Nov 212018
 

It’s been a long time since I’ve last logged in here. I’ve become so overwhelmed with my work schedule and my various health issues that I didn’t think it had been 2.5 months, but it has. My brain doesn’t feel any closer to being able to write consistently. There are no tugs to write reviews – no, not even seeing the latest ridiculous offering from Jimmyjane. Just looking at it I can almost write a quarter of the scathing review, but the drive to do it all just isn’t there.  Everything that should be easy, is instead overwhelming.

It’s still too soon for me to say that this hiatus is temporary. But I’m writing a little something today to flex those muscles and also say thank you to the people who keep finding my site; who are buying through my affiliate links; who write in to say thank you and check in on me. Sometimes in the depths of our despair we miss the obvious things and it took my husband’s reminder for me to see that someone will still want to hear from me on Black Friday, even though most other bloggers will tell you about far more sales than I will, because I’m so picky on who I work with. He feels sure that someone will want to hear from me, and know how I’m doing. I don’t fully believe him, but here I am.

Thanks for not giving up on me. Thanks for your patience. I need to see some new doctors and get into a decent treatment plan, but I have to wait until February thanks to being stuck for a year with a truly shitty health insurance plan. I’m scared and not feeling especially hopeful, to be honest. But maybe I’ll find a rare gem of a doctor.

Now, onto the sex toys I get asked the most about. I know that a lot of you ask me about the Womanizer and Satisyfer new models. I’ve tried the new Womanizer Classic and Pro; I’ve tried the Satisfyer Travel. I can tell you I still think the Womanizer Pro40 is the best of the line but that doesn’t matter now since it’s long gone. I’m not in love with the new nozzle shapes on the latest Womanizers, and the motor feels very different – it’s a distinct “tapping” of air that is sometimes too intense, sometimes just right. I have found myself reaching for the Satisfyer models more than the newer Womanizers, and I really dislike the new Womanizer Premium and it’s bloated “features” which only work some of the time. I have no experience with newest Womanizer Liberty.

Onto the sales!

SheVibe

In addition to their standard tiered-savings sales, my readers get a special gift – a scratch-off card good against a future order. Just make sure you use my codes to get the scratch-off card: LILLY10, LILLY15, and LILLY20.

  • Customers that use the discount codes provided here to place an order at SheVibe.com will receive a SheVibe Holiday Scratch-Off Card.
  • Scratch the panel on your card to reveal your prize: Up to $50 off your next SheVibe purchase – every card is a winner!
  • The scratched off panel will reveal a Gift Certificate code followed by the amount of the prize.
  • Your unique SheVibe Holiday Scratch-Off Card will be provided in your shipped package, it cannot be replaced if lost, so keep it in a safe place!
  • In certain situations, the SheVibe Scratch-Off card may ship separately from your order.
  • This offer cannot be retroactively applied once you have checked out.
  • The prize code will not be valid for the purchase of Gift Certificates.
  • The SheVibe Holiday Scratch-Off Card has no cash value.
  • This offer is good while SheVibe Holiday Scratch-Off Card supplies last.
  • Sale excludes Eroscillator and certain restrictions apply.
  • Free Shipping offers are good in the U.S. only.
  • Prize code is valid through March 31st, 2019. Redeem as a Gift Certificate at checkout.

Smitten Kitten

Smitten Kitten is a smaller, independant retailer who always has some cool, local stuff. Their Black Friday sale is limited to Friday, and I recommend you shop early! Their stock is smaller, so quantities will be limited.

Hot Octopuss

Grab a Pulse for your favorite peen at 20% off! Check out their sale here.

When I find anything else that strikes my fancy, I’ll update!

 Posted by at 10:52 am
Sep 052018
 

After a lot of consideration – this weekend and this past year – and careful examination I’m requesting that my affiliate account with Tantus be closed immediately.

There is no one reason, or one bigger than the rest, but it’s a compilation of many reasons. A couple of them I knew a few years ago but didn’t act on, as they were told to me in confidence and when I outweighed the good of Tantus vs what I knew, the good of Tantus in the industry won out. And so, because they were not my stories to share, and because I could not afford to lose affiliate earnings at the time, I did nothing. I did not expect to be further disappointed years later, to be honest.

I couldn’t ignore the fact that Metis was a big supporter and educator against toxic, porous sex toys and that she gave that support and education to me. I wouldn’t be where I am without that. I’ve watched Metis stand by the bloggers publicly when they’ve called out the bad behavior of other companies so to see Metis and the Tantus social media accounts behaving this way now is extra disappointing to me. I sat in a session at Woodhull two years ago listening to Metis, among others, lecture about the best practice ways for companies to respond on social media when they’ve fucked up so the silence from all accounts, the absolute head-in-the-sand ignoring, is even more of a kick to the gut.

But for the last year or so, things keep happening with the social media, with the company, and more information is relayed to me privately and finally, I have hit the last straw. I can’t and won’t share the things relayed to me in confidence from others in the industry, but the things I’ve learned in the last year have shaken my beliefs in the good of Tantus. I’m incredibly disappointed in the actions of the owners. I still believe that Tantus makes good products, but I can’t support them anymore directly for ethical reasons. The stories shared with me in confidence are not mine to tell and telling them could have serious repercussions on those who told them – if they choose to tell those stories themselves, they have my full support.

To read more about the actions of Metis in correlation with a Woodhull issue last year, please see this thread from ChronicSexChat on Twitter, it’s an important read and a lot of risks were taken by Kirsten. They’ve done a lot of the hard work and it’s been ignored for too long. That thread was catalyst part one for this conclusion I’ve reached, and the actions on social media this weekend were the nail in the coffin of secrets I can’t brush away. Please see this thread from Sex Bloggess which details what happened this week. I stand by everything she’s said in it. Her words and feelings mirror my own. And while I can’t share the other stories, I can tell you that the reviews on GlassDoor line up with things I’ve been told, and seem to be the tip of the iceberg.

I have blacklisted other companies for less but the good doesn’t outweigh the bad anymore with Tantus.

I’ve been more and more absent from blogging over the last year and social media mostly over the last few weeks as I’ve had to make a difficult decision to focus my health first. My physical, and mental, health are at their worst and have been for a year, but I’ve been in certain levels of denial. My mental health has only been worse one time in my life – when my father died. My physical health has suddenly gone from not-very-good to bad enough that I’ve had to make major changes recently.

To preserve my health, I can’t fight more than this – this post, this email I’ve sent to Tantus, and this decision to lose that part of my income1. I hope that my actions highlight that they need to make major changes, NOW, and I hope that others respect the boundaries I’m setting for myself here. I’ve closed comments in part because there’s nothing else I can say on this matter, and because I don’t have the spoons for attacks, arguments, or even discussions or words of support. Again, boundaries. Thank you for understanding.

 

  1. Note that I can now make this decision that I couldn’t before, with regards to my income, for various reasons but I don’t expect that others can make that sacrifice. No one should be expected to, and their decision to keep their income needs to be respected
Jul 272018
 

As of the moment I publish this, winners have been selected. Check your email and respond! If I don’t hear from these first picks on any prizes within 3 days, I’ll move on to the 2nd-chance winners. Please check your spam folder before emailing me to ask if you won.

At some point in the first week of the contest people on Twitter started a ball rolling by talking about “Teenies”. I knew I wanted to report back after the contest with stats and such on the answers people gave to questions I asked but then it occured to me that I could use those to have a giveway-within-a-giveaway. I have 10 sets of mini teenies to give out and I’m giving them out based on singular answers that delighted me the most or to those who did really well overall answering the questions.

Count the Cats!

Let’s start with what ended up being the most difficult: Count the cat posts on Instagram. I ended up having to specify *actual cats* – not cats on products or me in cat-ear Snapchat filters. I did specify *posts* – and a single post can contain a picture, a video, a collage, or numerous pictures. So if the post had 10 cat pictures, like my tribute to our late cat in May, then it counted as 1 Post. There were also videos that weren’t as obvious by the thumbnail that they contained a cat, but that’s what made it a little less than easy. Between those things many more of you were wrong than right. The correct answer was 26 posts. If you’re super curious about the correct posts, click here to view a screenshot of my entire IG feed with the 26 posts highlighted.

Top 5 Disliked Companies

Over the years, I’ve been salty about a lot of companies both here and on social media. What do you think are my personal Top 5 Most Disliked Companies?

The top 5 that were picked most are Lelo, Pipedream, Jimmyjane, Shiri Zinn, and NS Novelties. I wondered why those, in particular NS Novelties because I’ve never written a specific post about them. Turns out it’s because they’re the first 5 companies listed on the Blacklist. I don’t have them listed in order of hatred, though!

It’s actually hard for me to quantify the Top 5. Sure, Lelo, Pipedream and JimmyJane are the Top 3. But those other two? As some of you pointed out, cases could be made for many to be tied.  Do I go with the smaller companies who’ve consistently been bad – bad products, shit ethics – like Shiri Zinn? Or companies who are widely known with a number of smaller infractions, creating a slow burn level of bullshit and lies but who aren’t 100% bad? I personally can’t choose between Shiri Zinn; Bad Dragon for their hideous ethics, mistreatment of others, and design theft; Screaming O, and Kiiroo. Or Fifi for those months of disgusting social media posts and their poor handling of it (and half-ass product).

The lube question was pretty easy and self-explanatory.

The Saltiest Review

Here’s another one that doesn’t have a clear winner for me: Which of my sex toy reviews is the saltiest? Let’s face it: when I’m mad about a product, I’m pretty fuckin salty. The landslide winner according to you is the Lelo Sona Cruise – is that because it’s the most recent, or because of the Effinbirds images? Many of you cited Effinbirds! Tracy’s Dog Flirt Rabbit was in 2nd place, but I personally consider that more of an investigative piece than a review since I didn’t actually use the product; I was just proving a point about their lies. A large number of you listed the post about my breakup with Lelo, or the post about the Lelo Hex – those are salty, for sure, but they’re not product reviews. Same with Can’t Buy My Love or my missives against Pipedream, Doc Johnson for their Sil-a-gel, or the post about Amazon.

Third place, nearly tied for second, is the Shiri Zinn Cupcake vibrator, fourth place is quickly followed by the “Supremely Offensive” Lovehoney Rockbox Finger. Fifth place is pretty much a dead-even tie between the Jimmyjane Form 3 and Form 4, the Dame Fin, the O Wand, the Hot Octopuss Queen Bee and the Fiera Arouser. There were overall 28 reviews that got votes, but one person stated that, after looking around, they felt my reviews were all so “nice” and not salty! I’m not sure they’re reading the same reviews as many of you were!

Some choices lines from various salty reviews:

  • Vibrators are my CEO, President and Head Bitch of the Orgasms Department. I am not willing to pay $145 for TEASING. I get that for free. (review)
  • If you’re going to proclaim “best”, “the most powerful” and other comparative statements in marketing, can you at least try to make it true in some way? (review)
  • It couldn’t even bring me within a mile of an orgasm. I have determined that it is nothing more than an overpriced gag gift. (review)
  • If you’re basing your entire opinion of the sex toy market from your experience shopping at Amazon? And mostly battery-powered vibrators, at that? You don’t know enough to make vibrators. (review)
  • The orgasm was a bit like a failed July 4th firework – You see the trail going up up up into the sky, you hold your breath and wait for the bang and burst but it never happens.(review)
  • If you hold the handle lightly enough while it’s inserted, then the handle is bobbing away ferociously outside your vag, with some weird rattling vibrations going on inside. It’s flat-out ridiculous.(review)
  • The people under the dome had a better chance of escaping than these poor, strangled vibrations. I’m not an engineer and even uneducated lil old me can see that this won’t work. Yet they did it anyway and you’re going to waste your money and they’re okay with that. (review)
  • I’m relieved that I can finally write this review and get it off my mind because I just don’t want to ever turn on, much less use, the Queen Bee again. I shouldn’t have to try this hard to get a sex toy to work for me. (review)
  • “Is tonight Ring-worthy?” will be a thing people will wonder. They will start to carve hashmarks in their nightstand to keep track of how many times their rings have been used and every 5th hash gets a new ring. It will spawn Lords of the Rings joke in the more geeky of couples. (review)

Which Myths Do I Talk About The Most

Next let’s talk about which sex toy myths I spend the most time fighting – and there are a few! I think the most common one is how people assume that silicone sex toys can’t be stored together and if they are they’ll “melt” – TPR and PVC will, but silicone will not. Ever since realizing more and more that the “cover it with a condom” thing is problematic and complicated at best, I spend a lot of time correcting people on it.  I do also have to correct flame test readings because people will think something is not silicone when it is. If I were on Reddit more (and I’ve basically vacated that toxic place) I would definitely say that the “there’s no ‘best’ sex toy” myth would be high up there – I have spent a lot of time and energy over the years bringing that one down and I have to touch on this more than I expected to with regards to manufacturer’s ridiculous claims.

Which Sex Toys Do I Hate Recommending

First up I hate recommending rabbit/dual-stimulation toys because of how many variables need to be met to ensure the sex toy is a good match for someone. I personally hate recommending vibrating cock rings because many are too weak or buzzy to be of much good to most people’s clitoris, or they won’t line up with the clitoris during sex for most people. They’re complicated and fraught with if/then statements that just make recommending them quite difficult. I also hate recommending “couples toys” that are specifically marketed as such because of many of the same reasons as I hate recommending rabbit vibes. And finally I hate recommending remote-controlled vibrators because quite frankly most of them fail to meet the qualifications that would make them “good”. All of the other options listed were simply things I don’t personally use much or review but CAN and will make educated recommendations.

Thank You!

Not everyone took the time to comment, or go a little above and beyond with their answers. For those who did, I especially thank you – it meant a lot! Thank you to the folks who so blatantly and hysterically tried to cheat – you made it easy to spot, and disqualify, you. Cheers! Thank you to the ones who shared posts and gave great insight on why that particular post mattered to them – it gives me a lot of insight into my readers! I’ve learned a lot from this giveaway, and I’m committed to slowly plodding on this blog for a little while longer. I may never return to the semi-regularity of posting that I once was able to do, thanks to working 45 hours a week at my day job, but I’m not closing things down just yet.

 Posted by at 11:20 am
Jun 292018
 

I heard you wanna win some sex toys? Well, celebrating 10 years of blogging is certainly an auspicious occasion deserving of a good giveaway! Often, my giveaways have a theme; if not a theme, then a core tenet: I give away the things I love from the companies I love. Since I needed to include some items this time that aren’t my own personal favorites, I made a point to only include products and companies here that I respect, that have impressed me over these last ten years.  What this means for you, dear readers, is that this giveaway is perhaps a little less splashy than you might have expected from someone celebrating a decade of blogging.

Let’s face it: I’ve never carefully planned anything in my life and I fell into blogging and reviewing on a whim, on a quest. And, quite frankly, for someone with ADD who never managed to finish a semester with her class notes in order, and intact, the fact that I’ve lasted as long as I have as a damn miracle!

I want to thank the following retailers for being impressive, generous to me and their community, for growing and changing, for educating: Shevibe, Early to Bed, Come As You Are, Vibrant, Betty’s Toy Box, Sugar, SelfServe, Toolshed Toys, and Stockroom. I also want to give a nod to equally amazing retailers who weren’t able to participate this year: Smitten Kitten, QToys, As You Like It, SheBop, Spectrum Boutique, The Pleasure Garden, and probably a few more my brain is blanking on.

The manufacturers I’ve included have also all made a big impression on me over the years – whether it’s their ethics, their amazingly orgasmic toys or a blissful combination of all that and a bag of superb social media presence: Funkit Toys, Crystal Delights, Standard Glass, Tenga and Tenga Iroha, Tantus, Blush Novelties, Tails n Portholes, Exotic Erotics, Hole Punch, Nobessence, DoDil, Sheets of San Francisco, Njoy, Je Joue, Agreeable Agony, New York Toy Collective, Split Peaches, We-Vibe, Womanizer, Aslan, Doxy, Vibratex, Eroscillator, Sola and Fun Factory. A nod to the lube makers who don’t burn our bits: Sliquid, Coconu, Good Clean Love, Uberlube, Sutil, Probe, Yes and The Butters. And while Kink Academy isn’t a manufacturer or retailer, they are a phenominal educational site that has been supportive of me and the community. And RGNToys is actually a distributor, but run by an amazing woman whose ethics made me reconsider Doxy as a company. Manufacturers I still love but couldn’t get on the list are L’amourose, Minna, Lumberjill, Vixen, BS Atelier, Crowned Jewels, Spareparts, Fucking Sculptures, and more.

 

A scatter collage of ten njoy pure wands

Ahhh the one and only njoy Pure Wand. I first reviewed it in 2008 and it truly ruined me for all future dildos. If not for the beautiful colors found in other products I could easily give up every other dildo I own, I think, probably, if I could just keep my Pure Wand. It’s the only sex toy that can occassionally make me squirt, and it provides the intense G-spot stimulation I need.  Thanks to the generosity of Sugar, Self Serve Toys for each providing a Pure Wand and njoy themselves providing FIVE (plus me taking advantage of a Walgreens whoopsie) I have TEN PURE WANDS to give away, one for every year of blogging.  Please note that 5 of these (provided by and shipped by njoy) are available Internationally (with exceptions1 while the rest are limited to the US. 

 

This next one is it’s own bundle of products – This is a 2-bundle-and-a-runner-up section! These two bundles are open to anyone in the US – if you’re outside the US I’d ask that you pay for the shipping via Paypal. Shipping weight is less than a pound.

Bundle 1, the Sex Toy Pins contains:

Bundle 2, the Queer Bundle has:

  • the Token Queer pin I got from Gold + Mean;
  • Queer Sex Ed For All pin from Isabella Rotman
  • 1 hanky and a fold-up tote bag from NYTC
  • plus their Gender I Don’t Know Her patch
  • and one each of their Hanky Code, Platypus and Gender pins
  • and the Butch Please keychain.

Runner-up will receive a hanky, a Gender patch, and one each of the hanky code pin and gender pin (plus some cool little stickers from Sugarbones).  

 

These prizes are limited to the United States OR International2 if you’re willing to pay for the shipping yourself via Paypal.  Prizes include:

 

These prizes are available to residents of US, Canada, and a couple other countries – it varies depending on the item so check it out in the footnotes.

This last set of prizes is available mostly-worldwide – except for the places sex toys can’t get past customs, etc. There are some restrictions that vary from company to company, so pay attention in the footnotes!

 

A few rules & restrictions: Make sure you use a valid email address – chosen winners will have Three Days to respond to me or I’ll choose someone else. Those who live outside the area and enter to win a product they need to pay shipping for need to then pay for that shipping cost (I’ll let you know the $) within 5 days. Any winners outside the US are responsible for paying any customs fees that may occur. I reserve the right to delete entries that are from the same household, entries where you’ve claimed to do the thing and then didn’t, or entries from social media accounts that exist only to enter contests.  <— It seems that that part was not clear enough: one person per household may enter. If you break this rule, all entries will be invalidated. If you do some entries now and some later, make sure you do it under the same Gleam login. If your social media accounts exist just for or 90% for entering giveaways, then your social media entries will be invalidated. I reserve the right to invalidate entries if they do not comply with the requested action and are therefore incorrect or appear to be cheating. If you appear to try to be cheating on multiple entries then all entries are invalid. In short, just do what you said you did in the giveaway widget. Be decent.

IMPORTANT: Read this before you enter! You must choose your prizes, and your choice must be listed the way it is listed below and you cannot make changes once your entry is submitted. Copy/paste the item name from the list if you need to, to get it right. Please consult the footnotes for International shipping restrictions by prize. Pick 1-4 prizes and list them in order of your preference, from most wanted to least wanted.

  • Njoy Pure Wand (US)
  • Njoy Pure Wand (INT)
  • Bundle 1 – Sex Toy Pins
  • Bundle 2 – Queer Pins and Accessories
  • Standard Glass Rainbow Dildo
  • Whispers of Fire Chaos Flogger
  • Restraint Kit (Wrist cuffs, Collar, Leash, Agreeable Agony Rope Kit)
  • Exotic Erotics Orca and Yacuruna Minis
  • Exotic Erotics Small Corn
  • Tails n Portholes Rainbow Male Nereid
  • Crystal Delights Princess Plug
  • Crystal Delights Twist Dildo
  • Funkit Toys Custom Pride Colors B1 Dildo
  • Tenga Flip Hole
  • Womanizer Plus
  • Eroscillator Top Deluxe
  • Sola Cue
  • Aslan Jaguar Harness + Fuze Velvet Bundle
  • Tenga Iroha Plus Vibrator Choice
  • Swan Wand
  • Sheets of San Fransisco Black Throw
  • Blush Pride Picks + Nude Impressions 01 Bundle
  • Womanizer Pro40
  • Hole Punch $125 Gift Card
  • We-Vibe Tango
  • We-Vibe Rave
  • We-Vibe Anniversary Kit
  • Split Peaches Unicorn Horn
  • Magic Wand Rechargeable
  • Je Joue Mimi Soft
  • Fun Factory Stronic G
  • DoDil
  • Doxy Die Cast
  • Nobessence Fling
  • Tantus Butt Plug Trio
  • Lube Bundle
  • Hot Octopuss Pulse III SOLO

10 Salty Years Giveaway

  1. Due to a US embargo and some countries not allowing sex toys through customs, these cannot be shipped to Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, UAE, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria
  2.  Due to a US embargo and some countries not allowing sex toys through customs, these cannot be shipped to Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, UAE, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria
  3. Shevibe can ship to US, AU, UK, CA, NZ, IE
  4. CAYA will ship to US and Canada
  5. Tenga Shipping limited to North America, Europe and Oceania
  6. Hole Punch can send to US and CA
  7. Sheets can send to US, CA, and EU
  8. Blush can send to US and CA
  9. Early to Bed can ship to US and CA
  10. We-Vibe–Due to a US embargo and some countries not allowing sex toys through customs, these cannot be shipped to Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, UAE, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria
  11. Split Peaches – Due to a US embargo and some countries not allowing sex toys through customs, these cannot be shipped to Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, UAE, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria
  12. RGNToys –Due to a US embargo and some countries not allowing sex toys through customs, these cannot be shipped to Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, UAE, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria
  13. Betty’s – cannot ship to Alabama, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, India, Egypt/Saudi Arabia/Iraq/United Arab Emirates/Muslim customs, Singapore, Philippines
  14. No country restrictions from Vibrant
  15. Nobessence cannot ship to: CRIMEA – REGION OF UKRAINE, CUBA, IRAN, NORTH KOREA, SUDAN, or SYRIA.
  16. No country restrictions from DoDil
  17. View Hot Octopuss shipping locations here: https://www.hotoctopuss.com/worldwide-delivery-options/
  18. Tantus cannot ship to the following locations: “GoPost Addresses, to Alabama, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, India, Egypt/Saudi Arabia/Iraq/United Arab Emirates/Muslim customs, Singapore, Philippines, or to International PO Boxes”
 Posted by at 8:37 am
Mar 152018
 

The official sign on Tulip Toy Gallery's front door notifying customers that the business has shut down and cannot legally sell anything. This location housed the Vamp Silicone production center. Tulip and Vamp Silicone are sister companies. Last July it appeared that Tulip Toy Gallery and sister company Vamp Silicone were gone for good – various people reported that a few Tulip Toy locations were shuttered, and the Tulip and Vamp websites were down. The phones were down. Customer emails weren’t being answered, either; a fact that by itself wouldn’t lead us to think the company had closed completely; we’ve been reading about problematic Vamp Silicone orders for a while now on Tumblr and elsewhere – since 2014, at least. On Tumblr there were reports of some customers were getting their orders completed; some completed, but incorrect, and some never completed. I’d made the decision to recommend that my readers not purchase from Vamp directly and only purchase Vamp premade items from reputable retailers.

Not too long after we discussed this apparent closure on Twitter, Camila Klinger (owner of both Tulip and Vamp) sent out an email to retailers:

Vamp Silicone has a deep passion for, and commitment to, hand-making creative silicone adult novelties. As a small LGBTQIA owned and operated business making functional and high quality toys, we take great pride in serving our community.

Recently our company has gone through a hardship. During this difficult time it has also been an opportunity to regroup and meticulously plan an exciting future for our products and we are happy to announce that our production will resume next week, starting August 1st, 2017.

They never did resume production and emails were still left unanswered. So, what happened?

Negative Online Reviews

There are negative reviews on Facebook but not a ton – of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot more disgruntled customers out there who lost money. There are a few Better Business Bureau negative reviews. The Vamp Silicone Facebook page is gone, but both Twitter accounts still exist (but with no recent activity). The Vamp Instagram account is still up, with no activity for almost a year. There are a lot of negative Google reviews for Tulip Toy Gallery’s physical locations – citing they didn’t receive product or refund – and all locations are listed as “permanently closed” on Google and Yelp. There are some tweets about unfilled/non-refunded orders, too.

The reviews have a lot to say1 – this is just a sample of the ones I’ve found for Tulip and Vamp:

“It was an item that for some reason they don’t actively carry in stock, so the woman working told me I’d have it in 4-10 days by mail. 2 weeks pass and nothing. I tried calling the store over and over again and the line was not in service. I finally make it back to the store and the person working that day says that the first person spoke in error, that it’s not 4-10 days, bur 4-10 weeks, and that if I want I can email the manager for a refund. I give them the benefit of the doubt and wait the 4-10 weeks. 11 weeks after ordering and still nothing. I emailed the manager and have had no response after waiting a few weeks. I just went into the store the other day, only managers can issue returns, but they only work from like 3-5. The woman working took all my information and told me that the manager would call me the next day (after apologizing profusely) since I work and can’t make it in when the manager is in. No phone call. I have had it. This place has essentially stolen over $100 from me and I plan on reporting them to the Better Business Bureau. This is absolutely ridiculous.” (Tulip) (see follow-up report number 1 below)

“This place is an absolute effing JOKE. I placed an online order back in May. MAY!!! I’ve called numerous times and sent several emails to find out the status of my so called “processing” order. Their phone is disconnected and no one has responded to my emails. Absolutely AMAZING business etiquette. NOT!!” (Tulip) (see follow-up report number 2 listed below)

“I recently ordered an item and waited a week, finally I emailed inquiring about the item and why I have not received it and requested a refund.. received an email two days later stating that it was out of stock and were waiting to receive it to send to me.. and that a refund can take up to 30 days.. I emailed asking if I’m going to receive a confirmation about the refund being processed … haven’t received a response back. If I do not receive my refund within the time specified will be reporting to better business bureau.” (Tulip)

and a follow up to that review was: I received a call that they processed the refund two weeks ago and the funds have not made it to my account.. I have called and emailed the phone number is now temporarily disconnected!!!! So upset at this point. Going to file a claim at this point.” (Tulip)

“Still unable to get in contact, I have emailed and Facebook messaged as phone is dissconected they have read my Facebook message but have failed to reply my order of $180 worth of stuff has still not arrived it has been 8 weeks!! Give me an explanation and deliver the product I have paid for or give my money back!” (Tulip)

“Placed an order towards the beginning of July, understood it would take a bit of time since these are oftentimes handmade items, but it is now nearing the end of September and my order is still marked “processing.” I contacted them September 18th requesting the status of my order, and told them if it still wasn’t ready, I wanted a full refund because at this point I was out $80 for nothing. Still no response, emailed them again tonight (09/20/2017) and threatened to file a complaint this time if no one tells me what the heck is going on. At this point I don’t even want my items, I just want all of my money back, but I read someone else’s review and it seems they never got a refund… Fingers crossed. ” (Vamp)

” I placed an order on August 7th and my credit card was charged for the purchase. I have emailed several times to check on my order that I still have not received as of September 14th and have not had any response from this company. I am concerned that this company has taken my money and I will not receive product or refund. ” (Vamp)

But as early as last summer a fellow sex toy review blogger visited their main location and had nothing but good things to say.

Behind the Scenes of Tulip Toy Gallery and Vamp Silicone

Because of my tweets last year asking about the companies an anonymous source reached out to me recently to shed a little light on the mystery of Vamp Silicone and Tulip Toy Gallery2. Back in October 2017 an official sign was placed on the door to let people know that Tulip Toy Gallery (the main location and, by that time, the only location still open) was legally shut down and not allowed to sell anything. That was the last time any employee went to work.

The customer complaints paint some of the picture, but then it gets worse. I was told they kept their doors open – both brick and online – with a severe lack of stock at Tulip and a lack of silicone at Vamp. The source says that they “ran out of silicone” for production of Vamp dildos back in May of 2017, but had unfulfilled orders reportedly going back as far as 2016. When customers would reach out for their refund they would be told that it had to be approved by the owner who I’m told never (or rarely) approved the refunds.

With regards to Tulip Toy Gallery unfulfilled orders, I was told that employees were reportedly instructed to lie to customers and say that there was a delay with the distributor and their order would be in soon. Soon never came. After the employees were told to lie to customers, I was told that Camila would eventually reach out to the customer (most times) and tell them the refund was in process but could take up to 30 days to go through – but reportedly most people never received a refund. 

I was also told that towards the end of being in business, Tulip Toy Gallery barely had any actual stock to sell in their store and there were reportedly as many as 75 customer orders as of October 2017 that needed a refund from Tulip Toy Gallery or Vamp Silicone.

All of this information has been verified and deemed accurate by a second anonymous source.

I’ve looked up business licenses and cannot find any that match the address of Tulip/Vamp, the name, or other reportedly connected names such as Three Red Peaches. If a business license is suspended or revoked for something like unpaid taxes it could be reinstated when the taxes are paid. I am unsure how a website could be owned and operated without a business license, as I do not understand law to that degree.

Reaching Out to Upset Customers

I was able to reach a few of the people who’ve left reviews; I wanted to see if they received a refund or the items they ordered.

The first person responded: “No. And the bank couldn’t give me back my money because by the time I knew there was an issue, it was beyond the limit of time they allow to contest a change.” This person had gone back to the store repeatedly, and ended up waiting a total of 4 months because of the delays the employee kept giving them – first the 4-10 days by mail delay, then the 4-10 weeks they claimed to have originally told them to wait. I asked if they reported it to the BBB, and they said “I did. The BBB didn’t/couldn’t do anything. They eventually closed the case.”

One person said that they did not receive a refund or product; they “even contacted Vamp and told them what had happened.. suggested to them that the same thing has happened to others as evident in the comments. Never received an email for phone call from Vamp either.”

One person did get their money back – it seems that complaining to the Better Business Bureau helped: “One of the workers reached out to me personally on her own private fb page so she fixed it up for me. the company itself kept ignoring my messages on there Facebook page and emails as there phone was disconnected. I only heard back from the lady when I lodged a complaint from some organisation in America and they actually contacted tulips on my behalf. I sent about 10 Facebook messages and 4 emails all up and every message on Facebook I could see that they had seen it and ignored.

Great! I told her I was glad she had gotten a refund, that two people I’d spoken to thus far had not. She continued: “Yes well I only had mine refund by a worker who said she was horrified hearing someone else that worked there telling her about my complaints so she personally got in touch with me and refunded me.” I was also privately wondering how an employee could have issued a refund when anonymous sources confirmed that only Camila could authorize and put through refunds. Because the messages were exchanged via Facebook, I asked her if she had their name and would pass it along. Her response? “Camila Klinger”. When I told her that Camila was not an employee, she is an owner, she said: “That’s weird she said she was one of the workers and she had not been there for that long and was not aware.”

I also was able to reach Autumn, who had sent out a warning last summer via Twitter as linked above and who had, by November, still not received product or refund. She confirmed that no refund has been issued yet. Autumn tried to contact Vamp by email, Instagram, and by calling Tulip Toy Gallery to no response.

Response from the Owner, Camila Klinger

Camila has been responding to my emails over the last week, and this is what I’m allowed to share3:

“Thank you for bringing possible pending refunds to my attention. We were operating with limited resources during a very challenging time and it’s possible some customers were not properly refunded for their orders. As I previously expressed, I’ve been working to regain access to restricted accounts, working to retrieve dispute activity and will work with the companies to release funds if needed. To help remedy the situation and take care of customers I have posted the following notice.

As for the other allegations, I believe there are some misunderstandings. Since my current focus is on past customers, I will keep this brief and to the point:

I have never instructed employees to lie to customers and I have never myself lied to any customers.

If Vamp took orders, it’s because we were equipped to do so or had inventory to offer in the meantime during silicone shortages. Many times we didn’t expect silicone shortages to delay as long as they did. While things weren’t all handled well, we would not have acted recklessly in the way that your sources have characterized.

I believe honestly and in good faith that these are misunderstandings and I would like to work hard to clarify them.

Needless to say, Vamp and Tulip are tiny, independently owned businesses. We operate in a highly competitive market place and in an economic landscape that offers virtually no incentives for small businesses such as ours. Loans and other funding options for adult type businesses add to the challenges. We do the best we can. There were a lot of financial hardships that led to the closing of the company, there were problems that weren’t handled well at the time, all I can say is that we will work hard to, and I hope we will, do better in the future once Vamp is again fully operational.

As for Tulip, I am working on a statement as well. I have a part-time job working nights and so I am doing the best that I can with my limited time and resources. But this will be addressed ASAP, I can guarantee that to you.”

Camila also included in her email to me a list of positive customer feedback quotes. I don’t doubt that over the years there have been many satisfied customers. There are plenty of positive reviews on the web, visible at the locations I’ve linked already.

I do want to note that Camila seemed to take it very seriously when I informed her that there appeared to be outstanding Vamp Silicone orders that are due a refund. At this time I don’t have any information on outstanding nonrefunded Tulip Toy Gallery orders, but will do my best to press more for answers on that. There is more evidence of outstanding Tulip Toy Gallery orders than Vamp Silicone orders but it should be noted the Vamp Silicone Facebook page has been gone for some time, and we cannot know about reviews that may be been on that page.

While my initial email to Camila focused a bit more on Vamp than Tulip, I am still trying to get more answers about Tulip. I have asked many specific questions and not received the specific answers I would like to see. Camila is citing a lack of time and a preference to focus on cleaning up issues with Vamp and Tulip that I have brought up (in regards to orders). I have asked, specifically, about points the anonymous sources made such as the number of outstanding orders, the fact that Vamp ran out of silicone in May, the issues with refunds and the reportedly purposeful delays of refunds.

My interpretation of the most recent email leads me to believe that Camila may attempt to revive Vamp Silicone in the future.

~   ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

My aim for writing this post is to ensure that customers are well-informed. I hope that this post finds anybody who has still not received a refund; if that is you, then please contact me or respond in comment to this post. I would hope that Camila will ensure you get your overdue refund, and I will pass on all information of overdue refunds. 

During my investigation and contact with Camila she began working on ways to refund the outstanding Vamp Silicone orders I discussed. There is currently a page up at Vamp telling customers how to get their overdue refunds. Email all of your order info to vamprefunds@gmail.com. When writing, please include your order information and any other relevant details.

It should be noted that if you are a customer having problems with an order, do not let it go longer than 28 days4 before you contact your bank to reverse the charges.

I hope that anyone who has shopped at mytulip.com or vampsilicone.com will find this post if they are overdue on a refund. I would also hope that anyone deciding on whether or not to shop with them finds this post, to better make their own informed decision about shopping there. I don’t know the future of these two businesses, but mytulip.com is currently operating and taking orders.

I have withheld my personal opinions and speculations from this post for legal reasons, but have left the comments open for others to express their own opinions, share experiences and ask questions. I hope that any questions others may post here will also be answered by Camila.

I will update this post if I get new information.

  1. I have screencapped receipts for all of these in case these reviews ever get removed
  2. It should be noted that, at first, this source was only telling me information to answer my questions, not with any intent on me passing the information on. At first, everything said to me was off the record, but we talked about it and they changed their mind
  3. note that there have been prior conversations that I have not been given permission to share
  4. all banks/credit card companies vary so double check how long you have to contest charges
 Posted by at 10:05 am
Jan 142018
 

My last post was written more for creators and businesses about Facebook Pages, but this post is for you, dear reader. Just like entertainers would be nothing without their fans, bloggers (like any other type of writer) would be nothing without their readers. You literally make or break us. It’s our job as bloggers to be interesting to you, to provide you with hot/funny/smart/helpful blog posts, but it’s hard sometimes. We do our level best to write great content and promote ourselves but then one by one the places we connect best with you, the places we were told we could be, are silencing us and throttling our reach. Every post that someone writes from the depth of their soul, whispering a thing they think they’re alone in feeling/doing/wanting, someone else out there feels a little bit better knowing that they are not alone. 

The Social Media Problem

Facebook is throttling pages. Twitter has been shadow-banning. Tumblr hides adult content from the searches. Instagram, and Facebook, can decide on a whim if you’ve shared a photo they deem too revealing and suspend or delete your account. They all automatically try to tell us that we, too, can reach more people if we just give them money yet every single time they say “NOPE. You write about sex. Some of our audience finds SEX offensive. We don’t promote you in exchange for money. Good day, Sir. You lose! I SAID GOOD DAY!”

Every one of these social media platforms uses algorthyms to better determine what they think you want to see. I mean, you’ve followed us, so you know you want to see our content but these networks want proof. In triplicate. Repeatedly. 

So what can you do? Like. Retweet. React. Comment. Reblog. Share. These actions all tell that social media network that you love us, you really love us and you want to continue to see our content.

Currently, you can find me on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, and Facebook (but please click “Follow” rather than “Friend” if we don’t actually know each other). Follower counts mean a lot, more than I wish they did, so that would be awesome if you follow.

Instagram

An update to this post about Instagram: If you follow us on IG and feel up for it, comment (4 words or more) on our pictures. React as soon as you see something. Because Facebook owns Instagram, they are similarly deciding to throttle IG. Shit gets really complicated and it seems like there’s a lot of hoops to jump through.

The Money Problem – Advertisers and Sponsored Posts

Often you may see ad banners in your favorite bloggers’ sidebars or notice a sponsored post. If they’re good, and many are really good, that sponsored post is nothing more than a post they were going to publish anyways but someone with a business relevant to the subject matter said “hey, I’ll pay you to put a link to my porn site into that post about porn” and that’s it. The best sponsored posts aren’t written by anyone else but the blogger and don’t read like a giant advertisement, but they’re making money on what is truly a job – yes, blogging (writing) is a job.

So you notice the ads and you see the sponsored links, but maybe they don’t appeal to you. Maybe it’s for a sex toy shop that you know your favorite blogger wouldn’t really want you to shop at, because they care about supporting feminist sex toy shops that give accurate product descriptions, educate their buyers, behave well on social media, and more. But it would still be rad if you just click on the link or banner because then those advertisers feel like they got their money’s worth which means they very well may renew their ad banner or work with the blogger again on another sponsored post. Some bloggers list their advertisers as “sponsors” because companies get salty about such blatant words that convey that money changed hands and we’re not organically recommending them. If you’re ever unsure about which banners are for companies the blogger recommends and which banners are there because they paid to be there, ask the blogger for clarification. 

Another easy thing to do? Comment on our posts. Any of them – but preferably make your comment relevant and if it’s a big detailed “help me find a sex toy” thing, send an email instead. Comments on the posts are the easiest way for advertisers to know we have an engaged reader base, that people are actually coming through from social media to read our stuff. This makes them more likely to meet our rates or pay us at all. Not sure what to say? Literally the simplest things can be enough; from “Oh, cool, I didn’t know that!” to agreeing with a reviewer’s opinion on an aspect of the sex toy they loved/hated, or “This was a great post, thanks for writing it”, and even just “Sharing this!”. Your favorite bloggers may, or may not, respond to every comment so don’t go in expecting that but do know we see you, we appreciate you, we thank you.

I currently use Disqus for commenting, and hold everything for moderation because hey, it’s the internet and that means spam. You can have a Disqus account, or not, on my site. How? Click in that field that says “Sign up For Disqus” and instead, go check the box below it that says “I’d rather post as a guest”. Please still use your email address, a valid one, if you ever want a response – your email address won’t be visible to others!

The Money Problem – Affiliate Earnings Explained

Many bloggers, especially review bloggers, have affiliate links. Most bloggers are ethical and are not recommending any old thing just to get you to spend money. Most bloggers who review sex toys give you their opinion, be it good or bad. Most of us don’t want you to buy that crappy sex toy we just couldn’t like, so our review will be negative but we’ll probably tell you which other sex toy you’d like instead. My point is: affiliate links are not the devil, they’re not proof we’ve “sold out” or can’t be trusted.

We can’t exchange our vibrators for cash and our landlords and electric companies and web hosting companies won’t take a dildo as payment. We’ve tried, no dice. I got some Looks at the grocery store when I tried to feed my out-dated vibrators into the Coinstar machine. After the 9th sex toy you’ve reviewed that just doesn’t work for you and will never be used again you, as a reviewer, start to realize that the “free sex toy” isn’t compensation enough for the hours you’ve spent writing the review and testing the toy.

Here’s the thing about how affiliate links work: It doesn’t cost you anything. There’s no upcharge at the retailer for buying your stuff through our links. The retailers don’t charge more overall to make up for it1. But you do have to buy something; just clicking the link doesn’t do anything for us. If you tend to visit a lot of review bloggers looking for the review that tells you what you need to know and you’ve been clicking on a bunch of affiliate links, the best way to make sure the blogger of your choosing gets credit for the sale is to clear your cookies for that retailer’s site and then click the blogger’s link. It doesn’t matter if you click their link to the Magic Wand and end up buying the Doxy, it’ll still give them credit for the sale.

Buy through the stores I support to support me: SheVibe, Early to Bed, and Smitten Kitten are US-based but will ship elsewhere. Come As You Are is in Canada. I’m also affiliated with GoodVibes, and, if you’re shopping at Amazon I am also an affiliate there. Naturally I would rather you not buy sex toys from Amazon but I get a bit of a commission on anything you buy. I do still have an affiliate account with Lovehoney US, even though I’m no longer supporting them.

If you can’t purchase anything, you can still comment on our reviews, and share them far and wide! This helps the shops know that our reviews are seen and anybody new who sees our review might end up buying from our links.

Support Us With Money

What if you come to me for sex toy buying advice but, due to your location, can’t buy from a website I’m affiliated with? Easy – send me a little something via Paypal, if you can. If you can’t, that’s okay too, just find the other ways here to support us. When we spend multiple back-and-forth emails with you we’re helping you because it matters to us that you find a great sex toy, but it’s also a lot of labor. It’s not mandatory but it’s definitely appreciated2. Other bloggers might use something other than Paypal and you’ll probably find a button for that in their side bar. Don’t see anything? Ask. They will happily tell you.

Have I helped you, but you couldn’t use my affiliates? Drop me a few bucks at Paypal.

If the blogger you follow has a Patreon account, support them there. If they have a wishlist someplace, buy something from it for them.

Other Ways to Let Us Know You’re Out There, For Free

At the end of the day, unless a blogger never wants to have advertisers, never cares about having many readers, never wants to make any money for their time and efforts at all, it’s important for us to have tangible proof that you like us. Ranking lists use our follower counts across all platforms to determine our popularity and therefore value. Advertisers look at our traffic and our subscribers and followers to know that they’ll be getting something for their money.

But you know what? We also just want to know that our words matter to someone. That we’re doing an okay job. I’ve seen too many bloggers who were decent and on the path to being great just quit because they simply didn’t think anybody was reading their stuff. It’s hard sometimes to put forth the immense effort (and some money) to write when it feels like you’re basically an astronaut floating in space, nobody listening to your mic, no one there to see or be seen.

**You can help by sharing the posts that you liked; many bloggers have a sharing plugin installed like mine that shows up beneath each post and lets you quickly and easily share this post in a multitude of ways.

**You can help by signing up for our newsletters, even if you already follow us on social media. It’s another measuring stick but it’s also a great way to ensure you really do see our posts. Those of us who have newsletters also often put content in them that isn’t on the website, or give you perks when it comes time for giveaways. You can also subscribe to our RSS feeds.

**Some bloggers are only on Twitter, some are on multiple social media platforms. Try sharing their stuff on a platform they don’t use! Many of us can’t stomach the harsh environment of Reddit, but it can be a really big boost to our traffic and earnings to find that someone linked to our review or our educational post, etc. I used to spend a lot of time there, helping people with their sex toy questions, but the toxic environment got the best of me. If you see someone recommending a shitty brand or a shitty material, educate them with my posts! Share responsibly, though. You never need permission to share a link but you do need permission to quote large tracks of posts or share our photos.

**Some bloggers are also educators – they’re doing workshops at stores or online, and signal-boosting their marketing for those workshops is important and helps. Their audience turn-out will determine if they get hired again, and sometimes the stores themselves don’t do a great job at promoting all workshops.

 

Many years ago we sex bloggers started getting the shit end of the stick from the free blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress. Blogs would be deleted with no warning, no way to back up. Bloggers have realized that they need to rely only on their hosting company and own their domain, but that costs money. Nearly everybody in the sexuality spectrum online is working for peanuts – educators, bloggers, podcasters, Youtubers. The way YouTube is censoring sexuality and LGBTQIA ‘Tubers from making any ad money means these folks are working for tips (aka affiliate earnings or literal tips), often times. And I know from experience that making a video is harder than writing a blog post. We are educating you, we are supporting you, we are letting you know you’re not alone but we need your help. So make note of those bloggers you enjoy the most and do whatever you’re capable of to signal-boost or line their pockets. Every single little bit matters.

Thank you for reading, and for wanting to take care of your bloggers.

Thanks especially to those folks who’ve already purchased through my links; 2017 was a fucking hard year for me and my partner, and he missed a lot of work. A lot a lot. If we didn’t have a ridiculously understanding boss and this blog, he would be unemployed and we would have lost our house. For as hard as the year was, I still have a lot to be grateful for.

  1. How do I know? I don’t know everything about every company, sure, but I’ve worked with enough retailers in my time to see that some charge more than others while either not having any affiliate program or having one but offering a very low percentage of the sale. I’ve come across companies who don’t yet make enough consistent sales to afford giving a percentage of their profit to affiliates, but I’ve never found a company willing to charge more than other retailers simply to afford paying affiliates
  2. but please don’t let this stop you from asking us for help – we know our limits and when we have the time and ability to help
 Posted by at 5:17 pm