it can’t best the Tango but something in me needs to try it. Despite the higher-than-Tango price tag on some colors. Hell I’d also like to try other Crave products, like the soft Crave Flex or Crave Solo – although the $139 price tag on the Crave Solo has kept me away all this time and it may prove to keep me away for good.

funkitFunkit CashewCashew is their plug, which can be for vaginal or anal use but I think it was designed to be a vaginal plug. I’m lazy and usually don’t like to thrust dildos anymore so a plug sounds dandy. Ages ago I used a particularly short and curvy wood dildo as a vaginal plug and loved it; then I tried a plug version of the defunct Jollie and hated it because it lacked an exterior base, so removal was a real bitch – it was like a silicone potato. But the Funkit base reportedly won’t get in the way, much, keeping the path for clitoral stimulation open while giving an easy out. The blue-green color of Cashew is at Shevibe now! Bonus!

bswishBswish Wand – Historically I’ve hated every Bswish thing I’ve tried; their motors were always weak as fuck as super buzzy. But the buzz on the street is that the wand is equal to or slightly better than the Mystic Wand so I’m intrigued! Given the price point on this, $31.99, I’m having conflicting feels. I can’t judge anything by the required 4 AAA batteries, since my beloved-and-now-departed Mystic Wand also took batteries.

lumberjillLumberjill Leisurecrafts – Soon to be stocked at Shevibe, I’m interested in trying out more wood sex toys. The designs of Mr Dick Carver have proven to be unique and interesting, without looking anything like Nobessence or, worse, a table leg. Wood is an amazingly beautiful material that is safe when coated properly, and no…..no splinters. It’s probably the least-understood and appreciated safe sex toy material. When coated in a permanently-slick waterproof coating, wood is as slick as glass but les fragile.

 

Hopefully you’ve found things to buy, things to avoid, and know where to spend your holiday money now. Did you have a favorite (or awful) sex toy this year that is notable? Let us know in comments!

  1. It turns out that by offering my RSS subscribers the chance to win not one $50 gift card, but three $50 gift cards, with the link to the gift card entry page only published in the weekly RSS newsletter, I felt compelled to write enough to have at least 3 RSS newsletters go out per month. Many years I would have months in which I only wrote a single post, but not 2016
  2. but like any sex toy, it won’t work for everyone
  3. on the side, under the serial numbers – if that spot is not “seeing the light of day”, Bluetooth won’t really work well and for me and my labia, that will never happen
  4. Causing toy damage with users – they recalled via emails
  5. if the latest phone isn’t compatible….then what is??
Dec 032012
 

 

Last  year I wrote up what I thought were the best & worst sex toys of 2011 and here I am again. My reviewing slowed down this year so I’m afraid I may have missed one or two that would deserve a spot on this list. If you can think of anything that I would consider worthy of this list, mention it! It will give me something to try in the new year. I’ve also included a few things on the list that I haven’t personally tried (*), but my Spidey Sense tells me my hunches are spot-on. That and reading from reviewers that I trust.

Best Sex Toys of 2012

Last year I could rattle off a few really stand-out new products. This year I’m having trouble coming up with more truly “wow” items simply because my tippy top favorite wins by such a giant landslide that everything is just “good” in comparison.

Best Vibrator of 2012 - We-Vibe Salsa & TangoBest Vibrator: Tango & Salsa by We-Vibe(Some of my research says these came out Dec2011/Jan2012, some research says earlier.) It’s no surprise to regular readers of my blog that this would be my number one pick as I have adored these vibrators for a multitude of reasons. They’re one of the few “luxury” sex toys that I fully stand behind the price tag and I will recommend these to just about anybody. I pretty much compare everything to them now and they can sometimes be the only vibrator that I use for weeks on end. Solo, partnered, stand-alone or paired with a dildo…it doesn’t matter. Best external vibrator, ever. Period. It is simply the most powerful mini vibe on the market – and it’s rechargeable. Those two facts don’t usually go hand in hand. It’s more rumbly than just about anything else, too. Pick any external vibe and this will blow it out of the water. Don’t let that scare off the sensitive girls though, because there are 4 speeds.
p.s. – Grab up the Salsa while you can at SheVibe.com if you prefer the red, black or white color, as it appears that We-Vibe has discontinued Salsa – Salsa & Tango are virtually identical except for the tip’s shape and the colors. Tango comes in baby blue, pink and purple. I also feel that the Salsa is more versatile for replacing the RO-80mm bullets.

Best Dildo - the Tantus AnacondaBest Dildo: This year’s best dildo is also one of the more unique things. Tantus came out with three new dildos this year specially made for people with short arms. Um, I think. Actually I don’t know what the idea was behind making dildos with handles, but I’d like to think the short-arms theory came up in the drawing room. The Anaconda is my favorite but for those that prefer a little more texture and a little less girth, the Echo and Goddess versions are awesome as well. While Tantus didn’t pioneer the whole handle-on-a-dildo thing, I think they perfected it. I’ve only ever seen similar styles in icky rubber dildos. You don’t want an icky, rubber dildo.

Sometimes Tantus has sales on these, so keep an eye on their site as well for the Anaconda, Echo Handle and Goddess Handle.

Aslan Leather Cherry Minx HarnessBest New-to-Me Find: Aslan Leather Harness – I’m one of those people who has a visceral reaction to the smell of true leather. Aslan Harnesses are made from the most awesome leather, ever. It’s buttery soft and beautiful. The Cherry color is just so incredibly sexy. While I can’t consider myself a harness expert, I’ve tried on a few and the Cherry Minx was the most comfortable one I’ve had on and that says a lot. I always used to think that being fat with hips and a gut meant I couldn’t find a harness but this company proves that thought wrong. The Cherry Jaguar is better for slimmer-to-curvy women, as the Minx adds in a corset backpad that allows for a bigger size increase if you need it. Really though, I think you’ll love any harness from Aslan. They’re just beautifully made and look awesome.

Vibrator "Enhancer" from Evolved - Turns any standard vibe into something anal-play-safeBest Sex Toy Accessory: Vibrator Enhancer* – It doesn’t cost much and it doesn’t really do much but yet if you’re really into anal play and like vibrations in your butt, then you need to own this. Nothing more than a stretchy hunk of silicone, it gives vibrators a flared base which is essential for safe anal play. Small, medium and large sizes will accommodate just about any sex toy on the market I think. I’ve read in more than one place that it can also turn a standard vibe into a dual stimulator, but I just don’t buy that. Anatomy doesn’t work that way for one, and two as we learned from the We-Vibe Touch, a hunk of silicone seriously dampens vibrations. The Enhancers are sold alone or in a three-pack; for the price, you should just get the three-pack, that way you’re certain to get the best fit. You want the enhancer to fit pretty tight – a barely-there grasp will be useless as an anal-play-safety device. Also keep in mind depending on where you’re able to put the enhancer, the all-around pressure on the vibrator might dampen vibrations on some toys. Just try to keep this thing on the handle of your favorite vibe. SADLY THIS HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED

Lelo Smart Wand Large with the Vixen Gee Whiz attachmentHonorable Mention: Lelo Smart Wand Large – I love the deep, rumbly vibrations and feel that they are less numbing than the Hitachi. It’s not as powerful but sometimes buzzy things like the Hitachi need to be more powerful in order to get some people off…..like me. I need less power when the vibrations are truly deep and rumbly. This doesn’t receive a ribbon though because you really get the most out of it as a sex toy only by adding in a Hitachi-compatible attachment like the Gee Whiz…plus the price tag of everything is a bit of a hindrance. But for rumble-enthusiasts and lovers of the posh look of Lelo, it’s a Good Thing. Heavy? Kinda. Much better as a back and body massager though than the Medium version, which earned a place down below.  If I could manage to keep this thing charged up all the time, I would use it more often than I do.

Lelo Tiani 2Best Re-Vamp Efforts: Lelo has revamped, for the better, the Tiani 2 (and I think anything else from the SenseMotion line), Tor II cock ring, Ina, Mona, and Elise. Lelo actually listened to the complaints of reviewers and while they obviously could not alleviate all concerns and please everyone, their efforts are worth mentioning. The Mona was never really a bad toy, but with a power boost to the Mona 2 and a change towards a more rumbly motor, it seems to be even better. They even addressed that demarcation line between silicone and plastic, making things easier to clean! The TorII cock ring (I’m told) was made more stretchy after my review, although it never really was the strongest contender in their line of revamps. Ina 2 gets a more flexible clitoral arm so that there’s less clamping going on, plus more rumbly power.

Worst Sex Toys of 2012

Hold on to Me Kegel Exercisers from the Bedroom Kandi line – Some women will love how these look, some women will hate them. I actually preferred the color scheme to the Lelo Luna Beads but that was the only singular positive thing about this utter failure. I had the head guy from OhMiBod (the manufacturer) insisting up down left and right that the holder for the beads was pure silicone. My insistence that it was not led to my Silicone Flame Testing post and video. The fails on the HOTM begin with the name and end at “will snap your vag like a rubber band oh and the paint flakes off”. Yeah.

Fixsation Couples Vibe – I knew the very second I opened the package that I was going to hate this item. Hate. It’s worthless for women who need more than just a little vibration and generic pressure to get off. At best it was annoying, at worst it was quite painful. It’s definitely not a “fat chick approved” sex toy, despite them offering the “””panty””” (I cannot put enough sardonic quotes around that word to describe it) in plus sizes.

We-Vibe Thrill – Part of the reason I hated the Thrill so badly was that I was expecting it to have the same motor as my beloved Tango/Salsa. It might, buried somewhere in the confines of the Dumbest Sex Toy Design This Year. It didn’t do anything for any part of my genitals, but hey my thumb got quite the buzz! Wait. Thumb? This toy would be great for women who require feather touches to their clit and a little buzz to the g-spot. If you need anything more than that, keep on lookin.

Lelo’s Smart Wand in Medium – As much as I enjoyed the Large Smart Wand, the Medium left a lot to be desired. Wimpy (equal to the original Mona), not at all living up to the “wand” name, worthless as a sex toy and more worthless as a body massager, it felt like an overpriced (but pretty) waste of money.

Duet by Crave – I didn’t review this, Epiphora gave us that honor. It confirmed my fears and despite being a giant geek, I was not at all willing to shell out $150 of my own money to echo her review. When we first saw this sex toy it was in beta, and all that was talked about was the fact that it was USB storage AND a vibrator ALL IN ONE. Sure…..if you wanna pay something like $225. For 16GB of storage. I always thought that the Lelo Mia would be better if it had USB storage capability but Piph made a very valid point: Unless you were to copy the porn file to the computer in question, it’s not like you can watch porn from the vibrator while you’re using it. Unless you truly enjoy something clamping your clit in a pinch that could turn ugly at the wrong moment, the vibrations are paltry and frankly…Crave should be ashamed of themselves. The vibe was also a lot bigger than I had expected and not even the posh look and adorable black leather carrying case could charm me. * It should be noted that this opinion is based on the original version of the Duet, and since then Crave has re-vamped the vibe with more power and less pinchy tips. I haven’t personally tried it, so I can’t speak for the updated version.

Evi by Aneros – Aneros should stick to prostate toys. The idea behind the EVI is the same as their prostate toys – hands-free, it works by you clenching and unclenching muscles, basically. It may work for some (I’ve heard some glowing reviews, boggled as I may be) but it was an utter failure for me. It is supposed to stimulate both clit and g-spot in a back-and-forth motion via pressure alone. It doesn’t come anywhere near my g-spot OR my clit. It’s, quite honestly, a very boring sex toy. Just looking at the photos on the site again boggles me as the majority of dual-stim toys are C-shaped…and this is um, not. It felt like it was pressing into my ass.