Product review: Hero by Tantus

I’ve never been a fan of realistic-looking toys.  I tend to avoid dildos and vibrators that look like actual penises.  I find it really difficult to get excited about a toy that looks like it’s been chopped off a body.  So when I unboxed the Hero which was lovingly sent my way by Tantus, I was surprised that I didn’t immediately recoil at the sight of it.  Further to that, after trying the Hero, I can definitely see the merits of a toy with realistic features.

I think the thing that sets the Hero apart from a lot of realistic toys is the colour.  The Hero doesn’t come in flesh tones, but rather in shades of Peacock Blue and Periwinkle.  These bright and unconventional hues instantly make the toy look less like a disembodied appendage and more like a fun object for sexy play.  I was lucky enough to be sent the Periwinkle incarnation of the Hero, and I instantly fell in love with the colour.

As insertables go, I’d say that the Hero ranks at the midpoint in terms of size.  The insertable length is only 5.5 inches, which is plenty to satisfy but still not the largest of the toys I’ve tried.  The diameter of the toy is 2 inches, which is enough to give a nice full feeling, but not so massive that I need to warm up with another toy before I use it.  The shorter length of the Hero makes it great for harness play, because it’s easier to control than a longer dildo.  I find that longer dildos can be more challenging to use in a harness because they can be unwieldy when thrusting and there’s always the danger of being too aggressive and hitting your partner in the cervix (which is no fun for anyone).  The stout shape makes the Hero a great option for strap-on sex.

The other thing that makes the Hero one of my favourite strap-on dildos is those bulging balls hanging from the base of the toy.  I’ve never really understood the appeal of testicles on dildos, other than for aesthetic reasons.  When I strapped the Hero into my harness for the first time, my eyes were opened.  If you’re the partner who is wearing the harness, often you miss out stimulation during play.  But when I’m wearing the Hero, those balls line up beautifully with my pubic mound, which provides pressure and stimulation while I’m thrusting.  If you have a clitoris and you enjoy strap-on sex, I definitely recommend giving the Hero a go.

If you’re using the Hero for solo play, those balls also really come in handy.  They provide an excellent base so that you can stand the toy upright on a chair, bed or in the bathtub and ride it. Even though this particular toy isn’t suction cup compatible (as a lot of Tantus toys are) it’s still stable enough to use on a flat surface without it tipping over.  If you prefer toys that you can mount, the Hero is a great choice.

When I saw the super-straight shaft on the Hero, I was doubtful whether this would be adequate for g-spot play.  I prefer curved toys that really target my g-spot as opposed to straight shafts that tend to miss it.  However, I was totally wrong about the Hero.  Even though it doesn’t hit my g-spot directly, that pronounced coronal ridge strums against it during thrusting, which was something I hadn’t experienced before and really enjoyed.  This indirect rubbing on my g-spot was enough for me to orgasm without even touching my clitoris, something that is almost unheard of for me.  The downside of the pronounced head is that it made the toy a little difficult for me to insert, because it kept catching on my pubic bone.  But with plenty of lube and a little patience, I was able to avoid this problem.

The Hero is made of matte silicone with a fairly firm texture.  The firmness of the toy was the factor that made this toy such a joy for my g-spot, and also makes it easy to control in a harness.  However, there is also a Super Soft version of the Hero if you’d prefer something a bit more forgiving.  I have a Destiny Super Soft from Tantus, which provides less intense internal stimulation but is still great to give you something to clench around during play.  The matte silicone has a slightly sticky texture to it and tends to collect dust and hair readily.  I’m not a fan of that sticky feel, but it does go away when the toy is wet or lubed up.  The high-quality silicone is body safe, easy to clean and can be sterilised in boiling water or in the top shelf of your dishwasher.

After playing with the Hero, I’ve done a 90 degree turn on my opinion of realistic toys.  I’m still not ready to go for something that looks lifelike, but I see how certain features which are inspired by real genitals can provide extra stimulation for out-of-this-world play.  The Hero is a perfect hybrid between fantasy and reality and hits all the right notes.

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Product review: Stainless steel princess plug

I started my butt-play adventures with a slim dildo and a small silicone plug.  After countless joyful sessions with each, I felt ready to move onto something more daring.  When I spotted this stainless steel butt plug at Kinkfest I knew it was just the toy I was looking for.  My decision was sealed when I caught the glitter of a giant purple jewel beaming on the base of the plug.  This royal toy was fit for a princess!  I gleefully took my new plug home to play.

I’d been keen to try a stainless steel toy ever since I’d read Erika’s review of the Njoy Pure Plug on Oh Joy Sex Toy.  The idea of wearing something metal inside your butt was more than a little intimidating to me, but it also tickled my curiosity until I knew that I just had to give it a go. And so, armed with a vibrator, my plug and plenty of lube, I embarked on my royal buttplug adventure.

The most noticeable feature of this plug is it’s temperature.  When you pick it up in your hand, that bad boy is freezing.  Inserting an icy-cold plug is a unique experience, and one that I didn’t find at all unpleasant. It’s a totally new sensation that wakes up all of those super sensitive nerve endings in your anus and makes them very receptive to touch.  After a short while, the steel warms up to your body heat, which feels amazing once it’s inside.  Unlike silicone plugs, steel plugs conduct temperature beautifully which makes them ideal for temperature and sensation play.

In addition to being cold, stainless steel is also wonderfully slick and smooth.  The surface of this toy has absolutely no seams or marks which means it’s easy to insert and comfortable to wear. There are no rough edges to irritate your backside and it offers very little resistance or drag.  It doesn’t dry out your lube like silicone toys tend to, which means you can play comfortably for longer.

I’m a huge fan of the shape of this plug.  It has a traditional teardrop shape, with a pointed tip flaring out to a rounded body, getting gradually wider.  Then at the widest point, it nips in again to a very narrow stem and flared base.  This shape has a number of benefits.  Firstly, that pointed tip is ideal for warming up the anus, ready for play.  It’s a nice small surface that you can press gently against the opening while you wait for it to relax.   The gradual widening of the body allows you to gently ease the toy into your backdoor, without feeling forced or tight.  I am especially impressed with the narrow stem.  I find plugs that allow your anus to accept the toy and then close behind the widest part to be the most comfortable for long term wear.  If the stem of the plug is too thick, it can result in a stretching sensation that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

The princess plugs are definitely heftier than a silicone butt plug.  Stainless steel is rigid and heavy and that weight is obvious when you are wearing the plug.  When standing or walking, it puts gentle pressure on the opening of the anus, the location of many sensitive nerve endings.  This weight and pressure feels amazingly pleasurable without being too intense.  The rigid material gives you a really full feeling, even though the plug itself isn’t very large.  In this way, stainless steel offers a uniquely sensual experience that I’ve never had with any of my silicone plugs.

This toy has a number of uses.  Firstly, it’s a good warm-up for more intense anal play.  Secondly, it’s fun to wear for more extended periods to increase arousal and draw your attention to your butt.  Like wearing a pair of ben wah balls, walking around with a plug in has a feeling of delicious taboo, like  you have a secret that nobody else knows about.  Finally, I love wearing this plug during penetrative play.  The rigid material and sloped shape help to narrow your vaginal canal, so penetration feels tighter and more intense.  The angle of the toy also directs your partner’s penis or dildo towards your g-spot.  If you struggle to stimulate your g-spot during penetrative sex, then wearing a butt plug during sex could be a fun solution.

I also adore the base of this plug.  When inserted, that little gem looks adorable sparkling between my butt cheeks.  It’s like arse jewellery!  The base is wide enough to stop the toy venturing further than it should, but small enough to nestle between the folds of your backside so that it’s not obtrusive and uncomfortable.

Stainless steel is an amazing material for butt toys because it’s non porous and easy to clean.  It won’t harbour any smells and there is no place for bacteria to get trapped and fester.  You can easily clean it in the sink with warm water and gentle soap.

I purchased my princess plug from Black Peaches, an Australian vendor who is sadly no longer operating. However there are a number of similar plugs on the market.  DDlg world has a range of stainless steel plugs, including ones with heart-shaped jewels, ones with tails attached and adorable rosebud adornments.  You can use the code NESSBOW to get 10% off your order at DDlg world, which makes these plugs super affordable.  If you”re interested in something at the higher end of the scale, Lucent makes a very beautiful jewel accented plug with chrome plating.

Product review: OVO L1 Loveballs

I’d been on the hunt for a set of kegel balls when I spotted the OVO Loveballs.  I’d previously tried a set of basic Doc Johnson Ben Wah Balls which I wasn’t taken with.  Then I got a set of duoballs as part of a “free gift with purchase”.  I liked them a lot but they were average quality and I resolved to upgrade to something a bit sturdier.  That’s when I found the OVO Loveballs at the Passionate Jade stall at Kinkfest.   They were only $30, which seemed like the perfect price for an experiment.  So I  snapped up a set and took them home to play with.

Firstly, let’s quickly talk about the difference between ben wah balls and duoballs.  Both are inserted into the vagina with the purpose of strengthing the kegels to provide stronger orgasms, a tighter vaginal canal and even assist with incontinence.  Ben wah balls are a pair of solid balls that are inserted and held in place by the vaginal walls.  Duoballs on the other hand feature a free moving ball encased in an outer shell.   They usually come in pairs and are inserted into the vaginal canal.  While the wearer has to focus on contracting the kegel muscles to keep a set of ben wah balls in place, wearing a set of duoballs is a more passive experience.  The inner balls move slightly during normal activity and this movement is felt by the kegel muscles.  The muscles will contract involuntarily in response to this movement.  So when you wear a set of duoballs, you don’t have to concentrate on actively working the kegel muscles, the muscles basically do the work for you.

The OVO Loveballs come packaged in a dainty little box.  The box contains two sets of duoballs- a lightweight coloured set and a heavier silver set.   The balls come in three different colours: light blue, violet and lilac.  I got the lilac set.  The kit also contains a silicone casing which holds two balls at a time.  There is also a warranty card (the OVO products all come with a 15 year warranty) and an instruction manual (which seems excessively thick for a booklet that could just read “stick these up your vagina, go about your business, remove, wash, repeat”).

The OVO Loveballs won an honourable mention in the 2013 Red Dot Design awards.  The clever design makes these duoballs really versatile and suitable for a range of bodies.  To begin with, the outer casing is a soft, pliable silicone which is non-porous and body safe.  The balls themselves are made of ABS plastic, which is body safe but can be porous.  Which means that they are safe to use, but not safe to share.

The intended way to use the duoballs is to select the two that you wish to use, slip them into the silicone casing and then insert them into your vagina.  The casing is really soft and it’s easy to slip the balls in and out as needed.  The casing also has a nifty retrieval cord which makes it extremely easy to remove the toy from your body.  However, I noticed that using the Loveballs in this way doesn’t work for my body all the time.  The reason for this is that I have a fairly low cervix, which means that my vaginal canal is relatively shallow.  Like most women, the depth of my vagina changes throughout the month, as the cervix moves up and down during my monthly cycle.  So early in my cycle, wearing the balls in the casing was perfectly comfortable.  Later in my cycle, I found that my vagina was too shallow to insert the balls far enough to be comfortable when they were in the casing.

The OVO Loveballs cleverly get around this issue though, because you can just as easily insert the balls without the casing.  So on days when my cervix is riding a little lower, I can just use one ball instead of two and it’s much more comfortable.  You could also take this approach if you’re finding that two balls is too heavy to begin with, starting with just one of the lighter balls and then working your way up.

Being able to remove the balls from the case also means that you can mix and match weights, starting with the two light balls, then one of each, then the two heavy balls.  I personally love this feature because it recognises that no two vaginas are the same, and every vagina changes a bit depending on a range of hormonal and physical factors.  I am impressed with this toy’s ability to accommodate a range of physical differences and allows you to customise how you use them.

There are two slight downsides to using the balls without the casing.  The first is that you won’t have that handy retrieval cord.  That’s not a big deal, because it’s pretty easy to reach the balls if you squat and/ or bear down a little with your pelvic floor.  But if you don’t like fumbling around in your vagina then this might not be for you.  Secondly, each of the balls has a seam where the two halves have been joined together.  You can easily position the casing so that it covers this seam, but without the case the seam is exposed.  The balls are fairly smooth, but you might find that this seam causes discomfort or irritation after a long period of use.  It also makes the balls tricky to clean, because bodily secretions tend to gather in the seam.

I’ve worn my OVO Loveballs a lot and they’re really comfortable.  I started out wearing these around the house, and quickly felt adventurous enough to leave the house with them.  They stay in place perfectly.  I’ve worn them to the supermarket, on the train, out to dinner and to the movies with no dramas.  You can feel the inner balls moving around as you shift your weight but it’s not a strong sensation.

One thing I will note is that the Loveballs are advertised as being “inaudible” and I don’t think they are.  I have noticed that if I make a sharp movement I can hear them rattling even when they’re inside my body.  While they are discreet, they do make a very quiet noise in response to sudden and dramatic motion.  But I mean, I doubt anyone will notice and if they do, it’s unlikely they’d guess that the noise they’re hearing is something rattling inside your vagina.

The Ovo Loveballs probably won’t rock your socks or feel stimulating to wear.  However, they can be excellent for foreplay as they really draw your attention to your genitals, and can make you feel like you’re doing something cheeky and taboo.  They’re also excellent for BDsM play as a Top might order a submissive to wear them in preparation for a meeting, or in public as punishment for a transgression.  Although they don’t produce an orgasm on their own, they can be a great tool for putting you in a sexy mindset or to introduce during power exchange scenes.

For just $30 I think the OVO Loveballs are an excellent addition to your toybox.  They’re admirable quality for the price and they’re so versatile.  They will work for a huge range of bodies and you can easily customise them to suit your needs.  They’re beautifully designed and can open up a range of play options.  If you’re interested in improving your kegel strength or just want something fun to try, I definitely recommend giving these a go.

Product review: Lush by Lovesense

A few months ago I was doing an epic eye-roll at a camgirl show.  The model I was watching was wearing a Lovesense Lush and having a massive orgasm.  I was intensely sceptical. “C’mon, there’s no freakin’ way that a tiny insertable vibrator is making her cum that hard….or at all”.  In the past the only insertable egg vibes I’d encountered were buzzy, weak and lacklustre, so you can imagine why I was doubtful that this toy was capable of producing such a leg-shaking reaction.

Fast forward to last month when Aphrodite’s Pleasure sent me a Lush of my very own to review.  I had extremely low expectations for this toy and truly believed that this review was going to be a slam-dunk.  I made a list of tests to put the Lush through it’s paces and set to work trying it out….

And time and again, this toy proved me wrong.  I went into this review fully expecting to hate this toy, but the Lovesense Lush wooed me, seduced me and turned those expectations on their head.  If you’re also a sceptic, get ready to be converted.

To start with, let’s take a look at the basics.  The Lush by Lovesense is a wearable vibrator with remote control via a smartphone app.  It’s made with 100% body safe silicone and feels buttery soft to the touch.  The Lush only comes in one colour: hot pink.  This is fine for me because I adore anything pink but some folks might not be jazzed that there are no other colour options.  The Lush is rechargeable and a full charge will give you between 1.5 and 2 hours of use.  This is a pretty decent amount of playtime for such a tiny toy.

To use the Lush, you insert it into your vagina, with the tail outside your body.  The entire toy vibrates, including the little tail.  The vibration quality is top-notch.  I was utterly surprised that such a small package could deliver such deep, rumbling vibrations.  The Lush is cleverly shaped to target your g-spot when inserted.  The bulge at the top of the vibrator nestles against the front wall of your vagina to deliver strong sensation to your g-spot.  As if that wasn’t awesome enough, the tail sits between your legs and rumbles against your clit, although with less intensity than the insertable portion of the toy.  This dual sensation was a pleasant surprise, as I wasn’t expecting any external stimulation from this toy.  I can very rarely orgasm without clitoral stimulation, so the addition of the vibrating tail was a very welcome feature for me.  When inserted, the Lush is really comfortable and stays in place perfectly.

You can use the Lush manually or by remote control by pairing it with the app.  To use it manually, you press and hold the button to turn it on, and then click the button to turn up the vibration and cycle through the vibration patterns.  This is kind of awkward if the toy is inside you, as you have to fumble around in your vagina if you want to adjust the intensity.  Although manual use is a possibility, it’s pretty clear from the design that the Lush is intended to be used as a remote control toy.

The Lovesense app is free to download and is compatible with Android and Apple products (you can even use your Apple watch to control it).  It’s super simple to use with really intuitive controls and a bright interface.  I was really impressed with the app and all the different features it offers.  Firstly, you can use the app as a basic remote control for your toy.  You can increase or decrease the intensity with the slide of a finger and create your own patterns.  I put the Lush through a bunch of different tests to check the range of the remote control.  It continued to work perfectly through several layers of clothing, under the covers of my bed and from several feet away.  I had expected that it might struggle to remain connected if I put on clothes or climbed under the covers but the Lush didn’t skip a beat.

Speaking of beats, the app also has a really cool music setting.  You can choose a song from your phone or your Spotify account and the toy will buzz to the music.  I took this feature for it’s maiden voyage to one of my favourite songs- Thriller by Michael Jackson and was excited yet puzzled by the result.  The feature was a lot of fun, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what the vibrations are synched to.  It doesn’t follow the beat, or the tempo, or the melody of the song that’s playing.  The pattern of vibration seems somewhat random, and yet it still feels like it’s working with the music somehow.  I experimented with many different songs and found the results interesting and fun (for the record, my favourite song to pair it with is Jungle Love by Morris Day and The Time).  I like using the music setting for foreplay, because it gives you a fun, random-ish pattern of vibration that is unpredictable.  However, I can’t get off using this setting because I need continuous and predictable vibrations or orgasm.  But it’s really fun to play with to tease yourself.

While the Lush is a lot of fun to play with on your own, it really shines as a couples vibrator.  The app has a long-distance setting that is nothing short of fantastic.  Basically, your partner downloads the app, and you give them permission to control your toy remotely.  Your long-distance lover can then control the vibrations of your toy from anywhere in the world.  There’s even a chat function, so that you can talk dirty and send sexy pictures while you play.  I live three hours from my partner, and we had so much fun with this function.  It was amazing to let him take control and actually be able to remotely hold my orgasm in the palm of his hand. The first time we tried it, it was a little strange because of the lack of feedback.  He wasn’t sure if it was working until I texted him to tell him I was enjoying myself.  But pair this toy with skype or facetime, and you’ve got yourself a seriously fun long-distance sex date. I also like the fact that you can block users from controlling your toy, so if your romance turns sour you don’t have to worry about your ex hijacking your vibrator.

One reason that a lot of people are drawn to wearable vibrators is because they open the door to public play. Just imagine that you’re wearing a vibrator and nobody knows except your partner, who is holding the remote control.  And at any moment they could press the button and send you into a quivering mess while you desperately try to contain yourself.  Unfortunately, most wearable vibrators that I’ve encountered shit all over this fantasy.  They’re either so uncomfortable that you can’t stand to wear them for an extended period, or they are super loud so everyone within ten metres can hear your panties buzzing.  Either that or they’re weak and aren’t really good for much more than a lack-lustre fizz.  The Lush is the first toy I’ve used that is actually practical for public play.  Firstly, it’s really comfortable to wear, and sits discreetly under your clothing.  Secondly, even at it’s highest setting, it’s practically silent once you’ve inserted it.  I could not believe how quiet this toy was, and I’ve worn it in public without anybody raising an eyebrow.  Finally, the vibrations are strong enough to feel amazing, so you can actually play with real pleasure rather than tiny pings and buzzes.  The remote has a fairly good range, up to 10m when standing or 3m when sitting, so if you’re at the movies or out  to dinner then you’re well within range for play.  The one slightly awkward thing is that you need to turn the toy on before play.  So if you’re walking around with it on, the batteries are going to be draining and your playtime might be cut short.  But realistically, this is a pretty minor downfall.  For public play, the Lush ticks almost every box.

One other use I’ve found for the Lush is as an external clitoral vibrator.  It’s small enough to target your clit during intercourse or for solo play.  The rumbly vibrations feel incredible on my clit and labia. The fact that it has a travel lock make this the ideal pack-and-go toy.

I am so impressed with the Lush by Lovesense.  It’s an incredibly versatile toy that can be used solo or with a partner, it can be used for BDsM power play scenes, public play, long distance play or steamy masturbation sessions.  Not only does it open the door for creative play, but it does exactly what it’s supposed to. It delivers amazingly strong vibrations and pairs perfectly with the app, without losing connection or interrupting your playtime.  I have to eat humble pie and apologise to the cam model that I accused of faking her orgasm while using this toy….because I now know that it’s entirely possible to have a leg-quaking climax with a remote controlled bullet vibe.  Or at least, it is with the Lovesense Lush.

A guide to choosing sex toys as gifts.

I’ve been asked many times for advice on choosing a sex toy to give as a gift to a partner.  I had planned to write and publish this post in the lead-up to Christmas, but the last few weeks have been swamped with work commitments, family engagements and wild weather that left me without power or internet connection for long stretches.  Even though Christmas is over, I still wanted to address the topic of buying sex toys as presents, because it’s relevant year-round.

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Choosing a sex toy for another person can be fraught with difficulties.  The potential for embarrassment (both theirs and yours) is high.  You can accidentally insult someone if you buy something that is wildly contrary to their interests, or even potentially make them feel pressured to engage in sexual acts that they aren’t truly comfortable with.  It’s a bit of a minefield but I’m here with some top tips and tricks to help you choose a gift that your partner will find exciting and pleasurable.

 

Before you begin shopping, it’s really important to have a think about why you’re buying a sex toy for your partner.  Have they expressed an interest in trying toys?  Have they mentioned wanting to dip their toe into a particular area of sexual exploration, such as BDsM or anal play?  Do you live far apart and want them to be able to enjoy steamy masturbation sessions when you aren’t with them?  Or are you hoping that by buying them a toy you’ll be able to pressure them into letting you watch them use it?  You have to be really honest with yourself here.  If you are hoping to increase your partner’s pleasure or open the door to some fresh exploration, then that’s awesome.  If you’re using the toy to entice your partner into doing something they aren’t comfortable with, then you should back off.

 

Ok, so assuming you’re buying a toy for the right reasons, the next thing to consider is what your partner is into.  Think about the kinds of activities your partner enjoys in the bedroom, and look for toys that will enhance that experience.  For example, if you know that your partner enjoys being restrained during sex, maybe you could get them some gorgeous cuffs and a blindfold.  If your partner prefers clitoral stimulation, try an external vibrator.  Also, it pays to think about any areas of sexuality that your sweetheart has mentioned they are interested in trying.  If they’ve previously mentioned that they find pegging really hot, then a simple harness and small silicone dildo could be fun.  Or if they’re itching to try spanking, a paddle or a crop could be a cheeky addition to their toybox.  Pay attention to your partner’s preferences and desires and choose accordingly.

 

Another thing to consider is whether your partner already owns any toys.  If they have a budding collection, then it’s worth looking for any patterns in the toys they own.  Do they seem to prefer insertable toys?  Vibrators?  Is their bedside drawer filled with butt plugs of various sizes?  If there is a particular thing that they seem to love, try getting them something similar, with a twist. Dildos in luxurious materials like glass are a great start, as are vibrators with unique shapes or functions.

 

Once you’ve got an idea of the kind of thing you’d like to buy for your honey, do some research.  Look at online stores for ideas, read reviews from sex bloggers, watch youtube videos and pay attention to what they have to say.  Take into account any criticisms and decide whether these are deal-breakers for your partner.  Also remember that bodies vary wildly and what feels pleasurable to one person can be irritating or even painful for another.

 

Is your head spinning yet?  I’m not surprised.  Shopping for sex toys can be an overwhelming experience.  There are so many to choose from and so many different factors to consider.  Which brings me to my most important piece of advice.

 

If you aren’t 100% sure what to get for your partner, get them a gift voucher.  Unless you know for a fact that your partner is drooling over a specific model of vibrator, the best thing you can do is give them a voucher for a reputable adult store.  This way, they can either go by themselves or you can make it an adventure for the both of you to go to the store and choose something that suits them perfectly.

 

My first ever vibrator was a gift from a partner.  They took me to an adult store for Valentines Day, gave me a budget and asked me to take my time choosing the toy that I most wanted.  I’d been interested in getting a vibrator for some time, but I had absolutely no idea what type of toys were available or even what would work best for my body.  So actually going to a real-life store was the best thing to do.  Not only was I able to touch the toys, press buttons and feel vibration quality and materials, but I got some amazing expert advice from the shop assistant.  She knew her toys so well and helped me to choose a vibrator that I absolutely loved.  I left the store with something that brought me years of joy, my partner was chuffed that he’d given me the gift of pleasure and I didn’t feel pressured or uncomfortable.  To this day, I still believe this is the best approach to giving a sex toy as a gift.

 

Giving a voucher or a toy-shopping expedition as a gift overcomes a lot of the pitfalls of shopping for a partner.  It takes away all the guesswork or trying to imagine what they might like.  It makes your partner feel empowered to choose something that they would find pleasurable, rather than being pressured into using the specific item you picked out.  Going shopping as a couple can be a really fun bonding experience and you won’t waste money on something that your partner won’t use.  Unless you’re really certain that your partner wants a specific toy, I think that going shopping together or giving them a voucher to spend at their leisure is the best way to gift a sex toy to your partner.

My pet peeves with sex toy companies

When it comes to designing and marketing toys, there are certain things that companies do that cause me to roll my eyes and seethe with frustration.  Whether it’s creating toys that aren’t fit for their purpose or perpetuating sexual shame, sometimes sex toy manufacturers really frustrate me.  Here are five things that I wish sex toy companies would stop doing.

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  1. Using the word “Massager” instead of “vibrator”

I’m always puzzled when I see the word “massager” pop up on the packaging of an item that is very clearly a vibrator.  I get that there are a lot of appliances that were intended to be used to relieve sore muscles, which have subsequently become cult-favourite sex toys (Hitatchi Magic Wand, are your ears burning?).  But often dildos and vibrators are sold under the guise of “massagers” that purport to “ease tension” and “reach those tight spots”.  All of this pussy-footing around just seems so silly to me.  That item that looks like a pearly pink phallus that rumbles and buzzes?  I’m gonna use it on my genitals.  It’s a vibrator.  The jig is up and you aren’t fooling anybody.

 

2. Non body-safe materials

There are materials that you aren’t allowed to use in the manufacture of children’s toys that are regularly used to make toys intended to come into contact with the most intimate parts of your body.  Some of these materials are not safe because they are porous and can harbour bacteria that can cause infection.  Some are actually toxic and can cause anything from minor irritation to chemical burns. And yet companies continue to make sex toys from non-body-safe materials because it’s cheap and they look good.  The worst part is that a lot of the “beginner” ranges of toys are made from these materials.  Those cute jelly dildos and small sized butt plugs look colourful and are easy on the wallet, but they can be seriously bad for you.  I wish that more sex toy companies would work harder to make their toys safe to use.

 

3. Anal toys without flared bases

I have lost count of the number of toys I’ve seen that are marketed as being “anal safe” that are actually anything but.  You should never put anything in your backside that doesn’t have a flared base to stop it getting sucked up into your ass.   Even though this is a very well-known rule, companies continue to make toys that are intended for butt play that have no means of retrieving them.  It’s very simple, if you want to sell butt-toys, make ones that aren’t going to disappear inside your consumers.

 

4 Including Anal-eze with butt toys.

While we’re on the subject of butt toys, let’s talk about Anal-eze.  Anal-eze is a numbing lotion that you’re supposed to apply to your asshole before anal play to stop it from hurting.  It’s also the Product Most Likely to Induce a Tantrum from this blogger.  Anal-eze is pointless and plays into so many insecurities people have around anal play.  Firstly, if you’re going to be playing with your anus, you don’t want to numb the area because you’ll miss out on all the pleasure.  Secondly, anal play doesn’t hurt when it’s done properly.  Pain is your body’s way of telling you that you need to slow down, use more lube, relax, try a smaller toy, or change positions.  Pain has a function, and without it you run this risk of doing real damage to yourself.  I think that a lot of people use products like Anal-Eze because they are afraid of anal sex and believe that it’s going to hurt.  And ironically, if you can’t feel your butt, you’re more likely to rush or use something that’s too big and you’re going to be sore when the numbing wears off, which only reinforces that fear that butt sex is painful.

While I get pissed that Anal-Eze even exists, what makes me truly livid is the fact that some manufacturers include it in the packaging with their butt plugs and anal probes. To me, that eliminates the pleasure and power a person might experience from buying an anal toy and replaces it with fear and shame.  Also, it’s just plain unsafe.

 

5. Claiming to mimic “real life” sex acts.

In the last year, there has been a tidal wave of clitoral suction toys that are supposed to feel “just like” oral sex.  But they never do.  They feel great, but the sensation of a machine on your genitals is always going to be different to a real person.  Sex toys aren’t a substitute for a partner.  Sex with toys doesn’t feel like sex with a person. And that’s ok.   I see sex with toys as a different kind of sex to having partnered sex, and I like both for different reasons.  Trying to make a toy that mimics sex with a human being will always leave the consumer disappointed because even if you could perfectly replicate the sensation, you can’t program a toy to be spontaneous or intimate.  I wish that more manufacturers would focus on marketing how great the toy feels, rather than comparing it to sex with a partner.

There are plenty of companies out there that create amazing body-safe toys without cringy marketing or a side-helping of shame with every purchase.  But there are still plenty of stores out there selling toys that commit these five sex toy crimes.  And I wish they’d stop.  Because sex toys are so much fun and the less shame and stigma that surrounds them the better.

 

What are your sex toy pet hates?

Product review: Glass tentacle wand

I know what you’re thinking: “A glass dildo?  Is she mad? Surely that’s super dangerous!”.  And I understand where you’re coming from because I felt exactly the same way when I first saw a display case of glass insertables.  I mean, glass is cold and rigid, that can’t be comfortable or sexy, right?  And…..what if it breaks inside you?  That’s just a recipe for disaster!

I was extremely hesitant to try a glass toy for all of these reasons.  But then after I got my Pure Aluminum vibrator  and I experienced how incredible a rock-hard toy can be, I started to warm up to the idea of trying a glass wand.  But I was still put off by the possibility of breakage.  The potential for pain, injury and humiliation was just too high for me to even contemplate putting anything glass inside me.  And then I did a bit of research.

As it turns out, there are plenty of high-quality glass toys on the market that aren’t going to break or shatter.  The most reputable toys are made from soda-glass or Pyrex (yep, the same stuff your Nan’s indestructible cookwear is fashioned from).  These materials are heavy and extremely resistant to breakage.  You’d need a massive amount of impact to crack one of these babies.  And if they do break, they tend to snap in two, rather than shattering into a million tiny bits.  And breakage only happens if the toy has been weakened.  So as long as you choose something that’s well-made, and discard it immediately if it shows any cracks or dents, then you can put the worry of breakage out of your mind and have a good sexy time.

Once I’d come around to the idea of trying a glass toy, the only thing to do was choose one.  There are so many great glass dildos out there, with a dizzying array of shapes, sizes and textures to choose from.  But when I spotted this glass tentacle wand at the Black Peach stall at Kinkfest last year, I knew I needed to make it mine.

The features that drew me to this wand were the curve and the texture.  Because glass is such a rigid material, I had high hopes that the textures would be more pronounced and therefore offer more intense sensation.  I also loved the way that the toy curved upwards, and imagined that it would be a great g-spotting dildo.

Initially I was a bit disappointed with the way this toy felt when inserted.  Although the rock-hard material felt interesting, the shape just didn’t work for my body.  I found my g-spot easily with the wand, but I found the tip of the toy too pointed to be pleasurable.  It felt like it was poking at my g-spot which was more painful than anything else.

After a bit of unsatisfactory prodding at my g-spot, I tried flipping the toy around while it was inside me. And that’s when I hit the jackpot.  The underside of the curve has a series of deep ridges, and this texture felt incredible when I stroked it along the front wall of my vagina.  The pressure and bumpiness on my g-spot was perfect, and the rounded handle at the end of the toy gave me loads of control to be able to stroke and massage the way I wanted to.

In the interests of doing a fully comprehensive review, I also tried this toy anally.  I had a feeling that the extreme texture would be too much for my delicate behind, so I truly didn’t expect to enjoy it.  But I am super glad that I gave it a whirl, because this has become one of my favourite butt-toys.  That pointed tip that was too intense for my g-spot made this wand incredibly easy to insert. The toy isn’t super girthy, and it only about as wide as two of my fingers, which is a good size for….not absolute beginners but those who are still learning what their butt likes. The smoothness of the glass means that it doesn’t hog lube in the way that some silicone toys can, which helped it to glide smoothly (which is what you want from anal play, dragging is not sexy).  This dildo allowed me to experience indirect g-spot stimulation through my anus, which I have never done before.  I actually had my first orgasm from butt play with this toy (or ass-gasm, as I like to call it).  Although I don’t have the anatomy to test this theory, I believe this would be a really fun toy for people who want to explore prostate play.

Glass dildos have their pros and cons.  On the plus side they are rock hard, super smooth and can be used with any kind of lube.  They are also really easy to clean and are non-porous which makes them body safe.  The main downside is that they can become unwieldy when your hands are covered in lube (and lube is a necessity when you are playing with such a rigid toy).  To avoid losing your grip, I definitely recommend having a towel nearby to wipe your hands on during play.

As I mentioned, I bought my wand from Black Peach, who sadly no longer have it in stock.  However, DDLG World have an almost identical one in their shop. And as an added bonus, you can get 10% off if you use the coupon code “nessbow”.

Have you tried glass toys before?  Would you give them a shot?