Learn Something New About Sex Toys Today

December 22nd, 2016

It’s no mystery that sex toys are something I love, and that’s a love that I try to share with others, both through this blog and in my offline life. Sex toys have enabled me to climax easier, squirt, have fun with partners and discover new erogenous zones, among other benefits. Sex toys = good.

When you’re as experienced with sex toys as a reviewer like myself can be, you can forget that once sex toys were new. This meant the entire concept was novel and exciting. And to some people, the entire thing is intimidating or confusing.

I’m not the only person to write guides to choosing sex toys, navigating materials and playing safely. In fact, I may not even have done the best job at those tasks. Many retailers off in-depth guides that make it easier to search for toys, whether you’re searching for yourself or for someone on your list. The result? Better-informed shoppers who will stand the best chance at liking their orders and shopping again, duh.

Lyps Complete Toy Guide, for example, not only points you in the direction of the best toys for your body and your relationship; the site also discusses sex toy materials, safety and cleaning.

In twelve chapters, the guide walks buyers through everything technical and personal they’ll need to know about buying and using sex toys, including general masturbation tips. You’ll find charts and statistics about everything sex toy related. Not too shabby if you’re set on learning everything – and why wouldn’t you be? If you just need to brush on something that you’ve forgotten, such as lube compatibility, then this guide has you covered, too.


One of the things about the Lyps guide that I really like is that they recommend other online retailers because it’s more important for the guide to be useful than it is for it to be exclusive, and that’s a rare thing to find these days. Communication and cooperation between retailers, manufacturers and bloggers, of course, is the only way to spread information — and accurate information at that.

It’s all too easy to think you know it all or forget the little details or basic information that comes easily to a veteran blogger but might be crucial to a toy newbie who hasn’t found their stride, so part of providing useful information is listening to what others have to say and responding in kind.

Anyway, if you haven’t yet, check out the Lyps sex toy guide as well as the articles on Of Sex and Love. Got a question or thought? Sound off in the comments. I’d love to teach you something new or, better yet, learn something new myself!


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/


1 Comment

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.