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Review of Showtime’s Submission

So I watched/livetweeted Showtime’s Submission under the hashtag #ShowtimeSubmission, and then I wrote over 1,000 words analyzing the power dynamics and how they were portrayed and they contrasted… but I didn’t finish it. And then I said, “This is not what I want to post about Submission.” At least… not right now. So here’s my basic review of Submission.

Content warning: sexual assault (largely by way of questionable consent).

SPOILERS AHEAD.

Submission Summary

Ashley leaves her shitty-in-bed asshole boyfriend and moves to a new town to live with her best friend Jules. Jules lives with her roommate Dylan (played by Skin Diamond, who is sexy as hell). Dylan is a submissive to Eliot, and brings him women to have sex with.

Eliot flogging Dylan - Showtime Submission

Ashley finds Dylan’s copy of a BDSM novel by Nolan Keats and is intrigued. She gets a job at the local coffee shop and sleeps with her boss (Raif) one night while they’re getting drunk together. Shortly thereafter Eliot notices Ashley at a party and Dylan tells Eliot that Ashley is off-limits. Eliot swoops in and saves the day while Raif is drunkenly trying to push himself on Ashley at the party.

After chasing Raif off, Eliot follows Ashley to her room, notices the book, and asks her about it. Eliot discloses to Ashley that he wrote the book, which intrigues her. He steals Ashley’s underwear after she leaves the room and makes the random chick that Dylan picks out for him wear the underwear that night while he sleeps with her.

To prove that he’s Nolan Keats, Eliot has a manuscript of the next Nolan Keats novel delivered to Ashley. He calls her and starts seducing her on the phone. Eliot begins ignoring Dylan, which Dylan hates. Dylan bugs Eliot to pay more attention to her, and Eliot eventually tells her to fuck off. Eliot kinkily fucks Ashley and lays claim to her.

Eliot and Ashley - Showtime Submission

Dylan steals video footage of Eliot fucking a bunch of different girls with her in his dungeon. She blackmails Eliot and makes him turn Ashley over to her for a night, and Dylan torments her. Ashley endures the torture. Dylan decides to move out of the house. As Ashley catches her leaving Dylan gives her the videos and tells her that Eliot isn’t Nolan Keats – he’s Keats’ copy editor.

Ashley is hurt and betrayed. She ignores Eliot, he shows up at her house, and she tells him to leave. Dylan shows up on Nolan Keats’ doorstep with her bags. The show ends.

There is other drama in the show about Jules’ relationship with her boss, but, frankly, I find it irrelevant to the main plot and only feel like discussing it in my extended power dynamic analysis.

What they did right

Eliot makes Ashley pick a safeword. Good! SAFEWORD GOOD. Although he does flog her while she’s deciding, and as someone from the “we don’t play until the safeword is set” school of thought I wasn’t a fan of that.

Eliot mummifies Ashley with saran wrap, which is something she is terrified of initially when she sees the saran wrap in his dungeon and he explains what you do with it. The kink play in this scene is surprisingly solid – Eliot takes it slow, he communicates with her, he gives her water. He’s very attentive.

The kink in Submission was nice to watch if you ignored all the fucked-up shit going on around it. The gear used was cool and authentic. Where can I get a web of chains for my dungeon?

Quotes I liked

“Most men think it’s just smut.”
“What’s wrong with smut?”

“Society wants us to believe that women are these pathetic little creatures that live and die by a man’s happiness.”

“My goal is to open you up, not shut you down. You will never have to do anything you don’t want to do.”

What they did wrong

Other than Skin Diamond and a random guy that she fucks, the entire cast is white. They’re also all thin, non-disabled people. But I expected that. Diversity is important, but here’s what pissed me off even more:

Ashlynn Yennie, who plays the main character, Ashley, said in an interview with The Daily Beast:

“I hope our show, Submission, can shatter that glass ceiling of false belief and show the world what it truly means to trust, communicate, and finally feel free to talk about what you want and don’t want sexually in a consensual and healthy way.”

Consensual? Healthy? Consent was portrayed VERY poorly in Submission. Raif makes a move on Ashley and has sex with her after she says, “No, we’re not doing this, because I’m drunk… and you’re kind of drunk.” At a party the next night a drunken Raif thrust himself upon Ashley, assuming that their single night of previous sexual interaction meant she consented to it again.

Dylan and Eliot’s relationship goes from a functional, consenting M/s scenario to a fucked-up trainwreck where Eliot never verbalizes the withdrawal of his consent and Dylan (who wears a collar that we assume is from Eliot), thinking he’s still into her, tops from the bottom. She says “I’m getting tired of you telling me no.” She misbehaves, seeking punishment. Finally she handcuffs herself to him and forces him to fish the key out of her vagina to escape. It was a painful disaster to watch. The show portrayed this scene as a minor inconvenience that didn’t faze Eliot and just pissed him off, but it was assault, and it was not cool. Then when Eliot tells Dylan to fuck off for good she (nonconsensually) blackmails him.

And finally, even though Eliot seems like sort-of-an-asshole-but-mostly-a-decent-guy because we see a few scenes where Eliot is an experienced dominant that focuses on consent and care, he also forces Ashley outside of her comfort zone (not in a good way) and manipulates her into subbing for Dylan so that Dylan won’t blab his secret to her. Ashley specifically tells him that she doesn’t want to be shared and that other people are a big NO for her, and Eliot shames her into it, telling her that it’s the ultimate act of trust and submission and that she has to explore and take risks to know what she wants. Consent-tastic! As someone who was coerced into sexual abuse as a child and has been manipulated with an almost identical narrative from my emotionally abusive fuckface ex, I felt so great about that scene!

And then the scene with Dylan was not… stellar. It would have been hot if Ashley had wanted to be there. “Tonight I’m not your roommate, I’m the bitch you answer to.” Like… YAAAAAS… if it’s enthusiastic and consensual. But it wasn’t. Is BDSM that you don’t really want to do but agree to because of coercion and stubbornness a type of sexual assault? My signs point to yes.

Conclusion

It was interesting. The kink and the food for thought re: power dynamics were enjoyable, but I did not find the plot especially inspired. Especially the way Dylan is cast aside by Eliot. It’s a sad trope that you see in a lot of popular BSDM media: a submissive (usually a woman) is collared by a dom (usually a man), then her dom loses interest in her and tosses her aside. It’s practically ancient – that’s how The Story of O ends (master claims sub, master demands sub bring him other subs, master ditches original sub). Endings in which the sub gets screwed over do not represent the lives of many real people in happy, long-term M/s relationships, but it’s a risk that exists, just like it does in vanilla dating.

Should you watch it?

If you want to see kinky softcore sex and don’t mind the show’s flaws and “meh” plot, sure. I usually enjoy livetweeting things, even if they’re mediocre, but I probably could have found better uses for my time, like painting my nails, findomming strangers on the internet, or writing reviews for vibrators that felt like a million butterflies fluttering over my vulva.

Show Yourself to Me by Xan West

I don’t read a lot of erotica anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I like erotica okay. I’m going to be reviewing a couple erotic novels in the near future. I can masturbate to the written word. But for the most part, erotica usually feels like it’s missing something for me. I can get on Literotica and read some short stories, but they always seem to lack body, depth, characterization, and passion. With that deficit in mind I was thrilled when I started reading Xan West’s Show Yourself to Me.


Book cover for Show Yourself to MeShow Yourself to Me
is a book of queer kink erotica that goes above and beyond what I’ve been conditioned to expect from erotica. I agreed to review it because I’ve read some of West’s blog posts about writing diverse characters in erotic stories, so I expected inclusivity, but nothing could have prepared me for this book, because it is so damn good.

West’s characters are gritty and empowered – they fill up the page, and feel real on a visceral level. Over the course of just a few pages I can go from being introduced to a new character to feeling like I actually know them. I know this seems like a strange thing to say – after all, when you’re reading a novel it can take the span of the entire book for that level of characterization to occur – but West’s descriptions are rich, and they really give me a sense of what makes each character tick.

The scenes are beautiful, and many of the stories talk about BDSM as more than just play, addressing the transformative aspects of it as well. BDSM is a way that many people explore their limits and identities, work through trauma, and strive to become better, and West’s stories demonstrate this. The stories are sexy and engaging, and they don’t feel detached or clinical at all. They are dark (but not in a morbid way) and heavy, and I love that.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with light ‘n fluffy BDSM or tales that only focus on the outer sensations, but that just isn’t what Show Yourself to Me is. The stories are deep and the play is intense. Heavy sadism, rough body play, and edge play are regularly featured throughout the book.

West does the reader the courtesy of including a content guide section after the table of contents, so the reader has forewarning of which stories include potential triggers such as trauma, knife play, humiliation, or consensual nonconsent. If you find that certain types of play may trigger you or simply aren’t to your taste, I urge you to use the content guide. On the other hand, if you’re specifically in the mood to read about blood play, the content guide will tell you which stories are up your alley.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the diversity in writing. West’s writing introduces you to disabled, fat, and transgender people. There are people of color (PoC) in the stories, and they acknowledge some of the baggage that surrounds PoC and BDSM play. Part of what makes the characters feel so real is that acknowledgement of the different people who participate in BDSM: people of different ethnicities, people of a larger size, people with canes and scooters, people using neutral pronouns, people who embrace stone sexuality. Instead of being as vague as possible, West specifically mentions the things that make characters part of minority groups so you don’t automatically assume everyone is white, cis, able-bodied, and thin… and that is beautiful.

I also learned a lot about different areas of kink from this book. Until I read this book I had never been exposed to certain BDSM cultures and fetishes like leather, Daddy/boy, or rough body play. Reading about these subcultures and kinks was fascinating, and really gave me insight into the appeal of some things that I’d never considered before. If you like these things, then this book is definitely for you, but if you’ve never given them any thought and would like to then this book is a great place to start thinking.

My favorite stories were The Tender Sweet Young Thing (which you can read here!), Falling For Essex, How He Likes It, Facing the Dark (you can read Xan’s backstory for it here), and Ready. You can view the Table of Contents for Show Yourself to Me and read little excerpts from the stories in this post on Xan’s blog.

I highly recommend Show Yourself to Me for kinky queers that love the written word. You can get eBook or print copies from Go Deeper Press and you can buy the book on Amazon. You can read more thoughts from Xan West at https://xanwest.wordpress.com/.

Book Description:

In Show Yourself to Me: Queer Kink Erotica, Xan West introduces us to pretty boys and nervous boys, vulnerable tops and dominant sadists, good girls and fierce girls and scared little girls, mean Daddies and loving Daddies and Daddies that are terrifying in delicious ways.

Submissive queers go to alleys to suck cock, get bent over the bathroom sink by a handsome stranger, choose to face their fears, have their Daddy orchestrate a gang bang in the park, and get their dream gender-play scene—tied to a sling in an accessible dungeon.

Dominants find hope and take risks, fall hard and push edges, get fucked and devour the fear and tears that their sadist hearts desire.

Within these 24 stories, you will meet queers who build community together, who are careful about how they play with power, who care deeply about consent. You will meet trans and genderqueer folks who are hot for each other, who mentor each other, who do the kind of gender play that is only possible with other trans and genderqueer folks.

This is Show Yourself to Me. Get ready for a very wild ride.

Blog Tour Stops:

Here Kitty Kitty

I don’t review a lot of porn. I think lots of bloggers agree that porn reviews are harder to write than some toy reviews. Normally I just don’t even know where to start… but things are different with Here Kitty Kitty.

The first thing I noticed was that Kitty Stryker is my porn aesthetic; this became apparent when the film opened on her masturbating in a pink wig and tiara, and my certainty of it increased with every scene – a different hair color, different jewelry. Kitty ears, eyeliner, and sparkles. “Yes,” I thought to myself, “I want to be like Kitty when I grow up.”

Magic Wand Original, Pink Wig, Tiara, Cat Ear Headband all arranged in different squares in a picture reading "Kitty Stryker Starter Pack"

The first partnered scene is a strap-on scenario with April Flores. I watched, enraptured, as these two beauties did all kinds of sexy stuff. The communication and consent was great. “You’re so pretty, I just want to hurt you a little bit,” April whispered. “Can I choke you?” Yes. With an attitude like that, you can smack me around any day, April. Call me.

Here Kitty Kitty.Still006Hotter still was when Kitty asked, “Do you like circles more, or back and forth?” while playing with April’s clit. It’s such a simple thing, but it was great to see porn performers talking about what they liked! In lots of porn you don’t see much negotiation about what kind of stimulation the performers want. I liked this. It was great knowing that April was actually enjoying what was being done to her.

That’s something that I find that lots of queer porn brings to the table: genuine enjoyment. Sure, I could pull up Pornhub and find some guy ramming his dick into a quivering hole over and over again, but there’s no sense of connection in that. I have yet to see mainstream porn where the performers communicate beyond, “Harder, harder!” and, “Open that ass up for me.” Eventually it starts to feel kind of joyless.

 

I felt the okittycinnpposite of joyless during the next scene with Cinnamon Maxxine. Cinnamon wears a glove (yay, safe sex!) and expertly works Stryker over with their hand and a Hitachi. There are lots of scenes in Here Kitty Kitty where you envy Kitty’s role in the scene, but this is one of the best.  In this scene Kitty squirts, and it’s because Cinnamon clearly knows their way around a vulva.

 

MVI_5980.Still001Miss Quin is the thinnest participant in the film, and it’s always pleasing for me to see a person of size with someone smaller. If you’re fat, you probably understand how nerve-wracking it initially feels to be with a smaller partner, so it was great to see a size difference like this represented in pornography. Quin and Kitty exchange oral sex, use a wand vibe, and scissor. I was totally thrilled by the scissoring. I have never seen tribbing with a larger person involved – usually your standard tribbing participant in porn is a very thin woman with a specific type of vagina. This scene was a breath of fresh air.

 

MVI_9577.Still002The finale is described as a “boy/boy/girl” threesome between Kitty, Ruckus, and Kitty’s real-life partner Ned Would. The first half of the scene was very focused on Kitty, and I wondered if we’d ever get to see Ruckus and Ned fuck. The answer is yes. You do get to see that, and it is super hot. The highlights of the scene are Kitty’s creampie, Ned getting fucked by Ruckus, Ruckus jerking off two dicks with one hand (what sorcery is this?), and Ruckus cumming in Ned’s mouth.

Kitty mentioned that she thinks the bi male scene turned off the mainstream porn press, and she’s probably right, but that is a serious fucking travesty. This scene is amazing. Something that helped me enjoy it more was reading about how Kitty planned it out on Pinterest… because if Pinterest was made for anything other than making you feel like shit for being bad at crafts, then this is it.

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 12.09.12 AM

I highly recommend Here Kitty Kitty for people looking for a little bit more body diversity in their porn, and for equal-opportunity fuckers who want to see people with vaginas with other people with vaginas, people with vaginas with people with penises, and people with penises with other people with penises. You can get it here for $30.00, and it is well worth the price tag! Alternatively you can enter this awesome giveaway for a download of the video, a signed copy of Hard Femme, and some limited-edition Ban This Sick Filth stickers – just hurry, it’s ending in a few days!

Thanks so much to TroubleFilms for sending me a copy of Here Kitty Kitty in exchange for an honest review!

The Tantus General

The Tantus General might be one of my new favorite dildos. It’s not the biggest dildo I own (that title goes to Amsterdam, which I still haven’t managed to get into my vagina), or the biggest dildo that I’ve fucked (the T-Rex is 2.25” in diameter whereas the General is only 2” at its widest). It is, however, a dildo that has provided me with one of the most satisfying orgasms I’ve ever had.

When the General was offered to me, I hadn’t given it much thought before. It looked like a nice dildo, but it only came in black (a matte black, for those who are wondering) and featured a gentle shape with no gimmicks, so I’d only given its product page a cursory glance. I thought the biggest thing (no pun intended) it had going for it was its size. Do not make my mistake and underestimate the General. I accepted the review offer because I like to try new things, and I am so glad that I did.

The Tantus GeneralI don’t recommend just trying to stick the General inside yourself first thing. It doesn’t have texture anywhere near that of the Rippler or the Diving Nun, but a 2” diameter can be considered somewhat sizeable, even though it starts at 1.75” at the head. Do yourself a favor and size up just in case. I warmed up by going from the LoveLife Adventure to the Tantus Cush O2 to the General and found the progression to be quite comfortable, but given that the Cush and the head of the General are the same size I probably could have skipped the Cush and moved on to the main event more quickly.

I used the General vaginally and found it quite pleasing. The General’s gentle, full shape and slight curve gave me a really pleasant sensation of being full. The tip did hit my G-spot, and I felt the full effect of that by slowly thrusting it into me. As much as I love texture, I wasn’t disappointed by the General’s smoothness. It lends itself well to fucking yourself at any speed, and it was also really pleasing to leave inside myself and flex my muscles around. The girth is a beautiful thing.

Heart-Eyed Cat EmojiTo be honest, I can’t say enough good things about the General. It was awesome to use. It might be my dildo bae. I would text it emojis. It sits on my bedside table and I stare longingly at it as I’m falling asleep. I picture us running through a field, barefooted, wearing airy white dresses that trail behind us and blow in the wind.

The Tantus site recommends using the General for anal play, but since I don’t do much anal (for lots of reasons, which I’ll probably address in a blog post eventually) I didn’t try it there. Will did, and he loved it and gave it a rave review for prostate play.

Everyone knows that I love Tantus and I cherish my relationship with them. Tantus has great employees, great ethics, and great toys. I cannot recommend them highly enough, and if you’re interested in the General, the T-Rex, or any of the other large toys Tantus is selling for 30% off during the Big Ass Sale, now is the time to spend your money there! Just use the code HEEHAW at checkout to receive your discount. The sale ends Thursday, June 18th, so buy some awesome toys now!

Thank you, Tantus, for providing me with the General in exchange for an honest review!

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The Tantus T-Rex

The Tantus T-Rex

I was really eager to try some giant dildos in honor of TantusBig Ass Sale, a sale of the biggest toys Tantus makes that you can put in your butt. While I don’t consider myself a size queen, I do love a good thick dildo every now and then. Sometimes you have an itch to be filled to the brim, and Tantus was kind enough to scratch it for me. Shoutout to Tantus, the real MVP of this blog post!

The T-Rex has intrigued me ever since it came out. It has a very distinctive shape, a pronounced head, and some of the cutest balls I’ve ever seen on a dildo. (Seriously, I think they’re adorable.) I’ve never owned a dildo as big as the T-Rex, and when I saw it I knew that I would get one, one day, and I would conquer it.

The good news is that I did conquer it. It was actually not difficult to get in because of the size with the progression of toys that I used. I used the OhMiBod Lovelife Adventure, then the Tantus Cush O2, then the Tantus General, then the T-Rex.

It worked like a charm at first, but pushing in the T-Rex further in was an event. It was kind of like going downhill on a roller coaster… and then being jolted to a stop. When I was putting the head in it felt really great, and then the scraping started. The silicone of the T-Rex is pretty solid and the minute the pronounced ridge of the head came up against my pubic bone it scraped against it. When I pulled the T-Rex back out it scraped against my pubic bone again, and worse – the ridge caught against my bone. It was not good times, people. It was bad times. I tried this thrusting motion a few times before I decided that this was not a thrusting dildo.

The Tantus T-Rex in purpleInstead I opted to leave the T-Rex inside of me while I used a vibrator on my clit. It was better than thrusting, but I still found the entire thing to be vaguely uncomfortable. When I brought myself to orgasm with the T-Rex inside of me the sensation of the orgasm itself was pretty awesome, but the feeling of clenching around an already uncomfortable dildo is not one that I’m eager to relive. It didn’t totally disrupt the experience, but I did notice it, and I did not like it. The fullness? It was great! But everything else just kind of felt off.

I’ve had a few more orgasms with the T-Rex, and each one has been just as uncomfortable as the first. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but I have to say that the unpleasantness of having my pubic bone scraped has well and truly convinced me that I have no desire to give birth… like, ever.

I think the discomfort is because of how firm the toy is. Unlike some of Tantus’ other large toys, the T-Rex isn’t made out of that neat dual-density-feeling stuff where the outer layer of silicone has some give to it. Instead the T-Rex is completely solid, and what’s more, it’s straight, not curved in any way. Make no mistake, the quality of the silicone meets the standard that I’ve come to expect from Tantus – high-quality, flawless, and it feels great to touch. It’s not a quality issue, it’s entirely an issue with the design conflicting with my anatomy.

I knew the T-Rex had mixed reviews for vaginal use, but Ninja Sexology seemed to like it well enough, and Ruffled Sheets gave it a great review for anal use! I still wanted to try it vaginally for myself. That ridge in the head looked like it was going to be amazing. Oh Past Sugarcunt, if you only knew what you were asking for. While I love the way the T-Rex looks, the scraping was just unpleasant. It was all I could think about while I was using it, and that’s absolutely the last thing I want to be focused on when I’m trying to get off.

Ultimately I think that the dealbreaker was the combination of the hard silicone, the girth, the lack of a curve, and that huge ridge in the head. As individual elements I know that these things can be enjoyable, but I don’t think that this particular combination is for me. Now the question of, “Can I really brave the T-rex?” is answered. I can. I just choose not to do it anymore.

Thank you, Tantus, for providing me with the T-Rex in exchange for an honest review! If you’re looking to brave the T-Rex yourself, you can get it on Tantus’ website at a 30% discount during the Big Ass Sale! Just use the code HEEHAW at the checkout page before June 18th!

Tenga Iroha

As you well know, sometimes my blog has dormant periods.  That’s not really the way I want it to be all the time, but we all have lives outside of blogging, even if we don’t want to.  I was dusting off after one of these dormant periods and checking the adult news networks and I saw an article saying that Tenga’s Iroha line that was going to be released.  I was so excited I nearly wet myself.  They looked SO GOOD.  At the time the article was released it stated that Liberator was going to exclusively carry Iroha.  So I e-mailed Liberator.

Me: [eloquently] “Would you help me tickle my clitoris?”

Liberator: [silence].

I didn’t actually say it that way.  I WAS eloquent, but nowhere in my e-mail inquiry did I use the phrase “tickle my clitoris.”  And nowhere in any of yours should you include that phrase, either.  #reviewer101

But yeah, no response.  I was a little down and so I let it go for a while… then I read another article about the line and decided to go to Tenga’s website and e-mail them.  And if you ask for what you want, sometimes you might get it!

irohatrio

Tenga was generous enough to send me not one, not two, but all three of the Iroha vibes to review.  I was so excited that I made Vines of myself unboxing them.  They are so beautiful.  They look like mochi, a delicious glutinous rice cake that you probably don’t want to rub all over your genitals (but if you do then more power to you, I guess).  I’m led to believe that the similarity in appearance was planned, since Tenga’s goal was to mirror their culture in the toys.  And in addition to the aesthetics of Iroha, I also appreciate the mission behind the line.  The vibes were created with the belief that masturbation should be appreciated the same way that we appreciate self care.  I support that belief 100%.  Sexual desire is a natural need and should be nurtured!

My first impressions were good all around.  They’re beautiful toys, and the packaging is attractive.  The storage for an Iroha vibrator is a case that is also a charging station.  The bases are magnetic and have little indentations for the buttons on the back of the vibrators to rest in.  I feel like this is not only much more attractive than a flimsy bag, but also promotes a sense of pride in these works of art by giving me a way to show them off.  I know that plenty of people need to keep their sex toys packed discreetly away, but for those of us that just leave them sitting around the house, it’s nice to have a little display case.

But chances are that many consumers don’t care about those details… you probably care more about how the toy feels on your genitals.  If you’re going to spend $99, I understand that – I would too.  The good news is that I can tell you!

All three vibrators have the same features.  The material is a type of food-grade silicone called Soft Touch, and it is water-resistant and dust-proof and pleasantly squishy.  These vibrators are the only sex toys in my house that haven’t attracted a metric ton of dust or hair.  If you’re a cat owner, you can probably understand my appreciation of that.  Each toy has two buttons that control four vibration modes – three speeds and a pulsing motion.

I find the vibrations to be more than agreeable.  For starters, they are quiet without sacrificing strength.  I can use the Iroha vibes in bed at night next to my sleeping partner without waking him up.  And while the vibrations aren’t the strongest I have ever felt, they more than adequately do the job for me.  I turn my vibrators up to the third setting (high speed) and that’s really the only one I need to use.  I have had an orgasm on the lower settings, but getting there takes considerably less time on the third.

My favorite toy of the bunch is Midori.  In addition to being a lovely green color, Midori has a very simple rounded shape with a nub on one end.   Midori is recommended for use on all erogenous zones.  I press that nub against my clitoris and I’m pretty sure that my vagina sings.  It provides broad stimulation instead of pinpoint, and I’ve discovered that broad stimulation is really good for me.  The nub carries the vibrations much better than the tip of Yuki, the white vibrator.

Yuki is recommended for stimulating the opening of your vagina, and while some people were dubious about that, I gave it a try and found that I liked it.  I didn’t have an orgasm from using Yuki alone, but the vibrations at the opening of my vagina were pleasurable.  I used Yuki in my vagina and Sakura on my clitoris at the same time and had a wonderful orgasm.

Sakura, the aptly-named pink vibrator, has two little arms that can be used in a pinching motion.  I had a lot of difficulty with this.  Trying to pinch my clitoris didn’t really work for me because it isn’t very prominent, but trying to pinch my nipple also wasn’t a wild success because it was slightly too large to sandwich in between the vibrator’s arms.    I could still reach climax using it, but I felt like I wasn’t really using it as was intended.  Then again, one might argue that there’s no “right” way to use a vibrator as long as you’re not letting your ass eat it or doing something else unsafe that will require medical attention.

There is something I do have to mention, though, that isn’t perfect about the Iroha vibrators.  Some of the earlier batches had a defect in the back panel where the buttons are located.  One of my toys had this defect, and the plastic panel popped out of the toy.  Not all the way out, but it protruded and despite how much I tried to push it back in, it wouldn’t stay in position.  The toy still functioned, but it was slightly annoying.  I was not the only person to notice this.

 

 

I got in touch with my contact at Tenga and he assured me that this defect has been fixed in future batches, and that the replacement of this toy will be covered by the 1-year warranty.  So if you’ve already bought a toy from the Iroha line and you’ve experienced this problem, just send it back in for warranty repairs by contacting [email protected].  I’m going to be doing this to replace my vibe that popped open.

The bottom line is that I can’t recommend the Iroha toys enough.  While the defect was a bit off-putting, the new batches seem to be holding up quite nicely, and Tenga has been very gracious about replacing the defective toys.  I think that the three Iroha vibrators are unique because they provide different options for sensation – pinching, pressing, and some internal stimulation that I think feels quite nice.  If you only buy one, my opinion is that Midori is absolutely the best.  No gimmicks there, just good vibrations.

I owe huge thanks to Tenga – they provided me the Iroha toys free of charge in exchange for an honest review, and they have been very helpful and patient with me!  Be sure to check out the Iroha website if you’re interested in learning more about these toys!  And if you’re going to buy the Iroha toys, SheVibe has them!  Yay SheVibe!

The Leaf Life

life

Hello!  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  I’ve been very busy and I’m also knee deep in sex toys, so I’m playing catch-up.  This is good news for you, my readers, because it means CONTENT!

First up: the Leaf Life.  The Life is a product that I’ve lusted after since I first heard about it.  It comes in a nice eco-friendly-looking box with a charging cord and a bag to hold it.  It’s attractive, ergonomic, and a beautiful shade of green.  It is made out of medical-grade silicone.  It has a single button that is located under the skin, so the entire toy has a largely seamless appearance.  It’s rechargeable AND waterproof.  The Life goes from 0 to 60 at the push of a button – you just hold it down to increase the speed, and the maximum speed is pretty great.  By all accounts, this toy is uber impressive, and it should be an orgasm machine.

But it doesn’t get me off.

Well, that’s not wholly true.  It got me off a few times, but each of those times took FOREVER.  Which is, for me, the equivalent of not getting off.  I mean, sometimes it’s fun to take an hour to reach orgasm, but it gets dull when you aren’t getting the gratification you want.  As a side note, I look back at some of my first blog posts and find that it’s hilarious that I have gone from, “Yay, a toy made me orgasm!” to, “Boo, why is it taking 20 minutes for me to come?”

When you’ve become accustomed to having speedy orgasms, sometimes you find yourself sitting there, not orgasming, with genitals stuffed to the brim with sex paraphernalia and you’re like, “Maybe I should go make a sandwich or something.”  One time I actually fell asleep for a few minutes while it was on and between my legs.  And this just in: apparently yelling “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?” at the top of your lungs in the general direction of your genitals doesn’t make you reach orgasm more quickly.  Who knew?

The bottom line is that if I’m hoping to get off in ten to twenty minutes or less, I have learned that I just can’t reach for this toy.  And that’s hard for me, from a reviewer’s standpoint.  I can’t say that this is a bad toy, because it’s actually a very good toy from a technical standpoint – it is attractive, it boasts a fair amount of power, and I think it’s pretty well-designed.  I like it as a device, and I desperately want to have orgasms with it, but it just isn’t very effective for me.

What this toy did do for me was help me gain some perspective on what I need in a vibrator.  At the same time that I was reviewing this toy I also received the Tenga Iroha line to review (you’ll get to read that soon, I promise).  While the Life was faster than the Iroha vibrators, the Iroha toys got me off in ways that the Life just couldn’t.  The key difference, I think, is that the Iroha vibrators cover a broad surface area, whereas the Life has a really small tip.  The Life is clearly meant to offer pinpoint stimulation, and I think that’s what just doesn’t do it for me.  In retrospect, Epiphora noted the nature of the pinpoint stimulation in her review… but when I asked to review the Life I had no idea what kind of stimulation I liked.  So while I’m sad that I’m not a pinpoint-stimulation kind of person who can fully enjoy this beautiful sex toy, I am happy that I’ve learned a bit more about my body.

I don’t recommend buying it if you know you prefer broad stimulation.  If you aren’t sure if you like pinpoint stimulation, I would look for a cheaper alternative to try first before I dropped $99 on the Life.  While it’s an attractive toy to have in your toybox, you probably want to get some orgasms out of it, too.

If you’re disappointed that I haven’t trashed the toy in this review, I suppose I can touch on couple things… there’s a barely-perceptible seam along the bottom of the toy, but it doesn’t bother me during use or cleaning.  The only (minor) flaw I’ve found is that the Life is a little bit vroom-y in terms of sound.  It isn’t the loudest toy I’ve ever heard, but it’s not the quietest, either.  It’s just kind of buzzy.  I think the sound that it puts out is fair for the power you get from it.  I wouldn’t use it when I’m masturbating in bed at night beside my sleeping fiance, though.  (By the way, I can’t be the only person in the world that asks, “Can I masturbate beside someone with this toy without them noticing,” right?)

If you like pinpoint stimulation, sleek ergonomic design, feeling good about buying eco-friendly, and that sexy, sexy shade of green, you can get the Leaf Life at Shevibe.  Go forth, my minions, and shop!

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The Leaf Life was graciously provided to me for free by Shevibe in exchange for an honest review.

The New York Toy Collective Shilo + Love Bump

shilobumpPackers are very special to me.  As someone who has always wanted a penis, nothing gives me more glee than having my own dick, however fake it may be.  New York Toy Collective is a sex-positive novelty company that was founded just last year.  Their products are made from premium platinum base silicone and are intended to be self-affirming gender expression tools.  SheVibe was kind enough to send me the Shilo Pack & Play and The Love Bump.

 

The Shilo Pack & Play is a dual-purpose packer that can be worn for packing (obviously) or for sex.  The Shilo seems to be dual-density, with a bendable rod hidden beneath the firm inner core.  This rod allows you to position the Shilo however you like: straight forward, curved up or down, hanging a little low and to the left… whatever suits your needs.  The Shilo isn’t the first packer to be posable, but that level of posability seems kind of ingenious for an insertable toy.  I’ll talk about why I emphasize seems in a moment.

The Shilo

My first impression of the Shilo was mixed.  On one hand, it’s cool as hell, there’s no denying that.  On the other hand, I was astonished by just how large it was, and the base seemed pretty huge.  Trying to wear the packer without a harness didn’t work for me because my front isn’t very flat, so the base stuck out and created an unnatural, decidedly un-dick-like bulge in the front of my panties.  I’m forced to wear this thing with a harness if I want to wear it comfortably or leave the house in it.  Fortunately, I have my handy-dandy Joque, or I would be a very, very sad Shilo owner.  The Shilo comes in four colors, and the one you see in my pictures if called cashew.

More on the length: That’s six inches of dick that you’re stuffing in your pants.  Six inches all the time.  Not three soft and six hard.  It can seem overwhelming at first if your last packer was comparatively shorter and much softer (as mine was).  Your best bet with the Shilo is to tuck it between your thighs.  When I was wearing the Shilo with the Love Bump, tucking the Shilo between my fat thighs was somewhat uncomfortable.  The Love Bump was just in the way.  If you’re going for realism, though, then you can’t get any better than that.

The silicone is awesome, too.  I’ve been told it feels comparable to VixSkin, but since I don’t own any VixSkin dildos, I can’t make that comparison for you.  I do, however, own a Tantus Cush O2, and I can tell you that outer layer of the Shilo is considerably squishier than the Cush.  When I inserted the Shilo, the material felt great.  That squishy outer layer is pleasant, and the head is kind of pronounced, which is wonderful when you’re thrusting.  However, here’s where the “seems ingenious for an insertable toy” thing comes in.  If you’re using the Shilo as a strap-on with a partner, the posability isn’t much of a problem – you can just keep the toy rigid with your hand.  If you use the Shilo on yourself, there’s going to be some fumbling, because that bendable rod in the core will try to bend as you push the toy against yourself.  It’s not a huge inconvenience, but if you have dreams of being able to use the Shilo like a curved dildo, they’re going to be shattered.  Even if you manage to maintain the bent shape during insertion, the bend will probably straighten back out during use.  There’s nothing wrong with a straight dildo – I have plenty of them and I love them – but if you’re hoping that the posability will be a game-changer in the bedroom, I think you’re going to be disappointed.

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The Love Bump

The Love Bump is kind of ridiculous looking.  It’s a pair of balls.  It reminds me of stretched earlobes, except… you know.  With balls.  And stuff.  The Love Bump comes with a removable bullet vibrator that fits into a small hole located on the side of the balls.  New York Toy Collective suggests the Love Bump for added realism, added stimulation, and extra cushioning when having sex.  When I used the Shilo on myself with the Love Bump attached, the balls mostly got in the way.  However, that was masturbation, and you have to consider that this dildo is geared more toward packing and couples’ play than it is toward solo play.

Do I think the Shilo is worth it?  TOTALLY.  I haven’t sampled enough packers to call the Shilo the ultimate packer, but it’s pretty freakin’ awesome.  If you’re looking for gender expression tools you can pack and play with, I urge you to pick up the Shilo and the Love Bump at Shevibe. My Shilo came in the color “cashew,” but now they make awesomely-colored versions like a Shilo in blue and yellow and a Love Bump in pink.

 

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The LELO Mia 2: Electric Boogaloo

LELO Mia 2This is a review that I’m kind of disappointed to be writing.

I was dying to try a USB rechargeable vibrator. Since I agreed to dive into Nymphomaniac Ness’ orgasm diet plan, a USB rechargeable vibe seemed the most sensible toy for the task.  Plug it in, take it with me, get off instead of mindlessly snacking, charge it wherever I can find a USB port. Easy, right?  In theory, yes. In practice, no. Not with the Mia 2.

SheVibe was lovely enough to send me LELO’s Mia 2 USB rechargeable lipstick vibe. The Mia 2 boasts that it has more power than the first Mia, and that power increase gave me a lot of hope. If there’s one thing I need from my vibrators, it is power.

Unfortunately, that power increase didn’t mean much to me. While I’m sure it’s better than the first Mia was, it still wasn’t good enough.

When I initially turned the Mia on for the first time, it seemed like it was reasonably powerful. The charge time isn’t too bad. I’m pretty sure that the instructions told me to charge the Mia for the first time for 2 hours. You’re supposed to be able to get an hour and a half of vibration out of a fully-charged Mia.  The Mia 2 has 6 vibration patterns, which are inevitably wasted on a one-trick pony like me. I like it strong and consistent, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the fact that I have options. And like the Picobong Kiki (I never thought I would bring up anything good about the Picobong Kiki, and I certainly never expected to compare to to a full-blown LELO product), the Mia has one vibration pattern that’s very musical. That gimmick never gets old to me. I can spend a LOT of time listening to a vibrator. I could have my own show: The Vibe Whisperer.  Television producers, look no further, your ratings booster is here.

Anyway, straight out of the box with all the settings laid out before me, I was impressed. And then I tried it on my clit.

It’s not that the Mia doesn’t feel good. Of course it feels good! It just doesn’t feel THAT good.  I constantly use the Mia on full power and just don’t get very much out of it.

The first time I used the Mia, I watched porn for 25 or 30 minutes and I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get off.  I noticed the vibrations at first, but after a while I grew accustomed to how they felt and stopped getting any pleasure from the Mia at all.  I finally switched to some different porn, which helped, but on the whole that entire masturbation session (in which I only used the Mia) took me about 45 minutes.  And when it finally hit me, the orgasm didn’t leave me breathless – it just left me, period.

LELO Mia 2Now, I’m all for “self-loving” masturbation, but for me, there is a difference between jacking off and settling in for an extended masturbation session.  When I jack off, I don’t want to sit there for 30 minutes waiting for an orgasm to show up out of the blue.  Sometimes, especially when I’m feeling dysphoric, I want to get in, come once, and get out and be done with the whole affair.  I’m not going to reach for the Mia when I’m jerking it under those circumstances because it just takes too long.  But because I don’t find the Mia very stimulating, I’m probably not going to use it for extended periods of masturbation, either.  I’m going to reach for a stronger vibrator that feels more present than the Mia does.  If it can’t keep my attention, it doesn’t belong near my vagina.

I used the Mia for a week straight.  Toward the end of the week, I would give up after 20 minutes or so and pull out the big guns.  I’ve tried using both sides of the Mia on my clit and while the bottom definitely feels more stimulating than the lid (for obvious reasons), it just doesn’t do it for me.The most fun I had with the Mia 2 was with my partner.  He had me bent over on my knees, blindfolded, and used it on me.   Despite being enjoyable, it still didn’t bring me to orgasm.  If it takes being deprived of one of my senses for me to adequately enjoy the Mia, then we just aren’t meant to be together.

One thing I really like about the Mia is that it’s been relatively easy to clean.  Since it’s waterproof, I can just throw the whole shebang in the sink.  I was worried that the buttons would trap gunk and be difficult to clean, but that hasn’t been the case.  That’s not really enough to work the Mia into my regular sex toy rotation, though.  [Edit: Dangerous Lilly pointed out in the comments that her Mia 2 does trap gunk in the buttons.  I think mine probably didn’t because it doesn’t really do much for me.]

I have very specific needs, and apparently a lot of power is one of those needs.  The Hitachi isn’t the only vibrator that brings me to orgasm – it’s one of several vibrators that gets the job done better than the Mia ever could.  Maybe the Mia couldn’t provide me with enough power because it’s USB rechargeable.  Maybe the Mia’s stimulation style – pinpoint – isn’t what I need.  Plenty of people love the Mia 2, so this is clearly a matter of taste.  Whatever the reason, though, it just isn’t for me.  If you like pinpoint stimulation and don’t require T-rex strength vibrations, then the Mia 2 has a better chance of working for you than it did for me.

Thank you so much for sending me the Mia 2 to review, SheVibe!

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The bNaughty Unleashed

The bNaughty Unleashed

The bNaughty Unleashed Premium Wireless Bullet Vibrator is a remote-controlled vibrating bullet egg.  An egg.  The thing is enormous.  It’s longer than most eggs, but not quite as rounded.

To be honest with you, I’m not quite sure what they’re unleashing.  I have an original bNaughty (we’re talking about the corded classic before they did the redesign), and I don’t think the Unleashed offers much more power than the original.

Wait.  “Unleashed” as in untethered.  Got it.  Suddenly I realize why my expectations weren’t quite met.

But aside from being literally unleashed, the bNaughty Unleashed still isn’t especially powerful.  It comes with 7 settings: 1 – 3 are constant vibrations at different speeds.  4 begins by ramping up, vibrates constantly for a few seconds, then ramps back up from the beginning again.  5 is constant pulsing.  6 is the same constant pulsing, except faster.  7 is a constant vibration that begins by pulsing three times.  The vibrations are buzzy, and while they’re capable of getting me off when I use the vibrator clitorally, I wouldn’t call the ensuing orgasm “spectacular” by any means.

If you’re more into buzzy vibrations than I am, you might find that you have more fun with this toy.  The vibrations are also loud.  They aren’t Hitachi-loud, but they definitely aren’t whisper-quiet.  A lot of people imagine going out in public with a wireless bullet in their panties and the remote in their partner’s hand.  You won’t be doing that with this vibe.  For starters, the massive egg and its little tail would be inconvenient to shove in your underwear and keep in place.  But really, the biggest problem is the noise.  You’d have to go to a rave for the noise this thing makes to go unnoticed.20130311_210658

The vibrator is controlled by the little black remote.  The bottom button powers the vibe on and off, and the top button changes the vibration settings.  The little display is actually kind of neat – it tells you what setting you’re on by displaying a number in the upper-right-hand corner, and the little flower in the center of the display has different segments that light up in time with the vibration you’re on.

This vibrator just didn’t work very well for me.  Sure, I got off, but I didn’t enjoy it too much.  For starters, I have my clitoral hood pierced and had to keep repositioning the bullet so it didn’t rattle against my jewelry.  The egg’s tip is slightly pointed, which is definitely better than what you find on most vibrating bullets, but the tip still isn’t defined enough for me to really get the kind of pinpoint stimulation that I enjoy the most.

The vibrating egg also has a seam.  Two seams – one where the egg opens up to reveal the battery compartment, and one on the backside of the plastic strip that holds the batteries in.  You’ll need something very thin (a needle, maybe – a fingernail doesn’t get it all out) to clean the seam.  I don’t like the seam.  It would be one thing if the bNaughty Unleashed brought me to a roaring orgasm – that seems like a fair trade for the cleaning time.

I have another gripe, too.  It DIED ON ME20130225_143025.

I used the bNaughty Unleashed roughly three times, and not for very long masturbation sessions.  When I went to write this review, I fished it out of its bag (did I mention it comes with a little black pouch?  It comes with a little black pouch), went to turn it on, and nothing happened.  I tried replacing the batteries in the bullet and it still didn’t work.  I had to change the remote battery as well.  The device takes three batteries – the remote takes one A23 battery, and the bullet takes two N batteries.  Kudos on finding the most obscure batteries you can think of, bSwish.

Also, if you don’t have nails long enough to get under the remote battery, good luck fishing it out.  I had to wait until I had long nails again before I could swap out the remote battery… absolutely ridiculous.  Every inanimate object that I used in an attempt to pop the battery out was useless to me, yet the battery came out easily when I slid my nail under it.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a little bit resentful about the battery hubbub.  I can usually get at least 5 uses out of a vibrator before it starts to go south… usually many more than that, to be honest.  But this thing threw in the towel after three short rounds.  Does it just eat batteries?  Were the batteries that came with it just bad?  Who can say?

My ultimate verdict is that the bNaughty Unleashed isn’t for me.  It doesn’t blow my mind.  It’s just kind of “meh.”  If I want to use a battery-operated vibrator, I have a different go-to vibe that is buzzy, but actually feels really good.  My go-to vibe is also more quiet than the bNaughty Unleashed.  I’m not going to lie: it’s nice to have a wireless remote in your hand or beside you on the bed so that you aren’t constantly tethered to your groin, but most bullets that I have used have cords that are long enough for me to not feel too inconvenienced.  The remote doesn’t make this vibe worth it for me.  If you don’t mind the noise, the buzziness, and don’t require a TON of pinpoint stimulation, this will probably give you an orgasm if you’re in the market for a wireless vibrator… but probably not the best orgasm of your life.  I can think of some better uses for this vibe:

  • Play a game of hide-the-vibe where your partner has to find it.
  • Scare your partner by hiding it under their pillow and switching it on at bedtime.
  • Scare guests by sewing a little mouse or snake costume on it and randomly switching it on to let it rattle across the floor.
  • Baffle your housemates by leaving it on and hiding it somewhere so that they will periodically ask, “Do you hear vibrating?” and you can say, “No, why?”

Maybe I’m just an asshole.

A big thank you goes out to Good Vibrations for providing me with the bNaughty Unleashed Premium Wireless Bullet Vibrator to review!

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