[Toy Review] Atom Cock Ring by Hot Octopuss

Remember that terrible cock ring I reviewed (read: made fun of mercilessly) a few months back? This is… not that.

I adore Hot Octopuss. Their innovative products, their anti-stigma work and their community-minded stance all put them firmly in my “Amy’s Favourite Companies” list**.

I’ve previously reviewed their Queen Bee and Pocket Pulse, and was thrilled to receive the new Atom Cock Ring to test.

Let’s Take a Look, Shall We?

My hand holding the black Atom cock ring. The purpose of cock rings is to keep blood in the penis in order to make a person’s erection harder and bring about a stronger climax. Vibrating rings have the added bonus of providing clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex. It’s a simple premise, but one that is so often executed really badly.

Hot Octopuss describes Atom as “the next generation in cock rings”. It retails for £69 (heh) directly from the manufacturer.

The Atom is a stretchy black silicone ring, with a large contact area with a raised nub to sit against the clitoris. It is adorned with a simple metallic-coloured ABS band with the company’s crown logo, on which the up/down speed buttons sit. The company name is also stamped into the silicone. The aesthetic is minimalist, masculine, and sexy as hell. Also provided is a useful little drawstring storage pouch.

The Atom is rechargeable via a USB cable, and completely waterproof – useful if shower sex is your thing! It is controlled via three simple buttons, and has six settings in total – constant vibrations and five different patterns. Each one of these can be adjusted up or down in intensity.

A word for the girthier penis-owners: you’re gonna need lube, friends! This ring’s diameter is only about 1.5″ so, though it is nice and stretchy and should sit comfortably once it’s on, you should be sure to use plenty of lube to slide it into place without discomfort. As ever, use water-based lube with silicone toys.

Body-Safe and Easy to Clean

The entire surface of the Atom is coated in super soft, silky silicone. The decorative band is ABS plastic. This means it both feels lovely and is completely body-safe and non-porous. As it’s waterproof, it is also easy to clean with warm water and some gentle soap. For a quick clean, as ever I recommend toy wipes or body-safe sterile wipes (I buy in bulk from medical supply sites).

When it comes to cleaning, the only issue is the seam where the band connects to the main body of the toy. This area could be a germ trap, so take extra care when cleaning it.

Oh, and a quick note on matte silicone: as a material, it picks up lint and fluff like nobody’s business. Expect to have to give your toy a quick rinse before use if it’s been in storage for a while. It’s generally a good idea to do this anyway.

What We Loved

The Hot Octopuss Atom on a white and purple dildo with little hearts.
Feat. Ambit by Godemiche dildo, because obviously this very masculine cock-ring needed to be paired with the most femme dildo I own.

The Atom boasts by far the strongest vibrations I have ever felt from a cock-ring. They are powerful, rumbly and on all levels, immensely satisfying. My limited experience with vibrating cock-rings in the past has been that they are so weak as to be either pointless or annoying. No such problems here! The vibrations are more than strong enough for even my power-queen clit. Finally, Hot Octopuss have made a cock-ring that will actually give the clitoris-owner some pleasure when used during PIV sex!

It was also tight enough to actually have the desired effect of giving my partner a stronger, harder and longer-lasting erection.

Of course, I also love that it’s body-safe, well made, and from a company whose ethics and business practices I trust.

What We Didn’t Love

The biggest problem with this toy from my perspective is in the placement of the buttons. They are, as I mentioned, situated on either end of the ABS band across the top of the toy. (The on/off/change pattern button is separate, and is embedded into the silicone just below the “down” control). This button placement means that changing the settings during sex is difficult and will almost certainly interrupt your flow. We had to pause to look more closely at which button was which, and then to change between the settings. The single biggest improvement Hot Octopuss could make to this toy, should they bring out a second edition, would be to include a remote control.

There are no other major issues. We do have the issue that Mr CK likes patterns while I like constant vibrations, but that’s definitely an us problem (/excuse for him to torment me, because I have a teasing and denial kink).

Atom or Atom Plus?

Hot Octopuss actually released two cock-rings last year, the Atom and the Atom Plus. I have not tried the Plus personally; however, I will tell you what I know about it so that you can make an informed choice about which to get.

Whereas the Atom features one motor primarily designed for clitoral stimulation, the Plus has two. (“The world’s first cock-ring to house dual integrated motors,” according to Hot Octopuss. Exciting!) The second motor offers intense stimulation of the perineum, the area between the testicles and anus which is extremely pleasurable for many people. So if you’re into this kind of stimulation, you might want to get the Plus. If you’re not fussed, you can stick with the Atom. The Atom is worn just around the shaft of the penis, whereas the Plus goes around both the penis and balls. The Plus is, of course, physically bigger and more expensive – it retails for £89.

So do we recommend it?

Yes, we do. It’s really hard to find quality, body-safe toys with good motors for people with penises. Hot Octopuss are ahead of the curve in redressing that balance. If you’re a fan of cock-rings and looking for something to take your sex to the next level, or if you’re after clitoral stimulation for you or your partner during penetrative sex, you can’t go wrong with the Atom.

In Mr CK’s words: “hands down the best cock-ring I have ever used!”

A banner ad for sex toy company Hot Octopuss, who sponsored a post on sex and mental healthThank you to Hot Octopuss for sending me the Atom cock-ring in exchange for an impartial review. I am an affiliate with Hot Octopuss and if you buy any product from them directly using the affiliate links in this post, I will make a small commission. The Atom (and Atom Plus) are also stocked by SheVibe and Peepshow Toys, for my non-European readers. Thanks also, as always, to Mr CK and his extremely patient Stunt Cock for allowing me to do things to his genitals in the name of journalism. 

Pictures of product by me, other graphics by Hot Octopuss. Not to be used without express permission. 

[** Ooh – post idea? Maybe.]

CK & Exhibit A on… Dick Size

I did a discussion-based joint post on pegging with the awesome Exhibit A for his site a while back, and it was so much fun we decided to reconvene for another one. Inspired by our friend who wrote in about being insecure about his girlfriend’s toy usage, this time we’re talking everything to do with dicks, and specifically the size of them.

]Note: we use some cis-centric language here, referring to people with penises as men. This is due to the experience we’re writing from (EA is a cis man and I’m a cis woman who has fucked a lot of cis men) but we acknowledge this shortcoming. In no way did we mean to imply that women can’t have penises, men can’t have vulvas, or that these are the only two gender options.]

A half uncoiled tape measure on a red background. For a post on Dick Size with Exhibit A

Exhibit A lives in London, describes himself as an “urban fox,” and likes to “write stories and get naked (usually not at the same time.”)

Here’s what we had to say about dicks.

CK: So this conversation started because of a reader question I answered, where the person was jealous of/intimidated by his girlfriend’s sex toys, specifically because he feared her using toys meant his penis isn’t “big enough.”I approached it from a very much “you’re fine as you are, talk to your partner and work on your insecurities” angle but, as a vulva-owner, I don’t really get the penis insecurity thing. Especially because, for me at least, dick size is such a tiny factor when it comes to whether or not I want to have sex with someone! But I think you had some thoughts to add to this as a penis-owner?

EA: Well yes – when it comes to dick, I have lots of thoughts, some of which are about size. On this occasion, what I found interesting about your answer (especially in light of what you just said about your own preferences) was that you didn’t give the generic “hey, size doesn’t matter, your penis is definitely big enough so stop worrying” response that other, more mainstream sex columnists might have gone with. You sort of acknowledged in a tacit way that size is important to some people, and that it’s fine for that to be the case.

CK: Yeah, because I have no way of knowing what his girlfriend’s preference is. I did tell him that his dick is fine as it is and that all genitals are beautiful, because this is what I believe, but whether it’s actually “big enough” for HER personal preferences? That I can’t speak to because I’m not her.

EA: Yep, exactly that. I thought it was quite a nuanced way to handle the question, and the (sensitive) issue of dick size more generally. In his position, I think I’d find that perversely reassuring. It’s often helpful, when you have a nagging worry (whether it relates to your body, your job, your friendships, whatever) to have someone around who won’t sugarcoat things or BS you with stuff they think you want to hear. Makes it easier to say “ok, what am I actually going to do about it?” And when it comes to dick size – or more specifically to a gap between what one partner has and what one partner might (in an ideal world) want, there’s PLENTY you can do about it, of course.

CK: Yeah, that’s really true although one obviously has to be VERY careful with it because: self esteem is fragile. There’s absolutely loads you can do about it – including, ironically, toys!

EA: Yes! Toys are awesome for this and they’re awesome in their own right, which is kind of the point. It sounded like your correspondent was intimidated by them because he saw them as a penis replacement – as a way of his girlfriend getting something he couldn’t provide – rather than as something that could enrich their sex life in a more holistic sense.

CK: Yes, exactly – and I tried to tackle that as well by suggesting he try using toys in their sex together and possibly also in his solo sex life. So tell me: is it true, in your experience, that the majority of men are hung (heh) up on their dick size? And if so: why?

EA: I already heh’d earlier at your ‘dick size is such a tiny factor’ comment – apparently we’re all about the puns today.

CK: I am ALWAYS about the puns, especially if they involve cock.

EA: I don’t know that the majority of men are hung up on dick size, but I’d certainly say that for most guys it’s a consideration we’re aware of. Cultural considerations play a big role in that. Whether it’s Sex & the City, suggestive TV advertising, columns in women’s (and lads’) mags, dick size is very much seen as fair game for discussion, analysis, (occasionally cruel) humour, and fetishisation. As a guy, you absorb all that and of course it has an impact on the relationship you have with your own penis.

CK: Absolutely. And it seems to be an easy/lazy attack to throw at a guy.

EA: An attack, and vice versa – having a big dick is seen as something to be proud of, or to brag about. So of course we do, especially as teenagers and young men, whether we actually have one or not.

CK: I kinda think “you have a small dick” to a guy is the equivalent of “you’re fat” to a woman. Whether it’s actually true is irrelevant (and the body positive amongst us know that neither of these things are bad anyway!) but it’s an easy way to hit someone’s self esteem. With one exception, all the guys I’ve had PIV with have been on the bigger side. I don’t know why, because it’s not something I look for! Interestingly, the one who was on the smaller side had a really big complex about it, while all the others didn’t seem too fussed one way or the other.

EA: I spent years in the changing room at school trying to hide my lower half when I got (un)dressed, because I was convinced that a) I had a small dick, and b) people would laugh/take the piss out of it.

CK: That’s really sad but seems to be a really common experience. Can you talk about how your relationship with your dick has grown (hehe) or changed over the years?

EA: To form that insecurity at the age of 14/15, before I’d had sex, and before I’d even really been exposed to porn and the kind of content where dick size is openly discussed, invites an interesting discussion about where it comes from, I think. Both my dick and my relationship with it have grown since I was 15!

CK: Oh gosh yes! Do you think that insecurity came from the kind of harmful “banter” you were just talking about? Hearing other guys bragging?

EA: Perhaps. Perhaps I’d also absorbed cultural messaging without even realising it. There was also some residual insecurity, I think, from being the only circumcised boy in my swimming class at primary school, and having other boys openly stare/draw attention to that, in a negative way. But yes, over the years I’ve come to love my penis for what it is, and to stop worrying about what it’s not.

CK: Yes, cultural messaging is all around us for sure… a bit like the way really young girls are now super insecure about their bodies and thinking they need to diet.

EA: Some of the change was just growing up, I think. Some of it was reading about dick size – like, getting the facts, rather than just believing my mate in the lunch queue when he casually mentioned that 8 inches was average. And inevitably a lot of it was affirmation, love, and happy sexual experiences with/from sexual partners. In an ideal world, none of us would need external validation/affirmation to feel good about our bodies. In the world we live in, of course it tends to help!

CK: Absolutely! That’s one reason I wish we had more comprehensive and accurate sex ed. Such a simple way to make a lot of teenagers more secure about their bodies and stop them absorbing quite so much toxic false information. Apart from more good information, what else do you think would help guys feel more secure about their dick, whatever size it is?

EA: I’ll say this, actually – one additional thing guys have to deal with is the harmful trope that penises are ‘ugly’. If you’re already worried about size, the idea that it’s just making your dick even less attractive from an already low base is pretty depressing

CK: YES! I don’t believe so many people think genitals are ugly, they’re gorgeous – especially when they’re attached to a human I like.

EA: It really helped me when I started to have partners say things like “your dick is beautiful” or “I love the way your dick looks”, rather than just ascribing it a practical/functional value. Getting my head round the idea that women could (and do!) find penises aesthetically pleasing/attractive was a big (and happy) thing for me…again, pun absolutely intended.

CK: So people who have sex with people with dicks definitely have a role to play in this issue?

EA: They do, yes – though it’s important to qualify that by saying they’re not ultimately responsible for the body/penis image of men with dicks. As guys, that’s ultimately down to us.

CK: I think it’s everyone’s responsibility ultimately to work on their own insecurities/hang-ups, with the help of partners and loved ones for sure… but it has to come from within.

EA: But sure, the more external support/affirmation we get, the easier it becomes to ignore any negative messaging, whether that’s coming from within us or from the wider world.

CK: So what IS a guy to do if he’s smaller than his partner would ideally prefer, but they love each other and want to have great sex? And, conversely, if he’s bigger than average and this makes sex difficult? Because my first sexual partner was way above average size and that shit HURT when I was 16 and didn’t have access to lube or proper information.

EA: I was just about to bring it back round to that by saying that I have had relationships – casual and more serious – with women who have been open about their preference for larger dick than I’m packing.

CK: Ooh! And how does that work for you?

EA: Hmm, I actually found it quite easy to rationalise/deal with in the end. I think there are a few keys to overcoming it.. 1. It’s important to acknowledge that whether you’re talking appearance, personality, job, wealth, hobbies, or whatever, our real-life partners are never going to match up in every area with the ideal partner we might create in our head.

CK: That’s SUCH a good point for life in general.

EA: 2. Once you accept that, it becomes easier to kind of interrogate your insecurities. To ask yourself ‘well ok, would I be this bothered if she told me she typically went for really tall guys, just because I’m only average height?’ Or on the flip side, to remind yourself that you tend to eye up women with brown hair, but still fancy the pants off her ‘even though’ she’s blonde. 3. We are the sum of our physical features, our personality traits, our experiences…we can’t and shouldn’t reduce ourselves to one element of them. Obsessing over the fact that your girlfriend prefers hung guys means ignoring all the things she finds hot or attractive about you, and all the reasons why she fucks you, rather than Johnny Big Balls with the 9″ monster cock.

CK: So much yes to all of that.

EA: Also, by focusing solely on the disparity between the dick you have and the dick you imagine she wants, you’re making sex all about…well, all about dick. And that’s a pretty gross way to look at it. When I was in those relationships, it never crossed my mind that my partner wouldn’t enjoy sex with me, just because in a fantasy world where genies came flying out of lamps, she might add an inch or two to my cock.

CK: Also if your partner reduces you to just your dick size or any other physical attribute, they’re kinda… well, being a dick.

EA: She enjoyed sex with me because we had awesome chemistry, and similar kinks, and gave each other great oral, and loved to kiss for hours, and all those other awesome things. Reduce love or sex to any one element and you risk going down a very dangerous path, IMO. I focused on being the whole package (heh) for her in bed, knowing that actually, dick size expectations was one of the easier hurdles to overcome.

CK: That’s such a great approach to sex.

EA: Going back to toys, I would gleefully fuck the shit out of her with an 8-inch dildo while she sucked my cock, or tie her up and stretch her slowly with something thick, knowing that she’d find something equally awesome to do to/with me afterwards. It’s a lot harder to find ways around other problems someone might have with you. Or rather, other preferences someone might have.

CK: Absolutely. And therein you’ve captured perfectly why I advised our insecure friend to use toys with his girlfriend!

EA: I hope he took your advice! By the way, while there are definitely wrong ways to go about doing it, I actually have a lot of time for women who aren’t ashamed/afraid to declare a preference for larger dicks. If they do it in a sex-positive, happy way, rather than a sneering or mocking one, well, I think that takes a fair bit of balls and some good self-awareness/knowledge of their own bodies/preferences.

CK: Yes, that definitely makes sense. I also wish that women who stated we don’t really care/don’t prefer huge dicks would be taken at face value about our preferences!

EA: Women get so much shit for loving sex (or being greedy about it, or wanting to ‘fuck like men’) that to hear someone come out and say “fuck it, I love big dicks” is kinda hot. What you just said, though, that’s the irony of our collective male insecurity about dick size: w’ve cultivated it to the point where women who come out and say “I don’t actually care either way” or even “I prefer smaller/average dicks” – messages that should be music to our ears – simply aren’t believed! Moral of this story? Believe women when they talk about what they do/don’t want. It will be much easier for all concerned.

CK: Also good advice for life. to be honest. Believe people about their own preferences!

EA: Fuck yeah. And talk about those preferences with them! Don’t just assume that “I prefer this” means “it’s my #1 preference, it’s an absolute preference, it exists independently of any/all other preferences, and because you don’t conform to it, I can’t find anything else in you to love/fancy/desire.”

CK: Preach! (Example: my partner prefers naturally hairy women but ultimately having body hair is a small part of the whole package of what he’ll find attractive in a person.)

EA: We all have a preference set. They’re often fluid, nuanced, interdependent, and liable to shift as we experience new things. That’s part of the beauty of being human, and of having sex with other humans.

CK: So the thesis is basically: genitals are great. Dicks are hot. People have different preferences and we should listen to each other. And TOYS ARE GREAT ALWAYS.

EA: Nailed it.

Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed our second co-authored piece. Remember to check out EA’s blog and, if you like the work I’m doing here on Coffee & Kink, consider becoming a sexy patron.

Ask Amy #1: “I’m Jealous of Her Dildo!”

This is my first of what I hope will be a regular reader advice column. If you have questions, get in touch! I will strip away all identifying details, and I will never post your name unless you say it’s okay.

A close up of a bright green eye. For a post about being jealous of a girlfriend's dildo

“I’m jealous of my girlfriend’s sex toys!”

Q: Dear Amy,
I’m a 26 year old straight guy and have been with my girlfriend for a year. I love her very much, we communicate well and the sex is great. The only problem is that she likes to use sex toys, specifically dildos, when she masturbates. She also wants to incorporate them into our sex life together. I have a pretty average sized penis – about 6″ long when erect and average girth. The toys my girlfriend favours are all way bigger than me! How can my very average dick satisfy her when she likes such huge things inside her?

I’m scared that her dildo is going to replace me and she won’t want to have sex with me any more, or that she’ll leave me for a guy who’s bigger than I am! It seems so stupid to be jealous of a lump of silicone but I’m finding myself avoiding sex because I’m so insecure about my penis and my ability to please my girlfriend. She’s noticed and thinks I’m rejecting her, that I don’t love her or fancy her any more. Nothing could be further from the truth. Please help!
– Insecure

Oh, my dear ‘Insecure.’ I have so many feelings on this question.

First, I want to commend you for not suggesting that your girlfriend shouldn’t masturbate, shouldn’t use toys, or should switch to toys that don’t make you insecure. This, I’m sure you know, would not be an acceptable response to your feelings. I’m really glad you’re not going down this route. So good for you.

Look, sex toys are great! Loads of people use them and it’s very normal. It doesn’t reflect at all upon how we feel about our partners. My favourite toy in the whole world is the Doxy wand, but that doesn’t mean I wish my partner’s dick vibrated! (I mean, for real that would be fucking cool, but in no way in the world do I find him lacking because his body is different to my toys.)

Partnered sex is about so much more than just “does your body part satisfy my body part?” It’s about connection, about the feel and smell and warmth of a partner close to you, about the thud of body-on-body, about the rhythm and the dance and the responses between two (or more) people. Partnered sex is in-fucking-credible for so many reasons and a toy can’t fully replicate many of them. Pervocracy has a great article on some of the reasons people might love partnered sex. Maybe read it with your girlfriend and have a conversation with her?

Speaking of conversations, if you haven’t voiced your fears to your girlfriend, please do so immediately. Try some variation of this: “Sweetie, this is quite hard for me to say but I want to raise something I’ve been struggling with. The reason I’ve been avoiding sex lately is because I have some insecurities around my body and particularly my penis. I’ve found myself worrying that I can’t satisfy you because the toys you use are bigger than me. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use them, but it would be helpful for me if you could reassure me that I do please you in bed and that I’m not in danger of being replaced.”

Hopefully, if your girlfriend loves you, she will respond with compassion. Then you can have a conversation that will help you on your way to feeling more comfortable. If your relationship is as good and healthy as you say, I can almost guarantee that your partner loves all of you exactly as you are, including your penis. (Which is fine, by the way. Genitals come in all shapes and sizes and colours and they’re all beautiful and perfect exactly as they are.)

However, reassurance can come from your girlfriend but working on your insecurities is your job and has to come from within. Becoming secure is hard and it really is a process, not a destination – we all have days where we feel really great about ourselves and days when we feel horrible. That’s normal. Techniques you could try include journalling, talking to a therapist, and – don’t underestimate the value of this – mindfulness and learning how to just sit with your feelings when they come up, knowing that they are lying to you and they will pass.

It can also be helpful to step outside the immediacy of the emotion and look at what reality is telling you. Like this: “My fear is telling me that my girlfriend is bored of having sex with me and I don’t satisfy her. However, she frequently instigates sex/usually has an orgasm when we play/tells me she loves fucking me. Therefore, the actual evidence suggests that she loves and desires me as I am. My fear is lying to me.” Repeat as often as necessary. I once spent an hour car journey literally reciting a list of mantras aloud to myself in order to calm a rising panic attack fueled by insecurity. It works.

Lastly, whether you want to incorporate toys into your sex life with your girlfriend is up to you. If you’re uncomfortable with it, that’s your prerogative. However, I’d like to challenge you to at least consider trying it. If you don’t want to fuck her with a giant dildo to start with, how about something like a vibrator? An anal plug? A suction toy like a Satisfyer or Womanizer? Or even a dildo that feels very different to a bio-cock, such as one made of glass or stainless steel?

Toys are not replacements for the things you can do with your body. They are tools to enable you both to feel a wider range of sensations and to give each other pleasure in different and exciting ways. And don’t forget there are also toys that can be used by a penis-owner. Try a Fleshlight, masturbation sleeve, a prostate toy, or even using a vibrator on your penis. I really recommend trying some, as you might be surprised and find wonderful new ways to experience pleasure yourself.

Talk to your girlfriend and keep that communication going. There really is no substitute.

If you liked this answer and want to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buying me a virtual coffee. It really does help keep the blog going and keeps me supplied with motivation coffee and sex toys. Again, email me your question and you might appear in a future ‘Ask Amy’ column.  

The image featured in this post was offered for use via Creative Commons Licensing.