Fun Factory Laya II

November 29th, 2017

I can’t say that I am the person who was the most excited to find out that Fun Factory made a second version of the Laya II. After all, F, perhaps more than most reviewers. And when that one died, I bought another, which currently seems to be on the fritz (that makes the comparison a bit difficult).

Truth be told, I wasn’t aware that the Laya II was in development, but it’s certainly a needed change. It’s been, what? Well, over a decade? Since the first one, which was underpowered due to relying on 2 AAA batteries. That was the main complaint from others, and I have to concede they have a point. But Fun Factory managed to eke out some moderately rumbly vibrations despite the meager power source.

This time around, Fun Factory has updated the power source to an internal battery This is now charged via Fun Factory’s Click N Charge charger. I assume this comes with a new motor, and it feels different to be sure, but I am not positive.

Along with that comes more modern, bubble buttons that are certainly easy to locate in times of passion than the depressed buttons from the original Laya Spot. The Laya II also comes in a sleek black silhouette, which is sophisticated and appeals to my aesthetic. I never had a color combination of the original Laya Spot that I loved, but some people might miss the option.

While the freshman attempt was covered in Elastomed and ABS plastic, no one was really sure what Elestomed was or how safe it is. I just assumed safe enough. I never had any issues other than my first Laya showing up smelling like ass. After airing out and several washings, the bad smell eventually faded. I would be shocked if Fun Factory produced an updated Laya Spot from anything other than silicone. It has since become the default for most toys, let alone luxury toys. This is noticeable especially at the nose of the toy, where it makes the most contact when I use it, which has more noticeable squish than the Laya Spot. Laya II remains firm beneath the silicone, however.

The silicone makes the Laya II a lint magnet, as you can see from my photos.

Aside from those changes, the Laya II looks pretty similar to the original. It’s got the same general shape, which looks something like a snakehead when you look at it head on or a sneaker from another angle. I am glad for this because it’s the shape of Laya Spot that I always loved. It was rounded enough to press without hurting myself but not so broad that I felt nothing.

The base seems narrower and longer. Truth be told, I am not sure if the Laya II is the same size as the original. It’s hard to measure, and the black certainly makes it seem narrower. But it just might be my eyes playing tricks on me. It looks a little longer in photos, however.

Laya II Laya Spot Comparison

I’m not sure that some of the changes were warranted. For example, the 3-button design works but doesn’t add much. There’s a master power button, the Fun Factory button, and the + and – buttons. I like the feedback of these buttons, which the company has used on other toys, but the FF button on some adds a boost that’s missing with the Laya II. Otherwise, the buttons work exactly as you’d expect with the + button cycling through the 4 steady modes of vibration and the six settings. You’d think the third button could do some of the work.

But that’s not the most frustrating thing about Laya II. The most frustrating thing, by far, is the power output. Now, if I was willing to cut some slack when it was just a battery-operated toy that ran on AAAs, you have to understand how much I wanted to like Laya II. I’m not just not sure it’s any stronger than the original, and it sure as hell is buzzier. With a decade to improve it, you’d think Fun Factory would be able to add a little more oomph. Lelo did it with the second Siri, which is another clitoral vibe.

Fun Factory Laya ++This really isn’t a surprise. I stopped by the toy store to feel the Laya II and noticed it right away. The lower couple settings feel a little more rumbly, but when I turn up the power to feel something — anything — more, I am disappointed. This is probably exacerbated by the fact that there are only four steady settings on Laya II. The original had something like 7 and would occasionally kick out a few more (you had to listen very carefully to ensure it was turned off when you were done with it). You run out of steady vibrations abruptly and disappointingly with the Laya II.

There are six new settings, combinations of pulsation and escalation, that are utterly unsatisfying due to the lackluster motor that’s behind them. I’ve never liked rhythmic vibration more than constant vibes, but I’ve always recognized that you need some oomph behind them to make it worthwhile. Laya II just doesn’t offer that.

There is a single exception, which is one setting that combines pulsation and escalation at a slower pace but somehow draws a little more power from the motor. This, surprisingly, is where I settled with the Laya II.

And I was eventually able to get off, twice, with a healthy helping of lube (in the past, I often used Laya Spot without lube or through my underwear) and more time than I expected that I would require for the Laya II to do it for me. It was moderately frustrating but mostly surprising.

With a toy such as the Laya Spot, which I have loved and relied on for a decade (that’s longer than any relationship I’ve been in!), I’m not looking for surprises. I only wanted upgrades. It’s sad to say that Fun Factory failed on this one, a rating that I rarely hand out for what I’ve long considered my favorite toy company, not surprisingly because they’ve made some of my favorite toys.

But, hey, if you’re not a power hog, love the original shape, have never tried the Laya Spot or simply want to add something different to your collection, maybe Laya II is worth the risk. It’s all I’ve got now, after all, if my Laya Spot continues not to work correctly. )=

For the rest of you, I’d suggest the Siri 2 or perhaps the Tango.

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A Toy A Day #5: Form 6

July 5th, 2017

A Toy a Day is a feature wherein I get reacquainted with toys in my collection and post (brief) reviews with updates to my thoughts or, in some cases, thoughts that I’ve never before posted. 

I’ve always been a fan of Jimmyjane’s Form 6, and it’s seemed like I was the only one. The sleek design attracted my eye years before I finally got my hands on it. Jimmyjane was really ahead of the curve when it came to designing a sleek toy. I discovered the form 6 long before I knew what Lelo was.

When I finally did get the Form 6, I didn’t review it, but I’ve been pretty vocal about my general like for it. But was it just that I finally had it in my hands (and vagina?). It wasn’t a toy that I reached for on the regular, and it’s been perhaps a year since I’ve used it. So I decided to give it a whirl and write about it.

Jimmyjane has dual motors, one for each end, and they can work in tandem or solo. Form 6 is a bit louder than I recall, and the motor in the longer shaft has an annoying whine. The vibrations are moderately deep and strong but not earth-shattering. The smaller end produces a more focused sensation while the vibrations seem to be absorbed by the larger shaft. A layer of silicone sheaths the rigid shaft, and it’s plusher in the larger side. This may contribute to the vibrations feeling dulled in this end.

One of the biggest complaints about the Form 6 is the button location — on the shaft. There are three buttons that are embossed in the silicone. This makes them a little difficult to find and press and super difficult to use when the toy or your hands are covered in lubes and sexual fluids.

They might also become completely inaccessible if you insert the shaft far enough. The Form 6 isn’t a toy I want to start out with, though. It’s 1.7″ at its widest, but remember that the shaft is rigid. The way the shaft is designed doesn’t taper much. In fact, it gets narrow further down, which doesn’t quite make sense.

The shaft is straight-ish, so it’s best for general vaginal stimulation and not G-spot stimulation. I’m not sure this is really a good G-spotter for most people; although, I can use it for one if I used the other side. The slight hook works pretty well for G-spot stim if you don’t need a drastic curve or a lot of length. But it’s not going to work that way for everyone.

I’m able to use the Form 6 for clitoral orgasms, but they’re not the best. I have toys that are a bit more versatile, which is odd because Jimmyjane touts this toy specifically as one that is versatile.

It’s a shame because one of the things I really like about the Form 6 is how it charges. It rests on a base, and it’s not particularly picky about position. When you lift it off the charger, it flashes to indicate how charged it is.

I don’t plan on swapping my Form 6 any time soon but neither do I plan on keeping it in heavy rotation.

If you’re interested in the Form 6, it’s on sale from SheVibe right now ($129.99).

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Luxe Touch-Sensitive Vibrating Dildo

May 3rd, 2017

From the pictures, Cal Exotic’s new Luxe vibrating “dildo” looks like many of the silicone dildos on the market. It has a suction cup base and a slightly contoured head. You can choose from bright pink or purple or two more fleshlike colors.

Of course, it’s not a dildo because it’s actually a vibrator. I guess the suction cups, which works but I will never use, counts this thing as a dildo in someone’s book. It would be harness-compatible, but I’m still not feeling the nomenclature. It’s not a dildo, okay? Luxe is also not as sleek in person as it seems — so much for being luxe — and that’s where I need to focus the beginning of this review.

In person, you can clearly see a white, cylindrical casing beneath the thin layer of silicone that covers it. The silicone is so sheer that it harkens back to a time of PVC jelly vibrators and rabbits with their innards revealed for the world to see. Now, I suspect that the function of this vibrator requires a different interior than others, and I’ll get to that later.

But this whole thing seems like such a weird design flaw that you could see through it. And what I can see? Isn’t the best. During the initial washing, I saw what appears to be a crack in that inner piece of plastic, which was easy to spot through the silicone. I hadn’t even had a chance to use the Luxe, yet. So it’s not looking good for this one.

Crack in the toy

Usually I break the toys myself, but this one came pre-broken??

The more I looked, the more cracks I saw. I.. what?

Cracks in the inner mechanism

I can’t even think of a joke to crack about this. Oh, wait, there it is!

Well, what about its touch-sensitive capabilities? I’ve got slightly better news for you.

This function works not by squeezing the vibrator harder like the Limon or Ola, which is what I initially assumed, but by responding to the area of the shaft that’s squeezed. To illustrate, if you wrap one hand around the shaft, it doesn’t seem to increase vibrations. But adding your second hand beneath it increases the intensity. You can assume that thrusting the toy internally would achieve the same effect. Whether it’s noticeable internally is up for debate, however.

And, to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the shape or size of this toy, and I think it’s part of that inner mechanism, which feels pretty rigid under the thin silicone coating. Although I don’t need a curved toy for G-spot stimulation, the absolute straightness of the Luxe isn’t comfortable. In fact, it’s almost painful despite only having a 1.5-inch diameter, which is the same throught the entire shaft.

If the shaft tapered a bit more before the head (or overall), it’d be fine. But then the toy might not be sensitive to touches. Perhaps that mechanism should be located further toward the base, or the diameter slightly smaller overall. As it is, Luxe just feels invasive, and I can’t enjoy the touch sensitive function.

It’s a shame because I would like to. The rounded head works well enough for G-spot stimulation, the vibrations are more rumbly than buzzy, and the strength is decent. It’s not like a Hitachi, but it’s definitely good enough. I even liked some of the modes, which never happens.

I think there’s promise if they can offer the same function in a variety of sizes. I am assuming that it’s a size constraint due to what I can see through the silicone, but what the hell do I know, right? If ever there were a toy that I wanted to rip apart, it’s the Luxe. And perhaps I will. After all, it’s already on its way to breaking.

One last gripe: I kind of hate when toys have a single button and require you to hold it to turn it off. I would rather have to hit a down button 8 million times or have a separate master power button. I want an auto off and find myself ridiculously annoyed when this isn’t an option.

I might be alone in this. Luxe has a pretty high rating on GoodVibes, but none of those people left reviews, so take that with a grain of salt.

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Science of Sex: Lube

April 11th, 2017

Welcome to the second installment in a new feature on Of Sex and Love: Science of Sex. In this feature, I plan to discuss the science of sexuality in an easy-to-digest format that’s accessible to the casual reader. I will also follow up with some extended reading material for people who want to know more about the subject of each post.

Enjoy!

science of sex lube

I am not the first person to write about lube, and I doubt I’ll be the most effective. But lube is so interesting from a scientific viewpoint, and I believe we can never talk about it enough.

Lube should make sex better, but it doesn’t always. For example, lubes that contain the spermicide nonoxynol are quite abrasive to sensitive tissues, resulting in micro-tears that actually facilitate the transfer of infections. Multiple studies have shown that Nonoxynol-9 contributes to HIV transmission.

Osmolality

Depending upon its osmolality, the measurement of particles per KG in a solution, lube may be doing unseen damage to your vagina or anus that increases the likelihood of an infection, too. Many lubes have a much higher osmolality (greater than 1,000 mOsm/Kg) than the vagina (~275 mOsm/Kg) or anus meaning there are more particles in the lube than the tissue it comes in contact with.

Osmolality is also important when it comes to sperm, which have a different measurement than vaginas, anuses, saliva and many lubes. By default, nearly all lube proves to be an inhibitor to sperm, so you’ll want to look for sperm-friendly lube when it comes to TTC.

Lube pH

If your lube has a pH that differs from your body’s natural pH (between 4.5 and 7 for most vaginas; pH varies during your cycle and life), you might find yourself dealing with a yeast infection while your body seeks balance.

Other Problematic Ingredients

And personal lubes that contain L-arginine, which is typically used to encourage sensitivity and arousal, can cause a herpes breakout. Sensation lubes (warming or cooling) typically rely on menthol or capsaicin to produce the desired effect, and every body responds to these chemicals differently.

Numbing agents such as lidocaine or benzocaine are sometimes found in anal lubricants. However, experts recommend against numbing the area because it both reduces pleasure and makes it harder to tell if you’re being too rough, which could lead to damage.

Lube and Your Toys

Even if lube is good for your body, it may not be compatible with your toys, which is the case with low-quality silicone lube and silicone toys. Using them together can cause an interaction that increases the porosity of your silicone toys, so they’re not as body-safe as they once were.

Further Reading

Did you enjoy the second installment of Science of Sex? Do you have further questions or suggestions for next month’s subject? Leave me a comment!

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Split Peaches Unicorn Horn Dildo (Pastel Pleasures – Medium)

March 31st, 2017

Have you ever used a toy that’s just too good? Yea. It’s a thing. I didn’t know either.

Sure, I’ve have toys that were very good. Some were, eh, good enough. Some were, wow, not good at all. This dildo might be the first that’s too good. It’s almost unbelievable like a unicorn, you might say.

So let’s talk about that first. This is a dildo like a unicorn horn. I got one swathed in pastels with silicone wrapping its way down the shaft. To be honest, it looks a bit more like ice cream than a unicorn horn, but you can also get it in pearlescent white, which might be more traditional for unicorns, along with a bold, rainbow-colored one. There’s even a gorgeous blue-purple one on the manufacturer’s site that SheVibe doesn’t carry (yet…?).

There’s a flat base that could be compatible with your harness if you want the power of the unicorn; though, I’ve only used this solo.

The dildo is surprisingly flexible. You can bend it backward to touch itself. The outer layer has a fair amount of give. It’s not squishy like VixSkin, more like a softer version of Tantus’ shiny silicone. The core is firm enough to remain upright. And it’s not so soft that you can’t control it from the base when it’s inserted. I really enjoy the formula of this silicone, and much silicone has fallen into the “meh” camp for me previously.

The one thing that’s not good about the silicone? It’s the lintiest lint-magnet ever. Like wash-it-and-wash-it-again. I’ve never had to spend so much time washing a toy as I have the unicorn dildo. And there is no way possible to photograph it without picking up more lint and hair. Sorry.

The end of the horn is rounded, so penetration feels easy with a little lube, even if it’s not particularly awesome lube, haha. And the particular increase in circumference is nearly perfect. I don’t need to be warmed up at all, and the narrower tip doesn’t bother my cervix. Again, near perfection.

But I think a custom size would be better up my all. The length — 10 inches — isn’t really necessarily, and I don’t feel especially full when the toy hits my cervix. If this were maybe 3″ shorter, I would absolutely adore it. It would still not be the toy for size queens, but I’d be able to appreciate the 2.75-inch circumference near the base in a way that I just can’t now.

Still, I can use the dildo, get it right where I want it (thanks to the flexibility), press it right against my G-spot (thanks to the firmness) and hold it in place until I squirt. It’s made me squirt nearly immediately. Like 10 seconds or less. It doesn’t take much to make me squirt, but this is still impressive. A second ejaculation following needing less than half that time.

But if it only takes fifteen seconds, what else do I do it with it, you know? Fortunately, I do find the unicorn dildo to be quite enjoyable while stroking. The twisted texture seems too subtle to notice, but I can feel the waves in a way that’s in no way objectionable. Split Peaches makes dildos with much more texture if that’s up your alley, however.

If there were any toy that was going to give me a vaginal orgasm, the unicorn dildo is probably it. We’re not there yet, but, hey, sometimes you’ve got to believe in magic, right?

SheVibe

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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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