[Better Sex Products Review] For Play Couples’ Chocolate

Whenever I encounter a sex-related thing I haven’t tried before, I immediately want to try it (and tell my readers all about it, obviously.) That’s why, when For Play Couples’ Chocolate came across my social feed recently, I immediately fired off an email to founder Victoria to enquire about featuring them on my blog.

She was kind enough to send me some samples of her company’s products to try. We decided to publish this review today in celebration of World Chocolate Day.

Sex and chocolate are, after all, two of life’s greatest pleasures.

So What is For Play Chocolate?

For Play Couples' Chocolate

For Play Chocolate came about when Victoria – a former CMO with an MBA – began to research the issue of sustaining intimacy in a long-term relationship. Drawing on research from an array of experts including Dr Karen Gurney and Emily Nagoski, PhD, she decided to create a product to “remind couples to make time for intimacy and play.”

Known variously as couples’ chocolate, sex chocolate, horny chocolate, and aphrodisiac chocolate, For Play Chocolate kits are designed to help couples to connect, get in the mood for romance, and enjoy greater levels of intimacy.

Each box of For Play Chocolates comes with six chocolates (three for each partner) and six “Play Cards”. The cards offer suggestions for erotic experiences to try, from taking a sexy shower together to experimenting with food play. There are also question prompts you can use to help you connect, reflect, and learn more about each other and your relationship.

The chocolates are labelled “His” and “Hers”, and there are boxes available for same-gender or different-gender couples. I’d love to see a non-binary or genderless version added to the range in the future, if possible.

They come beautifully packaged in sleek and stylish boxes in either pink, purple, or green. The chocolates themselves are beautiful, too, decorated with pink and bronze edible shimmer. The overall first impression is of luxury and high quality.

For Play’s products are vegan and made using ethically sourced 62% Ecuadorian dark chocolate. Their supplier is Original Beans chocolate, rated as a leading company by Chocolate Scorecard for environmental, sustainability, and labour practices.

How Does It Work?

For Play’s chocolate is super delicious, combining the sweet-bitter combo of quality dark chocolate with the infusion of subtle, natural botanical flavours. It melts smoothly in the mouth and the popping candy leaves a fun tingling sensation in its wake.

But how does it work?

Mr C&K had a long chat about this when we sampled our chocolates, and we came to the conclusion that this product works in two main ways. I’m going to call them “direct” and “indirect.”

The Direct Effects: The Science Bit

The direct way that For Play Chocolate works is through its botanical and adaptogenic ingredients. To understand this better, we need to delve into the science a little bit.

An aphrodisiac, in the most basic sense, is “a food or drug that arouses sexual instinct, brings on desire, or increases sexual pleasure or performance” (Healthline.) Numerous foods, from oysters to strawberries and even hot chilli peppers, have been alleged to be aphrodisiacs throughout history.

Another common food thought to have aphrodisiac properties? Dark chocolate.

Little to no concrete scientific evidence directly links most common aphrodisiac foods to an increase in sexual desire. However, this doesn’t mean there is nothing to the concept at all. Experts have attempted to explain aphrodisiacs’ apparent benefits through various means, from simple placebo to the sensual pleasure of consuming delicious things, the “luxury” status that society affords some of these foods, and the impact on bodily functions that play a role in sexual activity and desire (such as blood flow and dopamine release.)

Some foods and edible compounds, therefore, may play a role in sexual functioning in various ways. Let’s look at the active ingredients in For Play’s couples’ chocolate and what the research has to say about them.

Dark Chocolate

Cacao pods

Dark chocolate is rich in both antioxidants and caffeine, both of which can improve blood flow. It also contains L-arginine, which may enhance sexual responsiveness. A 2021 systematic review suggested that “l-arginine, as part of a combination product, may be considered for the treatment of women with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, regardless of age.” (Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder or HSDD is, broadly, a lack of sexual desire or very low desire that causes distress or negatively impacts your life.) Consuming chocolate also triggers the release of chemicals such as endorphins and dopamine, which are associated with feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

Maca

Maca powder

Maca, which comes from the Peruvian maca root plant, has long been thought to boost fertility and sex drive. One 2002 study indicated an improvement in self-perception of sexual desire in men after 8 weeks of maca use. Another pilot investigation also indicated that treatment with maca extract increased sexual desire amongst male athletes. Maca is only in For Play’s “For Him” chocolates, as there is currently more evidence for its effectiveness in (cis) men.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a herb that originated in India and has been utilised in various ways for centuries. A 2015 pilot study showed that ashwagandha root extract could improve sexual functioning in otherwise healthy cis women. Another 2022 study indicated that treatment with ashwagandha provided a “statistically significant improvement” in sexual functioning amongst women with HSDD. Ashwagandha is in For Play’s “For Her” chocolates.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek, a clover-like herb that belongs to the pea family, finds use in both cooking and herbal medicines. One study found that “Sexual function analysis for all women… found that treatment with fenugreek resulted in reported increases in sexual arousal and desire in women” (Tester, 2015.) Another double-blinded and placebo-controlled 2021 study found that fenugreek “offered significant beneficial effects to sexual problems” amongst its female participants.

Korean ginseng

Ginseng

Ginseng is a vasodilator, or something that opens the blood vessels. By increasing blood flow in this way, it can have sexual benefits such as helping with erectile dysfunction. A small 2002 study and a 2008 systematic review found “suggestive evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng in treating ED.” Likewise, a placebo-controlled double blind 2010 study found that “Oral administration of KRG extracts improved sexual arousal in menopausal women.”

In a Nutshell…

A product like For Play Chocolate is a helping hand, not a magic bullet. If you’re stressed out, angry at your partner, or suffering from the sexual side effects of health problems or medication, it isn’t going to magically override all that and make you horny. No food or substance can, because human sexuality is way more complicated than that.

What its ingredients can do, though, is give your body a natural nudge in the right direction. Combined with creating the right conditions for pleasure and intimacy – which we’ll discuss more in the next section – these adaptogenic ingredients can work with your body to enhance intimacy and pleasure.

For Play notes that you should seek medical advice before using their products if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any medications. And, of course, you should avoid this product if you are allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients.

The Indirect Effects: Finding New Ways to Stay Connected

For Play Couples' Chocolate

The indirect way that For Play Chocolate works is all about creating the time, space, and physical and emotional context for greater intimacy in your relationship.

Sex, after all, is mental at least as much as physical. In her life-changing book Come As You Are, Emily Nagoski writes extensively about the devastating impact that life stress, mental health challenges, lack of trust, lack of emotional safety, and feelings of pressure can have on sexual desire. To connect better with our partners and ourselves, we need to reduce stress, feel safe and seen, and make space for desire and pleasure.

Staying connected and keeping intimacy, passion, and sex going in a long-term relationship can be challenging. New relationship energy (NRE) naturally fades over time into the more comfortable, cosy warmth of long-term love. This is particularly true when you’re married or nested, your lives are very entangled, or you’re raising children together.

It is important for couples to set time aside to focus on each other and their relationship. Exploration, adventure, and trying new things can all help to keep the spark of novelty alive. With those things and a little effort, the long haul can be where the really good stuff is. There’s nothing like completely knowing someone and them knowing you inside and out, and choosing each other every day.

Using a product like For Play Couples’ Chocolate can help you to create that all-important time together. It can facilitate the conditions needed for intimacy of all kinds – including sexual, physical, and emotional – to flourish.

For Play Couples’ Chocolate is really a date night in a box. You get to set aside dedicated time for your relationship, enjoy some tasty treats together, and explore new ways of connecting. There are even some suggested Spotify playlists to help set the mood.

I found the question cards particularly great for this aspect of the experience. The question prompts sparked some interesting discussions and also plenty of laughter. Even seemingly simple questions (“What does intimacy mean to you?” was my favourite) can get you thinking and talking about things in a different way.

Verdict

For Play Couples' Chocolate

I really enjoyed this product, which is far more than just a gimmick. A lot of thought and care has gone into the formulation and creation of For Play’s kits. The quality of the chocolate, ethical credentials, and beautiful presentation really elevates them, too.

For Play Chocolates retail for £28 per kit. That’s less than you’d pay for a meal in a mid-range restaurant or about what you’d pay for a couple of drinks in a nice bar. Since you only need one chocolate each time, you’ll get three experiences out of one box. And, of course, you can continue to use the cards for as long as you like.

A thoughtful (and tasty) romantic gift or a cute way to set aside a little “us time” with your partner. There’s also a 30 day satisfaction guarantee with your purchase.

Shop For Play Couples’ Chocolate here.

Thanks to For Play Chocolate for sending me this product to test and sponsoring this review. All views are, as always, mine. Professional product images by For Play and reproduced here with permission.

Five Ways I’m Trying to Increase Sustainability in My Femme Style

My identity and presentation as a femme is tremendously important to me. Femme is not just a way of dressing, but a way of sharing who I am with the world. It’s an inherently queer identity and my femme style is a way of living in and embodying my queerness every day.

However, like many of us in recent years, I’ve also been thinking more about my impact on the planet and ways to increase sustainability in my life. So let’s talk about five ways I’m trying to express my femme joy in a more sustainable way.

Acknowledgement and disclaimer: Before I dive in, I want to acknowledge that to a certain extent many sustainability practices (including those I have listed here) require privileges that many people do not have access to, including money and time. It is also not ultimately possible for individuals to save the planet – this must come from corporations and governments. This list is not a prescription or a set of instructions, and you know best what is possible for your life. This is simply what works for me. I’m also far from perfect and frequently fail to live up to the high standards I set for myself. No ethical consumption under capitalism, etc.

Breaking Up with Fast Fashion

Fast fashion – brands that churn out massive quantities of ultra-cheap, throwaway clothing – is a huge contributor to damaging the planet. It also exploits workers and harms animals. For all these reasons, whenever I have a reasonable choice, I’m determined to no longer buy new items from fast fashion brands.

If you buy fast fashion because it is accessible to you, in terms of pricing or available sizes, please don’t feel bad even for a second. That’s not what this section is about. What I’m talking about here is the companies and culture that encourage unnecessary impulse buys, large “hauls” of things that will be worn once or twice (or never worn), and fashions that change overnight.

Buying (and Selling/Donating) Second Hand

I love getting new clothes and shoes, but I actually very rarely buy anything apart from underwear brand new any more. My town has a large number of charity and second-hand shops, and I often find nice pieces at bargain prices there. I also spend far too much time browsing the Vinted app and watch-listing things, a small fraction of which I’ll eventually buy. My favourite recent finds include a fabulous leather jacket and some Lucy & Yak rainbow dungarees.

I just had a major clear-out of clothes I no longer wear. I’m going to sell on a few bits, and the rest I’ll either pass on to friends or donate to charity. That way, they’re not either languishing in the back of my wardrobe or creating more waste, and can instead be worn and enjoyed by someone else.

Of course, second-hand clothing isn’t totally without its issues (delivery emissions when you buy or sell online being the obvious one), but it’s one way to reduce clothing waste and reduce purchases of new items.

Buying More Versatile Styles

I love clothes, shoes, and accessories I can wear multiple ways. For that reason, I’ve started looking for more versatile items when I shop. One of my favourite dresses at the moment is a simple one that I can dress down with leggings and a cardigan, make playful with fun tights and stompy boots, or dress way up with a petticoat, a waist belt and heels for a night out.

For me, part of the fun of femme style is creating different looks by mixing and matching the same items in different ways.

I also recently got this gorgeous green multiway dress from IDENTITY LINGERIE, a “slow fashion” brand that follows zero-waste practices. It’s wearable in so many different ways that it feels a bit like a new dress every time I put it on. The multiway bridesmaid dress trend has been popular for bridal parties for some time, but I think they’re a great choice for anyone looking to get more mileage out of one garment.

Buying Recycled and Upcycled Materials

Materials is a really complicated one when it comes to clothing, and there are no easy answers here. It’s also very, very hard to totally avoid unsustainable manmade fibres such as polyester, nylon, and viscose. Some natural materials, such as cotton and bamboo, also present issues. The more sustainable alternatives can be expensive and hard to find, not to mention the confusion of wading through the muddy and often conflicting information out there.

One thing I’ve started trying to do, though, is look for more recycled and upcycled materials. This is a great way to support the “rescue” of materials that would otherwise end up in landfill.

For example, I recently reviewed a range of polyurethane (PU) leather accessories. PU is, in itself, pretty terrible environmentally. However, that particular brand uses entirely from recycled materials that would otherwise have created waste. I’ve also tried some gorgeous eco-friendly lingerie pieces over the years, some of which are amongst the most worn in my collection.

Switching to Eco-Friendly Bathing & Beauty Products

Glitter is, of course, a staple of my personal femme style. But the wrong glitter products can also be hugely harmful to the environment. For that reason, you will only ever find eco-friendly biodegradable glitter in my makeup bag.

I’ve tried to switch to more eco-friendly bathing and beauty products recently, too, including shampoo bars, mineral sunscreen, and products made without palm oil. This is in addition to my policy of not buying anything that was tested on animals.

What are your favourite eco-friendly and sustainable femme essentials, friends?

[Accessories Review] Bijoux Indiscrets MAZE Cross Cleavage Faux Leather Chest Harness

This is the last (for now) in my series of reviews of Bijoux Indiscrets’ MAZE line, which includes not just the harnesses I’ve written about this week but also the cat ears and collar I covered years ago. I don’t think it’s any secret by now that I absolutely love this range! Today we’re looking at the Cross Cleavage Faux Leather Chest Harness.

MAZE Cross Cleavage Faux Leather Harness

Like everything in the MAZE range, the Cross Cleavage Harness is made from a faux polyurethane (PU) leather from recycled materials. This means it is both eco-conscious (PU is highly environmentally problematic, so reusing it and keeping it out of landfill is good news for the planet) and certified vegan. I wrote a little more about the question of PU leather in this review.

The PU leather Bijoux uses is both comfortable to wear and, minus the distinctive scent, a convincing approximation of animal leather. It wears well, gaining just a little softness and suppleness over time, and is easy to maintain. If it needs cleaning, some gentle soap and a damp cloth will do the job. Otherwise, just store it in the box it comes in and you’re all set.

Bijoux Indiscrets Faux Leather Chest Harness official product picture featuring a model wearing the harness under a blazer
Image: Bijoux Indiscrets

The Cross Cleavage Harness sits around the waist with straps over the shoulders and a criss-cross design across the chest. Though it’s described as a “cleavage harness”, it’s totally wearable by people both with and without breasts.

Like the rest of the range, the MAZE Cross Cleavage Harness is available in both black and a light tan brown called “camel.”

Fit

The MAZE Cross Cleavage Harness is adjustable around the waist as well as over the shoulders, so you can get a comfortable fit for your body. The criss-cross section sits close enough to the centre of the chest that it should be comfortable even for people with larger breasts to wear.

In terms of sizing, I’m coming back to my consistent complaint about size inclusiveness. The MAZE Cross Cleavage Harness fits waist sizes from 60cm (23.62″) up to 94cm (37″.) With the black harness only, you’ll get an extra extender that can add up to 25cm (9.84″) extra. I’d love to see these pieces made available in a wider range of sizes. I’d also love to see the brown styles come with extenders, too!

Woman wearing the Bijoux Indiscrets Faux Leather Chest Harness over a grey shirt

Since the models shown on Bijoux’s page are very thin, I’ve included the above picture of me in the harness so you can see what it looks like on a curvier frame.

How to Style the MAZE Cross Cleavage Harness

Like some of the other MAZE pieces I’ve tried, the Cross Cleavage Faux Leather Harness is pretty androgynous in its style. This means you can pair it with an array of outfits to create the aesthetic you want – femme, masc, or anywhere in between.

The bondage-inspired style means it’d work well in a kink club or sexy party setting, but you can just as easily style it for a vanilla nightclub or party if that’s more your jam. It works well with other fetishwear items such as latex, lingerie or corsetry (I think it would look spectacular over an underbust corset) or as a standout piece on its own.

Thanks to the detailed design of this harness, it also pairs well with simple garments such as a plain t-shirt, dress, or blazer. It’s a real statement accessory that can elevate a basic outfit to a bold and memorable look.

I wear a lot of v-neck and plunge neck tops for sensory reasons (I can’t stand having anything around my neck for extended periods of time.) This harness works beautifully with those, drawing attention to the chest and adding some super-sexy decoration.

The MAZE Cross Cleavage Harness retails for €60 (£53/$64.)

Thanks to Bijoux Indiscrets for sending me the MAZE Cross Cleavage Faux Leather Chest Harness to try. All views are, as always, mine. This post contains affiliate links.

[Accessories Review] Bijoux Indiscrets MAZE Multiway Faux Leather Body Harness

I’m back again with another review from Bijoux Indiscrets’ MAZE line, following on from the hand harness and leg garters, cat ears, and collar. Today we’re looking at the MAZE Multiway Faux Leather Body Harness, which is available in both black and tan.

MAZE Faux Leather Body Harness

The MAZE Multiway Harness is a faux leather body harness made of polyurethane (PU) leather. It is certified vegan and, though PU itself is a highly problematic material from an environmental perspective, the MAZE range is made from recycled materials that would otherwise have gone to waste. (I talk about that a little more in my last MAZE review.)

Model wearing the Bijoux Indiscrets Multiway Harness
Image: Bijoux Indiscrets

This multiway body harness has four straps that connect to an O-ring in the centre. Two of the straps go over the shoulders and cross at the back before wrapping around the waist, the other sits across the ribcage just below the chest. Bijoux shows a couple of variations for ways to wear the harness on their website, but honestly there aren’t really any wrong ways! Wear it however feels good to you.

Bijoux’s recycled PU faux leather looks and feels lovely, and very convincing. It does “wear in” to an extent, becoming softer and more supple with wear, but not to the same degree that real leather does. It also doesn’t have that lovely leather smell. Otherwise, it’s a very good approximation of the real thing and a great choice if you’re looking for something animal-free. It is comfortable to wear and feels good against the skin.

Upkeep of your MAZE harness is also easy – just clean it with a little gentle soap and a damp cloth, dry it thoroughly, and store it in the box it comes in.

Fit

The MAZE Multiway Harness is adjustable and, depending on your body shape and how you wear it, can either hug the contours of your body or hang more loosely.

Woman wearing the Bijoux Indiscrets Maze Multiway Faux Leather Body Harness over a grey top

The neck straps are adjustable from 23cm (9.05″) up to 44cm (17.32″), and the waist is adjustable from 130cm (51″) up to 151cm (59.44″). Considering it wraps around twice, the standard harness will work for anyone with up to around a 30″ waist. If you order the black, you’ll also get two 20cm (7.87″) extenders.

Back view of the Bijoux Indiscrets Maze Multiway Faux Leather Body Harness worn on a woman over a grey top

Though I like the inclusion of the extenders, I would really like to see this harness made available in a wider range of sizes. I’d also like to see Bijoux using models with more diverse body sizes. That’s why I’ve included the pictures of me wearing the harness above, so you can see how it looks on a different body type.

Ways to Style the MAZE Multiway Harness

Everything in the MAZE line is inspired by a BDSM/bondage aesthetic. As such, this incredibly sexy piece would be totally at home in a fetish club or at a sex party. Honesty, if you were feeling daring you could construct an entire outfit from nothing but MAZE harnesses and accessories.

Of course, there are also plenty of other ways you could style it! It could dress up a casual, jeans-and-t-shirt look or a simple dress, add a kinky twist to lingerie, or take your fetishwear to the next level. I’m currently planning an outfit involving this harness over a corset, paired with leather trousers and my gayest stompy boots.

The MAZE Multiway Harness is also pretty genderless. Thanks to the adjustability and the different ways it can sit on the body, plus all the different outfit permutations you can pair it with, it’s entirely possible to easily construct a femme, masc, or androgynous look with it.

I love this piece and its versatility. I think I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of it!

The MAZE Multiway Harness retails for €60 (£53/$64.)

Thanks to Bijoux Indiscrets for sending me the MAZE Multiway Faux Leather Body Harness to try. All views are, as always, mine. This post contains affiliate links.

[Accessories Review] Bijoux Indiscrets MAZE Hand Harness & Leg Garter

Years ago, I got to try out the cat ears and collar from Bijoux Indiscrets’ MAZE range and loved them both. This month, Bijoux was kind enough to send me another shipment of MAZE products to try out!

What is MAZE?

MAZE is Bijoux Indiscrets’ line of BDSM-themed vegan leather accessories including harnesses, headpieces, and kink gear such as cuffs, collars and leashes.

Bijoux Indiscrets MAZE box and interior packaging

Vegan Leather: Yay or Nay?

Every MAZE product is made of certified vegan polyurethane (PU) faux leather. PU leather is controversial because, though it is not made from animals, it is a type of plastic made from petrochemicals which have a terrible impact on the environment.

However, Bijoux strives to be a socially and environmentally conscious company and use recycled materials that would otherwise have ended up in landfill. For ethical and environmental reasons I have adopted a personal policy against buying any items made from new PU leather. But, since this material was already out there in the world and would otherwise have gone to waste, I feel comfortable wearing the MAZE range.

Ultimately, like real leather, you’ll have to consider your personal values and make your own decisions when it comes to PU leather.

Bijoux’s faux leather is soft and supple, looking and feeling remarkably like the real thing. The only thing missing is that unmistakeable leather smell (if someone finds a way to realistically synthesise that, please let me know!) Based on my experience with the MAZE pieces I’ve had for a few years, it wears well – softening up just a little over time – and requires minimal maintenance to stay looking good as new. If you need to clean your MAZE accessories, a damp cloth and a little gentle soap is all you need.

With all that said, let’s look at the first two items I received from the Bijoux Indiscrets MAZE range.

Bijoux Indiscrets MAZE Hand Harness

Woman's hand wearing Bijoux Indiscrets MAZE hand harness
(Please ignore my horrible nails. I’ve been too unwell to go for a manicure lately!)

The MAZE Hand Harness is a bracelet that’s worn around the wrist with an additional strap extending to a finger loop.

I really love these harnesses. They’re incredibly sexy in an unexpected way, just vanilla enough to wear in public but just kinky enough to draw some looks when you do. I like them as an easy way to enhance a simple all-black outfit with a little bondage-inspired twist. As someone who uses my hands a lot in an expressive way when I talk, I love having them accessorised like this.

If you like, you can also use the Bijoux Indiscrets MAZE Hand Harness as a kink tool. Why not clip them together to hold your partner’s hands behind their back, or attach a leash to one of them through the centre ring?

They’re comfy to wear, too, and do not impede my ability to use my hands normally.

Unfortunately, I have to say that the MAZE Hand Harness is not particularly size-inclusive. Although the wristband is adjustable from 6.3″ up to 7.87″, the finger loop is not adjustable and is pretty small. I have fairly small hands even for a cis woman, and the finger loop was slightly too snug to be truly comfortable. It did loosen a bit with wear, but it is right on the limit of what I could wear comfortably. Anyone with hands larger than mine – which includes a lot of AFAB people and the vast majority of AMAB people – would not be able to wear it comfortably.

I love the look and design of these products, but they’re made for thin people. This is very disappointing from an otherwise inclusive and forward-thinking brand.

A set of two hand harnesses retails for €35.

Bijoux Indiscrets MAZE Leg Garter

Woman's leg in Bijoux Indiscrets MAZE Leg Garter

The MAZE Leg Garter consists of two bands that sit just below the knee and around the ankle. A central strap runs up the back of the calf and connects them.

Again, I find them sexy in a unique way. The calves and lower legs are not areas we often think to accessorise, which I think is a shame. An accessory that draws the eye to that part of the body adds an unexpected focal point to a look.

The MAZE Leg Garters are versatile, too. They look great with stompy boots and fishnet tights, or equally good with a short skirt and killer heels. In fact, they’ll draw attention to your legs in just about any outfit and you can style them in tonnes of different and fun ways.

Again, though, size inclusion is a major problem. The band that goes around the knee is adjustable from 11.42″ to 13.78″. The ankle band is adjustable from 6.69″ to 9.84″. I can wear the leg garters on the loosest setting at the top and second loosest at the bottom. But again, a large majority of people with bigger bodies will simply not be able to wear them. Some MAZE products come with extenders, but these do not.

A set of two leg garters retails for €45.

Thanks to Bijoux Indiscrets for sending me these items to review! All views, as always, mine. Affiliate links appear in this post.

[Toy Review] Love Not War Maya

Variations on the trusty bullet vibrator are a dime a dozen these days. This simple and classic design is popular for a reason but, though countless retailers and manufacturers of sex toys have churned out their own version, good bullets are still not the easiest things to find.

There’s the market-leading We-Vibe Tango, of course. The £27 powerhouse from Blush that goes on every sex date with me because it gets me off so damn reliably. A few other decent options. But overall, there are a lot of weak and buzzy and just plain lacklustre bullet vibes out there, with price not always correlating to quality.

That’s why, when lovely sustainable sex toy brand Love Not War (purveyors of such excellent products as the Meile and Koi) reached out and asked me to write them a post for Orgasm Week, I immediately knew I wanted to try out the Maya bullet vibrator.

Love Not War Maya: Sustainably Sexy

Love Not War is a manufacturer dedicated to tackling the wastefulness of the mainstream sex toy industry and bringing more sustainable, planet-friendly alternatives to our bedrooms. All their products come with the same rechargeable battery base and heads you can purchase separately, meaning you only need one set of electronics to enjoy numerous different toys.

Love Not War Maya

Love Not War use as few materials as possible, mostly FDA-grade silicone (with leftovers recycled or reused) and recycled aluminium. Even their packaging is eco-friendly, using natural brown card, soy ink, and environmentally friendly glue. And if something goes wrong, they’ll repair the toy if possible and recycle it if not. Pretty impressive, no? You can read more about Love Not War’s sustainability credentials here.

The Love Not War Maya is a bullet vibrator measuring 4.7″ in length and 0.88″ in diameter. It is made from aluminium which, yes, is a body-safe material! The metal gives it a nice weight (though much lighter than stainless steel, the other metal commonly used for sex toys.)

Love Not War Maya

It is an attractive colour that is… not exactly rose gold, but that’s the closest thing I can think to compare it to. It’s stamped with the Love Not War logo. The brushed aluminium feels absolutely gorgeous in my hand, cool and sleek and smooth. It’s also perfect for temperature play. Just run it under warm or cold water before use (or pop it in the fridge for a few minutes.)

The Love Not War Maya is rechargeable (cable included), waterproof, and travel lockable. It comes with an included drawstring storage pouch, which is a nice extra.

Love Not War Maya

In Use

The Love Not War Maya isn’t the smallest bullet vibrator in the world, so if a very petite size is important to you then you might want to look elsewhere. Due to its slightly larger size, though, I actually find it easier to hold and operate than many of its tinier counterparts.

The Maya’s single button is situated at its base. This button is easy to find with your finger and easy to press. Simply short-press to turn it on and to scroll through the ten settings, then long-press to turn it off. I don’t love a single-button interface, personally. Ten settings is a lot to scroll through to find the one you like! So that’s a little annoying.

Love Not War Maya

It is, however, pretty much the only significant complaint I can make about this overall excellent toy. The Maya’s gently tapering tip is perfect for precision clitoral stimulation, while its body is wide enough for a satisfying all-over buzz if I lay it flat against my vulva. It’s unobstrusive enough to slide between bodies during penetrative sex, if that’s your thing.

Love Not War Maya

Best of all, the Maya is powerful. Its vibrations don’t quite meet my definition of truly rumbly, but they are also far from buzzy. Its power rivals many vibrators that are both far bigger and more expensive. There are four constant vibration settings (the highest is absolutely dreamy) as well as six patterns to choose from. The Maya is also quiet enough to be non-distracting and discreet.

Verdict

I love this vibrator! The Maya is sleek, sexy, sustainable, and powerful. It’s easy to use and, while not the smallest, still easy to throw in my bag for a date night or weekend away. It’s going right on the list of the best bullet vibrators I have ever tried.

The Love Not War Maya retails for £69.99 but LNW are currently offering 40% off for Orgasm Week while stocks last!

Thanks to Love Not War for sending me this item to review. All opinions are, as ever, my own. This post contains affiliate links.

5 Sexy New Year’s Resolutions I’m Making

Belated happy 2022, folks! I completely failed to mark the occasion, but 31 December 2021 was the fifth anniversary of Coffee & Kink. What started out as a little passion project ended up completely changing my life. So whether you’ve been here since the beginning or you’re just joining me now, thank you so much for reading.

With the beginning of the year comes new challenges, new adventures, and – yes – new year’s resolutions. I don’t really believe in the “typical” resolutions, because I think they’re mostly built on false premises and values I don’t subscribe to. 

What I do believe in, though, is taking any opportunity to focus on and improve our sex lives! Whether you’re planning to buy a vibrator for the first time, switch to eco-friendly sex toys (more on why this is one of mine in a minute!), or talk to your partner about trying BDSM, I hope you’ll take time for yourself and your pleasure this year. 

To that end, here are five sexy new year’s resolutions I’m making in 2022.

Become a More Conscious Consumer

Love Not War Koi eco friendly vibrator

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my impact on the planet. I stopped eating meat several years ago, but I’ve started incorporating more vegan foods into my diet, buying locally where possible, and generally trying to approach food in a more sustainable way. I don’t have periods at the moment (praise Mirena!) but, if I start having them again, I’ve promised myself that I’ll try reuseable menstrual cups instead of pads or tampons. Of course, no-one is perfect and it’s impossible to completely mitigate one’s environmental footprint, but if we all make small steps they really can make a big difference.

One way to become a more conscious consumer, and one that is often forgotten, is in the realm of sexuality. And one of the most fun ways to do that? Buy eco-friendly sex toys!

I recently tried the Koi vibrator from Love Not War. Love Not War vibrators are made using as few materials as possible, and are constructed from silicone and recycled aluminium. There is no single-use plastic and the small amount of plastic that is necessary is recycled within the factory. It arrives in eco-friendly, brown cardboard packaging, and even the little storage pouch for your toy is made from environmentally friendly bamboo fabric. Best of all? The electronics unit works with all the interchangeable heads, which you can buy separately. So you can try lots of different sensations without needing to buy a new battery unit for each one.

Love Not War Koi sustainable vibrator

Oh, and it’s a damn good vibrator, too. The Love Not War Koi is powerful, rumbly, and has a fabulous wide head for all-over vulva stimulation.

Other ways to make your sex life more environmentally friendly include switching to ethically-made lubricants with organic ingredients, buying lingerie made from sustainable and recycled fabrics, and avoiding products with tonnes of single-use plastic packaging. Buying glass, silicone, or stainless steel toys instead of hard plastic is another great option, as is choosing rechargeable toys rather than those powered by disposable batteries. Some manufacturers, such as Lovehoney, will also recycle old sex toys so they don’t end up in landfill.

Remember to Masturbate for Fun!

“So, what, you get paid to masturbate?” people say when I tell them I test and review sex toys for a living. And… yes, kind of, but not really. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I’m incredibly lucky that I get paid to try out some awesome and innovative sex toys. But it’s far more than just “being paid to masturbate”.

For every toy review that appears on this site, there are hours of testing, taking notes, and sometimes discussing the product with my partner. Then there’s writing it up, proofreading and editing, taking and editing photos, creating a header image, adding tags and categories, and then promoting the post on social media once it’s live.

I love my job, but it’s still my job. This year, I want to remember that self-pleasure is supposed to be about, well, pleasure. This means taking the time to masturbate just for fun, with the toys (or lack thereof) that I feel like using, without the pressure to write about it afterwards. 

Start Dating Again

This one might be a little trickier, what with that ongoing pandemic thing, but I’m an optimist and I’m going to do my best!

Many of you may remember that I went through a truly terrible break-up in late 2021. As a result, I decided to take a long break from dating anyone except my nesting partner. This was unquestionably the right decision, as I needed time to process and heal from what happened. But I’m starting to feel like dating again might be a good thing for me.

I’m trying to keep my resolutions for 2022 squarely in the realm of “things I can actually control”. So I’m not going to promise to go on 15 dates this year, or have a girlfriend by December (if only…). But I am going to get myself back on some dating apps, flirt with some pretty humans, and maybe ask someone out if they seem like a good fit.

Take More Sexy Selfies

My body image has been a little all over the place recently. Perhaps unsurprising in these ongoing Covid times. As a result, I haven’t been taking many sexy pics recently except when I need them for lingerie reviews. I always get a good reaction when I do take them and send them to a lover, play partner, or long distance crush… and honestly, even if I don’t send them to anyone, taking them and looking at them makes me feel hot and desirable.

2022 shall be the year of the nude selfie!

Try a New Kink

What will that new kink be? I don’t know yet! But I recently read Kate Sloan’s fabulous book, 101 Kinky Things Even You Can Do, and it’s given me more than a few ideas.

One of the things I love the most about sexuality is its infinite variety. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, I come across a new kink or fetish I’ve never even heard of. So maybe this year I’ll try something that’s been on my bucket list for years, or maybe I’ll end up trying a kink I don’t even know exists yet. The point is less about the specific act itself, and more about committing to a state of ongoing openness, curiosity, and adventure.

What’s on your 2022 sexy resolutions list, lovelies?

This post was sponsored by the good folks at Love Not War, an eco-conscious and sustainable toy company that also happens to make gorgeous, powerful vibrators in a range of interesting shapes and styles. All opinions are, as always, completely my own. Images are by Love Not War and used with permission.

[Lingerie Review] Lovehoney Mindful Plum Lace Bra Set

[Update 11/03/24: this set has been discontinued but I have left the post up for reference.]

I’ve tried a couple of different things from the Lovehoney Mindful range of eco-conscious lingerie at this point, and been really impressed by them. So I was very excited to see there was a new selection out in my favourite colour: purple! Today, I’m trying out the Lovehoney Mindful Plum Lace Bra Set.

Mindfully Glamorous

The Mindful lingerie collection is all made of recycled pre-consumer materials, reusing things that would otherwise end up in landfill. Presented in a biodegradable cornstarch bag and with a recyclable cardboard tag, you can feel good about the sustainability credentials when you buy Mindful.

The Mindful Plum Lace Bra Set is a two-piece in a gorgeous, rich shade of plum purple. It is made primarily of polyamide lace and features wide, stretchy under-bust and waist bands adorned with the Lovehoney heart insignia.

The knickers have a little cutout detail at the back, and the bra features a cleavage-displaying peephole in the centre.

Upon taking the Mindful Plum Lace Bra Set out of its packaging, my femme soul was immediately drawn to the colour and pretty floral design of the lace. The set appears sturdy and well-made, a few stray threads that I had to deal with notwithstanding.

So far, so good. How did things go once I put it on?

Fit and Comfort

The Mindful Plum Lace Bra Set comes in 5 different sizes, designed to fit anyone from a size 8 to a size 26 (UK). I received the M/L and it fit my size 12 form beautifully.

The Mindful range seems to run true to size, insofar as women’s clothing sizes have any kind of consistency. I’d recommend going a size up if you’re on the cusp between sizes, but otherwise you can order your usual dress size with confidence.

The bra provides very gentle support, much as you’d expect from a soft non-wired bra or bralette. With a traditional clasp with three tightness settings and slider straps, you can adjust the fit for your unique body. There’s also a clip that allows you to turn the straps into a racerback style. I like wearing it this way as I find it provides slightly more support than the straight strap style.

The bra cups fit better than I expected they would, but are really just barely big enough for my G-cup breasts. I wouldn’t recommend this set if your bust is any larger. Overall it’s probably a better fit for those who have slightly smaller breasts. But with a few clever adjustments and some positioning, I did manage to find a comfortable and boob-containing way to wear it. Unlike some bralette styles I’ve tried, I don’t feel like I’m going to fall out of it every time I breathe!

The knickers from the Mindful Plum Lace Bra Set are comfortable enough to wear all day. The high-waisted, full brief design makes a nice change from the thongs that so often come with lingerie sets. (Fuck thongs, amirite?) The lace is soft and non-scratchy, and the wide waistband provides extra comfort. They also have a vagina-friendly 100% cotton panel in the gusset, mitigating the risk of thrush and other problems that can arise from wearing man-made fibres around your genitals.

Mindful Plum Lace Bra Set: Verdict

This is a really lovely little set. It’s versatile enough that I can see myself wearing the full set on a date or for a sexy night with my partner. But I can just as easily envision wearing the knickers all day long for a little extra femme joy under my regular clothing.

Comfy, conscious beauty. Colour me impressed!

The Mindful Plum Lace Bra Set retails for £32.99 ($39.99 US). and is also available in black with green detailing. You can get 10% off this and anything else you order with my Lovehoney discount code, “coffkink10”.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this set to review. All views and pictures are mine. Affiliate links appear within this post. If you make a purchase, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

[Lingerie Review] Mindful Teal Lace Shorts

[Update 01/11/23: this product has been discontinued. I have removed dead links and kept the post up for reference.]

Sustainability and sensuality all in one? It’s a hell yes from me! Today I’m delighted to be reviewing one of the new pieces from Lovehoney’s Mindful range. You may remember the bodysuit I reviewed recently from the same line. Today we’ll be looking at the Mindful Teal Lace Shorts.

Mindful Booty Beauty!

The Mindful range is made from pre-consumer recycled materials, giving a new lease of life to fabrics that would otherwise end up in landfill. From the cornstarch bag to the recyclable tag, even the packaging for the Mindful range is eco-friendly. So you can feel good about every part of your purchase.

Mindful green lace shorts from Lovehoney lingerie

I received the Mindful Lace Shorts in a beautiful, rich shade of green. The elasticated waistband and edging detail is in a contrasting plum purple with little Lovehoney heart insignias along the waistband. Purple and green are two of my favourite colours and I particularly love them together in combination!

Lovehoney heart logo on green lace lingerie

The main body of these knickers is made of a pretty lace in a femme-pleasing floral pattern. The shorts also feature a cute triangular peephole cut out at the back. Overall, the aesthetic is striking and playful.

Fit and Comfort

The Mindful Lace Shorts come in five size options, fitting anyone from a size 8 to a size 26. I received size M/L, which is designed for a UK 12-14. I usually buy a size 12 in underwear at the moment, and these knickers fit me snugly but comfortably. If you’re between sizes and unsure which to get, I’d recommend going a size up.

I’m really glad to see this style of briefs in the Lovehoney store. I kind of hate thongs, if I’m honest. I can deal with them for sex appeal for a short amount of time, but they’re basically a sensory nightmare and I’d never choose them for all-day wear. But these slightly fuller, hipster-style pants are far more comfortable without sacrificing on style.

The lace is soft and feels high quality – not scratchy or irritating at all. I particularly appreciate the broad and stretchy waistband for the added comfort it affords.

They’re honestly comfy enough that I could wear them all day long.

I’m also pleased to see that the gusset is 100% cotton. Many synthetic fibres are not breathable and can trap moisture and odors. For people with vaginas, this can lead to problems like thrush and bacterial infections. So the cotton gusset is a welcome, vulva-friendly touch!

Final Thoughts

Comfortable enough to wear all day, cute enough to wear on a date, and environmentally friendly into the bargain? Tick, tick, and tick! Full marks for me for these playful, sexy pants.

The Mindful Teal Lace Shorts retail for £12.99 ($16.99 US). You can get a discount on this or any item by using code “coffkink10” at checkout.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me these knickers to review. Affiliate links appear within this post. All views mine, as ever!

[Toy Review] Love Not War Meile

Sustainability is a major problem within many industries, and the sex toy industry is no exception. While there are ways to enjoy sex toys more sustainably – buying from ethical companies, using rechargeable rather than battery-powered products, choosing silicone over plastic, buying toys made to last rather than cheap ones that will die after a year – there are relatively few toys being made specifically with eco-friendliness in mind. That’s why I was excited to receive the Meile vibrator from Lovehoney’s new line in collaboration with Love Not War.

Love Not War clitoral vibrator

How is Love Not War Different?

Love Not War is a new innovative line of sustainable and eco-friendly vibrators. Their eco credentials come in several forms:

The materials: the base is made from recycled aluminium, which is one of the most sustainable metals (98% recycled worldwide.) The main part of the toy is made from silicone, which is more readily recyclable than plastic and plastic-derived materials. Even the storage bag that comes with your vibe is made from sustainbable bamboo fabric. Love Not War vibes use very small amounts of plastic, and the company recycles that plastic within the factory.

Interchangeable heads: you only need to buy one Love Not War electronics unit. You can then use it with any of the four interchangeable heads. This is obviously much more environmentally friendly than buying four identical electronics units to enjoy the different permutations of this toy. Unfortunately the heads don’t seem to be available separately at Lovehoney right now, but I’m going to follow this up to find out when they should be available.

The packaging: Your Love Not War vibe comes in recyclable cardboard packaging with a sugar cane tray and no single-use plastic.

The Love Not War Meile

Lovehoney Love Not War Meile vibrator for clit stimulation

I received the Love Not War vibe with the Meile head. This attachment features a ball-shaped tip, which I chose on account of it being a relatively unusual vibrator design. If you’re familiar with the Zumio, it’s similar in shape only broader. The attachment has a rigid shaft and the ball is relatively firm yet slightly squishy.

Vibrator storage bag for sex toy

The whole toy (base + attachment) is 16cm (6.2″) in length. It is fully waterproof and features a travel lock.

To charge your Love Not War vibe, unscrew the base and plug it into a USB plug using the included cable. You’ll get around 1 hour of use on top speed from a 2 hour charge.

Fun fact: all the Love Not War vibe names come from words for “love” in various languages. Liebe is German, Amore is Italian, Meile is Lithuanian, and Laska is Czech.

In Use

I knew I was going to love the Love Not War Meile as soon as I handled it and switched it on. The soft silicone, the shape of the head, and the powerful vibrations all add up to a winner.

Love Not War Meile vibrator eco friendly sex toy

If you enjoy pinpoint clitoral stimulation, you’ll love the Meile. The ball shaped tip means you can get precise stimulation exactly where you want it. Unusually, I found that the head of this toy was soft enough to use directly on my clit. When I use more rigid toys, I have to use them through the clitoral hood or they’re too intense and end up being more uncomfortable than pleasurable.

If you prefer internal vibrations, the Love Not War vibe with the Meile attachment is long enough to reach the G-spot on many bodies.

Lovehoney insignia heart stamp

The vibrations are impressive, too. They’re strong, not too buzzy, and concentrated in the right place – the tip of the toy. The top setting left me in a puddle of post-orgasmic bliss very quickly!

The Love Not War vibe is reasonably quiet (I wish marketing copy would stop describing things as “whisper quiet,” though. They never are.) It passes the “under a duvet, door closed” test in that I can’t hear it from outside my bedroom.

If I have one complaint, it’s the one button interface. The Love Not War vibe has four constant speeds and six patterns. Ten settings is a lot to scroll through with a single button to get back to the one you like!

As an added bonus, I also think these toys are really pretty. The base is a lovely muted rose gold and stamped with the Lovehoney and Love Not War insignias, while the attachments are a dark steely grey. The overall aesthetic is elegent and stylish. Function is far more important than form, of course. But I do love toys that do the job and look great while they’re doing it.

Final Verdict

Lovehoney and Love Not War have knocked it out of the park with this collaboration. The line actually addresses ecological concerns in the adult industry in a way that is more than just lip-service, and they’re gorgeous and effective, too.

Grab yourself a Love Not War vibe with your choice of head from Lovehoney with prices from £69.99 ($84.99 US). Don’t forget to use code coffkink10 at checkout for an additional 10% off!

Enjoy your eco-conscious orgasms.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me the Love Not War Meile for review. As ever, affiliate links appear in this post and all views are mine.