Mar 192013

Before I even write anything about CatalystCon, I’m writing this post because I feel that this information is too important to wait.

We all were once ignorant about sex toys, because the truths were never talked about. Truth, fact and education is slowly being spread around in the hopes of a revolution. I’m playing the small part that I can, and sharing with you everything I learn. Many fellow bloggers know this now, but a lot of consumers do not so I will say this for the benefit of all: there are no regulations on sex toys. None. You have one method for safety, and that is to buy only toys made by a trusted company. But this whole unregulated thing goes far deeper down the rabbit hole than I realized. I learned so much at the Toxic Toys panel, and this post is about EDUCATION. Is it scary? Yes. Does that mean it should be covered up? No. Never. On this blog, I’m sorta like The South:

“I’m saying this is the South. And we’re proud of our crazy people. We don’t hide them up in the attic. We bring ‘em right down to the living room and show ‘em off. See, Phyllis, no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they’re on.”
— Julia Sugarbaker, “Designing Women”

I’m bringing this crazy, and scary, information out to the front porch, not just the living room, and giving it a cocktail. I’m waving the banner high and I’m asking that you read it, learn it, and make changes to keep yourself and others healthy. Because there are wonderful, safe sex toys out there: Silicone, Glass, Stainless Steel, even hard Plastic. And wood!

The 10% Myth

There is a “fact” that has widely been spread around between reviewers, blogs and social media, like a game of telephone to the point that we don’t even know its origins, that a sex toy need only contain a minimum of 10% in order to garner the use of the word “silicone” on the packaging. During the Toxic Toys panel at Catalyst, Metis and Jennifer of Smitten Kitten confirmed to us that the 10% thing isn’t even true. There is NO regulation, so why would there even be that? But really, regardless, whether there is 10% or 50% silicone, there is still a percentage of that item that is something like elastomer and is therefore porous to some degree; and while it’s not likely, it may even contain phthalates or heavy metals or VOCs. Might. If they can and do lie on the 100% silicone claim, what else are they lying about? Update: there is no “blending” of elastomers and silicone.

Bottom line: A company could have the manufacturing plant in China put “silicone” on the label when it’s far from silicone. Nothing and no one can stop them.

Except…for us. Consumers would have to file class-action lawsuits against a sex toy company who mislabels.  WE CAN START THE CHANGE.

April 8th: Edited to add: In research trying to find out what exactly is the bizarre material that Screaming O calls SEBS I happened upon my old review for their unfortunate Studio Line MakeUp Brush Vibrator, which was my first foray into the world of failed flame tests. On my review at EF, another reviewer noted that while I was panning S.O. for calling it plainly “silicone” when it is not, that she was told it was “SEBS”, I contacted Screaming O and received this response:


No, Screaming O, “our government” doesn’t say SHIT about sex toy material listings. You can see, then, how easily this myth got spread around.

Phthalates-Free! Really?

So if there are no regulations on the silicone thing, can they lie about the phthalates-free claim, too? YES. Nothing on that packaging has to hold a grain of truth. NO REGULATION. I asked because my Sex Nerd Spidey Senses went up a year or so ago when I was doing some work for a new sex toy retail site and saw that a lot of cheap, crap jelly, PVC, UR3, and Cyberskin sex toys made by the big companies all of a sudden were labeled as phthalates-free – simply because this had become the big buzz word that consumers were responding to. It is not the only toxic element that can be present, but it is the one getting all of the attention because phthalates are banned from children’s toys, dog chew toys, etc.

The Brand Thinks it is Silicone

It’s simply a fact of the industry that the vast majority of the sex toys are being made by a third-party plant in China because this is where it is the most affordable to do so. This is mostly true for vibrators, anything containing electronics, moving parts, etc. So the brands/companies go to China and find a plant and they agree on a material and formulation, etc. They can tell China that “Hey I do want this to actually be 100% silicone.”. The big companies are going for price point – a low one- so unless there is someone in the plant regulating and watching over the plant, that plant may not make the sex toy out of the exact same materials the subsequent times after buyer approval isn’t happening.

Phthalates are Not the Worst Thing Out There

Pigmentation can be an issue. The Danish did their big study on sex toys (Tantus Inc. kept a PDF of the study so that you can read it yourself). They took 16 random sex toys and analyzed them. Metis summed it up here:

In 2006 the Dutch EPA did a study where they randomly chose 16 adult toys from a store. Out of those 16 tested 3 had arsenic, 6 had antimony, 12 had lead and 7 had cadmium. Cadmium is a heavy metal. Every time you expose yourself to those toys your cadmium level increases. One of the cadmium toys had levels so high that the EU would have required a radioactive sticker on the product had it known this had been imported into the continent. So what was it? The radioactive sex toy was a Chinese made Slimline vibrator made of safe ABS. The issue wasn’t what the toy was made of but what it was pigmented with. This toy was yellow and cadmium was its pigment.

Should you avoid ALL yellow sex toys? I don’t know the answer. Cadmium is also used as a plastic softener, so it’s not necessarily tied to the color yellow. I also want to point out though that this big test was done in 2005. The sex toy industry has come a very long way in the last 8 years. I would be especially interested to see the same testing done again, now. 

So Now What

NOW how do we, as consumers, protect our bodies?

1. Call the Dildologists. After the writing of this post, a new organization as been formed to serve as an industry watchdog, who will raise money and independently acquire material validation from accredited labs through funding.

2. I can point you again to the flame test; while the test is not 100% utterly accurate and you can see different results for different types of silicone, I feel that it can serve as a pretty close litmus 90% of the time. You can perform this on a tiny little section near the handle, near a part that doesn’t touch your body and the results will be quick and obvious. If there is a different method that will be more reliable, I’ll tell you.

3. Here’s a weird test recommended by Ducky Doolittle, also part of the Toxic Toys panel: Lick it. Your lips are very sensitive. If your lips tingle, go numb, etc? Do not use that toy. Your mucus membranes absorb things so quickly, both the good and the bad. A mindframe of “It’s just a sex toy that I only use occasionally, and I just really prefer jelly!! But I don’t use it much, and it doesn’t burn me, so I’m fine!” is not going to keep you safe. A lot of bad things in cheap sex toys won’t give you a clear cut reaction, but can indeed slowly cause damage to your body that you don’t even know about until it’s too late and no one will be able to pinpoint it.

4. Educate yourself, and others. After the writing of this post, I created a landing page for all things about sex toy material safety. Read it. Share stuff from it whenever you can. The more people we can educate, the better. Get them to throw out their shitty toys and pledge to only purchase safe materials from reputable companies.

I think you might be reading this and freaking out. I don’t want you to stop using sex toys. Just be careful on which manufacturers you buy from – on this page I have listed out the brands that I’ve researched and found to be reputable. That isn’t to say that each one makes only non-porous toys but I believe that, as an example, Evolved, is  trustworthy that their porous TPR toys are still non-toxic. If this changes, I’ll let you know. If you get a sex toy that has an odor? Ask the manufacturer/brand. Call them out on it (Consider the packaging, sometimes a smell can be from the packaging – if so, the smell will dissipate after separating it from the packaging for a few days).  Also keep an eye on the Coalition Against Toxic Toys for their recommendations and to Dildology as they begin to build their catalog of results.

This isn’t the end, the information here isn’t finite. Things are changing, education is being passed around, and reporting will continue to happen. I will keep writing. I want you all to do your research and keep writing. Take off your blogger hat sometimes and put on your journalist hat. YOU CAN DO IT! We can be the revolution, we can be the change.


Jan 302013

Last month, I realized something. There was officially at least one sex toy in every room of the house downstairs. And no, it’s not because an urge struck me to just throw down and masturbate in the foyer (or, now that I have it walled off with a curtain, the junk room). A few sex toys migrated to the bathroom and never left once I was done washing them. A few more migrated to the living room and kitchen for photo-taking and then I just forgot about them, sort of. A few were in the bedroom for actual use, and a few were in the dining room and foyer because we were trying to clean up the living room and only got so far. My office, though, it’s truly helter skelter. Sex toys in drawers, in cubbies, in boxes, in bags, under piles. In all of this disorganization I’ve managed to misplace some sex toys, sometimes for months on end. So in preparation for my bestie coming to help me organize and purge I went room to room, drawer to drawer, rounding up each and every sex toy I could find and piled them all on the dining room table, thusly:


There are bowls at the back of the table filled with kegel balls and clit toys; a stack of storage bags; a basket of tangled chargers sits on a chair in the front. You see, I don’t use all of these. Not even close. In fact the toys that I use consistently aren’t on the table because there’s no point in putting them away (My trio of Salsa/Tango vibes and my Pure Wand). You may ask then why I keep all of these. The answer is simple: I think it’s very important to be able to compare newer toys to older toys, cheaper toys, things others might have. So I hang on to everything, almost. There have been likely over 40 things I’ve given away on ToySwap that I hated and figured I’d never need to compare (and then find out I could/should).

Anyways, so I gathered everything up and figured I’d start on it. And then my back went out for a few days without me, and so it waited all there on the table, mocking me, until the weekend. And of course our landlord was supposed to arrive with a repair guy at any given day and he’s prone to absent-mindedly giving me very little notice. Thursday morning I heard the doorbell and knocking and while I painfully went as fast as I could locating a bedsheet and covering up the mess, by the time I got to the door I found that it wasn’t my landlord it was FedEx with a package I needed to sign for. I missed them, so I would have to wait another day for my sex toy delivery. But in the meantime, this didn’t look suspicious at ALL, right??



I know.

The day of reckoning finally came but not until after my landlord and a repair guy were here whilst the dining room table was suspiciously covered with a wrinkly brown bedsheet. As I stared down my pile, the ever-present inability to organize struck me and I didn’t know where to start. So we started by the old standby for going through anything: Keep, Pitch, Give Away. Things I tossed: A few SinFive dildos that nobody will ever want, same for a bullet or two and a pocket rocket that made more noise than vibration. The ugly as sin glass dildo that nearly scared me off of them forever. The Picobong Honi was on my swap list but I finally decided to just toss it after turning it on again and being reminded as to how pathetically weak it was and stupidly designed and I tossed that, too. The painful glass vibrator that EF briefly offered also got tossed after spending months on my swap list and I realized that nobody else wants that piece of crap either. I realized that while the Hitachi and Fairy Wand do indeed eclipse the Lelo Smart Wand Large by quite a wide margin in terms of sheer obscene power, I have no desire for either of those. The bullet-train buzzy wonders are like a belt sander where the Smart Wand Large is like a jackhammer. Sorta. Yes the Hitachi and Fairy Wands would indeed make for a numb vulva for a little bit after use and the high-speed machines feel itchy to me sometimes, especially with nubbly attachments. Both Fairy Wands that I have, and both Acuvibes, are going on the swap list. I figure that nobody really buys the Acuvibe anymore for a sex toy what with the Lelo Wands, the Fairy Wands, the Hitachi knock-offs, the Mystic Wands, and so on, all of them made and intended to be a sex vibrator.

So while some worthless items are being tossed (and the question got asked: Should this glass dildo go into the recycle bin???), many more of them are listed on my ToySwap page. And if any CatalystCon attendees are also on ToySwap, do let me know if you’d like anything and I’ll bring it to Catalyst to save shipping.

But of course this all made me realize that I have a lot of work to do. I have items that I never reviewed, and I really should. I also need to charge up every single toy and get batteries out and really concentrate on arranging everything on a 1-10 scale of vibration intensity. I also need to use my Lelo Smart Wand Large plus Gee Whiz more often. That’s a long name. I’ll rename it “White Gonzo”. Yes. Because yeah, it’s that awesome and I had a clitoral orgasm just from the vibrations that were inside of me. Nothing touched my external clitoris, it just rumbled the hell out of my internal clitoris. Yes, that’s really a thing. 

Shit. Now I’m overrun with pending reviews. 

Dec 232012

I thought that this recent question deserved to be highlighted more:

I want to buy my girlfriend an anal plug/toy. She’s new to anal; she tried the finger and now I believe she wants to pass to another level… I just want to give her a toy and let her experiment a little bit. Now, I am new also in the toy buying and I need your advice. Can you recommend something for beginners? I am aware about the materials but I still don’t know what to choose. I believe she needs something soft, something with a “natural feel”. Any advice will be appreciated.

My response1:

A plug is something you wear around for hours or you can also just use it for the occasion, while just a simple toy is used as-is. The most comfortable plugs have a definitive difference between the neck and the body, with a decent base. The neck is what sits at the sphincter level; the sphincter prefers to be closed so a plug that will feel the most natural and least like she’s about to poop will have a thin neck.

I would also caution against looking for something super-soft and cushy/squishy simply because you need something with a bit of “backbone” to be able to penetrate the ass. That first sphincter muscle, especially, can be quite stubborn for beginners on letting anything inside the ass. Biologically speaking, it’s not natural. Your rectum and sphincter are built for exit-only; when the sphincter is open, it wants to close. And when things come out it is much easier than putting something in. That’s not to say that anal play is bad or dangerous; not at all if done right. I’m just pointing out that it’s not the biological function de facto which is why things may seem a little tricky at first.

If she’s taken nothing other than a single finger, I would highly suggest that no matter what else you get, you get her a warm-up dildo or two. Preferably two. The Tantus Silks are the absolute best. I have them both and in my opinion you cannot just jump to the medium if you’re brand new to anal.  I was steered towards the Silk Small as a warm-up and introductory toy to my Crystal Delights plug; despite the fact that I chose their smaller plug, it was still a little too big for me to just jump right to. The Silk Small was amazing. Only after sufficient play with the Silk Small would I graduate up to the Silk Medium. Even after numerous play sessions, to get used to the “weird feeling”, I would still start off each time with the Silk Small as a warm-up before moving on to the Silk Medium.  These are smooth, plain and great for getting the anus and sphincter used to having something there. Other small, silicone options include plugs like the Tantus Little Flirt which if you get from their “Grab Bag” section, is under $20. The same can be said for the Ripple Small from Grab Bag. Tantus Meteorite is slightly bigger than the Little Flirt, but the fun colors demand a higher price tag.  Tantus Warm Up dildo is a newer design, and is another small 1″ option. This would actually be great for prostate play introduction. If you’re looking for something a bit more realistic in design, consider the Vixen Small Bent. They make one in standard Vixen silicone, and then the Spur is the soft, Vixskin option. That will give you a little cushion and comfort.

Plugs that receive rave reviews from everyone are the Njoy Pure Plugs. I know that stainless steel can seem intimidating to a first-timer, which is why warm-up toys are imperative. The Pure Plug Medium though has a max diameter of 1.25″ and a nice, long thin neck. It’s built for comfort and to wear around for hours and hours. The steel might be cold at first, but you can warm it up in a bowl of *semi-warm* (not hot) tap water if you want.

If you’re already ready to move past the 1″ and under set, the Fun Factory Bootie is highly recommended for something under $50. The Tantus Ryder is also a good pick.

Make sure you use plenty of lube! Thicker gel-like lubes work best for anal play. While many companies will tell you that you should avoid silicone-based lubes with silicone toys, the higher quality silicone of Tantus can tolerate certain higher-quality silicone-based lubes. I’ve used Wet Synergy (a silicone and water blend) with success, and they have recommended brands like Sliquid as having high compatibility.

Random Important Anal Play Information:

  • Please AVOID anal numbing  / desensitizing creams, gels and sprays. I can understand that newbies will be nervous about it feeling weird or hurting, but the anus is very special – if you do not use enough lube and you use a toy that is too big, too soon, you can create tiny tears in the skin called fissures. This is bad because then you are at a high risk for getting fecal matter into the open skin; you’re also at a higher risk for transmitting diseases of all types through broken skin.
  • When you’re using fingers, it’s really best to put on a nitrile glove. This is a safety trick for both the receiver (fingernails!!) and the giver (broken skin? fecal matter under the fingernail?)
  • Never, ever ever ever share anything between the ass and the mouth or the ass and the vagina. Never. Ever. Have I made my point clear? Ignore what they do in porn. Those butts have been cleaned out better than your average endoscopy requires, and there is no fecal matter that might transfer. You or your partner could become very sick if you don’t heed this warning. This also applies to sex toys. The only toys that should ever be used in both holes are non-porous ones that can be properly sanitized  – silicone, glass, metal. And you absolutely must sanitize in between orifices.
  • There will sometimes be a little poop. It’s a fact of life, it’s going to happen. Just have warm, wet washclothes or baby wipes right near by.  If your partner cannot handle this, then you need to rethink anal play with them.
  • Anal play, when done right, can be very pleasurable – for women and men. Men have the added bonus of a prostate to enjoy, but that’s for another guide. Many women have experienced g-spot stimulation via anal play (the wall inside between the vagina and rectum is very thin).
  1. My response is directed to the asker, who has a female partner. However, my information is the same for all genders – I just am focusing on the butt, not the prostate this time
Apr 212012

Or rather….my husband has. For the first decade of our sex life his penis alone managed to hit my g-spot over and over during sex to varying degrees of bliss. In more recent years he and I have done more exploring both with his fingers and both of us using toys. I never doubted my husband’s ability to locate my g-spot and stimulate the hell out of it; combining his skill in the last few years with a vibrator on my clitoris gave me intense orgasms which would be immediately followed up with vaginal sex that was then even more pleasurable for me since the g-spot would be even more sensitive and swollen after a clitoral orgasm.

But the last few times we’ve fucked he suddenly changed his fingering technique and he knew right away that I approved. It was more intense and amazing as evidenced by my even louder moans and screams and gibberish. His manipulations have frequently left me with the sort of orgasm that jacks up all the right hormones and chemistry to leave me euphoric (and sometimes to the point of uncontrollable giggling right after). But this? All I could say (after I came down from the breathless high) was: What the FUCK did you just do there because holy crap it was amazing.

Every woman’s g-spot is a little different, like a snowflake sort of. And just like we all like different types of clitoral stimulation, we all like different types of g-spot stimulation. So what works for me might not be a euphoric nirvana trip for you, too. But his description of his new technique and what he’s feeling has left me certain that the g-spot is not a “spot”, it is not a zone, it is more than just a differently-textured spongy spot of sensitive tissue in the vaginal wall. Whatever he’s hitting there is a thing, an object, and 3-D…. much like the prostate.

The first time he tried his new trick he “had it” for a bit and then “lost it”1. Both g-spot massage techniques were pleasurable and aided in me achieving a blended orgasm fairly quickly but this new, intense treatment was just cranking up the pleasurable sensation to HOLY SHIT FUCK OMG ITS AWESOME^Y#~%@^(*^. I cannot duplicate what he’s done via my love, the Pure Wand. If I were smaller of body and longer of arm and generally more flexible perhaps this is something I would have discovered on my own but I think his position lends him a more unique angle of assault. For me personally my G-spot is right next to my pubic bone, therefore fairly shallow in the vaginal canal. He can use this location to a distinct advantage now2 by changing his digital manipulation from a 3-finger massage (which I loved because it provided both a filling sensation and spot stimulation) to a 1-finger massage aided on the sides by 2 other fingers. He’s extending his middle finger to do more precision stimulation right on the g-spot. He’s going above and beyond that “come hither” motion to a more twisting, side-to-side-and-all-around intense high-pressure attack. I’ve used words that sound harsh like assault and attack but that is because this is no slow and easy massage; this is an intense treatment but in the most awesomely pleasurable way. He does this because he knows I can take it and I like it, but I wouldn’t recommend that every person try this on their g-spot-owning partner without a build-up and knowledge in existence that the person enjoys “rough” sex and intense stimulation.

Perhaps something else that is adding to this newly awesome mix is that I’m using a vibrator that doesn’t overpower the g-spot stimulation sensations. In the past when I’ve used the Wahl or the Hitachi with the Pure Wand I almost couldn’t really feel the g-spot stimulation. I knew it was going on because the pleasure factor had tripled but I could only discern clitoral stimulation. The balance has shifted a bit now that I’ve started using my We-Vibe Salsa on my clit while he’s doing this. Yes, it is a powerful and intense vibrator but it’s not as overwhelmingly intense as the big, electric massagers. The deep-tissue rumbly factor to the We-Vibe Salsa hits the external clitoris and the internal portion of the clitoris, while his fingers are ramping the g-spot stimulation up to 11 and probably also getting a bit of the internal legs of the clitoris which leads to me floating on a motherfucking rollercoaster climbing cloud of things beyond words. I truly can’t even come up with the words, that’s what it’s all like.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and go a little outside of your box. This g-spot thing might be hard to find since it can’t be mapped, but believe me it is real and with time, exploration, a good clitoral orgasm and a willing set of fingers and/or dildos you CAN find it. Oh and no, this new technique didn’t make me squirt. I don’t really give a crap about squirting anymore since it doesn’t correlate at all to the intensity of my orgasm. It’s not a goal, it’s not a thought to us, it’s not a checkbox on the list. And there is no “right” or “wrong” way to achieve orgasm or stimulate your clitoris or g-spot – you do whatever feels good to you.




  1. Literally, the “object” he had found had moved slightly inside my body
  2. because his finger is massaging it from the front and then another side of it is receiving pressure from my pubic bone
Apr 032012

I mean “aftermath” in the best possible way, but yet my brain is a freaking mess. “Overstimulated” is the best way to describe my current state. I go from leading a fairly boring life to a jam-packed weekend full of sex geek fun, feminist conversations, sex-positive atmospheres and 50-some hours with “my people”. It’s funny to me how different Mcon 2012 was from Mcon 2011 – a lot of the same people were present (but yet a lot of new faces) and a lot of similar sessions/discussions but my experience was very different. This year I co-presented a session on Blogging (the only session not to focus on anything sex-related, I think), I found slightly fewer sessions that interested me and/or applied to me personally, I hung out with different people.  Last year I think I really only spoke with 1 of the vendors but this year many hours of conversation was had whether it was in the vendors rooms or over drinks in the hotel bar. It was enlightening, empowering and validating. I think I have a better idea of what road I’m going to be taking now that my time in the sex bloggosphere has hit a multi-path fork in the road.

I will continue to remain “Lilly” and mostly anonymous. I will not be telling my family anything, unless it gets to a point where I simply have no choice. It’s not easy lying about my whereabouts but it’s been done so far. All that matters is that my husband is incredibly supportive of me and loves what I’m doing, loves that I care. That’s really all I need. He had a supremely shitty work week and was just depressed and exhausted; I felt guilty, a bit, for having fun at Mcon when I felt the pull to be a supportive partner to him but he wouldn’t let me go there. He insisted numerous times that I deserved this fun weekend and that I needed it, that he was proud of me and wanted me to soak it all up. And I did.

I was still my same socially awkward self, but less so. I started up more conversations. I put myself into conversations. Yes, I panicked when I realized that the “oh hey meet us at the bar for drinks” turned into “Oh, we’re sharing a table with Dr. Carol Queen, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Lynn Comella and Metis Black” but hey, I didn’t speak. I let the grown-ups talk while I sat on the edges in awe with the lovely Jenna of Tantus. Crista (my amazing partner in crime for the weekend, and roommate) and I hung out with Ducky Doolittle, Jenna and Metis; had conversations and intelligent discourse on the ethics and practices of the sex toy industry. It was a dream. I got enough hugs from friends to last me weeks. I felt pretty in my big Victorian skirt. Nobessence is no longer an entity, a luxury company – I know them now to be a spectacularly amazing couple leading a fairly normal but wonderfully sex-positive life committed to making excellent sex toys. I’m trying so hard to keep all the memories and words said in all these amazing conversations fresh in my memory but my cursed brain is leaking out things. I hate that. I wish I could have just been wired all weekend, recording everything like a spy. For my own personal use, of course, nothing else!

You all know I’ve never thought much of the Big 5 companies of the sex toy industry, but I know think even less of them if possible. While I can’t repeat some of what was said, suffice to say you should just take my word for it. Support the smaller companies whenever possible, you’ll never regret it. But I also learned that I’m wrong sometimes and while I still say JimmyJane is overpriced, Jacq from Sugar in Baltimore told me things that changed my opinion a bit. I finally held a fully-charged Form 2 in my hands and noticed it only once had that wonky motor issue other reviewers had mentioned but I also noticed that it was perhaps a little more powerful than I expected and it certainly surpassed the (still hate it) Form 3.

I think I’d like to consider the possibility of hanging up my shingle as an official consultant. Now to narrow down who I can help and what I can do and how to go about making this a reality. But there are a number of smaller sex toy companies/manufacturers/adult industry people that need a better SEO presence and need more information on social media but don’t know how to get it. I think I have something to offer. I have the experience of being on both sides of the coin.

I can only hope and pray that there will be a Momentum 2013 because we all need more – more instruction, more discussion, more debates, more affirmations – and we’re not done learning. If you are reading this and read my posts about last year’s event and say “I wish I could have gone”, here is my advice to you: Do whatever you have to do to start saving up now and get yourself there next year. You have no idea how it will change you. It changes you. It’s amazing. Thank you, everyone, for making this weekend the best weekend I’ll have all year, hands down.

Jan 242012

Today I happened upon a sex toy reviewing blog whose mission statement proudly proclaimed that they don’t publish negative reviews. If they receive a product that has no redeeming qualities, they simply won’t write a review.

I died a little when I read that. And then I got angry. They boast this, like it makes them better people, better reviewers. To companies and products, sure. To consumers? absolutely not. I think I touched on this a bit about a year ago when I wrote about ethics in blogging, but this is a full-scale 4-alarm rant.

When I first started buying sex toys I was buying them from a couple of sites who I don’t think let a negative customer review go live. It was nothing but moderate-to-glowing. And then when I’d buy the toy with high expectations, only to be grandly disappointed, I’d be pissed. I’ve come across this phenomenon more and more. When I had 3 really bad experiences in a row with Shari’s Berries I finally went to the site and wrote out long, informative (complete with photos) comments on the items. Those comments never got published. Instead, the only comments and ratings are all glowingly positive. Bullshit.

I’ve seen arguments for the anti-negative-review people along the lines of “just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it can’t work for someone else” and I will agree to that. But when you sugar coat things in a way that would make a cupcake jealous you’re only helping out the company. You are not helping the people for whom you presumably write the reviews: the clueless mobs who are absolutely overwhelmed with all the choices1. I was one of those people. Many of us were. So please, place yourself in the shoes of the old, sex-toy-noob you and think “How would I feel if I had spent $125 of my own money on this toy after reading this wishy washy review only to find that there are faults galore?” Your opinion is valid. Your opinion matters. I want to hear your opinion in all of its bluntly honest glory before I drop the money on, well, anything really. Your review that details out just the facts, because you couldn’t like it enough to praise it, isn’t telling me anything.

There are degrees of negativity in reviews of any kind. I’ve read them all myself, not just in sex toys but in computer parts and accessories, clothing, you name it. You can always tell when someone is just pissed off at a defective item (or they didn’t read before buying) vs it’s an actual problem that should concern you before you buy. My utterly scathing reviews of items such as the Lelo Tiani or the JimmyJane Form 3 are not scathing because they didn’t work with my body. They are scathing because I’m pissed. You want me to pay WHAT for a toy that doesn’t even do what you claim it will, or do it WELL? Just like I won’t let you buy a damn jelly toy, I won’t encourage you to spend the equivalent to a week’s worth of groceries on a sex toy that feels like another brick in the wall. The Lelo Isla – is it pretty? Sure. It’s pretty. Does my vagina care about pretty? Does pretty give me an orgasm? Nope. Nor should “pretty” also equal “to get the bitch clean you’ll need 20 minutes of your life, a toothbrush, and the edge of an old credit card”.  I think that I do a pretty good job of noting that my extreme dislike of the vibrations or the size or the design didn’t work for me personally and that they could work for someone else. And I feel that I can still note that and give a negative review. Because if I were the one looking at reviews to figure out what 1 sex toy out of 100 I should drop $100 on, I want the truth. Does your truth equal my truth? Not always. Not frequently, even. But if I can see that you as a reviewer have the full spectrum of reviews from “ZOMG LOVE” to “DIE IN A FIRE” with plenty in between then I trust you. And I’ll work my way through your writing and reviews to figure out if we like the same thing and whether or not I would agree with your assessment of “Wow, this baby is STRONG!”.

So let’s say that you are someone who doesn’t like to write really critical, negative reviews. Why? Who are you helping?

Are you afraid that the company you review for will get upset and not give you anything else to review? If so, fuck them. They’re unethical.

Are you not brave enough to be a dissenting voice? Stand up. Be heard.

Do you think that you won’t make any affiliate sales? Then you care more about the money than anything else and that’s sad. Here’s how to commission-perk a negative, shredding review: Suggest two or three other alternatives that you think are better.

The truth, even if it’s the awful truth, isn’t mean. Oh, sure, you can be. But for the love of orgasms, tell me the fuckin truth! Is it wimpy and mediocre and nothing special and not really worth $139? Tell me. I will have $139 worth of greater respect for you.When you hide your negative review from seeing the light of day you are doing yourself a disservice but mostly you are doing every other potential buyer a disservice. Shame on you. You KNEW it was a piece of shit and you didn’t tell me?? I’d like my money back, please, from your pocket. Yes, that’s how much it pisses me off.

Hi, I’m Lilly, and I write nothing but no-holds-barred honest sex toy reviews. I call a spade a spade, and name it out for being crap no matter if it’s $39 crap or $139 crap. Crap is crap and you shouldn’t have to buy it. You, the person who is searching Google for reviews and information on sex toys in general, on dildos for beginners, on Fleshlight vs Tenga, on the We Vibe 2 vs the We Vibe 3….. YOU ARE THE PERSON I REVIEW FOR. Nobody else.

okay maybe my clitoris a little bit.


  1. not at all dissimilar to the experience you get when you’re sick and you’re standing in the cold remedy aisle looking at 60 products that are all somehow nearly identical but totally different and you just want to sit down and cry. No? Just me?