Aug 152018
 

At the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit this year I was a presenter, alongside Kenton (Funkit), to talk about sex toy myths specifically as they relate to sex toy materials. Pretty much everything we talked about is something I’ve already written about and I created a quick-and-dirty temporary page for Summit attendees to reference to, but decided to create a better post about it.

Sex toy myths are especially hard to dispell, even years later, because the misinformation still spreads. Every day, it seems, I have to gently (or, not so gently) correct a myth mid-spread. This list of links will mean very little to you, though, without seeing the session that inspired it.  You can see the video that was recorded live during the session below, with transcription/captioning done by Erika Lynae who also transcribed last year’s session that inspired this one. I suggest you take the time to read the transcript of the 2017 session to get a feel for why we felt so strongly about our own session, but it is not necessary. The video was filmed by Suz – thank you Suz!!! A bunch of great people live-tweeted during the session  so please check out the hashtag for it on Twitter, #sfsmyths. I encourage you to turn the captioning on because the sound isn’t all that great. I had no idea before the session how we’d be recording for live-streaming so I didn’t bring an extra microphone to better capture our voices.

Please note the best part of the captioning:

KENTON: [GLORIOUS DILDO REMOVAL POP]

AUDIENCE: [GASPS]

[APPLAUSE]

LILLY: The sex toy version of pulling a rabbit out of a hat!

Sex Toy Myths – The Material Basics

We touched on talking about the differences and similarities on material; basically TPR/TPE is a blanket term consisting of many recipes that vary from brand to brand, and these recipes nearly never have harsh plasticizers – but for some reason PVC jelly rubber does. PVC jelly rubber is a TPR, but we know a good bit of the recipe and we know the main ingredient, so we call it by it’s name. It’s like saying “Italian food” and then “Eggplant Parmesan” – everybody’s Eggplant Parm will vary a little, but we know it has Eggplant and cheese, and that it’s “Italian food”. In this strange analogy PVC is the Eggplant Parm and TPR is Italian Food. Here are a few Wikipedia links:

You can see from all of the lab tests that have been done that anything classified generically as TPR/TPE has never had phthalates.

Silicone is cured by various methods – addition-curing adds platinum or tin and this can be combined with room-temperature condensation cure (RTV). This means that “platinum” is not a grade, it’s the means of curing the silicone into a rubber-like elastomer. The only “grades” that can exist are the various medical grades and food grades. Companies can indeed use FDA-approved grades of silicone and pigments but this does not make the finished product FDA-approved.

Toxic Toys

We talked about how and why we continue to use the word “toxic” when we are talking about PVC and TPR toys, despite the fact that newer lab tests show a drastic decline in irritating, unsafe phthalates. I noted that while Doc Johnson’s PVC toys may not contain phthalates they do contain an additive they’ve dubbed “sil-a-gel” whose chemical composition is unknown but is an extreme irritant for many people.

I did touch briefly on the issues with porosity that include an increased risk for vaginal yeast infections, and you can read more about that here.

We discussed the long-standing unproven myth that covering problematic sex toys with condoms suddenly makes them body-safe; in short, no science has told us this protects us against the irritants or micro-organisms that may be present and that’s in part due to the fact that most porous toys will leach oil and oil destroys latex (the most commonly used condom type). While my recommendation to use polyurethane condoms still comes with a heavy caveat and uncertainty, I feel it’s got a slightly better chance at doing what we think it might do. However, maybe not. Until there are studies on this I don’t feel comfortable recommending it as a safety measure.

I also talked about the various definitions of body-safe, and I’ve written about it a little more extensively here.  For many more articles related to sex toy materials, visit the Toxic Toy landing page.

Silicone Lube and Silicone Sex Toys

At one point Kenton and I talked about how lubes affect materials; I reiterated the fact that oil doesn’t harm silicone as I’ve proven as much as is possible in an at-home experiment. I talked about how I’ve changed my stance on silicone sex toys paired with silicone lubes – definitely Not For Your Butt.

Kenton submerged some cured platinum silicone pieces in silicone lube and found that while that particular pairing didn’t “damage” the silicone toy, it certainly changed it. The toy absorbed lube and grew 20% in size and became 20% softer. This doesn’t change the porosity or how the pores react to water (they’re hydrophobic, which means no water which means no food for micro-organisms in the pores). It may create tears in the material because it’s now a little weaker than before, but you’ll see any tears quickly – they won’t stay small. Because the lube is absorbed, there won’t be lube left for your butt which is an absolute necessity for anal play. It’ll make it difficult and painful to remove the toy.

You could still use silicone lube for shorter external and vaginal use. I’ve personally never experienced lube-absorption with the Sliquid Silk hybrid lube but your mileage may vary. Check out a few of Kenton’s tweets in addition to his info in the session for more about silicone lube and silicone sex toys.

The Flame Test

We did talk a good bit about the flame test; why it’s used, how to read it, why the results were unexpected a few years ago. In short, silicone can burn and if it does catch a smoldering flame it’ll give you gray ash which is silica dust. It won’t get shiny or melt, it won’t burn like an oil lamp – all of that describes the reaction PVC and TPR will have to a flame. You’ll also usually get results sufficient enough to make a material determination in 5 seconds or less.

The flame test isn’t perfect and the inaccuracies from the early days continue to plague us with incorrect result readings but I feel confident enough with it to know what my materials really are when I do the test. I have performed the flame test enough times on known materials and received the expected results every time thus far. The flame test is really the only affordable, at-home “test” consumers can do if they doubt that a material is silicone as advertised.

We Don’t Need No Regulations

I talked about how sex toy companies can make any material claims they want, because no governing body regulates this. People are disturbed when they hear this and ask why the FDA doesn’t get involved and why I don’t want the FDA involved. The FDA wants money – a small fortune per SKU – and animal testing. The cost factors would prevent most sex toy companies from ever creating anything and would result in drastically fewer choices with vibrators always years behind on tech because FDA approvals can sometimes take years. I pointed out that the FDA has approved KY (gross) and Nonoxynol-9, a spermicide that was shown to increase STI transmission. The FDA is only concerned that the ingredients are “Generall Regarded As Safe” (GRAS list), not if they’re a known irritant. I’ve also noted in the Lube Guide that FDA-approved lubes don’t have to publish their ingredients list – so this would mean that probably the materials in the sex toy would remain a mystery, as well, and if so what is the damn point? Most companies utilize specific import/export codes to avoid being classed as a medical device and rely on the “Novelty Use Only” tags to help with this because if it is classed as a medical device, then FDA approval is required. The Novelty tag doesn’t necessarily mean that the manufacturer is setting out to deceive and harm you.

Sex Toy Myths About Silicone vs TPR

In the 2017 panel there were numerous arguments given for why they feel educators and reviewers are wrong for insisting on silicone for soft toys; the person heading up the panel was the publicist for Screaming O, a company that makes silicone and TPR sex toys. One point brought up was that nothing beats the realistic feel and the softness and the stretchiness of TPR or PVC. Nearly all mainstream penetrables/strokers are made of TPR or PVC, but Kenton pointed out a few of his products that showcase just how soft, pliable and stretchy silicone can be. The shore durometer he uses for his flogger can be stretched to 800 times it’s unstretched length. He even made a silicone penetrable stroker out of this same type of silicone. The better quality sleeves from brands like Fleshlight and Tenga are not what I would call affordable, so a large company buying silicone in bulk could in theory make comparably priced silicone masturbators. You can’t really see me pulling on the flogger in the video above but this is the de-molding video Kenton mentioned in the session for those who like hearing the satisfying sounds of silicone popping out of its mold. The stretchiness of it is fairly evident there.

They also argued price – that most of the silicone products we insist are better are not affordable to many people. Body-safe (non-porous) sex toys are becoming increasingly more affordable. I mentioned that SheVibe stocks nearly 500 body-safe sex toys, and they certainly don’t stock every body-safe sex toy on the market. I also only counted up the major categories such as clitoral, g-spot, classic, and mini vibrators; silicone and glass dildos; regular and vibrating butt plugs, prostate massagers, and anal beads. I’d counted up the number of individual models, not colors offered.

While I’ve got a comparatively small list of sex toys under $35 you can see from the count above that there are hundreds.

Other Bits and Bobs

We talked about cleaning methods a little; most of those are detailed on the Care and Cleaning guide page. You do not *need* high-priced UV sanitizing boxes to keep your silicone products safe. There are links to all the various posts about the Jar of Horrors (the TPR and PVC jar) on the Toxic Toys page, and this is the link to the post about the silicone jar.

I think I’ve covered everything here? If not, let me know! Have questions that didn’t get asked? Ask em here, we’ll do our best.

Mar 032018
 

Definition:: what is a body-safe sex toy?Toxic. Non-porous. Body-safe. Skin-safe. Non-toxic. These are all terms you will see used to define sex toy materials. Toxic, non-toxic, and non-porous are all pretty self-explanatory terms but we’ll go over them here. The term that seems up for debate is body-safe, so today I’m going to give you various answers on what a body-safe sex toy is.

But, let’s start by talking about the other, more easily defined terms, before we define a body-safe sex toy.

Toxic Sex Toys

The topic of toxic toys is one this blog is familiar with; I have a whole page dedicated to the ins and outs. When you get down to the nitty-gritty of language, though, you may wonder if “toxic” is accurate. Toxic, by definition, means “containing poisonous substances” or “containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing serious injury or death

While there are no cases of a sex toy material killing someone we do know that some sex toys contain phthalates, a chemical that can do bad things to the body. The occurance of phthalates in sex toys is sharply declining, thankfully, as evidenced by recent lab tests. One or two uses won’t likely hurt you, and sex toys are not the only place to find phthalates but they’re a thing you can control and avoid.

We’ve also seen the presence of heavy metals, like Cadmium which is dangerous, but this is rare. We may see irritants, such as chlorine, which may cause a burn or rash on your skin. But the chances of a sex toy truly being “toxic” to the point of serious illness? We don’t know. After all, no one is subjecting mice to a Basix dildo and observing them.

The lab tests on sex toys have largely been performed on the more well-known brands but the market is flooding, unchecked, on sites like Groupon, Amazon, Ebay and AliExpress. Brands come and go and they are usually not the focus of testing. These are the brands I am most skeptical of; they are white label brands usually (another definition post to come on that) and their manufacturing isn’t watched with a careful eye like the more major brands.

Because the sex toy industry is much less regulated the chemicals in sex toy materials are not monitored by any governing body. Packaging can say whatever the company wants it to say with no regard for the truth. As consumers become more savvy and bloggers educate more, I feel we’re seeing fewer companies lie on packaging but it certainly still happens.

There are a few things we know to be true, though: You’ll never find phthalates in silicone or hard materials. Due to the nature of the material you don’t find phthalates in TPR/TPE but you may in latex rubber or PVC. PVC/Vinyl can contain high levels of chlorine, while TPR/TPE has been shown to be free of harmful and irritating chemicals. Visually, it can be hard to tell the difference between a TPR and PVC – your nose may know, but all soft sex toy materials (even silicone) can have a bad chemical odor due to manufacturing chemicals not being removed before the toy is sealed up in packaging.

Non-Toxic Definition

Non-toxic is a definition I use for materials that are porous but are either very unlikely to contain harmful or irritating chemicals or the company claims they are free from harmful or irritating chemicals. TPR/TPE and various trademarked “flesh” like materials will fall in this category – such as masturbators like Fleshlight and Tenga. PVC that claims to be phthalates-free could begrudingly go in this category if we’re feeling charitable or have repeatedly seen that the brand never fails on lab tests. 

Unfortunately, as noted above, it can often be hard to tell the difference between PVC and TPR/TPE. Both can be jelly-like and clear, or completely opaque. I am more wary of this difficulty telling the difference when you’re relying on white-label brands direct from the Chinese manufacturing plant than of major name brands carried at most retailers.

Non-toxic, porous sex toy materials may not ever harm your body in the ways a toxic toy can – they are unlikely to cause a rash or chemical burn, for example. They will, over time, become a happy home to bacteria and yeast because these materials can only be cleaned on the surface – the same can be said for toxic toys because they are also porous. Their pores will always freely feed bacterial colonies and encourage them to thrive. The material is not chemically stable and will break down over time. It will happen slowly if left on its own: it’ll sweat an oily substance, lose it’s coloring, or take on coloring from anal use or simply the place it’s being stored. It will happen rapidly if stored in a place that gets hotter than body temperature or if two porous toys are stored touching each other.

Non-toxic, porous sex toys can also potentially cause vaginal infections in some people.

Skin-Safe Definition

I’ve only seen this term used by a few retailers, namely Lovehoney (and anybody setting up their site who copies Lovehoney). My best guess is they use this term as a nicer way of describing materials that are porous yet claim to be non-toxic.

Why “Skin safe” and not body-safe or, more accurately, non-toxic? Perhaps even they recognize that “body-safe” is a higher level of quality yet they still want to give you a false sense of security. Given all the issues that can happen with porous materials I would never call them “skin safe”.  PVC without phthalates is non-toxic but could burn your skin from chlorine…that doesn’t sound “safe”.

Body-Safe Sex Toy Definitions

Like “skin safe”, some retailers and manufacturers use “body safe” as a blanket term for anything that is merely non-toxic. The issues with porous sex toys, like repeated vaginal infections, won’t happen for everyone. If you replace the porous material after 4-6 months and take very good care of it1 then you may never have to worry about shoving a bacterial colony of squigglies in your body. These exceptions, maybes and loopholes mean that, to some, TPR/TPE and similarly named products (elastomer, for example) are “body-safe”.

I don’t consider microbial stowayas “body-safe” but, unless you’re a microbiologist, you won’t know the bacteria and yeast there. They could be. I’ve heard of people giving themselves repeated yeast infections because of the microbes in the toy; I’ve heard of people feeling like they’ve had food poisioning after using a porous sex toy anally.

While many retailers will push you towards sex toy cleaners for the porous materials, I don’t recommend it. The chemicals from the cleaner could potentially stick around in the pores. Do we know this to be 100% fact? No. Again, a lack of specific medical studies but enough people who know more about

To most bloggers, educators, and retailers, though, a body-safe sex toy is something that is both non-toxic and non-porous.

The Exceptions to Body-Safe Sex Toy Materials

Taken a step further a body-safe sex toy means being certain that the metal alloys in metal toys are considered surgical-grade or marine-grade, like njoy’s 316 grade stainless steel or Crowned Jewels’ body-safe aluminum and titanium. Good stainless steel shouldn’t be highly magnetic. It also means that the glass has not been painted and non-toxic pigments in frit are the only pigments used. It means that the wood has been sealed with food-grade sealant (or medical-grade) that will not wash away. It means that only non-toxic food-grade pigments are used in ABS plastic or silicone.

The tricky part, then, is knowing the answers to those exceptions for every brand you buy. You can get to a safe and trusting place by only buying from brands endorsed by sex toy reviewers, sold by trustworthy retailers also endorsed by sex toy reviewers. I am always very wary of recommending unknown brands of metal sex toys especially if the brands are only found on sites like Amazon, AliExpress, and so on; I can also tell you that you are very unlikely to get a body-safe metal butt plug for under $25 – especially the jeweled kind.

I’ve given you the tools to know more about the safety of your glass sex toys but there are no easy, fool-proof home tests yet for metal. Wood sex toys are usually easier because, for the most part, manufacturers/crafters know what they’re putting on the wood as a sealant and are up front about this. This article talks about the sealants you should avoid. You can try your hand at flame-testing to determine if something is silicone or not – not all PVC and TPR looks like “jelly” so at first glance you may be unable to tell visually.

 

A body-safe sex toy doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Buy from a trusted retailer – not Amazon, AliExpress, Groupon, Ebay – and you can find many options to fit your budget. You can’t find many body-safe sex toys under $10, for example, but you can find hundreds under $35. I want you to have the best, safest experience possible and that starts by knowing your materials, the risks, and how to shop.

 

 

  1. clean it immediately before and after use with a mild soap, let it air-dry 100% before storing it in a dark environment, storing it by itself in unbleached cotton bags/wrapping
Jan 282018
 

Zumio Classic Review - Zumio shown on top of multi-colored papers with craft scissors and a paint markerI don’t think I’ve ever held a sex toy as awkwardly as I hold the Zumio. It doesn’t endear me to the strange, purple antenna. Every single time I’ve used the Zumio I curse the button location. They had so much room to work with, but instead one button is nearly inaccessible to me. And so, this review begins on an ominous note. I’ll warn you right now: while many other reviewers really enjoyed the Zumio I’ve found too many quirks and problems to be able to recommend it. I’ve had my Zumio since November. Like the original Womanizer I didn’t want to like it, but suspected I would. Unlike the Womanizer I found I was different from most folks who’ve reviewed it. I consider myself to have a very hearty and stoic clitoris but even mine cowered in fear of the sometimes-painful Zumio.

Don’t Tell Me What To Do, Zumio

Many sex toys that I like end up being pretty versatile – you can use a lot of G-spot vibrators externally with great success, many clitoral vibes are great for perineum, penis, testicle, external anal stim, labia stim, etc. I’d say that the only sex toy I really love that is limited in use is the Womanizer and all other varitions/knock-offs. I’ve been told that it can work great applied to the frenulum on the penis but haven’t had my partner agree. But the Zumio – right out of the gate they’re telling you how it’s supposed to be held and then damn near giving you a paint-by-numbers diagram of how to use it, and what spots to hit in which order. There are literal instructions on how to achieve this supposed (not guaranteed) 60-second orgasm that the Zumio was invented to provide.

It wasn’t until I really poked around the website that I realized why it’s so awkward for me to hold and use the Zumio – I’ve been holding it “wrong”. They’re holding it like a paintbrush and I’m still holding it like, well, a vibrator. With the buttons facing me and the body perpendicular to my vulva. So I tried to hold it their way and it was worse – the power button is the most obvious to my fingers so I kept accidentally turning it off because I just couldn’t remember that the other buttons are that damn far down the body, so close to the tip.

Folks who are flatter in chest and tummy and can easily see what they’re doing, folks without reach issues and “short arms” will find this less awkward. Folks with less pubic mound padding and less labia may not have a problem accessing the top-most1 button but the top-heavy feel of it in your hands, the overwhelming feeling that you’re not about to buzz your way to orgasm but paint your clitoris, may deter you like it’s deterring me. Those with wrist/hand pain/arthritis may also find that holding the Zumio is painful.

I also want to address another aspect of Zumio’s prescriptive stance: their early marketing “studies” and ridiculous “proof” of the ultra-quick orgasm that is supposedly the hallmark of the Zumio. Early on they kept throwing around these comparisons and percentages that, frankly, are a terrible way to market. You end up alienating people for whom your product doesn’t work. You may make people feel broken. I repeatedly called them out on this and pressed for more details; it was then we found out that this study they’ve been touting like it’s a religious tome was based on a mere SIXTY FOUR SUBJECTS. That’s it. 64. They claimed a wide range of participants but they eventually stopped using these numbers and claims. It also took them awhile to “gather the responses” to give me more data. Can you feel my side-eye from there? I haven’t seen them trot these percentages out in awhile and can’t find them on their site anymore. Hmmm…

But Lilly, Don’t You Love Pinpoint Stimulation?

I agreed to review the Zumio because it’s supposed to be the be-all end-all pinpoint sex toy2 and we all know how much I love pinpoint vibrators. Except Zumio isn’t really a vibrator, technically speaking, it oscillates3. And despite the company’s ridiculous claims and promises of a quick orgasm, I had problems and found that, perhaps, there was such a thing as too pinpoint for me. Quelle surprise!  Sometimes I was able to orgasm in a few minutes  – but I can with the Womanizer, too. Sometimes I wasn’t.

Every other pinpoint vibrator I’ve tried and liked was pinpoint, yes, but they also provided just enough extra surface area to stimulate more than the exact spot they were honing in on, not to mention stimulating the internal clitoris legs to some degree. Not the Zumio. For once I had trouble finding my spot, that one spot on the right side of my clit, because the tip of the Zumio is so precise and rigid that I simply don’t feel much pleasure until X marks the spot. It was a frustrating game of pin-the-tail-on-the-clitoris. Zumio acknowledges this on their site, buried in the FAQ. If you look at the question “Is Zumio as strong as a vibrator?” you’ll see that they say no, it is not. “Vibrators shake everything that touches them including the clitoral region, hand and arm and even the entire body. Your body is full of nerve endings. All of them pick up these energy pulses in some form and can be overwhelming signals to your brain. It’s like a sledge hammer to drive a tack!”

Your entire body? Really?

It is a big pet peeve of mine when a sex toy manufacturer puts so much emphasis on putting down other, similar products. You don’t need to be like “Vibrators? PAH. THEY SUCK. TRY ZUMIO” to get sales.

The Zumio claims to replicate the feeling of your finger circling your clitoris – which couldn’t be farther from the truth. It feels exactly like what it is – a vibrating plastic tip. It’s intense. It feels a lot like if you took the vibrator motor – the kind with the off-balance head that wobbles around – and applied it directly to your clitoris. I would know, I did that once with my first sex toy.

I’m also usually a person who needs pressure – whether it’s applying pressure to my clitoris or needing a vibrator that won’t be diminished under the “pressure” of my surrounding labia. When I apply a very light amount of pressure, the sensations change and feel less intense and almost more rumbly, if that’s possible. But when I apply a little bit more pressure the Tip stops moving completely although the motor is still going. A number of times during use as I tried to find the right combination of my spot and Zumio placement and intensity I would apply enough pressure for it to stop moving. 

A Strange Orgasm

I can orgasm, but not in 60 seconds, on the lowest setting of the Zumio if I’m aroused or watching something erotic on Tumblr. The resulting orgasm is mild and feels like nothing within seconds. It takes awhile, anywhere from 10-20 minutes.The Zumio is too intense, too direct, for me to continue to use it for additional orgasms like I can with the Womanizer, so if I want another orgasm – because the first one was disappointing – I have to wait a little bit.

I can increase the speed on the Zumio – I can only go to 3 or 4 because any higher than that and it’s even more sensitive to whatever pressure I am trying not to apply – and the resulting orgasm is stronger but afterwards I still don’t feel like anything happened, if that makes sense. At level 3, the Zumio did force an orgasm but it was an empty orgasm. It left me as quickly as it started and I don’t feel it bodily – it’s like the orgasm and its aftershocks are strictly located in my clitoris and I just don’t feel it anywhere else.

Every time I’ve used the Zumio I looked longingly at my Womanizer Pro40 and wanted to abandon ship for it, but “I must continue on. For science.”

A Few SpiroTIP Warnings

FYI, the following is not mentioned in the manual. I’d assumed that the Tip was purely ABS plastic, through and through. But one weekend I was carrying the Zumio in my handbag. When I finally removed it I panicked because the Tip was bent at almost a 75-degree angle. I thought I ruined it completely. It seems that the top half of the tip is bendable wire covered in a plastic of some type? After I accidentally bent it once it was easy to accidentally bend it again, and now the purple plastic in the spot is lighter, showing signs of stress. The moment there’s a break in that covering, the Zumio won’t be safe for use anymore4.

Zumio only gives you a standard-issue drawstring pouch for storage so I feel like this damage to the Tip could happen to anyone, whether they’re carrying it in their pocket, their handbag, their suitcase or even if it’s just in a jumbled nightstand drawer.

This second problem happened as I was preparing to take a photo of the tip to show the damage to the plastic. As I was cleaning my Zumio I noted that a not-inconsiderable amount of dried lube/fluid had congregated in the space between the base of the plastic-covered tip and the silicone of the body. I gently ran my fingernail along the seam, like you do. This caused the plastic portion of the Tip to pop out of the body. I was able to eventually work the tip back into place, as the silicone covering is flexible around the joint of the tip, but the damage was done. My Zumio is now completely dead. The tip is covering a metal rod which feeds into the motor – the metal rod isn’t fixed into place so when it was lifted up along with the plastic SpiroTip I couldn’t get it back into place again so that it works.

Close-up image of the broken Zumio - the plastic tip slightly separated from the body, with a lighter purple spot in the center of the tip, indicitative of where it bent

And this part leads me to concerns about their Limited Warranty…

Notes on the Zumio Limited Warranty

The warranty only covers any defects in material or workmanship under normal use during the warranty period of 1 year after the date of purchase. Is my accident with the bent SpiroTip considered a defect? I spoke with a rep from Zumio who said that no, it’s not considered a defect5 and probably wouldn’t be covered under warranty. Yet they do not warn about this and give you no way to to prevent it happening during travel. I haven’t bothered to ask if my second, and fatal, break would be covered under warranty – I doubt it. At this point, I have serious concerns about the build quality and their warranty.

I would also like to note that despite their constant claims of a 60-second orgasm on their site and social media there is no “satisfaction guarantee” and if this product doesn’t give you the 60-second orgasm they talk so much about don’t expect to get your money back. You wouldn’t expect that with any other sex toy, I know, but this feels like a weird juxtiposition to me.

It’s also noted that, according to the manufacturer, the average life span of the Zumio is about 2 years, which may vary with usage patterns. I suppose this might mean that if you apply a little pressure and if you really love it and use it a lot, it probably won’t last you two years. While the Zumio is 10 times more intense than the Eroscillator, to me, the Eroscillator has a much better track record for longevity even though their warranty period is the same.

An Exceedingly Long Charge Time

It’s not noted on their website but it is noted on the SheVibe page that charge time is “16 hours, from low battery to full battery” and this charge time gets you up to 4 hours of use, but as little as 75 minutes of use if you apply pressure and use it on a higher intensity setting a lot. Since applying pressure dampens the action considerably, you probably will have to increase the intensity, like I did. I can tell you I got nowhere near 4 hours of use on a full charge. I never ran a stop-watch while I was using it but if your use time on a full charge is under an hour then you have a defective unit. You can absolutely just pop it in the charging stand and charge for say, an hour or two, and then use the Zumio again. You don’t always have to fully charge it.

If you’re lucky enough that the Zumio works quickly for you then even just 75 minutes of total use time would equal a lot of orgasms, right? Except that I don’t know how normal non-use battery drainage works here. It’s not a lithium battery, it’s NiMH 350mAh. I’ve had plenty of sex toys lose their charge during dormant periods of use and I don’t claim to know if it’s related to a certain battery type.

Should You Buy The Zumio?

Obviously, I’m not a fan. I don’t hate the Zumio and it’s not the worst thing ever but it’s certainly not what I would expect from an “award winning” sex toy. If I do my best to get over my hatred of their prescribed useage and empty promises full of marketing lingo that makes me stabby, my opinion still slants towards “maybe give this a pass”. The button placement is a major issue for me and while the sensation it provides is certainly unique it’s also only going to be perfectly right for a small portion of people. I can’t just say “if you know you like pinpoint vibrations” because that’s me and I didn’t love it. The Zumio Classic is currently $140 – a lot of money to spend on such a finicky sex toy. Given my problems with the build quality and the extremely restrictive warranty I’m reluctant to recommend purchase. I can’t recommend the Eroscillator instead simply because the Eroscillator isn’t nearly as intense so it’s still apples and oranges. I’d pick the Tango but I’ve been told that for some folks it’s not pinpoint enough. The Womanizer feels nothing like the Zumio but, for me, is much more satisfying and provides a true build-up in intensity from light to “whoa nelly”.

The company has already created a slightly different model, the Zumio Caress, which will be out in a few months. I’ve attached a guide sheet that the company provided me with and it shows that the Caress has a shorter tip made out of softer material (I don’t know what it is) and that it is less intense than the Zumio Classic. The overall design is still the same and with a shorter tip I would have even more difficulty accessing the buttons, making this even more awkward to hold and frustrating to use. I think that I could appreciate the Tip redesign but it needs a body overhaul.

 

My thanks to Shevibe for providing me with the Zumio in exchange for my honest review! You can get the Zumio at Shevibe here.

  1. lowest? depends on orientation – regardless, I mean the “increase” button
  2. according to the manufacturer, of course
  3. but not nearly as effectively as the Eroscillator
  4. Why? Because the cracks in the plastic will harbor bacteria and potentially scratch/abrade/irritate the delicate tissue of the labia and clitoris
  5. In fact, they expressed surprise at what happened and said that it would take “considerable force” to bend the tip – I disagree
Dec 312014
 

LeloMona2If you at all frequent the world of sex toy review blogs (or even Reddit) you’d probably think that the Lelo Mona 2 is one of the three Holy Grail sex toys (the other two being the We-Vibe Tango and the Njoy Pure Wand). So you may be able to understand why I feel like the black sheep (oh wait, I am!) for not loving the Lelo Mona 2. I ask that you hear me out before you light the torches and brandish the pitchforks. I like it well enough; it’s okay. But I don’t long for it. In fact, I don’t ever use it….unless I’m writing a review.

“How can you not love the Mona 2?!?”

Since my body requires a ton of vibration strength for it to matter to my g-spot, the vibrations of the Mona 2 don’t quite cut it for me as an internal vibe. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, and it’s fairly strong, but I need something more…. more than most people. I need the serious rumbles, like those found in the L’amourose Rosa Rouge.  The vibrations of the Lelo Mona 2 are good enough to help stimulate my internal clitoris but not enough to really wake up my g-spot. It’s pretty good as an external vibe if you don’t like pinpoint vibrations, and want something with a handle, but it’s still not going to be my top recommendation. I actually can’t think of a situation where I’ve chosen the Mona over the We-Vibe Tango for external stimulation – I guess I prefer something more pinpoint (like the Tango). I find that using a vibe like the Lelo Mona 2 as an external stimulator during partnered PIV sex is a little less awkward because it gets my hand out of the way a bit, versus using the Tango, but the effort required for me to come using the Mona 2’s more broad stimulation isn’t worth the saved hassle.  Plus, after trying vibes like the Je Joue Uma, the half-plastic half-silicone design of the Mona 2 combined with the buttons makes clean-up a bit more of a hassle than I feel up for most times. Yes, I’m lazy. The Uma is totally encased in a silicone skin, and the buttons on the end are just a bit easier for me to access. 

Better than, Worse than

If we’re comparing Lelo to Lelo, I’d definitely pick the Mona 2 over the Gigi 2 any day.  Lelo Mona 2 provides the fullness I need with a longer overall design that I also really need. The vibrations of the Mona 2 are definitely stronger and better than the Gigi 2. While I do love everything about the L’amourose Rosa Rouge much more than the Lelo Mona 2, for those who need a lot of firm pressure on their g-spot, I’d recommend the Mona 2 (or Uma) over the Rosa Rouge. But if you want something easier to hold and with more powerful vibrations, I’d recommend the Rosa (or heated version, Rouge) any day. There is an increased cost there, of course. Je Joue’s Uma is about $20 less than Mona 2 and I feel the vibrations are just a bit more rumbly. 

Like most higher-end sex toys, Mona 2 is rechargeable, waterproof, has varied levels of vibration intensity and has a few pulsating settings. I’m never a fan of patterns, so I stick with the straight vibrations. There’s a warranty but experiences from fellow readers have shown that there’s a few issues with the Lelo customer claims department.  Unlike most newer rechargeable sex toys, though, the Lelo Mona 2 isn’t USB-rechargeable. This means you’ll have to purchase from a store in the country you live in, to ensure your charger is the right voltage and prongs and whatnot for you.  The silicone is a silky-smooth skin overtop a hard plastic vibrator, so there’s no give and no squish. If you need something softer and thinner, try the Tenga Iroha Minamo.

Want it?

As with all Lelo creations, Mona 2 is a bit pricey. As of this writing, SheVibe.com sells it for $129.99. Every now and then you’ll be able to catch a Lelo sale or just an overall site sale to save a bit. So far, I’ve received fewer complaints about the Mona 2 failing than other Lelo items, but I’m skeptical overall on their brand. Of course, now that I’ve taken so long to write this review the Mona Wave is out.

 

All purchase links here go to Shevibe, the best retailer on earth.  And Canadians, check out Come As You Are

Oct 072014
 

Tenga Iroha MikazukiFor as much as I love the Tenga Iroha Minamo, I’m underwhelmed by the Iroha Mikazuki. The Iroha Minamo arrived first on my doorstep; I was so excited about it and liked it so much that I asked Tenga if I could review both. I wanted to be certain that I could recommend them interchangeably. I’m so glad I did because I am more reluctant to recommend the Mikazuki.

My first Iroha vibe was the Iroha Midori. I had expected a lot more squish and give than I experienced with the Midori and felt a bit let down but it all. The Minamo delivered on that squish, and how. But the Iroha Mikazuki goes back to being barely squishy. The tip is very squishy, like Vixskin heads, and this continues for about the first inch because there’s no plastic body underneath, it’s simply all soft material. But after that first inch it’s just not as soft. However, the Mikazuki is thinner than the Minamo and still could be a decent insertable vibe for those who are very new to penetration or have vaginismus. The slender shape starts out very slim, 0.75″ wide and gradually enlarges to a max width of 1.25″ at about 4.5″ of insertable length, or just below the buttons.

The color is hard to pinpoint, and photograph. The yellow is just a bit more yellow than it appeared onscreen to me. It’s not quite a banana yellow. It’s maybe a tad bit more than butter yellow. It perfectly matches the color of raw sweet bi-color corn on the cob. Yet in certain lighting it’s just….not an appealing yellow. I super appreciate this color deviation, but I foresee a lot of people possibly passing this up because of the less-than-popular color. Tenga is definitely one company totally ignoring the American gendering of colors, though, I’ll give em that. They’re also bucking the marketing standpoint. I’ve been told by more than one company that orange and yellow barely sell in sex toys.

The Iroha Mikazuki is very much like the Minamo in most ways; the charging, the vibration strength, the feel of the silicone skin, it’s waterproof, and flexible-ish. For some reason I thought at first that the Mikazuki would be a little *more* flexible than the Minamo, but it’s not. It’s the same, which is to say….not a whole lot. It’s nowhere NEAR as flexible as the photos from Iroha show on Shevibe

Tenga Iroha Mikazuki vs Minamo

All in all, my relative meh-ness on the Iroha Mikazuki can be attributed directly to the level of squish. If it had just a tiny bit more squish all over, then I would love it a lot more. The way it currently is, though, is underwhelming. I think the slender size and silkiness of the silicone is still great for the newbies, those who’ve not experienced vaginal penetration, those with medical issues and so on…..and of course the tip is very squishy, which could make for a very pleasant and comfortable clitoral/vulva vibrator. But for those who really want the comfort and forgiveness of soft and squish for an insertable vibe? I really need to recommend Minamo, instead. It might be slightly bigger, but that extra tiny amount of girth is all super-soft squish. .

 

I was give the Mikazuki in exchange for my honest review, courtesy of Tenga Iroha. You can find the Iroha Mikazuki at my favorite retailer, SheVibe.

Apr 102014
 

We-Vibe 4UPDATE: The We-Vibe 4 has been replaced by the We-Vibe Sync.

I’ve been reviewing the We-Vibe ever since it first came out, so it’s been interesting to watch the changes they’ve made over the years. The first We-Vibe was simple–no remote, no patterns–but lacking in vibration strength. We-Vibe 21 added in a bunch of patterns. We-Vibe 3 added in a remote and a bit of a power increase, along with an easier method of charging–the induction base–which also made it waterproof. So far though, We-Vibes 1 through 3 all looked about the same. Finally We-Vibe 4 is out and the changes are significant2. I admit that the We-Vibe has historically never had enough power for me, although I’ve read plenty of reviews from satisfied people. I’ve been hoping that one of these versions, the changes will be significant enough for me to finally love it as much as I want to. 

New Silicone–Finally!

We-Vibe 3 compared to We-Vibe 4. We-Vibe 3's remote had one button, We-Vibe 4's has 4 in a circle. The We-Vibe 3 is shown in a U shape with glossy silicone covered in dust, fur and other crap. The We-Vibe 4 is a much tighter U shape, shown to be relatively free of dust and fur. Previously, We-Vibe had used the shiny silicone that attracts dust/fur/lint like a magnet. You couldn’t keep it clean. The We-Vibe 4 features their new, silky-smooth matte finish silicone which stays clean! It’s much nicer during use, too, it glides against skin better. With the previous We-Vibes there was a drag to the silicone and much lube was required. Another aspect of the silicone that helps is that is isn’t so slippery anymore when wet with fluids or lube, which makes it much easier to press the button on the We-Vibe during use if you don’t have the remote handy.  In the photos below comparing the We-Vibe 3 and the We-Vibe 4, I purposely didn’t clean either one of them before taking pictures. I wanted to show you the drastic difference the silicone makes in how clean it stays. The We-Vibe 3 wasn’t hiding under the bed, as the fur and dust might suggest. I’d gotten the We-Vibe 3 out of storage two days before taking these photos. It sat on my desk for those two days.

New, Better Design

According to the site:

Clitoral stimulator  ~Curved to fit her body  ~Contoured to gently rest between the labia  ~Maintains contact to deliver deep, rumbling vibrations

Mid-section  ~Slim design allows for penetration  ~Snug fit for direct vibrations

G-spot stimulator  ~Shaped for stability  ~Rests in place behind the pelvic bone ~Comfortable for both partners

We-Vibe 4 features a more streamlined design, and the U-shape curve is also tighter. It gives a more snug fit which is beneficial if you’re wearing it solo and for public play, or just during PIV sex. The tighter curve combined with the new silicone and streamlined design makes it less likely to move around wildly during sex–but it can still move around a bit. We had a little bit of an issue with that in version 4, still3, but not as much as we did previous versions. I do vastly prefer the new, more snug fit. Even with my full, “chubby” outer labia it is comfortable. I completely surround the We-Vibe 4 but that’s fine. If your g-spot is located deeper inside the vagina, you might not love the redesign. For me personally it’s a better fit, though.

Another design change is the location of the power button. It’s always been a tiny button; the first We-Vibe was a switch rather than push-button which was even more difficult. And the button has always been located on the very tip–this means it would be buried in the labia, and made it difficult to turn on/off/change settings during use. But now, the button is slightly bigger and it’s moved back just enough from the tip so that everything is so much easier to use.

The We-Vibe 4 and 3 are shown to reveal the difference in the U shape The We-Vibe 4's g-spot portion is very different. The head is smaller and arrow-shaped, whereas the 3 was more tear-drop shaped. The 3 had more pronounced ridges. The 3 also got fatter closer to the middle, which could make it more uncomfortble during use with a partner that is more well-endowed.  Showing the back side of the g-spot arm, We-Vibe 4 is on the left We-Vibe 4 is on the left. You can clearly see the power button. The We-Vibe 3 power button is smaller and located at the front tip.

Still a Lack of Power

For whatever reasons, be it how I’m wired, how I’m built, dopamine levels….my external clitoris (and g-spot, for that matter) aren’t very sensitive. I require MORE. More power, sure, but more rumblies. If the We-Vibe had the same motor as the Tango–not the same power, it can be only as powerful as level 2 of 4 on the Tango otherwise it might overwhelm everyone–then the We-Vibe might be something I rave about.  Not even g-spot stimulation can make the vibrations of the We-Vibe 4 bring me to a clitoral orgasm during penetration. It can’t even do it solo. In fact I drained the charge one day trying in vain for 45 minutes to draw out even the tiniest of orgasms. It does have vibrations that are more rumbly than buzzy, but it just isn’t powerful enough for me. Currently even level 1 on the Tango is more powerful than the top level on the We-Vibe 4.

So, that’s it. If the We-Vibe 4 had the same motor as the Tango, we’d be in business. Of course I say that about many toys, because the Tango is my holy grail of vibrators, but surely the possibility exists for Standard Innovations to utilize that same motor? The bottom line here is that they’ve made some really great changes to the We-Vibe 4. Every change is necessary. Every change is good. But that one thing….the vibrations….keep me from being able to really recommend it to most. I think that if you’re more sensitive, you will really like it. We-Vibe does listen to customer feedback, as you can see with all the changes they’ve made.

 

My apologies to the RSS/Email only crowd. The following sections are made to be click-to-see on the site, to make this post less lengthy but you folks will see this no matter what. Since I feel that the opinion is the most important part of the review, that’s the focus. But some want to read more about how it functions, the specs, etc so if you click on each heading, you’ll see that info.

 

UPDATE: The We-Vibe 4 has been replaced by the We-Vibe Sync.

  1. Apparently they recently added a 2 Plus – it uses the same base-style charging as the 3 and 4, and has that tiny bit of a power boost over the 1 and 2
  2. The only odd thing is that We-Vibe still sells the 2, 2 Plus, 3 and now the 4. I don’t get that. Why have so many options? It’s very confusing. Offer a cheaper one, no remote, and one with the remote. Done and done. Get rid of 2, 2 plus and 3. Make the two options both just like the 4. There’s my advice, take it or leave it, Standard Innovations
  3. I think that is due to the size of my husband’s cock, it’s larger than average