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??
Nov 062016
 

Womanizer vs Satisfyer Comparison

The Womanizer vs Satisfyer Comparison Guide

This thing has taken on a life of its own as I polled folks for the comparison info they most wanted to see. This meant that the once-tidy-and-small comparison chart has grown to monster proportions. Below you’ll find a small graphic of the chart; click to see it full-size. If you need to see the text Excel spreadsheet, visually-impaired readers can comment here or contact me and I’ll send it to you. If you’re curious on what some of the measurements mean you can just ask me or see the incredibly bad drawing at the bottom of the post.

The chart provides a large amount of quantifiable data and a few subjective opinions. The brief product overviews below provide more insight into my personal opinions on each item, while the full reviews hold back nothing (naturally). A lot of you want to know which product(s) I’d recommend the most and, as usual, my answer starts with “it depends…”.

If you…

  • Want to use yours in the bathtub OR care about buying a product that was well-made: Womanizer PRO40 or Womanizer Plus Size
  • Have certain mobility issues, flexibility issues, grip issues, or a larger body: Womanizer PRO40 has the best button placement but the Womanizer Plus Size is much longer
  • Are curious about the tech and wonder if it’ll work for you: Satisfyer 1 is cheap enough to test, get you by for a few months & then upgrade if you want
  • Agree that intensity navigation is important but can’t afford the Womanizer PRO40: Satisfyer 2 is your only option, but nobody I trust carries it
  • Don’t have grip issues, don’t have small hands, and want the best quality: Womanizer Deluxe (W500) is the top pick for many
  • Prefer rechargeables, but can’t afford the PRO40: Satisfyer Pro 2 is the only Satisfyer I’ll recommend now
  • Care about supporting an ethical company: Womanizer PRO40, Womanizer Plus Size, Womanizer 2GO and Womanizer Deluxe (W500). For more info, read all the way through.
  • So far seem to have a definite preference for wands vs pinpoint stim: Buy a Doxy.
  • Like pinpoint stimulation but have a notoriously picky clitoris, and prefer rumbles: Womanizer PRO40. Satisfyers can feel too buzzy!

For quite some time I regarded the Womanizer with a healthy dose of side-eye; I was quite sure that it wouldn’t work for me. I remained skeptical of the many glowing reviews. When you’ve been reviewing sex toys for 8 years, you can often get a really good feel for the facts just by reading a handful of reviews. But the Womanizer shocked me – in fact, it left me speechless. It took me months to write my first Womanizer review because I felt like I couldn’t explain why I liked it or who else might like it (or hate it). I felt that the price of the Womanizer W100 was too much when I couldn’t confidently tell someone they would like it if they like X Y and Z. So for all of my issues with the build quality and company ethics of Satisyfer, I have to appreciate models like the Satisfyer 1 for their sheer affordability.

A Note on Suction: And this applies to every Satisfyer and Womanizer pressure-wave toy on the market: These seem to have very little actual suction. Suction can be great for bringing in extra blood flow to the genitals, and there are vulva/clitoral pumps for that purpose (or that awful pre-arousal thing, Fiera) – so I don’t want folks expecting any appreciable suction with these toys. I’ve been told by Womanizer there is no vacuum/suction, instead, the technology is “pressurized air pulses”. Yes, despite what parts of their site say and many other sites say, I asked and they responded. It may mimic the feeling of suction to a small degree, perhaps. I was able to see this better with these Satisfyer models, as shown in this video. There’s a lil nubbin in there moving rapidly in a small space, creating air pulses that match the nub’s speed. Then I did an informal experiment on a Womanizer toy to show that air is coming out, not being drawn in. It’s confusing, trust me. epi24 (Womanizer) said: “We prefer to call it Pleasure Air Technology”. Well, alrighty then. I’ll see what Satisfyer has to say, if they ever answer me.

A Note On Using These Underwater: While every other test seemed to tell me the same thing Womanizer did – that there’s no vacuum motor – putting these underwater did yield some suction. Mild, but more than regular use which is nearly nothing. I also noticed that if I held the nozzle tip a millimeter or so away from contact – just hovering – the “jackhammering” sensation kicked in and was the most amplified with the Satisfyer Pro 2. It reminded me a lot of the Wahl on high. I ran every model under water for a bit to make sure none were immediately affected adversely (I don’t have a tub, so I can’t use them this way).  However, there are more and more reports of Satisfyers biting the dust after being run under water. Some quit working, some turn on on their own and cannot be turned off. I didn’t experience these issues but some have, and with multiple models, enough to make me dislike Satisfyer even more. This issue has become bad enough that Shevibe has stopped carrying the “newer” (or older, depending on how you look at it) models of the Satisfyer – they only stock the Satisfyer Pro 2 now.

Womanizer vs Satisfyer Comparison Chart

Womanizer vs Satisfyer Comparison Chart *

Womanizer vs Satisfyer Chart

If you need more details or views on the various silicone heads, please ask.

Image of Womanizer and Satisfyer silicone nozzle heads view 1 Image of Womanizer and Satisfyer silicone nozzle heads view 2

All of the Womanizer heads - standard sizes on the left, XL sizes on the right

Womanizer Models

While I still feel that the overall cost of the Womanizer Deluxe (W500) and Plus Size is way too high, and I worry that the price point of the Womanizer PRO40 ($129) can’t compete with the Satisfyer range, I feel pretty confident about the build quality of the Womanizer line. Maybe their Deluxe W500 model wasn’t built for someone like me, but their PRO40 and Plus Size definitely are. The overall build quality isn’t always evident from the outside but Womanizer still comes out looking better and as Womanizer has noted – they pioneered this technology.

A note on the 30-day guarantee with Womanizer: Recently on Instagram Womanizer said “orgasms guaranteed” and I had to comment; I asked if their 30-day money-back promise was still in effect and they said “Yes! For the Deluxe and Delight versions!” Uh…wtf is the Delight version? They informed me that the Deluxe is W500, and Delight is W100 (except, it’s been discontinued). They stated there is no guarantee on the PRO40, sadly. There is no mention on the website of this 30-day money-back guarantee. If they give you a hassle, you can show them this screencap from Instagram where they publicly said it’s still a thing. Update: the 30-day thing is also in effect for the Plus Size and 2GO.

Womanizer W100

Womanizer W100Definitely discontinued – One thing that the Womanizer W100 has that the others lack is a really nice storage case. Sure, it’s baby-pink and has “Womanizer” emblazoned on it, but it’s really nice to keep the extra head, and charging accessories, all together. The W100 is the quietest model because it lacks the more intense levels. I feel that when the Womanizer W100 is pressed against your vulva, it’s nearly silent. Even when you break contact, it’s not that loud – 62 decibels. The Womanizer W100 has only one button but the power button can be tapped during use to bring you back down to the first intensity level. As of February 2017 update to this guide, no website is carrying the W100 model and it has been discontinued.

Womanizer Deluxe Pro / W500

Womanizer W500One word: Awkward – For as much as I loved the Womanizer W100, I thought I’d love the Deluxe W500 even more. Sure, it introduced the necessary plus and minus buttons to easily navigate the increased levels, but the power button was harder to press. The buttons are now located on the back side of the body, facing away from you, and are located in a place that is very awkward for me during use. The short, fat stature also makes it harder for me to hold. The designs of the Womanizer W500 are a little more classy, but still very femme with the exception White Chrome design – but even that has a Swarovski crystal “element” as the power button. The W500 is priced way, way too high at $219. It’s absolutely ridiculous and I can’t recommend this model with the other choices available. The W500 comes in the aforementioned White Chrome; Black Leopard, Red Roses, and Magenta Lace. The Womanizer Deluxe also comes with an XL head; the measurements aren’t in the chart because it’s complicated. While most nozzles have some extra width where the silicone touches your body, the canal of the nozzles are pretty straight. The Womanizer’s XL head is decidedly more funnel-shaped, so when I measured the interior, I put the calipers about 2mm down inside the “funnel” since I think part of the interior is going to touch flesh. The exterior ridge is 22 x 24.5 mm, and the interior is 18.6 x 19.9 mm.

—> In-Depth Review
—> Purchase at Shevibe
—> View/Download User Manual

Womanizer PRO40

Womanizer PRO40Practically Perfect – Until this model, Womanizer remained an overpriced, luxury item. And while $129 for the new Womanizer PRO40 still is considered luxury, out-of-reach pricing to many, it’s a bit more attainable than the price of other Womanizer models. The Womanizer PRO40 came out in response to the much cheaper Satisfyer knock-offs – and unlike the W100 or W500, the more affordable Womanizer PRO40 is waterproof, with a plain design that is a welcome change. It may still be more expensive than any Satisfyer, but the PRO40 has the features that keep me coming back to the Womanizer brand – comfortable nozzle heads, intuitive designs, and better navigation buttons. The PRO40 combines the best of the W100 (body, button placement) with the best of the W500 (extra power for those who need it, and up/down level navigation buttons), adds in waterproofing and takes away cost. I’m happy to have a slightly louder motor in exchange. The Womanizer PRO40 also comes with an XL head; the measurements aren’t in the chart because it’s complicated. While most nozzles have some extra width where the silicone touches your body, the canal of the nozzles are pretty straight. The Womanizer’s XL head is decidedly more funnel-shaped, so when I measured the interior, I put the calipers about 2mm down inside the “funnel” since I think part of the interior is going to touch flesh. The exterior ridge is 22 x 24.5 mm, and the interior is 18.6 x 19.9 mm. 

—> In-Depth Review
—> Purchase at Shevibe
—> View/Download User Manual

Even though the Womanizer Pro 40 is a little louder vs W100 or W500, it’s now my top recommendation over every brand and model.

Womanizer Plus SizeAlmost Had It – Extra length in the handle means the Womanizer Plus Size is more ergonomic for folks with reach issues, whether that’s due to disability or body size. They smartly put the up and down intensity buttons at the tip of the handle, but stupidly put the power button way down by the head. Since the power button also quickly takes you back to level 1, it’s a feature I personally use a lot and the placement is a ruiner for me. Whether it’s due to a change in overall size or a different motor the Plus Size feels different – less intense, less thuddy. The extra intensity levels are at the beginning to make the increase from level 1 on up less “jarring” I guess. While I love the extra length, I prefer the motor on the Pro40 and hate the power button placement on the Plus Size. I also hate the price tag on the Plus Size – currently $219 at Shevibe, the same price as the W500 Deluxe. It comes with an XL head and black storage bag.

—> In-Depth Review
—> Purchase at Shevibe
—> View/Download User Manual

Womanizer 2GORidiculously Large – Womanizer 2GO is billed as a travel-friendly, discreet version of the Womanizer. You’ll see in my full review how ridiculously large it really is; at 5″ tall it’s not fooling anyone. In some ways it is travel-friendly – the single button operation means you have to press and hold the button to get it started. All other Womanizer models turn on easily with a tap of the power button (too easily). 2GO is a little loud, and way more intense on the “lower” levels than any of the other models. It’s often too intense for me (note: intensity is only an issue with the original head, see review for more info). The cap falls off easily, too, but I do actually like having the cap. I don’t hate this one, but I have my druthers.  The price is high – par for the course with Womanizer, I guess – at $169.  It is made really well, though, seems higher quality than the others. 2GO comes with 2 heads! The XL head dimensions are: Interior: 19.5mm x 23.9mm and Exterior: 22.5mm x 26.8mm, making it slightly wider than the white nozzles.

—> In-Depth Review
—> Purchase at Shevibe
—> View/Download User Manual (nothing online yet – will update)

Satisfyer Models

The lower quality of build is definitely common across all Satisfyer models, and this is something that is honestly only apparent to me because I’ve tried all 3 available Womanizer models. I admit that I felt that many elements of the W100 seemed cheaply done when the price is taken into consideration, but it feels elegant in comparison to most Satisfyer models. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, that I realize I’m pickier than most. And I also want to point out my privilege in not finding the word “Womanizer” triggering, the way many non-binary, genderqueer, and trans folks might. I realize that, for them, my insistence on preferring the Womanizer PRO40 is very frustrating. I know that some sex toy shops won’t even carry the Womanizer because of the name. The part of me that refuses to work with sex toy shops that heavily gender their sex toy listings is incredibly frustrated that I can’t find a Satisfyer product that I like overall half as much as I like that damn Womanizer PRO40. 

On the higher intensity settings, the Satisfyer motors tend to all feel buzzy, like a vibrator. They lose that unique quality of “tapping” or rapid pressure taps that can mimic oral sex in a way. Instead, many become overkill, and feel very uncomfortable for me.

If you forced me to rank the Satisfyer models from best to worst I would be cranky and say: Satisfyer 1, Satisfyer 2, Satisfyer Pro 2, Satisfyer Pro Penguin, Satisfyer Pro Deluxe. Completely subjective, though.

A note on the “waterproof” features: Everything except the Satisfyer Pro 2 has been taken off the site at SheVibe because of many complaints that when used under water, the other models die. I didn’t experience that but also didn’t use them in the water – just tested.

A note on Satisfyer models and the User Manuals: Every user manual seems to be roughty the same when it comes to the warnings, and they all warn you not to get your credit cards too close, etc because of magnets. I don’t understand how there would be magnets in these, except for the few models that charge magnetically. Not all do, though. Strange.

A note on Satisfyer and warranties: Despite not advertising it at all, buried in legalese in their Terms and Conditions is mention of a warranty. I’ve been told that there is a 1 year warranty, and if you need to use that, email info@satisfyer.com. Thanks to Nikki at Fairvilla’s Sex Things for letting me know that they’ve tested that warranty and had a good experience! I don’t know what the parameters are, but you can download a copy of the T&C here, PDF.

Satisfyer Pro 2 – The Old and The New

Satisfyer Pro 2Affordable? Nah, Cheap – Rather than rename the Satisfyer Pro 2, the company made two changes and kept the name and design the same. This means that with most retailers you won’t know which model you’re buying, because they’re priced the same, too. You’d only know to see it in person – the new version has “Satisfyer” in raised lettering along the handle (shown here). Satisfyer boasted that the new Pro 2 was “90% more quiet” than before. Using my amateur decibel meter the difference is 9 points – the loudest rating on the lowest setting is 63dB on the new model vs 72dB on the old – it’s been explained to me by others that this does equal a 90% difference. It’s definitely a noticeable change, yet it is still one of the loudest models on the lower settings. And the high levels? Identical when not pressed against the vulva – when pressed against the vulva, the new Pro 2 is a bit more quiet. One strange quirk: The clicky clacky of the buttons on the Satisfyer Pro 2 is the loudest in the entire bunch. Louder than the motor itself. The Satisfyer Pro 2 comes in one color that is very gender-neutral, even if the packaging isn’t1. The button location isn’t the best for me and my preference but it may not bother you as much.

—> In-Depth Review
—> Purchase at Shevibe
—> View/Download User Manual

Satisfyer 1

Battery-powered and basic, Satisfyer 1 is a decent introduction to pressure-wave toys. If you think you’ll want the Womanizer models but are afraid to drop that much money, try out the Satisfyer 1 for awhile, knowing that upgrading to the Womanizer will only make your experience better. If the Satisfyer 1 doesn’t work at all for you, then I doubt any of these will work. It’s pretty cheaply made, so I actually don’t expect it to stand the test of time. Satisfyer 1 has the most comfortable head of the cheaper Satisfyer models; it is similar to the Pro 2. The single-button design is basic, but the intensity isn’t awful (and is better than the Penguin). It’s not the most powerful Satisfyer, but it’s definitely in the running.  Note: Shevibe stopped carrying this model due to the above-mentioned issues with waterproofness. Currently the only sex shop I recommend buying from is Canada’s Come As You Are. With the exchange rate so much in the favor of the US dollar, it’s not a bad buy.

—> In-Depth Review
—> Purchase at Come As You Are
—> View/Download User Manual

Satisfyer 2

Battery-powered and confusing. Satisfyer 2 adds in something that no other Satisfyer model boasts: plus and minus up/down navigation buttons, a feature I’ve come to rely on. Unfortunately, the body design of the Satisfyer 2, combined with button placement, makes it unwieldy. It’s also the loudest model now being sold. Some may even say it’s also the ugliest version; the boxy 1970’s-style body reminds you of a straight-stemmed tobacco pipe, or maybe the Nike logo. The batteries rattle around, too. It has more silicone in the nozzle than the Pro Deluxe or Pro Penguin, but less than the Satisfyer 1 or Pro 2. If the noise factor and button location dooesn’t bother you, and you really feel that you, like me, need the extra plus and minus intensity navigation buttons, this is a begrudging green-light to buy this if you can’t yet afford the superior Womanizer PRO40. I will forever curse the button placement on the Satisfyer 2 because it coulda been a contender. Note: Shevibe stopped carrying this model due to the above-mentioned issues with waterproofness. Currently, no shop I work with & recommend sells this model.

—> In-Depth Review
—> Purchase at Shevibe
—> View/Download User Manual

Satisfyer Pro Penguin

Satisfyer Pro PenguinSmall and cute, the Satisfyer Pro Penguin will appeal to those not as picky as me. I have a huge gripe about the teeny, tiny silicone nozzle head that pops off easily (even during use, for me), and it’s corresponding lack of comfort plus difficulties maintaining a “seal”. The angle of head-to-body is less than other models so this means that the body of the toy will be angled further away from you. Coupled with its short stature this may mean it’s hard to hold for some folks with larger bodies or shorter arms (or the annoying combination of the two, like me). Like many Satisfyer models it has a brightly glowing LED light under the translucent silicone button. This is the only Satisfyer model that has the button facing your body, which is more comfortable for me but thin folks may find this causes the LED to glare in their eyes if they use it in the dark. I would probably recommend the Satisfyer Pro 2 over this, unless you simply cannot ignore the cute factor.  Note: Shevibe stopped carrying this model due to the above-mentioned issues with waterproofness. I very very reluctantly will note that it’s available at Amazon, but please check the reviews of the seller before you buy (as it will probably change over time).  I’d rather you purchase from Come As You Are, located in Canada. With the exchange rate in favor of the USD, it’s not a bad buy and CAYA is a retailer I trust.

—> In-Depth Review
—> Purchase at your own risk from Amazon (Recommended shop is Canadian CAYA)
—> View/Download User Manual

Satisfyer Pro Deluxe

Move Along. It’s awful, and I won’t recommend it to anyone. The design is way off the mark and it’s not comfortable to hold. Buy literally any other model. The Satisfyer Pro Deluxe has no redeemable qualities, unless you think that pranking someone by wrapping it up like a potato would be your idea of a good time. But even then, don’t buy it. I was going to publish a short, rage-filled review but you know what? I just couldn’t muster the spoons to waste reviewing this piece of crap. Turns out it’s problematic anyways, due to multiple reports of it failing the waterproof test. Shevibe stopped carrying it after multiple reports.

* A few things to note about this comparison chart:

  1. As new similar products are available to retailers, and I try them, I’ll add them to the chart. By similar I mean no vibrations, just this air pulsing whoosiewhatsit.
  2. The decibels were tested with my phone and a sound meter. Due to the idling-engine type sound that the motors make on low, the sound meter jumped around a lot. The lower numbers then represent the loudest that the first settings will get. Also, I tested the sound levels without the nozzle being completely covered, like it would be in use. When the nozzle is completely covered the sound is dampened a lot.
  3. Charge and use time reports are varying from retailer info to manufacturer website / product manual info. One reports the Satisfyer has 120 minutes of use, while their web-version user manual reports only 30 minutes. When I can get an accurate number, I’ll add it.
  4. I feel that the fat & short design of the Womanizer W500 is awkward to hold and more awkward to press buttons. Womanizer boasts it being more comfortable to hold. We’ll agree to disagree, I guess.

The Knock-Off Issue with Satisfyer

Like anything popular, counterfeit and copycat products quickly flooded Amazon, AliExpress, eBay, etc. It never takes long after “white label”2 versions of popular brands are available for the emails about them to start hitting my inbox3. As you can see in this email screenshot there’s a knock-off of the Womanizer tech in a different body with a wholesale price of $20. At first glance, Satisfyer seemed to have fixed the primary complaints about Womanizer: design, name, price. But when you use any Satisfyer model side-by-side with any Womanizer it’s glaringly obvious that the price increase with the Womanizer will get you a product that is better made. I also just have a really hard time supporting a product that is such an obvious rip-off – maybe you don’t agree, and you need to have the most affordable option which I respect.

When I saw the Satisfyer brand, it was really clear that they’re going after the Womanizer market4 with this non-vibrating air-pulsation technology – they went the cheap route though with the motor and design, allowing the retail price to be so much lower than the Womanizer that they were guaranteed to steal a large chunk of the Womanizer’s potential customers5.

 

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  1. features a white femme person
  2. White label is when a manufacturing plant makes a product, but they are not necessarily a brand – they offer to make things for your brand. You, the brand company, don’t really design anything, you just slap your brand name on the packaging and maybe pick a slightly different color scheme. This is why you can often see a dozen nearly-identical sex toys on the sub-par retailer market
  3. Side note: why the hell do these companies think bloggers are retailers?
  4. **After this post went live** two folks commented via Facebook about their interactions with Satifyer reps at SHE NYC. One said: “True story, at this years SHE Expo in Brooklyn the Satisfyer representative said flat out to my wife and I that they took the “poorly designed Womanizer and made it better” then proceeded to essentially brag about how they got away with it adding how they considered a powerful patent lawyer part of the cost of bringing the Satisfyer to market. I mean, the guy was chuckling about it.” You know, this is not how a decent company behaves. At all. Jesus fuck.
  5. The company behind the Satisfyer has denied that they’ve outright copied the Womanizer tech; Womanizer responded by slapping them with patent infringement but it won’t hold water outside of Germany
Nov 022014
 
Amazon Warehouse (image courtesy of theguardian.com) - Why Buying Sex Toys from Amazon is a Risky Gamble

Amazon Warehouse (image courtesy of theguardian.com)

People sure do like to buy sex toys from Amazon and it is troubling to me. Not quite as troublesome in my world as toxic toys, but nearly so. A lot of people are more comfortable buying their sex toys from Amazon than a sex toy retailer, because they feel certain that it will be more discreet – they know that anything “sold by Amazon” will come in an Amazon box and an Amazon mailing address. And most of the time, Amazon is cheaper…and to detriment of the reputable sex toy shops, too.  Many of the higher-end manufacturers put a limit on how low their items can be sold, and Amazon sellers often completely ignore this. Either they are just shady people or…..they’re counterfeit.  In the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve had more people report problems ordering from Amazon than any other sex toy problems combined. I’ve had readers tell me, even as far back as 4 years ago, that they bought a “luxury” vibrator and something went wrong after a month or two. They took their problem to the manufacturer because it has a warranty, and they found out it wasn’t the brand they thought they were buying and the company wouldn’t honor a warranty claim. Rightfully so; it’s not their product. The counterfeit sex toy market is bigger than you think and it’s found a nice home at Amazon (and Ebay).

So Which Brands Are Suspect?

While this is by NO means a complete list, and I’d be suspect of just about anything, the specific brands I’ve heard of are: Lelo, Fun Factory, We-VibeFleshlights, Tenga, Fairy Wands by Merci Toys, Magic Wand.  Njoy is probably the most copied brand I know of. Multiple times a month I am contacted by shady companies in Hong Kong, Pakistan and India, who specialize in metal sex toys. They often go so far as to use Njoy product photos. The prices are super low, and there’s no way it could be an Njoy product, much less made of medical grade stainless steel, for that low price (in the ballpark of 15% of the cost of an Njoy).  One shady seller on Amazon was including free Fun Factory Smartballs that were counterfeits….and not even made of silicone as was found out from a flame test. Other products that I would be wary of: low-priced metal toys that claim to be stainless steel. I’ve heard some really bad things about a crystal-ended metal plug that is selling for around $20.  I would absolutely be suspect of glass sex toys sold on Amazon, as I personally experienced what can happen (see update from 2015 below).  Further issues abound with BDSM items (which are outside my realm of expertise) as well as specialty items like chastity cages:

 Another brand that can be suspect is Tantus. It was officially noted to affiliates “in regards to Amazon & Ebay, we don’t sell directly to anyone that has an Amazon/Ebay store. Tantus does NOT guarantee the origin, product quality, or authenticity of ‘Tantus’ items purchased off of these sites.”

Could They Re-Sell a Used Sex Toy?

This part is just a theory but there’s another issue with third-party sellers that isn’t brought up much in discussions about Amazon – the returned sex toys. I’ve always felt pretty confident that there’s little to worry about when the major retailers who allow returns of sex toys (despite a few dramatic claims at the height of other issues with EF). Lovehoney and EdenFantasys both allow it. While Lovehoney is certainly bigger and more global, EdenFantasys used to hold its own quite well as a go-to retailer in its day. Logistically speaking, why would they risk their reputation and company on re-selling a returned (used or defective) sex toy? All it would take would be for one person to report it to the authorities and the doors would be shut. But with an Amazon third-party seller who doesn’t use Fulfillment By Amazon, a person could send back a toy and an unscrupulous seller could re-sell it. I’ve seen third-party sellers who do accept returns if it is “unused and unopened” but unless it’s been shrink-wrapped it’s not that hard to carefully open a box and make it look like it was never opened. On Twitter after this post was first published, this was said and very relevant:

Updated for 2016: Cosmo recently interviewed a person who has done a metric fuck ton of reviews on Amazon. This person is sent product from Amazon sellers; not Amazon directly. She noted that she has had products arrive “destroyed” or “be dirty like someone’s used them already”. This does not sound good!

The Amazon Shuffle – The New Shell Game?

Are all sex toys from Amazon possibly a counterfeit? Of course not. But the risk for getting one is high enough that I don’t feel that people should take the gamble. Many people have no idea that they even got a counterfeit some of the time, especially until it breaks.  Many think it’s okay to buy the item if it is listed as being “Sold by Amazon LLC”.  Here’s how it works: In the Amazon Warehouses, to save space, every We-Vibe Tango (as an example) goes into the same warehouse bin. Every seller who is storing their goods at Amazon for Amazon to ship has to give their item a UPC or Item Code or something. Everything with the same item code all goes in the same bin. They don’t have room to store every seller’s We-Vibe Tango in a different space. So now, whenever you buy a We-Vibe Tango someone at Amazon is grabbing from the communal bin. Since Amazon has many warehouses across the country, they’ll also ship your item from the warehouse closest to you that stocks the item. This means it’s not necessarily going to be the stock of the retailer you chose to buy from and there’s no control over that, either. You could be ordering from a reputable retailer on Amazon and still get the stock from a shady retailer.  The ONLY way you’re not taking a risk is if the item is being sold by AND shipped by a reputable retailer or manufacturer – of which there are very few on Amazon. And then, because it’s coming from the retailer/manufacturer and not Amazon, there goes all your assumed discretion in shipping and the possibility of “Prime” shipping. So what’s the point?

Update for 2015: For two distinct purposes, I purposely purchased sex toys from Amazon. One purpose was to determine what some of these Chinese vendors actually meant when they were calling a product “medical grade silica gel”, which meant I bought some items with dubious material declarations. Spoiler alert: it’s a crapshoot on whether you’ll get silicone (a material actually used for sex toys, whereas silica gel is not) or something…else. The second purpose was for my glass sex toy test. I purchased two that were listed as a branded item. Both came in identical packaging – which to say, it wasn’t manufacturer packaging. Both were purchased from different sellers. One I was able to confirm easily as a counterfeit, by being sent the actual branded item from SheVibe.

Is it Just Amazon?

No. While other sites don’t work the same way, there’s still a huge huge risk of the game ending badly if you buy from Ebay. If you find discount sites that look too good to be true….they probably are. Aliexpress.com is one such site.  Groupon has become another. I’ve been alerted to mislabeled sex toys on Groupon numerous times. Please just don’t buy sex toys from Groupon, either.

Stay Safe, Ask a Sex Blogger

So what would you rather do? Save ten or twenty bucks and take a big gamble on buying sex toys from Amazon or deal with a sex toy retailer that is vetted by your hardworking sex toy review bloggers, and is a company that actually cares about you? By buying from the companies we bloggers work with, you’re supporting the Good Guys in the industry. By using us bloggers as a sounding board before you spend your money, you could actually save money by listening to our advice in our reviews. I advise many people one-on-one on their purchase before they buy (email, Tumblr or Reddit). I’ve had too many people come to me AFTER their purchase, saying that they wished they’d seen my review before wasting their money and there went $100+ down the drain. Read all the reviews, email your favorite bloggers. Ask their opinion. And then, when you’ve decided, wait a little bit. Keep an eye on the sales. Tantus, for example, has a different sale every month. SheVibe has different sales every week. And don’t just take the word of one blogger. 

BOTTOM LINE: I’m such a huge advocate of safe, non-porous sex toys; I want every aspect of your sex toy buying and using experience to be as safe as possible. I can’t promise your safety if you buy sex toys from Amazon and Ebay.

When you CAN shop at Amazon

There’s really only three sexuality items you can safely purchase from Amazon, in my opinion. As always, do your research first! 

  1. Educational sex books / erotica books
  2. Condoms
  3. Lube, only after you’ve read up on which lubes & lube ingredients to avoid!

Where to Shop

If you’ve been here before, you probably know my most highly-recommended store is SheVibe.  My reasons are many and varied, but here’s the highlights: their stock is neither too specialized or too excessive. They don’t stock known-toxic toys. They educate their customers on the porous toys. The company is run by people who love what they do and who treat everyone – customers to industry people – with kindness and respect. Their prices are great, and they have many sales. They have a large and varied stock without trying to carry every product under the sun. They are often champions for smaller, indy brands like Fucking Sculptures, and are open to suggestions. Nearly everything under the sun that I could ever recommend for purchase, SheVibe carries. I can’t say that about any other store on my list.

I don’t often recommend buying directly from a manufacturer, but there are two that I’ll break that rule for:

Tantus is great, and every month has a really great sale (no sale you like? Coupon code LILLY gets you 15% off). Between their closeout section and grab bag section, you’re bound to find a safe, silicone dildo to fit your budget. And their customer service is great. Problem with your order? They’ll take care of it. Currently their shipping is a bit high though and can be a deterrent for small orders – although they do offer free shipping in the US if you spend $100. 

Crystal Delights is another wonderful manufacturer of truly high-quality glass items. Their specialty is glass plugs with Swarovski crystals at the end. They also make tail plugs and glass dildos. 

Other retailers I can recommend:

Early to Bed is a Chicago-based shop with an online presence. They have a great selection of items for trans and genderqueer people; however they have a habit re-naming the sex toys they carry. This makes it hard to locate a particular sex toy if you know it by brand and style name.

Smitten Kitten is a Minneapolis-based shop with an online presence. They have a great selection of kitschy and cute gifts, they carry an extended line of BS Atelier products, they’re the only shop I know of right now carrying Hole Punch toys, and they are the brains behind the Lube Guide and every starting point I’ve had for toxic toy research. Their educational book section is absolutely fabulous.

Goodvibes is a long-time shop with an online presence as well as a few brick stores in the US. They don’t carry anything toxic, but do carry some porous items. Their overall catalog tends to be slim and I have numerous favorites that they don’t carry. They also sometimes re-name toy, but more often I’ll find them stripping the manufacturer’s name from the lower-end stuff – since I try to avoid recommending certain brands, I’m not a fan of this practice. Their prices are not as good as SheVibe. They do have a decent on-demand porn store, though.

Come As You Are is a nice little Toronto-based cooperative shop with an online presence. They’re one of the few better stores that do carry a few toxic items – in fact the first few things that come up in their dildo section seem to have phthalates. However, they’re one of the few places that carry a silicone vaginal dilator set with the dilator sizes ranging from 1/2″ wide to 1 1/2″ wide and you can buy the sizes separately. Their prices seem to be good and they also have a great selection of items for trans and genderqueer people. They do have educational material on the site, but continue to (as most places do) insist that condoms will absolutely protect against phthalates (it’s not actually been proven true, nor has it been proven false).

I’ve never experienced them personally, but a number of Canadian friends spoke well of the shipping, prices and customer service at Lovedreamer. They seem to carry a fair amount of crap, but also have a good amount of sales going. Do your research before picking something out.

Lovehoney has bases in the US, UK, Australia. On the plus side, they have a 365-day return policy if you hate it. On the other hand, they carry a large amount of porous stuff without educating consumers about it and their prices are not as good as SheVibe. Stick to silicone (if in doubt, ask) and the other safe materials. Even if they call it “body safe”, if it’s not a non-porous, I’d avoid it.

Other places that are fine, I just don’t work with them: Babeland is best if you are at a brick store. Online their selection is kinda meh. UK shoppers can also check out ThatPosition or Vibrator Kingdom. Canadians, check out Pinkcherry. Australians, I’ve heard MissX and AdultSpice are good.

Jun 102014
 

Often, people complain that water-based lubes don’t last long enough. They dry up fast or get sticky or just aren’t cutting it for anal lube. Silicone lube solves all of those problems, but not all silicone lube is perfectly compatible with all silicone sex toys.  Plus, silicone lube is not at all natural, whereas coconut oil is. While coconut oil is not the perfect solution for all people, I think it’s pretty great and needs to be considered.

Coconut Oil and Condoms

Coconut oil also doesn’t seem to be compatible with latex condoms. Oil lubes in general are a no-no to mix with latex condoms. I’ve read casual at-home studies from fellow sex geeks that showed that other oils degraded a latex condom very quickly, while the coconut oil took longer to do so but it still did weaken the latex. Coconut oil will also degrade polyisoprene condoms. If you want to use it, then you need to stick with polyurethane condoms – Trojan Supra is so far the only one I can find on US sites. The internal/”female” condom FC2 is made of nitrile which is compatible with coconut oil. This also means that nitrile gloves are compatible with coconut oil.

The Benefits of Coconut Oil as Lube

Coconut oil has unique properties that could be a benefit for use as a sexual lubricant: anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and excellent at moisturizing. It’s recommended for treating / preventing yeast infections — those who get yeast infections easily should absolutely consider switching to coconut oil. It’s often recommended for vaginal dryness, too. I’ve used it successfully for vaginal lubrication and have never experienced any issues with pores clogging, etc.

It works well as an anal lubricant, too. The delicate tissue of the anus can be susceptible to tiny micro-tears if you try to go too quickly to a large item, and/or there isn’t enough lube but if the skin is well-moisturized it is more elastic (which was how a nurse explained it to me).  And oil-based lubes can keep things lubricated for a lot longer than water-based lubes. They do absorb into the skin, so reapplication may be needed during anal sex – just keep tabs on the situation (but you should anyways, no matter what type of lube you use).

It’s not just for sex! Coconut oil makes an excellent massage oil. You can easily transition from massaging the body to massaging the genitals to sex all using the same product.  I really like using coconut oil as a massage oil in part because coconut oil is solid at room temperature – but will quickly liquefy on skin as it warms up. Too often in the past I’d end up with oil drips on bedsheets when someone was poring massage oil from the bottle to the body – this doesn’t happen when using coconut oil. Since it’s an oil it still can leave an oil stain on your sheets but it comes out fairly easily in the wash.

Coconut Oil and Sex Toys

Coconut oil is perfect with silicone sex toys, glass, metal, ceramic, etc. It is not compatible with the low grade sex toy materials – the ones I don’t think you should be using anyway: TPR, TPE, jelly, rubber, latex, vinyl, PVC, and so on. These are all porous and some are potentially toxic. Remember: if the material in question in crystal clear, then it is not silicone, no matter what the manufacturer/retailer says.

I’ve actually heard anecdotally that covering a silicone sex toy in coconut oil (make sure some of the oil goes in your butt, too, of course) can prevent the silicone from retaining odors as is common with anal play for most people. Silicone is considered non-porous but it still can retain odors (just try freezing coffee ice cubes in your silicone ice cube tray and you’ll see what I mean….*sigh*), yet a few people have told me that the oil seemed to act as a barrier. These people have been exclusively using coconut oil as their lube of choice with a few butt plugs and so far they aren’t retaining any discernible butt odors.

The Downsides

Many vagina owners might be confused about coconut oil as lube for sex because traditionally we’re told that “oil” and “pores” aren’t friendly. From what I’ve read, it can clog pores on people who are very susceptible to such things. One a scale of one to four with four being “highly comedogenic” coconut oil ranks about a two. Give it a shot as a skin moisturizer on yourself first, to see how you react.

There is also a faint odor…..of coconuts. Most people don’t find it offensive; many people enjoy it. If it does have an offensive odor, consider that it could be rancid.  Rancid coconut oil is yellow in color when it turns to liquid; the solid oil is no longer smooth, it’s lumpy; and it has a bitter taste/smell. The taste and smell of coconut oil should be unoffensive to all but the most sensitive people. In order to prevent contamination of the oil, you shouldn’t scoop it from the main jar with your finger. It would be best to spoon out a little into a smaller container to keep bedside. Otherwise, you’ve got people wondering what a 54-oz vat of coconut oil is doing on your bedside table. Or you’re running naked to the kitchen to scoop from the jar.

Which Coconut Oil to Buy

Coconut Oil jar from Costco! This ends up being something like 30 cents an ounce. Very affordable! You’ll want to look for food-grade oil that is listed as organic and extra-virgin/virgin (which is unrefined). Organic is important, as you don’t want to absorb any pesticides/toxins through your skin from treated coconuts. Unrefined is the best way to go. You will see some brands that offer both types – for cooking it seems that refined is best for frying. Refined coconut oil is also called “RBD” – refined, bleached, deodorized.  YUM RIGHT?

Don’t think that you need to spend a lot on coconut oil. You can get Carrington Farms brand 54oz giant bottle for something like 38 cents an ounce? That’s about half a gallon — more than enough to keep you lubed up for a year AND learn to incorporate it into your cooking and baking for the health benefits. Of course if you don’t want the Costco-sized vat o coconut, this brand ends up being 50 cents an ounce which isn’t bad, especially considering how little you actually need for lube.  The fact alone that there exists a valid “101 uses for coconut oil” article or 10 should assure you that this stuff won’t go to waste unless you’re extremely sensitive to the faint smell of coconut. Buy a small jar first to make sure you love the stuff.

Jun 042010
 

If you’re buying your first dildo, you’re probably unsure where to even begin. Look at any given sex toy retailer site that offers a half-decent selection and you are bound to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of dildos to choose from. Dildos that look like penises, rockets, or nothing at all. And of course then there are the factors of size and shape and affordability. After all, you don’t really want to drop more than $50 on your first dildo, since you may end up disliking the shape or growing out of it.  If you’re starting out with extremely slender dildos there’s a better chance you will grow out of them and end up preferring larger items; if you’re starting out anywhere around 1.25″ or wider, then you may very well end up keeping it as a “warm-up” dildo.

My first dildo and vibrator were chosen in the Time Before Silicone, but were also not chosen by me. What I ended up receiving from my then-boyfriend were items I definitely wouldn’t have chosen for myself. They had realistic styling in clear, non-realistic TPR or PVC coloring.  If you’re buying for someone else, make sure you can answer these important questions about them, with certainty. If you can’t then you need to buy with them, and not for them. If you’re buying for yourself then make sure you’re choosing a color and design that appeal to you vs something you think your partner would prefer, or, feel “less threatened” by.

Size

Choosing the size of your dildo should depend upon what has already been in your vagina/ass. Think about your most pleasurable sexual experience (solo or partnered) and what felt so good – was it the sensation of fullness, being stretched by something larger? Was it more about the zing of pleasure that came from the head of it stroking your g-spot (or prostate)? Take a look at a ruler. Actually look at how wide 1″, 1.5″, 2″ is on the ruler. It probably doesn’t yet mean much, right? Now, measure your carrots, cucumbers, or zucchini to get a good idea of how that linear width translates to circumference (but please don’t use them as a dildo). If you liked the feeling of fullness, then I’d suggest starting with a 1.5″ at the most. If your focus was on the object/cock hitting a certain feel-good spot, and especially if you’d not had experience with dildos/cocks, go for 1″ or 1.25″ around.

If you’re just starting out with penetration OR have medical issues that prevent penetration (or make penetration painful), consider getting a silicone dilator set to ease into things. SheVibe carries a few kits from Soul Source and Come As You Are has a full set of individual dilator dildos. However, a number of the dildos below come in small sizes with no texture and a uniform width (or at most, slightly tapered at the tip).

Material

For the love of Pete if you’re going to take any advice it’s this: no jelly, no rubber, no PVC, no cyberskin or UR3 or Futorotic or anything like that used in mid-range ultra-realistic dildos (they’re usually painted). They smell funny, they’re not very well made, many of those will have phthalates in them, and they’re porous so they can’t ever be shared or fully sanitized.  I’d really like emphasize silicone. You can find cheaper options that are (usually) non-toxic if you choose TPR/TPE/Elastomer, but these are porous. Why should you care about non-porous vs porous? Why should you spend the money on silicone? Why should you care about the brand? In short, silicone can last a lifetime with minimal care; porous materials can harbor bacteria, mildew/mold, etc. Porous materials cannot ever be completely clean. They can actually make you sick if enough bad crap is making a home in the pores of the material. If you stick with brands that I and other reviewers trust, you’ll be sure to have a silicone dildo that is actually, truly, pure silicone. 

Silicone comes in various densities and can be somewhat soft, very firm, or squishy. If you decide that the more common, firm silicone isn’t for you, then you’ll want to consider spending the money on a Tantus O2 style or Vixen Vixskin style. Vixskin is a little more plush, but Tantus O2 is a little more affordable. Even more affordable – introduced in 2015 – is Doc Johnson’s Truskyn silicone which I find to be a really nice dual-density. There’s also Blush Novelties with their Real Nude line.

If you decide you absolutely can’t get silicone right now, go for glass (while understanding the issues with cheap glass) or cover the dildo with a polyurethane condom. Porous materials like TPE/TPR are non-toxic but they are softened with mineral oil-based ingredients most of the time. Oil, as we know, isn’t compatible with a latex condom. And, if you do choose a porous material please keep an eye on it for discoloration, odd odors, and black dots. I recommend tossing it after 6 months use to be safe.

Shape and Features

For some reason, a lot of people split off into two very different camps when purchasing their first toys. One side runs to the cutesy child-toy-like items or “incognito” items. The other side will pick the most realistic dildos.  It’s hard to get a very realistic dildo in something super small, but a few do exist like the Vixen Vixskin Spur.

Many people love the idea of a suction-cup base. This post lists out pretty much every silicone suction-cup dildo I’ve found.

Purchasing

Another option is to check in on the Tantus Grab Bag.  If you don’t care about the color of the dildo, you can get a really good price.  Their Grab Bag designs change, though, so if you see the Silk Medium or Leisure available – grab it up. Leisure is a good starter design but for that size (1.27″ wide) and price ($49 at Shevibe) I found other dildos at that size for less money than the full-price non-grab-bag version. The tapered design of the Leisure is probably better suited as a beginner’s anal dildo, to be honest.

I generally advise people to avoid Amazon and Ebay; counterfeit sex toys are definitely a thing, and you could get something that you think is silicone but is not. Some people have had good experiences buying from Amazon, but the risk of getting a fake sex toy is high enough that I advise you to avoid it. Stick with well-known sex toy retailers like Shevibe, Lovehoney1, Early to Bed, Smitten Kitten, Come As You Are or Lovedreamer for Canadians2, and buying direct from manufacturers like Tantus.

Also, on anything from Tantus: Watch for their monthly sales, and don’t forget to use my coupon code (LILLY). Sometimes my code is a better deal (15% off anything), sometimes the sales are better deals. And, sometimes their sales don’t require a coupon code,  so you can use my code to save even more on top of the sale.

Price – this likely won’t be your last dildo so I don’t recommend spending more than $50, if possible (this is easier to stick within the US).

Recommendations from smallest to largest:

First dildo recommendation #1 Tantus Silk Small - slender with a barely tapered head, no texture, shiny silicone and a sturdy base. Tantus Silk is available in small, medium and large, and in colors light pink, purple, and black.

Tantus Silk – The Small is 0.8″ wide and the Medium is 1″ wide so both are great for just starting out with penetration. Both are made from a fairly firm silicone but due to their diminutive size, they’re flexible. You can find them at Shevibe where they’re currently all priced under $50. If you’re buying numerous Tantus dildos (and live in the US) consider checking out buying from Tantus direct (and use my code, LILLY, for 15% off). Sometimes their stuff is on sale up to 50% off their prices or the Silks are a Grab Bag option. Early To Bed carries them, too.  In Canada, try Come As You Are or Lovedreamer.

First Dildo recommendation #2 Blush Novelties My Little Heaven is very slender and doesn't look like a dildo. It has a ring-pull  base that is probably not snal safe., The body of the dildo is extremely curved and said to be designed specifically for g-spot stimulation. Available only in lilac purple.

My Little Heaven – Definitely a strange shape, but I’ve read a few positive reviews which convinced me to list it here. Combined with the under-$20 price, it’s hard to avoid recommending this. At 5″ long and only 1″ wide it could be a great way to stimulate your G-spot without requiring a girth you can’t handle yet. Due to the low price you can afford to give this strange shape a go! You can find it at Shevibe, currently priced at $18.

First Dildo recommendation #3 Tantus Starter - Shiny silicone, max diameter of 1.1". Slightly bulbous head with a vague penis detail at the head. The rest of the shaft remains the same width. Harness and anal safe base.

Tantus Starter – Another very small dildo choice, this has a slight head and maxes out at 1.1″ wide; it’s also under 5″ long. Similar to the Silks, this Tantus silicone is fairly firm but will have flexibility due to the size. Also like the Silks this is made from the Tantus hand-poured silicone – it’s shiny and attracts dust and fur like crazy. It will require a little more lube than anything with a matte, silky finish. You can find it at Shevibe for $30. I can’t locate it on most other sites, strangely, so this may be discontinued.

First dildo recommendation #4 - Vixen Small Realistic Bent. Slightly softer silicone than Tantus, this is styled like a penis completely with foreskin wrinkles near the head but only comes in black and deep purple. Harness-compatible and anal safe base. Vixen Small Realistic Bent – Vixen’s single-density silicone is slightly squishier than Tantus silicone but is just as much of a magnet for dust and fur. The Small Realistic Bent comes in Black or Purple (which is one of the most amazing purples I’ve seen – blue opalized flashes and swirls), and is 4.7″ long by 1.2″ wide. Again, this will be pretty flexible due to the small size and slightly softer silicone.

First Dildo recommendation #5 Vixen Vixskin Spur - same size and style as the Vixen Small Realistic Bent. Spur is made with dual-density Vixskin silicone which feels fairly realistic and comes in 3 skin tones - light, medium and dark. Vixen Vixskin Spur – This is the same design as the Vixen Small Realistic Bent, but comes in their signature dual-density Vixskin. Vixskin is often thought to feel the most realistic of the available dual-density silicone brands. It’s the only dildo here above $50, because some may really want a soft, realistic dildo. Shevibe has it for $68, and Canadians can get it from Come As You Are.

First Dildo Recommendation #6 - Fuze Rebel- Matte, silky silicone in a bright moderate purple, with a base that has ridges to give sensation to someone wearing it in a harness. Overall shape is mostly uniform with a rounded head and very slight bulge-y bloops to the shaft. Fuze Rebel – With a base designed for harness play, the Rebel has a nice matte, silky finish that’ll resist dust and fur more than shiny silicone. Rebel is 5.5″ long and 1.25″ wide, and comes with a hole at the bottom for sliding in a small bullet vibe. As with the others, the slender size means it’ll be flexible but it isn’t a squishy silicone either. You can find it at Shevibe, or Come As You Are.

First Dildo Recommendation #7 - Dr Berman Marilyn Pelvic Floor Exerciser - Marilyn is made of a non-porous resin, so it is clear with a light purple tint. It's an affordable alternative to glass. It has weighted balls inside the resin at each end but those can be ignored and this just used as a regular dildo. Dr Berman Marilyn Pelvic Exerciser – Let’s forget about the supposed “orgasm balls” (ugh). I picked this because it’s a hard acrylic resin. It’s solid and slippery like glass, but unlike the affordable, slender glass items that are maybe not made in the best way for glass, resin won’t require such babying and care. It’s 1.25″ wide and slightly tapered. Under $30 at Shevibe. This is one of the few here that is not anal safe.

First Dildo Recommendation #8 - Blush Ruse Hypnotize Cerise color - made of shiny Cerise colored silicone it has veins for texture and a very realistic shape, including balls. Also has a suction cup base. Blush Ruse Hypnotize – At 6.5″ long and 1.3″ wide it’s heavily versatile. The suction cup base will work in many harnesses. The raised veins will add texture; if you don’t want that texture you can try the Ruse Juicy which is the same size and price, but more smooth. Both are very affordable at under-$25 at Shevibe. Even though I’m not fond of Blush, and they do make many porous products, in my experience if they are saying it is silicone, then it is.

First Dildo Recommendation #10 - Blush Real Nude Ergo Mini - a bright pinky-purple color. Dual-density silicone with a vague penis shape. Blush Real Nude Ergo Mini – The Real Nude line is Blush’s dual-density silicone. The Ergo Mini is 5″ long and 1.3″ wide, with a matte satin finish. It also has a suction-cup base, because Blush seems to be realizing that if they maximize the versatility of a dildo, it’ll sell well. The base is also harness-compatible. At $30 for a dual-density suction-cup base silicone dildo, I’m willing to overlook my distaste for Blush in order to recommend this. Also consider the larger Real Nude Helio which is 1.5″ wide and still under $40.

First Dildo Recommendation #11 - Tantus Curve in Midnight Purple - Shaft literally looks like someone bent it at a 30 degree angle about an inch up the shaft from the bottom. There are subtle ridges along the top of the shaft with a vague penis head. Harness base, no balls. Tantus Curve – A Classic Tantus design, and often copied, Curve lives up to its name with a dramatic curved shape. It has a large base that won’t slide out of a harness, and is 6″ long and 1.37″ wide. It’s made from Tantus’ firm, shiny silicone. The tapered tip would also make it great for anal play. The Curve is similar to the Acute which has a little less dramatic curve and is slightly smaller at 1.25″ wide.

First Dildo Recommendation #12 - Tantus Sport - Imagine the stick shift for a sports car - uniform shaft with a ball on top. Now take the top inch and angle it slightly about 15 degrees and put the ball ever so slightly off-center on the shaft. That's the Sport. Teardrop-shaped harness-compatible base. Tantus Sport – Sport has a more pronounced, bulbous head which many people like for precision fullness at the g-spot, allowing for a little less girth at the vaginal entrance or sphincter. Sport is priced a little better than Curve, at $40, and is 5.5″ long by 1.4″ at the widest part of the head. Sport is also available in a dark purple, and for $10 more you can get the matching starter harness.

First Dildo Recommendation #13 - Blush Luxe Purity 2 - Tapered head that quickly swells up again in the middle then tapes down again. Available in medium liilac purple. Blush Luxe Purity 2 – Yeah, I know. Another Blush Novelties dildo, and from the Luxe line which has copied Tantus a lot. They’re very affordable silicone, so I couldn’t leave them out. The Purity 2 is $24 at Shevibe, which may mean that it is not silicone through-and-through – which is fine, because you shouldn’t ever see the inside core. This is a guess, and not a fact, but I’m basing my educated guess on the style (matte silky silicone) combined with similarities to other also-very-affordable silicone dildos that I found had a non-silicone core. Similarly the Mio is a whopping 1.8″ wide and only $27. It can’t be solid silicone at that price.  The Luxe Purity 2 is 5.35″ long and 1.43″ at the widest portion.

First Dildo Recommendation - Split Peaches Unicorn Horn Dildo - straight with a twisty-swirly "horn" texture, tapered. Pearly white shown. Split Peaches Small Unicorn Horn – This thing is too cute to leave out. It’s tapered, gathering itself to be 1.5″ at the widest insertable portion. The original horn is pearly white, but also comes in a rainbow design and pastel design. The small size is part of a trio – each style also comes in a “medium” and “large” which are both pretty wide at the base. I’ll see if I can find out what size they all start at, at the tip.

Wet For Her Five Jules Medium – This style comes in 3 sizes, ranging from 1.1″ wide (small) to 1.5″ wide (medium) to 1.75″ wide (large) and each size offers three colors – black, pale pink, and pale purple. Anal safe and designed for harnesses, these look like they have a silky, matte finish. The silicone is probably quite firm. All sizes are under $50, with the Medium coming in at $44 from Shevibe.

 

 

  1. Although please avoid anything they list as “skin-safe rubber”, I take issue with that term since often those items are at the least porous and at the worst possibly toxic
  2. Again please check the material – they do still sell jelly items and other materials I don’t agree with