Aug 042010
 

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 Scarlet, 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.

JimmyJane Toys


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.

Mystic Wand


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.

Sqweel


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.

Sasi


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, Brandon B.

Jul 122010
 

Another Formspring question here!

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?

You don’t. The better question would be: How do I make sure I don’t buy a sex toy with phthalates in it? I previously had a list up of various major sex toy retailers and what it looks like on their site if a sex toy is phthalates free. But, since the industry is not at all regulated and sex toy manufacturers can lie, we can’t really trust them. Avoid materials such as:

  • Jelly
  • Rubber (even “Skin safe” rubber)
  • PVC
  • Vinyl
  • Cyberskin
  • UR3
  • “Mystery Meat” – the retailer or manufacturer uses a weird trademarked name for their ultra-realistic sex toy – there are some exceptions for this one, but you won’t know til you see the material in person.

Stick with materials that are known to be safe. This includes:

a. 100% pure medical-grade silicone
b. Hard plastic/acrylic
c. Glass, metal, wood, ceramic, and other natural materials
Grey area: Elastomer, TPE, TPR – these are phthalates free, but are still porous.

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

There is also a chance that the oils used to soften these toys could cause a condom to break down, making it utterly useless to protect you.

 

 

1 – Definition of phthalates from Wikipedia
2 – Phthalates and condoms fom About.com:Sexuality

Jun 042010
 

If you’re buying your first dildo, you’re probably unsure where to even begin. Look at any given sex toy retailer site that offers a half-decent selection and you are bound to be overwhelmed at the sheer number of dildos to choose from. Dildos that look like penises, rockets, or nothing at all.  One thing that’s difficult to decide upon when choosing your first dildo (or even insertable vibrator) is size and shape and affordability. After all, you don’t really want to drop $50 or more on a toy you end up hating. And every woman’s body is different, so the toys I love are going to be toys some hate. There are women who just don’t like the Pure Wand. It makes my heart sad, but there you have it.

My first dildos/vibrators were the typical ones chosen by those who are overwhelmed. And also even just 10 years ago silicone and the safer materials weren’t quite as prevalent on the online sex toy shops. I had this hideous jelly vibrator that looked realistic, if by realistic you mean translucent, pink, glittery etc. It had the “realistic shape”. Another was a simple jelly dildo that I never used past the first try or two. Then I chose a typical hard plastic “slim-line” vibrator and while it was mostly sufficient, it did nothing special for me. Avoid my mistakes, people.

Size

Choosing the size for your dildo should depend upon what has already been in your vagina1. Think about your most pleasurable sexual experience (solo or partnered) and what felt so good – was it the sensation of fullness, being stretched my something larger? Was it more about the zing of pleasure that came from the head of it stroking your g-spot? Take a look at a ruler. Actually look at how wide 1″, 1.5″, 2″ is on the ruler. Measure your carrots and zucchini to get a good idea of how that linear width translates to circumference (but please don’t use them as a dildo). If you liked the feeling of fullness, then I’d suggest starting with a 1.5″ at the most. If your focus was on the object/cock hitting a certain feel-good spot, and especially if you’d not had experience with dildos/cocks, go for 1″ or 1.25″ around.

If you’re just starting out with penetration OR have medical issues that prevent penetration, consider getting a silicone dilator set to ease into things. SheVibe carries a few kits from Soul Source and Come As You Are has a full set of individual dilator dildos.

Material

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

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

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

Shape and Features

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

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

Purchasing

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

I generally advise people to avoid Amazon and Ebay; counterfeit sex toys are definitely a thing, and you could get something that you think is silicone but is not. Some people have had good experiences buying from Amazon, but the risk of getting a fake sex toy is high enough that I advise you to avoid it. Stick with well-known sex toy retailers like Shevibe, Lovehoney2, Early to Bed, Smitten Kitten, Come As You Are or Lovedreamer for Canadians3, and buying direct from manufacturers like Tantus.

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

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

Recommendations from smallest to largest:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

  1. or ass – many of these smaller dildos make great first-time butt toys
  2. Although please avoid anything they list as “skin-safe rubber”, I take issue with that term since often those items are at the least porous and at the worst possibly toxic
  3. Again please check the material – they do still sell jelly items and other materials I don’t agree with