[Toy Review] The Zumio

As a lover of intense clitoral stimulation, I’ve wanted a Zumio ever since I first learned about them. But they’ve always been in the category of toys I would never buy at full price –  they’re expensive and I had no idea if they would actually work for me.

The Zumio, for those who don’t know, is a new type of clitoral stimulator. It looks a bit like a purple electric toothbrush, and has a very thin, plastic rod tip – known as a SpiroTIP – which “whirls around in tiny circles”. It’s designed to mimic the movement of a finger circling the clit, only… more, faster and harder. Observe:

The Zumio, a purple sex toy with a small plastic tip. Shaped a bit like a toothbrush.Anyone who has been reading my work for any length of time knows that I am frequently annoyed by sex toy marketing claims. Zumio created some waves in the blogosphere by claiming that this toy will make a person with a clitoris come in 60 seconds or less. Dangerous Lilly, blogger and reviewer extraordinaire, has covered in detail why this is problematic, so I don’t feel a need to go into it in depth. However, I will admit to really hoping this toy would finally be the answer to getting me off clitorally very quickly… and being disappointed/wondering if I’m “broken” when it inevitably didn’t.

But let’s back up a minute and take a closer look…

The Zumio is made of ABS plastic and silicone. The bit that makes direct contact with the body is plastic. Therefore it’s body safe, non-porous and non-toxic. It also happens to be waterproof, if wanking in the bath or shower is your thing. It’s charged via USB and comes with a little charging stand that makes it remind me even more of a toothbrush.

The user interface is 3 simple buttons – an on/off switch, one to turn the speed up, and one to turn the speed down. There are 8 speed settings in total, and no “patterns” or any of that silliness. (I hate patterns).

The Zumio retails for £134.99. It’s an expensive product, so I recommend buying from a retailer with a solid returns policy in case it doesn’t work for you. (Lovehoney are great in this regard).

My Experience…

The Zumio is about as pinpoint as pinpoint stimulation can get. The tip is also hard. For that reason, I was nervous – direct contact to my clit is often too intense and painful for me. Even so, I dove in and started off on the lowest setting. I quickly discovered that my suspicions were correct. Even on the lowest setting, the hard plastic tip against my clit was intense to the point of painful.

No matter – that problem was solved by putting my knickers back on and using the toy through my panties. I don’t do this with any other toy (except very occasionally the Doxy 3) because I need a lot of stimulation to come. Through the underwear, I found this toy much more enjoyable and that was how I eventually got off with it. If you try it and it’s too intense, try with a layer of clothing between the tip and your clit.

Contrary to what is apparently the more common experience, Zumio is a slow-build toy for me. If I’ve got an hour or more to spend slowly teasing myself, ramping up through the speeds one at a time, and toeing the line between “so intense it’s blissful” and “so intense it’s painful,” the orgasm at the end of it is delicious. But pretty much the only thing that can get me off quickly is wands, so I might not be the person to trust on “quickness of orgasm” factors. All bodies are so different.

Care and Clean-Up

The Zumio comes with a little drawstring storage bag, big enough to fit the toy, docking stand and charging cable, which I appreciated. All sex toys should come with storage bags and so few do. Given how thin the tip is, I’m a bit nervous about it getting broken in storage. Be careful with how you store this toy – you probably don’t want to throw other things on top of it.

Clean-up is a pinch. The Zumio is waterproof, so you can wash it thoroughly with warm soapy water. You can also wipe the tip clean with a body-safe sterile wipe (I get mine in bulk from medical suppliers – much cheaper than toy cleaner).

You can’t use a condom with it, though you could use a barrier like a dam. But the easiest thing to do if you want to share it between partners is just to thoroughly clean the tip between users.

Do I recommend it?

Honestly, I personally loved it less than I was hoping I would. That doesn’t mean I don’t recommend it – I just recommend it to a very specific subset of people.

If you like extremely pinpoint clitoral stimulation, you’ll probably love it. But if you’re into broader stimulation it’s probably not for you. If you have a clit that likes very intense, very direct stimulation, Zumio’s got you covered.

Zumio is a genuinely innovative toy and different to anything else on the market. For that, it is certainly to be commended. So many toy companies claim to be innovative, and so few actually are.

You can buy your Zumio from Lovehoney or SheVibe.

Thanks to the good folks of Zumio for sending me this product in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are entirely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

[Toy Review] Lifelike Lover Luxe Silicone Realistic Dildo

First, a note: I am changing how I do reviews in that I am now piloting a system where I DON’T give a star rating. Toy reviews will always rely heavily on subjectivity, as all our bodies are different – but I am now wondering if the star rating system came across as passing an inherent value judgement on a toy, when actually my opinion on any product is by definition subjective. If a toy is objectively bad (body-unsafe, for example, or really horribly made) I probably just won’t bother reviewing it in the first place. In the products I review, I want to focus more on what worked for me, what didn’t, and what might work with others’ unique bodies and preferences.

Now with that out of the way, on to the review!

I’m forever being asked for recommendations of good quality, body-safe dildos at affordable prices. There are many wonderful realistic silicone dildos on the market, but many of them tend to be expensive – Vixen Creations do their wonderful VixSkin dildos, but not everyone can afford to drop £100+ on a toy.

Luckily, Lovehoney have got you covered!

Lifelife Lover is a new range of realistic toys from Lovehoney. It’s important to note that some of them are made of PVC, which I do not endorse as a toy material (it’s porous, for one thing). However, there are 8 silicone options in the range – a 5.5″ and an 8″, each available in four colourways – which I heartily recommend. Silicone is body-safe, hypoallergenic and non-porous. I chose the 8 inch version in purple for this review. (A girl can never have too many purple dicks in her collection). The other colours available are black, Caucasian flesh colour, and bright pink.

Lovehoney Lifelike Lover - a purple realistic suction cup dildo with balls.Details

This dildo is 8″ long from base to tip, with an insertable length of 7″. At the widest point, its circumference is 5″. On the smaller model, you’ve got an insertable length of 5″ and a maximum circumference of 4″.

The Lifelike Lover design really is very… well, lifelike! It resembles a circumcised cock (or an uncut dick with the foreskin rolled back, I guess) with its pronounced head, there are accurate “veins” all down the shaft, and there’s even a meatus (don’t you love that word?) and textured balls.

This 8″ model retails for £32.99, while the 5″ models are £24.99. I cannot overstate this: this is such a good price for a realistic, pure silicone toy of this quality.

The Lifelike Lover Purple Silicone Dildo held in a woman's hand.In Use

This dildo feels absolutely divine to me. The Lifelike Lover dildos have a very slight curve (again, sticking with the realism) and the pronounced head is wonderful for G-spot stimulation. I like to press the head against my G-spot and just wiggle the toy slightly to get the pressure I enjoy. The silicone is soft and pliable, meaning you can angle it just right for your body’s preferences, but firm enough to thrust with satisfactorily.

Being silicone, it warms up quickly with your body heat once inserted. You could also run it under some warm water prior to use to get it nicely warmed up.

All Lifelike Lover silicone dildos have suction cup bases, which makes them ideal for hands-free use – stick it to the edge of the shower, a hard floor, the window if you’re feeling daring, and have fun. I can attest to the strength and quality of the suction cup, as it has just taken be both hands to prise it away from where it had suctioned itself to my desk. When stuck to a surface, it sticks out at the perfect just-above-horizontal angle. It’s also harness-compatible, making it ideal for strap-on play or pegging, and has a large enough base to be anal safe.

Care & Cleaning

The best way to clean pure silicone toys without motors is to boil-sterilise them. Just pop it in a pan of hot water on the stove and boil for about 10 minutes, then dry thoroughly before you put it away. This kills any germs or bacteria, keeping your toy super hygienic and also making it safe for sharing, if that’s something you want to do.

If you’re using it between partners without sterilising in between (or wanting to use it for anal and vaginal play in the same session,) it’s an ideal shape to be condom-compatible. If you’re using the larger size toy, I recommend a larger condom to ensure against breakage – 8″ is bigger than an average bio-cock and regular size condoms are really designed for slightly smaller dicks than this.

For silicone toys, water-based lube is recommended.

So Do I Recommend It?

Yes – very much so. If you’re looking for a realistic style dildo at an affordable price, you can’t go far wrong with these.

Lifelike Lover dildos are currently on a special offer – buy any two, get 30% off.

Thanks to Lovehoney for providing me with the Lifelike Lover Luxe Silicone Dildo 8″ in purple for this review. Affiliate links have been used in this post. All views are, as always, my own. Pictures are property of Lovehoney and cannot be used without express permission.

The Big Damn Wands Comparison Post

I’m obsessed with wands.

I love them. I love the size and weight of them, the intense rumble of the vibrations. And I fucking love the way they rip orgasms from by body, sometimes taking me from cold to coming in as little as a couple of minutes.

All seven of the wand vibrators I own lying on my bed on a white sheet.

Whether you use them on a clit, a dick, or on your sore muscles, wands are fucking great.

“But which wand should I buy?” people often ask me. And my answer is… it depends. It depends what you’re looking for. So here I want to look at some of the most popular wands on the market that I’ve tried, and the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision.

The One That Started It All: The Magic Wand Original (AKA “Hitachi”)

The Hitachi Magic Wand Original, lying on a blue notebook covered in bi pride stickers.I reviewed this just yesterday! It’s the most famous wand vibrator of all, popularised in the 1960s by the amazing and inimitable Betty Dodson. In use, I found it decent but not world-rocking. Your mileage may vary, of course, and it’s popular for a reason!

Quick facts: Plastic body; PVC head; 2 settings; mains powered.

Pros: The most famous and original wand vibrator; trusted for over 50 years; VERY powerful; mains powered so will never run out of charge.

Cons: Only 2 settings; porous head; very flexible/bendy neck; almost impossible to source legitimately outside of North America; not particularly visually attractive; needs to be plugged in to use.

Get yours: SheVibe or TooTimid. Retail price anywhere between $60 and $120.

The Rechargeable One: Desire Luxury Rechargeable Magic Wand by Lovehoney

Good rechargeable wands are really hard to find. Those in the US and Canada have the Magic Wand Rechargeable at their disposal if they can afford it, but what are the rest of us to do? I’m pleased to say that Lovehoney’s Desire Wand really delivers in this regard.

Quick facts: plastic body; silicone head; mains rechargeable; 20 patterns and 5 levels of intensity.

Pros: completely body-safe; LOTS of settings so extremely customisable; rechargeable – no need for a plug socket; 3 hours running time on a 3 hour charge; travel lock; comes with an attractive faux-leather case; visually beautiful.

Cons: Pretty heavy; less rumbly than some other wands; you can only scroll one way through the pattern settings, so if you skip over the one you like you have to go allllll the way back through; risk of batteries running out mid-wank.

Get yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Lovehoney Canada. RRP £99.99, currently on sale for £69.99 in the UK.

The Budget Option: Lovehoney Classic Mains Powered Wand

A white female hand holding the Lovehoney Classic Wand, a white wand vibrator decorated with a little red heart.

I initially didn’t expect much from this one, given the cheaper price-tag compared to luxury wands, but I was quite pleasantly surprised! I haven’t actually done a stand-alone review of this one yet but I will. With some caveats (see below) I’m happy to recommend it as a lower budget option for a wand.

Quick facts: Plastic body; rigid PVC-coated head; variable speeds controlled with a sliding wheel; mains powered.

Pros: Affordable; VERY powerful for the price; mains powered so no risk of running out of battery; easy slider control.

Cons: No pattern settings; somewhat porous head (using a condom is recommended); needs to be plugged in to use; one of the louder models.

Get yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Lovehoney Canada. RRP £49.99.

The Extremely Light One: Pink BOB Allure Wand

The Pink BOB Allure Wand, a pink wand style vibrator.I reviewed this one recently and overall liked it more than I expected to. It’s never going to be a top go-to wand recommendation in general, but some people struggle with the weight of some heavier wands and this is a good bet in that regard.

Quick facts: plastic body; silicone head cover; 20 speed/pattern settings; mains powered.

Pros: Body-safe; extremely light compared to all other models; very versatile with so many settings; mains-powered so no risk of running out of battery; solid level of power for the price.

Cons: EXTREMELY PINK; not the finest quality silicone; gets hot after more than 3o minutes’ use; “Battery Operated Boyfriend” as a brand-name.

Get yours: TooTimid. RRP $69.95.

The ‘Mid Budget, High Quality’ One: Lovehoney Deluxe Extra Powerful Mains Powered Wand

The Lovehoney Deluxe Wand, a black magic wand vibrator decorated with a little grey heart.I JUST tried this one last night and haven’t even reviewed it yet. Bear with me, though – I definitely will! In short I really like it and I’m growing more and more impressed with what Lovehoney are doing with their own-brand luxury toys.

Quick facts: Plastic body; silicone head; 10 speeds and 20 pattern settings; mains powered.

Pros: Body-safe; really good price for a luxury toy; mains-powered, so no risk of running out of charge; dozens of speed/pattern combinations so extremely versatile; sleek and attractive design; impressive level of power.

Cons: Pretty heavy; less rumbly than some other wands; you can only scroll one way through the pattern settings, so if you skip over the one you like you have to go allllll the way back through; needs to be plugged in to use.

Get yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Lovehoney Canada. RRP £79.99.

The Tiny But Mighty One: Doxy Number 3

A white female upturned hand holding the Doxy Number 3, a small silver wand vibrator with a black head.

Mr CK rolled his eyes at me when I brought this one home. “Surely you don’t need another Doxy?” Yes, friends, I definitely did. This baby is a POWERHOUSE, despite its small size. It’s the only wand I own that can make me come, through underwear, in less than a minute pretty reliably.

Quick facts: Aluminium body; silicone head; multiple graded settings and an escalating pulsation mode.

Pros: Body-safe; RIDICULOUSLY POWERFUL; rumbly vibrations; removable silicone head for easy cleaning; by far the smallest wand with this level of power on the market; mains powered, so no risk of running out of charge; sleek and attractive design; fantastic, ethical company with brilliant customer service.

Cons: Expensive; weighty for its small size, needs to be plugged in to use.

Get Yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Shevibe. RRP £119.99.

The Most Beautiful One: Doxy Die Cast

The Doxy Die Cast, a deep purple wand vibrator with a large black silicone head.

I don’t actually own one of these! (Any companies or generous readers want to send me a present? 😉 ). But I’ve tried out a friend’s one and it’s pretty divine.

Quick facts: Aluminium and titanium alloy body; silicone head; mains powered; multiple graded settings and an escalating pulsation mode.

Pros: Body-safe; RIDICULOUSLY POWERFUL; rumbly vibrations; mains-powered; the most beautiful wand on the market hands-down; fantastic, ethical company with brilliant customer service.

Cons: The most expensive on this list; only 1 “pattern” setting; very heavy; needs to be plugged in to use.

Get Yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Lovehoney Canada, Shevibe, The Pleasure Garden. RRP £149.99.

My Favourite One: Doxy Original

The Doxy Original, a purple wand style vibrator with a grey head, held on an upturned palm.What can I say!? I’m a loyal girl. Mr CK gave me one of these for my birthday our first year together, and I’m only about 10% joking when I say that’s when I knew he was a keeper.

Quick facts: Plastic body; non-porous, medical-grade PVC head; mains powered; multiple graded settings and an escalating pulsation mode.

Pros: Body-safe; RIDICULOUSLY POWERFUL; rumbly vibrations; mains-powered, so no worries about it running out of charge; comes in several different colours including purple, pink and white; fantastic, ethical company with brilliant customer service; has come down in price and is now really good value for the quality.

Cons: Only 1 “pattern” setting; needs to be plugged in to use.

Get Yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Lovehoney Canada, Shevibe, The Pleasure Garden. RRP £89.99.

IN CONCLUSION

No-one except you can say with any certainty what the right wand for you will be… or even if wands are the right toys for you at all. They’re not for everyone. But I hope this post will have given you an insight into the pros and cons of various models I’ve tried, and why I think they’re great (or not so great).

Happy shopping, and you can always email me or hit me up on Twitter for a personalised recommendation!

Affiliate links are used in this post. Shopping with them sends a small kickback my way and helps me keep doing this work. Thanks to TooTimid and Lovehoney for providing me the toys required to do this post. Images are either by me, or property of the featured retailers, and must not be reproduced without express permission.

[Toy Review] Lovehoney “Positive Vibes” Vibrators

I get a *lot* of requests for affordable yet good quality vibrators from folks on a limited budget. Unfortunately, it can be quite hard to find safe toys, strong vibrations and an affordable price-tag for a lot of people. The vast majority of the toys I own I wouldn’t have been able to afford if I hadn’t been given them to review. That’s why I’m so pleased about Lovehoney’s new Positive Vibes range!

Lovehoney's Positive Vibes banner showing 4 colourful vibrators and the words "Positive Vibes - Be Sextraordinary"

Positive Vibes is a range of 4 vibrators. Each one has a different “look,” but otherwise they’re functionally identical, hence reviewing them as a range. I have two – the Rainbow design and the “I only fuck with magic” design.

Two Positive Vibes vibrators lying side by side on my desk.I loved these toys straight away for how fun and quirky they are. Seriously, HOW CUTE is that rainbow pattern? I don’t love the “Vibes Before Guys”personally (I have FEELINGS about anything that compares sex toys to partners, inadvertently or otherwise) – but I can see it as being a potentially empowering slogan for, say, a woman coming to appreciate her singleness or someone just out of a relationship and learning to embrace their own sexuality. All the designs totally appeal to my #SparkleFemme aesthetic (except for “fuck with magic,” which takes me back to my goth days in the best possible way).

A closer look…

Two Positive Vibes vibrators standing side by side on my desk.Positive Vibes come packaged in really cute sleeves with night sky designs on them. As always, Lovehoney send everything in discreet plain brown boxes.

Positive Vibes are made of ABS plastic. Therefore they’re rigid, but also really smooth to the touch. Perfect for people who like harder materials – the advantage of plastic over softer materials like silicone is that it doesn’t dampen vibrations at all. They operate from two ‘C’ batteries (not included) which you insert by twisting off the base. The insertable length is 6.5″ and the circumference is 4.2″ (making a diameter of 1.3″).

The user interface is simple: a single twist mechanism at the base which turns the intensity of vibrations up and down. Being so finely graded means you can easily select the exact level of stimulation that suits you. (Is anyone surprised that for me it was “the highest one”?)

In use…

Okay, the vibrations on these babies was a really pleasant surprise. I usually don’t expect much from cheaper vibes in terms of vibration quality/strength. But as soon as I turned this on in my hand, I was impressed by the strength – and not just the strength, but the rumble, too! The vibrations are deep, penetrating and really satisfying – none of that horrible surface buzz you often get in lower-priced toys.

I don’t like vibrations on my G-spot, so I use these vibrators entirely externally for clitoral stimulation. Your mileage may vary, of course, and they’re safe for internal play if that’s your jam. Please don’t use them for anal play, though, as they don’t have a flared base! For clitoral play, I really enjoyed the gently tapered tip, ideal for pinpoint stimulation. If you like broader stimulation, though, it also feels good with the shaft held flat against the clit and vulva.

Noise-wise, they’re reasonable for the level of power. I doubt you’d hear it through a closed door or a wall unless it was really paper-thin. A pro tip from Lovehoney’s site: when you insert the batteries, leave the plastic sleeve provided in (around the batteries). Taking it out, as I did initially, makes it a lot more rattly and therefore louder.

Care and cleaning…

Positive Vibes are not waterproof, so you can’t submerge them to clean them. (And please don’t try to use them in the bath!) They’re splashproof, though, and ABS is non-porous, making them easy to clean. Wipe carefully with a warm wet cloth and some mild soap, or use a sterile body-safe medical wipe. I buy these from medical suppliers really cheaply. Being non-porous, the toys shouldn’t harbour any bacteria as long as you clean them after each use, but if you’re sharing them and want to be extra careful, they’re the ideal shape to pop a condom over.

Value for money… 

A really good, simple vibrator. Positive Vibes retail at £16.99, though they’re currently on a special offer where you can get two for £20.

So do I recommend it?

Yes, absolutely. If you’re looking for decent rumbly vibrations on a budget, Positive Vibes has got you covered. One of the best toys for this price-point I’ve ever tried.

Image result for four and a half star rating

Ideal for: those on a budget; fans of rumbly vibrations; fans of harder materials; anyone who likes quirky, fun designs on their toys.

My left hand - 3 nails have purple sparkly polish and the ring finger has a blue sky and Rainbow design like on the Positive Vibes toy.[I got my nails done at the Positive Vibes launch party! How cute are these? Thanks to Jessica at Wah Nails, Soho, for the lovely work.]

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me these toys for review! LH links in this post are affiliate links and if you buy from them, I make a small commission. All opinions are, as ever, my own. All images are taken and owned by me, except the top banner ad which is property of Lovehoney. Images not to be reproduced without permission.

[Toy Review] Desire Luxury Rechargeable Magic Wand

Hey everyone! So I’m trying a new way of writing toy reviews. My previous format worked well for a while, but I want to change things up a bit. So let me know how this works for you, ‘kay?

This review isn’t actually the primary purpose I requested this toy. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be creating a biiiiig guide to all the wand vibes currently on the market that I’ve tried. However, I need to wait for my Original Hitachi to ship from the US, so I’m sitting on it until then. In the meantime, my friends at Lovehoney sent me this one to feature and I couldn’t wait to try it out.

The Lovehoney Desire Wand, a large purple magic wand style vibrator.Desire is Lovehoney’s luxury own-brand toy range. I’ve tried a couple of their products before and am generally a fan. I’m so pleased to have finally got my paws on this particular item, because you all know that I am a big ol’ Wand Queen.

“The design delivers on the luxury promised by the line’s name.”

The Desire Luxury Rechargeable Magic Wand arrived in Lovehoney’s standard discreet packaging (plain brown box). Inside, the toy is presented in an attractive box with the Desire branding and colours – black and purple. I was super impressed to see that this wand comes with its own storage case, a sleek and discreet black zip-up in faux leather and with a little hole through which to stick the charger to plug the toy in. Major points for presentation and for including a case.

The toy itself is hefty – 13.5 inches long and with a fair bit of weight to it. For comparison, it’s lighter than the Doxy Die Cast, but a fair bit heavier than the Original. If weighty toys are difficult for you, you might want to give this one a miss – or invest in a wand mount such as those offered by Liberator.

The Desire Wand is mains-rechargeable with a charging time and constant-use time of about 180 minutes each. Being mains chargeable, it is NOT waterproof, so take care when cleaning it and don’t use it in wet environments like the bathroom.

The design is gorgeous. This toy is in my absolute favourite shade of purple, and decorated with the signature Lovehoney heart logo. The head is lovely, smooth matte silicone, which is body-safe, odorless and silky soft on the skin. The design really does deliver on the luxury promised by the line’s name.

The Desire line of toys are on the pricier end for own-brand products, and this wand is the most expensive of the bunch with a RRP of £99.99. However, based on the ones I’ve tried, it’s also far and away my favourite toy in the range. £100 isn’t an outrageous price for a really good toy and I’m happy to say this is value for money if you can afford it. At time of writing (March 2018) it’s also on a massive half-price sale, so grab one now for an absolute bargain.

Pro tip: wand vibes are designed for clitoral use, but they’re great for dicks too!

The user interface is simple – a “on/speed up” button, a “off/speed down” button, and a “change pattern” button. The Desire Wand boasts a massive 20 different patterns, each of which can be used on 5 different levels of intensity. Those who have read my work for any length of time know I’m not really a fan of patterns. I tried a few of them out, and they were okay… but I much (much!) prefer constant vibrations. If you’re a pattern fan, though, then this might be the wand for you. Annoyingly, you can only scroll one way through the pattern settings. So if you find one you like then click away from it, you need to hit the button another 20 or so times to get back to it.

Safer sex wise, the smooth silicone head is easy to sterilise with a body-safe medical wipe, which is my recommendation for any toy you can’t submerge in water to clean. The wand shape is condom-compatible if you’re using it on multiple partners without sterilising in between.

“Absolutely, far and away, the most powerful rechargeable vibe I have ever used.”

Arguably the most important single factor of any toy for me is its level of power. The power offered by the Desire wand is pretty impressive and, for me, falls about half way along the rumble/buzz spectrum. Less rumbly than I would ideally like, especially on the top setting, but nowhere near buzzy enough to cause me numbness or itching. I came really easily, twice in a row, with this toy on the top setting. It is absolutely, far and away, the most powerful rechargeable vibe I have ever used – for that, I cannot fault it in the least. Go get yours!

Verdict: ★★★★★

Recommended for: power Queens, anyone after a rechargeable alternative to mains-powered wands, pattern lovers.

This post contains affiliate links. Buying toys from Lovehoney or my other affiliates in the right-hand sidebar sends a small commission my way and helps me keep doing this work. All opinions are, and will always be, my own.

Images are property of Lovehoney and used with permission.

Valentine’s Writing Contest – Win Sex Toys!

I’m hosting a Valentine’s Day (ish) erotic writing contest/fundraiser for my favourite charity, because… well, because I have some lovely things to give away as prizes thanks to my friends at Lovehoney and Satisfyer.

THE PRIZES

1st Prize: Fifty Shades Freed ‘Lavish Attention’ vibrator (reviewed by me here)

2nd Prize: Satisfyer Pro Penguin Next Generation (reviewed by me here)

3rd Prize: Pair of black & red leather wrist cuffs (second hand, excellent condition)

I’ll also publish the winning entries on the blog with full credit and links back to the author.

THE RULES

  • The contest is open from when this post goes live until 11pm (UK time) on 15 March 2018.
  • Entries can be erotic fiction in any genre, not published previously (except on a personal blog, which is fine) and should be between 200 and 500 words. True sexy stories as a narrative are also encouraged!
  • Winners will be notified and prizes sent out the week after the closing date.
  • Entry is £3 and all entry monies will be donated to Backlash, the UK’s amazing sexual freedom charity.

HOW TO ENTER

  • Make a donation of £3 (or more, if you’re feeling generous) at this JustGiving page.
  • If you can’t use JustGiving, you can PayPal your entry fee to coffeeandkink69@gmail.com using “Backlash Contest” as the reference.
  • Email your entry to coffeeandkink69@gmail.com before the closing date. As an attachment or in the body of the email is fine.
  • Remember to tell me what name you used on JustGiving so I can match up your entry!

How to Buy Your Lover a Sex Toy for Valentine’s Day

I kind of love Valentine’s Day. I know it’s a manufactured commercial holiday, but at its heart it is a celebration of love – and I am in favour of there being more love and expressions of love in the world.

Two red roses and three boxes wrapped in white gift paper. For a post about buying sex toys for Valentine's Day.

Flowers and chocolates might be more traditional, but I think that a sex toy they’ll really love is a super romantic gift for Valentine’s Day. Sex is a massive part of many loving romantic relationships, and we could all use more pleasure in our lives. Giving your partner the ideal sex toy is a great way to make them feel seen and loved and to show that you’re invested in their sexual fulfillment.

There is one huge, enormous caveats to this, namely:

ONLY DO THIS FOR ESTABLISHED SEXUAL PARTNERS. Don’t buy your office crush or that cutie who makes your coffee a sex toy. That’s creepy.

So how do you ensure your sexy gift lands right? Here’s some tips…

Most importantly, take note of their preferences, desires and fantasies.

Is your partner a girth lover? Do they really need intense clitoral stimulation to get off? Are they all about their cock, or super into anal play? Do they love dual stimulation, or do they prefer to focus on a single sensation at a time? You need to know these basic things about your lover’s body before you can successfully buy them a toy.

Aesthetic preferences matter here, too. For some people, something pink might go down brilliantly. Others hate the colour and want nothing to do with it. Case in point: I was already MEGA impressed when Mr CK bought me a Doxy for my birthday the first year we were together. The fact that it was purple, my favourite colour, just emphasised that he’d really been paying attention to my likes.

This stuff isn’t hard to pick up. You just need to be paying attention.

That’s THEIR preferences!

In order for this to be successful, you need to buy your partner a toy you think THEY will really love – which might not be the same thing as buying one that you really want to watch them use. There’s no use buying them a massive dildo if they’re all about clitoral stimulation, for example. However much you fantasise about watching them fuck themselves silly, the thing is just going to gather dust in a drawer if it doesn’t turn them on.

If you’re not sure: ask.

You can ask this overtly, if you want – “babe, I’d love to buy you a fabulous sex toy for Valentine’s Day. How does that sound? Anything you’ve particularly got your eye on?” But if you want it to be a surprise, you’ll have to do some subtler sleuthing. As part of a more general conversation about fantasies, desires and new things to try (you are having these conversations, right??) you can ask them if there’s any particular activities or toys they’d super love to try. If you ever visit sex shops together (do this, it’s a fab date activity) or browse products online together, see what they gravitate towards.

If you’re STILL not sure, let them choose!

Loads of stores, both brick-and-mortar and online, now offer gift vouchers to be redeemed on sexy purchases. Why not buy them a voucher for your local feminist sex shop and go together, or a Lovehoney voucher and spend a fun date evening browsing and choosing something together?

Pro tip: skip “gift bundles.”

Bundles of several toys together are tempting because they come with several items and seem really well priced. Unfortunately, they tend to be cheap because they tend to suck. It’s much better to buy one really good quality toy from a reputable retailer and with a decent warranty. “Gift bundles” are often full of jelly, phthalate-ridden crap with terrible motors that will break in five minutes. Give them a miss.

Need some inspiration? A few of my favourites to start you off…

My friends at Lovehoney have kindly offered a discount code on a few of my favourite items, including the Doxy Original in purple, the new and fabulous Doxy Number Three, the We-Vibe Tango, the Tantus Vamp Super Soft (in purple, of course!) and the Desire Butterfly hands-free vibrator. Check them out here and get 15% off!

Have a great Valentine’s Day. May you all be blessed with love and, if applicable, orgasms aplenty.

Affiliate links are contained in this post. Buying from my affiliates supports me and helps keep the blog going. All opinions my own, as always! Image courtesy of Pixabay. 

[Toy Review] Mantric Rechargeable Wand Vibrator

I love wands. They’re pretty much my favourite kind of toy. So of course, I jumped at the chance to test out the rechargeable wand from the new Mantric range. It looks a little something like this:

The Mantric magic wand, a black silicone wand style vibrator with an LED panel on the handle.

The Basics

The Mantric wand is on the smaller end for a wand, at only 9.5″ long and with a head circumference of 5.4″. It has 7 modes or patterns of vibration, and each one can work on any of five speed settings. The handle is slightly curved and it has a classic wand head. It is made of black silicone and features an LED light panel on one side of the handle which changes colour depending on which setting you’re on.

The box for the Mantric Wand vibrator - a simple cardboard box with a mandala logo and the word "Mantric" on the front.It is USB rechargeable, fully waterproof, has a travel-lock (because no-one wants their vibe turning on as you go through airport security!) and comes packaged in an minimalistic brown cardboard box – pictured left – with the Mantric branding on the front. (The mantric logo is a classy-looking mandala, then when you look closer you see it’s made of cocks and vulvas. Frankly, I am here for this).

My Experience

I tried this toy for the first time with Mr CK. He was Topping me, and using the toy on my clit while holding my vaginal opening shut with his fingers (because I am into chastity/denial play and this is my jam).

I’ve mentioned before that even though my Doxy is pretty much my favourite thing ever, it doesn’t actually lend itself super well to being used on me by a partner – it’s so intense that it quickly becomes painful if it’s even slightly in the wrong spot, and the head is so big that my partner struggles to see exactly where it’s sitting against my body. A toy with significant enough power to get me off but without the sheer intensity of the big wands is the sweet spot for me… and in that respect at least, this toy delivered.

Unusually, some of the patterns were quite enjoyable! It was still the always-magic constant vibration/high speed combo that tipped me over the edge, but the gentle wave setting and the quick, sharp bursts setting were surprisingly pleasant.

Overall, imperfect but enjoyable and did the job. Read on for the details…

My Ratings (all scores out of 5★)

Price: ★★★★
The Mantric wand retails for £59.99, which puts it squarely into the realm of a mid-range toy. It’s a reasonable price for the quality.

Materials: ★★★★★
It’s almost entirely silicone (apart from the light panel and a slim band where the body joins the head). This makes it non-porous, body-safe and a delight to handle and use.

Appearance: ★★★★
Mr CK and I differed on this one! I like the sleek design and the fact that it’s black – which is refreshingly free of gendered connotations/assumptions. Plus, I think the LED light panel is a really fun, swanky touch. He’s more a functional type than me and thinks the LED panel is gimicky and pointless. The Mantric range toys are all either black or a dark pinkish-purple colour.

Ease of Use: ★★
Plus points: it’s very light, and the ergonomic handle and intelligent button placement makes it easy and intuitive to hold and manipulate during use.

Unfortunately, I do have a few gripes about the user-friendliness: Getting it to turn on is not intuitive. You have to press the middle of the three buttons, which puts it into “standby” mode, then press it again, then pick the setting you want. I’ll be keeping the instructions for this one because, if I don’t use it for a bit, I can see myself forgetting how to switch it on. The second annoyance is that you can only change the setting one way – so if you skip past the one you want, you have to cycle alllll the way back through again.  You can change the speeds up or down, which is a plus, but in terms of changing the pattern it’s up up up only.

Ease of care & cleaning: ★★★★
The Mantric wand is completely waterproof, meaning you can submerge it into warm water for a thorough cleaning. You can also give it a quick clean between uses with a sterile medical wipe – remember to pick body-safe wipes!

There is a seam where the plastic band meets the head and handle,which could trap germs. Take extra care on this area when cleaning. This toy doesn’t come with a storage bag, which I would have liked. Individual storage bags help keep toys clean and dust-free between uses.

Versatility: ★★★★
The Mantric wand has 5 speeds and 7 settings, meaning it’s pretty versatile whatever type of vibration you like. It is pretty much a clitoral toy – you could insert the handle end, as it’s silicone, but I’d be worried about getting fluids and germs in the seam where the light panel joins the main body.  This wand is waterproof, so you could take it into the bath or shower if that’s your jam.

Intensity:
★★★★
More than adequate for the price-point and size! The vibrations are pretty rumbly at the lower levels, and a little buzzier at the higher ones. I’d recommend this vibe to someone who likes a good level of vibration intensity, but sometimes or always wants something less extreme than my favourite power-tool.

Overall Score: Image result for three and a half stars
A basically solid toy with some flaws. I enjoyed using it and will be using it again, though I don’t think it will go into the “reach for it every session” pile. I’d love to see a second edition released. With the user-friendliness issues ironed out, this would move from being a good toy to a great toy.

Buying your Mantric wand, or any toys, from Lovehoney using my affiliate links helps to support me and keep the blog going. Thanks to Lovehoney, who sent me this toy free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are, and will always be, my own.

Ten Lessons from One Year of Sex Blogging

I started my blog late in the evening on 31 December 2016. Can you believe I’ve been at this game for a whole year already? Time flies when you’re having fun, banging various sexy people, and accumulating a collection of sex toys bigger than you reasonably have storage space for.

A white mug from Girl on the Net with the text "No-One Does Whar You Do Quite Like You." For a post about things I've learned in a year of blogging.

And oh what a year it’s been! This little side project – and the community I’ve met as a result – has changed my life, and changed me, in deep and fundamental ways. I’m a better person, and a better writer, than I was a year ago thanks to this little adventure. I’ve placed in the top 100 sex bloggers, won a Newcomer Award, and been paid for my work. I’ve worked with great companies like Hot Octopuss and Lovehoney. And I’ve met some of the most awesome people I’ve ever had the privilege to know.

So, in the spirit of reflecting on the past year – it is New Year’s Eve, after all! – I wanted to share with you ten lessons I’ve taken away from this first year.

1. I can experience pleasure and orgasm in ways I never imagined.

I hardly ever bought sex toys before I started this little adventure and started getting sent things to review. They’re pretty expensive and my vulva is fussy – it knew what it liked (this baby, mainly) and though I was curious about other toys, I couldn’t quite bring myself to spend upwards of £50-100 on things that may or may not work for me.

Well, I’ve now tried oscillating toys, suction toys, dual-stimulation toys, ride-on toys, great vibrators, terrible vibrators, mediocre vibrators, dildos in interesting materials, and even sex toys shaped like penguins. And if you’ll pardon the pun, FUCK ME it turns out my experience of pleasure is diverse. Not only can I get off in all these different ways, but each gives me a subtly (or sometimes wildly) different variety of orgasm.

Bodies are cool, y’all.

2. Sex writers are the best community.

I cannot overstate the extent to which the sex writing community has changed my life for the better. At events like Eroticon, Lube & a Laptop, and even the recent sex blogger Christmas party, I feel profoundly seen, deeply understood, and radically accepted in a way that I have never quite encountered anywhere else.

This community is so open, so generous with time and support and knowledge and friendship and a helping hand up, that I want to cry with joy every time I think about it. You, reading this? Yes, you. I love you.

3. I have the power to take my ideas and make them real.

This whole “sex blog” thing was just a bit of a side project a year ago; a bit of fun that I thought would keep me busy during a difficult transitional period and maybe entertain a handful of people. Now, though? Now it’s so much more. It’s my genuine passion project AND a source of additional income.

That didn’t happen by accident. That happened because I had an idea and ran with it. It happened because I put in the hours (and hours and hours) at the computer screen, tap-tap-tapping away; because I invested what I could, money-and-time-wise, into things like going to Eroticon; because people like Girl on the Net, Kayla, Molly and Michael, and Sarah generously shared their wisdom and I was smart enough to shut up and listen and learn from them; frankly, because I worked my ass off for it. I still do every day.

You can, too.  You just need an idea, some determination, and the willingness to put in the hard work to see it through.

4. Sometimes, the best way to get what you want is just to ask.

Sending off my first pitch was so scary that I needed to celebrate a little bit having done so. Actually getting it accepted? Well, that was something I’d never imagined! That first time someone believed in my work enough to pay me for it, even a little, was like a shot of pure confidence straight to my anxiety-riddled brain. But I never would have got it if I hadn’t faced down my fears and just asked.

Writing to Hot Octopuss a couple months ago on a whim, going “hey we’ve got some common interests here want to sponsor a post?” felt ridiculous. Presumptuous. Why would a big and successful company want to work with a nobody like me? But they said yes. They liked my idea and they paid me for it and I’ve worked with them again since!

These little victories would never have come my way if I hadn’t bitten the bullet and just asked the damn question.

5. Rejection can tear you down, or it can propel you forward.

Rejection happens in any creative industry. It’s just a fact of life. I’ve been rejected plenty of times, both as a sex writer and in my vanilla writing life. My first novel probably got rejected 30 times before I decided to e-publish. I got rejected from an OxBridge Masters programme at the final interview stage. I’ve spent days, weeks, crafting a perfect contest entry and not placed. I’ve sent pitches off and never heard back.

What I learned this year, though, is how to channel rejection into determination and forward momentum. I’ve honed my pitching style and my approaches. I’ve looked again at a rejected piece with fresh eyes and revamped it. And I’ve taught myself how to view all experience, even rejections, as valuable and as opportunities for growth. All writing experience is good writing experience.

6. Whatever weirdnesses I have, I’m definitely not alone.

Whatever bizarre fetish or kink I might be into, someone else is into it too.

When I think I’m the only person in the world whose body responds to a certain stimulus in a certain way, someone will go “me too!”

When I’m struggling with an emotion or a fear or a trip into the darkest depths of my psyche, sometimes what keeps me going is just knowing that someone else sees me, that they understand what I’m going through, and that they came out the other side – and I will too.

7. I have workaholic tendencies.

Okay, so I had a hunch about this one already, but it’s become apparent to me in the last year just how true it is. When I’m really into something, I am in real danger of becoming completely consumed by it.

In October, writing every single day for my Kink Month challenge was stressful and thrilling in equal measure. Since then, I’ve forced myself to take half a step back to recharge as my day job workload explodes over the festive period, but I still feel twinges of guilt if I go more than three or four days without blogging.

This passion and the way it eats at me until I sit down and do the work is a blessing, in large part, and occasionally a curse too. Sometimes the best thing my loved ones can do for me is give me space to work, and sometimes the best thing they can do is force me to take a break, eat some snacks and watch a terrible movie with them. Often, though, I need to take a good look at how I’m really doing in order to communicate which of these things I need.

8. People HATE being told the truth.

Whether it’s that their jelly dildo is riddled with toxic gunk, that shoving 2lb of marbles up their ass is a really bad idea, or that their favourite toy company hired a known abuser as a spokesperson, people really cannot deal with facts and information if it conflicts with their view of The Way Things Are. What’s more, sometimes these people will come at you with name-calling, personal attacks and even threats of physical violence when you speak the truth.

Block early, block often, my friends.

9. How not to take shit from companies.

I don’t work for other people/companies for free, unless:

1) You’re a charity I really, deeply believe in, OR
2) You’re a personal friend and I’m either doing you a favour or we’re doing some kind of work exchange.

Even so, the number of companies who have approached me wanting me to write for them for nothing – or “for the exposure!!!” – is fast approaching levels of bullshit I never knew existed. Add this to seriously shady requests like “talk up our product but don’t let on to your readers that we sponsored you for this,” and I’m left shaking my head at the audacity of some people. This year, I’ve learned to value my work properly and not accept flattery or “exposure” as forms of currency. I’ve learned to stand up for my worth, to hold firm with my boundaries, to put my foot down, so say “no”.

You love what I do and REALLY REALLY want to bring my voice to your readers? Perfect. I’m flattered. Now pay me.

10. No-one Does What I Do Quite Like Me

I’m just gonna finish off with this gem of wisdom from Girl on the Net, a phrase which adorns the mug (pictured) that I drink my coffee from every morning. Because it’s true.

Happy new year, you beautiful lot. Here’s to 2018.

Image by me.

[Toy Review] Fifty Shades Freed ‘Lavish Attention’ Vibrator

First, let’s address the elephant in the room.

I thought long and hard (stop snickering at the back!) about whether or not to request, or accept, any of Lovehoney’s new Fifty Shades Freed line of toys for review after attending their recent affiliate product showcase. In the end, I made a balanced decision that yes, I would review this line. Let me tell you why.

A close up of an elephant. For a review of the Fifty Shades Freed Lavish Attention vibrator.

To say I have issues with the Fifty Shades franchise is an understatement. I believe those books are not just poorly written and questionably researched portrayals of bad BDSM – I actually believe they’re really harmful. The way they’re written, and marketed, passes off stalking, psychological abuse, disregard for consent and even rape as romantic. Check out Jenny Trout’s series or my friend Christine’s blog if you would like to learn why more and more sex-positive feminists are speaking out against this series.

However. A terrible first introduction though it is, more and more people are finding BDSM and the kink and sex-positive communities via this franchise. They read the book or watch the film and get turned on by all the kinky sex. “I want to do that!” they think. Okay. So where do they go? Maybe they search online. If they’re lucky, they’ll find brilliant educational blogs. If they poke around for any length of time in the internet kinkosphere, they’ll probably land on Fetlife sooner or later. They might come to a munch. And they might go and buy a sex toy, possibly for the first time ever.

The seasoned kinksters among us may roll our eyes each February when the newest film brings the influx of “the Fifty Shades crowd” to our online spaces or our local munch. But if we do not welcome these people, we are doing them a great disservice. If we push them away or look down on them, we’re completely failing to live up to our purported values of inclusion, respect and community. Not only that, but pushing them away means they’re more likely to practice kink in unsafe and uninformed ways, imitating what they’ve read in that trilogy. If we welcome them in, they will have access to tremendous resources of knowledge, experience and education. I’ve seen plenty of people who came to kink via Fifty Shades grow into fantastic, skilled, responsible kinksters.

People who come to kink via less-than-ideal source material deserve resources and information. They deserve support, a loving community and the same access to education that every single one of us needed when we were new, regardless of our route into the community.

They also deserve safe and quality toys.

The way I see it, the majority of people who are likely to gravitate towards Fifty Shades branded toys will probably fall closer to the “new/inexperienced” end of the demographic spectrum. They may never have purchased a vibrator or dildo before in their life! They’ll probably be completely overwhelmed by the sheer quantity and variety of toys on offer. If Fifty Shades was their way in – or even if it wasn’t, but it’s still the main current cultural touchstone for “kinky sex” – they may well gravitate towards these branded toys. People feel comforted by the familiar.

This, in a nutshell, is why I am glad that Lovehoney have made this Fifty Shades Freed line in the way they have. Having seen most of the products in the flesh (um, as it were,) I feel happy to say they’re a body-safe, user-friendly and just flat out good quality line of toys. I’m glad that inexperienced folks, new to the world of sex toys, are going to get quality products and not some shitty jelly-rubber, phthalate-ridden piece of crap when they Google “Fifty Shades sex toys”. (And yes, this is the first link that comes up when you do that search. I checked.)

With that out of the way… what did I think of the actual toy?

The |Lovehoney Fifty Shades Freed Lavish Attention vibrator. A half moon shaped vibrator with a handle in a lovely plum colour;.The Lavish Attention vibrator is a dual clitoral and G-spot toy. Its shape is like a half moon on top of a handle. The internal part is nice and slim, with a circumference of about 4 inches at the widest part, and flexible. When this is inserted, the external part – which is more rigid – rests against the clitoris. Both vibrate. The Lavish Attention has 3 constant vibration speeds and 7 patterns. It’s USB rechargeable, waterproof, travel-lockable, and comes with a handy – and stylish – purple storage bag.

I loved using it. I wasn’t sure I would, as dual-stim toys often aren’t very effective for me, but I like to broaden my horizons and expand my preferences. Personally, I found the shape and size of the Lavish Attention perfect to comfortably stimulate both my G-spot and clitoris without much weird maneuvering required.

Unusually, I enjoyed the vibration patterns on this toy. I think having internal stimulation slightly changes how my clitoris responds to things, though I am still figuring out exactly how this works. There are some caveats – read on for those! – but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Lavish Attention to anyone looking for a good quality dual-stim toy.

My Ratings (all scores out of 5★)

Price: ★★★★
This toy retails at Lovehoney – currently the exclusive carrier! – for £54.99. This puts it squarely into the mid-price bracket, and in my opinion it’s reasonable value for the quality. I note that Lovehoney have a stellar returns policy.

Materials: ★★★★★
I can’t praise this enough. It’s premium quality matte silicone and feels absolutely gorgeous. It’s the kind of toy you just want to stroke again and again because it feels so lovely.

Appearance: ★★★★
One of the big plus points for the whole Freed range, for me, is how pretty they are. They’re all the same plum silicone with rose gold accents. The look is classy, sensual and sexy as fuck. If it didn’t have the Fifty Shades logo emblazoned upon it, it would be the perfect aesthetic for a sex toy in my opinion.

Ease of Use: ★★★
I generally find dual-stim vibes take some practice and some experimentation to find the best position to use them. This was no exception. I also found it slightly awkward to hold due to the positioning of the handle. It is nice and light, which is a big plus and particularly relevant for anyone who struggles to hold heavier toys due to disability or injury. My biggest gripe is that you can’t turn the speed and pattern settings down – if you want to get back to the previous setting, you have to cycle alllllll the way back through.

Ease of care & cleaning: ★★★★★
You can clean the Lavish Attention, as with any silicone toy, with a sterile body-safe wipe. These are available cheaply in bulk from medical suppliers. This toy is completely waterproof which means you can submerge it to clean. The internal piece can easily be covered with a condom, but it’s not so easy to use with a barrier externally.

Versatility: ★★★★
The Lavish Attention has 3 speeds and 7 patterns, making it nice and versatile whichever you prefer. One feature I would have liked would be the option to control the internal and external vibrations independently of each other. The shape makes it safe for anal use, and I imagine the external stimulator could feel really nice against the perineum during anal play if that’s your jam. It is fully waterproof, so safe for bathtime play.

Intensity:
★★★★
As ever, please remember I am the biggest Power Queen who ever Power Queened. The vibrations were more than adequate and got me off, but I would have liked one or two higher settings. Considering that my preferred power level is “Doxy on speed,” though, I might be an outlier here. The vibration quality is a little buzzy, but not numbingly so.

Overall Score: ★★★★
A very solid dual-stim toy which I enjoyed using. Not perfect, but perfect doesn’t exist anyway. I’ve marked it up for being body-safe, fully waterproof, gorgeous looking and relatively quiet. It lost a few points for the annoying lack of a “down” control.

I don’t recommend this toy to lovers of girth – it’s definitely slimline – or those who can’t stand their vibrations being even slightly buzzy. But if you’re looking for a good quality, mid-priced clitoral and G-spot toy from a trustworthy retailer, and don’t mind the Fifty Shades branding, I suggest giving Lavish Attention a try!

The good folks at Lovehoney sent me the Lavish Attention vibrator in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinions which are, and will always be, entirely my own. Buying your sexy products through Lovehoney helps support me with a small commission and keep the blog going.

Elephant image is courtesy of Pixabay, a fab source of copyright-free images. Toy image belongs to Lovehoney and is reproduced here with their kind permission.