Bad Thoughts

March 15th, 2010

The past few months have taught me a lot about relationships, expectations, love, perception and healthy attitudes. In some ways, I feel like a relationship expert (I’m not.. yet) and I know I have been and will continue learning skills that will not only help me have successful relationships (and that is worth imparting to my loved ones during their challenges) but I am developing skills to help me be happier no matter what my relationship status is.

As patient as I am trying to be with my husband, as hopeful as I am trying to be about this situation, it is difficult not to feel hurt and not to entertain thoughts that are simply not helpful. Ultimately, I feel a bit betrayed by my husband, my life and perhaps most importantly, myself. I feel so foolish for believing that this time would be different, that he would be different. I wonder why I ever thought it could work. What proof have I ever had that it could? Indeed, everything I have seen or experienced indicates that relationships just do not work. Ever.

I know, I know. It’s not productive. But I just cannot be productive all the time. At the very least, I can control it enough that I am not sobbing over Haagen Das. And I’m not screaming at my husband about how he’s hurt me and making it into an argument so that’s good. I am able to contain the thoughts that they are not quite ruining (running?) my life.

I feel especially silly when I think how far I’ve come in regards to my thoughts about marriage. I went from thinking it’s nothing but a sham to believing maybe it can work to wondering if maybe it is only a sham after all and I should have kept thinking the way I did because then I wouldn’t be hurting like I am. Except I know that you have to let people in and learn to trust again even if it means sometimes starting over. And as much as I hate feeling like I’m back at square one, the logical part of me knows that you cannot reap the rewards without taking the risk and I will take that risk again whether with someone else or whether my husband chooses to work on our marriage. Even if I don’t want to think about it now, cannot imagine ever being with someone else.

My bad thoughts creep up when I am alone and at night, right before bed. To combat them, I’ve been scouring the internet for inspiring quotes (I mention this in an upcoming post I wrote for EdenCafe), calling friends or sometimes distracting myself by jerking off. It’s still a work in progress, though.

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Beyond #1

March 12th, 2010

If this G-spot vibrator looks familiar, it’s probably because it was designed akin to Ophoria’s Beyond 3 dildo except, where the dildo has is an “S” shape with a loop at the base for maneuverability (or inserting a bullet), the vibrator has a straighter base that houses the batteries. Otherwise, both toys share an enlarged and rounded head, intended to stimulate the G-spot. They are both quality made, out of silicone (although the Beyond 1 cannot be boiled to sterilize because of the mechanical parts) and have 3 soft ridges on the shaft for extra stimulation. However, the Beyond 1 has a pretty silver band separating the shaft and battery cap; it contracts nicely with the silicone (mine is black). Beyond 1 is also shorter with a total length of 7.5″ and an insertable length of, offering about 6.5″ for insertion.

As this is my first Ophoria toy, I do not know about other products but presentation was nice. The outter box/cover is white with the logo on it. This covers a black box, in which sits the vibrator on foam. There is a little tab to lift the foam which grants access to the storage pouch and included information. Some might use the box for storage but I prefer the pouch myself. It is black, extremely soft and not linty – perhaps microfiber. It’s also unique in that it the storage pouch is not with one open end that cinches. Indeed, it is more like an envelope and the toy slips in lengthwise. Then, the whole thing is tied up with ribbon that wraps around.

The silicone of the Beyond 1 is definitely more firm than it is soft. Most of the shaft seems to be silicone covered plastic without give. The head is also a thick silicone which is firm as well but the area right below the head (near the 3 ridges) is thinner and not covered plastic so it can be bent a bit. The silicone of this vibrator is smooth and velvety but will pick up lint if it is not in its pouch. The silver band next to the battery cap is painted plastic while the cap itself is plastic with a softer power button.

Battery installation is easy and the Beyond 1 actually comes with the required 2 AAA batteries. That is always a nice touch. The directions for batteries are engraved into the plastic of the toy for easy reference and the cap itself slides and locks into place. Beware that this toy is not a waterproof toy and take care when cleaning.

The Beyond 1 G-spot vibrator is incredibly easy to use with one button to power it on, off and toggle through modes – of which there are 9. Although there is only one button, the toy can be turned off at any more by holding it down for a few seconds. This is preferable to having to cycle through all the modes but I would prefer an instant off because you still do have to wait. I find it’s actually quicker to just pull out the batteries (although I doubt that is healthy for the life of the toy).

The 9 modes of vibration include a low, medium and high steady vibration and 6 other pulsation and escalation settings. While these settings are interesting, many of the mare quite similar and the Beyond 1 would not be less of a toy without them; indeed, I find 9 settings to be just a bit of overkill these days. If you are interested, however, the PDF manual by Ophoria describes these functions well.

The vibrations are not incredibly high pitched but do lack the depth that I really love. Yet, despite this, I found the Beyond 1 to perform well. My G-spot is pretty sensitive to vibrations and squirting was easy – once I got the toy inserted. Although the shaft of the Beyond 1 is not giant (it has a 1.5″ diameter) and the shaft is fairly slim, the difference in size between the head and shaft of the toy is pretty drastic and can make insertion difficult or even painful, especially given the unique design of the head of the toy. Even when I was well lubricated (water based only) and aroused, I had some difficulty. It was definitely easier for me to use Beyond 1 after playing with other insertables. I imagine this will prevent the Beyond 1 from being comfortable or enjoyable to use for some people because of their builds and would definitely not recommend it to a sex toy newbie.

Honestly, I have used the Beyond 1 for less for G-spot play than I have externally which might seem odd but given my preference for broader, rounded surfaces, the Beyond 1 really fit the bill. I can move it against myself in such a way that reminds me of a penis rubbing on my clit to produce some nice orgasms. Because my G-spot is fairly shallow, I can almost use the Beyond 1 as a dual stimulator, inserting just more than the head but it’s not ideal.

While I am pleasantly surprised by the versatility of this vibrator, I do have some less than thrilling thoughts. After my first use (and second wash), the Beyond 1 G-spot vibrator has begun to rattle during use. It still works fine and, sometimes I can’t even notice the rattling (like when it’s under a blanket) but it is more noticeable during pulsation settings and a bit annoying. Even with the rattle, Beyond 1 is pretty quiet and couldn’t be heard through a closed door but it’s not silent as the phrase “whisper quiet technology” suggests.

Additionally, I could not feel the under the head during use. The toy might even be easier to maneuver without the extra texture but that is just an educated guess on my part. On a semi-related note, some folks experienced painful issues with seams on other Ophoria toys, including the Beyond 3 dildo, but while the seams are visible to the eye and tactile to the fingers, they were not noticeable in use.

I do really like Ophoria’s Beyond 1 G-spot vibrator. I usually do not find G-spot vibrators to be very versatile and this may be the first one that can be used internally and externally for me so I will definitely keep it handy.

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Petite Couture Collection™ – ecstasy

March 7th, 2010

Having tried a full sized Couture rabbit by California Exotic, I wasn’t too thrilled to get a petite version to review. It seems to me that if a toy powered by 3 AAs is not powerful enough to get me off, then a smaller, less powerful version is not going to have much luck either. That’s not to say I was going in expecting to fail but I wasn’t expecting it to blow my mind either.

It’s a real shame because the soft silicone of the couture line is a step up from porous materials like jelly and the sleek lines are attractively classy, in my opinion. The texture of the Petite Couture Collection Ecstasy is velvety, with a bit of drag and mostly devoid of any shapes save for a gentle ridge that runs around the head then comes together down the center of the vibe, toward the clit stimulator. There are no seams in the silicone. Because the silicone is soft, it will unfortunately pick up lint. There is some slight variation in the shaft size but overall, the diameter sticks near 1.25″ and there are no difficult angles or bulges to maneuver, making it better suited for beginners than many rabbits. Even if you’re not a beginner, you might opt for a Petite Couture piece because they are smaller in length, too. This one offers 4.75″ insertable inches, a change from the larger rabbits which do not work well with all anatomies.

Like the regular Couture Collection, Ecstasy has a silver, plastic base which continues the sleek look with it’s contemporary lines. There are 3 buttons to control this rabbit vibrator: a master power switch and a button for each function (rotation of the shaft and vibration of the clitoral stimulator). When the power is one, the buttons light up a very bright blue, so bright, in fact, that I used the light for a flashlight in the dark. The functions can operate separately so there are many ways to enjoy this toy.

There are 3 speeds of shaft rotation which I found enough to make me squirt; however, I was unable to successfully stimulate both my G-spot and clit as I had to pull the rabbit out a bit to hit the right spot. I have a shallow G-spot and I believe the thinner shaft of the Petite Couture Collection™ – ecstasy just couldn’t hit the right spots. I think my PC muscles are a bit out of shape, however. The rotation stood up to my clenching on 2 out of the 3 speeds and it just seems like it shouldn’t with such a small power source.

Some might also find the clitoral nub to be a little on the short side because it does not have rabbit ears or what-have-you extending its length – which is only 1″. Generally, I like the idea of this shape better than all the animals because I trend to press the bullet part right against my clit instead of the ears or arms or other body parts. This one does curl up slightly toward the body/clit but the bullet is just not strong or deep enough for me. Even with 3 steady vibration modes and 4 more pulsation and escalating patterns, I was pretty let down. The vibrations are higher pitched than I like and really didn’t reach deep beneath the surface. Even the pulsation was underwhelming and lacked the throbbing sensation which is a requirement in strong vibes. I wound up turning them off pretty quickly when I realized they would not get me off.

In regards to a few technical details, the Ecstasy is pretty quiet and wouldn’t be heard through a closed door. The rotating portion does have a bit of an annoying whine, however. Because of its silicone composition, only water based lubricants should be used. These vibrators are supposed to be waterproof but the battery compartment does not seem to seal tightly so I wouldn’t submerge them during use or washing. Soap and water washing or shower use would probably be fine, however.

While I think the Petite Couture Collection™ – ecstasy might be a good first rabbit or even a first sex toy for some users, I was just really underwhelmed by its performance, which I expected would be the case. It’s a step in the right direction and I do like the idea of more variety in rabbit sizes but I personally need.. dare I dare it.. more power.

CEN_SEXPERT_certified

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Liberator Affiliate Program

March 6th, 2010

Let me preface this review by saying I believe Liberator will be moving to different software for its affiliate program and pay outs are currently frozen. In the near future, this review may no longer be relevant but, in the mean time, feel free to check out AAG’s post about not being paid.

Liberator’s affiliate program is one of the few manufacturer affiliate programs to which I have applied. Part of the reason for this is because no other retailer sells all of Liberator’s products. It is difficult to do so without marking up the prices ridiculously because of shipping costs, which I understand. Of course, Liberator has also been kind enough to allow me to review one of their products.

Liberator’s currently affiliate program can be accessed by a link in the footer of Liberator’s homepage. This page gives a bit of information to potential affiliates, including that earnings are from 10% – 15%. From there you can sign up or sign in, if you are a current affiliate. There is no direct URL which is easy to access (for this page or the affiliate program, period) even though the affiliate control panel mentions LiberatorAffiliates.com. Unfortunately, this domain redirects to Liberator.com and not even the affiliate page. In fact, links from this section redirect to the Liberator home page and the sign up page does not have a field for referrer so it appears that affiliates cannot refer others and earn commissions from their sales. Although I can live without referring others, it certainly is a nice incentive and it doesn’t bode well for a program when the provided links are useless.

That is essentially my biggest bone to pick with the Liberator affiliate program: the links are provided and there are no ways to create links to different landing pages. Not every program has a link creator or a built in affiliate dashboard when browsing the site but I don’t even know if I can add my affiliate code to the end of URLs to bring visitors in on specific product, review or guide pages. It’s not a problem if you want to link to big named products by Liberator or even other manufacturers like Lelo but not even every Liberator product has a link in the affiliate control panel and I like my links to be relevant. Another downfall to this is that I do not know how frequently the links are updated as new products are added. I find that when my options as an affiliate are limited, I am much less likely to use affiliate links at all which doesn’t help me earn commissions or help the company make sales.

There are, however, quite a few banner options including a group of banners featuring Catalina, a blogger (and model?) of some infamy but with whom not everyone would be familiar. Also, her blog seems to be down and since I am not a follower, I do not even know if these banners are still relevant. Most of these banners are located on one page and are not divided by size (although, most of the standard sizes appear to be available) so they are not as easy to browse as they could be. It would be easier to navigate if the banners were further divided by size, even if they were all on the same page; just add internal links. As you can guess, these banners mostly focus on Liberator shapes with some highlighting their lingerie.

Aside from links and banners, basic account info is readily available on the first page, after sign in. This includes sales and commissions. For more in depth information, affiliates can view monthly reports which are broken down by sales and commissions. Users can also edit their account information, contact Liberator and choose to redeem commissions (over $200). All of these options are easy to find but the control panel is definitely on the basic side. It’s okay if you just want the pertinent information at a moment’s notice but definitely lacking compared to other affiliate control panels.

One noticeably lacking feature is that of payment flexibility. The only option I can see is to be paid by check and, I’ll be honest, a $200 check would be awesome but it could take years for me to get to that point. It would be great to have the option to be paid by Paypal and a lower payout as well. Because I have yet to make commissions, I cannot speak in depth about the payment process.

Overall, the Liberator Affiliate program lacks the flexibility and ability to customize in a way that really attracts and keeps affiliates. With programs like these, I am likely to forget I am even an affiliate after I add banners to my site. Instead, I focus my energy on other retailers which offer more alluring features and allow me to link the pages I want to specifically link. The result is that I make more from other affiliate programs simply because it is easier to do so.

In addition to this, Liberator has not done much to really draw attention to the affiliate site on their main page or to make the two mesh (relatively) seamlessly. I don’t mind separate affiliate sites at all but without even on a logo to distinguish it, the Liberator affiliate program is forgettable.

With that said, it will be interesting to see the new Liberator affiliate program when it is operational. I also hope that the folks at Liberator will take the time to inform their affiliates of these changes because there has not been a lot of communication going on thus far. This will definitely be a chance for them to improve their program so that affiliates will actually want to use it.

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A toy a day? No Way!

March 3rd, 2010

Babeland is holding a contest in which they give away one Fun Factory toy every day. All you have to do is become a fan of one of their Facebook pages and send them a message to be entered. Go ahead and tell them Adriana sent you, too!

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Bhold: Bcute Curve

February 28th, 2010

My first free toy was an egg from Bswish and it was surprisingly powerful. While the newer additions to their line up are just as attractive (cute, even!), they do seem to lack the strength which is sad. Plus, my Curve won’t relinquish smells it picked up for only one use which is a little disappointing. Still, for some people, it would be the B’s knees.

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It Ends Now

February 27th, 2010

I don’t know when or even why it happened but I do know that, somewhere along the line, I became power hungry and not even in a power exchange sort of way. I became obsessed with having power even though the drive usually had unwanted results and was detrimental to my relationships. It’s not just romantic relationships about which I speak. It’s grown into such a habit that I find myself looking for ways to control people and situations even if I know it will only send me two steps back. I become so focused on power in the present that I forget what matters in the long run and it is most certainly not that sort of power.

The friend with whom I am currently staying suggested I am building walls to prevent myself from being hurt but I know that is not the case. I am not changing how I act because of the current situation; I am only keeping up the behaviour I have been doing for some time regardless of the fact that it has never helped. If gaining the upper hand didn’t help me then, it certainly won’t help me now.

A family member of mine recently told me that there is no room for power in a relationship; we should simply focus on the fact that we love our partners. It was a simple piece of advice but one I think I needed to hear and still need to hear. The momentary satisfaction I may gain from having power is not nearly comparable to the satisfaction I could gain from learning to relinquish power to preserve my marriage (although, that is far from the only thing I need to do).

I suppose I have come to the conclusion while power is appealing and certainly healthy in some situations, my current situation is simply not one of those.

So, I leave myself with these words of wisdom:

Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.

Carl Jung

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