[Toy Review] Hot Octopuss Pulse Queen

Those of you who have been floating about in the sex geekery space for some time may remember the Hot Octopuss Queen Bee which hit the market in 2017. Hot Octopuss rose to fame for their Pulse, an innovative penis toy which draws on medical technology that uses oscillation to enable ejaculation in people with severe spinal cord injuries. Pretty cool no? The Pulse can be used on either a hard or flaccid dick and was a major breakthrough in accessible toy design that centres disabled people.

Following that success, Hot Octopuss naturally wanted to offer something for vulvas, too. That’s where the Queen Bee came in. Unfortunately, the Queen Bee – while great in theory – fell short in a number of key areas. It was loud as fuck, kinda ugly, and stopped working if you applied any significant pressure. I didn’t hate it as much as some bloggers did, but I was highly underwhelmed.

For all these reasons, when I learned that Hot Octopuss had released a brand new and improved toy for vulvas, I couldn’t wait to try it out. Meet the Hot Octopuss Pulse Queen.

What is the Hot Octopuss Pulse Queen?

Hot Octopuss Pulse Queen

The Hot Octopuss Pulse Queen is described as “the world’s first wand with PulsePlate Technology™.” It’s not really a wand in the traditional sense, and its shape is similar to that of many clitoral suction toys. It is a clitoral stimulator that uses high-amplitude oscillations rather than vibrations to deliver deep and rumbly sensations.

The Pulse Queen is made of body-safe silicone (with a plastic control panel on the back) in an attractive shade of turquoise – one of my favourite colours! It is rechargeable, waterproof, and comes with a storage bag.

What I Like About the Pulse Queen

Buckle in, because I have a LOT to say about the things I love about this toy.

Hot Octopuss Pulse Queen

  • The deep, rumbly stimulation makes me cum fast and reliably and hard. It’s like all the best things about a super rumbly vibrator, only… better. Mains-powered wands are the only other type of toy I’ve ever tried that provide stimulation like this. The orgasms I have with this thing feel inevitable, like it’s going to pull them from me even with minimal effort on my part. Without putting too fine a point on it, heartbreak-induced depression hasn’t exactly been making me feel very sexy lately. But with this toy I can push through that and have an orgasm even when my head isn’t entirely in the game.
  • The shape of the oscillating head. It tapers to a gentle point, offering targeted clitoral stimulation. Prefer a broader sensation? Just tilt it slightly to the side and use the edge rather than the tip.
  • The toy is light and the curved handle makes it comfortable and ergonomic to hold. I can use this for much longer than I can use a wand before I start getting hand or wrist cramps. Joan Price, one of my absolute icons in the sex ed and sex positivity world, specifically calls out this toy as “good for arthritic wrists.”
  • The dual speed controls mean you can scroll up and down through speeds as you like, and a third button allows you to switch between oscillation settings. There are six patterns as well as constant oscillation. I could live without the patterns but, thanks to the easy and intuitive controls, I don’t hate that they’re there. Each setting has an impressive 9 intensity levels to choose from.
  • The buttons are well placed, easy to press, and satisfyingly clicky. They’re also large enough and have distinctive enough shapes that it’s easy to feel for them without looking and press the right one. No risk of hitting the wrong one at the wrong moment and accidentally ruining your orgasm.
  • It is fully waterproof. This means it’s easy to clean as well as enabling you to use it in the bath or shower, if you want to. (Not really my thing, but it might be yours!)
  • Though it’s designed with clits in mind, I am reliably informed it also feels great on penises.
  • It’s really pretty! Seriously, did I mention how pretty it is?

Anything I Didn’t Like?

The Pulse Queen is significantly quieter than the Queen Bee, but it’s still pretty loud. Something to be aware of if you have family or roommates at home. It’s probably no louder than a typical wand but for some reason it feels more grating to me. It might be the frequency, or it might just be the dissonance of the toy’s small size with its noise output. Either way, I can live with it but I don’t love it.

Hot Octopuss Pulse Queen

The battery life isn’t great, offering around 40 minutes of runtime on a full charge. It’s not a huge problem considering that this thing typically gets me off in under five minutes. But it does mean you’ll need to remember to charge the toy regularly if you’re using it a lot (which, erm, I am!) It may also be a problem for those who take longer to reach orgasm.

It’s also worth noting that, like the Queen Bee, the Pulse Queen also stops oscillating if I press it too hard against my vulva. This is probably just a feature of this type of technology and basically unavoidable. It’s worth noting if you prefer a lot of pressure, though.

I also have to have a small gripe about the gendered language here. Does it really have to be called a “Queen”?

Hot Octopuss Pulse Queen: Verdict

The Pulse Queen is, despite some small issues, one of the best new sex toys I have tried in a very long time. It’s an incredible upgrade on the Queen Bee in every way. Honestly I’m hesitant to even call it an upgrade. Naming conventions and passingly similar concept aside, it’s pretty much an entirely new toy. And it’s so, so, so fucking good.

This is how you do an oscillating toy for vulvas.

The Hot Octopuss Pulse Queen retails for £99.95 (and $99.95.)

Thanks to Hot Octopuss for sponsoring this review. This means that they paid me to write a fair and balanced review. All opinions and writing are, as always, my own.

Sex Toy Companies That Don’t Use Gendered Marketing

Gendered marketing is one of my biggest bugbears in the sex toy space, and it’s almost impossible to get away from. Everywhere you look, you’ll see sex toys categorised as “for men” or “for women.” But we should all know by now that body parts don’t define gender. Not everyone with a vulva is a woman, not everyone with a penis is a man, and myriad genders exist between and beyond those two binary options.

(If you think gender is binary or that physiology alone defines gender, then erm… you’re probably in the wrong place.)

And look, I even understand why companies do this, up to a point. For many, it’s primarily an SEO concern. “Sex toys for men” gets almost half a million Google searches per month at the time of writing, while “sex toys for women” gets close to 100,000. “Sex toys for penis” and “sex toys for clit” get a relatively paltry ~5000 and ~500 searches, respectively (and “vulva” doesn’t even get a look-in, but that’s a rant for another day.)

Even so, though, continuing to aggressively gender sex toys contributes directly towards exclusion and inequality in an industry that is already… not great on those things a lot of the time.

With that in mind, I wanted to tell you about some of my favourite adult retailers and manufacturers that do not use gendered marketing.

SheVibe

I love SheVibe’s playful, comic book-inspired aesthetic, and I love their gender-neutral approach even more. Toys are categorised by type and body part, not by gender. So you’ll find categories like “vibrators”, “dildos”, and “penis toys”.

SheVibe has a huge and extensive product catalogue so whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find something for you here.

Godemiche

This small, UK-based purveyor of colourful silicone sexiness categorises their toys by type – dildos, hump toys, masturbators, and so on – rather than by gender. The Grind Ring products (some of my all-time faves!), for example, are described as being for “anyone with a clitoris.”

If you’re looking for quality body-safe silicone sex toys in a bigger range of colours and blends than you’ve ever seen in your life, then look no further.

Peepshow Toys

Peepshow Toys logo

Peepshow Toys has been a major player in the body-safe sex toys space for a long time now, and their extensive range just keeps going from strength to strength.

They divide their toys by type and then sub-divide them below that. So for example, you’ll see “dildos” then sub-categories of “realistic”, “non realistic”, “suction cup”, and so on. It’s easy to find exactly what you want with no gendered marketing to be seen.

Arosum

Arosum logo

I’ve only recently started working with Arosum, and I’m a big fan. They categorise their toys by body part (vulva, penis, or anus) then sub-categorise them by type (“clitoris vibrators,” “masturbators,” etc.)

Arosum puts the LGBTQ+ community front and centre and designs their products with us in mind. It’s so refreshing to see diverse images of smiling queer people and blog content covering topics like the history of Pride and LGBTQ+ workplace discrimination.

The Pleasure Garden

The Pleasure Garden is a small business and the UK’s inclusive sex shop. They believe that everyone deserves pleasure and they only stock body-safe products. Products are categorised variably by type and by body part (“vibrators”, “cock and ball toys,” and so on.)

They even have a separate “gender expression” category filled with products designed specifically with trans and non-binary people in mind!

Le Wand

Le Wand understand that wand vibrators are for everyone, and sell wands (and their attachments) without gendering them. Their blog posts and guides are de-gendered for the most part, too – you’ll see topics like “Anal Play for Vulva Owners.”

In 2019, they were even awarded “Progressive Company of the Year” at the Xbiz awards.

Love Not War

Love Not War is an innovative sustainable sex toy company selling quality silicone vibrator heads that all work with the same interchangeable battery base. This means you only need one set of electronics to enjoy all their toys. They use FDA-grade silicone, recycled aluminium, and eco-friendly packaging.

Love Not War doesn’t gender their toys, instead indicating what body part they are most suited to – the clitoris or G-spot, for example.

Stockroom

Stockroom is actually primarily known as a BDSM gear supplier, but also offers an impressive array of sex toys in their catalogue. You’ll see wording like “cock and ball toys” rather than “toys for men.”

Annoyingly, some of their kink gear – most notably their extensive range of chastity devices and suction pumps – is categorised by gender rather than body part. For this reason, I debated whether or not to include them. But their sex toys, at least, are de-gendered.

FYI: this post contains affiliate links.

Is This What a Submissive Looks Like?

Today’s post topic was chosen by my supporters over on Patreon. For as little as $1 a month you can support my work and, at the $3 tier and above, you can get a voice in the direction of the site and vote on future content ideas.

I’ve recently been watching online shibari tutorials in an attempt to start improving my extremely rudimentary rigging skills. It’s a way to entertain myself while I’m in COVID isolation, okay? (Oh yeah, I currently have COVID. So that’s fun.) I’m not expecting to be able to suspend people from the ceiling any time soon, but I’d like to be able to create ties that are sexy, secure… and, of course, safe.

But watching all these tutorials, and hunting around for bondage inspiration online, I kept running across something I have long known to be true but am now finding impossible to ignore: the online kinkosphere is still, broadly, ridiculously homogeneous in the images and representations it puts out. This isn’t just true in the world of bondage and shibari, but across the entire kink and BDSM space.

When you think of the word “submissive” as a noun, what type of person comes to mind? If the images we see again and again and again are any indication, you probably pictured a cisgender woman. She’s probably white, thin, impossibly flexible, under 25, entirely shaven from the neck down, and normatively attractive. She’s probably submitting to a man.

There are, of course, submissives who fit that description, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But this is the most common image we see by an absolute mile, despite the fact that it’s nowhere near accurate for the vast majority of submissives. It’s the image most commonly presented not just in BDSM porn, but also in educational contexts. And it’s a problem for a number of reasons.

I’m a cis female mostly-submissive, and even I feel alienated when teachers, presenters, speakers, and educators casually toss around she/her pronouns or talk about breasts and vulvas when referring to a hypothetical submissive or bottom. It makes me feel as though assumptions are being made about my role on account of my gender, and that doesn’t feel good.

If this feels bad for me, it must feel so much worse for male, trans, and non-binary subs. It requires such a small shift in language – changing “she” to “they” when you’re talking about a generic person, saying “chest” instead of “breasts”, saying “genitals” instead of “pussy” – to make so many more people feel welcome and included.

Once you start noticing this phenomenon, it’s everywhere. Take the “fetishes” function on Fetlife, for example. So many of the general fetishes are worded in such a way that assumes a male Dominant and female submissive, with absolutely no need to do so.

Recently, I tried to add a fetish to my profile that relates to a specific phrase I enjoy hearing from dominant partners during play. But the only version available was “When he says… [phrase].” But not all the people I submit to are hes! Why are we making this assumption about gender when there is absolutely no reason to do so? Why can’t my queer ass enjoy hearing that phrase from her or from them as well as from him?

Even hunting for stock images for the title header of this post, every single picture featuring a person that came up under “rope bondage” or “shibari” depicted a thin, young, normatively pretty white woman.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I am 1000% sure this issue is pushing people away from the kink community before they even find it. Think about it. For most people these days, the internet will be their first port of call when looking for information on any given subject.

Let’s say you want to get kinky with your partner in the bedroom, so you look for tutorials on rope or flogging or wax play. But no-one in any of the videos looks anything like you. Are you going to feel empowered, or alienated? Or let’s say you’re interested in going to a kinky party, but all the images you see of BDSM online look one very specific way. Are you going to feel excited to dive in, or worried that you’re not young or thin or hot or rich enough? Exactly.

And to circle back to those shibari videos that started me off down this train of thought: assumptions about who submissives are and what they look like are also, from an educational standpoint, just not very useful. It’s no use telling me that I will need two 10 metre ropes for a particular tie unless my bottom happens to be the exact same physical size and shape as your demo model. There’s no point teaching ties that will be impossible on anyone who isn’t an Olympic gymnast, when what people really need to know is how to safely adapt and customise those ties for the specific body they’re actually tying.

The reality of kink is so much more incredible than one type of image that happens to line up with the cisheteropatriarchy’s narrow beauty standards. Because there is no one way to be a submissive. Submissives can be cisgender or transgender. Male, female, non-binary, genderqueer, agender, or a myriad of other options. They might be straight, gay, bi, pan, or ace. Young, old, or middle aged. Fat or thin. Submissives can be of any race and from any background. They can be able bodied or disabled.

For that matter, so can Dominants.

The community is so much more beautiful, so much more varied, so much more infinitely diverse than the images you see in porn, in a lot of educational kink media, and on Fetlife’s dreaded Kinky&Popular page would have you believe.

So what does a submissive look like? Any way they damn well want.

FYI: this post contains affiliate links.

[Toy Review] Monster Pub Dr Whale 2

You’ve heard of rabbit vibrators. You’ve probably heard of Satisfyer’s famous Penguin clitoral suction toy. But have you ever seen a whale vibrator before? Well, now you have! Specifically, the Dr Whale vibrator, which I recently received to test and review.

Monster Pub Dr Whale 2: Basics

The Dr Whale 2 is a curved vibrator shaped like a little whale. It measures 7 inches in total when stretched out flat (4 inches insertable) and 1.3 inches in diameter at the widest point. It houses two motors, one in the whale’s “body” and one in its tail.

Monster Pub Dr Whale 2

The Dr Whale 2 is coated in soft and body-safe silicone in a pretty shade of pale blue. It is rechargeable via the included USB cable and you get 120 minutes use out of a full charge. You also get a storage bag for the toy.

Confusingly, the website says the toy is waterproof but the included instruction booklet says NOT to submerge it in water. I’m going to assume that means it’s splashproof only, though I’m not entirely sure. I didn’t want to risk breaking it by submerging it. For a toy of this price point, though, I feel like “waterproof” should come as standard.

Monster Pub Dr Whale 2

The Dr Whale 2 features an internal heating element that warms up to a comfortable 42C within a couple minutes of being switched on. Most intriguing of all, it is controllable via the Monster Pub app (available free on iOS and Android).

App-Controlled Kegel Exerciser

One of the advertised purposes of the Dr Whale 2 is as a kegel exerciser. Performing kegel exercises regularly can help strengthen your pelvic floor, which some evidence shows has a variety of benefits from better bladder control to stronger orgasms. I delved into some of the science on kegel exercises a long time ago on this blog, and anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that while using internal exercisers like the Dr Whale 2 doesn’t necessarily make the kegel exercises more effective, using one might make you more likely to perform them regularly.

I downloaded the app and the toy connected easily. The connection is good, reliable and steady as long as you have a stable internet connection.

You have to set up an account on the app, which takes a few seconds. It also asks you to select your gender, but only offers “girl” and “boy” (which is weirdly infantilising as well as annoyingly binary.)

T

he app then asked me to complete a “Q&A For Girls” which consists of a few questions about whether you’re using the app alone or with a lover and whether you want to share it with a partner. It also, however, includes THIS:

I strongly suspect this is just some really, really bad Google Translate but the last thing I want to see in a sex toy app is talk of being “molested”. Gross. It also gives me pause about the app’s security and safety. Is it likely that someone is going to randomly take control of my toy? Because that’s, erm, deeply concerning if so.

Once you’re in, you can choose from a range of pre-set patterns and those created by other users. You can also create your own using the “Gesture” mode, connect with a partner via chat tools such as WeChat or WhatsApp, or make the vibes respond to movement with the “Action/Reaction” mode.

If you go into the “Health” tab at the top of the screen, you’ll find the various kegel exercise section. In this mode, a voice talks you through a range of exercises. The sessions are pretty short, stating at just 3 minutes, so they’re quite accessible. If you need a little extra encouragement to do kegel exercises regularly, you might enjoy being gently talked through it by the narrator’s soothing voice. I certainly find it helps me to actually bother doing my exercises!

The app responsiveness is good. It’s also fairly intuitive to use, with just a few basic controls to get your head around.

What About as a Sex Toy?

I like the shape and flexibility of the Dr Whale 2. I also really like the gently ridged texture of the silicone on one side of the whale’s body. Its flexy tail means it will work for a variety of bodies and comfortable positioning is easy. The downside of the flexible tail is that, when you’ve inserted the toy, it’s difficult to get a satisfying amount of clitoral pressure.

Monster Pub Dr Whale 2

I’m not really a fan of internal vibrations, though, so I soon turned to using it solely as a clitoral toy.

Unfortunately, the Dr Whale 2 really falls down for me on power. It’s not the worst by any stretch, and I’ve certainly used more expensive toys that were packing less of a punch than this one. But ultimately the vibrations are of mediocre strength and very buzzy. This toy is highly unlikely to ever get me off.

Verdict

A mixed bag here.

I do think the Dr Whale 2 is a good kegel exerciser. The guided sessions on the app are a nice touch and the vibrations add more pleasure to the whole process. As a sex toy, though, I’m unlikely to ever use it again. It’s just too buzzy and not really powerful enough to be satisfying.

The Monster Pub Dr Whale 2 retails for $119.00 at time of writing.

This review was sponsored, meaning the company paid me to write an honest review. All views and experiences are my own.

[Toy Review] Satisfyer Wand-er Woman

Satisfyer started out making pressure wave toys, bringing products like the excellent Satisfyer Pro 2 and the famously adorable Pro Penguin to market. After that, they branched out into vibrators, some of which I loved and some of which were just okay. So I suppose it was inevitable they’d make a wand eventually.

The good folks at EroticFeel, an online sex shop selling an extensive range of products from sex toys and lingerie to BDSM gear, were kind enough to send me the Satisfyer Wand-er Woman to try out.

Wand-erful First Impressions?

The Wand-er Woman arrived discreetly in plain packaging and inside, the toy was presented in an attractive blue/pink/purple box with information about the toy and line drawings of nude women. I have to say that I don’t like this product’s name. It’s a cute pun, sure, but it’s really unnecessarily gendered since wand vibrators are for everyone.

Satisfyer Wand-er Woman wand vibrator

My other first impression of the Satisfyer Wand-er Woman is that it’s LARGE. Measuring 34cm (13.4″) in length and weighing in at 647g, this is not a small toy. I’m not necessarily opposed to large toys, but they can be challenging to hold and manipulate and are inaccessible for some people. I actually found the thickness of the Wand-er Woman’s handle to be more of a problem than its weight alone. I have fairly small hands, but the thickness of this toy’s handle combined with its weight made it challenging to hold for long enough to have a decent play session with it.

Woman holding magic wand vibrator by Satisfyer

The Wand-er Woman is available in three colourways: black, white, or purple. I received the white version, which has lilac buttons and a silver decorative bad at the top of the handle. The Wand-er Woman is rechargeable via the included cable, and completely waterproof. The body and head are coated in soft, body-safe matte silicone and the silicone cap is removeable from the head, which allows for easier cleaning.

In Use

The Wand-er Woman boasts ten vibration settings (constant vibration plus 9 patterns) and 5 speeds, for an impressive total of 50 possible combinations. The three-button interface is simple and intuitive, and the buttons are easy to press. I appreciated being able to scroll through the speeds by simply holding the plus or minus buttons down, without needing to press repeatedly. The Wand-er Woman’s neck has a little flex, which is useful for positioning.

Satisfyer Wand-er Woman magic wand vibrator buttons

The Wand-er Woman is not quite as powerful, nor as rumbly, as many of the corded wands in my collection. It doesn’t deliver the eyeball-shaking, whole-room-rattling intensity of some of my all-time faves. It also doesn’t quite match up in terms of deep, penetrating rumbles.

Satisfyer Wand-er Woman wand vibrator

That’s not to say it isn’t powerful, though! All but the most discerning Power Royalty will still be able to get plenty of pleasure out of this toy. It’s not exactly buzzy, either, just… somewhere closer to the centre of the buzz/rumble spectrum. I need the highest setting to get off, but not everyone’s clit is as demanding as mine. I also don’t particularly care for patterns – I tried them all for the sake of being thorough, and because I keep hoping to meet a vibration pattern that changes my mind about vibration patterns, though I haven’t yet.

The cordless design is useful, as I don’t always wand power cords trailing across my bedroom (and, in environments like play parties, there isn’t always an outlet available). The battery life is good. Noise-wise, it’s fine. Interestingly, I’ve seen some users complain of their Wand-er Woman being excessively loud, but mine just makes a persistent hum at the kind of volume you’d expect for a toy at this power level. It’s not silent but it doesn’t sound like a power tool, either.

Verdict

One of the key selling points of the Satisfyer Wand-er Woman is its relatively affordable price point. Retailing for £46.95 at full price, it’s less than half the price of many of its main competitors. If you’re willing to cope with the downsides, such as the toy’s weight and the width of the handle, and you’re not expecting the same power you’d get from a pricy corded toy, it’s a perfectly fine option. Folks on a budget, or beginners wanting to try out wands without splashing out £100 or more immediately, might find it’s perfectly adequate for their needs.

I don’t think I’ll be reaching for it regularly, but I’m glad it exists!

Thanks to EroticFeel for sending me this product to review. All views are, as ever, my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

[Review] Lovehoney “Best Sex of Your Life” Sex Toy Advent Calendar

Update 04/03/22: this product is seasonal only and has been discontinued. Individual components may still be available.

We made it! I reviewed every single item in the Lovehoney Best Sex of Your Life advent calendar over the last 24 days. Before I call it a wrap on this project, I wanted to provide a final review where I share my thoughts on the set as a whole.

Lovehoney Best Sex of Your Life sex toy advent calendar
Image: Lovehoney

Who is the target market?

The Best Sex of Your Life advent calendar is aimed at couples, and specifically assumes a cisgender, heterosexual couple. I’m not a fan of gendered language or assumptions in sex toy marketing, since body parts don’t have inherent genders and products certainly don’t.

In the future, I’d like to see these calendars marketed according to what body parts they work with, rather than gendering things, which can be alienating for trans and non-binary people. I’d also like to see versions available for couples made up of two vulva-owners or two penis-owners.

Gendering aside, this set is very clearly designed to provide sex toys for beginners. Many of the items are super basic, which is mostly fine for its intended purpose.

What’s inside?

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a rundown of what you’ll find in your Best Sex of Your Life sex toy advent calendar:

A mixed bag, I’m sure you’ll agree. And that’s definitely a plus. This set is aimed at people who are new to exploring sex toys and different ways to connect intimately, so offering lots of different options and ideas is a great thing.

Best and worst of

The quality of the items in this set is wildly variable. There are a few things that are genuinely great quality and will probably last many years, like the silicone toys. A few that are fine for a use or two, but won’t last long, like the strokers. Some that are fine for complete beginners but “meh” for anyone with an iota of experience, like the kink gear. And the odd one that made me go “aaaaaahhhhh, no!”

So here’s my best and worst of roundup:

Best item: This is easy – definitely the Womanizer Classic from Day #24, a genuinely excellent clitoral suction toy that retails for £119.99 by itself.

Honourable mention: The bullet vibe from Day #1. Reasonable power, versatile (it pairs well with many of the other items in this set), and rechargeable.

Worst item: That damn penis sleeve from Day #22. Unsafe, unsanitary, and just overall not something I would ever recommend anyone puts near their genitals.

Honourable mention: The wrist ties from Day #13. Not only are they glorified basic satin ribbons, they also work in a way that is very dubiously safe for any but the lightest bondage.

So is it worth it?

Whether or not this kit is worth the money very much depends on what you want to get out of it. If you’re an experienced player looking to expand your sex toy collection, skip it and get one or two really good quality toys instead (might I suggest a Doxy or a We-Vibe Tango?)

If you and your partner are brand new to toys and looking to explore some basic things together, you might get a lot out of this set. Despite the variable quality, it offers possibilities and a kind of permission to try things out. And if something doesn’t work for you? No big deal, there are 23 other things to try.

If you’re specifically after a Womanizer Classic and think you might enjoy a few of the other items too, the Best Sex of Your Life set is a no-brainer. The Womanizer costs literally the same as this entire set, so you might as well snag a bargain.

You do get £370+ worth of products for £120 (and can get a further 10% off with my code “coffkink10”). So if you think there are at least a few things you’ll enjoy, it’s a good deal.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending us the Best Sex of Your Life couples’ sex toy advent calendar to review. All views are our own. Affiliate links appear in this post and shopping through them helps to keep the site going!

Lovehoney Sex Toy Advent Calendar Door #12: Penis Stroker

Update 04/03/22: this product is seasonal only and has been discontinued. Individual components may still be available.

Receiving the Lovehoney “Best Sex of Your Life” adult advent calendar was a slight moment of sex blogger pride for me. I’ve coveted these things to review for a while, but this is the first time I’ve been able to get my hands on one.

I’m opening a door each day and reviewing the set a piece at a time, occasionally with Mr CK’s help. Today is Day 12!

Door #12: Penis Stroker

Lovehoney male stroker male masturbator in box

Behind Door #12 is a stroker for people with penises. (It’s called a “male stroker” on the box. Lovehoney, I love you but please sort out the unnecessarily gendered language for next year!)

  • Material: Some kind of soft plastic, most likely TPE/TRP.
  • Colour: White.
  • Body safe? Kinda. The box indicates these strokers do not contain any phthalates, but the material is super porous. They’re safe enough for external use but won’t last very long.
  • Power: N/A
  • Waterproof: Yes, submersible.
  • Size: 2.5″ in length but SUPER stretchy.
  • Lube compatible: Water-based only, according to the instructions.
  • Cleaning: Gentle soap and warm water. This material is porous so you won’t be able to get it fully clean. Consider it fluid-bonded to the person who uses it. I’d also suggest you throw it out after a few uses or if the material starts to degrade.

This specific product doesn’t seem to be available by itself, but it is very similar to the strokers you get in Tenga Eggs. It is textured inside and designed to fit over the head of the penis and then stretch as you masturbate your (or your partner’s) penis.

It’s very stretchy and pretty strong, so it will accommodate a wide range of sizes and you don’t need to worry about ripping it. It comes pre-lubricated, but adding extra water-based lube will only make your experience more enjoyable.

Lovehoney penis stroker on Godemiche Adam silicone dildo
Feat. Godemiche Adam dildo in Effulgence Blood Red

How does it feel? Let’s just say I got a very good response from an initially-sceptical Mr CK. If you usually masturbate with your hand, strokers can be a brilliant way to change things up and add a new sensation. And if you enjoy hand sex with a partner, a textured penis stroker can turn a good hand job into an amazing hand job.

If you get this kit and enjoy using this stroker, I’d suggest swapping out to a more durable (preferably silicone) one when you can. Failing that, Tenga Eggs are pretty affordable at £9.99 so you can just replace them frequently.

Get 10% off the Best Sex of Your Life sex toy advent calendar (RRP £120) by using my code “coffkink10” at checkout. These calendars are only available for a limited time and will sell out, so grab yours asap if you’re interested.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending us the Best Sex of Your Life couples’ sex toy advent calendar to review. All views are our own. Affiliate links appear in this post and shopping through them helps to keep the site going!

Lovehoney Sex Toy Advent Calendar Door #6: Kegel Balls

Update 04/03/22: this product is seasonal only and has been discontinued. Individual components may still be available.

We’re already almost a week into Lovehoney’s “Best Sex of Your Life” sex toy advent calendar for couples. Each day, Mr CK and I are opening a window and testing out the product we find inside. So far, we’ve had vibes, light kink gear, butt toys, and more.

This set assumes that couples consist of a “man and woman” (i.e. penis owner and vulva owner, because cis-centric gendered marketing is still annoyingly a thing). But in reality, many of the items are suitable for all genders and types of bodies.

So what will we find behind Door #6?

Door #6: Kegel Balls

Kegel balls in sex toy advent calendar for couples

Kegel balls, also known as Ben-wa balls, are fascinating. These small balls, designed to sit inside the vagina, come with a tonne of intense claims as to their benefits, but very little robust science to back those claims up. I dived into the available literature (there isn’t much) a while back, but here’s the short version:

The claims: Kegel balls strengthen the pelvic floor, help prevent or fix urinary incontinence, improve sexual satisfaction, and make it easier to orgasm.

The reality: Eh…. maybe? Research on the incontinence thing is limited and contradictory in its findings, and there’s virtually no evidence one way or the other (beyond anecdotal) for the “improved sexual pleasure” thing.

So what’s the point of kegel balls, then? As a sexuality writer without any background in medicine or gynecology, I approach kegel balls as a sex toy rather than a health and wellness product. And from that perspective, there’s a great reason to use them: they can feel good!

Silicone kegel balls

With that out of the way, let’s dive into the review, shall we?

  • Material: Both the balls and their sling are silicone.
  • Colour: Red balls, black sling.
  • Body safe? Yes. Silicone is body-safe, hygienic, and non-porous.
  • Power: N/A
  • Waterproof: Yes, submersible.
  • Size: 3″ insertable with a 4″ tail. Each ball is 1.2″ in diameter.
  • Lube compatible: Yes, water-based and oil-based lubes are fine.
  • Cleaning: Gentle soap and warm water, boiling, or a 10% bleach solution.

This set consists of two kegel balls fitted into a silicone sling. The nice thing about this design is that you can use the balls on their own (together or one at a time) or with the sling. The sling features a long tail for easy retrieval.

Some people use kegel balls anally, but I really, really don’t recommend it. One of the balls could easily come loose from the sling and get stuck. These are for vaginal use only.

Kegel balls from Lovehoney for kegel exercises

You can use kegel balls in a few different ways. Here are some I suggest you might want to try:

  • Wear them for an hour or so before you have sex to heighten arousal and get yourself in the mood.
  • Wear them as you go about your day for a little thrill of sexual excitement each time you move. Start with a short amount of time and build up to longer wear if you want to, and stop immediately if you feel pain or discomfort.
  • If you’re into anal play, wear kegel balls in your vagina while you do butt stuff for additional pleasure.
Silicone kegel balls black and red from Lovehoney

However you explore with them, use plenty of lube and always clean them thoroughly between uses. Not keeping them clean (or inserting them with dirty hands) could lead to an infection.

This is a nice enough set of beginner-friendly kegel balls. Unlike some I’ve tried, they’re not weighted and don’t have any moving parts inside, so the stimulation they provide is very gentle. This isn’t a criticism, it’s just… a thing worth bearing in mind. They’re small enough to be non-intimidating, made of a body-safe and easy-clean material, and are comfortable to insert and easy to retrieve. A worthy addition to the calendar!

The Best Sex of Your Life sex toy advent calendar retails at Lovehoney for £120, but you can get 10% off your purchase (of this or anything else at Lovehoney) by using my code “coffkink10” at checkout. These calendars are limited edition and usually sell out!

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending us the Best Sex of Your Life couples’ sex toy advent calendar to review. All views are our own. Affiliate links appear in this post and shopping through them helps to keep the site going!

Lovehoney Sex Toy Advent Calendar Door #4: Sex Dice

Update 04/03/22: this product is seasonal only and has been discontinued. Individual components may still be available.

I’m currently reviewing Lovehoney’s “Best Sex of Your Life” sex toy advent calendar for couples, day by day. Behind each window is a sex toy or other sexy product. Though the set is gendered (I really wish they’d stop doing that!) and assumes a cisgender, heterosexual couple, many of the items can be used by people of all genders and body types.

So what’s behind Door #4?

Door #4: Sex Dice

Door #4 contains a pair of sex dice. The first die names a different body part on each side, and the second names various actions to do to those body parts. The idea is that you take turns to roll, then do the actions you land on.

Set of sex dice for foreplay from Lovehoney advent calendar

I’ve never really got the point of the whole “sex dice” thing, personally. I can see that they maybe make sense, in a certain light, if you’re brand new to exploring each others’ bodies. I can also see these being a useful starting point for a couple who are struggling to communicate about their likes and desires, or for those who like plenty of laughs alongside their moans. But the whole system just feels too contrived and gamified to be sexy to me. I’d rather just communicate and do what feels good, personally.

But your mileage may vary! And if this seems like a useful way in (or the idea of being dommed by a pair of dice feels hot to you), then have at it.

The actual acts on these dice are fine, if a little unimaginative. They mostly involve doing different things with your mouth (lick, blow, nibble, kiss) or occasionally hands (massage) to the most common erogenous zones (penis/clitoris, nipples, inner thigh, butt, neck).

Sex dice for couples, foreplay dice from adult advent calendar

The nature of this sort of gane means you do occasionally get baffling combinations or those that wouldn’t work for a lot of people. I do NOT want anyone nibbling my clitoris, thank you. Ouch! But if you get a combo that doesn’t work for you, you can always just reroll.

Perfectly fine, but not really my thing.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending us the Best Sex of Your Life couples’ sex toy advent calendar to review. All views are our own. Affiliate links appear in this post and shopping through them helps to keep the site going!

Free Entry: Stop Making Women Your Product

You know that saying, “if you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer, you are the product?” While this was originally applied to the likes of Facebook and other “free” platforms that make money by harvesting and selling data, I’ve realised it also applies to parts of the swinging and kink scenes. And I do not like it.

The gendered pricing model

Gendered pricing models are sadly extremely common in the swinging world in particular. One club I won’t name charges £35 per visit for a (cis male/female) couple, £50 for a single man, and £5 for a single woman.

For these purposes, a lesbian couple would be considered two single women and a gay male couple would be… well, a gay male couple would probably be discouraged from attending at all, to be honest, but if they did they’d be charged as two single men.

Again, this isn’t unusual. This is the norm. Some venues charge single men even more, £100 or more for a single visit. Others don’t charge single women at all, and might even add other incentives – such as free drinks – to tempt them in.

Wait, how is this fair?

Honestly, it isn’t.

If these venues want to ensure something of a gender balance, there are other ways to do that. Limiting the number of tickets for single men is one common strategy (again, remember these places are extremely cisheteronormative.)

But I don’t believe gendered pricing is the way to do it. For one thing, it creates a situation where only cis m/f couples are considered “real” couples, as I mentioned above. For another, it makes many events financially challenging or completely inaccessible for the single men on these scenes, most of whom are perfectly decent, respectful guys who just want to have some fun with other consenting adults.

But do you know what else it does? It turns women into a product.

What does “free entry” really cost?

Why are swingers’ clubs (and some kink venues) so desperate to get women in? It’s not because they care so much about being safe places for exploration of female sexuality. No – it’s because we act as bait for the higher-paying men and couples.

I’ve seen more than one situation where a man (or sometimes a couple) has paid a high entry price and now feels “owed” something – a conversation, attention, a blowjob, a shag. And who suffers for this entitlement? The women it’s enacted upon. This entitlement can lead to pressure, coercion, or even sexual assault. Suddenly, that “free entry” can come at a very steep cost indeed.

Some men feel as though they are being disenfranchised and discriminated against by having to pay high entry fees, while women get in for free or a nominal cost. What they don’t realise is how frightening it can be when you understand that you’re the product at least as much as you are the customer.

The argument for equal pricing

There are several really positive things I think would happen if we abolished gendered pricing models across these events:

  • They would become far more welcoming to trans folks, non-binary people, and queer couples.
  • It would largely get rid of the problem of some men thinking “well I paid £100 to be here so now I’m owed something.”
  • It would stop the problem of pricing out decent men based on the (extraordinarily classist and completely untrue) belief that the “right kind” of man for these spaces is a man who can afford a very expensive cover charge.
  • And… more single women would probably attend.

That last one might sound counterintuitive, but stick with me. I mostly go to events with my partner, and I enjoy doing so. But if I was going to attend events alone, I would be far more inclined to attend events that use an egalitarian, non-gendered pricing model.

Why? Because non-gendered, per-person pricing doesn’t make me feel like a product. Because I want to interact with other adults as an equal, not a commodity they feel entitled to by virtue of their entry fee.

If you’re a woman or read as a woman, have you ever felt uncomfortable when a man buys you a drink and then seems to expect something in return? This is like that only worse. If a man has paid to enter the space and I haven’t, I’m automatically in a weaker position. It creates a sense of obligation. Because even though I’m a feminist and I know that I never owe a man a goddamn thing just because he buys me a drink (or pays for entry to a club), the patriarchal programming we’re all exposed to runs extremely deep.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years on the swing scene, it’s that free isn’t free. I’d much rather shell out £20 to get into an event than free entry and then be treated as part of the package that men are paying for with their higher entry fee.

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