Wrapped Around Your Finger

October 16th, 2014

I don’t know that I’ve ever reviewed a full-length piece of erotica before. I tend to stick to anthologies, and most of those stories are quite short indeed. I’ve avoided 50 Shades of Grey for reasons of sanity.  I’ve read the first book in the Sleeping Beauty series, but it’s not very long at all. In comparison the approximately 225 pages of Wrapped Around Your Finger seems like a Tolkien tome. However, it’s really not that long. I read this cover to cover in 3 or 4 sittings, and in one of those I consumed at least half of the book.

Wrapped Around Your Finger is actually the third in a series about a BDSM relationship by Alison Tyler. It’s part fiction and part memoir, and I don’t personally know where the line is drawn, but I don’t think I want to know. That’s part of this illusion.  While this is the third in the series, you certainly don’t need to have read the first two. It might help clarify a few things, but it’s not necessary.

I started this book knowing nothing about submissive Samantha and her dominant partner, Jack, but it didn’t take long to get to know them and the dynamics of their relationships, which is 24/7 power exchange. Samantha is young, perhaps in a cliche, but Alison Tyler’s writes a character who is aware of this and what her well-to-do partner’s status means in regards to her youth and perhaps naivete.

In spite of that all, Samantha and Jack manage to pull off a relationships that allows them both to grow through power exchange and the introduction of Jack’s assistant Alex. Samantha isn’t blind or abused. She’s intelligent. In fact, she’s a sex writer in the story, and this plays out in her interactions with Jack.

Because of Jack’s money and status, the couple is afforded a somewhat more lavish life, which Samantha isn’t accustomed to, but it’s not limitless. Jack has connections, but he’s not magical. He has power and dominant characteristics, but this isn’t all he is. As the characters learn more about one another and themselves, we understand how intricate these relationships — any relationships — can be, and how that can both be damning and a blessing. This, folks, is good storytelling.

With the impending 50 Shades of Grey movie and a miniseries featuring Sleeping Beauty in all her erotic glory, I could see Samantha on screen. Not only do I think it would make a better movie, but I think that Ms. Tyler’s descriptive writing would work well in live action, especially when it comes to Samantha’s intricate outfits.

I cannot help but compare this to 50 Shades of Grey. There are obvious similarities, but skilled writing, more three-dimensional characters and general forethought on the part of the author  makes this read both more interesting and more sexy. In fact, I can say that I am not a fan of Samantha’s personality or even her relationship with Jack as a whole, and I still found Wrapped Around Your Finger to be rather enjoyable. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a more realistic view of BDSM or simply a sexy story that’s decently written.

You can buy it from Cleis Press or any of the retailers that stock books from the publisher.

You can also enter to win this giveaway if you’re from the US. I’ll be leaving this giveaway open for two weeks. It expires on November 1.

Use the form below to get in your initial entries, then share for bonus entries. Come back daily to tweet and such to increase your chances of winning.

Good luck!
Wrapped Around Your Finger

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Uberkinky Bondage Tape

October 15th, 2014

I don’t often talk about my family, but I’d like to start this post with an anecdote. My sister is in her tween years and loves to spend time at my apartment playing video games. I am more than happy to oblige, but if I don’t have notice, I might forget to remove something that she doesn’t need to see.

She has now twice discovered Uber Kinky’s bondage tape — which I have in both black and red — and asked what it was for. I had to explain that, no, it wasn’t duct tape. On the second occasion, I hope I saved my butt by telling her it was for costumes. I mean, it can be used for that, right?

Which brings me into my review. Bondage tape is a great way to bind someone to something or even to themselves, and, yes, it could be used as part of a costume. The great thing about this PVC tape is that it only sticks to itself, but it’s much less clingy than saran wrap. Wrap it around arms and legs until your bottom/submissive is secure or cut off a chunk and hope it’s long enough.

I can’t argue against the cleverness of the idea, and seeing someone wrapped in black or red PVC is certainly hot. It doesn’t pick up cat fur or human hair, which is fantastic! Plus, the stretchiness helps with bondage and costuming, but Uberkinky bondage tape is more frustrating than I was expecting for a couple reasons.

  1. It’s difficult to roll back up. Perhaps I should just completely unroll it and cut it into pieces to fold and store.
  2. If you do cut it, then you’ll either be lucky enough that you have the size lengths for reusing or you’ll wind up tossing some of the tape.
  3. While it sticks to itself, you’ll have to hold that first end in place as you wrap the bondage tape around. This is easier said than done, but not impossible.
  4. You’ll want to use several layers if you really want to keep someone bound because it can be ripped apart at the wrists. Alternatively, you could bind someone’s arms or legs in multiple places with fewer layers.

If you do decide to cut, it easily cuts more easily with a scissors than some restraints, and a paramedic scissor is a great tool to have during any scene anyway. Bondage tape can be moved much more easily than handcuffs in the event of an emergency, and you could cut it with a blade to make shapes. In fact, I feel like bondage tape is a cheap source of PVC for whatever kinky craft you might have up your sleeve.

I guess the point I’m getting at is that no matter how reusable and convenient bondage tape seems, it’s not actually as convenient or reusable as it might seem. And while bondage tape certainly doesn’t cost that much, you’ll save a lot of money if you just buy plastic wrap. It won’t look as nice, but it’ll do the same job. With that said, bondage tape is going to do a better job of not ripping out your hair, and it’s certainly more durable when it comes to sharp edges.

20 yards of bondage tape in each roll will likely go a long way, and there’s nothing stopping you from using discarded tape in another project.

I suppose, to wrap this up, I like bondage tape, but I don’t love it the way I expected. It’s hardly a risky investment, though. Give it a try and let me know how you feel.

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Ceramix No. 5 & 6

October 9th, 2014

I don’t typically combine reviews, but I’ve already written about a Ceramix dildo. I liked it. I liked it enough to try others in the line, which really isn’t typical for me. However, I didn’t figure that three reviews would be useful, especially when one of those reviews are of two very similar toys.

Ceramix #5 is a purple, white and black toy with ridges and a G-spot curve at the end. The other is a ridged, black-and-white toy with a contoured smooth head. Since I’d already tried a Ceramix piece with warm water, I wanted to experience one with cold water. I set about popping about the stopper at the end.. and broke my nail and a pair of tweezers. Like, my tweezers is now all jacked up because it’s damned near impossible to get the stopper out.

I gave up and only filled one with warm water. I simply ran the other under color water for quite a bit. And the thing is? The way that ceramic holds temperature, this was enough to keep it cold for around fifteen minutes at least. My masturbation sessions wasn’t super long and it stayed cold for the whole time I needed it to, which says to me that the whole water thing isn’t so necessary. Either way, I will refrain from filling and simply use water on the exterior in the future.

In fact, I still have water in one of the dildos because omg-I-have-to-pull-out-that-damn-stopper-again!?

I started with the #6 with its contoured head. I think I like the look of this dildo better. Sure, it’s a little reminiscent of Beetlejuice, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. The contoured head looks a bit like, well, modern art. This thing should be on a mantle somewhere, and I find the strict black and white stripes to be rather appealing, too.

But during use? It was underwhelming. I couldn’t feel the ridges. The overall rigidity felt nice but less effective than I’d like. It felt just okay. I was bummed. The site lists this as 1.75 inches in diameter, but that’s actually the side of the base. The actual diameter is closer to 1.25 inches give or take, and it’s definitely smaller toward the tip, which is part of the reason the ridges were harder to feel, I think.

So you can imagine my surprise when the Ceramix #5 turned out to be much more noticeable. I think the ridges are a little deeper, but the toy is also larger by about 1/4 inch through the length of it. The #5 is less visually appealing to me. It’s less sophisticated, but it feels much better with its lazy “S” shape. Very loose S, but the G-spot curve hugs my pubic bone almost freakin’ perfectly when it’s not fully inserted. It’s like this thing was made for me specifically.

I also preferred the slightly shorter length — Ceramix No. 5 is 7.75″ long and the other is 8.25″ in length. The base takes up about 1/2 inch on both. I think the generally straighter shaft on Ceramix No 6 means I try to insert more, while the curve on the $5 prevents me from “over” insertion ad bruising my cervix.

Perhaps a difference was that the  Ceramix #5 was filled with warm water, which created a gentle but noticeable heated sensation. I had run the other under cool water. It didn’t feel better or worse necessarily, but it may have caused me to be subconsciously more rigid. But while the Ceramix #6 might have been more pleasing to the eye, it was the other dildo that I preferred actually inside of me.

Either piece will be harness compatible thanks to the flat base, which also works quite well a sa handhold. Ceramic is slick like glass, but I used both with lube. Turns out it was a silicone-based lube when I expected it was water (and the session included two silicone toys — oops!). This wasn’t problematic when it came to grasping and controlling the toys.

Unlike glass, Ceramix is much lighter, especially without any water in the hollow.

Both can be easily cleaned with oil and water, but I’m finding the silicone lube is being extra stubborn. You could boil or toss in the dishwasher with your  other dildos.

Neither comes with any storage option, so you might want to invest in a storage pouch or a sock or something to keep these from clinking around noisily in your drawer or toy box. You could store them in the foam insert that comes inside the box, but it’s going to need more space, of course.

I don’t think I’d try another Ceramix toy, but if I got back into anal play, I would probably try one of the plugs.

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Lovehoney Deluxe Sex Toy Case

September 30th, 2014

Sex toy storage is a finicky thing. Good storage options seems to be few and far between, and even companies that everyone seems to love have gone out of business. It’s hard to keep up with which companies are in business and what items are available. Even when you find a company you like, its products are likely expensive.

And many of us toy lovers are fairly frugal. I’m more likely to spend money on an expensive sex toys than toy storage. In fact, it almost makes zero sense to invest in expensive boxes, bags and totes for storage of your sex toys at home when you can stop by Walmart or your local home improvement store and get a chest or cart for far less than any toy company would charge.

In fact, I think that’s another issue with sex toy storage: companies should focus on travel rather than home storage. With the deluxe sex toy case, I think Lovehoney has done a decent job in creating a travel-friendly storage option with the deluxe sex toy case.

This case is made of a firm plastic that has some give so it can bend if the items in it take up a height of more than 2.75 inches. It measures 13.5 inches by 6.5 inches (wider than the FYN toybox), and there is storage on either side of the case when you open it up. One side features an allover mesh pocket. The other is split with one open mesh pocket and two elastic straps.

This case looks rather small in the product photos for some reason. It may be because of the size of the rabbit vibrator shown in the product photos.  The case fits:

There is probably room for another full-length toy or two, and you could definitely cram more toys into the case if you’re good at Tetris. The base of the Ceramix No 6. is actually a little more than 2.75″ wide, so it causes the plastic case to bend outward a bit. However, this isn’t going to be a problem with usage.

Lovehoney Deluxe Sex Toy Case

Lovehoney Deluxe Sex Toy Case

I enjoy the variety of storage options. The zippered pouch keeps everything in place while the smaller pouch on the other side would be good for things that won’t move around and can safely touch (IE not jelly!). You’ll probably want to play around with the straps to see what fits best. Lovehoney actually send me the G-spot attachment for the Hitachi on accident, but you can see how well it works in the space.

And that half pocket on the one side? It actually two layers of mesh with a strip of Velcro keeping them together. I didn’t even notice at first, but it’s the perfect place to keep condom or lube and wipe packets without them moving. It’s great for the Wartenberg wheel, which I don’t want stabbing me when I reach into the case, and mobile tins of lube or oil.

Securing the case is easier with two zippers. There are small loops on either for you to slide the lock through. In Lovehoney fashion, it’s a red, heart-shaped combination lock. The default combination is 1-1-1-. We all know how tricky that can be. A heart-shaped button pops open the wired part of the lock, which just fits through the zipper holes. I haven’t reset the lock, but you’ll want to hold the button while you pick your combo.  I do find the lock to be a bit finicky to remove and get in place. I wouldn’t be able to do it in the dark and wouldn’t want to try in a hurry.

The loop to the lock creates a small handle that you can grasp with your fingers, but there’s no larger handle on the Lovehoney large sex toy case. This is the one thing I would change about it. I’d love a handle on the back of the “binding.” It would make this sex toy case truly fantastic.

The heart theme is repeated on the front/top of the case, which features the Lovehoney heart symbol. It’s also worked into the purple lining on the inside, which is cute and doesn’t really take up space. The lining seems to be a nylon blend, which you could wipe clean if you spilled lube.

The large sex toy case could certainly work for your overnight trip or play party, but it’s larger and less conspicuous. I think it would work better if you wanted to transport some BDSM items as paddles, floggers and such would work better in this case than a smaller one with plenty of room for a couple toys. I can fit both the 12″ fur paddle and the Bettie Page paddle in the strap side with about an inch to spare, the case is thin enough that the inside is almost the same dimension as the exterior.

If you want a smaller case or you’re not sure whether you’ll love this, Lovehoney offers two other sizes. The medium toy case costs less than $30 and the small is just 7″ by 5″ for $26.99. That one’s ideal for bullets, mini vibes, condoms and smaller bottles of lube. I think the medium would be the best option if you’re looking for an overnight case. You could easily fit a couple toys, lube and condoms with a pair of panties and maybe some wipes for cleanup.

I don’t think you could go wrong with any or all of these cases, really.

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Entice Emilia

September 23rd, 2014

CEN’s Entice line is attractively designed. Sleek boxes and toys that come in purple or pink silicone with clean lines attracted my eye. I opted to try the Emilia. It’s a dual stimulator that’s almost-but-not-quite a rabbit. While I may have loved rabbits once upon a time, they’re not a favorite of mine anymore.

I actually first tried the Emilia externally. This was where I found myself curious about the flexible neck of the shaft. It’s not exactly floppy, but it’s not good for pressure that I like externally. This also isn’t going to make it a good thrusting toy internally, and while it’s not as difficult to use as the Dorcel vibe, I would prefer a more rigid shaft.

The shaft is also pretty small, so this might be a good toy if you’re not into gigantic insertables. I do tend to like something larger, however. The specs measure it as 1.25 inches in diameter. This is actually the max with at the toy closer to the edge of the shaft. It’s gradually thinner toward the neck, where it’s flexible.  I don’t typically need a pronounced head to get G-spot stimulation and the curve of the shaft was almost perfect.  This might not be the vibe for you if you do like a ridged head that you can’t possibly ignore.

Similarly, the tiny clit protrusion is just a fraction of the length of your typical rabbit. Unless your clit basically dances right at the edge of your vaginal opening, it’s not going to provide direction stimulation. This might be okay if you like general stimulation. The curve of the toy did seem to hug me almost perfectly.

It seems like CEN had some trouble with the two motors. Perhaps My Emilia is defective, but there’s a distinct rattle as though the housing isn’t tight enough around the inner workings.  While I’m use to the first settings being steady vibration, this isn’t the case with Emilia. The first setting is both motors, the second is just the clit stim motor and the third is just the shaft vibration.

This is followed by a fast pulse in both motors, a surprisingly deep escalation pattern and a back-and-forth escalation between the two motors. The last setting is both motors going steady. It seems to be stronger than the initial mode in the cycle. Fortunately, it returns to this first mode when you turn it off. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to describe the settings at all. They’re in some crazy order that makes no sense. The two modes where both motors are vibrating continuously should be right next to one another. And there’s no helpful material. The included instructions are generic for any sex toy and not the Entice line or the Emilia specifically.

All of this might you think that I dislike the toy. But to be honest, it was effective enough when used as anticipated to get my to squirt. I actually quite like the weird escalation setting, and some of the other settings seem to produce vibrations that are deeper than the steady vibes. There’s definitely some quality control issues, but this isn’t a terrible toy by a long shot. It even survived a silicone lube incident. My bad.

The shaft vibrations are fairly deep, but there’s a rattling of the housing that makes them seem buzzier than they are. The clitoral vibrations a deep, but any setting that uses both motors makes this less noticeable.

This is especially true when you consider the price. It’s less than $60 fro Sextoy.com. In fact, you can save 15% with code EMILIA15 when you buy it now.

Caveat: this toy is toy is touted as USB rechargeable. It comes with the cable and no AC adapter. You can find adapters for at cheap as a dollar at places like Walgreens, though. The real nit I have to pick is the charging port access through the silicone at the base of the toy. Other companies have tried that shrinking-hole style. It’s especially frustrating with  Emilia because the hole seems slightly misaligned with the port beneath it. I have to find the right angle to get it to go in. With frequent use, I’ll be a pro, but I’m not sure how frequently I’ll use this.

CEN Sexpert

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Svakom Echo

September 5th, 2014

Echo
$110 from Svakom

Who loves to discover and try toys from new companies? This reviewer! And the newest company on my radar is Svakom, an American company with a European office. The company makes toys that are, at first glance, similar to Lelo. However, Svakom has some original designs that really make this brand worth looking at a second time… and I totally plan to write about those toys. For this post, however, I’ll focus on the Echo.

Echo is a tiny clitoral vibrator that is remarkably similar to Lelo’s Lily. Lily was one of those toys that I lusted over for months, but I was rather disappointed by the time I actually got to try it.

In fact, Echo even comes in similar shades, and buttons placed on the underside of the toy is one of the issues Echo shares with Lily that have made this experience more lackluster than I had hoped for.

Echo gentle curves so cup your pubic mound. The under side has less of a nub than Siri or the Layaspot, however, so I found myself having to press it against myself with some force to get the pressure and contact I enjoy. This makes it less than luxurious and more of a workout. It might work better during missionary sex where your bodies press it against you, but I haven’t been able to try it.

Because the buttons are on the underside, you need to lift it up or completely remove the clit to change the settings. I’m more apt to do the latter because it’s easier, but it also means you’re interrupting stimulation.

There are two buttons to control the toy, but they run vertically along the toy rather than Lily’s horizontal buttons.  Echo is much more narrow, too. This doesn’t make it any better – or worse. I’d prefer if it had a bigger nub rather than a more narrow body.

One button turns on the button. It’s not labeled, but it’s in the upper position. The lower button cycles through several steady vibration modes when you press it once. A quick double-click moves through two modes each of pulsation and escalation. Pressing for several seconds turns off the vibrator. Obviously, one button has a single function while the other button bears responsibility for all other functions. And the buttons are swapped with their roles from what you’re normally expect.

This wouldn’t be a huge issue if I loved the vibes, but I don’t. Echo has shallow vibes that aren’t super strong. I can get off with a lot  of effort,  but I’m not sure it’s worth it. According to the vibe, you’ll get 5 hours of use out of a single 1-hour charge. I haven’t used it that long to test, however. It’s fairly quiet, so you needn’t worry about noise.

I do like the finish, which is silky smooth and soft,  made of ABS plastic. It’s not silicone, but it’s one of the safer materials.

There is an open charging port on the end, so I’d be careful of that when washing, and this one isn’t waterproof so don’t take it in the shower or bath.

Echo retails for $110. that’s well over the price of some similar toys, like the Siri, which I am more likely to recommend. However, my other experiences with Svakom products have been pretty awesome so stay tuned!

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Fetish Fantasy Gold Ben-Wa Balls

August 18th, 2014

As I sit here writing this, I am awaiting one heavy, golden ball to reintroduce itself to gravity and make its way down my vaginal canal so I can finish this review and go to sleep.

I am not afraid that this ball is lost forever. I have a cervix. I know that there is an end to my vagina. I am not worried. I am simply annoyed. Other people might be worried, however. They may not understand how the the female anatomy works or, perhaps.

In my case, I struggled to push the small ben wa balls past my pubic bone, pinching myself with my fingernails as I did. Yes, this isn’t the type of item I would review at this stage in my life, but the folks at Pipedream sent me a pair to try, so I had to give them a fair shake.. roll?

At the end of this whole experience, I sit here with one ball nestled against my cervix, right where my short fingers can’t reach them. Perhaps someone else could, but I have to wait for gravity. This brings up one of the issues of classic ben wa balls: usability. Without a retrieval cord, it can be difficult to remove them, and I’m sure the variances in female anatomy make this more true for some women.

But let’s head back to the begining, the point during which I was inflicting pain upon myself in the name of a review. These ben wall balls are much smaller than any of those that most people really like. I’m talking about the Luna Beads or Smartballs. I like the K-balls, all of which are 4 or so times larger. Most of them also have some sort of texture or ridges, which helps keep them inserted in addition to the size.

With a sleek exterior, it was hard enough to get the ben wa balls inserted to stay in place. They kept wanting to slip back down past my pubic bone, which had me walking like a penguin. Not so great for daily use. I recall one of my first set of ben wa balls, which were similarly sized and white like pearls. They stayed in the first third of my vagina and kept irritating my urethra.

I opted to forego standing and returned to jerking off and pausing for a few kegel exercises. On my back, I could barely feel the balls inserted, and that must have been when they rolled back toward my cervix, where one still sits.

Since I can’t feel them, it doesn’t remind me to do kegels, and I’m not convinced that simply having them in is going to improve my muscles; although, I was more than impressed when my finger was inserted to push them into place and I clenched my PC muscles. Of course, the size of large balls makes them easier to feel, and most manufacturers argue that internal balls, which are probably like these ben wa balls, keep your muscles working passively.

I wanted to see if the ben wa balls made any difference during orgasm. They seemed to enhance them a bit, but orgasm always feels better with something or someone inserted.

These ben was balls are simply listed as “made of metal,” and they have the weight of them. The product description lists them at 2 ounces, with a diameter of .75 inches. They’re actually more like 1/2″ in diameter.

The gold ones, which I received, don’t seem to be available from every retailer. You can but them at my affiliate store here. At just $12, they’re cheaper than the alternatives, but they lack a storage option. This seems to be something pretty necessary for an item that can literally roll away. They come in a box with a plastic insert that would work for storage but is far from ideal.

And I guess that’s how I feel about these as a whole.

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Lip Products for Softer Skin and Better Oral

August 14th, 2014

The lovely folks at Good Vibes were kind enough to send over a tin of Smooch Me Lip Lube with my last order. This it not the first time I’ve been able to try a product like that if you recall my review of Babegloss, a liquid lip gloss and lube intended to make your lips softer, tastier and wetter. Babeland has since discontinued the product, which is a shame. I like the taste and the design. I only wish I had used it more. I still have plenty left!

Good Vibe’s take as such a product is a little more, dare I say, generic? It comes in a tin like any homemade lip gloss. Now, this isn’t a deal-breaker, but I do prefer a container that allows me to apply without getting my fingers dirty. So, I sort of just wind up sticking my lips in the tin. It’s weird, I know. Maybe I’m just being lazy.

Anyway, this gloss/lube is available in several flavors, including mint and cinnamon. I got Cherry Vanilla. It’s probably the only scent I would come to close to liking — and I do like it.  The gloss is flavored as well as scented; although it’s more artificial flavor than anything else. I wouldn’t expect much more from a product like this. The flavor can help during oral, but Smooch Me is white so it’s not making your pout look anything other than shiny.

The texture also aids in this as an oral tool. It’s softer than many lip balms in a tin, so it definitely feels more like lube. However, it’s still got the slightly-waxy balm feel. Perhaps a little less so given how how soft it is. I really like the texture and find myself reaching for it simply to moisturize my lips. But the softness makes it easier to reapply if you’re actually using it as lube and need a little more.

The final product I’d like to discuss is PinkCherry’s lip balm. You can buy it because you love the company or maybe you’ll just throw it in your cart because you’re angling for free shipping. PinkCherry’s lip balm comes in a standard-sized tin. It looks a lot like the option from Good Vibes — but smaller. It’s white, so it’s not going to tint your lips. And, yes, it’s cherry scented. Although, it’s even more artificial than the other products I’ve discussed, and there’s a weird after taste that I don’t particularly like. This balm is scented but not flavored.

While Smooch Me is soft and easy to apply, PinkCherry’s lip balm simply isn’t. It’s hard. You either have to dig into the pot with a nail or give it a pretty fierce rub to get it to melt a little. PinkCherry definitely missed the mark here, and I think this simply makes the lip balm seem pretty cheap. I mean, at only $1, it’s not going to change the world, but it’s not doing the brand any favors. Smooch Me costs seven times as much, but you get more of a better product.

To be quite frank, PinkCherry’s balm will probably go into the garbage. Or maybe I’ll do some “science” experiments with a lighter. Because who doesn’t love open flames?!

If you’re looking for a lip product that’s as versatile as these things can be, Smooch Me is your best option. However, you might simply want to opp for flavored lube, instead.

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Fun Factory Flora

August 10th, 2014

A couple years ago, fun Factory released a line or two or smaller toys. These included Bubbles and the Mini line, of which  I reviewed the Ocean. They all boasted the fine craftsmanship of Fun Factory in addition to the company’s bright colors, which we all know and love.

The company has come out with a new bunch of products after the Stronic Eins, and they use the same control setup. I think Fun Factory simply wanted to created some small vibes that use the same control panel type. The company does it periodically. I’ve seen a number of button setups for Fun Factory toys.  Remember when FF toys used that unique dial? Yeaaa. They’ve come a long way since then. The original Paul and Paulina wasn’t any better, either.

For a while, the company was creating toys with three buttons. Two were the typically to control the toy while the last worked as a boost, one of the things Fun Factory is known for. However, buttons on the Big Boss and Yooo were much harder to push than they should have been, especially when you have to press two at a time. Fun Factory’s Flora uses the same 3-button setup, but they’re smooth — almost beveled looking — and much easier to push. The control panel no longer lights up when you touch it, which I liked but seemed not to work consistently.

However, a two-button setup would’ve been fine. The third button, which features the Fun Factory logo, simply acts as a master power switch. If you touch one of the other buttons while the toy is off, the third one lights up to let you know to press it. Kind of useless. I also think the + and – buttons should be switched so the – button is toward the bottom of the toy.  In fact, they’re printed upside down. The thought is that you’ll look down and it will be right-side-up, but I can’t even see toys because of my short arms, and most toys use the other arrangement.

Flora starts at the last setting you had it on. There are a number of steady vibrating levels. The lowest is the deepest, and the highest definitely tickles my hand uncomfortably. Fun Factory has put better motors in other toys. If you keep pressing the + button, it changes modes.

  • Up and down escalation
  • Fast up/down escalation
  • Faster escalation
  • Fast pulsation
  • Low vibe/Fast pulse
  • Varied pulsation

The modes are different, which makes them interesting especially the last setting. The last one is especially different, but the escalation is redundant.

It seems a little loud — louder than the Siri, for example — for the power output.

Like the Stronic, this one uses a two-contact magnetic charger. The contact points are at the end of the base, which is rounded. I find this to be awkward. If the Flora is sitting on a table, it is tricky to line up the magnet and cable, which will have to bend to stay in position. This makes it waterproof, but I don’t personally require this.

My pink Flora reminds me an awful lot of the Fun Factory Curve. It collects lint, attracts hungry cats and needs a little bit of lube to feel slick.

My biggest peeve with this vibe might simply be that I’m not sure what it’s intended for. With just four inches to insert and a diameter of just over 1 inch, it feels far too small inserted. But it doesn’t need to be this size or generally phallic for external stimulation. I can’t tell if Flora is a stupidly giant pocket rocket or a tiny g-spot vibe. It did neither thing well for me. I do think the ridged design is fun and would be great if this were larger.

At $90, I can name a number of rechargeable internal and clitoral vibes that would be a better deal. The Laya Spot is a better option if you don’t need rechargeable or super strength. We Vibe’s Tango is a much better clitoral vibe. The Lovelife Cuddle is a better g-spot vibe that costs less than $70, too.

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Jopen Key Comet II

July 14th, 2014

Have you ever just wanted something so bad? You couldn’t help but think about it?

In this case, it wasn’t that I wanted the Comet and the followup, the vibrating Comet II.

I wanted to love them the way that other people did. The way that people loved the Pure Wand.

Perhaps I should have known better.

Why wasn’t my love affair meant to be? Perhaps it’s because the curve of the Comet II is so round. I guess I prefer an angle. And the shaft is so rigid. There’s no give at all to make it work with my anatomy. There’s no give or pliability to that 1.5-inch knob at the end.

And if I was built like everyone else, I’m sure I wound love the curve and bulbous head. Most people are going to find this heavenly as the curve pushes the head of the toy directly toward their G-spot rather than just sort of gliding past it like it did with my shallow G-spot.

The buzzy vibrations are particularly unacceptable to me considering this is a rechargeable toy. There’s no excuse for them to not be anything other than causes-your-hand-to-go-numb.  Yet, they are. And the vibrating patterns are lackluster and utterly forgettable because of it. Seriously? It’s 2014. What the hell is wrong with you people that this made it off the drawing board let alone the assembly line?

Ugh, okay.

And marketing, packaging (it does come with its own storage bag) and waterproofiness just aren’t going to sway me when a toy doesn’t work for my anatomy. But even if I loved the shape, I would likely be disappointed by the vibrations. Especially because there’s a single continuous vibrating mode. That’s it. Not even a confusing high-medium-low. You can’t go up or down. Well!

If you’ve read reviews from anyone who has tried both, you’ve likely head that while the Comet II does add vibration to the design, it doesn’t do so in a way that makes both of them necessary. In fact, I would argue that the shallow vibes are so insignificant that they don’t warrant even the price jump between the two. This is especially true because the motor replaced the translucent part of the handle with plastic that is much tackier looking in my not-so-humble opinion. The glass looked much prettier. It might have been weightier, but I don’t have the original to compare.

Okay, so what might you like? The silicone has a bit of drag to it. Good for g-spots, maybe? If yours give a second thought about that kind of thing. I personally like that the entire length of the Comet II is less than the Pure Wand, which curled right into my belly button in the weirdest way. Like, how do other people even use it? There’s a knobby end on the Comet II where the button is, easy to use. Others have complained about it being a bit hard to grasp, however. Certainly, the slickness of lube makes it more difficult, but it’s not like this wasn’t an issue with the Pure Wand.

I can’t bring myself to love the Comet II, but I am the exception and not the rule. You might want to check our reviews from Property of Potter or Mr Will if you think you’re more like them.

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