The Best and Worst Sex Toys of 2016

January 4th, 2017

As it turns out, it doesn’t take much to list your most-loved and most-hated sex toys in a year when you only review a handful. I hadn’t realized how many items I hadn’t reviewed until just now. To be fair, there are a few things in my queue that I could review, should have done so long ago, but most of these don’t inspire loving sonnets or wrathful rants.

And I wrote more erotica and personal blog posts than I have in some time. But reviews were few and far between.

So let’s talk about what I loved.

The Best Sex Toys and Books of 2016

BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism
Ayzad’s BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism is pretty much an encyclopedia BDSMica. Whether you want to complete your collection, find specific measurements for health and safety when you’re playing or are just curious, I recommend this book.

However, it’s a weighty tome that will take some commitment to finish in full. Fortunately, you don’t need to read the whole thing if you’re really only interested in, say, needles.

She’s on Top
This is one book that took me a while to page through, but once I did I was hooked. As the name suggests, this collected erotic works between the covers deal with female domination and male submission. If that sounds up your alley, add She’s on Top to your bookshelf.

The Worst Sex Toys of 2016

Layaspot, Desire clitoral vibe and Siri 2

Lovehoney’s Desire didn’t measure up to other clitoral vibes

Lovehoney Desire Clitoral Vibrator
The next item on this list is another clitoral vibrator that just didn’t do it for me. Although Lovehoney pulled out all the stops when it came to product and packaging design, the Desire clitoral vibrator still fell short.

And it’s almost entirely because of the lackluster vibrations. I wanted to love it, but lusting over a sex toy ultimately doesn’t lead to satisfaction. (The same is true for people, as I learned this year.)

Ooh by Je Joue Pebble Attachment
Okay, so I didn’t actually review this. And there’s a reason. After enjoying the What Happens in Vegas Kit, I shelled out my own money to by the clitoral attachment. I almost never do that.

So you can imagine my disappointment when it just didn’t work for me. My increasingly-arthritic fingers just couldn’t grasp the toy without discomfort in short time. Despite the enjoyable vibrations in the small motor, the attachment shape didn’t allow for the pressure that I usually enjoy.

Ah, well, lesson learned.

Minna kGoal
Let me sum up my experience in short. I guess do not have the typical anatomy of women, because inserting and removing of this kegel exerciser was fucking hell. Seriously.

Then, there were problems with Bluetooth and accounts. I was only ever able to use it successfully a few times, and I quickly became sick of having to wipe all that lube off my hands.

The folks at Minna were helpful, but it was simply too much trouble to try and try again. The feedback provided by kGoal is useful and the concept worthy, but this product was not ready for release.

Let’s hope Minna does better with their upcoming make kegel exerciser.

I know this post is a bit late, but I certainly hope you find it useful. Just going through my archives showed how few sex toy reviews I’d written in the past year, so I have already taken steps to rectify that by reaching out to companies who might be in need of reviews.

2017 will have more things to choose from and, hopefully, more sex toys that I actually like!

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Minna’s kGoal Kegel Exerciser and Its 4 Fatal Flaws

January 3rd, 2017

You’re not going to find many negative reviews of Minna’s kGoal, and I think that’s because it works for most people. But it didn’t work for me. Not technologically. Not shapewise. Not at all, and I think it’s important for people who have similar bodies and preferences as me to know what they’re getting into. Because what they want is a smart toy that helps them exercise their PC muscles, not an exercise in frustration.

By now, you all know that kGoals uses Bluetooth to connect to your device. It contains sensors that measure the strength, and the app (for Android and iOS) includes “games” to help you get your reps in without boring to death.

But there are a few problems with kGoals.

1. Bluetooth

Any wireless technology struggles with physical barriers. It’s why pretty much any remote-controlled vibrator is terrible, why WiFi signals decreases the further you are from the router and why cell reception is so difficult to find in rural areas.

Your body is a pretty big physical impediment to wrap directly around a Bluetooth-enabled device, and I quickly found this out with the kGoal. It works best when you connect before insertion, which makes sense. But sometimes even that wouldn’t work. And while some of my devices would connect, not all of them would.

Once it was connected — and I only had it connected successfully during insertion twice tops — the connection is prone to drop because of these same issues. Of course, you’ll need to drop your phone, remove the toy, clean lube from your fingers, reconnect the device, reinsert it and get back into position. It’s a fucking hassle.

2. Random Account Issues

I cannot explain how awesome Minna was at answering my questions. When I attempted to use kGoal with my new phone — because my mmold one doesn’t turn on —  I couldn’t even sign in. There was some account error, and they told me to sign up again.

Of course, this would lose any information I had from my previous account, meager as it were. If this problem persists, then it could wipe out a lot of user data between devices.

Also, I’m pretty sure I’m still waiting on an email and can’t even log in soooo =/

3. Shape and Size

Listen, I know that my pubic bone doesn’t run exactly the same as other women. It’s why I don’t need very much of a curve for G-spot stimulation and why the Pure Wand totally didn’t work for me. It’s also why most kegel balls are too damn large and feel pinchy.

Now, you also need to understand the design of the kGoal to understand why it also won’t work for my anatomy. The kGoal looks like a dual stimulator, and the arms are quite flexible from one another with the external part being rather flat.

The insertable portion is coated in essentially a balloon of silicone that expands with air and compresses with force (of your vagina or hand). It feels more similar to the Minna Ola than the Limon.

There’s a very narrow shaft in this, but the head is rounded and very firm beneath the silicone. It is also huge. I mean, it shouldn’t be. I’ve taken larger cocks and toys, but they weren’t rigid.

Minna’s kGoal always hurts going in and it gets stuck behind my pubic bone when I want the damned thing out. I know that Minna tried that damnedest to work with the actual human body, but we’re not all identical.

Unfortunately, I think you’re not going to know whether this works for you until you try it but if you have a similarly pronounced pubic bone as I do, I might advise against the financial and physical risk you’re taking with kGoal.

4. Vibration

I don’t know. They say it’s supposed to be pleasurable. Maybe the pitiful vibration would be better for someone who didn’t feel like the crotch was in a Chinese finger trap/lobster claw/C clamp (choose your metaphor).

You can use the thing for pleasure or for exercise without the app, but it really takes away from the innovation and usefulness if you’re just relying on the vibration.

So once you get it inserted, if you can get comforted and connected, you open up the app and play some games. There are two simple games that requires squeezing to accomplish tasks. “Game” might even be giving them more credit than they deserve. Activities? Regardless, it’s harder than you might think, and it’s great for giving you feedback about how you use your PC muscles.

You set goals for how often you want to work out, and the app will remind you. These are all pretty good features.

But the problem with kGoal is there are so many damn “ifs” to get to that point, and it’s difficult to pinpoint how to minimize them. I cannot in good conscience recommend a toy this costly with so many risks.

Does kGoal sound like something you’d like? Are you okay with a really innovative and costly paperweight? If so, buy it. If not, buy anything else.

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No. 17 Bendable Twist Waterproof Silicone Vibrator by Black Door

November 4th, 2016

I wish there was a sufficiently succinct way to describe toys-that-I-won’t-call-worthless-because-they-work-for-clitoral-stimulation-but-I-intended-to-use-them-internally. I mean, that’s pretty long-winded.

Long, too, is the list of toys that fit this. Their shape or vibrations just don’t do it for my G-spot, but the shape generally works well enough to provide me with a clitoral orgasm. I tend to be lenient about these things because shape is so important for me clitorally.

However, a toy that doesn’t do what it’s intended to isn’t worth much, and that alone should prevent me from recommending a toy. If a sex toy provides its expected function in addition to being versatile, that’s worth commending.

So why am I so often looking for ways to give positives to toys that otherwise don’t meet expectations? Perhaps I am looking for a way to say “At least I didn’t waste my time (or money).”

Let me waste no more of your time ranting about disappointing toys in general. Let’s talk about one toy that’s disappointing yet strangely intriguing — No. 17 Bendable Twist Waterproof Silicone Vibrator by Black Door.

So, this new line by Black Door consists of velvety soft silicone. I enjoy the texture of the No 17, which is part of the reason the slightly curved head works so well clitorally. It is reminiscent of the heads on several Fun Factory toys, including Patchy Paul.

But the real selling point of this vibrator is that it bends. This isn’t the first toy to bend. JeJoue’s G Ki comes to mind. This toy was supposed to help you get perfect G-spot stimulation by allowing you to customize the angle of the bend

No. 17 Bendable Twist Vibrator has a flexible core that doesn’t rely on specific “joints.” It feels more like posable dolls limbs, which I hope won’t freak you out. The intended result, as far as I can tell, was to be able to create a custom shape for your body.

Herein lies the problem. This flexibility means you can ben it any which way (well, within reason), but it also means it doesn’t stay in place. For example, using it for clitoral stimulation tend to make it bend backward. I think rigorous thrusting internally could do the same; although, I didn’t do much thrusting with the No. 17 Bendable Twist Waterproof Silicone Vibrator by Black Door.

I found myself try to bend it once inserted to get dual stimulation, but couldn’t achieve an S-shape to get proper clitoral stimulation. I found that it hurt to bend while inserted, so I would try to bend it partially with my hands before insertion, then finish the job once it was inserted.

While the No. 17 Bendable Twist Waterproof Silicone Vibrator by Black Door was bent into a C/U shape, I was able to squirt by using a sort of rocking motion. I’m sure the toolbox-like texture (like this) helped, but it wasn’t a fantastic sensation. The vibrations are just so weak, you almost can’t tell if they’re buzzy or deep. It’s.. odd. This is because the toy runs on 2AAAs. It’s 2016 guys, get with the program!

It’s 2016 guys, get with the program! There are rechargeable vibrators that are worth the price for for well under $100 (Cuddle comes to mind), and even a few just slightly more expensive than this one that are rechargeable with stronger motors.

This brings me to my next gripe. I actually two of these vibrators because it took me several weeks to get one to work. As it turns out, the No. 17 Bendable Twist Waterproof Silicone Vibrator by Black Door doesn’t like rechargeable batteries. I’m not sure if this is the case with the entire line, but it’s worth noting if you suspect your toy is defective. Try regular batteries instead.

This might not be a deal-breaker for a vibrator that I loved, but I don’t. It is frustrating if you rely on rechargeable batteries and don’t tend to keep regular AAAs around. To be honest, it kind of seems unacceptable in this day and age. I’m not sure what’s happening technologically-speaking that would make the difference, but it’s not cool.

Even worse, I tried to contact the company to get some heads up, and no one replied. That’s pretty shitty. Fortunately, the folks at SheVibe were on the ball. Anyway..

The controls seem remarkably dated as well. There’s a single button in the handle, which is triangular and actually preferable to some other looped handles I’ve used in the past (I’m talking about you Alia and Big Boss). You can cycle through the settings or hold it to turn off the toy, but there’s nothing “smart” about this vibrator.

I guess that leaves me scratching my head or, more likely, posting flummoxed tweets. The toy tries to do something new but doesn’t have a solid foundation to back it up. Not everyone would love a bendable vibe, and some people would prefer bending toys like the G-ki versus the No. 17, but there are people who would be intrigued by this concept. And I really think they should be offered something better than this.

SheVibe

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BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism

October 31st, 2016

One of my goals this year was to read more, and I’m poised to finish about three dozen books by the end of 2016, which is a number with which I am quite happy. Few of these books are “assigned” reading a la reviews, and most of them actually aren’t about sex. I wanted to branch out into hard science and nonerotic fiction, so few of the titles on my bookshelf or Kindle were related to sex.

As you can guess, BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism doesn’t break that mold, but it does stand apart from other books that I’ve read this year.

Now, I am no stranger to BDSM books. You can check out my reviews for As Kinky as You Wanna Be, Decoding Your Kink: Guide to Explore Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires, and S&M 101, among others. There are even a few in there that I forgot. BDSM: A Guide is not one that I will soon forget.

Part of this is because it’s a tome of a book. With over 600 pages, it might be the longest book I’ve read this year — or during the past several. There is a wealth of information provided by the author Ayzad.. if you’ve the time to peer between the pages. I do think this book could be intimidating to some because of its size and other reasons, which I will touch on later.

First, let me introduce you to Azad, an Italian and self-proclaimed pretentious European who wrote the first version of this book over a decade ago. Ayzad’s experience and connections have resulted in something that could be described as the ultimate BDSM textbook. If it’s not in this book, it’s either urban legend, frowned upon by conscientious kinksters or has been invented since this summer.

The original Italian book has been translated and updated for the world at large, and I was fortunate to review a copy on my Kindle. As you can imagine, a 500+ page book is one that could easily become overwhelming. I recommend the Kindle version not just for ease of searchability but also because it’s about half the price of the soft cover on Amazon and, I would imagine, a sure bit lighter!

I don’t normally comment on Kindle formatting, and there’s nothing terribly wrong with BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism, but a lack of numbered chapters — both within the table of contents and the pages themselves — makes it a bit hard to determine where you are in the book. A bit of tweaking with the different headings would also aid this, but it’s certainly not the biggest thing that would prevent someone from picking up this book.

BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism is, well, daunting. If you read the original, want a complete BDSM library or only want to read a single book on the subject ever, then this one is for you. On the other hand, I might recommend something a bit more specific to readers who are already well-versed in BDSM but wanted to learn more about a particular niche or something more accessible for those who are new to the subject or perhaps unsure whether BDSM is for them.

Ayzad doesn’t coddle his readers, and I must admit that I agree with when he describes himself as pretentious. Initially, this was offputting, but there is no doubt that the usefulness of this book overshadows that eventually.

As a resource, BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism stands head and shoulders above other BDSM publications and certainly above most things you’ll see online (where many people are seeking answers to specific BDSM questions). I’ve written guides myself, but this book delves far deeper than typical BDSM activities and terms, introducing the reader to ideas that they never knew they wanted to try (or perhaps never realized they wanted to avoid!).

Indeed, Ayzad lists potentially dangerous activities such as choking out of due diligence, even while advising against them. He goes beyond a quick warning not to flog a person’s kidneys and provides ample advice for dealing with a scene gone wrong. In short, Ayzad emphasizes safety and consent in such a manner that shames traditional sex education for a lack thereof.

Ayzad includes a level of detail that’s not merely impressive. It’s almost magnificent. You can see this in charts, which explain to the reader just how much weight certain body parts can hold, how to care for BDSM implements of different materials, the effect of electricity on the body, and how much saline solution you can inject into various body parts. You can easily learn basic knots and how to create rope harnesses (not to mention the difference between Eastern and Western rope bondage) from the words and photos in these pages despite the fact that it’s just one element of BDSM.

BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism isn’t dry, however. Stunning photos are peppered throughout the pages; although, positioning might be a little less than ideal if you use custom font sizes on your Kindle as I do.

The photos themselves are not the only thing that will arouse a reader’s mind. If you’re into any particular kink, this book will likely have your heart beating faster when you discover the section that’s closest to your deviant heart. For me, that was reading about needles, which I found particularly inspiring. Ayzad writes in a way that I imagine could inspire creativity in most readers who have a serious interest in BDSM. I found it difficult not to imagine myself shopping in a medical supply store looking for items that could be perverted for this very purpose.

There is such a wealth of information that Ayzad frequently refers the reader to his website to learn more (you’d be hard-pressed to find a more comprehensive list of BDSM websites than in the resources section), and I often found myself performing quick searches when I would discover something new (such as what a tawse is). I must admit humility upon learning how much there was yet to know about BDSM. In fact, he tries to introduce the reader to the Internet and the role it plays in learning about BDSM and finding like-minded individuals and partners. This is a worthy cause but seems a little futile to me given how frequently the Internet changes. The best place to

This is a worthy cause but seems a little futile to me given how frequently the Internet changes. The best place to read about using the Internet is simply online. These final pages seemed rush and lacking in the detailed information found previously in the book probably because of these the ever-changing nature of the Internet.

I’ll wrap this review up because, while nowhere near the length of BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism, it’s certainly lengthy. There is little this book doesn’t touch on that falls under the umbrella of bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism. If you’re all at all familiar, some of the content may be redundant, which is why I recommend the Kindle version for ease of use.

For those people who are unsure about BDSM or need a friendlier tone, I might recommend As Kinky As You Wanna Be to pique your interest and quell any worries you have about consensual BDSM.. before eventually adding BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism to your collection if it felt lacking.

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Cloud 9 Pro Sensual Warm Touch Silicone Rechargeable Vibrator

September 1st, 2016

If there’s something I dislike more than trying really, incredibly hard and long to get off and failing to do so, it might be having to write about a toy that I would describe as “Meh.” I’m several hundred toys into my sex-toy-reviewing, er, career, and this increasingly happens despite that fact that I am now reviewing fewer toys than ever.

These two things go hand in hand, as I’ve discussed before. When I have little or nothing to say about the toy, you practically have to pry the secret from my brain via physical surgery like the mice wanted to do to Arthur Dent in H2G2. I digress just a bit.

So.. this is your introduction to the Cloud 9 Pro Sensual Warm Touch Silicone Rechargeable Vibrator, which you may never have heard of before. Even if you did, you might have forgotten about it given that the name seems more of a random assortment of words than a strong branding choice.Cloud 9 seems to be the new kid on the block, and they’ve got everything from basic

Cloud 9 seems to be the new kid on the block, and they’ve got everything from basic G-spot wands to kegel balls to heated, rechargeable vibrators. Once upon a time, this might have knocked my socks off, you know, if I even kept them on during masturbation (I am not that kind of heathen, after all). It’s still enough to draw my attention, and that’s how I wound up with this vibrator in my hands courtesy of SheVibe.

But making a rechargeable vibrator from silicone and well under the $100 price range is no longer difficult. Lovelife does it, and while their Cuddle may not heat up, it won over several reviewers/bloggers, myself included. But I digress.. again.

The Cloud 9 Pro Sensual Warm Touch Silicone Rechargeable Vibrator is one that shares similarities with many toys. The controls and heating function are similar to Svakom Leslie. The general shape reminds me of a Lelo toy, but that can be said about most toys that are trying to be – or at least look – premium.

Two-button control panel

plus, the magnetic charger reminds me of many Fun Factory toys. Cloud 9 might actually have the leg up because instead of just two contact points, there’s an ellipse groove into which the charger sits, making it more stable and providing more consistent contact during charging.

It’s not exactly like the other toys, however. While for Leslie and this sex toy take a while to warm up, The Cloud 9 vibrator does eventually become noticeably warm, warmer than Svakom’s Leslie. The description says it gets over 100 degrees F. In fact, some people might find the amount of heat to be too much. Of course, you can turn it off, but you can’t adjust it. Perhaps that will be a feature we see in similar toys in the future.

Unlike Lelo, the tip is quite squishy. The entire shaft is much squishier, actually. You might prefer this to those toys with thin layers of silicone that are mostly rigid. It may even make someone a good clitoral vibrator, but it was less than stellar for me personally.

I think I need more deep and strong vibrations or a toy with a shape that juts out in some way to be useful clitorally. This vibrator has quite buzzy vibrations that tickle my hand and leave my clit feeling a little “numb” after use — not because they’re so strong but because of how shallow they are.

I always find that toys with buzzy vibrations have lackluster modes. How can a pulsation feel good if it’s just not deep enough? This can be said for the Cloud 9 Pro Sensual Warm Touch Silicone Rechargeable Vibrator, sadly.

Overall, the Cloud 9 vibrator lacks bells and whistles. It’s got a gentle curve and is coated in soft silicone. But there’s no defined hook or bulge for G-spot stimulation. I don’t typically require texture, but I did finhas quite buzzy d the lack on this toy to be underwhelming.

This fact that it’s got 5 insertable inches and a 1.5-inch diameter kind of adds to this feeling. It’s just so.. middle of the road.

To be fair, it’s a decent, rechargeable vibrator made of soft silicone for less than $60. But unless you’re dying to try a heated toy or don’t own a single rechargeable, internal vibrator, I can’t see why anyone would rush out for one. I mean, you don’t have to. SheVibe can ship it right to your house complete with awesome box art. But I’d hate for that the be the best thing about the package you receive in the mail.

SheVibe

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Embrace G Wand

August 11th, 2016

Do you know what California Exotics is good at? It’s not really making amazing sex toys; although, you certainly could argue that the company is pretty good at churning them out. Henry Ford would be proud.

No, I think California Exotics is good at some other things, including:

  • Being late to the gate (rechargeable toys and silicone)
  • Designing toys that look premium and charging slightly less for them than those who did it first
  • ..but ultimately disappointing me

The Embrace line pretty much embodies all of these frustrations, and I should know better by now. This isn’t even the first toy I’ve tried from the line!

So you probably wanna know why I tried another one? I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment.

Okay, there’s at least one improvement over the G Wand from the Beloved Wand: it’s rechargeable and doesn’t just use AAA batteries. This should be a win, but if you thought that means it’s any stronger, well, you’re wrong. Probably. I no longer have the Beloved wand in my collection, but I can absolutely confirm that the power output of the G Wand isn’t what I expected because, you guys, there are three fuckin’ motors in here.

There’s one in the bulbous portion of the shaft, one in the neck and one between the clitoral nub and handle. The latter two are definitely smaller and weaker, but I can distinctly feel them in the setting that simply goes through each motor separately. But the overall impression on the steady vibration modes is just bland.

Seriously, though. It’s been a while since I’ve used a toy that just felt so “meh.” It’s odd because it feels stronger and deeper in my hand. The higher setting is noticeably buzzier, but it feels like it should do a decent job once inserted. It doesn’t, though. It may be the way the silicone absorbs the vibrations.

The G wand having a much more drastic curve than the Beloved wand. It reminds me of my Rondo, which I still have somewhere. In fact, I think the curve combined with the handle made it look like it would please me, and that was one of the main draws.

But I haven’t had a ton of success with G-spot wands that share this general shape. I’ve liked some, including the aforementioned Rondo and a toy by Ophoria. You may recall that I didn’t like the Pure Wand or the Comet, however, and many women have found those to be excellent G-spotters. To be fair, the Embrace G Wand is going to be a better tool for G-spot stim if you like those curves; although, there’s more flexibility than the Comet. So you may not be able to get a lot of intense play out of it.

To be fair, the Embrace G Wand is going to be a better tool for G-spot stim if you like those curves; although, there’s more flexibility than the Comet. So you may not be able to get a lot of intense play out of it.

As for the shaft, my favorite part was the rounded head, which I found to work decently for clitoral stimulation. However, the clitoral nub on the base of the shaft didn’t do it for me. In order to get it into the right position, the inner portion of the toy would cause pain. And the three ridges on the clitoral stimulator didn’t do it for me, anyway.

Is there anything I did like? I like the layout of buttons, which were easy to find. A single button switches through the seven settings (and powers the toy on/off), and each has six speeds. The other two turn the intensity up or down. I find it strange that the toy would start on the middle setting, however. It makes me think you’ll have a lot more power than you actually do. Who starts on medium and goes back down, anyway? But I was trying to be kind..

The loop in the handle was just big enough for a single finger, which I foud more useful than a toy whose loop is just shy of fitting two fingers. It feels pretty natural to slip my index finger through the hole and press buttons with my thumb.

It’s waterproof and recharges via USB. It’s not all that loud, so I might recommend it to someone who was looking for a vibrator of this shape but wanted more flexibility than the Comet and similar toys offer.

As for me? I really can’t quite put my finger on why the Embrace G Wand seems so lackluster. It has a less severe curve than toys that I really dislike, and the flexibility means I should at least be able to work with it. Perhaps I need to give it another go ’round before I toss it in the swap drawer. I’m just not looking forward to it.

SheVibe

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Decoding Your Kink: Guide to Explore Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires

June 28th, 2016

Sometime last year — I really need to catch up with reviews! — I was presented with an opportunity to review Decoding Your Kink: Guide to Explore Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires by Galen Fous. The entire theme of the book is something that I think is not only helpful but is necessary for those who are discovering their kinky selves, especially people who are struggling with this fact either because of their upbringing or because their relationships don’t have room for kink.

It’s not the first time I’ve reviewed a book about discovering your kinky self, so I was curious how Galen Fous would handle it differently than other authors, especially with his history as a mental health professional.

Very shortly into the book, Galen name drops a survey on his website, and he does this multiple times thereafter. He also links to his Fetlife account, lecture series, personal website, and his professional website. While I commend Galen for actually utilizing hyperlinks in his digital book, the significance of the survey is unclear.

At first, it almost seems as if it will reveal something about the user. It is simply a way got Galen to glean information about sexuality from readers and visitors. Don’t get me wrong. I think this is important, and what better place to encourage users to vocalize than in Galen’s own book?

However, the numerous mentions imply there’s a greater usefulness to the reader. This is especially true in the chapter that discusses personal erotic myths at length. At the end, Galen tells the reader to find their own PEM and directs them to the survey, but it’s never clear how the survey will be helpful in doing so. Fous never says “Imagine the story that is so erotic to you that it never fails to get you off. Imagine the role you play in your fantasies and how power and kink play into it.” Although there is a small section in the survey that asks the reader to consider this, the book itself leaves the reader wondering.

At times, Decoding Your Kink almost seems like a vehicle manufactured entirely as a vehicle to get more responses (and clicks to his site). At best, readers deserve better and it’s mildly annoying. But I can see this turning off a reader enough for them to put down the book.

My second major concern is Fous’ use of the term “fetishsexuality,” which he has coined and introduces as a sexual orientation alongside straight, gay, bisexual, so on and so forth. It rubs me wrong for several reasons. There’s no doubt that living in a society that fails to be sex positive is difficult for any kinkster, myself included, but it does a disservice to those who have fought to marry and have been murdered to simply invent a sexual orientation like this. Furthermore, one can be a kinkster combined with any of those sexual orientations, and many people are fetish-inclined without it being a necessity in the bedroom.

Finally, I think someone who is really struggling with accepting this part of their identity might find this new term to be confusing. Baby steps, you know? Let’s open up their eyes to fetishes and how they can be awesome and positive without adding new definitions that are not (yet) wildly accepted.

But let me sing some praise for Decoding Your Kink. I think it’s important that a mental health professional is sex positive and kink positive. I think it’s important for those with kinks and fetishes to recognize that those sexual interests are not necessarily unhealthy. They can be enjoyed, and they may not be shamed for having those fetishes.

Anyone who encourages kinksters to be honest to themselves is doing important work. Galen goes one further by collecting data and trying to develop a treatment model for those clients who seek help but don’t need their kinks treated as problematic or symptomatic of an issue.

Galen’s own kinks might make the reader feel more comfortable. He speaks honestly about topics such as physical (not sexual) touch with his clients, especially men who might be disconnected with their bodies and who may not experience positive physical interaction other than sex.

I did find the chapter on Erotic Mythos to be interesting and potentially useful, too. A personal erotic myth is essentially a sexual personality, and Galen outlines a few archetypes: King/Queen, Tyrant, Lord, Daddy, daughter, etc. In this section, the reader becomes familiar with stories of a few clients whose “personal erotic myths” followed a specific erotic myth fairly closely. Galen also talks about how important it can be to find a partner whose erotic myth complements our own.

Fous also treads carefully on the subject of bringing up your kinks to your partners, negotiating and potentially finding satisfaction of your fetishes outside of your relationship. Similarly, he explains the difference between D/s and BDSM and the interplay between kink and romance in a way that can help to

Yet all these positives don’t manage to make me forget about the strengths. There are places where Fous lacks clarity and flexibility. As I finished the last page, I felt somewhat let down. I think because the title “Decoding Your Kink” implies a book that will be hands-on and provide the reader a way to deal with their own struggle in regards to sexual identity. But at the end of the day, the words within these pages serve more as a general insight into Fous’ research and work with clients while providing a way for him to glean more data.

Again, I find this all interesting but it’s not what I expected to get from this book. I am mildly annoyed at this fact because I am not in the middle of a struggle myself, but someone who is, someone who picks up this book looking for answers, is unlikely to find them in a clear way that encourages action. For them, I would suggest As Kinky As You Wanna Be instead of Decoding Your Kink: Guide to Explore Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires/

 

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