Tantus is pretty damn awesome, all around. Their products, their employees, their founder, their entire rainbow-unicorns-glitter existence. And then they had to go and make something that will raise eyebrows everywhere, whilst still being made of awesome.
I’ve seen paddles made of wood (naturally), paddles made of rubber and leather and even glass. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pure silicone paddle. What’s the fuss? Well, it’s Tantus silicone so you can sterilize it (an important feature for the serious kinkster), and each of the 4 paddles is a varying level of wobble ranging from pretty firm to nearly-a-flogger. While I only own one of these, I was able to play with all of them at CatalystCon last month.
Pelt and Thwack
These two are more sturdy, the paddle portion is thicker than the other two. They’re also shorter, and in my eyes look more like a traditional “paddle”. They still have flex and bend, though. A solid, wood paddle is firm and hard, and absorbs the excess energy when you smack someone (there’s a better way to explain this, but I don’t have the words in my brain lately). The “give” and bend of the silicone paddles means that you don’t have to use as much of your own energy to deliver the same amount of pain – conversely it also means that you can deliver as much pain as you want, as hard as you want and unlike the traditional wood paddle, you can’t break it. But the ability to deliver more-for-less is great for people with disabilities, less upper body strength, a wonky wrist, etc. I’ve seen people just kind gently “wobble” the paddles and deliver a satisfying, yet sting-y smack with little effort. This also means that you gotta dial back your swinging arm. I’m accustomed to a suede flogger, the kind made up of strips of leather. It’s more thud than sting. But it also lets me really work out my frustrations/irritations/whatever and feel more, really uh “put my back into it” kinda thing. Pelt is all about the nice, rounded edges and reminds me of a hairbrush. Thwack has a solid, rectangular look to it and is a little more rigid of the two, I think.
Wham Bam and Snap Strap
Ohhhhh boy do these fuckers sting. Wham Bam is the one I own personally, and while it’s pretty wobbly it isn’t exactly floppy – if I hold it upright it lists the side a bit. It’s 15″ long, whereas the Pelt and Thwack are closer to 12″ long, and the paddle portion is thinner silicone than the Pelt and Thwack, which lends to more wobble. And therefore, again, less effort required to really deliver a stinging smack. Even at 15″ though, you’d think it’s not travel friendly but it is. The flexible design would allow this to curve around in a tight U-shape to half its length. The same can be said for the Snap Strap, as it is even longer (nearly 18″) and a little thinner than the Wham Bam. When you try to hold the Snap Strap upright the whole length just falls down, it doesn’t support itself. I would really classify Snap Strap as something more akin to a flogger than a paddle, with Wham Bam being in the middle. Since the body of these is also less wide than the more traditional Pelt and Thwack, you are delivering a more concentrated smack but also a more precise smack on a smaller surface area. Trying to aim for the nipple and not the whole breast? The Snap Strap would really do well at that sort of thing. Into delivering these sensations to the vulva/clitoris? Wham Bam or Snap Strap. Now excuse me whilst I go cringe like crazy for a few minutes after thinking about the last two scenarios.
If the receiver has a high pain tolerance, then these are absolutely perfect. If the receiver can only tolerate dull, thuddy whollops like a hefty flogger can deliver, then they may not be able to enjoy the Tantus Paddles. But I have a feeling that many kinksters will enjoy the hell out of these things. You can’t break them, they’re easy to clean, they’re non-porous and safe to share between partners, the handle will be comfortable for most, they travel well and are lightweight, but best of all? They’re affordable. Right now SheVibe.com has them listed for $33.99 each.
When you purchase one of the Tantus Silicone Paddles, you’ll receive it in a simple, Tantus plastic bag. Attached to the handle is a simple tag with a little about the item and it details basic care. As with every Tantus silicone item, the paddles are phthalates- and latex-free, hypoallergenic, odorless and can be cleaned with a 10% bleach solution, by boiling or even tossing in the top rack of the dishwasher. Less rigorous cleaning could be as simple as soap and water or, for fun at the dungeon, use cleaning wipes unless it came in contact with body fluids and you’d like to go use it on a different body. These paddles will last you a lifetime.
Thanks to SheVibe for sending me one of these to review.
(It will really come in handy for….nevermind. If I tell you, you’re an accessory.)
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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.
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 ones 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.
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.
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).
- 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 ↩
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“Cancer touches us all. At Tantus, over half the staff has had personal experience with cancer, either as a survivor, or having watched as a loved one is treated. It is for this reason that Team Tantus participates in Relay for Life. For 2012, we’ve created this dual-color limited edition toy – the Panacea Vibrator. Named for the Greek goddess of “universal remedy”, 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the Panacea will go to the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life. The Panacea is available in a dual-tone Pearl White and Purple Haze color. The manufacturing process used means that no two toys are exactly alike. The Panacea is available only from www.tantusinc.com.
Help us reach our goal. Order a limited edition Panacea Vibrator, and let your playtime serve a purpose!”
Now, how can you say no to that??? Panacea is the Goddess Vibrator done in dual-tone, basically. One of the great things about the vibrators from Tantus is that the removable bullet comes out leaving you with a hole that can be filled by their Suction Cup accessory. There are very few silicone suction-cup dildos on the market and this accessory is awesome.
The Panacea Vibrator has a diameter of 1.55″ and is 6.25″long. It is selling for $59.99 and is available ONLY at Tantus.com.Read More
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Silicone sex toys are heralded as the most superior sex toy material to many people. Silicone dildos can vary through a range of densities and silicone vibrators can feel plush without the potential for harm (like jelly or rubber). I picked the brain of Metis Black1, the fabulous woman behind Tantus Inc, makers of some very awesome silicone sex toys. She is one of very few sex toy manufacturers that I fully trust to tell me the truth. Get your sex geek on and find out some myths and facts about silicone sex toys!
Myth or Fact: Silicone sex toys will “melt” or degrade if they touch each other while in storage
I own a lot of silicone. Scratch that; I own a lot of quality, true silicone. And I’m not diligent about storage. So if there’s anybody who can say that this is a myth, it’s me. And Metis. I asked her about this and she said:
I think this came from so many toys that were TPR or TPE that were (and continue to be) mislabeled silicone. Thermoplastic materials melt because they are unstable (they have free electrons that try to bond to other materials). As these electrons leave the toy, the toy disintegrates. No silicone is going to melt. At 600 degrees F it turns ashy. A silicone toy like the O2, with extra soft silicone, may burn off some of the dimethicone – flaming a little and becoming sooty- but still not melting.
So in other words if your silicone sex toy has any issues in your toybox, then it’s either not truly silicone or some rogue silicone lube from another toy got on it.
Myth or Fact: Silicone lube should never, ever be used with a silicone sex toy!
99% of the time you will be told that you shouldn’t use silicone lube with a silicone sex toy. I’ve parroted that info as well because it’s all I know. However a couple of manufacturers, Fun Factory for one, used to2 advertise that you could use silicone lubes with their silicone sex toys.
The Metis quick-n-dirty science geek answer:
The only thing that links silicone molecules is silicone so that’s why you may need to avoid lubes. The quality of the silicones in the lubricant and in the toy make a lot of difference.
Let’s say you really like your silicone sex toys and you really like using them in the bath or shower. Water-based lubes will fail you here. Are you out of luck? Not quite. A higher quality silicone lubricant won’t mess up a silicone sex toy - usually (Metis recommends Sliquid and Pjur brands)
Even with these brands we recommend you do a patch test (just like you’re supposed to with hair dye): on the base of the toy put a dab of lube and see if the lube gets gummy (it doesn’t ever melt). If it does get gummy it will happen pretty quickly and with only a small patch, you can clean it off with your finger nail.
So if it’s possible that yes, the two CAN meet, why the drumbeat of “Use only water based lubes!”? Litigation.
It became a liability issue when someone claimed it “melted” the toy as they were playing with it and so the customer went to the hospital. The companies who made the lubricant and the dildo paid that hospital bill and made a settlement; they also started publicizing that their materials were not compatible.
If you purchase both high-quality lubes and sex toys3 then you should be safe to mix, but test it first. I can tell you that the Fun Factory Body Fluid was smeared all over a Fun Factory and 2 Tantus silicone items with absolutely zero reaction that damaged the toy. There was a little bit of a “machine shop” odor though (see really-long-footnote #2 if you haven’t already).
Silicone is perfect, it is non-porous and the ultimate in safety! Right?
A few weeks ago I pulled out some travel bottles called Go Toobs that are a soft, silicone body and plastic flip cap. They boast as being really great for travel. What they don’t tell you is that they’re using a lesser grade of silicone. It’s food-safe grade, which is still pretty good quality, but everything in my travel tubes dried up. I thought, how is this possible? And the woman from the company tells me that silicone is porous. Wait, what? This went against everything I’ve been told and have told others about silicone sex toys. They’re non-porous! Body safe! Yes, they are. For the most part.
Technically silicone has very tiny pores and is virtually non-porous. The pores are smaller than virus’ and bacterias- but some smells can be absorbed4. With time those smells will go away- you can try putting lemon juice on it (though I haven’t tried it) and see if that helps.
Ok so they can still be sanitized. They’re not going to hold onto larger-spored things like mildew, viruses or bacteria. This is the important stuff. An odor can be gotten rid of. Just keep an eye on your anal toys consider 10% bleach washes more often on those.
ETA:Super-soft silicones, like the outer layer on the Tantus O2 dildos, can absorb small amounts of dye depending on the situation. A few years ago it was reported that ForYourNymphomation sex toy cases had a lining with a dye that could transfer to certain toys. The more solid silicones will not take on any dyes but really soft types can. They’re still medically non-porous, however.
Myth or fact: If you see a clear (or stretchy, i.e. a cock ring) “jelly-like” sex toy that claims to be silicone, it really isn’t
This is fact.
Contact Lenses can be made from silicone so yes it can be ultra clear- however silicone that clear is really hard, brittle and about 10 times as expensive for raw materials. It’s beautiful but I’ve never been able to figure out an application in toys where I could justify charging that much. If it’s clear and super stretchy- there is no way it’s silicone. Tantus is shortly introducing the first super soft c-rings- they are nicely stretchy. Every buyer who’s seen them has been really excited- they are coming out later this month, in about a week. As you’ll see however, these rings aren’t clear.
Which leads me to the next question…..
How can the consumer tell if their sex toy is truly pure silicone, and not a blend?
Really it’s still a buyer beware situation. After we burned “silicone” in Australia a few years back, another vendor friend said his stuff was silicone- I told him it wasn’t. I saw this friend’s website recently telling me and you that all their crystal clear super stretchy cock rings were silicone. They aren’t. China told them they were though, and they seem to be sticking to China’s authority. Remember most “manufacturers” don’t manufacture anything but package design and sales strategies. Sometimes they do some engineering but often they don’t even do that. This allows companies to rapidly enter the market- all they need is a warehouse for storing boxes.
Now, Metis isn’t recommending that we all turn into pyromaniacs, but the infamous “lighter test” will work to melt TPR, Sil-a-gel, silicone blends and other silicone-look-a-like materials. I’ve recently added a post all about the flame test for silicone sex toys which includes video so that you can see exactly what happens with true silicone products vs silicone blend products (which are marketed as merely “silicone”) when you light them on fire (or try to).
What do all these words mean, isn’t silicone silicone? What makes Japanese silicone better than medical grade and what is platinum? Why do they have to confuse us??
Because they’re salesmen? Platinum isn’t just a word used for high-selling albums and expensive wedding bands. Metis said first to me, in part replying about the lube compatibility issue that “It’s about different chemistry, some lesser grades of materials bonding. Originally it was a Tin not a Platinum silicone (this refers to chemicals that are in the silicone which make the two liquids into a solid– vulcanize it).” But of course you’ll never see Tin used to describe a sex toy.
The refining process of making silicone was originally created by GE back in the 50′s and they sold the patent to Dow. Then GE apparently figured out the value of it, and created a totally separate method of processing it. There are several other raw processors who make the base materials from sand, ‘silica’. One is a German company Wacker, another a Japanese company Shin Etsu. The only reason to reassure people that it’s Japanese or German is because there is inherent quality believed by consumers to belong to products coming from those two countries.
So apparently the general public has been heavily swayed by cars. Awesome. Also? “Wacker”. *snickers* Yes, I’m 12.
But on the other side of the naming coin is the trickery used by lesser quality manufacturers to make us think that something is silicone. You may see things called TPR-Silicone, Silicone-Elastomer Blend, SEBS, Cyber-Silicone. These are all terms meant to confuse you, and are likely not real. What would be the point in adding in some (much more expensive) silicone to a cheap and porous material? It won’t suddenly make it non-porous. It won’t actually provide any benefit. Sex toy companies started to learn that many people want silicone, so they started to come up with clever ways to make it seem like they’re giving you something special, when they’re not. This material categorization is like cafeteria mystery meat, and hopefully Dildology.org will soon figure out the true nature. It should also be noted that sex toy retailers copy from each other, and that they don’t quickly update their information – so if a manufacturer was once using the false “blend” term, and then stopped, the retailer likely won’t change. I have seen a lot of sex toys on EdenFantasys labeled as “TPR Silicone” and when you look at the manufacturer’s site, they usually refer to it as “TPR”..
Is there a difference between the shiny silicone, the matte silicone, the stuff they stretch over vibrators, etc?
Yes and no. I started off comparing things like the shiny and hard Feeldoe to the matte texture of the soft-exterior Cush O2. Metis said:
Matte silicone just has a different finish on the master or the mold. Molds on the Feeldoe, for example, are highly polished. The difference with the Cush is that the super soft silicone has a different chemistry- it has more of the silicones that are in lube, making it a little less stable (with silicone lubes).
Ok but what about the silicone that gets stretched over mechanical vibrators?
The silicone on a Lelo, or a WeVibe, etc, is an injection material that needs heat in order to cure. You can make dildos with this material too but it’s a process that is much more effective with thin small amounts than with larger amounts. You can tell a silicone toy that is injected like this because the molds have parting lines with small tolerances. Most of Fun Factories designs are made this way. Vixen and Tantus’ products mostly aren’t. The silicone again for both processes is very safe and stable.
I’ve also recently (after writing this post) read about Lelo’s silicone process. They coat their items with something called SST (Silicone Soft Touch) which aids in lending that powdery-silky feel. I know that a lot of other luxury silicone toy companies use this product (it’s basically a liquid silicone that is also body-safe) and so when you flame-test these toys you’ll get a different result than when you flame test the shiny/sticky silicone products. You can see in my video of flame testing that items coated with SST will show a scorch mark that rubs off whereas other non-coated silicone products develop a pale ash, from the dimethicone burning.
Myth: Silicone doesn’t feel as “realistic” though as Cyberskin/Jelly! Silicone isn’t as fun/sparkly! Silicone is expensive!
I hear too many people trying to defend lesser quality materials with arguments like these. Silicone doesn’t mimic a realistic feel or look? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Mentioned before, the Tantus O2 line is a dual-density that has a really firm core with a layer of plushy silicone over top. Vixen Creations also makes some very realistic dildos. Two things though that these manufacturers won’t have in the “realism” department that a gross rubber/cyberskin dildo will have: multiple colors for a realistic skin look (i.e. painted-on veins and a pink cock head) and/or fake pubic hair. I mean, if you really have a burning need for that dildo to fool you into thinking it is a magical, dismembered human penis then I can’t stop you. But that fake pubic hair will trap all kinds of gross shit and the painted-on realistic features? That will wear off after awhile. Where is it going???? Think about that one. Silicone might not be clear and gem-like, but they can certainly add glitter to it. I’ve seen both Tantus and the almost-defunct Jollies LLC do it.
People will also complain that silicone toys are too expensive. I know, they can be. Some manufacturers exploit the whole “luxury sex toy” angle. But there is a valid reason why silicone sex toys cost 2-4 times the prices of jelly, rubber or TPR. And frankly if after reading this whole post you don’t understand why……then I give up! But if you are on a super-strict budget, just watch for sales or keep an eye on the closeout bin at Tantus.
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So have you learned a lot or are you more confused? For me this reinforced my thoughts that when you’re buying silicone sex toys (which you always should, in lieu of jelly, rubber, cyberskin or PVC/vinyl) you should be purchasing them from a reputable company who isn’t just going to trust what China is telling them. Is China bad? Sometimes. Not all the time. It’s more on the manufacturer to do their quality checks. And, by the way, Tantus isn’t made in China. They’re made in the US, in their own shop and Metis knows everything that goes on. They are never in the hands of an unknown mass production company. Thankfully Tantus is not the only sex toy manufacturer that is knee-deep is quality checks, but sadly they’re still in the minority.
- I picked it so much that she might need a few days to re-generate; I really came close to being annoying. I might make a good reporter! ↩
- While the site has changed and they no longer recommend that, they don’t forbid it, either. Manuals on the site will say that using a silicone lube might cause an unpleasant smell when the two collide. However, I found the packet of Body Fluid, FF’s silicone lube, and it came with my Ellove vibrator. The packet lists only two ingredients: dimethicone and dimenthiconol. Currently EF lists the ingredients of Body Fluid as dimethicone and Dimethiconol Cyclomethicone. Is there a difference? I opened my packet of Body Fluid and put it on the Ellove Vibrator, a Tantus dildo that is 5 years old and a Tantus dildo that is 2 years old. Nothing happened. Other brands of silicone lube include other types of silicone in with the dimethicone, so that could be why they will react with a silicone toy since like is touching like. End longest footnote ever. ↩
- a high-quality silicone sex toy will be labeled as “platinum” and/or “medical grade” ↩
- Kitty Stryker had mentioned to me on Twitter that she had an anal plug that has started to retain an odor ↩