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16th July 2014

Post with 9 notes

Harness Showdown: Aslan Jaguar vs. RodeoH Briefs

I have finally acquired the two harnesses of my dreams – two of the best harnesses you could ever hope to find, probably. And while I love them both more than words can say, I am a sex toy reviewer – which means I have to be objective and helpful. So, like a cruel mother, I have to pit my babies against each other and write an exhaustive comparison.

The two harnesses in question: the Aslan Leather Jaguar and the RodeoH brief. (Both are pictured above with the Tantus Acute.) Alright, let’s get this show on the road.

Material

The Jaguar is made of leather, and HOLY FUCKING FUCK, it is the sexiest leather I have ever encountered. I don’t have a leather fetish but this harness just might change my mind on this front. It has that powerful-but-not-overpowering leather smell, and it’s soft and broken-in already when you get it. The pliability of the leather makes it feel like a second skin when you’ve been wearing it for a while.

For vegans and other folks who might have issues with leather, the Jag also comes in a vegan version, often at a cost (Early to Bed charges an additional $15 for the vegan one).

The RodeoH is made of a cotton-elastane blend, much like your favorite pair of underwear. It’s soft to the touch and feels well-constructed.

Sizing and Fit

The Jag comes in two sizes, small and large. “Small” fits hip sizes from 26 to 44 inches; “large” fits 36 to 56 inches. I went with the small size because my hips are currently around 41 inches and I’m in the process of losing weight, so the small will continue to fit me. The hip and butt straps on the Jag are all super adjustable so you should be able to get a good fit no matter what your dimensions are. I’ve heard of some people needing to punch extra holes in the straps or trim the ends of their straps for sizing reasons, but I don’t think the typical person will need to do that stuff if they buy according to their (accurate) hip measurement.

The RodeoH comes in 9 different sizes: 23-24”, 25-26”, 27-29”, and so on, all the way up to 52-55”. While each size seems to allow for only a small range of measurements, the material is actually very stretchy and accommodating; I probably got a size or two smaller than I should have, and my harness still fits nicely, albeit snugly. RodeoH recommends sizing down for more control during thrusting anyway.

If you’re very small and have a hip measurement between 23” and 26”, the RodeoH is probably the better choice for you because the Jag won’t get small enough to fit you unless you make some alterations yourself.

Getting In and Out

Obviously it’s hard to beat the RodeoH in this category, since you just step into it and pull it up, like underwear. Same dealio when you take it off.

The Jag looks a bit more intimidating to put on, but actually, if you leave one side undone each time you finish using it, it only takes a few seconds to step into it and get it fastened up. Here’s a video of the founder of Aslan Leather demonstrating this technique (it’s SFW – he puts it on over his pants).

Comfort

I find both of these harnesses very comfortable, though I think the RodeoH wins in this category simply because, well, it’s basically a pair of underwear. Hard to get much comfier than that.

I can imagine that the Jag could get a little hard to deal with if you were wearing it under pants for hours at a time, or if you had to sit on a hard chair for a while, because of the metal D-rings in the ass region.

I also have more slippage with the Jag – the butt straps sometimes give me a wedgie, possibly because of my sizeable booty. I don’t have this issue with the RodeoH because, of course, it doesn’t have straps.

Dildos and O-Rings

Neither my Jag nor my RodeoH came with extra O-rings. That makes sense for the RodeoH, because you can’t switch out the 1.5” O-ring it comes with; it’s sewn right into the harness, and has a little bit of stretch to allow for larger dildos. But you can swap out the O-ring on the Jag, so I was surprised that it didn’t come with any additional rings.

The O-ring that comes with the Jag has a 2” diameter, which is pretty big. I have some smaller rings that came with my Tantus Bend Over Beginner kit, so I put one of those in. Replacing the O-ring is easy: you just have to undo the 3 snaps surrounding the ring area, take out the old one, put in the new one, and do up the snaps again.

The unchangeable O-ring on the RodeoH makes it an unwise choice if you plan on using dildos significantly smaller than 1.5” in diameter. I find that dildos in the 1.25”-or-smaller range flop around a little in the RodeoH, while I can get them to stand at attention better in my Jag if I use an appropriately-sized O-ring. And of course, the fixed size of the RodeoH’s ring also means that it can’t accommodate dildos much larger than its ring’s diameter.

Both harnesses work best with flat-based dildos that don’t have balls, though I imagine you could get a testicled dildo into the Jag with a wide enough O-ring and some gentle jimmying.

Fucking/Thrusting

Full disclosure: I don’t currently have a willing strap-on partner, so all the testing I did in this department was done in mid-air or in a faux vagina I made by cupping my hand. Sorry!

When my Jag is properly adjusted and tightened all the way around, it’s very stable. I do find I get some slippage in the back D-rings after a while, but that’s easily fixed by quickly tightening ‘em up.

The RodeoH is definitely less stable and there is more flopping around and less control, because of the lack of straps and tightenability (that’s not a word, I know, but I just coined it). As I said above, buying a size or two smaller can help a bit with this, but I think if you need a lot of stability, you’re gonna need an old-fashioned two-strap harness.

Pleasure for the Wearer

The Jag was designed specifically so that the dildo would rest on top of the clit during use, creating more pleasure for the wearer. And damn, it works. Mine doesn’t sit directly on my clit but maybe an inch above, which is actually where I prefer to be stimulated – on the upper shaft of my clit. Even just fucking my hand produces a lot of pleasure for me. I don’t know if I could reach orgasm that way, but it feels pretty awesome.

The dildo sits higher in my RodeoH, on my pubic mound, so there is some pleasure but not as much. However, the RodeoH has something the Jag doesn’t: a little pouch behind the dildo, where you can tuck a bullet vibe if you so desire. That makes up for the less-than-ideal dildo placement, if you ask me.

Should you want to use a double-ended dildo like the Feeldoe, the Jag is your man: there’s no fabric or leather between the dildo and your body, so you’re free to self-penetrate as much as you want. The RodeoH has some fabric behind the dildo so you can’t use double-ended dildos with it, and it’s hard (if not impossible) for the wearer to receive any genital stimulation while wearing it.

Sex Appeal

As a femme person, I definitely feel hotter in the Jag. The leather and styling strike me as classically sexy without being particularly gendered. The RodeoH, on the other hand, feels pretty boyish; I can imagine myself loving the look of it if I was doing some kind of boy/butch roleplay, but as my regular girly self, it doesn’t quite gel with my aesthetic and gender identity.

However, RodeoH has a lace panty style which is sexy as hell and very feminine. Options, yay!

Price

You can get the classic RodeoH brief for $45, or the boxer style or panty style for $49. As far as high-quality harnesses go, those are excellent prices.

The Jaguar is anywhere from $95 to $120 depending on where you get it from. The price was a pretty big deterrent to me, honestly, on my student budget. I only ended up buying the Jag because EcoSex was having a Canada Day sale and I was able to get it for $85 including shipping and tax. And even that felt pretty steep to me.

Other Considerations

Aslan Leather products have a lifetime guarantee, so if your harness breaks, they will repair or replace it for free.

My (cis male) boyfriend is able to comfortably wear the RodeoH and fuck me with dildos that way. His average-sized (about 6”) penis doesn’t get squished by the harness even when he’s hard. Harnesses specifically for cis dudes do exist, but they’re pretty pricey as far as I’ve ever seen.

Aslan harnesses are handmade here in Canada, while RodeoH harnesses are made in China.

RodeoH harnesses can be worn as makeshift underwear if, say, it’s been too long since you’ve done your laundry. (Naughty!)

Conclusion

…Well, I don’t know if I have a conclusion. I don’t think either of these harnesses necessarily came out on top; it all just depends on what you’re looking for in a harness. I know that both will serve me well in my lifetime, even if I don’t have a strap-on partner at the moment.

Both of these harnesses are gorgeous, well-made, and get the job done. I’m so happy I own them.

What’s the harness of your dreams? Or, what’s your favorite harness you’ve ever tried?

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8th July 2014

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Review: Pipedream Icicles no. 53

A dildo doesn’t always have to be groundbreaking or unique to be good. Sometimes it can just be a standard, get-‘er-done, regular old dildo that just gets it right. The Icicles #53 is one of those dildos: not fancy, just good.

I’ve tried toys from the Icicles line before, to varying degrees of success. #26 hurt my butt; #2 was satisfactory, but when I gave it away to a friend, she accidentally dropped it and it broke into two jagged pieces; #24 is legitimately unique and one of the prettier pieces in my collection; #6 was a fun adventure in texture. Overall the quality of the Icicles line is only so-so; I’ve seen other reviewers say that the color flaked off of theirs, for example. However, I think the line is a good, relatively low-cost option if you want to expand your collection of glass toys – just stick to designs that have minimal coloring and no thin/breakable-looking bits, and you should be alright.

I actually requested a different Icicles toy but got sent the #53 instead – which is fine, as I’m sometimes pleasantly surprised when I try the random things companies choose for me. This was one of those cases.

#53 is an all-glass dildo with 6.5” of insertable length and a diameter of 1.4”. It has the most subtle curve of any dildo I’ve ever seen – so subtle that I occasionally have to take the toy out of my vag, make sure the curve is oriented the way it’s supposed to be, and then re-insert it. The head of the toy is defined and penis-like, which I am totally into.

There’s a very subtle, pale pink corkscrew-like texture that covers the whole shaft of the toy below the head, but this pattern feels so meek in comparison to the bulging head that I can’t even feel it. If you like a lot of texture, look elsewhere (the aforementioned Icicles #6 is great for this).

The main reason I’ve been using the fuck out of this dildo recently is that it’s weirdly good at finding and stimulating my A-spot. The gentle curve and tapered head make this possible, along with the just-right length of the toy. It does absolutely nothing for my G-spot – the curve isn’t intense enough for that – but my anterior fornix is getting a whole lotta lovin’.

That said, if you’re not into A-spot stimulation and you’ve ever tried a glass toy before, I think you’d be really bored by this toy. Like I said, it’s nothing fancy. It’s a pretty standard glass dildo, at a size that’s slightly below average on the dildo spectrum. There are lots more interesting-looking toys in the Icicles line, and there are other companies doing cool things with glass too.

This lovely toy was provided to me courtesy of Pipedream and PinkCherry. Thanks, babes!

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4th July 2014

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Let’s Learn About the A-Spot!

I am always going on and on about the A-spot – and every time I mention it, I’m uncomfortably aware that there are people reading my blog who may not know what that spot is. I needed an informative link to be able to put into my posts so people won’t be confused. Which is why I’m writing this.

The A-spot – otherwise known as the anterior fornix, AFE zone, or deep spot – is an internal erogenous zone in the vagina. On either side of the cervix (that thing at the deepest part of the vagina that feels sort of like the tip of your nose and sometimes hurts when you touch it too firmly) is a fornix; there’s the posterior fornix behind the cervix, and the anterior fornix in front of the cervix. It’s the anterior (front) one that we’ll be talking about today, though some people also enjoy how the posterior (back) one feels when touched. As always, experiment and figure out what works best for you!

The A-spot was purportedly discovered by a guy named Dr. Chua Chee Ann. He noticed that stimulating this particular spot on the deepest part of the front vaginal wall would cause fast lubrication and sexual arousal. His stimulation method was a “scooping” motion with his fingers, similar to the “come hither” motion that so many folks recommend for G-spot stimulation.

So what is the difference between the G-spot and the A-spot? I see how you could get confused; they’re both located on the front wall of the vagina, only a few inches apart. If you have medium-to-long fingers, you can probably access the G-spot with your fingers inserted only halfway into the vagina – but you’ll likely have to stick them all the way in to reach the A-spot.

The sensations are also very different, at least for me. G-spot stimulation can feel slightly uncomfortable at first, like I need to pee or like I’ve got an itch inside my urethra – but if I push through, eventually that feeling will turn to pleasure. On the flipside, I find that A-spot stimulation is pleasurable right away. However, with both spots, adding clit stimulation to the mix improves the sensation significantly.

You might be wondering: what’s the best way to stimulate the A-spot? I find I can’t do it with my own fingers, because they’re too short and the angle isn’t right. My partner can reach the spot with his fingers but he has to reach reeeeally deep, which isn’t always comfortable for either of us. I’ve found that the best way to touch this spot is either with a penis or a specific kind of sex toy.

Penises are great for stroking the A-spot. As with the G-spot, you’ll want your penis or your partner’s penis to press up against the front vaginal wall, but go deep. I find that my A-spot loves small back-and-forth motions, as opposed to larger in-and-out thrusts, but as always, your results may vary. Keep the lines of communication open so you and your partner can figure out the best way to stroke the spot.

Toys with a small curve at the tip are best for accessing the A-spot. You want a toy that can curve into the fornix so it can be inserted deeply without bothering your cervix (which we’ll discuss in a moment). Some of my favorite A-spot toys are the Tantus Tsunami, Tantus Pack ‘n’ Play #1, and SSA Glass Royal Adventure. As long as it’s long enough to get to the very end of the vagina at maximum arousal (which, for me, is about 6”) and has a slightly tapered and curved tip, it should do okay.

Here’s a harsh reality: the cervix can get in the way of your A-spot pleasure. The two are right next to each other, and the cervix can be a source of pain for some. That’s why it’s important to go slowly and gently when seeking out the spot. If you’re using a toy, start with one that’s soft and squishy, ideally silicone. Keep the toy/penis/fingers totally flush with the front wall of the vagina for a better chance of avoiding the cervix. And I highly recommend not trying A-spot play on someone who’s menstruating, because the cervix can be extra sensitive at that time. Once you’re a pro at this kind of stimulation, you may be able to pull it off, but until then, I’d avoid it.

While the A-spot might seem mysterious, I think it’s destined to become the Next Big Thing in popular discussions of female sexual response. More possibilities for pleasure is always a good thing!

What have your experiences been with the A-spot?

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23rd June 2014

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Can Butt Plugs Cure Constipation?

Am I getting a reputation for being that chick who blogs about pooping? And a follow-up question: do I care?

This past week, three whole days went by without me evacuating my chute, if you know what I’m sayin’. That has never happened to me before. I was very worried.

I’ve been eating fewer calories lately to lose weight (that’ll be a whole ‘nother post, sometime in the murky future) and the other day I ate FIVE LARGE CARROTS because I am a lunatic. That’s probably what caused it.

I tried everything I could think of – short of regular ol’ laxatives, because I wanted to reserve those for a true emergency. I drank a fuckton of water to lubricate the pipes. I took an herbal psyllium husk supplement and waited 12+ hours. I walked around and jumped up and down. I ate more fiber, more fats. Nothin’.

Then I had a brilliant idea. There have been times in the past when I’ve inserted a butt plug, only to need to take it out again a few minutes later on account of sudden-onset bathroom requirements. This was always annoying before, but maybe now it would be a solution.

I poured a couple drops of Pink silicone-based lube on my medium Njoy Pure Plug and slipped it inside. I chose the Pure Plug because it’s heavy, so my butt would really be able to feel it and maybe it could wake up my intestines. (Man, I am so not a doctor.) I was prepared to switch out the medium plug for the larger version after a few minutes if necessary… but it wasn’t necessary.

After about 5-10 minutes of rhythmic clenching, hopin’ and prayin’, I heard angels singing hallelujah as my intestines started to do their thing. And then I went into the bathroom, took out the plug, and all became well with the world.

My theory on why this worked, which is backed by no medical knowledge whatsoever, is that the plug stimulated peristalsis. My butt was like, “Hey! There’s something in here! We better clear it out!” and other stuff was cleared out in the process too. Kind of sort of makes sense, right?

Mr. Will, another sex blogger, presented an alternate explanation: perhaps the lube was a factor. Indeed, the lube I used contains aloe vera, which some people use as a suppository when constipated. Soooo… yeah. That probably makes more medical sense than my theory.

Do you ever use sex toys to deal with your medical problems? (You probably shouldn’t. I’m not a doctor, I’m not responsible for the choices you make, you should always check with a medical professional, etc. You know the drill!)

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20th June 2014

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Review: Pink + Gun Oil lubes

I am a lube snob. I use almost exclusively Sliquid. My lube collection is like an advertisement for glycerin-free, natural, vagina-safe products – and that’s the way I like it, of course.

I was sent some products to try from two lube lines, Pink and Gun Oil, both created by the same parent company, Empowered Products. They sent me full-size bottles of both the silicone-based and water-based versions of Pink lube (called Pink and Pink Water, respectively) and smaller samples of various other products they carry, including the basic silicone-based and water-based Gun Oil lubes.

So let’s get this out of the way: these products are highly gendered in their packaging and promotion. Pink lubes have soothing colors (mostly pink, of course), girly fonts, and the words “for women” (which bugs me, because anyone can use these lubes). My Gun Oil samples don’t say “for men,” but the packaging screams it with its military-style font and “masculine” colors. If gendered products irritate you or trigger you, etc., I think you’ll have to look elsewhere; some Sliquid lubes are less binarist in appearance.

But despite the differences in marketing, Gun Oil lubes are actually not different from Pink ones, formulation-wise. As this excellent Novelty Toy Meets Girl review points out, Pink Water and Gun Oil H2O contain the exact same ingredients, as do the silicone-based versions of each lube.

So you could say there’s no difference and that you therefore might as well buy whichever lube appeals to you most, visually, but that’s not exactly true either – there is a difference, and it’s price. As that same review explains (seriously, it’s a fantastic post), you can get greater quantities of Gun Oil lubes for lower prices. As is sadly the norm when it comes to gendered personal care products, women get shafted. So if value’s all you’re after, go for the Gun Oil.

What all of these lubes have in common is that they’re very liquidy and runny. That’s not something I personally like in a lube, because I always end up getting it all over myself and my bedsheets instead of on the toy I’m trying to use it on. But some people prefer that drippiness, because it can feel more “natural” and vaginal lubrication-like.

All the lubes are unscented, but the water-based ones have a sharp, sour taste that I would find really distracting if it got into my mouth at any point during sex. (If you want an oral sex-friendly lube, I can’t say enough good things about Sliquid Swirl.)

The lasting time of these lubes is okay, but not great. I would still tend to choose a thicker, more gel-like lube if I needed long-lasting slickness, like if I was going to use it for anal play. As with all water-based lubes, Pink Water and Gun Oil H2O can be perked up again with the addition of more water, though I don’t find that they get as slick upon reactivation as they initially were. Reapplication makes for a better result, so you might end up using a lot of product.

Lastly, both water-based lubes contain propylene glycol, which is a known irritant. Not everyone reacts badly to it, but if you’ve had problems with propylene glycol lubes before or if you know your orifices are sensitive to this sort of thing, you might want to give these a pass.

Overall, I can’t say that I’m in love with these lubes. I’m likely to stick with my old faithfuls because of their longer lasting times, more natural ingredients, and less aggressively gendered marketing. But, y’know, I’m always glad to have more lube options. Sometimes I even get into a girly mood and want to douse my genitals in something that says “Pink” in big letters.

Thanks, Empowered Products!

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10th June 2014

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5 Ways to Make Your Orgasms Stronger

Yesterday I was doing some consulting work for a sex ed organization. They’re putting together some resources for youth who want to learn about sex without feeling intimidated or overwhelmed. They asked me and a few other young sex-positive folk for our input.

One of the points that came up – which may not be news to you, but is certainly still a problem – is that most sex ed is based in harm reduction and risk mitigation, rather than pleasure maximization. Once you learn the basics of STI prevention, birth control, and enthusiastic consent, it can be hard to find resources that take your sex life from “Okay, this is working” to “OH YES, I LOVE SEX.”

With that in mind, lovelies, here are 5 ways you can make your orgasms stronger – today. As always, not all of these suggestions will work for every person or every body, but give ‘em a shot and see how it goes!

1. Add penetration (or bigger penetration).

You probably know that when you reach orgasm, your pelvic muscles contract rhythmically. This feels great all on its own, but it’s even more intense when your muscles have something to clench around – so put something in your butt or your vag!

If you already do this (and most of y’all are sex toy savvy, so I’d imagine that you do), you can try something bigger to intensify the effect. If, like me, your usual dildo choices are smallish-to-average, try something enormous instead. It’s like adding extra resistance to your strength training workout, except you’ll be increasing pleasure as well as muscle!

2. Breathe through it.

Your feelings about “sacred sex” might range from enthused to skeptical… but you should know that using your breath to guide your sexual energy doesn’t have to be as woo-woo and ethereal as it sounds! It has actual practical implications.

Most folks tend to tense up as they get close to orgasm, and holding their breath is a part of that. While it’s true that getting off this way is generally the quickest and easiest way to do it, that doesn’t mean it’s the best.

As you get close to coming, notice your desire to hold your breath, but deny it. Breathe deeply and fully. If you like, you can mentally direct your inhales into your genitals to increase the energy flow to that area. It will likely take longer to get where you’re going, but it’ll be more of a full-body experience.

3. Rush.

I know I just told you to sloooow dooown – but weirdly enough, hurrying to the finish line can intensify your pleasure as well.

Test yourself. See how quickly you can get from absolute zero to orgasm. If danger turns you on, you can up the ante by doing this at a time when you know someone’s going to walk in on you in a limited number of minutes.

4. Change positions.

I alllllways masturbate lying on my back. It’s comfy and relaxing, but it doesn’t challenge my body or my mind, because it’s so easy and I’m so used to it.

If being upside-down doesn’t make you feel ill, give it a try: hang your head and torso off the side of your bed and come in that position. Some people say the blood that rushes to your head makes orgasms explosive.

5. Edge.

Get close to orgasm. Back off. Get close again. Back off again. Repeat until you can’t stand it anymore, and then finally let yourself come.

This one actually makes my orgasms weaker for some reason, but lots of people report astonishing results when they try it!

What’s your favorite way to boost your orgasms?

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4th June 2014

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How to Repopulate Your Sexual Fantasies

I bet you can tell, dear readers, that sometimes when I write posts that are ostensibly for you, they are actually for me. “Teach what you need to learn,” as the saying goes.

My sexual fantasy life has been seriously lacklustre as of late. I don’t think of myself as a frequent fantasizer, so I wouldn’t have guessed that this would have such an effect on me, but I’m finding that my orgasms are harder to achieve and that I’ll get 30 seconds into a masturbation session before thinking, “This isn’t that fun. Do I really want to do this?” This happens because my noggin’s devoid of sexy thoughts and images, so I don’t feel sexy.

Aside from general sexual ruts, another good time to repopulate your fantasy world is when you’ve recently gone through the break-up of a sexual relationship – whether that relationship was romantic in nature or just a fuck-buddy type of situation. When you’ve been fantasizing about the same person for ages and then suddenly find you can’t think about that person without wanting to burst into tears, you may find it difficult to get into a sexy headspace.

Well, here I come to save you from your orgasmless misery. Here are my best tips on how to revitalize your sexual fantasies when they’re lacking or in need of a serious overhaul.

1. Watch porn.

Well, duh.

If you’ve already been trying to do this and it hasn’t been working as well as you’d like, I suggest trying a type of porn you don’t usually go for. Maybe something plot-heavy and romantic, or something featuring a different configuration of bodies/genitals than you’ve liked in the past. You never know what could get your gears turning.

2. Look up explicit fanfiction of your favorite fandoms.

Surely there is a TV show, movie, book, or play that you love which features a couple who either a) are really fucking sexy or b) would be really fucking sexy if they actually got together. (Harry and Draco, anyone?)

Archive of Our Own and FanFiction.net are two major hotspots, and if your fandom is popular enough, there may also be fanfiction communities for it on Tumblr. Look for stories marked “explicit” or “smut” or use the aforementioned websites’ filtering functions to seek out those stories for you. Scroll until you spot a pairing that riles you up, and then read, read, read.

3. Ponder the fuckable strangers and acquaintances in your life.

There are sort of two schools of thought on this: some people think it’s creepy as hell to masturbate to folks you know in real life, while some people think it’s natural and there’s nothing wrong with it.

If you don’t find it creepy, or you think you can get past the weird feeling long enough to rub one out, I recommend it. Remember: your fantasy life is 100% private unless you decide to share it with someone. Masturbating to the thought of someone isn’t a violation of that person, unless you do something creepy like tell them you masturbate to the thought of them (which you probably shouldn’t ever do unless the two of you are already fucking each other).

4. Fuck hot celebrities in your mind.

Surely most of you have already done this, right?

5. Read good erotica.

Online, there’s Literotica, which is a bit of a disorganized mess and can be hit-or-miss in terms of writing quality, but also has tons of goldmines to discover.

If you are a bibliophile, here are some erotic anthologies I recommend: the Best Bisexual Women’s Erotica series, the Best Women’s Erotica series (or anything Violet Blue has ever edited, for that matter), Lust, and Sometimes She Lets Me.

6. Make a list of sexual acts you find interesting, and fantasize about those.

MojoUpgrade is a cool resource for ideas for your list. Here’s another one. Keep in mind that your fantasy life is different and separate from your real life, so you can (and maybe should!) fantasize about things that you’re unsure you’d actually want to do IRL.

If it helps, combine this tip with numbers 3 and 4: picture doing all this hot stuff with cute celebrities or people you know.

7. Imagine you’re someone else.

Your fantasies have no limitations – or, rather, the only limitation is your own capacity for creativity. You can be and do whatever and whoever you want, so why not try putting yourself in someone else’s shoes? Try gender-swapping, or insert yourself into a power-play scenario that you likely won’t get to try in real life (student/teacher? parent/babysitter? patient/doctor?).

8. Consume sexual resources to get more ideas.

Right now I’m really digging Tina Horn’s podcast, Why Are People Into That?, which is exactly what it sounds like. The discussions are analytical and intellectual and very inspiring.

Instructional sex books can also give you plenty of ideas. I like The Guide to Getting It On, Sex is Fun, The Whole Lesbian Sex Book, and The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus. (Pro tip: a lot of Violet Blue’s instructional books, including the cunnilingus guide just mentioned, have short erotica stories sprinkled throughout that are relevant to the topic at hand. They are always ridiculously hot. I recommend!)

What do you do when your well of sexual fantasies has run dry?

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29th May 2014

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Review: Tantus Echo Handle

It’s been two years since I reviewed the Tantus Echo. They’ve changed the design a little since then, but it’s still great and I still recommend it. (What can I say? It is Tantus, after all.)

The Echo Handle is what it sounds like: Echo with an added handle. This addition fulfills two purposes: a) it makes it easier for people to use the toy if a big belly, short arms, or mobility issues cause them to have trouble using traditional dildos, and b) it makes it really, really fun to swing this toy around like a lightsaber.

(Marginally relevant side note: one time I posted a picture of myself to Facebook where I was holding two dildos, and my conservative grandfather left a comment asking what they were for – as if he didn’t know! – and I told him they were for swordfighting. But I digress…)

I found the original Echo’s base a bit flimsy. It worked fine, but sometimes I wanted something a bit more solid so I could thrust with more speed and strength. The added handle totally fixes this problem. I still hold it in roughly the same place as I would hold a regular dildo, because that’s what feels most natural to me, but the thickness and firmness of the handle makes thrusting a breeze no matter where you grip it.

The handle is also made of matte silicone, while the insertable part of the toy is glossy. I find that this helps me keep a better grip, even when the whole scene is smeared with lube.

The handle makes it so that this toy isn’t harness-compatible. If you like the look of the Echo but want to use it in a harness, try the original: the base has been redesigned so it doesn’t have the flimsiness issue anymore. Hooray!

The pricing on the Echos is a little weird. You can get a regular Echo for $72, an Echo Handle for $58, or the Grab Bag versions of each for $33 or $27 respectively. (Grab Bag toys, if you don’t know, are the same as regular ones except you don’t get to choose which color you want, and it may end up being a weird swirly combination of colors.) So if value is what you’re after, the Grab Bag handled version is the best in that department. I don’t know why a toy containing more silicone would be cheaper, but hey, I’m not going to argue about it.

So, how does the toy actually feel? Fantastic. If you like that “popping” sensation when a penis or realistic dildo’s coronal ridge slides in and out, you’ll freak out over the Echo, because it’s basically that, but multiplied by five. The Echo Handle’s ridges are a little less prominent than those on the original Echo (1.5” versus 1.55”) and you should keep that in mind when deciding which one to get – but the Handle’s ridges certainly don’t feel wimpy. The handled version also has a little extra useable length – 7” as opposed to 6.5”.

The silicone of my Echo Handle definitely feels firmer to me than the original, but it’s comfortable nonetheless. I also notice that it’s a little more uniform in color, compared to my original Echo which has more swirls and variations within its color. Not a big deal, but worth mentioning.

Both Echos provide killer A-spot (anterior fornix) stimulation for me. I can’t figure out how they do this. You would think that a big, swollen head like this one would just bump into my cervix instead of snaking delicately into the tucked-away anterior fornix – but nope, it rubs the fuck out of that spot. That’s exactly the kind of vaginal stimulation that makes me go “HOLY FUCK I LOVE THIS DILDO” so this one is definitely a keeper.

So if you love ridges, A-spot play, and swinging dildos around like swords, get the Echo Handle. It’s yet more evidence that Tantus is one of the best sex toy companies out there.

Thank you, Tantus!

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23rd May 2014

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Blog Tour Questionnaire

A few different folks have tagged me in this "blog tour" thing, and it has some interesting questions, so I’m gonna do it! Read on, if you want a portal into the mind of a sex blogger…!

What am I working on?

Reviews, always reviews! I have a couple of Tantus toys I’ve needed to review for ages, a few lubes, an erotica book, and some other stuff.

I’ve also had an idea percolating for a while for a blog series about unusual fetishes, but I’m still deciding how to approach it.

And, as usual, I’m working on material for the Sex Toys Canada blog.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I once heard the ladies of the Blogcademy say that a blog should be like a magazine: geared toward a specific type of reader, and the various things that they would be interested in, rather than a specific type of content. So I try to keep that in mind. My target reader is a feminist, queer or queer-positive, open-minded and open-hearted sex geek – kind of like me!

A lot of my posts are sex toy reviews, but I branch out from that as well. I try to provide content that’s as helpful as possible, while also encouraging a light-hearted, radically inclusive attitude about sex. It’s my goal to avoid judgment and stereotypes, and to be truly sex-positive, which I define as believing that any sexual act or fantasy is A-OK as long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual.

Why do I write what I do?

I genuinely feel that sex education and sex geekery are my calling. I started this blog because I wanted to write and there is nothing I’m more fascinated by than sexuality. It’s the only topic in the entire world that I could write hundreds of blog posts about, because it’s intriguing, infinite, and ever-expanding.

As for sex toy reviews specifically, I want to help people make better choices about what they’re putting in their bodies and what they’re relying on to give them pleasure. The world deserves better than cheap jelly toys that give you chemical burns and shitty vibrators that can’t get you off. Pleasure for everyone!!

How does my writing process work?

I usually get posts done all in one go. That’s always been how I’ve written; my brain just works better that way. Of course, I go back in and edit or change things later, but I like that initial write-through to get done in one sitting if possible.

When writing sex toy reviews, I start crafting sentences in my head while testing toys, and make a mental list of pros and cons that I can use as a guide when I write my review.

After drafting and editing a post, usually I either publish it right away or let it sit in my drafts folder to marinate for a few days.

Yay, that was fun!

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9th May 2014

Post with 18 notes

Vibrators For People Who Hate Vibrators

This post was inspired by a beautiful, sex-positive friend of mine, who… hates vibrators. She attended one of Betty Dodson’s Bodysex workshops, and of course, since I’m a huge sex toy geek, I asked her what she thought of the vibe Betty provides for workshop attendees (it’s the Mystic Wand, if you were wondering). My friend just shrugged and said, “I don’t like using a vibrator. It feels like having sex with a robot.”

I was slightly flabbergasted, but I shouldn’t have been. There are plenty of people who don’t like vibrators.

However, I think that at least some of those people’s aversion to vibes might be due to a fixable factor. So, with help from some folks on Twitter, I came up with this list of common reasons why someone might not enjoy using a vibrator, and I’ve provided possible solutions for each issue.

Important note: There are people for whom vibrators just don’t work, period. I’m not claiming that everyone can or should love vibrators. If other methods work for you, keep at ‘em and don’t let me rain on your parade! This post is for people who have been dissatisfied with vibrators in the past but are interested in giving them another shot.

Problem #1: Vibrators feel too weak, cause numbness, or make you itchy.

Solution: If you’ve felt this way about a vibrator, it was probably too buzzy, or didn’t have enough power, or both. I can see how this could be a huge deterrent, because it even deterred me! My first few vibrators were cheap and/or battery-powered, which are the types of vibes that tend to be buzziest and weakest, so I just thought vibrations felt only okay and caused fast numbness. Well, they don’t have to!

The opposite of buzzy is rumbly (at least, in vibrator-speak). Rumbly vibrations don’t typically cause the numbness that buzzy vibes can, nor will they make you itch. They also feel stronger because they penetrate deeper into the skin. If you have a clitoris, rumbly vibrations will stimulate the internal portion as well as the part on the surface, and many people find that sensation more pleasurable, myself included.

My all-time favorite rumbly vibrator is the We-Vibe Tango (here’s my review). It’s small, because it’s meant for clitoral stimulation, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in ridiculously thuddy and yummy vibrations. If you want something you can use for penetration or clit stimulation, try the Lelo Mona 2; it’s not quite as rumbly as the Tango but it’s pretty close, plus it has a gorgeous and effective G-spot curve. If you want to try rumbly (and SUPER STRONG) vibrations on the cheap, seek out a Wahl 2-Speed at your local pharmacy – but keep in mind that it’s the jackhammer of vibrators, so you should probably use some kind of fabric barrier between your body and the toy, at least at first!

Problem #2: Vibrators feel too intense/strong/overwhelming.

Solution: I think the Hitachi Magic Wand is largely to blame for the commonness of this problem. So many people think it’s “the ultimate vibrator” because plenty of experienced vibrator users say that it is – but I am going to take a bold stance and declare that the Hitachi is not a good vibrator for beginners. Husbands, stop buying Hitachis for your vibrator-virgin wives! Please, for the love of all things holy and sexy!!

If you already have a vibrator that feels too strong for you and you don’t want to buy a different one, here are some suggestions. Try putting a fabric barrier between the vibrator and your body, like a folded washcloth or your underwear; this will dampen the sensations. Try starting off with the vibrator on your inner thighs or labia instead of putting it directly on your clit. If it’s a Hitachi, outfit it with an attachment like the G-Spotter, which will muffle and focus the sensations all at once.

If you think your current vibrator is hopelessly over-intense and you want to get another one, here are some you could try. Anything by Lelo will have multiple speeds (usually 10), starting very low and ending reasonably high, so you can control the power of the vibrations with much more precision; I recommend the Mona 2, Mia 2, or Siri. Lelo’s not in everyone’s price range, I know, so if you’re shopping for something cheaper, just make sure that it’s body-safe (probably made of silicone or hard plastic) and has multiple speeds. Something like the Bswish Bcute Classic or Turbo Glider would be great.

Problem #3: Vibrators are too loud, and it distracts you and/or arouses suspicion among your housemates/family.

Solution: You need a quieter vibrator, bro.

The aforementioned We-Vibe Tango and Lelo toys are very quiet. In general, you’re going to want to avoid anything battery-powered or electric; rechargeables are where it’s at.

Alternatively, you could muffle your loud vibrator with a blanket, or put some music on. But you’ve probably already thought of that.

Problem #4: Vibrators are awkward to use or hard to control.

Solution: Okay, first of all, let’s get this out of the way: sex toys are inherently foreign objects, so they will never feel quite as natural and intuitive as your own hands. You can get smoother at using them with practice, but they’re not really an extension of your body so they’re always going to feel more like tools than appendages. If you’re not cool with that, no worries; you don’t have to use sex toys. No one will force you.

But if you want to use a vibrator that’s as uncumbersome and unobtrusive as possible, you’re going to need something that is both ergonomic and super easy to control. I recommend one with easy up-and-down buttons, like the Lelo Siri, or a simple twist dial, like the Shane’s World Sparkle Vibe.

If your issue is that vibrators are hard to hold onto or slip out of your hand at crucial moments, try something with a looped handle, like the Lelo Alia, or a grippy plastic handle, like the Bodywand.

Problem #5: Your partner is threatened by sex toys, or you think they would be.

Solution: My first instinct in this situation is to tell you to "dump the motherfucker already," but I realize that your partner’s insecurities may not bother you as much as they would bother me, and also that your partner’s insecurities may well be changeable and fixable. You deserve better than someone who wants to limit your pleasure, but I’m not gonna tell you how to live your life.

Insecure partners, especially those who are men, may have issues with realistic (i.e. penis-esque) toys that they would not have with less representational toys. If that’s the case, then of course I suggest getting a toy that looks nothing like a penis. Most Lelo toys look like tech implements from Planet Sophistication. Jimmyjane toys are also very design-y and often look more like coffee table decorations than sex toys, so maybe they’ll be less distressing to your partner than a 9-inch rubber dick.

That said, size can also be an issue for some partners, especially if they have concerns about their own penis size. In that case, I’d recommend something small and unintimidating, like the We-Vibe Tango or a hella basic Pocket Rocket.

If your partner worries that a sex toy will “replace” him or her, you may be able to quell that fear by using the sex toy with them, having them use it on you, or getting a toy like the We-Vibe that is specifically made to be used by couples.

Problem #6: Vibrators feel too impersonal/inhuman, or don’t feel like “the real thing.”

Solution: The obvious solution is to incorporate vibrators as part of “the real thing.” Trust me when I say that the combination of a vibrator and a human partner can be explosively terrific. I hate the narrative of vibrators being some sort of replacement for a partner, because I think they work best when paired together!

If you don’t have a partner at the moment, but still want a “real”-feeling experience, you could try a realistic dildo like the VixSkin Mustang. (I know, it’s not a vibrator, and this is an article about vibrators. But people don’t vibrate, so the most “realistic” toys will be ones that don’t vibrate either!) I am also a fan of the Stronic Eins, which thrusts back and forth – like a real penis, only faster and more consistent.

There are a few cunnilingus simulators on the market. I haven’t found one that I’m really happy with yet, but you might like them. The main ones are the Sqweel 2, Sqweel Go, Je Joue SaSi, and Lelo Ora. Some people (myself included) also say that the back-and-forth oscillation mode on the Jimmyjane Form 2 feels like a flicking tongue. If you choose to buy a toy that’s meant to mimic oral sex, definitely pick up some lube, too – oral lovin’ is nothing without lubrication!

Do you know anyone who hates vibrators? Why do they feel that way? Have you ever overcome your vibrator hatred? How did you do it?

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