Feb 092012
 

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 toys 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. 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. 

Actually Silicone is porous but where silicone holds its benefit against bacteria is that Silicone, by nature, has low surface energy and is hydrophobic  “water-fearing,”. These two features greatly reduce the risk of giving bacteria a place to live. Most bacteria needs a moist environment to live and Silicone, by its very nature, typically prevents that from happening. Silicone can also be made with antibacterial properties embedded into its chemistry but for Tantus’ use of silicone, embedding those properties adds higher-than-expected levels of toxicity to the material and may tend to kill helpful bacteria in the human body. And finally, Silicone can typically withstand temperatures of 125 C for short lengths of time without breaking down its structural and physical properties. The ability to withstand high temperature allows Silicone to be sterilized between uses.

Ok so they can still be sanitized. They’re not going to hold onto larger 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 versus PVC or thermoplastic?

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. You may see things called TPR-Silicone, Silicone-Elastomer Blend, SEBS, Cyber-Silicone. These terms were either made up for marketing purposes years ago or is a result of a communication gap between the manufacturing plant overseas and the branded company. What would be the point in adding in some (much more expensive) silicone to a cheap and porous material? It won’t suddenly make it non-porous. It won’t actually provide any benefit. Sex toy companies started to learn that many people want silicone, so they started to come up with clever ways to make it seem like they’re giving you something special, when they’re not. It should also be noted that sex toy retailers copy from each other, and that they don’t quickly update their information – so if a manufacturer was once using the false “blend” term, and then stopped, the retailer likely won’t change. I used to see a lot of sex toys on EdenFantasys labeled as “TPR Silicone” and when you look at the manufacturer’s site, they usually refer to it as “TPR”..

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 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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.

Nobessence Fling – A Unique Wooden G-spot Dildo

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Dec 102011
 

Nobessence Fling, a wooden g-spot/prostate dildoThe Nobessence Fling is an ergonomic, wooden dildo that goes beyond a simple handle – it actually has a hole where two fingers rest perfectly and comfortably. Fling is actually pretty discreet, too, since it doesn’t look like a dildo thanks to that handle. I would feel pretty good about passing this off as a trigger point massager – I have fibromyalgia and other things and trigger point massage therapy works pretty well for me; My bad spots are all on my back, shoulders and neck so I can’t do it myself with just fingers and the Fling actually does a decent job of that. If I were to travel with this sex toy I would feel confident that most people aren’t going to assume that it is a dildo. Especially since it is wood and the sex toy uninitiated usually don’t think of dildos being made from wood. The box that it arrives in is like all Nobessence boxes – padded on the inside and made from sturdy pressboard in two pretty colors – and can be used for storage (the sticker on the bottom is the only thing that gives away the sexy toy status and the sticker removes easily) but isn’t good for travel.

Fling is pretty small and is definitely a g-spot (or prostate) dildo. It is not going to provide much sense of fullness but it will do the job it was made for – target the g-spot. The fat bulbous head maxes out at just over 1.5 inches (but is not the 1.75 inches listed on the site) and the insertable portion is at most 3.5 inches. This shouldn’t be an issue for most as usually the g-spot/prostate isn’t going to be any farther inside than 3 inches (anatomy varies, so “1-3 inches” is considered the generic gauge). The way that the handle is made forces your hand and fingers to cup and curve a bit and if you hold it as intended this translates into a small range of motion that concentrates on pushing the bulb up and into the g-spot. Pressure combined with a little massage is usually a sure-fire way to get your g-spot to respond. The finger-hold can work if your partner is using it on you as well; they’ll probably want to slide it palm-side down (like a bad-ass set of brass, er, wooden knuckles!).

Nobessence Fling, a wooden g-spot/prostate dildoNobessence Fling, a wooden g-spot/prostate dildo

Like any Nobessence “sculpture”, Fling is beautiful. Glossy, shiny and slick it is made non-porous and body-safe by the coating. Check out the care & cleaning for Wood section on my sex toy care guide, and feel free to use any type of lube that you love best (but you won’t need much!) Directly from the manufacturer’s site:

NobEssence’s trade secret Lubrosity™ coatings and processes stem from years of meticulous research and development and meet USP Class IV and VI Medical Standards. Sculptures attentively encapsulated in Lubrosity™ coatings are odorless, may be soaked in water, and remain in body-contact for hours at a time – no waxes to melt away, no salad bowl oils to leach out or maintain, and no toxic petroleum distillates.

I won’t mislead you – Fling isn’t cheap – but there really is no other sex toy out there quite like the Fling and the quality of any Nobessence item makes the cost easier to tolerate. Provided you don’t drop a wooden dildo on a hard surface (it probably won’t break but if it lands right it might dent or crack it a little – in which case seek a replacement) it will last a long time. There is nothing in a Nobessence wooden dildo that will react with any lube or other toy material.

The Nobessence Fling is something I’ve wanted for a long while and now that I have it I have something that will have a permanent home in my overnight bag – Fling is a perfect travel dildo. Small, discreet, easy to clean and it weighs practically nothing (5 ounces, I think?).

 

Review: “Divine Diva” Plus Size Strap-on Harness by Sportsheets

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Sep 232011
 

When it comes to choosing a strap-on harness for yourself, especially when purchasing adult toys online where you can’t feel the material, “confusing” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Confusion is compounded if you’re larger than a size 16/18 (US sizing there). Many harnesses give a waist measurement and a leg opening measurement but they forget one crucial thing about women of all sizes: we don’t all have flat stomachs. Your body shape and where you carry your weight factors heavily into choosing a harness AND how it will fit on your1 body2

My very first experience with a strap-on harness also coincided with my first pegging experience and my first real BDSM experience as being the top. Let’s just say that there was much failure in all aspects – the least of which was that I did not fit into the harness and I was too embarrassed to tell the (thankfully blindfolded) guy this. Not to mention that it was difficult to get the thing on.

There are two main styles for strap-on harnesses: G-string and Jock. Both have waist straps; g-string covers you much like a pair of panties and goes up the crack of your ass. Jock style has leg straps that connect from the bottom of the dildo base section and run up to the waist strap in the back, and those straps hug your thigh crease. Jock style allows for complete access to the wearer’s genitals but for some it can be a little bit more confusing to get into at first. The Diva Harness by Sportsheets is supposedly made with larger women in mind – not just that it expands to a very big size (up to 84″ waist) but they claim that the wider waist straps are plus-size friendly, and the fact that the waist strap adjustment “ladder locks” (think backpack strap adjustors) are at the back and protected with a layer of padding in between them and your skin means more comfort as well. The thinner leg straps also are meant to well….sink into your curves better and not chafe/gouge as opposed to thicker straps(? I don’t know how wide vs thin straps fare, never tried anything else). The front pad is completely soft and plush and so it bends with you (unlike “latigo leather” harnesses which are generally stiff).

At first when I tried it on, the padded section sat more on my stomach than where I’d want it to sit – which would be right over my pubic mound. The second time I tried it on I was able to adjust it and put that padded section underneath my belly so that the base of the dildo would mostly be pressing against the top of my vulva and my clitoris might receive some pressure (for those women with less prominent outer labia and more prominent clits, you’ll receive even more stimulation from a harness if the dildo base hits you there).

There is a downside to this harness being able to fit such a wide range of women – it could be made to fit smaller women, as well – and that is the excess straps. Ideally when you have a harness it is yours and yours alone – so trimming the nylon webbing straps so that you don’t have 2 feet of them dangling down is an option. Except that if you trim them too much the webbing might very well come out of the plastic ladder locks when you loosen everything when it’s time for the harness to be removed. You could somehow tuck the excess webbing strap back into the leg and waist bands of the harness but that cuts down on comfort a lot. Dangling straps get in the way and do not look sexy; you will not at all look like the model on the box if you leave the excess straps dangling, lol. Then again, the model on the box isn’t what I’d ever call “plus-size”; it’s like looking at buying a size 20 dress when it’s modeled by a size 4.

While this harness does come with 3 various-sized rubber o-rings to fit many dildo sizes, the straps that hold the o-ring in place have one issue: there’s only three of them. Ideally there would be four points – 10 and 2 and 8 and 4 if we’re looking at a clock. With this one the third strap goes straight down to 6 o’clock. Why does this matter? Well, four straps are always going to be more sturdy than three if you are using a larger/heavier dildo. And if you happen to use dildos that are more “realistic” and have balls, you won’t be able to use those with a 3-strap o-ring base. This Beginner Harness has the 4 straps, the ability for the padded section to be removed (for use with a Feeldoe or more skin contact, etc but is only moderately plus-sized, fitting “up to 60″  which means it may or may not work for you if you’re right at that 60” line or a few inches below, depending on how you wear it)

This isn’t the prettiest harness out there. It’s not bad-ass masculine leather with shiny studs, it’s not pretty leather with laces, there is no femme-y corset style adjustment in the back – It’s plain, it’s androgynous and it’s styled for moderate comfort.

Enough about the specs and looks: How does it perform?

I will admit that I wasn’t able to use this on a willing warm body. Instead I employed my husband’s now-neglected Fleshlight. I don’t actually own many silicone dildos with bases that are harness-compatible so I first used the Tantus Silk Medium (with the Fleshlight) and then out of curiosity I tried out the Greta that I reviewed long ago. With a 1″ diameter, the Silk Medium had some wiggle room left in the smallest rubber o-ring. It seemed to fare alright, though. At the same time I used one of my trusty corded bullet vibes – if I were the wearer I’d want something buzzing on my clit, personally – just to see what would happen with thrusting and base contact. Even with my very full outer labia to help keep it in place, the fact that the base of the dildo still hit just above my clit meant that the bullet was pushed down from the top and kept sliding out of perfect position. The solution in my eyes would be to cut a slit in the outer fabric of the plush base, the side that rests against you, and fashion a snug pocket for your bullet to sit in. Hem/stitch the cut edges I guess so that the fabric doesn’t tear or degrade when you wash the harness (yes, it can be washed). Now mind you, I didn’t try this out yet but I think I will. Please think hard before altering a $50 harness of your own :)

So what about the nylon webbing, did it cut into me? Yeah, most notably the leg straps. Did I have them too tight? Maybe. Since they attach to the front piece at the very bottom pulling the leg straps pulls the front piece down more. I thought I needed more stability, but the straps were then so low (or far back depending on how you look at it) that it would have been a little bit cumbersome for someone else to use a toy inside me. Also, because the leg straps were snug in the standing position it meant that in a wide-spread fucking stance the straps dug in something fierce. I still had red marks an hour afterwards. 

When I tried the harness with the Greta I’d wanted to see how it would hold up to a large, heavy dildo. That one is 2″ (2.25″ at the head) and the rubber o-rings do have some stretch so I was able to get the o-ring on but it wasn’t easy. Keep in mind then you also have to get the straps for the o-ring in between the ring and the dildo. Again, not easy. The weight of Greta pulled down on the soft front piece, especially at the very top. It probably wouldn’t work very well in use but I can’t say that for certain. 

The o-ring snaps can be cumbersome, so it’s best to switch the dildos when you’re not wearing the harness (or have your partner attempt to do it for you). If you have anything other than a flat belly it’s probably just too frustrating to do while wearing it yourself. As you can see below, the snap is underneath, not on top. The bit of nylon webbing that you can grab to pull the snap is very small – slippery fingers or a difficult snap will make things frustrating. The bottom snap on mine was very hard to open up for some reason.

The harness might look confusing at first when it’s laid out but it’s simpler than it looks. Your legs go in between the front pad and the thin leg straps. Pull on the straps (don’t angle the strap out, pull straight from the ladder lock) to snug it up a bit. Then position the leg straps so that they rest in the crease where thigh meets hips and ass. You might want to alternately snug up the waist straps and the leg straps to gradually get it into position. Grab the waist straps and pull them from your hip line straight out in front of you. To release the straps for taking it off or readjusting, take the outer “lip” of the plastic ladder lock and pull it away from your body. That allows the strapping’s tension to ease up so it can be pulled through the ladder locks, which is quite quick and easy actually.

It’s not a bad harness – it’s great for plus-size beginners who don’t have access to real stores where they can feel and maybe even try on over clothing. It’s affordable without being cheaply made or horribly uncomfortable. If you are in the market for a harness and would like to know anything else about this one, feel free to email me with questions. I know how difficult it is to read a review and have any idea if it’s going to work with your size or body shape.

 

 

     

Update: 2013: I’d still agree that for plus-size women, this is a decent, affordable harness. However, if you’ve purchased this and are now sure that you’d like to continue down the harness path but want something more comfortable I would suggest that you upgrade to Aslan Leather harnesses. Every single discomfort aspect that I experienced with this Divine Diva disappeared with the Aslan harness. I own the Cherry Minx; Minx styling has a corseted backpad to allow it to expand even further. I actually didn’t need that aspect if I was positioning the base to be resting on my pubic mound. I would have if I wanted the straps to be around my actual waist (meaning base would be on my tummy). But the leather that Aslan uses is “garment leather” and it’s the softest leather around. The harness is just so damn comfortable.  I realize that the price difference between Aslan and Sportsheets is huge, but if it’s something you plan to use (with one partner, not shared between multiples) on a very regular basis then I would highly recommend that you invest in it.

  1. Are you heavy but without tummy rolls like this woman? You might still appreciate the plushness of the front piece but you could also possibly tolerate a harness with a more firm leather portion which adds stability overall
  2. Do you carry a lot of weight in your middle, with tummy rolls like this woman or this woman? (NSFW links) Then you’ll want a harness with a plushy padded front like the Diva Harness so that it doesn’t irritate the tummy fat the might hang over the edge.
May 122011
 

First, an aside. I’ve been feeling lately that I’m not being a very “good” reviewer in that I’m not producing happy, sparkly reviews. Expensive, cheap, and everything in between I’m honest to a fault, perhaps. But I don’t review just to receive toys, I review so that others may know something about a sex toy before purchasing. So I can’t gloss over things, I won’t bullshit and I won’t be Glinda the Good Witch.

So you know what’s coming, right?

Yeah.

A bad review.

But this time I don’t feel it’s my fault (and I use the term “fault” loosely). You see, SSA Glass is the manufacturer of this dildo and other glass sex toys that EdenFantasys carries. And SSA’s first run of this dildo looked like this:

What I received is….the work of a drunken apprentice. And lest we chalk it up to a one-off, I’ve read at least 2 other reviews which state the exact same thing. The design has changed drastically, the quality changed drastically and it’s downright UGLY. In the original run of the Ocean Breeze dildo, those pretty little raised dots accented in red look like little jewels. The base is symmetrical and the dildo has a nice curve with some somewhat-realistic veins and head-shaping.

This is what mine looks like:

Razor burn.

Rash.

Disease.

In short: UGLY. And one of the primary reasons that people purchase glass dildos is because they are PRETTY. I truly can’t even stand to look at this thing so it doesn’t ever get used – even if the shaft had been up to par. Which it wasn’t. They changed the curve so that if you hold it like it should be held, the curve points away from your g-spot. Mine isn’t thick enough to make up for the curve issue with girth. The texture is irrelevant. Oh and those raised dots of red? Not all are raised dots. Some are just flat splatters of red glass, um, paint? I can’t tell what the red spots actually are. Colored dots of glass? There’s no rhyme or reason or pattern to them, the symmetry is gone. It just looks like a freak accident.

The packaging is nil, but as I understand it, that’s the case with all SSA Glass dildos. It’s up to the discretion of EF to include any sort of pouch – other reviewers stated getting one, I did not. Mine was simply wrapped up in packing paper. That’s truly it. Nothing else to tell me anything about the company or the dildo. Luckily all care information is on the site, or you can refer to the care & cleaning of glass dildos section of my site.  All of the standard tropes of glass toys apply here: Good for temperature play, you can use any kind of lube that you like, it’s body-safe, non-porous, etc etc yadda yadda.

But it’s so ugly, such poor quality, that I’d be dead embarrassed if anybody saw it in my collection.

I’ve talked with other glass dildo owners and others who’ve owned other SSA Glass dildos have had no problems as far as workmanship and it looking like the photo on the site. But you get what you pay for – SSA dildos are less expensive, which is why there’s no packaging. No frills of any sort, not even necessary frills like a padded pouch.

For a better g-spot glass sex toy in the same price range I’d recommend trying out the Bent Graduate instead. If you want the “pretty” aspect, go for the Color Tip Wand. Despite not hearing anything else bad about other SSA Glass dildos, I’m still reluctant to recommend trusting them as a brand. The change to the Ocean Breeze was recent, sometime in the last 4 months, and if other people got a dildo with the affliction of uglyitis as me then there’s something going on with the company on a production level.

Ask Lilly: Holiday Sex Toy Gift Buying Guide

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Dec 102010
 

I get a good number of people who contact me for advice on buying a sex toy as a gift for their partner as a surprise. This really isn’t an easy feat unless you and your partner have already owned multiple toys and you know what they like.

Consider the Size

If you’ve never used toys, the judge by the size of your cock of your fingers. And keep in mind that hard materials like plastic, ceramic, glass, wood and metal can seem a little bigger than they are just because there is no give to the material. If you’re new to toys, don’t go overboard with the girth. If you’ve had a few and want to take things up a notch then do so but with caution.

Consider Sensitivity

Hopefully you and your partner are open and communicating, honest about orgasms and how things feel. Unless you already own vibrators that you know are not powerful enough, always choose ones with more than 2 speeds.

Consider the Price and Quality

Sex Toy Snob Warning: For the love of Pete, don’t buy a questionable brand (like CalExotics, for example) as a gift! But on the other hand, don’t drop a huge amount unless you’re pretty certain they’re going to love it. Reviews, reviews, reviews. Read them! Hunt them down! And don’t always go by the 1-liner blurbs directly on the sites because you never know who really left that comment. Before you weigh the prices and think about going for a cheaper jelly toy, read about phthalates and the possible side effects.

Things to avoid

Specifically, I’d advise against things like the We-Vibe, the Sqweel (or however it’s spelled, the one that’s rotating tongues, ick), anything that looks like a human tongue, and new-to-the-scene companies that seem too good to be true (like the Zini Roae). As tempting as they are, avoid wireless remote controlled bullets/panties, as they are fraught with glitches problems and a serious case of the unimpressives.

 

Glass Dildos Make Great Gifts

Why? Because they appeal visually, and unless you’re an advanced toy user/owner, it’s something new and exciting. You get to experiment with temperature play and different sensations. They can be so artistic sometimes that you’d feel comfortable leaving it out and they are therefore non-threatening to a novice.  They’re pricey, but my favorite currently is the Fucking Sculptures brand, you can find them at SheVibe. Unless you know your partner is a size queen, stick with the Small versions!

Buy a Vibrator that is Multipurpose

And I don’t mean a “rabbit” style. By this I mean get one that doesn’t require you to have your anatomy laid out a certain exact way for it to work, get a vibrator with varying speeds, and one that can be used internally or externally. Stick with silicone and reliable brands (to see more about this, see my post on How to Buy Sex Toys Online). Here’s a few of my recommendations:

The Climax Twist Vibrator

I love this vibrator, it’s probably my favorite rechargeable vibrator. It’s like a massager, but it bends to a 90 degree angle and has two working ends. (review here).

 

 

Harmony Bullet Vibrator from EdenFantasys

I love this bullet because it can get me off at any speed due to the type of vibrations – deep and rumbly and lovely. Buy it in black, the issue I talked about it my review with it glowing was only true of the white one (I now own the black).

 

 

 

LELO Mona2 Vibe

With the Mona 2, they increased the vibration strength to appeal to a greater pool of people. It’s not a power tool, but will satisfy most just fine. Great for internal or external.

 

 

Want to Wow them? Can you splurge? NJOY.

I don’t care if you get an anal plug, the Pure Wand, the Eleven or the Fun Wand just invest in Njoy. DO IT. You’ll love it. I promise.

Need more?

Read up on how to choose a dildo for beginners and get some recommendations on those. And anything in the Men’s Toys category are ones I’d recommend for a guy in addition to a Tenga Egg as a stocking stuffer.

Sep 252010
 

When Shevibe.com asked me to review this, my first instinct was to say no…..that I’m taking a break from reviewing so much. But then I looked at this dildo and I just couldn’t resist. I tend not to review many dildos ever since discovering the Pure Wand, but I’ve been in the market for another specialty – the very large dildo category.

Suffice to say, no matter my opinions in this review, I recognize that the Vamp Greta is not a sex toy for the masses. This is not a dildo that I can go around blithely recommending to every woman who reads this. I know that there are some women who feel that they have a “small vagina” and could not accommodate such girth. I won’t lie. I consider myself a size queen (when it comes to dildos only) and I also wanted large dildos to help work me up to being fisted; however, Greta is a bit painful at first insertion.

It was painful enough that I nearly stopped the first time, thinking I couldn’t use it. I brought out the lube and tried again and while the initial pain was there, it quickly went away. Within a minute I was easily thrusting the dildo. The shape isn’t really anything special, nothing like the Pure Wand for sure, the selling point to Greta is Girth. Girthy Greta. And you know, girth is lovely. It massages my g-spot in a very different way.Vamp’s Greta measures in at 2.25″ at the widest point, which is .25″ more than the largest dildo I already owned. It’s not 2.25″ for the whole length, though. Just at the widest portion of the head. The remainder of the shaft measures in at 2″. This is one of those times when a quarter of an inch makes a big difference, as when thrusting I generally didn’t like the head coming fully out of my vaginal entrance, at least not for the first few minutes.

There’s a lot that I like about this dildo, and about Vamp as a company. For one, it’s silicone (refer here for care and cleaning). Two, it’s hand-poured, and the colors are GORGEOUS. The photos on Shevibe just don’t quite do it justice. I would really love to see the red in person some day. The Black Pearl is what I received and the photo on their site just barely hints are the pretty blue-black swirliness of the silicone. There’s really not a lot of “give” to this silicone, but there is some. It’s listed as their “softskin” silicone which I believe is a little less firm than their standard silicone.

The site and the manufacturer list this as a strap-on-capable dildo. The look of the Vamp Greta is a bit different from what is currently on the site, it’s the latest version. The version on the site appears like it could handle a strap-on better than this one. You can see below just how bendy the base is. It’s not as thick and sturdy as I expected it to be. I don’t own a harness though so I couldn’t test it. Vamp makes other strap-on-compatible dildos though that most definitely would work as they have large base (usually molded to look like testicles).  I’m a little torn on recommending this toy as anal-approved – it does have a base, but it’s a bendy base.

My first go round with this dildo was solo, and I found that I needed the extra force of sitting on it to get it inside of me. My second use was a round of foreplay with my husband and he was using it on me. I know he said he encountered resistance at first and I had to assure him to continue, albeit slowly, with insertion.

As an aside, I don’t know why I’d never heard of this company before, but from what I’ve seen thus far, Vamp makes very good quality toys. Their website seems quite a bit out of date, as the photos of the toys do not at all match the photos that SheVibe has, and I know their photo of the Greta is nothing like the one I own.

If you’re looking for a larger dildo….I highly recommend this. If you really like the color and such but want something smaller/bigger/more harness-compatible, look at the other Vamp dildos carried by SheVibe.

 

An update from the lovely Shevibe.com: The Vamp Greta that I’ve linked to on their site is, for now, “Generation I”. The base is thicker, possibly a little better suited for sturdiness in a harness but consider the thickness of the base. The “Generation II” is what I have here. Both versions will be sold on Shevibe.com. Also please note that Vamp is a small company and  their dildo coloring will vary. So the Black Pearl you get may be more black than blue, or whatever. Just expect a little variation, is all.

 

 

Thanks goes to the wonderful SheVibe.com for providing this toy in exchange for my honest review.