Sep 172015

Patchy Paul G5I finally have a Fun Factory vibrator that I can recommend. I’ve been underwhelmed, overstuffed, had pubic hairs ripped out, put to sleep, and bored. I tried out the G4 version of the Patchy Paul and Big Boss and was let down – I’d read about big vibrations with deep rumbles and I expected delivery. We know how much I love big rumbles and lots of power. And they were rumbly, but the large amount of silicone meant that the vibrations had a lot of fighting to do to stay strong and avoid dampening. I was so underwhelmed by my G4 vibrators that I never even reviewed them. So when the Patchy Paul G5 was offered for review I jumped on it, hoping for something to back me up on my overall feelings about the company. 

You see, I’ve always liked Fun Factory, in theory. Their vibes have never worked for me but this pissed me off a lot less than when Lelo vibes didn’t work for me. Fun Factory has always had cool designs, albeit with some high prices (remember the Sinnflut line?). They’ve always been different enough, unique, “fun”, but without boasting lame/non-existent “revolutionary tech” or trying to claim absolutes. With the G5 vibrators you can experience flex and give, unlike the silicone-skin-over-hard plastic like Je Joue, Lelo, and many more. 

Fun Factory also usually has a very draggy silicone – matte finish with a texture that means even I need lube. Fun Factory silicone is a bit of a lube hog, so be sure to stock up – water-based, hybrid or coconut oil is fine. But unlike a lot of companies, Fun Factory doesn’t focus on the gendered colors. Patchy Paul G5 is available in Neon Orange and Green, as well as light Pink. 

Another upgrade to the Patchy Paul G5, and the whole G5 line, is that the controls are just a lot better vs the G4 line and even many other vibrators on the market. They kind of idiot-proofed it. If you try to just hit the + to turn it on, the red Fun button blinks to remind you to start there. This isn’t brand new for Fun Factory; the Stronic Drei and Amorino had it as well.  These are vibes for people who hate to read a manual just to work their vibrator. Unlike the G4 line, now there are two obvious little metal nubs that show where the Click n Charge magnetic charger will go (and the magnets are quite strong). You can’t screw up using this vibrator. You can hand this to anybody, even a total vibe newbie, and they’ll immediately understand how everything works. When you hit the Fun button it starts out in the middle of its vibratory range – there are two lower settings and 3 higher settings. Once you hit the + enough to get into Pattern Land you can cycle through the 6 basic patterns by continually hitting the + button. To leave Pattern Land you have to hit the minus button. Again it’s not super complicated and didn’t ever leave me feeling like I had to turn the vibrator off and back on again just to get myself back to straight vibrations.


So how does it feel?  The vibration power level is a significant improvement over the G4 line and a huge improvement over less expensive Fun Factory vibrators. The motor seems to be about in the middle so in the G4 line the tip felt bland. In fact the difference in vibration oomph is enough to make me even more disappointed now with the old G4 line. You have no idea how badly this upgrade was needed, for such a pricey vibe. With the Patchy Paul G5 on high you do feel vibrations in your hand, but it’s not overwhelming. When inserted it does suffer from vibration dampening, a good bit more than the Rosa Rouge, but it’s still powerful enough to stimulate the clitoral legs for me. Because the motor is in the middle I am feeling most of the vibration right at the vaginal entrance, since I can’t insert the entire length.  I was able to use the Patchy Paul G5 both as an external vibrator and an internal vibrator – it wasn’t as great as using the L’amourose Rosa this way, though. The vibration dampening I experienced with the first inch or two just from my labia-o-steel was enough that in certain positions I didn’t feel enough oomph to get me to come.  The design is awesome for those who want to work up to using more length and width internally  – the nose is a flexible just-shy-of-1.5″ curved tip which narrows back to 1″ wide and then slowly gets fatter up to about 1.6″ but that’s not until you get close to 5″ insertable. I feel like the max insertable length is more like 6 or 6.5 inches versus what FF claims and I don’t see it getting up to the 1.75″ max width they list, either. 

There’s a good amount of flex for the top 3 inches so if you need solid vibrators that can apply firm pressure to your g-spot, this might not be your thing but if your g-spot, a-spot and/or clitoral legs respond to deep, penetrating, powerful vibrations? Patchy Paul G5 is your jam. It’s an easy-to-use, powerful vibrator that is pretty versatile, too.  Would I recommend it over the L’amourose Rosa, though? Honestly no. However the Rosa is $40 more (while the warming Rosa Rouge is full $100 more than Patchy Paul G5) and I understand that when the price climbs closer to 200 it’s hard to justify. The Patchy Paul G5 doesn’t have reliable all-over vibrations like harder vibrators (such as the Lelo Mona 2 or Je Joue Uma) but it is definitely more powerful than the Mona 2 or Uma and definitely more rumbly. I feel that if you don’t have the fleshy outer labia like I do which can provide a decent amount of vibration dampening (by surrounding the vibe tip with flesh) then you could easily use the Patchy Paul G5 externally and experience deep, powerful vibrations that slightly eclipse even the Rosa. While I would recommend this vibe I still found myself abandoning it during testing for the L’amourose Denia (because my Rosa Rouge was dead).

Patchy Paul G5 isn’t a quiet vibrator. In quiet room you’d be able to hear it from under the covers and probably on the other side of a closed door. It is more noisy than Lelo, L’amourose, Je Joue and even Jopen vibes.  If you need stealth sex toy time you’re going to want to turn on music or buy a white noise machine. I feel like Patchy Paul G5 really could claim the title of “the Barry White of vibrators” – yet they don’t, because Fun Factory isn’t a pretentious asshole company.


My thanks to Shevibe for sending me the Fun Factory Patchy Paul G5 in exchange for my honest review.

Oct 072013

splitdildofuntoysgvibeMonths ago I reviewed the G-Vibe, a split vibrator that reminded folks of the aptly named (both for the obvious, and for how divided the fan base was) Split Dildo. I had read a number of reviews that stated that the Split Dildo was actually painful to use, so I was surprised by how boring and subtle the Funtoys G-Vibe was to use. Recently a Split Dildo became available on ToySwap and I grabbed it up for no other purpose than this comparison review. Dedicated, I am.

While the Split Dildo is noticeably fatter than the G-Vibe, the biggest different is in the pliability of the silicone and the pressure  aspect – by that I mean the amount of pressure it takes to keep the closed ears split and therefore the amount of pressure they will exert as they try to fall back into their natural state. It took me awhile to figure out how best to show you the difference. What I did with the scale is try to exert enough pressure on one half of the split to make it “straighten”, like you would do if it was inside of you. While the Split Dildo is fatter, and therefore heavier (it weighs slightly more than the G-Vibe which is longer and has a motor), the difference in grams required to achieve the same result is drastic enough to matter.

It almost seems like Funtoys directly modeled the G-Vibe from the Split Dildo. I say that only because the angle and length of the split seems to be identical. Just the Split is much fatter. Split is also the type of silicone that easily hangs on to dirt, lint, fur etc. It doesn’t glide easily along dry skin like the G-Vibe does….it is more like the “treated” silicone that Lelo uses, applying a finish that makes it silky smooth with no drag. The Split Dildo does have some drag, and would require lube by most. The thing that is the most infuriating about the Split Dildo is the lack of a handled base. This is not friendly for people with mobility/flexibility issues, and not “fat friendly”, either.


I just learned that the infuriating creator of the Split Dildo thinks that only “women who have birthed a child” can like the Split, that the rest of us poor souls have too-tight vaginas. Reading this on Epiphora’s site pissed me off so bad.  Here’s the funny thing. When the Split dildo was actually, finally, properly in place, I wasn’t writhing in pain. In fact, the pressure on my g-spot felt good BUT the pressure against the rectal wall was not good. It was not good at all.  I felt like I was in a race for orgasm and pooping. The orgasm wasn’t due to the Split Dildo; it was helping, as does any toy that puts pressure on my g-spot, but this was not a fun time. At all.

Trying to get the Split Dildo in was harder than trying to get a pair of Spanx on. I prefer thicker dildos, so the problem wasn’t the girth.  It was that I couldn’t hold the tips together /and/ slide the Split in, tampon-like, so there was a moment where the Split felt like it was tearing my perineum because it wasn’t fully inside of me. It was scary, and terribly painful. Screamingly painful.  Overall, I’d only recommend the Split Dildo for those using it with a partner or those who are flexible enough to keep the tips together until it is completely inserted. Actually, I’d go back to just recommending using it with a partner. Because mild thrusting is necessary to get any sort of rubbing on the g-spot, and if you manage to let the Split get too far outside of you, you’re in danger of serious pain coming your way.

So if you owned the Split Dildo and hated it, you should not run in fear of the G-Vibe. That’s not to say that I’d recommend it….I still won’t. I just am saying that the G-Vibe won’t cause pain the way the Split Dildo did for some. If you owned the Split Dildo and loved it? You will be vastly underwhelmed by the G-Vibe. The vibrations are piddly enough that they do not make up for the lack of pressure exerted on the G-Spot and Perineal Sponge.

Actually, I’m just going to recommend against either toy. If we’re gonna go with analogies, think back to Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The Split is Too Hot, the G-Vibe is Too Cold. There is no “just right” middle option. Since I received the Split dildo through my own network, I’m not sure where to tell you to buy it, should I have managed to not fully dissuade you. No one really wants to stock this thing, so I guess you’d have to buy it from the manufacturer.

Jan 282013

ETA: The Comet G is actually growing on me a little. But now they have out a VIBRATING version which I’ve got high hopes for.

Jopen Key Comet Wand

There are glass dildos and silicone dildos, but never have I seen a silicone-covered glass dildo. The Jopen Key Comet G is pretty unique in that aspect. It is a decidedly g-spot dildo and therefore….I (and others) cannot help but compare it to the Njoy Pure Wand. There is no shortage of g-spot targeting sex toys but it seems that the Pure Wand is king of the heap for most reviewers. So when I was told that the Key Comet Wand was just about as good as (or for some, better than) the Pure Wand I had to try it.

My one and only complaint about the Pure Wand is the weight. I’m no spry young thing and I have a disorder that affects muscle strength. It doesn’t take much for my hand and/or wrist to be bothered by the Pure Wand if I’m going at it too long; of course the upside is that orgasms come fast and furious with the Pure Wand. The Key Comet Wand is quite a bit lighter weight than the Pure Wand, but still retains some heft thanks to the glass core. It’s a nice balance.

However, the thing (one of the things) I love best about the Pure Wand is that it is made of stainless steel and I never, ever ever need lube. No matter what. It glides with ease and there is no trouble with insertion. The Key Comet Wand though is covered in a matte silicone that is silky smooth to the touch but has quite a bit of drag during insertion. I actually had to get out my old lube bottle to use the Comet. For once my own wetness wasn’t enough. I’m not a person who normally uses lube; therefore I don’t keep it handy and I’m pretty lazy. The fact that I have to drag it out is a bit of an irk for me.

keycometwandDue to the drag and need for lube, at first I thought that the Comet Wand was bigger than the Pure Wand. The bulbous end of the Comet Wand is the same size as the large end of the Pure Wand (a ball with a max width of 1.5″), but the shaft of the Comet is a little bit wider. This is neither good nor bad but it’s not a huge size. The shaft isn’t the point, anyways, when you’re targeting your g-spot. This isn’t a toy for those who simply want girth.

Let’s Talk About Materials – Silicone AND Glass in One

The unique part about the Key Comet Wand is the combination of two well-loved non-porous materials: glass and silicone. The handle portion is all solid glass and feels very substantial. Jopen says that the Comet is made from durable glass dipped in body-safe silicone. The “dipped in” leads you to believe that it’s mostly glass. I got curious though. I pressed the bulbous tip against the corner of my desk and I was able (although I had to use a lot of pressure) to press in farther than I expected to and farther than I can on the silicone-covered portion of the shaft. I was also able to grab the bulbous head in my hand and move it slightly. My guess is that the glass doesn’t go all the way down and into the bulbed tip.  There are very subtle raised ridges in the design that don’t add anything you can feel, just something visual; the ridges start at the glass handle and appear to continue on down seamlessly through the silicone “dipped” portion.  I have to admit, the geek in me kinda wants to ruin this dildo and take a box cutter to the silicone to determine just how much glass is in the body. I won’t, but I’m really damn tempted.

Of course I must also note that cleaning this dildo isn’t quite as simple as you might think, based on the materials. Normally any dildo made of metal, glass or true silicone can be boiled (carefully) to sanitize. They’re non-porous so technically it doesn’t take much to sanitize but the Comet G cannot be boiled, cannot be put in the dishwasher top rack, etc. It needs to be simply washed in soap and water (a 10% bleach solution if you need it for sharing, a rinse after that please) because of the combination of materials but mostly that Key emblem glued into the handle.

If this g-spot dildo were made entirely of glass, it would turn off the many people who still think that glass sex toys will just shatter inside their Hulk-like vagina. If it were made entirely of silicone, it would lack the balanced weight and heft and firmness. The silicone also gives peace of mind to the glass paranoids and protects from chipping the internal portion. I can also appreciate that they finished the silicone with something similar to Lelo’s Silicone Soft Touch, leaving behind a matte-finish silky feel silicone that doesn’t attract lint, dust or fur. Jopen will tell you to only use water-based lube because of the silicone component, but as I’ve mentioned before, not all silicone lubes (nor silicone sex toys) are created equal. Some will be just fine when combining. I’ve successfully used Wet’s Synergy hybrid lube and their Platinum all-silicone lube on all of my high end dildos and vibrators and never had a problem. I tried it on the Comet and it was just fine. How do you know? Apply a small dab to a portion near the handle or base, depending on the toy. Within a minute, if the two are not compatible, the lube will become gummy. If left on, the silicone of the toy will become sticky and weird, too. This has not yet happened to me with Wet lubes; Metis also recommended Sliquid and Pjur as silicone lubes compatible with Tantus’s Platinum silicone.

The Boring Deets – Colors, Packaging, etc

Comet G comes in 3 terribly predictable colors: a candy-grapey-purple, an old-school-eraser-pink, and a turquoise-y-blue that some might call “robin’s egg” blue. The glass handle is a pastel matching version of the silicone. The glass handle has a sort-of ball end with a bit of a curve to mirror the g-spot bulb; embedded in one side of the curved end is the Jopen Key logo that appears to be actual metal (an alloy mix) rather than Lelo’s “metal” accents which are just metallic-painted plastic. The box is black and whatever color your dildo is; you could use it for storage but it’s not a subtle and sturdy box like many luxury makers go for. You slide off the top portion of the box to reveal a book-style box inside; the Comet G Wand is nestled in foam which has a ribbon tab to lift up where the storage bag and manual is found. The storage bag is made from the same material that We-Vibe uses – a kinda stiff, crinkly water-resistant fabric that feels cheap (unlike the satin that most luxury toy makers use). The storage bag isn’t padded. All in all, I’m not impressed by the packaging or storage bag.

Size Matters

As for size, at first comparison the Comet G and the Pure Wand look really damn similar. When it comes to curved dildos like this though there are two ways to measure, just like there are two ways to measure the distance between two addresses: “As the crow flies” or following the roads. As the crow flies, the two are about the same at 8 inches. But the true tip-to-tip tells another story and shows how much more curved the Pure Wand is: The Comet G is about 9.5 inches where the Pure Wand is a little over 11 inches. The widest width on both is that large bulbed end, at 1.5 inches. But where the Pure Wand is a true double-sided dildo offering you two differently sized ends to use, the Comet G Wand is only usable one way.

cometvspureNow the tip-to-tip length may not seem important at first, but I found after my second use that it does matter to me. As I’ve said in the past I have short arms and a fat buddha belly and the C-curve plus the length of the Pure Wand is about the most ergonomic and easy to use design for me, hands down. The Comet G is mostly C-shaped, but that bulb on the handle tips back in an weird subtle S-shape. The handle tip also is more “fiddlehead fern” than true bulb and I found that it was a lot harder to keep a good grip on it than the Pure Wand. I found myself really need that extra inch and a half and the easier-to-grip bulb of the Pure Wand. While I was indeed able to finally get good g-spot stimulation and orgasm better than most other dildos, the clumsy grip means that I will still reach for the Pure Wand despite it’s heft. Speaking of weight, the Comet G is 9.5 ounces where the Pure Wand is 1 pound 8.75 ounces – nearly a pound heavier.

Final Answer?

I can’t totally discount the Comet G Wand, but I also can’t say that I’d ever recommend it over the Njoy Pure Wand unless you absolutely need something under 1 pound in weight due to arthritis, injuries or muscular disorders – however on the flip side, the handle is a bit more difficult to keep under grasp but I think a creative person could come up with an add-on to the handle to make it larger and easier to grip. Sure, the Comet G is priced a little lower than the Pure Wand (on EF, $90 for the Comet G, $108 for the Pure Wand) so I wouldn’t recommend the Key Comet G Wand as a more affordable alternative to the Pure Wand. There are lots of g-spot options out there, and not everyone likes or needs the firm pressure that I do. Many women have great luck with silicone dildos that to me are barely curved; there are also some decent glass options that have a partial C-curve and pronounced bulbous tip (for example, the B2B G-Spot is plain glass, double-ended, longer than it’s nearly-identical cousins like Amethyst or Bent Graduate and hits a nice median price point of $60).

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
May 072012

Spirit Vibe, by Leaf - Powered by PowerBullet, the Leaf Spirit is a diminuative, luxury silicone sex toyEntirely too long ago I received the Spirit vibe from Leaf to review. I sometimes wonder why it takes me so long to write certain reviews while others seem to write themselves, and I realized why: When I don’t love or hate a toy, I find it hard to know what to say. And that’s the problem here; I don’t love or hate the Spirit.

Spirit is tiny; smaller than I expected. For some reason I expected it to be more along the lines of the Layaspot in size, but it’s actually a little smaller than the Je Joue MiMi and definitely smaller than the We Vibe Touch. Which means that for some people it could easily get misplaced. Of course that bright, spring-green color would make it more difficult to lose it.

Green Squared

The entire Leaf vibes line is touted as being “green”; not just green in color (as it’s the only color option available) but environmentally-speaking a “good idea”. The thought is that silicone rechargeable vibrators are more “green” since there are no disposable batteries. Of course, one argument is that disposable batteries can be recycled or simply tossed in the garbage with no serious effects to the landfills  while very few people would ever recycle the rechargeable portion of a vibrator (mainly because you’d have to recycle the whole toy and there aren’t a lot of sex toy recycling places out there, plus it’s a bitch to get the battery out of the toy). Another way that Leaf is pushing the green aspect is in their packaging, which gets met with some argument as well. The box is all recycled cardboard; it’s heavy and sturdy cardboard though, with a magnetic closure so it would be great for storage. It’s not a 100% discreet storage option but yet it doesn’t use the words “sex toy” or “vibrator” anywhere on the box. Instead it says “Natural Pleasure“. The included storage pouch looks like hemp but is probably just cotton canvas. The only plastic to be found was the plastic bags used to contain the vibe and the charger. I think that overall there is a step in the right direction for being more environmentally conscious and not just for being a silicone sex toy.

Spirit Vibe, by Leaf - Powered by PowerBullet, the Leaf Spirit is a diminuative, luxury silicone sex toy. Leaf endeavors to package their sex toys with as much recycled material as possible. Spirit Vibe, by Leaf - Powered by PowerBullet, the Leaf Spirit is a diminuative, luxury silicone sex toy. Leaf endeavors to package their sex toys with as much recycled material as possible.

Powered by PowerBullet

The reason I was so interested in the Leaf line was because the motor is “Powered by PowerBullet”; The Jopen Vanity line is also made with PowerBullet motors and since I adore my VR6 so, so very much I had high hopes for Leaf Spirit. After I did some research, though, I found out that only one other vibrator (not something made by a US-distributed company) powered by PowerBullet is as strong and rumbly as the VR6. Ah well. This isn’t to say that the Leaf Spirit is weak; it’s not. It’s really got quite a punch. In fact I’d easily compare it to the Je Joue Mimi. I’d say that the We Vibe Touch is perhaps a bit more powerful (there is one caveat to all three of these, which I’ll get to in a minute) but the We Vibe Tango & Salsa are more powerful than any of the aforementioned three vibes. The reason for this is because the Spirit, MiMi and Touch all have what is, to me, a fatal flaw: as soon as pressure is applied to the vibrator or it is surrounded by flesh (hello, fleshy labia) the vibrations greatly decrease. They go from deep and rumbly and powerful to almost surface-buzzy and moderate. It’s a huge let-down. This could be happening with the Spirit because it is so small. Perhaps a larger model would fare better because there would be more space to hold it (holding it firmly is also “pressure” in terms of muting the vibrations). But if I had to quantify the difference, I would say that the Leaf Spirit is 3 times more powerful when you’re just barely holding it compared to if you have a good grip on it and/or are applying pressure (you’d likely require a good grip on it if you get it slick with lube or body fluids).

Left to Right: Je Joue Mimi, Leaf Spirit and We Vibe Touch. Three luxury, silicone vibrators with the same flaw

I’m also a little disappointed that when it’s not in use the Spirit doesn’t hold a charge very well. It has an impressive Run Time vs Recharge Time ratio: 2.6 hours of run time for only 2 hours of recharge time (according to the company). Many rechargeable sex toys require more charge time than you’ll get in play time.

The markings on the Leaf Spirit vibrator are all required by law to be there. Unfortunately, they take up a lot of space on the sex toy!

Like all luxury sex toys, the Leaf line is covered in pure medical-grade silicone and is very body safe. It’s waterproof, great for travel and the curved shape of the Spirit would work well laying against your pubic mound during penetrative sex.  Due to the small size of Spirit, the whole toy vibrates but the motor is located in the tip. There is a seam in the silicone skin but only the most sensitive people would feel it. Spirit has only one button so it’s easy to use, yet if you want to go down a step in power you have to cycle through and turn it off, first. I’m not a huge fan of that. I also think that the vibe itself would be more aesthetically pleasing without the abundance of required markings on the top, but they are sadly required to be there by law. They do blend in and might even add just a hint of texture for holding on to it. The silicone skin covering the hard plastic toy is the silky soft type and so it’s not a huge dust-magnet like We Vibe silicone can be.

Final thoughts

Would I recommend this? Eh. It depends. If you don’t like pressure with your vibes, or you don’t require a very powerful vibe and you adore the smallness and the green-ness, then yes. Otherwise? I’d probably recommend something else for the money. Cute only goes so far in my book.


Click here to read about the properties of silicone sex toys and care & cleaning  |  This toy was provided in exchange for an honest review

Apr 062012

Update: Major developments in the Flame Testing and Sex Toy material testing world have occurred. “Updates” are added throughout the post.

What is Flame Testing and What Does it Prove in Regards to Silicone Sex Toys?

Flame testing a silicone sex toy is neither unheard of or common. Where did it originate, I wonder? Was Metis Black the first to do it and the sex toy reviewers followed suit, eager to seek truths where we were skeptical? In my opinion, a fair number of sex toy reviewers are reviewing for one primary reason: as a means to get “free” sex toys and perhaps earn a little affiliate money. They will rarely dig deep into faulty toys and will rarely have a strong negative review posted. However there is a smaller circle (which is happily growing) who actually care about what you, our readers, purchase because we were once the buyer and burned too many times and wasted too much money on shitty toys or toys that were harmful to our health. I will slap you silly1 if you buy a jelly dildo.

Why flame test? “Pure” silicone, be it food grade or medical grade, shouldn’t melt or deform under the heat of an open flame from a disposable lighter or match – a fact you’ll see demonstrated in the video below. I discussed this a little bit with Metis Black of Tantus in my interview with her. I’ve seen numerous blog reviews on various sex toys where the reviewer did a flame test. I’ve also had scared manufacturers try to tell me that the flame of a Bic lighter will melt anything, even silicone (hint: that’s not fully true – silicone won’t melt and it won’t burn like an oil torch, but it can smolder and flame and it will produce ash) and that it is an inaccurate test. Ok, fine. But who the hell has access to fancy machines and labs? Not us reviewers. 

Here was my logic: If a flame from a match or lighter, held directly to a silicone sex toy, will melt said sex toy – then what the fuck is Tantus using? Because their silicone products do not melt. In fact, neither does Lelo or Jollies2 or Fun Factory or We Vibe3.

You’ll hear a lot of manufacturers putting it down but the basic fact is this: Flame testing isn’t perfect but 8 times out of 10 it will properly reveal that a sex toy is or is not pure silicone 4. Since the government will not regulate adult products, and the manufacturers can literally say anything they want on their packaging, there is a lot of distrust floating around in the sex toy industry. Unless you are buying your sex toy from a trusted manufacturer, I’d suggest that you perform the flame test on your sex toys.
Update: The flame test is not so black and white in its results. I discussed with Metis Black some results that readers were getting: The tell-tale grey ash was produced, but the material was becoming very sticky. Since I, too, experienced similar results with a material we didn’t think was pure silicone, deciphering the results can be confusing. More research led to us figuring out the there’s a difference in results between RTV cured and LIM. The new post Deciphering the Results, shows photos of flame tests and a list of traits and what to expect from silicone and non-silicone.

What can you expect from a flame test if the material actually is silicone?

A number of things, depending on the oils (softeners) in the silicone and the way that the silicone is cured. Metis Black of Tantus cleared up some confusion for me – “Tantus which uses RTV silicone primarily and Lelo and WeVibe who exclusively LIM silicone– LIM silicones are sticky unless they are post cured by heat. The silicone is heated in the mold, but then needs a post cure in an oven to completely cure it to nonsticky. RTV will eventually cure without it no matter who’s garage it’s poured in.”

Silicone products that have varying levels dimethicone mixed in that will burn in a smolder and you will see a pale ash left behind. This ash can then be brushed off and you usually will see virtually no damage to the silicone. It usually won’t be sticky, there usually will not be a chunk missing from the product – I say usually because it’s not often but I’ve seen both happen though on a mild level with products that used a lot of dimethicone.

LIM Silicone products from “luxury” manufacturers where the end result is a very matte-finish, silky smooth silicone could be using something like what Lelo uses, called SST:

“We [Lelo] use certified “body safe food-grade phthalate-free silicone” which is coated in SST (Silicone Soft Touch). It’s used to enhance the silicone, otherwise silicone will not be as smooth to touch or pleasant in the body. It’s completely safe for use in the body (liquid silicone) and we have the FDA certificate to prove that, but it may be causing the carbon marks you are talking about.”5.

How much smoldering/burning occurs depends on where you apply the flame. If you apply it to a thin edge of material, you’ll see a lot more burning. If you apply it to say…the middle of the dildo, you won’t see as much of a reaction. 

Silicone items CAN burn but will NOT melt/become permanently pliable as a result of a flame test. There is a difference.  Ash will be produced. As I found when flame testing the JimmyJane Hello Touch in April 2013, there actually can be material loss and destruction and stickiness, and the product is still pure silicone – this was not previously thought to be true, but a lab test verified the product as being silicone. This is because is it LIM silicone and it can behave differently.

Update: I’ve done a newer flame test video – watch it for more info:

What can you expect from a flame test if the material is not pure silicone?

I’ve seen it where the material didn’t catch a flame, it just absorbed the heat and melted. I’ve seen it where the material caught flame, the entire thing engulfed and continued to burn like an oil lamp – when it fact, that makes perfect sense. TPE/TPR is softened by mineral oil.  If a material is not silicone, it will not produce any grey ash. That is one big telltale sign to look for.

Elastomer, TPR, TPE and of course jelly/rubber WILL MELT to various degrees. I put flame to a SinFive Pikilo dildo because I knew what the material was (a non-porous type of TPE called WTP) and simply wanted to see what would happen. It would not burn no matter how long I held the flame. There was no ash. However, the material was extremely hot to touch and was shiny; it was also then pliable and could be deformed sort of like putty. The material did not disintegrate though like TPR blends have. The softer portion of the dildo had the most obvious melting. The bottom portion which was extremely solid and unyielding didn’t show as much damage but it did change the texture and it was sticky.

Update: I have held a flame to materials known as NOT being silicone, and they did actually melt. There was no ash. Another product which was acquired and flame-tested more recently than this original post, a Screaming O cock ring which the company likes to call silicone, did melt after a long burn time, but it did not product ash, either. In fact it burned like an oil lamp – a hot, bright flame that did not smolder and did not die out. There was material destruction – it cracked and dried out and no longer would withstand being stretched out (it broke).

Flame Oddity #1: Studio Line Vibrating Makeup Brush from Screaming O

Not shown is the Screaming O Studio Line Makeup Brush; it was subjected to a flame test and it behaved in exactly the same way as the Bedroom Kandi HOTM. There was destruction of material – I had sticky, gooey black material on my fingers that reminded me of what happens to bike tires on a really hot summer day – and it burned nicely, but there was ash. At the time, Screaming O said via email that their product is not 100% silicone. A fellow EdenFantasys reviewer commented on my EF review of the Studio Line Brush telling me that

“the toy is made from “latex and phthalate free SEBS silicone, which is a silicone elastomer blend.” So, they don’t claim it’s medical silicone or 100% silicone. Elastomer will melt if a flame is held to it. But, even silicone toys should only be tested with a match, anything hotter may actually burn or melt 100% silicone.”

Um yeah, they do imply/”claim” it’s pure silicone simply by not saying that it isn’t. Right there on their website, as I noted in my review, it says “Phthalate-free soft silicone”. I, as the consumer, therefore assume they mean true silicone and that it is non-porous. But it’s not. Why? According to Screaming O:

“Our government says that a company can  label a toy as “silicone” if at least 10% of the product is silicone, which is how we originally came up with “what” the products were made of on our packaging.  After some thought about this, we too think that this needs to be defined a bit further. We are actually in the process of updating all of our products to offer detailed information on what they are made of.  We realize that our consumers are becoming more savvy and educated about things like that and want to make sure everyone has complete information. Please bear with us as we compile this information, update our packaging and websites, and get it all out to our customers.”

I called them out on it personally saying that it’s troubling and does not breed respect or trust in the brand, hence the response above. UPDATE: what actually has happened with Screaming O materials isn’t that they were lying to us, but they had been lied to. Years ago the manufacturing plant claimed this material, SEBS, was a “silicone elastomer blend”. Pepper in some of that “10% myth” because they didn’t know any better, and Screaming O actually had no idea what materials they were using. They do NOW, and we know that there’s no such thing as homogenizing elastomers and silicone to create a blend, plus Screaming O now admits their SEBS rings were never silicone. So what the hell was this makeup brush? The same as the Bedroom Kandi holster – a super-soft silicone in small pieces that burn up easily. The ash means dimethicone is burning.

Flame Test Oddity #2: Screaming O brand simple cock rings – they look like jelly but are marketed as “sebs” silicone.

These puppies are porous. I let them soak for 12 hours in concentrated Kool-Aid and they absorbed food coloring. When I took the flame to it, they burned like an oil lamp. No ash.

At this point I cannot trust that anything Screaming O packages as “silicone” or “Sebs” silicone” is true silicone and non-porous. I’d advise you to assume the same from this company until they change their shady practice. When I researched “sebs” what comes up has absolutely nothing to do with silicone in the least. UPDATE: Screaming O now admits their SEBS rings were never silicone. They were wrong for years, they believed something a manufacturing plant told them ages ago and just ran with it. After enough people like us kept saying “hey, this really isn’t silicone” they ran tests and publicly admitted their wrongness.

{For repeat visitors to this post: yes there was another video, but it’s outdated now}

How to perform a flame test if you suspect that a sex toy is not a pure silicone item

For safety’s sake you should have a bucket of ice water nearby. Be aware some materials can retain a lot of heat, so be careful brushing off the ash (if there is any) or touching the melted part too soon. Use either (both if you’re feeling geeky) a match or a simple Bic style / disposable lighter. I’m not sure if a standard Zippo (the refillable kinds) would be too hot, but the “windproof” lighters most certainly are too hot and should not be used.

As explained in a “further reading” link below, the temp of the flame of a lighter or match is about 600-800 degrees. By only applying the yellow/orange part of the flame to the sex toy you’re safely staying around that 600 (or less?) mark. The blue/white portions that are closest to the ignition source are potentially too hot. Apply the flame for about 5-8 seconds to a portion of the toy as close to the base as possible if it is a toy you would want to continue using. Let it cool off a few seconds and then view your results. If you see ash, wipe it off.

For a complete guide on how to do the flame test and to see results, with a list of “not silicone” vs “silicone” traits, go here.

I’d suggest that you document the results. If you find that an item fails the test and the manufacturer is calling it merely “silicone” you should be ready to back up your public claims with photos and/or video. If you’re reviewing the toy, be it on a blog or as a consumer, and you have a flame test failure it would be helpful to the sex toy community if you’d let us all know! If you have uncertainties though, before going public, feel free to contact me and I’ll help decipher the results.

Update: On April 26, 2013, we received back the official lab test results of a product that we believed failed the flame test. It had been assumed by others in the industry that, due to the material destruction/loss and stickiness, the material was not pure silicone. Lab tests showed that it was, in fact pure silicone. Does this mean that the flame test is a complete failure to us all? Not exactly. But it means that we need amend our definition of pass/fail and understand that a failed result may not truly be a failed result (depending on the results). (Updated Feb 2014: It “failed” because it was a thin piece and because it is LIM silicone. It didn’t really fail, we just didn’t know enough)

Further Reading:

  1. With that nasty jelly dildo you stupidly bought, and I won’t just slap you with the jelly dildo I will shove it in your mouth so you can taste the sweet stench of phthalates. Ok maybe that’s going a little far. But I’ll still slap you with it!
  2. Yes they’re still available for sale, the offspring of the original designer were selling them on Etsy and now have a site, but I won’t link to it because not even if you were higher than a kite is the design acceptable or less likely to cause seizures. Google ChavezDezignz (yes, with all the fuckin z’s)
  3. This is not an exclusive list, these were simply the only other manufacturers I tested
  4. as opposed to a “blend” – once you mix silicone with Elastomer or TPR, it no longer retains the non-porous properties of true silicone
  5. This quote comes from my rep at Lelo – while the stuff Lelo uses is called SST, it’s possible that the other companies use a very similar but differently-named formulation that achieves the same results. I don’t know if there’s a Lelo-only patent on the SST