As I sit here in yesterday’s clothes and a forehead wrinkle that would make most upper class women instinctively reach out to rub it smooth and tell me the wonders of Botox, darling, I’m really happy that I have a job where I can sit here at home and do a little work and then do a little of this or that and put in my time in snippets. It works around my doctor visits and my grocery shopping and my trips to see/help my mother1. Some days it leads me to sex toys and sex toy manufacturers that absolutely disgust me; some days it simply leads me to companies that merely annoy me because of their cheesy crap and half-ass site; other days I’m shown the better side and see that there is good in the sex toy world.
I will start out addressing the small companies, the niche companies who are ultimately good eggs with products ranging from pretty decent to admirable. I write this post not to just let off some steam but with the smallest glimmer of hope that maybe…….just maybe….some of these words will land on the right computer screen and be taken to heart. Maybe one change will happen.
Dear Small Company;
You are trying hard. You are fighting the good fight, perhaps. You are making your items out of body-safe materials and you are not trying to pass off a wolf in sheep’s clothing as an innocent lamb2. But your online presence is really fucking important. Your website is super fucking important. As a customer I want photos and I want details. Lots and lots of details. I want to know the every dimension and exactly how it works. I don’t want some artistic/”French”/mysterious website that is more about the visual than the information. I can see your item or your kit and yet I have no fucking idea what exactly it is? I’m not going to buy it. As a person working for a reseller I want high quality photos of every item and every color and even more details than I’d want as a customer. Why do you make our jobs hard, when all we want to do is sell your product? How can we underlings write up your great products so that Consumer Joe Schmoe who doesn’t know jelly from silicone can see that they’re better and that they should buy your item instead of some dodgy crap from the Walmart-equivalents3 of sex toy manufacturing?
Update your site. Make it easy to browse and easy to read. Sure, go for your artistic merit but don’t let it take over the main goal: Showcasing your worthy sex toy product and telling us why it’s worth twice the money for what looks like the same thing from the Big Guys. Don’t skimp on the information about you and the toy. At all.
Dear Middle-but-good Company;
You’ve managed to become a name. A brand that people trust. You use silicone and I trust you that it’s actually and honestly 100% medical grade silicone. Now I will fully admit to not knowing a damn thing about how your stuff is manufactured and why your dildos cost as much as my monthly cable-slash-phone bill4 so I don’t feel that I can whine about them being so pricey. But it is really hard to sell your product to those people who haven’t learned their lesson yet or just are too cheap to care – all they see is $55/$75 for a sex toy when hey there’s one over there for $19.95! Some of those people will eventually learn; maybe after their doctor explains that the burning redness is from that dildo, or maybe after a storage mishap and their dildo melts.
Dear Luxury Sex Toy Manufacturers;
Despite being a toy snob, I’m not really a fan of you on the whole. Sometimes I am, like with Njoy but then they kinda fall into the small-niche moreso than luxury. But Njoy at least lives up to their price tag. You luxury guys….eh. You’re all about the bells and whistles and the super pretty packaging. A vibrator that you can customize to your preferred shape or rotation is impressive on paper but when I actually go to use it and find that all your promises are as useless as a fake Hallmark card? I’m gonna be harsh and pissed that I spent (or theoretically spent if given it for review) upwards of $100 on your sex toy, thinking that for sure YOU got me and finally…something good.
To you I have two things to say: Let your products speak for themselves – and save the buyers money by cutting back on that fancy ass packaging and the brooch5 and the extras. Second, for fucks sake gimme a better vibrator motor! If the cheap shit companies can use a motor that produces vibrations that go beyond tickling the surface of my skin so can you. The women and men who are buying your toys are not delicate fucking flowers. Put a decent motor in there that produces a vibration to be proud of, dammit, and then the controls for multiple speeds will make everyone happy – from the delicate flowers to the tough cookies. I do not like or support Doc Johnson on the whole (as an example) but unfortunately they make a couple bullet vibrators that are perfect – motor-wise. Zini, Lelo, Je Joue, JimmyJane, Nomi Tang, and others who create different/fun/new/pretty/innovative sex toys: I’d be backing you if your motors weren’t as limp as a wet noodle 9 times out of 10.
Dear Big Boys who’ve been around since the internet was invented and then some;
I’mma go ahead and name names right here – I’ve said this all before, it will come as no shock and I am not shy in voicing my disgust. CalExotics. Pipedreams. You guys make a lot of shitty products, some downright offensive products, and some eh products. I don’t trust you, I don’t like you. But you’re a big company and you’re everywhere. You have the Walmart angle. All of a sudden your previously labeled “jelly” toy is now suddenly body-safe non-porous TPR? Nope. Don’t believe you. Especially when it still fucking stinks to high heaven. Your perpetuation of disgusting gender stereotypes and bad ideas that you sell with copy that would make your own mother blush and you justify it by saying that it’s flying off the shelves so it’s what guys want6 and by golly you gotta give the people what they WANT! Fuck that. Have some fucking integrity. Topco, Doc Johnson – you might have some (minor) redeeming qualities/products but overall you’re crap. You, too, are contributing to the unsafe materials and shoddy mechanics and the bottom line is that you don’t care. You are a politician.
I can’t say anything to the powers that be in your companies. You will never EVER change. All I can hope for is that somehow those of us who know better are able to drown out your voice with the voices of the people who care and who are trying to produce something with integrity rather than make a buck.
Dear Resellers/Retail Stores who are determined to carry every product made;
I get it. You’re in this to make money. You’re one of a million other sites and the competition is stiff. But really, do you have to lower your standards and put flowery copy writing on utter shit and sell the items that might actually cause cancer, or at the very least are a colossal waste of the consumers money? Adam & Eve was the first site I bought a sex toy from. But when those first two sex toys quickly showed their ugly underbelly I lost faith in them as a whole. And I never shopped there again. You can make money AND have integrity. It requires a little more hard work, though. The internet isn’t the land of the quick, easy buck anymore.
I’ve been reviewing sex toys for 3 years. I’ve reviewed more than some people, but far fewer than others (which is probably because after the first year I was reluctant to review something that I just knew I wouldn’t like and it’s hard to review item after item that leaves you jaded and I’m not easy to please – but I’m not impossible either. I just refuse to sugarcoat a half-ass product). I’ve seen a lot. I’ve grown to know that I don’t have to put a positive, happy spin on every review I do even if the product wasn’t my thing or is overpriced. Would it help pad my bank account, as an affiliate? Sure it would. But that isn’t the reason I started reviewing toys and I’m going to be blunt. If that means I am the only person on the web saying that the latest high-tech Lelo toy is a sopping wet disappointment? So fucking be it. I’m not trying to be mean, I’m trying to be real and save other people like me the money.
It’s heartbreaking to see the little companies die. Jollies LLC made some great sex toys and they were really innovative without trying too hard (Zini, Je Joue, etc). Their products were at once simple yet unique yet just what we needed at the quality we wanted. But they went the way of the little corner bookstore after a Barnes and Noble moved in two blocks down. And it’s sad.
Jaded but Hopeful (in a cheerful Comic Sans font)
(If you are a “recipient” of one of these letters, for once I will allow companies to comment on a post. I generally don’t because they’re usually just trying to get a free link but if you are genuine in your response then I’ll post it. But don’t be offended if I remove the link to your company’s site and please….use your real name in the comment name field, and not the name of your company)
- Despite of course the fact that I can’t/don’t feel comfortable telling her exactly what I am doing and who for because I really don’t want to have that conversation and she’s a very suspicious woman of all things internet ↩
- I’m looking at you, CalExotics, publicly proclaiming that ALL of your TPR and PVC and “Cyberskin” and other squiffy hybrids are all free of phthalates and are totally body safe. For trying to say even that all your TPR is non-porous when I’d bet it isn’t because you’re too cheap and only in this to make money ↩
- I would consider this to be large companies who produce thousands of various items at low cost, mark them up 300%, don’t care what materials they’re using, mass-produce with shoddy quality control and are around because they were they first and they simply have the most stuff at places like Rt 15 Adult Book Store. Companies like California Exotic Novelties, Doc Johnson, Topco, Pipedream, BMS Enterprises, and Nasstoys. ↩
- and no, I don’t have Vonage ↩
- Yeah I’m talkin to you, Lelo, with that Insignia line that looks really fancy but is actually just plastic and mediocre vibrations ↩
- Yes, I’m talking to you, Pipedreams, with your “cum dumpster” copy on overpriced body parts ↩
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Thanks to Teagan for the Coalition name ;)
I read something somewhere recently, an innocuous little joke-in-poor-taste, where the author (a reviewer, no less) made a comment likening the ownership of “too many” sex toys to needing to find a partner. That because they happened to own a lot of sex toys it meant they were in even more desperate need of a sex partner – Not you, dear reader, just that person (to be clear). But then again….maybe somebody read that and thought “Oh god…I have a lot of sex toys TOO! Oh no, I’m a sad, miserable person and need to find a partner, stat!”1
I am a reviewer. I own a LOT of toys (mostly because I’m a reviewer, otherwise I wouldn’t because I’m not rich). I like my variety. Some I keep but aren’t my taste anymore. Even before I was a reviewer I had a lot (relatively speaking; it was a lot to me back then, a normal amount to me now) of toys, because I was muddling my way through purchases trying to find ones that worked for me and my body. I was never embarrassed about the quantity. In fact, I have always been proud of my collection. It’s like having a big book collection – different styles for different needs, different moods, etc. Some for a solo quickie, some for a drawn-out tease, some for g-spot, some for …..you get my point. Some are just for me, some are better for use with my partner.
But never would I equate my use-frequency or quantity of sex toys to a need for having or not having human partnered sex2. There’s no fucking shame in owning your sexuality, in taking control of your own damn orgasm. Can you PREFER human contact and partnered sex to sex toys? Sure. You can prefer whatever the fuck you want. But don’t insinuate to me that owning a lot of sex toys is somehow bad or shameful.
Do I think you, my reader, are to be pitied because you do NOT own a lot of sex toys? Only if you desire to own a lot. If you have a few ones that really do it for you and that’s that, fucking awesome. If you orgasm easily and do not need them…..I am highly jealous but still, fucking awesome for you. If you want a large collection or just can’t find the right one for you then yeah, I pity you, because the right to bear orgasms is in the fucking constitution3, damn it.
Did I make a mountain out of a proverbial molehill here in my little rant? Possibly. But there ARE people who are ashamed of sex toys4 and they don’t need that shame added to and there are men who feel threatened by sex toys and women who let their men feel threatened by the toy – they hide it instead of teaching him how it can be a wonderful addition to their time together and not a replacement.
Sit down, have a cup of coffee and let it all out. Yell at me. Agree with me. Ask me for help in expanding your own collection. I love to help give orgasms *grin* and by that I mean helping you shop, you silly perv.
- maybe I’m just grumpy today but it felt a little sex-negative to me *shrugs* ↩
- That comes out wrong. I’m not referring to an equine sex partner or other animal, egads. Just…not battery operated or inflatable is all ↩
- whut? I read “life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” as pursuit of MY happiness which includes orgasms and sexual release ↩
- to people other than their parents, I totally get that, I don’t want my mom or family members knowing about my jerk-off accessories or even that I do jerk off just….because… ↩
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Posted by Lilly | Comments Off
I get a good number of people who contact me for advice on buying a sex toy as a gift for their partner as a surprise. This really isn’t an easy feat unless you and your partner have already owned multiple toys and you know what they like.
Consider the Size
If you’ve never used toys, the judge by the size of your cock of your fingers. And keep in mind that hard materials like plastic, ceramic, glass, wood and metal can seem a little bigger than they are just because there is no give to the material. If you’re new to toys, don’t go overboard with the girth. If you’ve had a few and want to take things up a notch then do so but with caution.
Hopefully you and your partner are open and communicating, honest about orgasms and how things feel. Unless you already own vibrators that you know are not powerful enough, always choose ones with more than 2 speeds.
Consider the Price and Quality
Sex Toy Snob Warning: For the love of Pete, don’t buy a questionable brand (like CalExotics, for example) as a gift! But on the other hand, don’t drop a huge amount unless you’re pretty certain they’re going to love it. Reviews, reviews, reviews. Read them! Hunt them down! And don’t always go by the 1-liner blurbs directly on the sites because you never know who really left that comment. Before you weigh the prices and think about going for a cheaper jelly toy, read about phthalates and the possible side effects.
Things to avoid
Specifically, I’d advise against things like the We-Vibe, the Sqweel (or however it’s spelled, the one that’s rotating tongues, ick), anything that looks like a human tongue, and new-to-the-scene companies that seem too good to be true (like the Zini Roae). As tempting as they are, avoid wireless remote controlled bullets/panties, as they are fraught with glitches problems and a serious case of the unimpressives.
Glass Dildos Make Great Gifts
Why? Because they appeal visually, and unless you’re an advanced toy user/owner, it’s something new and exciting. You get to experiment with temperature play and different sensations. They can be so artistic sometimes that you’d feel comfortable leaving it out and they are therefore non-threatening to a novice. They’re pricey, but my favorite currently is the Fucking Sculptures brand, you can find them at SheVibe. Unless you know your partner is a size queen, stick with the Small versions!
Buy a Vibrator that is Multipurpose
And I don’t mean a “rabbit” style. By this I mean get one that doesn’t require you to have your anatomy laid out a certain exact way for it to work, get a vibrator with varying speeds, and one that can be used internally or externally. Stick with silicone and reliable brands (to see more about this, see my post on How to Buy Sex Toys Online). Here’s a few of my recommendations:
I love this vibrator, it’s probably my favorite rechargeable vibrator. It’s like a massager, but it bends to a 90 degree angle and has two working ends. (review here).
I love this bullet because it can get me off at any speed due to the type of vibrations – deep and rumbly and lovely. Buy it in black, the issue I talked about it my review with it glowing was only true of the white one (I now own the black).
With the Mona 2, they increased the vibration strength to appeal to a greater pool of people. It’s not a power tool, but will satisfy most just fine. Great for internal or external.
Want to Wow them? Can you splurge? NJOY.
Read up on how to choose a dildo for beginners and get some recommendations on those. And anything in the Men’s Toys category are ones I’d recommend for a guy in addition to a Tenga Egg as a stocking stuffer.Read More
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On my trip back at the end of April (yes, it’s taken me this long to write about it!!) to see Coy Pink , one of our days was spent in Seattle – sightseeing, lunch with , and my first trip to a Real Sex Toy Store. It was a seriously fun day. The Pike Place Market? Wow. It literally hurt my heart to keep walking by all this gorgeous produce and SEAFOOD and not be able to buy it and cook it up. I did, however, buy some fancy Moscato grapes – a type used to make a sweet white wine – that just blew away any boring seedless grape I can get in my state.
As a teenager I was dared to enter the crusty, filthy local “adult” store boasting videos and Live Girls and comfortable viewing booths. I recall the famed Horse Dildo up on the wall, and the rest I’ve blocked out. On my last visit to NYC, BadBadGirl and I ducked into a jam-packed store. They had a large selection, particularly of costumes and lingerie, as well as toys but all were in boxes or behind glass. I didn’t feel uncomfortable in there, but it didn’t impress me much.
So, Babeland. It was interesting – kinda small, smaller than I expected it to be but then they don’t have a huge inventory even online. Of course, they also don’t carry shitty toys and jelly items galore. I take quality over quantity any day – plus the ability to handle the toys and turn them on??? Priceless. For someone who does all of their sex toy shopping online, this was a very cool experience. And educational, for me.
Man, talk about overall disappointment with a brand. The Form 2 was underwhelming in power once any pressure was applied to the vibrating “tongs”. The Form 6 didn’t seem to have anything over the Lelo Elise. The slimline metal vibrators that they make in various types of metals didn’t do much for me. The Iconic Collection of bland, white toys was as boring as their lack of color. JimmyJane is touted as a luxury brand but to be frank I saw no just cause for their luxe prices.
Delight and Curve
The Fun Factory Delight and Curve have been on my list of consideration for review for years now. I didn’t get to test out the vibrations of the Delight but both toys were smaller overall (size, girth, length) than I expected. I’m probably a little less interested in them now.
Tenga Flip Masturbation Sleeve
I have to admit, if I were a man I’d probably pick the Tenga Flip over a Fleshlight just because it looks so darn cool. And yes, we all stuck our fingers in the male masturbators.
Another one of the many “massager” style vibrators, this one is about the size of an Acuvibe Mini and has the trademark vibration style of deep, rumbly and powerful. Quite nice, actually.
Better Than Chocolate
In person, it looks cheaply made. The vibrations felt fairly weak and buzzy, as well. We got it turned on but we couldn’t really get that “intuitive slider bar” to work and change speeds. Glad I’ve passed on it to review before!
Lelo Mona, Nea, Ina
While the new Ina and Mona felt a little more powerful than Lelo’s first run of vibes, I’m still undecided on them. Mostly with Ina my concern is it fitting my anatomy. Any rabbit-style vibe though carries that question. I’d never reviewed the little Nea or Lily because of concerns that the vibration type would be the same as Mia (surface and buzzy) but man are they cute, little and pretty! Especially the Nea. It made me a little sad when I saw that their reincarnation of the minis, the Siri (the pink that Babeland carries is like the old style, but EdenFantasys carries a bright purple and red like the Mona), carries the color style of the Ina and Mona – half white, half bright ass solid. The Nea always appealed to me aesthetically.
The Crybaby, Remote Panty Vibe, Bnaughty Unleashed
Ugh. Just…..no. Granted, I have no idea if Babeland keeps their batteries fresh in these toys but they all felt very “meh” to me. Certainly not worth the cost and would provide a tease, not an orgasm. Since my visit there, Babeland no longer carries the Bnaughty wireless vibe, but they had it in that store. Perhaps they realized it wasn’t very good? Let’s hope. Sadly, wireless remote bullet vibes have to come a lonnnng way yet before they’re ever worth their pricetag.
I didn’t think it was possible, but this toy looked and felt even more disturbing in person than it does in photos. It’s mechanically noisy and just… no. No no and no.
Due to the concept and geekiness of the toy it’s something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. But holding it, feeling it, I now really know that it would be the right toy for me. It’s pretty tame, as far as sensation delivered and vibration. Neat, but not for me.
Go Girl vs P Style
The Pstyle is a lot harder than I expected. It’s rigid plastic and can’t bend, so I have to wonder how portable it really would be for a FTM to carry around inconspicuously. The Go Girl was nice, pliant silicone but I’ve read some reviews that indicate it’s a little harder to use and not have a mess / aim with this one.
There were so many other toys there that I can’t remember their name or what exactly I thought of them. It was a little overwhelming! I hate that all the things I remembered seem to be so negative but I know what I personally like and I was hunting down the toys I’ve been wondering about for some time now. In October when I’m in NY I hope to be able to get in a visit to another store, either Babeland or maybe the Pleasure Chest which is where one of my fellow calendar models works, .Read More
When looking for a new toy how do you know if it does or does not have pthalates? asked by mydnitebyte
First, a definition from Wikipedia: Phthalates, or phthalate esters, are esters of phthalic acid and are mainly used as plasticizers (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity).1
The sex toy review community and sex-positive toy shops are all buzzing about phthalates and how bad they are for you. Phthalates are found in many plastic items that have been chemically softened. The studies going around are saying that phthalate exposure can damage all sorts of organs, and can possibly cause cancer. There are a lot of harmful things in our world these days that we can’t avoid – so when we CAN avoid something like toxins in our sex toys, we should. Not to mention, toys that contain phthalates are also porous and can harbor bacteria if not cleaned properly; they also cannot be sterilized for 100% safety against transmission of STD’s.
So how DO you know if a sex toy has phthalates in it?
1. Research your toy purchases from sites that include that sort of information.
a. At EdenFantasys, you can choose “Phthalates Free” in your search options when you’re browsing categories like vibrators, dildos, butt plugs, etc.
b. At Babeland you can purchase anything they sell and know that there are no phthalates – they won’t sell toys that contain them.
c. At Good Vibes, look for this logo on the product description page for a toy:
d. At SheVibe.com, every safe toy will be marked as “Phthalate-Free” in the logos underneath the description for each toy
2. Stick with materials that are known to be safe. This includes:
a. 100% pure medical-grade silicone
b. Elastomer, TPE, TPR, WTP
c. Hard plastic/acrylic
d. Glass, metal, wood, ceramic, and other natural materials
Avoid sex toys made of jelly, rubber, pvc/vinyl. While some of the “cyberskin”/UR3 and other “realistic materials” may not contain phthalates, I would personally recommend staying away from them. They’re porous, they usually have an odor, they require “powdering” (no talc!!! that’s proven to be bad for genitals) and many are painted to look even more realistic but this paint suspiciously rubs off with use/washing.
Can condoms keep you safe from phthalates?
Researchers/scientists haven’t come to a conclusive yes/no result yet, but they say it depends on numerous condom factors such as:
a. The thickness of the latex.
b. The integrity of the condom.
c. Additives in latex condoms could also influence whether phthalates pass through. For example Nonoxynol-9, which used to be used as a spermicide in condoms, could actually increase the risk of phthalate exposure (Nonoxynol-9 is no longer commonly used on condoms or personal lubricants though).
d. The personal lubricant in pre-lubricated condoms could (but doesn’t necessarily) facilitate the leaching phthalates out of a sex toy.2
One thing that I wasn’t able to find in my searches is this: Since the FDA isn’t regulating the sex toy industry, could a company claim that a toy is phthalate-free if it’s made out of a blend or cyberskin & its comrades? Since I can’t find an answer on that – and given that the iffy toys are kinda gross to begin with, what with their chemical odor – my recommendation is to just avoid the stuff altogether. Spend the extra $10-20 on a known-as-safe toy material and you’ll get a longer toy life and the peace of mind that your toys are safe.