Mar 202013

This is a viewpoint of Catalyst from a person with serious social anxiety issues which sometimes manifest into mild agoraphobia. Add on top of my social awkwardness a “neutral face” that makes me look forever pissed off + food allergy issues turning me into a manic panicked individual minus the cool hair color….and yeah. I got through this as best as I could, albeit I wasn’t at my best this year. It bothers me, it has made me feel like shit about myself, and compounded my self-doubts. I tried. I failed a lot. I fucked up. Hopefully next time is better?

I’ve been trying all week to put my finger on what went wrong for me at CatalystCon this weekend. I’m not saying it was bad. It just wasn’t exceedingly awesome for me, as awesome as Momentum had been the two years prior. I think it was me. I mean sure, there were issues, we don’t like in utopia. The restaurant, while being extremely willing to make me a safe meal, was still having the same major issues as last year: a 30-45 minute wait on your food. When the weekend is so jam-packed, that’s a big problem. I didn’t eat there much, and in fact snarfed down a sandwich alone in my room every day. There are the catacombs of Crystal City, under the hotel, but the fact is that they’re large, confusing and not at all accessible to someone who can’t do steps – or someone with a baby stroller (forget if you are in a scooter or wheelchair).

I wanted to attend Dirty Bingo, since it seemed to be the thing to do and I enjoyed it last year, but when we got there it was about 90 degrees in the room and jam packed. At least 3 times as many people as last year. I was NOT dealing well with overcrowded spaces this past weekend, which happened a lot. A “Sexy Soiree” party after dinner Saturday was the same – crowded, loud and too warm. I ran away fast.

Lest I sound like I took nothing away from the weekend, I want to sing the praises loudly of the session I’d waited for since CatalystWest had announced it last fall, Toxic Toys of course. This session alone made it worth my while and that session has lit a fire under me like nothing else. And even though I felt kinda invisible the whole weekend, I was still appreciate of the wonderful people that exist in this bubble of the world.

I decided to hang out this time and put that over sessions. There were sessions I had wanted to attend, but I only went to Toxic Toys. I tried a few others, which were popular and/or the room was way too warm (the panel that the Swingset crew did I saw about 1.5 minutes of before I had to either exit the room or pass out). 

Highlights included a truly lovely dinner with Tantus and fellow Tantus reviewers; hanging out with my beloved Crista and her wonderful boys; having my brain filled with geeky facts from Lorax of Sexand SexualScientist; chatting with MarvyDarling/Sarah – she is tiny and energetic and freakin cute, she is wonderful; I got to hang out with Sandra from SheVibe, and her crew, and I love her so hard; ohgodtoxictoys talk about my ultimate thing right there; Metis introducing me to Tom of Sportsheets who really wanted me to see a rusty metal ben-wa ball (and that’s going to be a post, oh boy, will that be a post); all of the time I got to spend with Jenna of Tantus, and just general awesome conversations with friends. I wish I’d had more, though. I had hugs from some of my favorite people (good lord Tim can give hugs like nobody’s business, I heart that man) and just talked about sex toys so very much. This was wonderful. 

I think Catalyst outgrew that hotel. Which is a good thing, on so many levels. But it became so difficult to find people, to move, to talk. And that all led to me becoming more introverted than I wanted to be. I couldn’t handle it. I was so overwhelmed, that by Sunday’s (fucking awesome) closing keynote with Carol Queen and her husband Robert Morgan Lawrence, when Robert said that the whole room was filled with sex educators, that we were all educators my first thought was “Can I put that on my business card?” but instead I tweeted and wondered if he really meant us all, if me with just this blog could use that term too, I couldn’t stand up and ask the question. Lorax did it for me when I shied away. I simply did not have the ability to speak up and stand up and have everyone look at me, in case I would say it wrong or dumb. My social agoraphobia was just in full swing by then. After the closing keynote was over, I wished I had had the ability to go up and say something to Robert and Carol, but I did not. I retreated and shrunk. *sigh*

The dynamic of this year compared to previous years for me was SO different that it has a small part of me questioning if I’ll attend next year, if there is another CatalystEast. I have an idea for something that might make Saturday evening more my style, but I have a feeling that it isn’t something that can be pulled off by me.  I would like to take the ideas that have been done this year and past years for a “party” gathering, where food is served, but those were held in rooms that are on the hotel room floors called Presidential/Executive suites – they are small, and end up being so crowded that you can’t hardly move and so loud you can’t really hear. And hot. And overwhelming to people like me. So my idea then is to have something on Saturday evening for a few hours, extremely casual. Pizza. Utilize one of the meeting rooms like the sessions were in. I’m thinking a few hour event for sex bloggers of all types, hosted by the Sex Blogger Co-Op, sponsored by a lovely store/retailer, where the bloggers can all talk to each other about bloggery things and sex toys, and the sex toy manufacturers that are in attendance can talk to us casually and we can talk to them and it’s all just….casual. Networking, sort of, but mostly just being able to hang out with and geek out with our crowd. Perhaps a trivia game thrown in with some prizes of sex toys. I think there were a number of sex bloggers there that I never even got to meet this time. Anyways, since this idea of mine isn’t as big as the other things that go on, like readings and Cinekink and bingo, I doubt I would be able to make it happen the way I envision.

Am I wrong in assuming that many of the bloggers who are bloggers like me are social “misfits” like me? Not everyone, of course, but many? Or am I really just that much of a special snowflake? ;)

Oh, and to update those who were wondering: I had planned on doing the big silicone lube vs silicone sex toys testing at Catalyst. But when Jenna and Lorax and I started talking about it and doing it, especially after hearing about the bio-cumulative effects of cadmium, we wondered if perhaps there could also be a cumulative effect of the silicone lube. Like that maybe a few minutes wouldn’t do much, and maybe 24 hours wouldn’t do much, but what about doing it all over time, again and again? So IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE I plan to hack up various brands of silicone and start performing even more in-depth tests. The results won’t be done for a few weeks. But it will happen!!

ToolShedtoys.comAnd finally I’d like to send a really huge thank you to Laura and The Tool Shed, my latest site sponsor who heard my last minute “Oh shit, life fucked me over and my funds for Catalyst are dangerously low” moans, and their banner resides over there in the sidebar. I was so sad that Laura was too sick to attend this year herself, because in addition to running a freakin awesome sex toy shop in Milwaukee, she is an awesome lady all around. The Tool Shed is super sex-positive and is a member of the Progressive Pleasure Club. Anything that The Tool Shed carries is a safe item.

Mar 252012

In less than a week I’ll be at Momentum, back in my beloved bubble of My People. Of course, in exactly a week’s time from right now, the moment I’m writing this, the bubble will be slowly bursting and all of my lovely friends will be departing for home and quite likely I’ll be alone in my hotel room for awhile. Hopefully I’ll be able to do things different this time and be able to write better about sessions I attend. Last year I tried to take notes and live tweet but all of that left me missing out on key statements – let’s face it, I have the focus and attention span of a gnat. This year I’ll be getting over my high school / college era anxiety and will be parking my ass in the front rows for many sessions so that I can just take personal use audio recordings for later perusal. I’m hoping that my fear of public speaking (or performance, as was the case growing up of participating in piano recitals) will not cripple me for the morning on Saturday. The session Laura and I are presenting is nothing like anything else going on (we’re doing a geeky session on Blogging) which could work for us or against us. It fits in with Momentum but yet in a tiny way it doesn’t. The UK recently had a conference called ErotiCon and while at first it seemed to deal a lot with the erotic writing and such, there was still a lot of sessions that would have been very useful and at least one that sounded similar to the one we’ll be doing. After reading someone’s re-counting of a session they attended there I’ve realized that I’m technically not a sex blogger anymore – I fall into a better category called sex journalist. But can one be called a journalist if they’re only writing on their own blog?

Momentum is probably one of the few sexuality events that is attended by all sorts of people who are horny perverts in their own ways yet there is no “play” party or plans of sexy orgies. At least not for me. I just want to soak up the company of People Similar To Me while it’s available before returning to my currently-boring life. Perhaps inspiration will strike me when I’m down there, who knows. If it will happen any place, it will happen there. The sessions blow my mind. The abundance of influential people is awesome and scary.

Overall I’ve been very excited for this weekend for the last few months. Some things have happened in the last week or two – seemingly minor things to other people but things that nonetheless speak volumes to me – which have set in motion a terrific depression and a heartache of epic proportions. So if you are at MomentumCon and catch me in a moment where I think nobody is looking (or I lose my self-control for a moment and my mask slips) and you wonder why I look so miserable….just give me a hug. Or a cigarette. Or both. I’ve not smoked in months but damn I need one lately. I have no fucking idea yet what I’ll be wearing because my entire wardrobe has been the butt of some huge cosmic joke or karma for who knows what. No big deal to some people but (confession time here) I’m one of Those Women who somehow think that a killer outfit will make up for the fact that my personality is not always sparkling and vivacious, that my social skills are lacking and that I’m not conventionally beautiful. Will a really great outfit (or at least ass-kicking boots) be enough to shut off the little voices in my head? You know, the destructive ones. I don’t know. I guess I can try. If I could suddenly heal this heartache the weekend would look much brighter but I can only hope that I’ll find a way out of the grey cloud long enough to enjoy the friends I so rarely get to see. Hopefully I can get it through my head that they won’t love me more if my nails are properly manicured or if I were 80 pounds lighter and just relax.

Jan 272012

I have 6 drafts that are half-finished. I’ve been in some state or another of “sick” this week and feeling like crap, exhausted and lacking patience. I’m away this weekend so all these posts will have to wait, and I hope I can conjure up their thought trains again.

My main point to this post is to say “ILU” to the people who purchase sex toys through my affiliate link. The sales aren’t racking up this month like they were in December, but December was still a banner month, more than I’d ever made before. These sales make me feel like I’m not sitting here wasting away, like I’m contributing to the household or at least not draining it. Thank you, it means more than you know. Also, I’m DYING of curiousity whenever I see a sale and I wonder what you bought, so if you ever feel like telling me – TELL ME!

EF is interviewing one of my favorite people right now, Ducky, so go ask her some crazy questions. Crazy questions, though, not  just “I’m doing this for the hell of it” questions with bad grammar.

Oo!oo! EF is having another one of those sales, where your discount goes up the more you spend. GO BUY SEX TOYS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY. BUY ALL THE TOYS. HAVE ALL THE SEX. Partnered? Sex toys. Solo? SEX TOYS. I mean hey, you should always learn to love yourself first, right? Oh wait, I don’t think “love” is what they meant with that saying. You know. AIRQUOTE love /AIRQUOTE.

EdenFantasys Valentine's Day Sale Codes

I know what I’m buying with this deal. Since I like the We Vibe Touch so much, I want to own the We Vibe Salsa and Tango. I wonder why the latter two are named after sexy dances but the Touch isn’t? Hmm.

Oh! I might possibly have gotten a lead on finally doing some of those sex toy education workshops I’ve talked about. Very exciting. I suck at public speaking and I’m initially very shy so I have NO clue how this will go the first time or the first ten minutes. Perhaps vodka will be the key?

Anyways, coming up in posts: More sex toy reviewer interviews, with Epiphora and Adriana. My ticked-off review of the JimmyJane Form 6. Review of the We Vibe Touch and Minna Ola. A fun game of “spot the sex toy” with Tumblr porn. I might talk about the Pipedreams Curve wand, a steel toy that may or may not be stainless steel and is a knock-off, design-wise, of the Njoy Fun Wand. Waiting on info for a big tell-all post about our favorite material: Silicone! And some upcoming fun stuff with Crystal Delights, makers of pretty glass and Swarovski butt plugs and dildos. But now I’m off to go tend to my very aching back and smell my own tits.

whut. they smell nice. I’ve just discovered Philosophy’s Amazing Grace scent. You can smell them too, cuz ILU.


this post sponsored is by: EdenFantasys (What this means), a sex toy store

Jan 162012

Now I turn the tables on other reviews, after answering these questions myself in Part 1!

Elizabeth Red has been reviewing sex toys for quite a few years now at her blog, The Red Sneaker Diaries. I would say that she’s a good combination of a little bit forgiving and objective mixed with honest1 and intellectual in her reviews. You can view most of her reviews on her blog here at her toy box page. I also love her Lube Lab pages where she breaks down the different types of lube in all their scientific hotness. Elizabeth is the first in a short series of long-time reviewers that I’ve asked to answer 4 easy (or are they?) questions about sex toys and reviewing.

1. How many toys, roughly, have you reviewed or acquired in other ways since you started reviewing?

Answer: 300 review products + at least 100 items via swaps and purchasing

2. How many of them actually saw a lot of use past the review session?

Answer: I will give you two answers.  

A:  Lots saw use after initial trial session.  Probably 75% of them.  Now a days I probably pick things up for fun use only about 30% of the time but early on I used almost everything a handful of times before letting it get dusty.  This excludes books, which I just never reread.  

B:  I have been actively trimming my collection for a while now, I think I’ve probably kept about a hundred things2, so that’s how many I would say saw real active use that lasted over time.  Still, many of those see little use but fill niches that I get a hankering for every once in a while.  Honestly, I feel like I could choose just a few dozen of my real favorites and be happy with them.

3. What toys have been your top favorites over all the time you’ve been reviewing?

Answer: Hitachi Magic Wand, The Wahl, Eroscillator, We Vibe Touch, Lelo Siri, Saryoa and Gigi, Nobessence Linger and Fling, my Hans Hardwood dildo, Vixskin Maverick, Jollies Jollet, Njoy Pure Plugs, Aneros Peridise, my TENS unit, Bongers3, Venerous Shaving Trio,  LeatherThorn Rose Blush Paddle, my custom Leatherbeaten Flogger.

4. What has been the most important thing or two you’ve learned since becoming a reviewer that you didn’t know as a consumer?

Answer: This is harsh, but what I now know is that as a consumer I’d be totally fucked.  Obviously I enjoy luxury toys but many of the luxury toys I’ve had that I was soooooo stoked about getting have been total duds4, and many on my list of favorites I was not expecting to love as much as I do.  Maybe that’s more an issue with having tried so many things, however.  I guess what I do now know is that one should never pay full retail price on anything – it *will* go on sale.

Thank you, Red! I would very much agree with the last answer. I think I spent around $300 or $400 in my time purchasing sex toys the few years prior to reviewing them and I don’t use a single one anymore. My most expensive splurges were SO not worth the money; the Doc Johnson rabbit was great and amazing for a couple of runs and then it quickly turned on me. That soured me on spending over $75 on a single item. I also bought the Feeldoe before it was bought up by Tantus; it was just as expensive back then (probably more so since it was being made by a smaller company?) and I ended up not able to ever use it for the intended purpose. It sat around mostly unused for quite some time. Occasionally I’d use it as a dildo on myself but I eventually put it up on Toyswap.

  1. I respect anybody who can disagree on that dumb Better Than Chocolate vibrator: “no. No this vibrator is not better than chocolate. I’m not such a super duper fan of chocolate but, just, no. What this vibrator is better than, aside from a kick in the face, is a lot of other vibrators.”
  2. I know how many things she’s sent away to better homes from her ToySwap list so to hear she still has about 100 things left is mind blowing!
  3. This bizarre-o looking set of what appeared to be large drum mallets that Babeland had, you’ll find the review listed on her Toy Box page
  4. Ugh, yes, I so agree

What Makes Me Happy: Sharing Sex Ed Info

 Blogging, Navel-Gazing  Comments Off on What Makes Me Happy: Sharing Sex Ed Info
Sep 252011

Long ago and far away when I actually did HNT and then WW on a regular basis AND tried hard to get nice photos, it was quite a compliment when the occasional pic would get reblogged via someone’s Tumblr1.

But this is better. WAY BETTER.

I was getting hits from Tumblr again and so I clicked through to find out what had been reblogged and was DELIGHTED to find out that someone was sharing my Sex Toy Care and Cleaning Guide page. (Which now makes me want to go update it and see if I can make it even better) Considering how passionate I am about people learning about the safe materials and the bad things to stay away from, this makes me hugely happy. I think it was this chick who originally posted about it, adding in this:

I guess the reason why I’m posting there seems to be little info on this kinda stuff despite the fact that plenty of folks who follow me and who I follow use sex toys. It’s worth while sharing info and most of all it’s important to be safe when doing what ever gets you to reach the big O

Another gal reblogged and this which I thought was cute:

Important info, but I can’t help but giggle at this line — Turn it on and make sure the batteries are strong or the charge is recent – there’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a jerk-off session to have your favorite vibrator die out.

Hey, it’s true!! I’m not sure what’s worse, finding out before you even start that your toys are dead or having them die halfway through. Either way ends with no orgasm for me.

Someone else who reblogged also added in a note saying that the post on how Jelly Sex Toys are Dangerous is almost more important to read also made me happy. Have thousands of people reblogged these? No. But if 65 reblogged, and even just 10 people on each of those Tumblrs read this info and learn something new…..I’m happy.

I still don’t quite know how I’m going to do it, but I will somehow teach workshops about sex  toy education to prevent others from buying jelly or CalExotics crap.

  1. Ok well then it got a little bit annoying because I’d have people come to me and say “hey isn’t that your photo on that Tumblr, uncredited?”. Yeah. Flattering but I’m not fond of people taking my work and using it as their own (which I’ve seen done, they pull it from a Tumblr that didn’t bother to keep in the linkback)
Aug 022010

One of the reasons I loved Sugasm and I love doing e[lust] is finding new blogs to read that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Rori at Between My Sheets posted the list of 30 (!!! Amazing guys!) volunteer judges for this year’s Top Sex Bloggers list. Looks like I’ve got some new blogs to go check out, as I’ve not heard of a number of these.

Without further ado, here are your 2010 judges:

  1. Bunny from Sex Kitten Chronicles
  2. Lilly from Dangerous Lilly
  3. Bilinda from Fantasies of an UnOfficial Concubine
  4. Stan, a BMS reader
  5. Brandis, a BMS reader
  6. Amanda from Bad All By Myself
  7. Nanny from Naughty Mommy Reviews and Junk
  8. Red from The Red Sneaker Diaries
  9. Dallas from Naughty Americans
  10. Becky from Empire Labs
  11. Arabella from Bombsells & Rockstars
  12. Emme from Maui Kink
  13. Sir Zoomer from Vanilla-Xtract
  14. Vixen from Secrets of a Blue-Eyed Vixen and Tits for Troops
  15. Nadia from Diary of a Kinky Librarian
  16. Chris, a BMS reader
  17. Fantasia Lilith from Pillow Talk Press
  18. Monicker, a BMS reader
  19. Janie, a BMS reader
  20. Arvan, from SexGenderBody
  21. Martin, a BMS reader
  22. Roxy from Uncommon Curiosity
  23. Brian, a BMS reader
  24. Ruth from Geeky Nymph
  25. Violet from Screaming Violet
  26. Mr. C, a BMS reader
  27. Crista Anne from PinkSexGeek[dot]com
  28. Inara de Luna from Temple of the Red Lotus, The Qadishtu Experience, and Petals in Ink
  29. Cin from Seeing My Own Reflection
  30. Jaye from MacLeod & Valentine

Some of these people I already know and love, and some I need to start checking out. You should too!

While I’m at it, I’ve got my own little list of volunteers that deserve an extra little bit of thanks, for their present or past help on e[lust] things, in no particular order: