Gballs 2

April 19th, 2018

I first got in contact with Gvibe because I like that they create a smart Kegel exerciser. Now, if you remember my issues with Minna’s kGoal (tl;dr: it hurt like hell and connection was shoddy), you might be surprised that I’d be willing to try another one of this device. I’m a god damn hero, am I right?

But I could immediately tell that Gballs (technically Gballs 2) were smaller, and I counted on this being more comfortable. I was right (duh!). The vaguely hourglass-shape is definitely smaller (both more narrow and shorter) than the kGoal as well as most traditional Keg

el balls. It’s definitely manageable in a way that I don’t have a ton of experience with. My pubic bone just seems to get in the way. Gballs are simply a better fit.

One way this impacts my experience is that I only need one hand to insert Gballs. I needed to fucking wrestling kGoal into my vagina with both hands. This meant I had to touch my phone to connect, wash hands, insert, wash my hands, then waddle my way into my bedroom where I could lie down, relax and control the device. With Gballs, I pop them in with one hand, meaning I can keep one hand on my phone and use the other, if necessary, to adjust the toy. I don’t get bacteria from my phone near my vagina, and my phone stays lube-free. I far prefer this to all the obnoxious sex toys that rely on apps and two hands.

Gvibe makes up for this small size by making the retrieval chord also function as an antenna (it’s coated in silicone as is the device itself). It’s fairly long, and I think this is why. This is pretty smart IMO. Where I had issues with initial connectivity, turning on the kGoal and getting it to connect, Gballs connected nearly immediately and the connection is more stable (but imperfect, which I will touch on in a while).

Another difference comes by way of the mechanism that measures the strength of your PC muscles. Minna decided on a sort of inflatable-ballon that your muscles squeeze. With Gballs, there’s a small, pressure-sensitive dimple above the power button. I can easily feel and stimulate it (and sometimes accidentally hit it when I am simply holding the toy) with my fingers. I’ve had little issue with it reading pressure from my vag muscles, either. Although, I spent the first few times adjusting the position a bit – insert more, tug on the cord just a bit – to find the right fit. Now, it seems to slide more easily into place.

I’d like to move away from the comparisons between these two devices, however. This isn’t a scathing review of kGoal. I’ve already written one of those. But neither are the Gballs perfect. My issues are pretty much all with the app, Magic Kegel, so let’s go down that rabbit hole.

My first complaint is probably just that there’s so much going on. After launching it, I’m greeted by prompts to set up my account and go through a tutorial. There’s actually a medal for this tutorial that I’ve somehow not earned because it disconnected fairly quickly. I didn’t realize this immediately, however.

When disconnected, the app shows a redheaded avatar, ostensibly to match the voice that walks you through your training. I suggest you keep this one the first time you use Magic Kegel with your Gballs – but only the first time!

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If you want to get a move on, select the training tab. There’s a “Courses” button in the top left that lets you select one of six categories: Entry Level, Honeymoon, Planning a Baby, New Mom, Muscle Recovery, and Hot Lover. Yea, the ones that are relationship-centric are a little icky, but I get it. Now, all of these icons are grey, which is honestly a weird UI choice. Greyed-out options indicate “Locked” to me, and I’d imagine many others. What it actually means in Magic Kegel is “Not Selected.” Once you select a course and an intensity level (entry through master), the icon will become colored. And when a course and level is selected, you can simply hit the Play button from the Training screen before subsequent workouts without having to select a course again.

Each level has descriptions to help you decide what to go with but, they’re not great. A lot of the text in Magic Kegel feels as though it’s written by someone to who is not quite fluent in English. I understand it, but it’s awkward. And it’s potentially offensive. The Honeymoon category is described as follows;

For women who have average sexual experience, sit long hours (for example, in the office), don’t do sports or overweight. This course can help to overcome vaginal and pelvic floor muscles sag. Daily exercises can strengthen and tone muscles of vaginal canal and increase the blood flow to the genital area.

Like I said.. awkward. And equating body size to the strength of your PC muscles makes little sense. Kegels aren’t going to slim your body, and you can do them sitting??? Plus, athletic might give zero fucks about the tone of their PC muscles before using this app.

Aside from that, Magic Kegel relies on sexual experience as a metric for choosing your course too much. “Hot Lover” describes having three years of sexual experience, but I just can’t buy this. Even assuming that sexual experience means penetration (as if there can only be one, rigid definition of sex – ha!), does this affect the tone of your PC muscles? I shouldn’t think so, but I will gladly be proven wrong. And over the course of that time, sex can be inconsistent, anyway. This isn’t really a helpful descriptor, IMO.

Anyway, I recommend using the voice controls for the first time because you’ll hear the woman’s voice telling you when to contract and relax. There’s an on-screen bar that fills in green when you should contract, but this wasn’t initially clear because there’s also an overall timer for each set (between 60 and 90 seconds usually), but there’s a lot of padding around the sets. The timer also occasionally lags. Once you understand this, sound is totally unnecessary.

Each workout has four sets. These sets can vary in length and reps between the courses, but they’re the same within a specific level of specific course, but the reps are always repeated four times per each course. You’ll also have both long and short contractions. There’s are several three-second breaks in each set to give your muscles time to relax, but it bothers the hell out of me that these come at irregular intervals according to the timer.

An example workout might be 3 long squeezes, 3-second break, 5 short squeezes, 3-second break, 3 long squeezes. Repeat three more times. Four reps are required for the app to consider your workout for that course complete, and the sets are counted after they’re finished.

As you complete those workouts, a green circle will begin building around the workout icon, measuring your goal to completion. The progress bar moves slowly. I’ve stuck to Entry Level just to push it further, and I’m about 1/8th of the way around the circle after five or so sessions.

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I’ve mentioned before that you can earn medals, and this progress bar is one of them. You’ll see achievements under the Me tab, and there are a few beginner levels that I knocked out easily enough (there’s one about a questionnaire that doesn’t seem to exist, but the folks at Gvibe plan to remove that). “Advance” medals are all about exercising streaks, starting with two days in a row and working up to three months straight. All the Lina medals are about the flower you can grow with your vagina. Yep, you read that right.

In the Statistics tab, you can see numeric statistics, or you can click another tab to see the flower you’re growing with your vagina. Mine’s at level 7 and looking pretty healthy. It’s jumped a level if not two during each workout. This is cute but silly and easily ignored. If Gvibe wants to make this a more significant feature, I don’t see why they can’t add a little plant icon to the training screen, so you can see it in real-time.

This screen also includes your current bean count. I am not entirely sure how that works with level but was totally confused at first because it looks nothing at all like a bean and there’s no contextual information. Beans help you unlock fun features, which are essentially vibration modes. I can see they’re trying to further gamify the app and toy with this but am not personally interested in these unlockables. (They’re just one of the extraneous functions of the app to me, including links to other Gvibe products and a blurb about the company. There’s a menstrual calendar that might be useful to come, but I am perplexed that they don’t recommend using it during your period. Why??)

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Of course, the numbered stats are what interest me more. Logging on shows today’s data, if any and that of your last workout. Magic Kegel tracks workout length, endurance, strength, control ability, and initial rating. The system uses a 0-100 scale for this evaluation, and I started in the 60s and have progressed to the 80s. However, the numbers always have a measurement “M” behind them, as in 67M. It doesn’t correlate with any actual measurement, so I think a % would offer clarity. Honestly, I’d rather have a specific measurement than an arbitrary scale.

Now, the stats are what someone like me really wants (and I’ll tell you about my progress a bit later on), but they’re also frustrating. If your Gballs disconnect during a workout, you lose your stats. There were days where I had stats show up in the tab despite the toy disconnecting from the app, but those stats were reset to 0 when I signed in the next day. I definitely don’t think I am seeing all my data from before, which is frustrating. It does appear that stats may only fill in when your device is depicted. With my app disconnected, I can only see the length of workouts and none of the other stats.

This is where I have to talk about the app disconnecting. When everything is working right, you connect the Gballs to your phone, pop them in, and start a course. Aside from the guiding voice, the Gballs vibrate to instruct you to squeeze. However, if they only vibrate once you’ve started squeezing, you’re disconnected, and that’s just the pressure gauge making the balls vibrate when you contract.

Another thing you’ll see on-screen is a little birdy flying in the sky. When you squeeze, he moves closer to the clouds. This correlates to that o-100 scale. There’s often lag, and Magic Kegel becomes laggier the longer I use the app. It’s almost in real-time during the first few reps but slows down as time moves on. It’ll get to the point that the birdie will remain in place when I am squeezing but erratically flutter up after I’ve relaxed. Occasionally, I see no bird at all. You can always follow the bar or voice, instead, but it’s a bit glitchy.

This lag also extends to the vibration that triggers your exercises. Occasionally, it starts after the bar. Sometimes, it doesn’t vibrate at all. At other times, you’ll get a really long vibration that’s out of sync with the app as it tries to catch up. You can ignore it, but it’s quite distracting. It’s better than no vibration at all, however.

When your device disconnects, the bird disappears and you again see the little avatar. The bar keeps moving, however. In the beginning, before I was comfortable with Magic Kegel, I didn’t catch this. I noticed the vibration but it was only in response to my contractions and not encouraging them. I thought I was completing the workout, but it wasn’t recording data. Now, I can catch the disconnect right away to reconnect and..

You don’t need to leave the workout to reconnect.

The rep counter overlays the connect button, but you can still press it to reconnect without leaving the workout. You can pause and exit, but it’s faster for me to just touch the button through this screen (I probably lose a bit of data as I skip a rep, though). I would actually prefer a pop-up that alerts me that my device has disconnected, auto-pauses the workout and allows me to reconnect. But being able to reconnect is better than nothing at all.

The app recommends lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. This is actually not super comfortable for me because I tend to flex my quads, and I think the main purpose is to keep your device connected to the Gballs. I’ve experimented with letting my legs rest on the bed while close, and the device sometimes disconnects, even if I keep the antenna/cord pulled up against my mons.

If you want to use the app with your Gballs, this position is probably the best.

But!

You don’t need to use the app.

Because of that pressure-sensitive spot, you can simply pop in the Gballs without connecting them and squeeze. When you do, it’ll vibrate. I don’t find this particularly pleasurable because the vibrations are on the weaker end and buzzy. You can adjust the intensity of them in the app, but I keep mine about midway. Honestly, I squirt pretty easily, and don’t want to do that when doing Kegels. Anyway, the vibe are hella useful feedback. Am I doing this right? Well, does it vibe? Yes. Otherwise, maybe you need to adjust position. Sure, this isn’t as specific as the feedback from the app itself, but it negates the need to keep one hand on your phone, anyway.

Furthermore, you can pop the Gballs in and use them while going through the courses on the app without connecting. This might be a good option if you’re struggling with Bluetooth. Then, the app just works as an instructor and helps you get in your reps. It won’t record your data, but you’re still getting in your workout.

I think you’ve got a pretty good idea of how the Gballs work with or without Magic Kegel, but I know what you all want to know:

Do the Gballs work??

I’ve noticed a distinct improvement in stats over time. Even just using it two days in a row shows greater control and strength on the second day. Interestingly, my initial strength is usually greater than my muscle strength at the end of the workout, and I can feel how much easier it is to squeeze during that first time. I’m not experiencing any soreness afterward, but it’s just harder to maintain that strength sometimes, especially during some workouts.

I haven’t been using the Gballs long or consistently enough to see if it’s affected anything (I have not sneezed over the last two weeks, I guess?!), and neither my orgasms or libido seems affected. In fact, on days when I’ve used the Gballs, I am far less likely to masturbate if I haven’t already done it because I’ve begun associating my vagina with work/a task. Similarly, I’ve never had more than one workout session a day (although, I usually do at least two workouts, especially as I was getting used to the app).

I’ll throw in a mention of battery at this point because I will soon be wrapping this up. My Gballs came charged, and I didn’t bother to see if I could charge them any further. I’ve used them for well over an hour at this point, and they’re still going. I am not sure what sort of indication the device or app will give me when it’s time to charge, but I imagine you can get quite a few workouts done because the Gballs do not vibrate continuously, only to trigger a contraction or in response to one, depending on whether the device is connected. The site says you can get up to 4 hours of working time, and I plan to update this when I need to charge.

The Gballs are a little smaller, a little cheaper, and a lot less frustrating than kGoal; although your mileage may vary. Perhaps the strongest commendation I can give the Gballs is that I can see myself continuing to use them after I’ve written this review, and I rarely do that with most sex toys. I was glad to shove my kGoal in a drawer and never have to look at it again.

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Fetish Fantasy Gold Ben-Wa Balls

August 18th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Smartballs (Black/Magenta)

July 10th, 2009

Smartballs

Smartballs

Smartballs have been reviewed a million times. Probably more. I can’t think of any toy which has been reviewed more. I actually cringe when I read another new review for them so I don’t want to inundate you with what you already know but I still wanted to try them for myself and PinkCherry provided them for me to do so.

In the event that you forgot or haven’t stumbled across one of those reviews, here’s a quick rundown: Elastomed (specially treated, non-porous elastomer), weighted, silicone retrieval cord, 0.3 lb, 4 1/2″ length, 4 1/2″ circumference, “ribbed”, dual-colour (with multiple colours available), vaginal exercisers with flexible connector which can be washed with soap/water or toy wash (but no boiling); made by Fun Factory (with Fun Factory’s standard packaging).

There are a couple things which are remarkable:

  • Smartballs are not round, they are actually oblong.
  • The connector is longer of that in the Luna Beads or K-Balls.
  • The combination of these things means a longer exerciser overall.
  • Different colours seem to offer differing amounts of stimulation via internal ‘vibrations.’
  • Smartballs offer the most stimulation via ‘vibration’ than either the Luna Beads or K-Balls.
  • Smartballs are also the heaviest which I consider no coincidence.
  • The retrieval cord is connected to the end of one ball, which is very points.
  • Silicone lube can be used.

There are also a few things I experienced:

  • Smartballs are more difficult to position than K-Balls. I needed to readjust them to find the right place for them to sit. If they were in a different position, they were uncomfortable, even painful. They also wanted to slip out more. I feel this is all due to the longer connector and oblong shape.
  • The ridges offered no help for insertion. My fingers were nowhere near there; however, insertion wasn’t so hard that I needed the ridges.
  • The ridges made no difference in sensation.
  • The retrieval cord on Smartballs is stiffer and more annoying than the cords on similar vagina balls.
  • Like all vaginal balls, the Smartballs push out tiny air “pockets” (queefs, I guess?) from the vagina. This can be annoying/distracting or may not affect you at all. I always have to get use to it, when I first put them in.
  • Although I could feel the inner vibrations more, they weren’t pleasurable. Furthermore, the shape of the balls didn’t work with my shape as well as the K-Balls. G-spot stimulation was little to none.
  • I was able to experience intense G-spot stimulation with one ball poised at the entrance to my vagina and a strong massager-style vibrator.
  • The pointy end where the cord is, fucking hurt/pinched!
  • Vaginal balls are not good for stationary activities.

My personal preference for kegel balls is not Fun Factory’s Smartballs. They are certainly well made but my specific shape and the oblong balls do not mix very well. I think all of my issues would be solved by making the Smartballs round and while I know every woman is different, I think that one improvement would make them more enjoyable for the majority of women.

It is of significance that Fun Factory has released a sort of Smartballs 2.0 with their Teneo Duo Smartballs. These exercisers do lack the painful, pointy place as the way the retrieval cord is connected has changed. However, they still appear to be oblong.

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Ophoria K-balls #10

May 29th, 2009

These Kegel exercisers remain in my top three nearly a decade later. Read on to find out more.

I feel it would be appropriate were this review accompanied by Tom Cruise singing “goodness, gracious, great balls of fire”. All silliness aside, Ophoria’s Smooth K-Balls are pretty great even if they’re not flaming (and that actually might be for the best). And now I can say I have balls.

Ophoria packaged the K-balls in a sleek pink and white box with some feminine details. It’s very modern and looks like a department store package so I could imagine it being sold retail in Younkers or something (is that reference too geographic? You could replace that with Macy’s). There’s a plastic window in front so you can see the pair of pink vaginal exercisers in all their glory. The balls themselves are not quite the same shade of pink as on the box; I think the box is a little prettier and the balls almost seem dull sometimes but it doesn’t detract from their use even if it sort of offends my sense of aesthetics.

Ophoria didn’t include a lot of information with their K-balls and they could expand on that. The box lets us know they’re 1000% silicone, non-porous, can be cleaned with soap and water and boasts of the strong stimulation and ergonomic design. The included instructions also serve as a product catalog. There are some generic instructions about not using any toys which appear broken, not submerging them or using them while menstruating. There are some good tips about how sex toys can transmit STDs and making sure to clean all crevices but not using brushes or abrasive solutions. There’s nothing in the way of how to get the best use out of this specific product.

So it might be a good thing that I’ve experienced kegel balls a time or two. In fact, you may remember my review of the Luna Beads and, to be honest, I wasn’t blown away. They weren’t very stimulating and I thought the whole concept of 2 weighted balls was hokey. Luckily, the K-balls are much more stimulating. In fact, I’d say I can even feel more movement from the inner balls – or “shakers” as the package calls them – in hand. I think the shakers might be a bit smaller but since the exterior is opaque, I don’t know for sure. The balls themselves are the same size at the Luna Beads, with a diameter of 1 3/8″ but the K-balls are slightly longer.

Speaking of the exterior, the pink K-balls have white-ish circle and triangle shapes. These shapes seem to be raised slightly but are only for looks as my vagina certainly can’t feel them. The hard silicone isn’t exactly smooth and has that typical, silicone texture which may make for more friction than smooth plastic but insertion was pretty easy with a little water-based lube. I find the second ball is always a little more difficult because I have to rely on the connecting material, which is flexible, to push up the higher ball. Once inserted, the balls don’t remain straight either; they sort of bunch up next to each other but it’s not uncomfortable (the lower ball will pop out, however, if they’re not situated correctly).

In fact, it’s the pleasurable stimulation I get from the K-balls which earns them a much higher rating than the Luna Beads. After initial insertion, the K-balls seem to rest directly against my G-spot and stimulate arousal. Since few toys have successfully and consistently stimulated my G-spot, this is quite the feat! I’m not sure if it’s the “vibration” of the inner balls, which I can feel (and even hear sometimes) or the exterior of the balls rubbing against my sensitive spots but the first minutes after insertion are always pleasurable.

I can definitely feel the “vibration”, too. I have a habit of doing this silly sort of ass-shaking move to make the K-balls vibrate (which I’m sure my husband would enjoy). This actually made me think that it might be a good idea to pop these in before going dancing! These ease of popping these in before any activity or even if you have nothing planned is appealing. And, even if the K-balls don’t strengthen my muscles, they feel good and being able to feel the vibration reminds me to do my Kegels here and there. I tend to pop them in before taking walks and do a couple squeezes while waiting to cross the street or in line at the store. But if you want to be more proactive about your muscle strengthening, you can always clench around one or both balls, while tugging on the string with a finger.

I can’t say for sure if my muscles are any stronger. I think that’s easier to tell with a partner – which I don’t have right now. I can say that I have used these balls, in a few short weeks, more than I’ve used the Luna Beads in the months I’ve had them. Both sets of vaginal balls made me more aware of my vagina but the K-balls also makes me feel good which is that much more incentive to use them.

After you’re done, you can easily remove the K-balls with the silicone-coated string with connects to the “lower” ball. Actually, the lower ball is slightly pointed at the bottom so it’s not a complete “ball”. Unlike the Luna Beads, the K-balls don’t tend to get all suction-stuck in my pussy and the coated string doesn’t cut into my finger. Unfortunately, that is a tiny crack in the coating of the string on my balls. I noticed it after using because the crack is so tiny so it’s possible that I somehow caused it or that it came this way and I just didn’t notice. Fortunately, it hasn’t grown any and I’m still comfortable using the K-balls.

After use, K-balls are easy to wash with soap and water. Silicone is dishwasher safe but I’m not entirely sure about the K-balls. The box says they’re splash proof but I don’t see why they couldn’t be fully submerged as they lack mechanical parts. The K-balls are also easy to dry and don’t seem to pick up lint. I do wish they came with a storage pouch – I stole the one that came with my Luna Beads to keep them all nice and cozy and protected from other toys.

In the end, I was much more impressed by Ophoria’s K-balls than other vaginal balls I’ve tried. These high-quality exercisers are not only easy to use but are actually a fun and pleasurable way to raise body awareness and, hopefully, strengthen PC muscles. With a little more information provided and a storage pouch, I’d say the K-balls are an A+.

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