Intimate Accessories Antibacterial Sex Toy Cleaner

February 18th, 2010

I’ve used a few toys cleaners, both sprays and wipes. My experience is that most of them are just okay, useful to have while they’re around but not something I’d rush to replace when it runs out. More often than not, I forget about these cleaners and revert to soap and water before the bottle is empty. Thus, I’ve several bottles at home and a half-used packet of wipes. As this realization sunk in when another bottle arrived in the mail, I offered one of those bottles to a friend. After all, how am I ever going to use them all myself? But because another bottle did arrive in the mail, I offer this review to you.

TabuToys offers Antibacterial Sex Toy Cleaner, a spray on cleaner in Dr Berman’s line of Intimate Accessories. The 6.28 FL oz bottle is clear, as is the cleaner itself, and is labeled with the familiar purple logo of Dr Berman’s toys. It’s easily recognizable for me but, at a distance or to someone who does not know better, it could pass as some random cosmetic bottle (although what would come in a squat bottle like this, I have no idea). The pump top itself is also purple (but not the same purple which I find slightly irksome LOL) and comes with a plastic cap, which makes it slightly more travel friendly. I didn’t bother to put it in a ziploc in my luggage and the cap stayed on the entire time. I’m sure the cap would loosen a bit with subsequent uses, as is usually the case.

The ingredients of Intimate Accessories Antibacterial Sex Toy Cleaner are listed in a rather tiny print and I immediately recognized Triclosan as (one of) the working ingredients. It’s common in many sex toy cleaners and some anti-bacterial soaps as well; although, there is a bit of controversy over it so if you’re anti-Triclosan, I’d stay away from this product.

The entire ingredient list as follows:

  • Deionized Water
  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
  • Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate (and) Sodium Trideceth Sulfate
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Triclosan
  • Citric Acid
  • Methychloroisothiazolinone (and) Methylisothiazolinone
  • Tetrasodium EDTA

Some of the ingredients are pretty common as far as cleaners go and most of them are more than a mouthful. Folks who prefer shorter ingredient lists or have specific chemical allergies/irritations should defnitely give the list a once over before purchasing. Other cleaners also include ingredients like Aloe or Vitamin E to make them soothing or conditioning so this cleaner is perhaps a bit more “basic”.

Curiously enough, the ingredients list is exactly the same as that of CEN’s (California Exotics produces the Berman line of accessories) Anti-Bacterial Toy Cleaner which comes in a smaller 4.3 FL oz bottle with darker purple writing on it so if you’ve tried it and are looking for something else, this is not it. However, the “regular” version, which is also available from TabuToys is not quite the value in terms of price. If you do not have a need for the smaller bottle, I’d go for the Berman Antibacterial Sex Toy Cleaner, instead. This value difference is about the same on most sites, with the regular cleaner costing more per fl. oz than Intimate Accessories Antibacterial Sex Toy Cleaner. you’d think that adding a celebrity/doctor endorsement would make them make up the price even more.

All these ingredients combine to produce a clear, thin liquid which is easily squirted form the pump bottle onto any toy. However, the bottle gives no indication as to whether this product should be wiped or rinsed off, used as a soap or simply let to dry which is definitely nice to know. Although I frequently rinse any toys which tend to collect fuzzies, I tend to do a dry wipe with a cloth or tissue on the smooth surfaced toys which do not require special attention. But whether or not it’s really clean or safe to use is a mystery. Different online reviews suggest keeping it on for 2 minutes – which is way longer than I would naturally think to leave it on – but I could find nothing on the Berman Center websites to back it up. Your call, I guess.

The spray comes out in a fine mist which covers a wide area and it only takes a few pumps to cover an entire toy. There seems to be a slightly medicinal scent but I have to be honest; my nose is incredibly stuffed up and there’s no one I can ask to smell my sex toy cleaner to confirm. LOL! Because the target area is so broad, I’d maybe spray over a toy or just be sure not to spray in the direction of anything or anyone which you don’t want coated with the Intimate Accessories Antibacterial Sex Toy Cleaner. Despite attempting to do this, my cat ran directly into the line of fire as soon as I sprayed the cleaner, of course.

Fast forward two minutes (your choice) and it can be rinsed off (as some reviews suggest), taking any debris with it. If you choose to simply wipe it off, debris will be more of an issue but that is the case with any spray toy cleaner. Because I’d rather be safe than sorry, I opt to rinse it off and this makes it a less useful product to me than one which I know I can use without rinsing/wiping (or even directly on the skin) which is the case with both the Afterglow Wipes and Pjur “Med-Clean” Spray. For all I know, the intent was for this product to be used without rinsing but the total lack of instructions is off putting to me. I’m sure some people use it without rinsing at all and experience no adverse effects but I like to know exactly what I’m getting and how to use a product. Unfortunately, the “regular” cleaner by CEN also fails to list instructions for use which is exactly why I won’t be buying either from them in the future.

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The Sexually Dominant Woman

February 10th, 2010

The Sexually Dominant Woman is a very basic guide to femdom by Lady Green, a pen name for Janet Hardy who has written and co-written several other BDSM books including The (New) Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book. Immediately, I was much more comfortable with Lady Green’s tone and approach; although, I found The Sexually Dominant Woman to be just a bit too basic.

Lady green uses a very friendly and approachable tone unlike the one used in The Mistress Manual. She does not appear to be preaching at you in role, which I appreciate. However, one of the downfalls of this tone is that Lady Green sometimes comes off as less professional than she could which can make the reader just whether or not we should be taking her advice. The large, un-standard font face used in the book also lends to this feel. I would prefer something that looks just a bit more “proper.” But this would mean The Sexually Dominant Woman would be much smaller in appearance. Indeed, much of the information has been covered on the internet in various communities and on many websites. It’s good to have all the information in one place but I think the Sexually Dominant Woman would almost be better as a PDF “book” than a printed book.

The Sexually Dominant Woman is subtitled as “A Workbook for Nervous Beginners” and much of it has a workbook feel. It could potentially be useful were it kept on hand during scenes (although, that could also detract from the scene itself). This guide is light enough reading that it could be used as suggested reading for partners, too, without overwhelming them.

This guide begins with a checklist to gauge a person’s interest in female domination and there are frequent black and white sketches included. Some of these illustrate tools or positions while others are just complimentary to the text. They are all amateur in composition and none of them are really appealing. This book would come off much classier with higher quality art.

What follows is a chapter defining sexual dominant in which Lady Green splits BDSM into several aspects including helplessness (bondage), roles and sensation. The next dedicates a chapter to each where she outlines tools, positions, tips and more. “Winding Down” discusses knowing when the session is/should be finished and she dedicates a few pages toward the feelings which may come after a scene and what they can mean. Through out the entire book, it feels as though the author is only suggesting things and there is a feeling that the reader can and should tailor the advice to be a better fit for her specific situation. Although The Sexually Dominant Female is intended for female dominants and male subs, there is a note in the beginning that recognizes that many women play with women and that most of the content can be altered for the purpose. I would have to agree that this book is more neutral toward the submissive’s gender because it does not play on the yin and yang of gendered Dominance and submission like the Mistress Manual. It also makes it that much more pleasant to read.

The chapters are all short, no more than a few pages each. As you can guess, The Sexually Dominant Woman does not go into extreme depth about any one topic but gives a brief and consistent introduction to each subject tackled within its pages. It is not a book I would solely rely on ever and I would encourage people to read other material along with The Sexually Dominant Woman. My suggestion? SM 101 is great but I will definitely pick up The New Topping Book after this. I especially suggest SM101 because it tackles many issues regarding safety and BDSM, an area which is a bit lacking in The Sexually Dominant Woman and novice players may not realize what is lacking. Although the chapter on Physical and Emotional Safety is one of the longest in the book, it’s still only a handful of pages long.

Where The Sexually Dominant Woman really stands out, in my opinion, is with the suggested “basic first session.” I have read several suggestions in several other books but none of them were ever appealing. Lady Green suggests a scene which has a dedicated beginning and end (and helps players get into and out of scene mode), which flows naturally and incorporates a variety of activities and tools (bondage, collars, clamps, blindfolds, flogging, etc) and has alternatives provided depending upon whether the reader wants to incorporate sex into the scene. Overall, this suggested scene is pretty much perfect for any BDSM newbie, with enough structure to keep it moving but not so restrictive that it feels silly. It is definitely a chapter I would recommend or reference in the future.

The Sexually Dominant Woman wraps up with “Some notes For Your Submissive” which can help a submissive understand how taxing a role can be a a dominant, especially a new dominant. This is followed by “Tips For Partner” finding which discusses perception and expectations that can aid in the search as well as a few suggestions of places to search. The advice is the sort of common knowledge that people can sometimes forget when setting off on a new adventure.

The appendix is the last chapter and Lady Green takes time to suggest further reading material, discuss kink aware professionals and warn about the internet. It’s a bit of a catch all which basically indicates that The Sexually Dominant Woman is not intended to be a stand alone source. As I finished the book, that is the same conclusion I reached. The Sexually Dominant Woman is not ground breaking and, to be honest, is probably old news to anyone who’s been on the internet a time or two. However, the approachable tone is refreshing for someone like myself, who has had issues with other BDSM books. If you happen by it, I would pick it up. Although, it seems like it may be going out of print so I’d probably looking for The New Topping Book instead.

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The Cold Hard Truth is..

February 4th, 2010

Nexus Chloe is not nearly as amazing as she should be or looks. Read my review on EdenFantasys.

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Why Are You Here?

February 1st, 2010

There’s a bit of conversation going on Twitter about searches which have led to bloggers’ sites. Since February is new, I only have a handful and most of them are pretty straight forward:

  • lockable sextoy case
  • make me cum porn
  • passion wave
  • silicone lube for sex at walmart
  • vibrating rock chick g-spot and clitoral vibrator

“sex toy case” is pretty popular overall; it was the most popular search term last month. Probably because I reviewed this locking sex toy case from TabuToys and also this toy box by Devine. People also seem to be interested in the make me cum clit sensitizer by Adam and Eve. In short? don’t buy it. 😉

A lot of folks seem to think I know how to make the clitoris more sensitive (some products work but I wish I could do that, too!) and there’s more than one search for tentacle sex toys and tentacle sex stories – probably because of a review I did for Five Minute Erotica.

I’m highly disappointed by the creativity shown in these searches, though. The closest thing I have to exciting are these phrases: “pulsating orgasm” and “belly inflating.” Most of my orgasms feel pulsating but it’s a cool phrase. I do have to say, I’m not sure about this belly inflating. Sounds scary to me.

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Down The Rabbit Hole

January 31st, 2010

I really wanted to like Bcurious and, truthfully, I love the design, the quality, the ease of use and the pretty lights. I love that it’s so quiet, waterproof and although it’s not designed for the broad side to be used, it could be. And I would if only the vibrations were stronger and deeper. After only a few moments, my clit couldn’t feel a damned thing and was barely aroused. In fact, I personally feel that it has no more than 1 “Vroom” but I suspect others would disagree so marked it as 2 to be extra fair.

For $80, I better be getting off. It’s really a waste of design and craftsmanship.

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Babeland Affiliate Program

January 29th, 2010

In my second installment of affiliate program reviews, I’d like to introduce you to Babeland Affiliates. When browsing Babeland’s site for affiliate information, visitors can find this affiliate FAQ which, while generally helpful, isn’t amazing. For instance, if you’re wondering when you’ll be paid, the page indicates to look at a list of dates that doesn’t exist. Furthermore, interested bloggers and website owners (who are 21+) can sign up via a form which is embedded into Babeland’s shop site; however, once approved affiliates must log into a different site – BabelandAffiliates.com – to manage their states. This really is my biggest complaint about the content of the affiliate program at Babeland – it’s confusingly spread on two different sites.

While affiliates can link to pretty much any page on Babeland’s site including individual products, guides and specials via the link creator on the Babeland site, the affiliate site only offers premade links to specific products and pages. There is no link creator at all within the affiliate site. And if there is a way to link to the affiliate site with an affiliate link, I do not know how. Furthermore, sometimes Babeland no longer sells products and I believe visitors are redirected to the main page without notice of why this is happening.

It’s also great to see seasonal banners from Babeland and they are conveniently displayed below the link creator but guess what? There are also banners in the affiliate control panel and they are not always in sync. As long as I’ve been an affiliate, it seems like seasonal banners are quickly removed from the link creator page on Babeland.com but there’s no real indication in the affiliate control panel about the status of certain banners. If that weren’t confusing enough, there is actually a third page with more banners on the Babeland site. Sure, affiliates have lots of options but they also have to exert a lot of effort to find the tools available to them. Now, I have nothing against having to use an external site for affiliates as long as that external site is all encompassing which is not the case for Babeland.

Banner and linking issues aside, the commercial software they used to track impressions, clicks, orders and commissions is easy enough to use (and set my date). Affiliates can also view The “View Reports” page does not have as much in depth information as the EdenFantasys affiliate program but it’s easy to see that I am owed some commissions. However, I’m not entirely sure when I will paid (remember, the Affiliate FAQs weren’t so helpful in that area) and the “Training Center” link in the affiliate control panel is a broken link. I do believe I will be paid next month because I have over $25 in commissions this month. It would be great if that question could be answered in the control panel, however.

The specific software BabelandAffiliates uses does have some interesting, tools. For instance, there is a page entitled “Marketing Material” which shows the banners I have in use along with their impressions, clicks, click-thru ratios, number of sales and commissions. Ironically, all of my commissions are via text links and not banner clicks. (= This affiiate setup also allows users to create Sub-IDS which are defined thusly:

Sub-IDs are a tool that will allow you to track specific placements of our links and view the performance of each. For example if you have a website and an email newsletter, you can create a sub-ID for each like site and news. You can then view the reports below to determine how your site and your news links are performing.

Although I don’t personally have use for this feature, I can see how it would be useful, especially for networked sites.

It’s also to see previous payments. Because of the $25/month commissions rule, it’s been some time since I got one but it’s still listed which is nice. This is helpful if you move because Babeland only pays out by check and sometimes moving or mail issues can prevent that money from reaching your hands.

I briefly touched on the limited links which are available through this control panel. There are only a handful of text links available, one of which points to G-spot toys, one to the Babeland store and one to the SaSi product listing. It’s pretty meager and having the link creator here would be awesome, am I right? There are more options with banners (and these are separated into categories by size or promotion) but, as I mentioned before, some of the banners are “time-sensitive” and no longer useful to affiliates because the promotion has ended or, in the case of the 2008 election, is completely irrelevant now.

Affiliates can easily change their personal information in the dashboard, thankfully, and that wraps up the control panel. It’s doesn’t include everything and the kitchen sink, like the control panel for EdenFantasys affiliates but it does meet all basic needs and then some. It would just be that much more useful if the powers that be focused on the control panel instead of spreading affiliate content across several sites and pages. As it is, it’s more than a little frustrating because the goal is so clearly within reach.

I’m not entirely who the powers that be are anymore. I believe that both the the affiliate program and the reviewer program fall under the same management (and the review newsletter includes affiliate information also) but there have been some changes recently. While I understand employees come and go, I am not the only person who is thoroughly confused as to whom to contact. Even when I thought I knew whom to contact, replies were very inconsistent. Some folks were constantly getting e-mail and phone calls replies in a timely manner whereas others, like myself, have heard absolutely nothing back. I don’t pretend to understand the kind of stress that these folks are under and I also know I’d concentrate on improving the customers experience before worrying about affiliates so I don’t like to make a big deal out of things. However, I do know that it’s easy to set up an automatic reply to the extent of:

So and so, the affiliate manage at Babeland has received your message but due to an influx in correspondence will only be replying to e-mails which require a reply.

And we’d really be happy with that. In addition, since affiliate newsletters go out on a weekly basis anyway, it wouldn’t hurt to add a little blurb “Hi, my name is Bob and I will be taking over correspondence with affiliates.” To be fair, I was told that someone would be taking over affiliate correspondence which I absolutely appreciate but I don’t think this message was spread consistently to all affiliates.

With a little tweaking around the edges, I think the Babeland Affiliate program would be quite formidable but it is currently quite clumsy.

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The Mistress Manual

January 26th, 2010

The Mistress Manual, “the good girl’s guide to female dominance,” is a pretty iconic book when it comes to BDSM guides but it is not a general dominance/topping book and it will be most useful to a specific sort of demographic. If you’re curious if you fall into that demographic, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are my femininity and domination closely connected?
  • Have I already found or created a willing male submissive?
  • Does my idea of domination center around the house?
  • Am I looking for help developing my dominance style and, if so, do classic dominance archetypes (nursemaid, governess, queen, amazon, goddess) appeal to me?

If you answer to any of these questions is “No,” I would direct you in another direction. Perhaps the New Topping Book; although, I have not read it myself. If all your answers are “No,” I would not encourage you to open The Mistress Manual with a 10 foot pole because, while the advice given by Mistress Lorelei will probably work quite well for those whose styles of domination mesh with her views, the scope is limited enough that it will be extremely frustrating if not entirely futile for anyone else. Here’s why.

The keyword is female.

Mistress Lorelei, whom the reader learns is a professional writer from a blurb at the end of the book but whose expertise on the subject is never fully established, seems to see female dominance and male submission as a complimentary pair, sort of yin and yang-y. And I can dig that. It many ways, it makes sense and, thus, it’s pretty much the running theme of this guide.

In some ways, however, it doesn’t make quite so much sense. Although there is advice in The Mistress Manual which can be used by any creative person or couple, the unique dynamics of a lesbian power exchange relationship may not benefit quite as well from Lorelei’s words. I would also argue that she focused on the idea of “female dominance” a bit too much but I’ve never been much of a feminist. I don’t need to roar because I’m a woman and while being female can certainly add unique aspects to power, power itself is not hinged on my gender.

In fact, there are several reviews on Amazon which voice my critiques much more eloquently than I ever could:

Most of this book is tainted with this woman’s petty revenge fantasies. She can’t seem to seperate [sic] the idea of a well balanced BDSM relationship, founded on ideas such as trust and respect, from her indignacy [sic] at her perceived “second class citizen” status because she is a woman.

The Mistress Manual could have done much more to help craft or find a submissive.

While chapter 3 talks about finding or creating a submissive, it was sorely lacking. The information to determine if one’s partner is open to female dominance is based on many assumptions. For example, Lorelei suggests that positive reactions to nipple pinching, being told to perform oral sex or to woman-on-top sex are indicative of domination fantasies and they can be, in the right situation. On the other hand, those things are all pretty vanilla these days and I wouldn’t think someone is into BDSM simply for liking those things.

If your partner does happen to have fantasies of female domination that takes little to encourage, you probably won’t find this as problematic as I did. Furthermore, if you live in an area where it’s easy to find an already submissive partner, you’re set. Just don’t rely on The Mistress Manual to be much help if either of those speed bumps apply to you.

“Domestic Discipline”

Mistress Lorelei describes her brand of dominance as “Domestic Discipline.” While I’m no expert, she defines this term (and others) uniquely. I have only ever seen Domestic Discipline defined as a relationship between husband and wife where the husband is dominant. Female dominance does not fit that definition at all. Somehow, Lorelei has found a group of people who have altered the traditional definition and this can be misleading. It’s like she decided to say, for the purposes of her book, that “empty means full.”

Semantics aside, my domination tastes center around general BDSM not domesticity or discipline, exclusively. In the beginning of the book, Lorelei is quit to state the differences between her idea of domestic discipline and the BDSM/leather scene which did put me off for the rest of the book. However, if the idea of of domestic roles or discipline-dependent S&M is this thing, you will probably enjoy this book much more than I did.

She’s a stickler for archetypes.

Admittedly, I do not put much stock into the “archetypal” female dominance roles which she lists as nursemaid, governess, goddess, queen and amazon. Relying on established fantasies can certainly help the creative juices flow for planning a scene and help to develop a style of dominance if someone is not sure how to proceed but I find my tastes to be a bit more eclectic than these roles sometimes allow for. It goes without saying that all these fantasies closely tie femininity into dominance as well which makes them either a great fit or.. a sore fit. I do find the references to these roles throughout the book to be distracting.

If you still find yourself interested, he is a brief rundown of the Mistress Manual:

Separated into thee parts – Becoming a Mistress, the Mistress in Action and The Five Archetypal Fantasies – this book is well suited for absolute beginners or perhaps women who have struggled to get their BDSM fantasies off the ground but it does not offer the mental or emotional assistance that some people require. Furthermore, the chapters waver in depth, with Lorelei including much information about spanking inplements but never quite explaining how to bring out submission in a reluctant partner.

The chapters in the first section explain the appeal of female domination, how to get over hang ups about the idea, finding or creating a submissive male and balancing fantasy and reality. The chapters in the next section discuss establishing authority, planning a first scene, the art of discipline and “bondage, humiliation and other forms of control.” The Mistress Manual wraps up with a chapter each on what Lorelei calls the 5 Archetypal Fantasies of female domination – Nursemaid, Governess, Queen, Amazon and Goddess – with an introductory chapter about fulfilling fantasies of both the dominant and her male submissive.

There are some strengths to this book. An entire chapter is dedicated to “The Reluctant Mistress” to aid newbies who are uncomfortable with the idea of female domination. It outlines reasons that women shy away from domination such as guilt, repression or unwillingness. Additionally, Mistress Lorelei helpfully describes how language, props, costumes and acting can all aid in this endeavor. Some of these things I hadn’t given enough thought and I could see why this could be detrimental to my play. Plus, Mistress Lorelei knows her impact play props and even talks about sting versus thud as well as offering concrete information about methods of spanking. Furthermore, there is a list of ways to aid in “Combining Power and Pleasure” with tips on how language, position and other things can affect the perception of power. Lastly, the author does advise discussing thoroughly what all parties want out of domination (and the archetypes might help in determining and discussing this).

Yet I would be aware of the fact that The Mistress Manual is dated, like SM101. The author suggests finding potential partners in the meeting places of yesteryear (ads and clubs). I did not find the suggest first scene to be appealing. Rather, it was bland and didn’t flow in a way that I find to be natural or satisfying. This may only be personal preference, however.

Ultimately, The Mistress Manual is not the book for me and the points which I found helpful are few enough that I may remember them without ever needing to open it again. I would certainly steer someone toward other books (like SM101 or The New Topping Book) over The Mistress Manual. The pretentious and overly wordy style Lorelei used also detracted from my enjoyment. By the end, I was skimming the book if only because I could not longer force myself to read it word for word. In short, The Mistress Manual is a good book if you are like Mistress Lorelei but not as good if you are like me.

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