Lovehoney Plus Size Adore Me Bustier

March 20th, 2015

You guys, I love black and red. Obviously. The color combination is great. Given that it’s the palette Lovehoney decided to go with for their new Adore Me line of lingerie, I instantly fell in love with almost every single piece. No lie.

So I left it pretty open when it came to choosing which piece to send me, and I got the Adore Me bustier. I opted for plus size because standard sizing has no XL. This might be a mistake on their part, but I think the design takes into consideration different body shapes and sizes by being stretchy and adjustable in multiple places.

This might be might first bustier. I generally choose babydolls that are more loose fitting around the midsection. So how did my first experience go?

I liked the feel of the Adore Me bustier as soon as I put it on. The microfiber bustier is super comfy. It slides right across your skin and isn’t much of a barrier between your body and your partner or even your own hands. You could probably sleep in it.

But like any bustier, it’s going to show any bulges or whatnot. If you’re worried about your tummy, you might look for something other than the G-string it comes with to prevent panty lines and bulges. As a whole, this is the more revealing piece when compared to the Adore Me Chemise, which is a little longer, features a straight laced hem all the way around and covers the breasts with a layer of microfiber. The chemise is still pretty form-fitting, even though it’s longer and covers your butt, so these pieces might not be up your alley if you’re working on body issues.

The chemise might offer a little bit more support to the chest. Although neither of these pieces of lingerie have underwire, the lace cups on the Adore Me bustier are definitely on the low end of support. My breasts needed a little adjusting to be ideal. Because I need more support from the side, this wasn’t perfect for me.

However, the straps are a thicker fabric, which should be good if you’re more well-endowed. You can adjust both the length of the shoulder straps as well as the two straps that cross in the cutout at the back. This enables you to choose how much skin you want to wear and even adjust the fit. Because the plus sizes cover a range 1x/2x or 3x/4x, this is important and a smart decision on Lovehoney’s design team’s part.

So how does sizing run on this piece? I am barely plus-sized and it was comfortable. There’s a lot  of stretch so you could definitely fit up to a a 2x, but it likely wouldn’t be as flattering. I took a couple measurements. These are flat measurements:

  • Empire waist: 17.5 inches
  • Center waist to bottom hem in front: 12.5″
  • Side waist to beginning of garter: 17″
  • Distance from bottom of cutout to lace hem edge along ruching: 7″
  • Minimum shoulder strap length: 5″
  • Max shoulder strap length: 9,5″
  • Min garter length: 2.5″
  • Max garter length:  5″
  • Length of cups in center: 9″

Obviously, 35 inches for the waist line isn’t super plus sized, but I was easily able to stretch it to 25 inches. It may not wear comfortable that way, but there’s a generous amount of give in the fabric. In the product photo, its stretched much more so that it will cover the taller-than-I-am model’s tummy and some of her pubic area.  I stand only 5’2″ and this is about how long it is on me, unstretched, with the bra straps about 1/2 longer than the minimum.

Aside from the cups, pretty much everything on the Adore Me Bustier is adjustable, and I think many people will find they’ve gotten their money’s worth with this piece.

lovehoney-adore-me-bustier-details

Adjustable straps, Lovehoney charm and twisted strap

The detailing doesn’t just stop with adjustability. I enjoy the lace details at the empire waist and along the back hem, which isn’t as drastic of a curve as the front. Beneath the open back, there’s vertical ruching in the center of your lower back/butt, which brings the lace hem upward. This allows your butt to peak out from beneath it, as you can see in product photos.

There’s a tiny Lovehoney charm between the breasts that I initially didn’t even notice, but I quite like it! In fact, the attention to detail really shows through. It’s not a groundbreaking design by any means, but the lace, ruching, ribbon and charm all make it feel very “complete.”

However, one thing I did notice was that one of the shoulder straps was sewn incorrectly, so that one side of the strap always twists and won’t lie flat. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is something I would notice.

Like any set that comes with a G-string, this one was much too large for me. If sizing is an issue, you could consider the Adore Me garter panties, which have removeable garters and come in both standard and plus sizes, for a better fit.

I might have liked the Adore Me Chemise a little better in hindsight, but I definitely enjoyed my first experience with a bustier overall. If the attention to detail and general quality — minus the one twisted strap — is any indicator, Lovehoney’s doing a good job with their lingerie!

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The Big Book of Domination Review + Giveaway

March 5th, 2015

Perhaps the single most noticeable way that The Big Book of Domination differs from The big Book of Submission is the number of stories. At over 200 pages, this book could have dozens of stories, but it actually only contains 25 stories. With 69 stories in The Big Book of Submission, each story was shorter on average.

When it comes to what I like in erotica, this isn’t actually a boon. I love sudden fiction. I love sultry sex in 2000 words or less. I like reading it. I like writing it. I don’t need the flowery descriptions that add to word count. I’m not a huge fan to a ton of buildup. Show me the main event.

It just seems like the point where I would end the story introduces another scene, and I can’t keep myself glued to the pages. Perhaps I get off too quickly, but this isn’t really conducive to how I use erotica.

I also found it hard to keep my attention rapt through the first three stories, which involved male domination. Fortunately, the fourth ushers in a domme, but the first three could, perhaps, been broken up in a different order. While most of the stories do seem to pair a male dominant with a female submissive, I do like how several of them play with BDSM roles. Several stories involve submissive experiment with holding the metaphorical whip.

There are other themes that I noted in The Big Book of Domination. These include power exchanges that are surprising and somewhat sudden, either between strangers or from the point of a view of a submissive discovering another’s dominant tendencies.

Because so many of these stories seem to be from the submissive’s view point, The Big Book of Domination isn’t as different from The Big Book of Submission as I think it could be. It’s more of a general BDSM collection in my opinion. With that said, the stories happen in many different and sometimes unusual settings. There is an overall lack of cliche, even if that means I sometimes am turned off by something such as manly boot licking.

This isn’t to say that I hated the book. I didn’t. There were a few stories I found particularly enjoyable, especially the last story, “Little Angel” by Evan Mora. It was one of the many stories where someone who typically identifies as a submissive experiments with dominance and finds it thrilling!

Now, this might not be the perfect book for me but I feel confident that many people will like it. In fact, some people specifically like erotica that’s a little longer than most sudden fiction. If you liked The Big Book of Submission but thought the stories should be longer or even if you didn’t like it because each piece wasn’t long enough, I would suggest you check out The Big Book of Domination.

One lucky reader of OSAL will get their chance to read the book thanks to the folks at Cleis Press, who are sponsoring a giveaway. One American winner will get their hands on this anthology, and you can determine whether or not this book is two thumbs up.

Enter using the giveaway widget below. Remember to check back daily to earn more entries and increase your chance of winning!

Good luck!

The Big Book of Domination

Ends March 26.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Mona Wave

March 2nd, 2015

Mona Wave
$179 from Lelo

Listen, guys. Lelo is trying really hard to be innovative. It’s not enough to make toys of silicone that are rechargeable. They did that. And then everyone else did that. They’ve got to get a couple steps ahead of the game.

It certainly wasn’t cutting it for them to try to revamp some of their most-loved items. The sophomore versions of most toys, including the Gigi, just fell short. Perhaps the second Mona was an improvement.

And Lelo took heart, maybe? Because they tried to do something completely different with Ora, which was met with disdain from almost the entire sex-toy-buying community. I liked it, but the original obviously wasn’t ready to be released. And Siri 2? Props on increasing the motor for one of my favorite clit toys, but that whole “music vibe” thing is a joke.

So what else can Lelo do? Fun Factory has already done something interesting and relatively successful with the Stronic line, so I guess Lelo’s going to stick to mimicking manual g-spot stimulation.

That’s where this whole Wave thing comes in. Lelo picked two popular toys, Mona and Ina, to “upgrade.” Rather than just creating another g-spot vibe, Lelo has allowed the head of Mona to wag back and forth — like the “come hither” motion. There is also vibration, and you can use them together or separately if you’d like.

The vibration alone isn’t any better than the original Mona or Mona 2. The original has been discontinued, but you’re going to save a chunk of money if you buy Mona 2. To be honest, this is probably the best option for anyone who isn’t entirely sure that Mona Wave isn’t for them. Unless you’re comfortable throwing away money. And this is why.

The problem, I think, with Mona Wave is that it’s one size fits most. And if it fits me fairly well, that means it’s going to fall short for a lot of other people.

The back-and-forth motion performs at a uniform pace. If it works for you, that’s great. It’s just kind of boring. And there’s no increase or decrease in intensity to get you to the point where you’re going to have a g-spot orgasm or squirt. This is going to mean that “one size fits most,” results in some pretty unhappy customers.

As far as toys go, the Mona Wave is all about providing the same sensation instantly. Maybe you’ll reach for it after another toy has gotten you almost there.. but why would you? You could use the vibration and curved shaft to stimulate your G-spot and then turn on the wave function, but that seems kinda fickle, and you may find yourself removing the toy to look at the buttons.

This is always an issue with me when I’m using toys that have more than one function. I can never just switch between them, and I’ve never thought that Lelo’s standard 4-button control panel was quite as intuitive as it could be.

Mona Wave might have 10 speeds, be waterproof and come with a warranty, but none of that is going to mean much to disappointed sex toy lovers who aren’t able to successfully cater their masturbation style to the Mona Wave rather than the other way around, which I think many people argue is the better way. So Lelo’s claims that Mona Wave is the first of its kind that will revolutionize vibrators is just a claim the company can’t back up.

 

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Five Head Wartenberg Wheel

February 23rd, 2015

The five heads work exactly the same as a single head — except there’s more. They’ll cover a wider path and the prongs won’t line up exactly, so there will be more variation in sensation. However. they’ll all move in the same direction.

The appearance of this is a little more “Wicked” than the regular pinwheel. Indeed, people who have seen this or my single Wartenberg wheel have assumed it was a tool of punishment that would make anyone squeal. They’re not quite right; although, they’re not quite wrong, either.

Obviously, stimulation can range from a light to possibly breaking the skin. I’v yet to be able to achieve that, but with firm pressure, I was able to achieve a nice “perforation” effect on my skin. It took a few moments for the tracks to really show up, though. I like the marks left by a Wartenberg wheel and they’re not permanent, which is nice.

If you do use it with enough pressure to draw blood, it will be a little more difficult to clean around each pinwheel and all the spokes. I’m thinking a brush or cloth would do the trick without causing it to rust, because that would suck. I definitely wouldn’t let it soak.

The Five Head Wartenberg Pinwheel is everything you like about the original, just more. In fact, I think the quality of this one is higher than that of my original pinwheel, which seem to have edges of different sharpnesses and a few imperfections. When it comes to metal, it’s pretty easy to tell when companies have skimped because of imperfections on the surface. This isn’t the case with the Five Head Wartenberg Pinwheel.

The five head pinwheel comes in the same sort of plastic sheath as other Wartenberg pinwheels. It might be a bit wider to fit it. It’s not wide enough, however. It should be more box-like or have a flared end (like a condom) to better with the pinwheel. Because it’s so sharp, it’s cut the shit out of the sheath during shipping alone. Frequent use, which would involve removing and replacing the pinwheel, would only exacerbate this. Needless to say, I won’t be keeping mine in the plastic cover.

Despite its looks, the Wartenberg wheel can be newb-friendly while still offering more intense sensations for people who like it a bit rougher. There’s not a huge difference in sensation between this one and the pinwheel with the single head, however, so I would based my decision on price and quality.

 

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My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory

February 17th, 2015

My Life on the Swingset
$6.99 (Kindle) from Amazon

When I was initially approached by author and lifestyle swinger Cooper Beckett to review his book, My Life on the Swingset, I was interested. But I had never heard of the guy or his podcast or website before. I’m no swinger, and I’m not much into podcasts, so maybe this isn’t to be surprised. However, I said “Yes” anyway.

My Life on the Swingset is a collection of edited writings from the Cooper’s blog, along with some new works by Cooper. If you’re already familiar with his previous works, then you’ll be acquainted with some of the characters and events, including the annual swingers retreat Desire, that are mentioned in this book. However, this is absolutely not necessary. You’ll also already be aware of the conversation way that Beckett speaks, with nerdy quips and nested brackets that I couldn’t help myself but smile at.

Conversational tone can be difficult to pull off, but it looks like years writing for Life on the Swingset has helped Cooper Beckett find his voice. In fact, I’d probably be willing to read a paper or novel on just about anything that he wrote if he did so in this style. It took very little time to think of Cooper as a friend and someone with whom I might enjoy a cup of coffee. No doubt it helped that he refers to his mistakes, his awkwardness and his geeky (a common interest!) in ways that make him seem utterly approachable. While My Life on the Swingset might not be an instructional manual, there is a lesson to be learned from this: anyone can be a swinger. It’s not a lifestyle from which you should exclude yourself if you’re interested.

There are other lessons to be found in this book, which was a quick and enjoyable read. Cooper walks us through his experimentation with swinging and the true difficulties that lay ahead for him and his now ex-wife. He talks about new relationships, becoming polyamorous and discovering himself as a bisexual man in a scene that so often discriminates against that sort of creature.

The inside look shows the sort of prejudices even swingers and self-proclaimed sex-positive kinksters can hold and use against one another, and as Beckett moves between the different types of open relationships, he shows this with honesty. Could it possibly offend some people who only want to paint the perfect picture of this lifestyle? Perhaps. But Cooper Beckett is human, after all, just like all of us any anyone who might be in any sort of open relationship. And Cooper isn’t afraid to call those humans his friends or name drop where it’s appropriate. My reading list has grown from suggestions mentioned in these pages alone.

Honesty is key to the stories told within these pages. It makes them enjoyable, and it also makes Cooper seem like the type of person I’d like to better know. Cooper also does his own self-discovery, and he reiterates how becoming polyamorous has helped him learn more about himself. There’s a child-like amazement that, even as his age, he can grow and learn about himself. It’s something that I also love about being alive.

Ultimately, ending My Life On the Swingset was like finishing an amazing conversation with a person who completely surprised me. It finished too soon, and I was sad. But the bitter was married with sweet; surely there will be other chances to pick up the conversation again. And if Cooper’s ultimate goal was to draw me in, make me a friend and motivate me to stop by the website to continue that conversation, I think we can call My Life on the Swingset a success!

 

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Uberlube

February 8th, 2015

It must be hard being silicone lube in my possession. First, it sits on my counter or my table for a few days. Days turn into weeks, and the lube makes it way into my bedroom. There, it sits on my dresser before taking months to move to my nightstand, where it will sit a while more until I can think about using it.

You see, it doesn’t matter if you’re nice and slick, perfect for partner vaginal or anal sex. Long-lasting doesn’t matter. A lack of stick is just great.. someone else. Silicone lube can be compatible with most of my toys and all condoms, and it can come in a cute pump bottle that’s also made of glass. An ingredient list that’s short and easy to pronounce should be something that I approve of. But none of that just really matters.

At the end of the day, silicone-based lubes get the short end of the stick because they feel so artificial to me. There’s no way around it. Water-based lubes are shorter lasting and become sticky as they dry, but it feels closer to my natural lubrication. It’s more natural feeling, less like a plastic bag in my vagina.

So, you see, UberLube didn’t have a chance. Umlaut and everything, I still wasn’t swayed. It was just another silicone-based lube that will likely collect dust because I don’t particularly care for that type of lube. I don’t like how it feels inside me, on my hands or on my toys despite how often and long I’ve washed them.

And while the pump bottle is cute, it’s also not travel friendly because it could break and there’s no way to lock it. And $19 is far more than I would spend on any bottle of lube. If I was a die-hard silicone lube fan, I’d probably recommend a lube like System Jo for Women, which is a hair more affordable. If you’re really interested in Uberlube, Good Vibes does sell travel sets, which cost $16 each, but the other silicone-based lubes offer a more competitive price.

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Lelo Siri 2

January 27th, 2015

Siri 2
$119 from SheVibe

If you were to look at Siri 2 without the original to compare, you’d think they were exactly the same design. This isn’t exactly true. Siri 2 is a little sleeker, for example. Perhaps to make it less obtrusive during use with a partner. Siri 2 is completely waterproof, though. Bonus if you like shower masturbation, but you’re definitely not going to get use out of the sound-response feature in the shower.

The silicone on Siri 2 also feels more plush and smooth to the touch. Although, this isn’t something I really noticed in use. Siri 2 is just a hair shorter from tip to tip, and the silicone tip is a bit more pointy than the original. But these are all minuscule changes that neither enhance or detract from the design of the original. I do like my Siri 2 in black, but you have to choose from pink or purple if you don’t like black.

Unlike Lelo’s other sophomore vibrators, Siri 2 is noticeably stronger than the original. However, the increase in power also comes with an increase in vibration frequency, so it feels buzzier. I can deal with a vibration that’s a little weaker but more rumbly. It’s part of the reason why I still love my Layaspot. However, the buzzy vibrations of the Siri 2 could be improved upon. I’m not sure they’re a deal breaker.

Although.. the weird music-inspired settings of this clitoral vibe aren’t really doing it for me. I’m not a fan of those extra modes at all, so I’m a bit surprised that I like even one of them. However, there’s something about a steady pulsation that seems preferable to me than these musical vibration modes, which don’t have quite the right rhythm to keep my clit interested. And let’s be honest, the description is pretty pretentious, too:  classical, reggae, rumba, folk, hip hop, soul, techno, and jazz. Uh, okay. Right.

But maybe that’s not why you’re looking at Siri 2. You want to know about how a vibrator can interact with sound because that sounds (pun intended) interesting at the very least. You want to know if it’s a feature worth adding to a toy to begin with let alone buying as a consumer?

Well. Nah. Not really.

Let’s back up. This vibrator “listens” to sounds. It can be any type of sound as far as I can tell. For example, blowing on it will cause it to respond. So will singing and moaning.. if you’re in the right position. You see, the microphone or whatever-it-may be exists at the end where the charting port it. Tapping the port is enough to get the vibrator to respond.

But the sound needs to be close enough to Siri 2; otherwise? Nada. So while I was trying to use it and sing or moan, it couldn’t pick me up.  I don’t particular masturbate to some sound. Although, I happened to have my earbuds on the nightstand next to me, so I gave it a test. I cannot begin to describe how awkward this was, but I can tell you that all my awkward effort was for nothing. Even with sound on max and my earbuds right next to Siri 2, it couldn’t pick it up.

Now, this might work if someone was using it on me and their mouth was closer to the toy, but it makes the function pretty much useless if you’re using it solo. And the argument could be made that you should pop in your favorite CD or log on to a porn site and turn up your speakers. Indeed, those background noises might even drown you out but it doesn’t even work. I have to turn my laptop on maximum and hold Siri 2 right next to my speakers to get it to respond. I don’t think my neighbors like that, folks.

It’s weird. When Siri 2 does manage to respond to sound, there’s a delay. I understand why this might be the case, but it’s altogether too distracting to find the perfect blend of volume and rhythm to get myself off when I know that simply using Siri 2 as a vibrator will work just as well. Plus, you can’t really recognize the “source” sound, anyway.

Original Siri (red) versus Siri 2

Original Siri (red) versus Siri 2

PLUS! Lelo’s 4-button configuration is really not the smartest way to go about this. It works fine for the steady vibration and music-inspired modes, but you have to simultaneously hold two buttons (either the + and – or the two arrows, I forget) for 5 seconds to turn on the stupid audio-responsive mode, anyway. It’s finicky and clumsy and not something I’m going to bother with. Sorry not sorry. That extra button that you’ll find on Ora 2 and other Insignia vibes would have been a much better option to control this addition setting, but I do understand that Lelo would have to redesign the control pad to

So while I have plenty of negatives to say about Lelo’s newest Siri, I will probably keep it charged for use. Because it is a more-powerful version of a vibrator that I’ve already come to like, and the form factor works pretty well if I’ve got another vibe or dildo inserted. In fact, I really enjoyed using it in conjunction with Lelo’s Mona Wave, another new-ish vibe that I’ll be reviewing shortly.

However, that’s not what Lelo wants us to focus on. It’s not the selling point, and I’m not sure if you can be sold when there are other alternatives for less than $100 that aren’t as frustrating and gimmicky!

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