[Toy Review] Luxe Madonna Straight Seven Vibrator

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Peepshow Toys, one of my newest affiliates, already have a track record of sending me great products to review. Did you know that EVERYTHING they stock is body-safe, too? This means not only that the toys are free from phthalates and other toxic components, but also that everything is non-porous and the lubes they stock don’t contain nasty ingredients. Basically, you can buy with confidence from Peepshow!

Also feat. the most “me” notebook ever to exist.

Let’s meet Madonna…

The Luxe Collection Madonna, by NS Novelties, came in my latest shipment. It’s a straight insertable vibrator of 6.9″ in total length (about 6.5″ insertable). It’s round at the base and then flares into a slightly wider, gently ridged hexagonal shaft, ending in a smooth pointed tip. The Madonna is rechargeable via USB connection to a magnetic charging port on the base. It is fully waterproof, and comes with a storage pouch. I really appreciate when companies include storage bags with their toys and wish more would do so.

This toy is available in two colours, pink and purple. I’m not a fan of pink toys – there are too many of them, and to be they play too much into stereotypical narratives about femininity and “what women want”. I’m much fonder of purple, which is my favourite colour and also The Official Colour of Bisexuality.

The Madonna retails for $59.95, which puts it squarely into the bracket of a mid-priced toy. It’s well priced for the quality. And don’t forget you can get an extra 10% off this or any purchase at Peepshow by using my affiliate code “COFFEE” at checkout.

Body-safe and condom-compatible…

The Madonna is covered in smooth silicone, which is soft to the touch as well as non-porous and body-safe. Cleaning this toy is a breeze as it’s waterproof – just use warm water and gentle soap, and/or a body-safe sterile wipe. As the toy is seamless and smooth, there is nowhere for bacteria or nasties to hide.

The shape of this toy makes it condom-compatible, too, so if you’re sharing it without sterilising it first you can just pop a barrier over it for safety. As ever, I recommend a good quality water-based lube.

The Madonna does not have a flared base, and is therefore NOT anal-safe. Please do not ever put something inside your ass that doesn’t have a flared base or long handle, as it could get lost. At best, this is embarrassing and painful, and at worst it’s a serious emergency. Please just don’t take the risk. There are so many fabulous anal-specific toys to use.

In use…

As you’ll probably know by now, my G-spot does NOT like vibrations. I have stopped even testing vibrating toys against my inside bits, because there is simply no point – they won’t work for me and I cannot report on their merits with any objectivity. I did try inserting this toy with it switched off, but the texture and ridges of the shaft did not work for me. You’ll want to bear this in mind if you were considering this toy for internal use. Some people love ridges, bumps and textures, but for others they can be seriously uncomfortable.

However, where the Madonna really came into its own for me was – you guessed it – as a clitoral vibrator. As soon as I turned the Madonna on, I was surprised by the strength of the vibrations. Even in my hand, they felt extremely strong. It boasts three constant speeds and four patterns, and each one offers powerful and rumbly vibrations. This toy, paired with some of my favourite smut, quickly brought me to a deep and satisfying climax. I was even able to get some pleasure from the patterns, which are often a complete waste of time for me! I also didn’t get any of the horrible numbness or tingling that so often accompanies buzzy vibrations.

The pinpoint tip of this toy is really nice for precise stimulation. If you prefer broader or less focused vibration, laying the length of it across your vulva and clit is also extremely effective.

The Madonna operates via a simple one-button interface. You hold this button down to turn the toy on, press once to cycle through the patterns, and hold it down again to switch off. I do prefer toy interfaces where you can scroll both ways through the patterns and speeds (i.e. turning down as well as up). It’s reasonably quiet in use – if I switch it on in my bedroom, I can slightly hear it from outside the room with the door closed, but I cannot hear it at all in the next room.

Do I recommend it?

Yes, if… you’re looking for a rumbly vibrator for clitoral stimulation – or something for internal stimulation and you like textured or ridged toys.

I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much from this one. Perhaps this is my bias showing, but I internally went “oh, another vaguely phallic-shaped generic vibrator with crappy power. Yawn”. But simple can sometimes be effective, if done well, and I’m really pleasantly surprised by the functionality of this toy. The level of power and the versatility between pinpoint and broader stimulation are the real selling points for me. Go get yours!

Thank you to Peepshow for sending me the Luxe Madonna Straight Seven vibrator to review. If you purchase through my affiliate links, I make a small commission. As ever, I promise to only recommend products I stand behind, and all views are and will always be my own. Pictures are by me – do not reproduce them without permission.

[Toy Review] Sola Cue

Am I allowed to say I was ambivalent about a toy when I used it for its intended purpose,    bv but loved it when I repurposed it a bit? Because that’s how I feel about the Sola Cue, which was kindly sent to me by my friends at Peepshow Toys. (Use code COFFEE to get 10% off any purchase, including sale).

Right on Cue… Let’s Look Closer

(You knew there were going to be puns, right?)

The Sola Cue blue vibrator lying on a red and black laptop keyboard.

The Sola Cue is a multi-function vibrator designed for penetration and g-spot stimulation. It’s 7.5″ long (about 5″ insertable), 1.5″ across at the widest point, slightly curved, and pale blue in colour. I really quite like the blue – it’s an unusual colour for a sex toy compared to the more common pink/purple/red, and I’m here for it.

The Cue is USB-rechargeable via a magnetic charging point. You get about an hour of use out of a full charge, which was disappointing to me – a satisfactory masturbation session can often last that long or longer for me!

The Cue is fully waterproof, and also comes with a nice drawstring storage pouch which is more than big enough to hold the toy and charging cable with plenty of room left over. I’ve actually been using it to store a couple of other toys alongside the Cue. (As an aside, manufacturers, PUT STORAGE BAGS WITH YOUR TOYS PLEASE). They barely cost anything to add and they’re such a nice touch. The packaging was also classy and attractive. So far, this product and its presentation lives up to its luxury price point.

Join the Cue…  Cleaning, Safety and Sharing

The Sola Cue is coated entirely in silicone, making it body-safe and a breeze to clean. Just wipe it down with an antibacterial wipe and then give it a wash in some warm (not hot) water with gentle soap or toy cleaner.

Due to the shape, it’s easy to use this toy with a condom if you’re sharing it with a partner without sterilising it fully first. As ever, water-based lube is recommended.

Also: the Cue does not have a flared base, so don’t use it anally, please!

Shot by Cue-pid’s Bow…

The Sola Cue blue vibrator lying on a black pillow.I adore this toy.

“But Amy!” I can hear you saying if you read me often enough to be intimately familiar with my toy preferences[1], “you don’t like vibrations inside your vagina!” No, friends, I do not. So I assumed I wasn’t going to get on super well with the Cue, however well designed and well reviewed it is. (And it is both!)

Even so, like the good reviewer I am, I tried it for the purpose for which it is intended. And, yeah… I don’t like internal vibrations. They’re either pointless or uncomfortable for me, and at no point pleasurable in any meaningful way. I could feel, intellectually, that this was a really high quality g-spot vibrator. I just fundamentally do not like having my g-spot vibrated. Stroke it, pound on it, or leave it alone. Thanks.

However, as I was testing the Cue, I couldn’t help but notice two things:

First, this toy makes a wonderful dildo when the vibrations are off. The curve, the slight flex, the bulge where the head gets to its widest point, and the soft silicone combine to make it feel absolutely wonderful.

Second, the vibrations are strong and rumbly as fuck.

So I did the only thing an enterprising sex blogger could reasonably do, and stuck it on my clit. I had an amazing orgasm a few minutes later. The sensation is less broad than a wand, for example, but less pinpoint than a bullet – perfect for those in-between lovers. And because the vibrations are so rumbly, I can use it to bring myself to a second and even third orgasm without any annoying buzzing numbing my clit. This is the best new clitoral toy I’ve tried in ages, and it’s not even designed as a clitoral toy!

So do I recommend it?

Yes, wholeheartedly. If you like strong, rumbly vibrations on either your clitoris or g-spot, this toy may well have something wonderful to offer you. You can get yours from Peepshow, where it retails for $79.50. Don’t forget to use code COFFEE at checkout for 10% off this toy or any order!

Thanks to the lovely folks at Peepshow for sending me the Sola Cue in exchange for an honest review. As ever, affiliate sales help me keep the blog going, and all opinions are and will always be my own. Images are by me and not to be used without permission.

[1] Good God, does anyone read me that much!? You deserve a prize if you do.

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] We-Vibe Tango Bullet Vibrator

Hi, I’m Amy and I’m addicted to sex toys.

Mr CK and I found ourselves in a sex shop over the weekend, thanks to going to our local Peer Rope session (see my latest Sinful Sunday pic for evidence of our adventures there.) I was browsing some toys and found the Leaf Fresh on special, which I was considering getting. I asked the lovely sales woman how powerful it was, and she pretty much dragged me to the other end of the store, going, “if you want power you NEED the Tango!”

Friends, she was right.

The We-Vibe Tango, a small blue bullet vibrator. For a review post.The We-Vibe Tango, a small blue bullet vibrator, boxed. For a review post.

Meet this tiny powerhouse of joy

The Tango by We-Vibe is known for being the strongest bullet vibrator currently on the market anywhere. It’s small, only 3.5 inches in length and about 0.75 inches in diameter. It’s a standard bullet shape with a small flattened edge at the top leading to a point. This is great if you like really pinpoint stimulation. It is USB rechargeable, waterproof and operates on a single-button interface which takes you through 8 settings. It comes attractively packaged (see above pic) like all We-Vibe products, and comes complete with a cute little satin drawstring storage bag.

My first toy was a bullet vibe, but I haven’t really gone near bullets in years, apart from that ill-fated testing of a crappy freebie. They’re typically just not strong enough to do anything for me. I get frustrated and yearn for something bigger and more powerful. Well, I am pleased to report that the Tango is the delightful exception.

I came home very tired and late but determined to have a wank before bed, and it gave me a fabulous orgasm in under 10 minutes – a feat rarely achieved. The best thing? How rumbly the vibrations are. None of the horrible buzz you get with so many smaller toys. It’s not the quietest, but the volume isn’t at all bad when compared to the strength.

My Ratings (all scores out of 5★)

Price: ★★★★
This toy retails on Lovehoney for £54.99. It’s definitely at the top of the price range for a bullet vibe, but I think it’s worth it. It’s just so superior in quality to the overwhelming majority of superficially-similar toys on the market. It also comes with a one-year warranty, so there’s no worries of it breaking after three uses!

Materials: ★★★★★
It’s made of hard ABS plastic, which is body-safe, non-porous and free from phthalates. This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t recommend it if you prefer softer toys, for example, as this is very rigid. What I really like about it is that the hard plastic doesn’t dampen down the vibrations At All. (If you prefer your vibrations to be somewhat calmed by a layer of silicone, the Touch is a great option!)

Appearance: ★★★★
It’s cute and tiny, which makes it non-threatening to people who are put off by huge or bulky toys. My lovely affiliates Lovehoney only carry it in pink, but it also comes in blue – which is what I went for, being generally anti-pink. Blue is a slightly less common sex toy colour, which I appreciate.

Ease of Use: ★★★★
Being so small, it’s really light and fit neatly into my tiny hand. The button on the base is easy to press. This single button cycles through the settings as well as being the on/off switch.

It does have the slight annoyance of only being able to cycle through settings one way (i.e. if you change up, you can’t change back down again without going through all of them first). But also it has the super cool feature of a memory function, meaning that whatever setting it’s on when you turn it off, it will restart to that same setting. This is great for me as I pretty much only use it on one mode. The only real issue – and this is common to all bullet vibes – is that the vibrations travel through the whole toy, meaning my hand gets vibrated as much as my cunt during use.

Ease of care & cleaning: ★★★★★
The Tango can be easily cleaned between uses with a sterile wipe, and is waterproof so you can use hot water for a more thorough cleaning. It could be popped inside a condom or used with another barrier without much impact on the quality of vibrations, if you’re sharing it in a non-fluid-bonded relationship.

Versatility: ★★★★
The Tango has 8 different settings – 4 constant speeds and 4 patterns – so whatever form you like your vibrations to take, there will be a setting for you. It’s waterproof, so if you want some bathtime fun, that’s an option too.

It’s advertised as “for solo play,” which it’s definitely great for, but it also works really well with a partner – for me, a strong vibrator on my clitoris during penetrative sex with a penis-owning person is a sure way to get me off, and the Tango is perfect for this as it’s so small (much as I love my Doxy, it’s a bit hefty for this purpose!) The Tango is definitely only a clitoral toy – it’s too small for internal vaginal use (and no flared base, so please please please don’t use it anally!)

Intensity:
★★★★★
Yes yes yes yes. Power queens everywhere, rejoice! This is the bullet toy we’ve been waiting for! The vibrations are strong, rumbly and delicious. The level of power is seriously impressive for something so small. And, again, the hard plastic material doesn’t dampen the intensity at all.

Overall Score: ★★★★★
I now understand why so many people rave about this toy. It’s going to be my go-to vibe for when I’m traveling, want some clit stimulation while fucking, or simply can’t be arsed to use something as big and heavy as my Doxy. I cannot overstate how much I freaking love this toy. Go get yourself one and don’t forget to use code COFFKINK10 at checkout for 10% off.

Note: I bought this toy for myself and did not receive anything in exchange for this review. This post does contain affiliate links and if you buy through one, I make a small commission. This does not in any way affect my views on the product which are, and will always be, my own. Links within this post are to Lovehoney. You can also support me by buying from The Pleasure Garden or SheVibe.

My First Sex Toys

This was supposed to be a quick one, written on Sunday while waiting for Mr CK to get ready for our favourite twice-yearly kink event. But it ended up getting long, then I ended up getting busy, so here it is several days late.

Thought it would be fun to share with you the first five sex toys I ever owned, what I think of them with the knowledge I have now… and what I might recommend instead.

Toy #1: Tracey Cox Supersex Bullet Vibrator

At 18 and having just moved into my own place with a boyfriend, I rushed to buy my first Actual Sex Toy, to replace the trusty electric toothbruth I’d been using until that point. Having very little money and no clue what to buy, I went for a cheap and cheerful bullet vibe. At the time, it was fine. I wasn’t quite the power queen I am today, and the toy was small enough that it didn’t threaten my boyfriend’s fragile masculinity.

Would I recommend it? Meh. I wouldn’t say “don’t go anywhere near”. It’s cheap, was pretty reliable (lasted damn near five years before it finally died as I recall,) and being made of hard plastic it’s body safe and easy to clean. But it’s also single-speed and the vibes were kinda buzzy and weak. But as a first toy, to establish that vibrating sensations were something I enjoyed, well… meet my gateway drug.

Buy this instead: We-Vibe Tango (reviewed by me here) or Lovehoney Desire Luxury Bullet are both highly recommended, very popular and body-safe bullet vibes. The Tango is slightly stronger and rumblier. The Desire is softer if hard plastic feels too harsh for your sensitive areas. Choose according to your preferences.

Toy #2: Some vile jelly monstrosity from Ann Summers

Emboldened by my new-found sexual bravery, or so I thought (LOL, 19 year old Amy was adorable) I dragged my boyfriend into Ann Summers on my 19th birthday trip to London to buy myself a new toy. Too intimidated to ask for help, I ended up with a purple jelly-rubber toy with pathetically weak vibrations. I don’t think I used it more than 3 times. I can’t find the exact model on their site any more, but this isn’t a million miles away.

Would I recommend it? FUCK NO. Please don’t buy anything made of jelly rubber, it’s toxic and porous and really, really bad for your body. Actually, I suggest you just don’t shop at Ann Summers at all. A lot of their products suck and they cater for a really narrow, cishet, male-gaze-centric version of female sexuality. Try Lovehoney, Sh! or your local independent, women-owned sex shop instead.

Buy this instead: If you’re after an affordable, simple G-spot stimulator, the Lovehoney 7 Inch curved silicone dildo is well-priced and body safe (it also comes in a shorter 5.5 inch version.) If you can afford to spend a bit more, anything by Tantus is wonderful, beautifully made and safe for your body – look out for my personal favourite, the Vamp Super Soft in midnight purple.

Toy #3: Icicles No.5 Sapphire Spiral Glass Dildo

This was an impulse buy at the BBB – they were just so pretty I couldn’t resist, and I’d never tried a glass toy before. On first use I wasn’t sure I liked it – glass is colder and more rigid than anything I’d previously used. Once I’d got used to the sensation, though, I found that using it very gently (think “insert and just barely wiggle it,” no hard thrusting here) gave me the most glorious G-spot orgasms. Alas this particular toy met its end when a clumsy photographer dropped it (he did have the decency to pay me for it!) but I’ve been in love with glass toys ever since.

Would I recommend it? I recommend glass dildos heartily. HOWEVER…

…Note, added on 22/1o/2017: Icicles are owned by Pipedream, who I have come to learn are kinda fucking terrible. If you don’t want to support them (and I urge you to think seriously before you do,) Lovehoney’s own brand glass toys are at least equal in quality and value.

Toy #4: Doc Johnson Junior Veined Double Ended Dildo

I won this one in a raffle at a Simply Pleasure open evening event. It amused me more than anything, and at 22 I was still bashful enough to shove it in my bag with a blush and hope I didn’t have an accident on my cycle home. I tried it exactly once with my girlfriend, before it went to languish, forgotten, at the bottom of a box until I threw it out some three years later.

Would I recommend it? No. It smelled weird (think “new car” meets “latex” only more chemically). The texture was sticky and gross, sure signs of a questionable and potentially toxic material. It’s described on the website as “body safe” but Doc Johnson products have been found in lab tests to contain phthalates, and their “sil-a-gel” additive seems to be entirely their own invention and AT BEST does nothing. In other words, this toy – and many of Doc Johnson’s other products – are mainly PVC and therefore porous as fuck and toxic.

Buy this instead: The Lovehoney Double Up Silicone Mini Double Penetration Dildo is great for use either with a partner or alone for vaginal/anal double penetration, and I will always recommend the Feeldoe for that “strapless strap on” experience.

Toy #5: Off-Brand “Magic Wand” Knockoff

This thing was my first wand vibrator. It’s a cheap (-ish – I think mine still ran £50, though it probably wasn’t really worth even half that) and poor knock-off of the original Hitachi magic wand. Unfortunately, it’s incorrectly labelled as “Hitachi” in at least 50% of the places I could find it online. It gave me some good orgasms for a few months but ultimately, got less and less powerful with each use until it completely gave up and died after perhaps 6-9 months.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely not. Being a knock-off, there’s no information available on the material, meaning it almost certainly isn’t body-safe. (It may not even be properly safe electrically, come to that.) The quality is shocking and it barely lasted a quarter of the time you’d expect a toy of this price point to last.

Buy this instead: The Hitachi Magic Wand Rechargeable, or my all-time favourite, the Doxy Massager.

This post was not sponsored. It does contain affiliate links and if you buy from one of them, I may make a small commission. This will never affect my views on the products, which are and will always be my own.

Don’t forget to use code COFFKINK10 at Lovehoney to receive 10% off the entire store.

Toxic: Ingredients to Avoid In Your Lube

There are a lot – a LOT – of sexual lubricants available on the market today. Go into any sex shop and you’re likely to see rows upon rows of them. How do you even begin to know which to choose?

An old fashioned corked bottle filled with blue liquid and labelled with a skull and crossbones and the word "poison." For a post on toxic ingredients in lube

A lot of it is down to personal preference, compatibility with your particular body, and dependent upon what toys, condoms etc. you’re going to be using it with. I can’t tell you the perfect lube for you. What I can do, though, is point out some toxic ingredients commonly found in commercial sexual lubricants (as well as toy cleaning solutions, if those are a thing you use) which we would all be well advised to avoid.

1. Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate

What it is: Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth (ether) sulphate (SLES) are additives found in everything from household cleaning products to cosmetics. They’re what creates that foamy/lathery appearance and also used for their cleaning properties.

Why it’s toxic:
SLS is a skin irritant. SLES is somewhat less irritating (which is why it’s the one you’ll more commonly see in personal care products) but it’s no less toxic. It also cannot be metabolised by the liver. Like many chemicals, these are absorbed into the body from skin application and both can cause damage to the skin, hair follicles, eyes and even the liver. In the body SLS can mimic the function of Oestrogen, possibly contributing to a range of hormonal problems from PMS to lowered fertility to increased risk of breast cancer.

2. Parabens

What they are: Parabens (butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben) are preservatives. They are commonly used to prevent bacteria growth in cosmetics and other products.

Why they’re toxic: Like SLS and SLES, they’re xenoestrogens – meaning they mimic oestrogen in the body. Oestrogen disruption has been linked to breast cancer and other reproductive issues and in a 2004 study, parabens were found in malignant tumours.  What’s more, there’s some evidence that they can be stored in the body and have an accumulative effect over time.

3. Phthalates

What they are: Pthalates are a common ingredient in cosmetics, lubes and many soft plastic or ‘jelly’ sex toys. They’re used to increase flexibility, durability and longevity in plastics. In lube and other cosmetics they can be used as binding agents or softeners.

Why they’re toxic:
Research suggests that prolonged exposure to pthalates can alter the cycles of reproductive hormones with effects including delaying or suppressing ovulation. Studies have also linked them, variously, to asthma, ADHD, breast cancer, diabetes, neurodevelopmental issues and male fertility issues. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classes DEHP, a common phthalate, as a possible carcinogen. Some people have even experienced chemical burns when using products containing pthalates on their genital areas.

4. Glycerin/Glycerol

What it is: A colourless liquid found in all natural plant and animal fats, although it can also be produced synthetically. You’ll find it in lots of lubes because it is a humectant, which just means it attracts moisture to the area where it’s applied. It has a slightly sweet taste so is likely to appear in a lot of flavoured lubes in particular, but it pops up all over the place.

Why it’s toxic:
Sugars and sugar derivatives simply do not belong in your vagina. Glycerin can increase the presence of candida, and this in turn can lead to yeast infections. Best avoided, particularly if you’re prone to them.

5. Parfum/Perfume/Fragrance

What it is: It’s what makes certain products smell nice. Beyond that? We haven’t a clue – under UK law at least, “parfum” or “fragrance” is a catch-all. It could mean any combination of hundreds of different potential ingredients which do not have to be listed separately.

Why it’s toxic: If you don’t know what it is or what it’s actually made up of, then I strongly recommend not putting it in your body.

6. Any numbing agent

What it is: Typically found in lubricants designed for anal sex, ingredients like benzocaine or lidocaine are basically anaesthetic agents. They’re used to partially, or even completely, numb the area they’re applied to.

Why it’s toxic: Do I really need to spell this out? If you need a fucking anaesthetic to have sex, then THIS IS SEX YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE HAVING. These products are sold on the strength of the idea that the receiving partner (particularly a female receiving partner) doesn’t actually want to be penetrated, and that anal sex is inevitably going to be painful and unpleasant.

There may be some discomfort with anal at first – that’s normal and why going slow and using plenty of (body-safe, non-toxic, no-freaky-ingredients) lube is vital IF it’s something both parties are enthusiastically into the idea of doing. (If you’re not: don’t do it. If your partner isn’t: don’t pressure them to do it!) Even more dangerously, pain is your body’s way of signalling that something is wrong. If you can’t feel it, you won’t know if sensitive tissues are being torn. Real damage can be done this way, which at best will be uncomfortable for a few days and at worst can be a serious medical emergency. JUST SAY NO TO A NUMB BUM.

To sum up:

You read the label when choosing foods, right? Please, please do the same when choosing lube, toy cleaner and even condoms (those “delay his climax” condoms, for example? They probably contain numbing agents.)

There are really good, safe, body-friendly products out there made by amazing ethical companies. They’re worth looking for.  Ask for recommendations from those in the know, do your research, and above all READ THE LABEL.

My top pick for lube, always and forever, will be Sliquid.

I started this blog, in part, to realise my passion for informed, honest, transparent and freely available sex education for everyone. If the information here was valuable to you, please consider buying me a virtual coffee or even becoming a sexy patron. Thank you!

 

[Book Review] The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory by Dedeker Winston

★★★★★ – five stars.

The cover of The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory - Everything you need to know about open relationships, non monogamy and alternative love by Dedeker Winston.

As a long-time listener of the Multiamory Podcast, I was seriously excited when Dedeker Winston (one third of the hosting team, along with her partner Jase and former partner Emily) announced she was writing a book. She and her co-hosts are funny, wise, insightful and down to Earth on the podcast, so I had high hopes for The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know About Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy and Alternative Love  – a fresh take on the polyamory advice book, with women and female experience front and centre.

The book is grouped into chapters, which are clustered into four sections: Polyamory 101, Pre Reqs, Mastering Non-Monogamy, and Out of the Classroom, Into the World. I read it cover to cover, but you could just as easily dip in and out, picking and choosing the sections that feel most relevant to you.

Polyamory 101 covers what polyamory is (and what it isn’t,) some of the different forms that ethical non monogamy can take, and an absolutely fascinating chapter on the socio-cultural and anthropological history of non-monogamy. Dedeker also talks us through some of the common objections to polyamory, from family and friends or from society at large, and possible ways to counter them.

Pre-Reqs deals with self-knowledge, really interrogating who you are, what you want and what makes you tick, as well as the skills required to live a happy and healthy non-monomous life (it goes beyond just “communicate,” y’all!)

Mastering Non-Monogamy was the real meat of this book, for me. There’s the expected chapter on jealousy, a whole chapter on sex and the various issues surrounding it, advice on crafting positive and healthy relationship rules/agreements, and more.

Finally, Out of the Classroom, Into the World attemtps to take the theories discussed in previous chapters and apply them in real-world situations. Dedeker discusses poly dating, finding community, coming out of (or choosing to stay in!) the closet and how polyamory can intersect with a range of marginalised identities and liberation movements.

This book is not easy reading at times. Dedeker approaches difficult topics with a light touch and a healthy dose of humour, but there are parts that are unavoidably difficult reading. Though she doesn’t actually use the A-word, she candidly describes behaviour by a former partner that can only be labelled as abusive. It’s not all sunshine and light – she gives us the bad, the scary and the unshiny parts of polyamory as unflinchingly as she gives us the love and the joy. And she challenges us repeatedly to be brave, to be unfalteringly honest with ourselves and our loved ones, to do the hard work required to be stronger and better and more compassionate versions of ourselves.

What sets this book apart from the others I’ve read is that women are centred throughout. Dedeker shares her experience on the unique struggles of a polyamorous, queer, sex-positive woman and tackles those challenges head on, and encourages other women to battle outdated gender stereotypes, sex-negativity, slut shaming, rape culture and the myriad other issues that disproportionately affect women and those read as women in trying to live a non-monogamous life. But despite this female focus, the book is consistently inclusive – it makes no assumptions about age, sexuality, gender identity or relationship style. For this reason, I really think anyone interested in polyamory should read it.

Dedeker is also refreshingly non-judgemental. She shares her experiences and wisdom about what tends to work well and what doesn’t, without preaching her way as the only (or even the best!) way. She seems to intuitively understand that everyone’s experience is different and that different relationship styles will work for people, while offering principles (including self knowledge, strong communication, compassion, honesty, good boundaries) that apply in making just about any style of relationship a success.

In a landscape of non-monogamy where current trends carry a hefty dose of “you have to be a relationship anarchist or you’re DOIN’ IT RONG,” I can’t tell you how refreshing this is. [1]

I really hope this book takes its place alongside The Ethical Slut, More Than Two and Opening Up as polyamorous required reading, because it deserves to. In my view, Dedeker Winston has written quite simply the best guide book on polyamory on the market today.

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[1] I have zero problem with people who practice RA. I do have a problem with anyone – poly, monogamous, RA, swinger, whatever – preaching their way as the only correct way to be.

My Top Five Sexy Products

Hello perverts and gentlequeers! I hope you’re all having a sexy Monday so far. (Is there anything less sexy in general than Monday morning?)

A quick one today, before I head out to work.

There are so many amazing sexy products out there on the market today – SO many. And we all have our own preferences for our own reasons, which is wonderful. Today I wanted to share my current Top Five bedroom aids with you all. (Subject to change, because I’m always discovering new stuff and also my cunt is fickle.)

#1: Doxy Wand
The Doxy is the world’s most powerful wand massager. It’s mains powered and a giant beast of a toy. Mine was the first gift Mr CK ever gave me and remains the best present I have ever received from a lover. It’s the only toy that is more-or-less guaranteed, if it’s held in the sweet spot, to give me a quaking clitoral orgasm in ten minutes or less. (Two minutes or less if I’m really worked up.) Seriously, I could be a sales person for this toy, I don’t even know how many friends and lovers have bought one on my glowing recommendation. (Hey, if anyone from Doxy is reading this and fancies a sponsor partnership, get in touch…)

#2. Sliquid Lube
I’m sure we all know the importance of good lube. I’d been having sex for about 4 years before one of my partners introduced me to the miracle of lubricant (the men I’d been with before then had been very much in the camp of “if you need lube, you’re insulting my masculinity. GET WET WOMAN.”) I’ve tried loads of different lubes over the years but Sliquid is my favourite by far. It’s water-based, all natural, body safe, vegan, unflavoured, unscented, easy to clean up, and there’s even an organic range. Particular shout out for the Sassy Booty Gel, specifically designed for anal sex (and ohhhh so good.)

#3: Rope.
Anyone who knows me will know I looooove rope. I love it for many reasons: the scent (I’m a natural fibres girl and it just smells so beautiful,) the aesthetic, the coarseness or softness against my skin, the safety of being tightly held by my lover’s ropes or the thrill of having them helpless in mine. Most of all, though, I love the versatility. A partner can tie me to the bed for a quick-and-dirty fuck, or they can spend an hour or more doing an intricate tie where the rope itself is the sole purpose of the scene and our underwear doesn’t even come off. Rope can be sensual or painful, loving or cruel,  a means to an end or the end in itself. And whichever of these it is, I just love it. (My rope of choice is 4mm or 5mm poly-jute, but you should seek advice and choose what’s right for you.)

#4: Ben-wa Balls
Now these are interesting. They’re essentially little weighted silicone balls that go inside the vagina and are held there by the vaginal muscles. They’re great for kegel toning (which can lead to a stronger pelvic floor and, in theory, more powerful orgasms,) but that’s not why I love them. For me they’re a dirty thrill, a sexy little secret: I can wear them under my work uniform, under a ballgown at a posh dinner, under my running clothes, and no-one is any the wiser. This is particularly sexy when a Dominant lover has ordered me to go out in them, knowing they’ll keep me worked up and horny the whole time they’re in. Not to mention that I can clench my muscles around them repeatedly and bring myself to a vaginal orgasm in less than a minute. (Mine are the Main Squeeze Double Kegel Balls from Lovehoney, but there are loads of options out there.)

#5. My strap-on.
I love gender-fuckery. I love fucking a guy in the ass. I love fucking a woman’s cunt. I love love love watching a partner’s pleasure when they’re on the receiving end of my cock. Is there any wonder I love strapping it on? Strap-on sex is a great equalizer – anyone can wear the toy and anyone can receive it inside them, regardless of gender or anatomy. It removes assumptions of who will be the fucker and who will be the fuckee based on genital configurations. (Mine is the Beginner’s Unisex Strap-on Harness Kit with 5-inch pegging dildo from Lovehoney, but again there are loads of options and you should shop around to find one that works for you.)

A toybag can tell you as much about a person as a bookshelf. What are YOUR top five?