Blog

[Toy Review] Ruse Jammy Silicone Dildo by Blush Novelties

Can we acknowledge for a second how much great stuff Blush Novelties have been coming out with lately? From the best bullet to come out in ages which is rivaling the famed Tango in popularity, to their brilliant and colourful ‘Pride‘ line, this New York City based company is really one to watch. They’re already doing brilliant things and I suspect they’ll do more. Plus, their philosophy is “that all bodies are beautiful, worthy, and deserving of celebration and pleasure”. Can’t argue with that!

This new offering, the Ruse Jammy silicone dildo, was sent to me by our pals at Peepshow Toys. Visit them for all your body-safe pleasure product needs!

A sizeable realistic offering!

The Ruse Jammy is definitely a dildo for size-lovers. It’s 7.5″ long with a full 2″ in girth. For reference, the average factory-installed penis is around 5.1″ long and 1.4″ wide when erect. This is a sizeable toy! I gulped when I first took it out, but I’m unafraid in my quest to put things in my vagina and write about it for you… even things that make me go “eek!” when I see them.

The Ruse Jammy is made of 100% silicone, and has a suction cup. This means you can attach it to a hard surface – a wall, floor, bath/shower screen – and it also means it’s harness-compatible (why not pair with this fab Blush harness-brief I tested recently?) and anal safe.

The Ruse Jammy is also realistic in design. It has a veiny shaft, a subtle natural curve and a pronounced coronal ridge and  head. There’s even realistic-looking skin texturing and a meatus. This is a very well-designed realistic style toy! Of course, if realistic colouring is your thing you’ll want to look elsewhere – the Ruse Jammy comes in purple or jet black rather than anything resembling a lifelike skin tone. The silicone has a lovely smooth, satiny finish which feels wonderful to the touch.

Body-safety and things

This is a 100% silicone toy which means it’s completely body-safe. The best way to sterilise your silicone toys is to pop them in a pot of boiling water or the top shelf of the dishwasher. In between uses, wash with warm water and gentle soap or use a body-safe sterile wipe.

The Ruse Jammy is condom-compatible, but given the size you’ll want to use large condoms. Water-based lube is, as ever, recommended for silicone toys.

So how did I get on?

I’m not a size Queen, friends. I’m just not. I sometimes enjoy larger things inside of me (fisting is fun!) but more often than not, an average sized cock or small/medium dildo is more than enough to keep me satisfied.

I also have to be careful with depth of penetration, because I have an IUD and anything touching my cervix is painful. So realistically, taking this dildo all the way inside me simply wasn’t going to happen. Even so, I decided to give it a good go and see how I got on!

I tried it with one of my partners during a play session. With plenty of lube, we managed to get about half the shaft inside me relatively comfortably. It gave me a nice full feeling which I did very much enjoy. Once I’d got used to it, my partner tried fucking me with it. This, unfortunately, very quickly led to “Ow! Ouch! No! Too much!”

For me, the best use for this toy is to let it just sit inside me while I do other things such as clitoral play. Thrusting with a toy of this size is not something I find pleasurable.

So do I recommend it?

To size lovers, yes. If you’ve played with smaller dildos and just found they weren’t quite enough for you, the Ruse Jammy is a great and affordable larger option. Considering some toys this size run to £100 or more, the $33 (about £26) for a large silicone toy of this quality is an absolute steal.

I don’t recommend this one for beginners, or those who don’t know they can take large penetrative toys comfortably. But I wholeheartedly endorse it for length/girth lovers and those looking for a realistic toy at an affordable price.

Thanks to Peepshow Toys for sending me the Ruse Jammy to review! If you buy through my affiliate links, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Five Meaningful Things To Do for World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day. The AIDS epidemic, at its height in the 1980s and early 1990s, is still in many ways ongoing and has claimed over 35 million lives in the last ~40 years. Check out this fact sheet to learn more.

A red ribbon for a post on World AIDS Day

From the World AIDS Day website:

[World AIDS Day is] an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.

Many of us, especially LGBTQ+ people, feel helpless in the face of something this huge. It scares the shit out of lots of us – and it should. AIDS was and is one of the most destructive pandemics in human history. But there is hope, too. UNAIDS have a hugely ambitious treatment plan which, if it works, will see 90% of HIV-positive people knowing their status, 90% of these on antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of these with a viral load declared “undetectable” – all by 2020.

So today I wanted to share some small but meaningful things you can do to make a difference this World AIDS Day.

1. Donate if you can

Donate to a charity that’s doing important work in the areas of HIV and AIDS. I suggest amfAR who are pioneering research into a cure, Terrence Higgins Trust who campaign and provide services connected to HIV and sexual health, or the National AIDs Trust who fight for change and champion the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.

2. Get a test and know your status

When was your last full sexual health screening? Go book one in now! If you’re sexually active, you really should be getting a test every six months at a minimum – and more often if you have multiple partners, practice unprotected sex, or regularly have anal sex. I’m fairly slutty and I have a full screening every 3 months. Knowing your status is the best way to protect yourself and your partners.

3. Smash the stigma and share factual information

See people talking shit about people with HIV, AIDS or STIs? Tired of false information? Engage in some stigma-smashing by challenging them to rethink their views and sharing some facts. People living with HIV are not dirty, sluts, immoral or stupid. HIV cannot be transmitted except via infected blood or sexual fluids (or to infants via breast milk). It cannot be passed on through kissing, skin-to-skin contact, sharing food or drinks, water fountains, toilet seats, mosquitoes, saliva, sweat, or modern blood transfusions. This handy guide is useful to share.

4. Stock up on sexual health supplies

As many people as possible practicing safer sex is one of our greatest weapons against HIV/AIDS. Make sure you’re well-stocked with condoms, dams and gloves, as appropriate to the types of sex you have. If you can’t afford to buy supplies, ask your doctor or sexual health provider where you can access them for free. Remember to check your condoms and dams before using to make sure they’re still in date!

Pro tip: Gay bars/clubs and sexuality-focused events often give out safer sex supplies as freebies. If you go to any of these, don’t be scared to claim some for yourself! I used to go out to gay bars so often I don’t think I paid for condoms until I was 24.

5. Wear your red ribbon

The red ribbon is the internationally-recognised symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness and advocacy. Here’s a useful list of where to get them in the UK. If you can afford to, you can also buy a brooch version and support NAT’s work.

What are you doing to support World AIDS Day and show solidarity with people affected by HIV all over the world?

Image from Pixabay. Contains an affiliate link.

[Guest Blog] The Thirst of “Femmes d’un Certain Age” by Evelyn Archer

When I started out on this quest to publish a select few guest bloggers on my site (and pay them for it, of course!) part of my mission was to share the stories I cannot tell. The experiences I have not had. That’s one of the reasons I was so excited by this piece by Evelyn Archer. Here, we’re talking Sex After 40! I’m in my late 20s. The myths about sex stopping is one of the things I’m very afraid of about growing older. But here, Evelyn tells us that not only can sex after 40 be amazing – it might just be the best ever. She’s also sharing some wisdom she’s learned along the way. Over to her…

Amy x

A 40th birthday cake, for a guest post on sex after 40 by Evelyn ArcherThe Thirst of “Femmes d’un Certain Age” by Evelyn Archer

Some doctors call it “The Surge”. I call it “The Going Out of Business Sale”.

Here’s the truth: in my late 30s through mid-40s, I’d done without sex for a long time. In a long, otherwise happy marriage – between medication side effects, interpersonal issues and plain old fear – we’d been Not Having Sex for longer than I like to admit. I told myself that everyone gets to define these things for themselves (still true), but there was also another message that I was getting and internalizing without really realizing it. A woman over 40 with a sex drive is a joke. A grotesque joke. Either played for laughs or an object of scorn and pity – we’re Stifler’s Mom from American Pie, Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company (Google it, my sweet babies).

I had no model for what my sex life after 40 was “supposed” to look like. It was “supposed” to Go Away. In fact, cursory Googling revealed a stark, depressing story of “sexless marriages”, of couples living with resentment and disappointment, or at best as friendly roommates, co-owners in the Business of Our Life. A sexual life was something I used to have, someone I used to be, and it looked like I would have to find a way to live without it.

But through hard work in therapy and a bunch of other stuff we came together again.

And now we can’t stop boning each other. But as an essentially cishet (I mean, het-ish, but that’s another post) monogamous couple, in order to truly get back on track, we had to take our cues from outside the cishet community (which is unsurprisingly UNHELPFUL in terms of sex positive information). Instead we turned to queer folks and trans folks and polyamorous folks.

If my partner and I were struggling, for whatever reason, with penetrative P-in-V sex, why was this the “end of sex” for us? Would we say that what our queer friends, our trans pals did in bed wasn’t “really sex”? Of course not! That doesn’t even make sense! So why did it have to be that way for us? Once we stopped putting P-in-V sex at the center of our sex lives, once we stopped seeing “everything else” (oral and manual and toys and everything) as a “lead up to the main event” our entire sex lives transformed. All of a sudden, “fucking” was whatever we decided it was.

So we started fucking all the time.

We can’t seem to stop. He comes home early from work just for banging. We send dirty gifs to each other. We keep a Sex Toy Wish List on Lovehoney. And we haven’t seen our friends on a Saturday night in months because we’re so tired from banging all afternoon, all we can do is eat spaghetti and watch cartoons.
And it was from polyamorous folks writing about relationships and intimacy that we learned that we have to TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. We have to find ways to talk about stuff we don’t want to talk about. How to sit in uncomfortable feelings like disappointment and jealousy, and still hold space for each other.

It never occurred to us to actually have a conversation about what we WANTED to do
specifically, only what we DIDN’T want to do. From the BDSM community that we learned that we can just talk out whatever is “on the table” for fucky stuff and instead of all that talking “ruining the moment” (or whatever) it leads to a more fun and satisfying play-time.

The power of just listening

But let me be clear: all these terrific queer, trans, poly sex positive folks (bloggers, Twitterers, Instagram folks) are not giving this information to US. Their work is not necessarily FOR us, it’s for themselves and for each other. But by shutting up, and by watching and listening closely, I learned a new way to look at and talk about sex. As these folks process and manage their own sex positive liberation, it shows me a different way of inhabiting my own sexuality, shows me ways to question and ways to talk. It’s not one person in particular, but this chorus of voices, and quietly immersing myself in what they have to say has utterly changed my marriage, my relationship to sex, and the way I see myself.

But still, my high levels of desire seemed to be out of sync with public opinion and popular culture. There’s still the Google-able stuff about The End of Sex, but dig a little deeper and there’s something called “The Surge”. The way I understand it (and I am a writer not a doctor, so do your own research!) is that here at the End of my Childbearing Years my body knows that each egg it releases could be its last. So it releases a surge of hormones telling me “YOU BETTER BANG EVERYTHING BECAUSE THIS COULD BE YOUR LAST CHANCE”. But there’s SO little information on this (and most of it anecdotal) it reminds me of how monstrous our culture sees Femmes d’un Certain Age whose sex drives are still strong. We’re still a joke, still grotesque. Still Mrs. Roper, still Stifler’s mom.

Dawn Sera and Tristan Taoromino have talked about it on their podcasts a couple of times, but there’s little in popular culture for me to look to. Even looking for women over forty in romance novels came up thin, even thinner if you want something a little hotter than “sweet” and “tender”.

So…where ARE we?

WHY is no one talking about this? Why is the only talk of women and
middle age and desire about our thinning hair, our drying and atrophying vaginas, our hormone therapy, our inevitable march to a dry and sexless grave?

Well, I’m not having it. I’ve decided to embrace my monstrousness (if indeed that’s what it is). And I’m leaving you with some resources that really helped me. (These may Old News to you Sex Positive Veterans, but they were news to me).

Resources

  • Tristan Taoromino’s podcast “Sex Out Loud” (available wherever fine podcasts are uploaded). She has more talk of kink and gender and queer politics so this was right up my alley.
  • Dawn Serra’s “Sex Gets Real” (available wherever fine podcasts are uploaded). She has a softer, more relationshippy slant. There’s also lots of good stuff about the intersection of fat positivity and sex positivity. (Be prepared to hear the word “yummy” a lot.
  • Oh Joy, Sex Toy is a web comic by husband and wife team Erika Moen and Matt Nolan. I went there just for sex toy reviews and what I got was SO much more. The illustrations are really sweet, with lots and lots of body diversity (which I don’t see everywhere).
  • Come As You Are: the Surprising New Science that will Transform your Sex Life, by Emily Nagoski. The research here on how desire can work for some folks was a revelation to me. (Also Erika Moen does the illustrations!) Not so science-y that it’s dry, yet doesn’t read like a self-help manual. She is a scientist and a sex educator and this book is great.

Author photo of Evelyn ArcherEvelyn Archer is an author living in New England. You can find her books here and you can sign up for her super fun newsletter, “The Strange Files” here. She also writes erotic shorts as “Madeline Moon”. You can find them here, or here.

 

Affiliate links are contained within this post. All views are the author’s own.

Great Reasons to Try Chastity Play

What do we mean by chastity play? Broadly speaking, it’s a form of kink play where the submissive abstains from orgasm – and sometimes from any form of sexual contact – for a period of time as determined by their Dominant. If you’re not currently in a relationship, you can also play with it by yourself, of course. This might or might not include the use of a physical chastity device such as a cock cage or chastity belt. It’s also sometimes referred to as orgasm denial, orgasm control, no-touch, and other variations.

A chastity device for a penis. For a post on chastity play.

So what are some great reasons to give it a go?

It’s a great way to enhance your submission/Dominance

Giving someone control over your sexual release is, in some ways, the ultimate surrender. Whether this involves handing over the keys to your chastity device to a “keyholder”[1] or simply pledging not to touch yourself until given permission, needing someone’s say-so to experience pleasure and orgasm is likely to make you feel submissive to that person really quickly! And for the Dominants amongst you, having someone’s release at your mercy is awesome. Hearing them beg for it is a hell of a power rush.

The eventual pleasure is so much better

When I’ve been denied for a period of time, the eventual orgasm is just so much stronger and more satisfying. A bit like that first bite of your favourite meal when you’re starving hungry, an orgasm after a period of chastity is like no other orgasm you’ll ever experience.

It keeps your mind on your service even as you do other things

Going about your day to day life and feeling your chastity device under your clothes or just remembering you’re not allowed to touch is a great way to feel connected to your Dominant and to your feelings of submission, even when you’re not actually playing.

It’s really fun for long-distance relationships

If you’re long distance, you might wish to implement a rule such as that the submissive is always in chastity when not with the Dominant. A less extreme but still fun version is only allowing your submissive to masturbate and orgasm when on the phone with you. Or you could play edging games on the phone, only to lock your poor submissive up again without release at the end. The possibilities are endless, and playing with chastity is a great way to feel close when you’re apart.

Pleasure can act as a motivator

Are you trying to train your submissive and instill desirable behaviours (or break problematic ones)? Chastity can be a great motivator! Perhaps they only get to touch themselves if they drank their 8 glasses of water today. Maybe you’ll only let them orgasm after they’ve got all their writing done. Or perhaps they get an extra day in the belt for every day they forget to eat breakfast. I’m a big proponent of using kink as a tool for self-improvement. Release-as-reward is one fun way to play with this.

Do you play with chastity? What do you love about it? Tweet me or comment below!

[1] A word of safety caution: ALWAYS keep a spare key where the wearer can access it if they need to. You never know when a medical emergency or similar may crop up.

Heads up: this post was sponsored by Toys 4 Naughty Boys, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of sex toys for people with penises. All views, as ever, my own. Featured image is property of Toys 4 Naughty Boys and the featured product is the Confined Stainless Steel Chastity Device

[Kink Product Review] The Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit

Electro play has been an interest of mine ever since I first encountered a restored violet wand at a fetish fair. (Have you seen them? They’re *gorgeous*. They’re also expensive as hell.) Mr CK and I have a friend who has an amazing electro set-up in his home dungeon (yes, we have the kind of friends who have home dungeons) which we love playing with when we get the opportunity to visit.

But until now, exploring electro-play at home has been difficult for us. In large part, this is because it’s such a pricey kink to get into if you want decent kit. A cheap knock-off neon wand set from Amazon was fine for a while, but we found ourselves craving something more. Enter the Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit, which was very kindly sent by Stockroom for us to review.

A word of warning: do not, for the love of all that is holy and good in the world, buy a knock-off neon wand from Amazon or Aliexpress or the like. We were lucky that ours (which I bought when I was young and uneducated!) has stayed in one piece and been reasonably safe, but there are all kinds of horror stories such as this one from Ella Scandal: “...when I plugged it in and switched it on, the socket smoked, banged and flashed, then the upstairs electrics tripped out.” Please, please, please buy your electro-sex gear from a reputable sex toy/BDSM gear supplier.

Let’s go back a step: what is a neon wand?

The neon wand, a modern and cheaper alternative to the violet wand (a turn-of-the-century quack “medical” device) is a popular BDSM toy that discharges electricity across the surface of the skin, creating a sensation that can range from a gentle, warming tickle to a sharp, scratchy pain. I’m informed that the sensation is somewhat similar to getting tattooed, but having inkless skin (for now) I couldn’t testify as to the accuracy of this claim.

I don’t know enough about electrics to go into the detailed science of how it works (sorry!) but a neon wand is what’s known as a “solid state device” (no moving parts). This makes it durable and easy to move around without interruption to the flow of electricity. It also means that modern solid-state devices are likely to be more durable and last longer.

Essentially, a neon wand consists of the main wand handle, and various attachments called electrodes which are made of glass or conductive silicone. You plug your electrode into the wand, and then touch it to the body to transmit electricity across the skin. When switched on, the inside of the clear glass electrodes glows red or purple. How cool is that!? This video is a good visual if you want to see it in action (and hear the sound it makes!)

Why would anyone want to do that!?

There are lots of reasons people might enjoy electro play (sometimes called e-stim, electro-stim or electro-sex). For some, the sensation is relaxing or even meditative. Others are masochists and get off on the more painful end of the spectrum. For some people, these devices play into a medical kink. And for others again, i’s about conquering a fear or seeing how much they can take. The motivations are many and varied – as with most kinks. The only way to know why it makes a particular person tick is to ask them.

Let’s take a closer look at the Obsidian kit…

The Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit is a bundle put together by the good folks at Stockroom (purveyors of kinky goodness extraordinaire) and it’s an electro play lover’s dream! It consists of the neon wand and two attachments – the Electro-Whip and the Flex Capacitor, both made from conductive silicone.

All of this comes attractively packaged in a handy leather zip-up case, branded with the Stockroom logo (yes, it’s real leather, I checked).

Be aware that this kit does NOT come with any glass attachments, so if you want those you’ll need to buy them separately – but they are all available from Stockroom at very reasonable prices. I particularly recommend the comb, the probe, or – for the romantics amongst you – the heart.The neon wand has an 8 foot power cable. A word of warning for my non-US readers: it is a US plug, so you’ll need an appropriate step-down converter to use it safely in your country. Thankfully, I already have one for purposes of using my Magic Wand! The user interface couldn’t be simpler: there’s a single dial control to control the power and intensity.

How did we get on?

When we get a new kink item to try that we’re not experienced with, we try it in a non-scene headspace. (We call it “lab time” because we’re dorks). So that’s what we did with the Neon Wand Obsidian Kit. Problem is, it’s very hard for me to stay in an analytical mode when I’m giggling and thrashing and squirming, which is what this toy had me doing within seconds.

I experience electro-play on a spectrum that ranges from tickle to sting. At the lower ends, it reminds me somewhat of the sensation of having a Wartenberg wheel drawn across my skin. On the higher settings, it’s a sharp and stingy pain. If you’re a thud lover and totally hate stingy sensations, neon wand play is unlikely to be for you.

I love the sensation of electricity, so I totally adored this product. I think we’ll be playing with it a lot more, and we’ll be investing in some extra electrodes to have even more fun with it.

Mr CK’s feedback on this product can best be described as “sadistic giggling”

Let’s meet our electrodes…

The Electro-Whip is actually a small flogger, with ten falls made of conductive silicone. You are not supposed to hit hard with it! Despite the name and design, this “whip” is more designed for dragging across the body, leaving a trail of sparks wherever it goes. You can strike with it gently, but again, think “stroke” rather than “whack”. If you want to hit someone hard, get out an ordinary flogger.

It’s a stingy fucker! The high number of contact points on the body all at once and their small surface area means this one delivers a lot of bite.

The Flex Capacitor is described by Stockroom as the most intense of all neon wand electrodes, and it’s an apt description! The two-pronged tip sends a powerful shock to wherever it touches. The Flex is best for short, sharp bursts of pain. I couldn’t stand this one on any but the lowest settings – it’s THAT intense.

Some quick safety notes

Electro play, done with the proper kit and a bit of common sense, is actually fairly low risk! But of course, like any BDSM activities, there are some risks and knowledge is your first and greatest line of defense. This is not an exhaustive list (I Am Not A Doctor!) and you must always do your research, but as a starting point here are some of the major safety points you need to be aware of:

  • Again, for the love of god, buy a genuine device from a reputable supplier!
  • Check your cords before play. If any of them are frayed or look damaged, do not use the device.
  • Store your device in a dry place and never, ever get it wet or use it in a damp environment such as a bathroom. Make sure your skin is completely dry before you begin playing. Come on guys, we all know water and electricity aren’t friends, don’t we!?
  • Check the voltage/ampage and make sure you are using an appropriate converter for your country’s outlets, if relevant.
  • Do not leave your device plugged in when you’re not using it.
  • Read the instruction manual and follow it.
  • Do not do electro play if you have a pacemaker. Always check before playing with a new partner. Do not assume your partner knows that pacemakers and electro play are a bad combination.
  • Do not do electro play if you have any kind of inbuilt/non-removable medical device in your body (such as, for example, an insulin pump). The electricity can damage your device, putting you at risk.
  • Do not do electro play if you have a heart defect.
  • Don’t do electro play if you experience seizures.
  • Do not do electro play if you are pregnant.
  • Do not hold the device on one spot on the body for more than a second or two. Keep it moving. This will greatly reduce the risk of burns or skin damage.
  • If you experience bad pain or any sensation that worries you, stop immediately.
  • Do not use the device on the face or head, especially near the eyes or mouth.
  • Start out at a low setting, build up slowly, and listen to your body.

Where on the body can you use it?

Most places are fine – I recommend starting out with fleshy areas such as the butt or upper thighs. Upper back, inner thighs, tops of arms and stomach are a little more intense for most people, but fun if you’re up for it. If you’re feeling brave, try the nipples, labia, shaft of the penis, or soles of the feet (go very, very carefully in these areas and start on a low setting.) Again, never use your electro play device near the head or face. You should also never insert it into the vagina, anus or mouth.

So do we recommend it?

Definitely! Though with the caveat that I think this is a kit for more advanced players, or those who know they like a little more intensity to their play. If you’re completely new and nervous about electro play, I’d suggest starting with the standard neon wand kit. The glass electrodes don’t pack quite such a punch as the Whip and Flex Capacitor.

But for electro afficionados looking for something a bit more, this kit is a great investment and will be a fabulous addition to your kitbag.

The Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit retails for $188 (about £145).

Thank you to Stockroom for sending us this product to review. If you buy through one of my affiliate links, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are, as ever, my own. All pictures are by me – do not steal them, thanks!

[Toy Review] The Lovely 2.0

The original Lovely came out several years ago after crowdfunding via in Indiegogo campaign. However, this toy only came onto my radar recently when I was asked to review the brand new Lovely 2.0.

Meet Lovely

The Lovely 2.0 is a vibrating silicone cock-ring. It’s a compact little toy, about three inches in length, with a stretchy ring to go around the penis and a larger base area that vibrates to stimulate the clitoris during penetrative penis-in-vagina sex. As it’s very stretchy, one size will fit the vast majority of penises.

The Lovely 2.0 is USB rechargeable and comes with a little docking station that you plug into any USB cable or outlet. It does not come with a cable, but most of us have several micro-USB cords lying around at this point anyway. The Lovely is completely waterproof, so you can use it if you like to get it on in the bath or shower! (Or hot tub. Or pool or lake. I’m not judging.)

My Lovely 2.0 is a nice deep green colour. It also comes in soft pink, if that’s more your style.

Body Safety and Hygiene Things

The Lovely 2.0 sex toy The Lovely 2.0 is made entirely of silicone, which as you’ll know is my favourite material for sex toys. It’s non-porous and completely body-safe. As it’s non-porous and waterproof, you can wash it with some warm water and gentle soap, or sterilise with a body-safe medical wipe. If you’re using barriers, take extra care when putting the ring on – toys can sometimes snag and tear condoms if you’re not careful.

App Functionality & User Interface

The app is the really cool thing about this product. You can change the settings between the ten different vibration patterns, and there’s also an easy-to-use slider feature that enables you to change the speed on each setting. Not only does the app mean you can change the setting without lots of fiddly button-pressing, it also has a couple of other fun additional features.

The “Desire Sensing” technology is fun. After sex, the users can share “feedback” and desires in the Lovely app, and it will give a series of personalised sex-related ideas and suggestions. The idea is a combination of this and the way you use the toy (settings, duration etc.) and the app “learns” what you both like in bed. The Lovely original was described as the “Fitbit of sex” and I think that description is quite apt here. You can even specify particular areas of interest – say, BDSM or threesomes – and your tips will be further personalised based upon your preferences. Just hit “daily tip” and you’ll get a sexy idea. Then rate the tips you get to help the app learn even more about your desires, likes and dislikes.

When you sign up to the app, you need to sync it to the toy – this uses Bluetooth and takes about two minutes – and then add in your partner (if you wish) via their email address.

I don’t really use or love the “calories burned” function personally, and think it could be triggering to folks with a history of disordered eating or body-image struggles.

You could use the Lovely 2.o without the app if you don’t have a smartphone or don’t like the idea of your phone keeping such intimate data about you. The Lovely 2.0 minus app operates on a simple one-button interface in the centre of the toy. You hold the button down to switch the toy on, press repeatedly to cycle through settings, and hold it down again to switch off. That said, this is a bit fiddly to do when you’re in the middle of sex and requires pausing to get your hand between your bodies and press buttons. It’s also much harder to tune the setting to exactly where you want it. On the whole, the app enhances this product’s functionality a lot and I don’t really recommend trying to use it without.

So what did I think?

I really like a lot of things about this product. It’s one of the best app functionalities for a sex toy I’ve seen. I like its compact size and the way it fits between bodies during sex. Unfortunately, where it really fell down for me was on the level of power. I’m a self-confessed power queen, and even on the highest level the Lovely just wasn’t strong enough for me. I enjoyed it for some extra clitoral stimulation during sex, but when I was ready to orgasm I found myself reaching for something stronger.

Final thoughts – do I recommend it?

If you’re looking for a wearable vibrating toy to use during PIV intercourse, the Lovely 2.0 has a lot to recommend it. I cannot recommend it if you’re someone who needs really powerful vibrations to get you off – as I said above, it’s not super strong. But if you’re into gentler vibrations or are just looking for a bit of extra clitoral stimulation during sex, this could be a great choice for you. The app and its additional features are a big part of what take this product from “fine” to “good” for me!

I particularly suggest this toy to new couples or those who are new to exploring more adventurous sex – it’s a great way to share more and learn more about each others’ desires in a fun and low pressure way.

The Lovely 2.0 retails for $139 (about £108) and ships worldwide.

Thanks to Lovely Inc for sponsoring this review and providing me with the product to test. All opinions, as always, are my own! Pics of the toy are by me. App screenshot is property of Lovely Inc. If this review was helpful to you, please consider buying me a coffee to say thanks.

 

The Best Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sex Toy Deals

I have mixed feelings about Black Friday, which will perhaps not surprise many of you who know my general feelings towards capitalism. However, I love a bargain as much as the next person – and I love love love people being able to get sexy things that they might not be able to afford at full price.

Scrabble letters spelling out "Black Friday." For the discounts, deals and offers page.

To that end, I’ve pulled a brief round-up of some of the very best Black Friday deals on sex toys, lingerie and more.

I’ll also be tweeting out any particularly awesome deals that come onto my radar this weekend, so keep an eye on my Twitter for updates!

Please note: this post contains affiliate links and if you buy through them, I make a small commission. I promise to only ever recommend companies I stand behind.

Getting Fit Together… with Sex? Sexercise Fitness Review Part 1

Content note: this post contains discussion of fitness, exercise and weight loss. Please feel enormously free to skip this one if these topics are difficult for you.

Charlotte and Colin from Sexercise Fitness smilng at the camera in their underwear
Charlotte and Colin, the power couple team behind Sexercise Fitness.

Why (and how) I’m doing this

Those of you who have been reading my work for a while will know that I struggle with my weight, fitness and body-image. You’ll also know that I am tremendously busy. So when Charlotte, one half of the duo behind Sexercise Fitness, approached me to review their workout programme – which can be conveniently done at home, requires minimal equipment, and includes sexual applications for the various exercises(!)… well, how could I resist!?

I am not “dieting” while doing this programme, as food restriction tends to lead me to negative mental health and disordered eating places. I eat a pretty healthy diet anyway, and the only dietary change I’m making is trying to cut back a little on refined sugar. I’m also not sharing my weight numbers here as I don’t think that’s healthy for me or my readers. I’m focusing on feeling healthy and fit, not on numbers. I’ve just started the programme and will be sharing my thoughts today and at the end.

What is Sexercise Fitness?

Each week of the Sexercise Fitness programme consists of a series of strengthening exercises which can be done individually or together with a partner. They’re led by a trained and qualified Personal Trainer, and the videos are simple to follow along with. I found it easiest to play the video full-screen and do the exercises on the living room floor with my computer in front of me.

In the videos, Colin and Charlotte do separate exercises – but I decided to try them all, just for fun. They start off pretty gentle, making this programme suitable for beginners, and each workout is less than ten minutes long. Ongoing access means you can repeat things as often as you feel like you want to. Starting out at a base of very low physical fitness and muscle tone, I found the Week One exercises challenging but manageable.

As well as the exercise walkthrough videos, there are extra videos with little tips and tricks, and Charlotte and Colin share their experiences as they go through the programme. They’re adorable and funny together, and very real as they share their struggles and triumphs. At the end,  there are suggestions for sex acts and sexual positions based upon the exercises you learned that week.

Membership costs £24.97 for 1 year’s full access to everything – less than one month of typical gym membership or a single session with a personal trainer.

Who’s it for?

The “sexercises” demonstrated are based around a cis male and cis female body pairing. However, you can easily adapt them to fit your own relationship and genital configurations. The positions for penetration work just as well with a strap-on or for anal sex, and obviously anyone and everyone can enjoy oral sex if they want to! You could do the programme on your own, but you’ll probably get more out of it by doing it with a sexual partner.

It’s a fun and different approach to getting fit with a partner and what I’ve seen so far, I’m enjoying (even though I’m a touch sore.)

Check back in six weeks to see how I got on…

…and what happened when I roped Mr CK in!

Thank you to Sexercise Fitness for sponsoring me to attempt this challenge and tell you guys about it. All opinions, as ever, are my own. Remember to listen to your body, work within your own capabilities and limitations, and consult a doctor or healthcare professional if you’re in any doubt before starting an exercise programme.

Positive Masculinity in Erotica (for International Men’s Day)

As a feminist, I’m in favour of many of the aims of International Men’s Day. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. There are tonnes of really important issues affecting men today – from lack of mental health support which leads to a much higher suicide rate for men, to male victims of rape or domestic violence going unacknowledged.

A man's body in a blue blazer and black tie. For an International Men's Day post on positive masculinity in erotica.

What I don’t believe, however, is that feminism – or women – are responsible for these issues. They’re a symptom of patriarchy, the fucked up system under which we all live, and which also harms men – in different ways to the ways it harms women, sure, but harm nontheless.

But plenty of better writers than me have already said all of these things much more eloquently than I have. And this is a sex blog, after all! So in celebration of International Men’s Day, I wanted to share with you some of my favourite examples of positive masculinity, as portrayed in erotica. Because Fifty Shades of Grey is all well and good[1], but Christian Grey is fundamentally a misogynist and a rapist – literally the embodiment of toxic masculinity in sexy-pants, richer-than-God, sold-100-million-copies packaging.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Bruce Shepherd – The ‘Swingularity’ series by Cooper S Beckett

Anyone who has read these books will be unsurprised to know I have a huge character-crush on Bruce. What I love about him is that he’s confident as hell (to the point of juuuust occasionally coming across a tad arrogant) but is actually a complete softie and quite vulnerable underneath it all. The sex is hot as hell (of course) but it’s the emotional depth of this novel that really gets me. Bruce’s struggle to let go of the past, his enduring love for Paige, and his desire to save everyone – even to his own detriment – combined with the older-man sexiness make him a romantic character I can’t resist.

“Are you still upset with me?” he asks after a long silence.
She turns, surprise on her face. “No, I’m…”
He waits.
“She’s inside me too, you know.”

[Disclaimer: the above is an affiliate link and if you decide to get this book, I would super appreciate you supporting me by buying from Shevibe!]

Neil Elwood – The Boss, Abigail Barnette

If you like billionaire-older-man romance, Neil Elwood is a much more positive antidote to Christian Grey. The romantic relationship between Neil and Sophie is built upon trust, mutual respect and actually getting to know one another, not upon fear and bullying-masquerading-as-dominance.  He’s not threatened by Sophie’s success in her career and explicitly doesn’t use his position to sexually manipulate her. And he’s willing to admit when he’s wrong. Oh, and crucially, there’s tonnes of explicit and enthusiastic consent.

He kissed me hard, his hand tangled in my long hair, and when we were both breathless he lifted his head to answer my question.
“Not now. I thought I’d lay you down on this sofa and bury my face in your cunt first. Unless you object…”

Johnathan – The Adventures of Sir & Babygirl, Kayla Lords

This is a really lovely, sweet-yet-sexy romance about a woman recovering from a broken heart and a Daddy Dom she meets through her blog. What I love about it is how respectfully Johnathan approaches Katie, and how he slowly gains her trust as their relationship develops. There’s a constant underlying thread of consent – even as simple as “don’t feel pressured to answer all the questions I ask you”. The biggest character trait I get from Johnathan is kindness, which is underrated but extremely powerful when combined with just the right amount of sexual dominance – and I am very very here for it.

“Look at me, girl!” Johnathan’s voice took on a feral tone. “I want you as a woman and as a submissive. I will not deny my nature any longer. I also won’t force you to accept something you don’t want. But I think you want this as much as I do. If you do, tell me. We’ll go slow, but just fucking tell me.”

See? Everyone who told you that women only like slathering rapey beasts was full of shit. Give me kind, respectful dominants who value consent and mutual pleasure any day. Who are your favourite male characters in erotica, and why?

[1] *Narrator voice* “Fifty Shades was not, in fact, all well and good at all.”

[Guest Blog] Erotica, Sex Writers & Consent by Violet Grey

Today’s guest blog comes from Violet Grey. When Violet pitched me this idea, I went “YES” out loud – because this issue is so close to my heart. I think anyone who has ever publicly created content about sex will understand. Thanks to Violet for sharing this piece with me – it is an honour to publish it.

Amy x

A man in a suit in the background with four social media symbols. For a post by Violet Grey on sex bloggers and consent

It is a truth universally acknowledged that sooner or later, a writer will come across a fan or individual that takes things too far.

While thankfully, I’ve yet to come across a Kathy Bates in Misery type (and hopefully never do!) receiving inappropriate propositions, harassment and even threats are disturbingly commonplace for erotica and sex writers. This is a widespread problem and more often than not, isn’t taken anywhere near as seriously as if it was happening to, say, a history writer or a food blogger.

The perception seems to be, to some, a “well, what did you expect?” mentality.

If we write about sex, we’re going to draw in the weirdos, right?

If we write steamy stories online, we only have ourselves to blame.

It’s our own fault for making the harasser sending us unsolicited nude pictures after reading our erotic stories, despite us having never wanted nor asked for them!

If we write about sex, we must want to have sex with everyone!

This is where the problem lies.

The violation of a writer’s boundaries is subjected to persistent victim-blaming. While we live in a society that is becoming slowly more sexually open, sex is often still viciously demonised; especially so if a woman writes openly about sex, fictional or otherwise.

The general consensus is sex/erotica writers are somehow “worth less” or have less “value”, as writers and as people. Therefore, certain individuals think they can get away with this abhorrent behaviour. The truth is that we are people just like everyone else. We are equally worthy of respect, safety and for our consent not to be violated.

Speaking for myself, I blog about sex and kink and I write erotica. In the online world, people usually have a lot to say about that. It can range from a facetious comment to someone “testing the waters,” so to speak – saying something particularly perverse to see how far they can go.

When blogging about these subjects, you develop a thick skin quite quickly. Before long, you can easily discern harmless banter with fellow friends in the blogging community and someone trying to push things too far.

For example, a few months ago, I received an email from a gentleman who wrote a piece of erotica. Now, I don’t mind people sending me writings, asking for my opinion before they publish it on their blogs etc. or to ask if I am interested in collaborating to write a piece.

However, what this gentleman did was send me a piece of erotica where he was one character and I the other, engaging in sexual relations, as a “response” to a free verse I had written on my blog. Granted, it was well written, but that didn’t make it okay! I was never asked about being a character in his sexually charged story. I made it clear to him I was not comfortable and would not accept being sent any more stories from him. After an apology, he told me that because I wrote erotica, he took that at as, “implied consent” for him to write and send this to me. (I viscerally cringed here and went “oh HELL no!” – Amy)

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I was both angered and horrified. This person was one of many who think this is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Along with individuals asking if they could see pictures of my chest, or commenting they’d be masturbating whilst thinking about me, that story and his justification behind it only further solidified to me a problem that needs to be taken more seriously.

If we applied this logic to other writers, you can see how ridiculous it is. For example, because someone writes a crime novel, doesn’t mean they “imply consent” for someone to break in to their house. If someone writes a horror novel, they don’t “imply consent” for you to follow them around dressed as the story’s villain.

There is no “implied consent”. Sex writing is not an invitation to send us questionable stories, requests, unsolicited nude pictures and death/rape threats – and that’s just to name but a few!

Treat us as you would want to be treated yourself. If you have questions on collaborations, guest posts, someone to be a beta-reader, or just have a question or want some advice, always ask.

It’s never okay to do something without someone’s consent. Sex and erotica writers are no different.

Violet GreyViolet Grey is an erotic author and blogger. An avid reader of erotic romances, you’ll be hard pressed to tear her away from her Kindle! Her blog, Life of Violet, details her thoughts on society, sex and her own sexual explorations in to kink and BDSM… along with some steamy poems and short stories to get you hot under the collar!