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Sometimes you meet someone who seems perfect on paper, but there’s just no spark in person. They’re smart, funny, sweet, ambitious, adventurous, creative, charming, and a genuine pleasure to be around – but you just can’t muster up a sexual attraction to them. It’s frustrating as hell, and sometimes it can keep you from firmly rejecting the person, because they deserve to be wanted and you want to want them but you just… don’t.

That’s how I feel about the Pleasure Works Cadet. It’s a perfectly fine dildo that deserves love, from somebody, someday. But it’s not getting any love from me, hard as I might try.

The Cadet is made of silicone that has a little squish: it’s bendier than O2 but significantly firmer than VixSkin. It has a mild, strange scent and taste that remind me of the chocolate from advent calendars (?!). Its base is substantial and makes it anal-safe and harness-compatible, and it’s long enough (6.5″) that you won’t render it too short by strapping it into a harness.

The 1.6″ diameter feels ideal to me. I don’t need to warm up or stretch myself open before I take it, but it’s girthy enough that squeezing around it feels satisfying.

imageThere’s some raised veins on the shaft, but they’re pretty mild so my vag barely registers them. The head has some weird ridgy texture on it, which Bex told me bothers her but which I can hardly feel. (I should note, however, that my vag has historically not been all that sensitive to texture. If you are, you might dislike this like Bex does.) The coronal ridge is definitely noticeable in use but it’s not exaggerated; mostly it just reminds me of an average penis… which unfortunately means that it barely hits my G-spot. In fact, I only seem to get decent G-spot stimulation with this toy if I thrust it very fast.

And that’s a problem I have with the Cadet: thrusting it fast takes effort. The textured shaft and draggy silicone create resistance, and I find the base hard to grip if I’m trying to pound myself at a decent clip. Adding more lube helps a little, but I hardly ever seem to gather the speed and momentum I want. And when I do manage it, usually my wrist hurts like hell afterward.

imageI thought I’d like the Cadet because it’s theoretically long enough to hit my A-spot – usually toys need to be about 6″ or longer to reach that deep inside me. But nope, it doesn’t even do that. The head is just slightly too wide and blunt to slide past my cervix into that pleasurable nook. When I push the Cadet all the way into me, it feels so close and yet so far. Dammit.

So, while I’ve had some pretty good orgasms with the Cadet, it’s never going to be a favorite of mine. It barely hits my favorite spots, even when I run myself ragged trying to thrust it at top speed. If you’re looking for an average-sized, realistic, silicone cock for strap-on purposes or otherwise, I’d recommend the Tantus Uncut #1, Vixen Leo or Mustang instead. They all make my vagina way happier than the Cadet.

Sorry, pal. I tried. But it’s not me, it’s you.

 

Thanks for sending me this toy, SheVibe!

imageAround Christmastime, Carolyn from Betty’s Toy Box delivered me a Doxy Wand and some homemade holiday cookies, in a big gift bag with a kitten on the front. It was honestly one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received – and not just because her cookies are off the chain. No, as good as those cookies were, the real star of the show was the vibrator. It turned out to be even better than I’d hoped.

See, I’d been hearing increasingly good things about the Doxy. JoEllen, Lilly, Potter and David all raved about this wand’s power and ease of use. Plenty of reviewers have said they prefer their Doxy over the Magic Wand, which is a bit like saying “This ketchup is better than Heinz” – I won’t entirely believe you, but I will at least listen to your reasoning.

The Hitachi Magic Wand kickstarted the entire wand genre of vibrators, and let’s be real: few of them even approach the excellence of the Hitachi. I like the adjustable dial on my Bodywand, but its ridged head annoys my clit and it’s louder than I prefer. The Lelo Smart Wand is elegant, ergonomic and rumbly, but mine died completely after about a year so it’s basically just a beautiful paperweight at this point. I like the small size and comfy handle of the Jimmyjane Iconic Wand, but its controls are in a weird spot and the rounded head makes pinpoint stimulation impossible.

As you can see, many companies have tried to improve upon the Magic Wand, but it never seems to go quite right. The Doxy, on the other hand, actually does feel like a better Magic Wand in many ways. That’s pretty remarkable.

A caveat: the Doxy’s never going to dethrone the Magic Wand Rechargeable as my go-to wand, simply because it’s not rechargeable. You’re chained to an outlet while you’re using the Doxy. The length of its cord is generous, but I still prefer the cordless experience of the MWR. That said, the Doxy’s fucking rad, and let me tell you why…

First off: it’s RUMBLY AS HELL. This is so, so, so important to me, and to many other vibrator users I know. My main complaint with the original Hitachi is its numbing buzziness – I like to be able to feel my genitals while I’m having an orgasm, thank you very much! – so I adore and appreciate rumblier wands. The Doxy’s vibrations stimulate my internal clitoris, not just the skin on the surface, and that results in deeper, stronger orgasms and less numbness. Yum, yay, yes please.

The buttons on the Doxy are huge, clearly labeled, and easy to press. They are like the “large-print books” of vibrator buttons. One turns the toy on and off, and the other two increase and decrease the speed. Occasionally my “+” button gets stuck if I press it too hard, which makes the vibe skip up a couple settings instead of just moving to the next one; this is mildly annoying but seems to happen less often the more that I’ve used the toy.

The head of the Doxy is made of a squishy PVC. It’s probably porous, so you should put a condom (or silicone attachment) on it if you want to share it with non-fluid-bonded partners. The head has a lot of give to it, so if you like to press vibrators hard against your body, you might find the squishiness annoying. I tend to hold my vibes very lightly against my clit so I haven’t run into this issue, but it’s something to keep in mind.

We need to talk about the various settings on the Doxy. The first one has been a particular source of fascination for me: it’s so low, it’s laughable. If you judged the wand’s value by this speed, you’d think it was poorly designed, because the toy’s handle conducts the vibrations waaay more than the head does. But that first speed is the only one for which that’s the case. (Don’t ask me why, I’m not a vibrator engineer!)

The second speed is the one that makes me come, 90% of the time. It’s a significant jump up from the first, which annoys me sometimes, but then I just hold it adjacent to my clit until I’m ready for more direct vibration and it works out fine.

I’m not typically a “power queen,” so the second speed is usually as much power as I need. But there are several stronger settings above it, and it’s good to know they’re there. Everyone should have a super-strong vibrator around, in case of those days when your genitals just aren’t very responsive and you want to blast yourself into orgasm.

The Doxy is basically what would happen if the Magic Wand and the Wahl had a baby together. It’s got the shape and controls of a standard wand, and the jackhammer-y rumbliness that I love about the Wahl. I still prefer vibrators with a more pinpointed shape, because my clit is an attention hog and would rather have all the vibration to itself than share it with my labia. But if you like broad stimulation and rumbly vibration, I think you would adore the Doxy Wand. It is the high-powered, effective, sleek, modern wand vibrator we need – nay, deserve – in 2016.

 

Thanks to Betty’s Toy Box for hooking me up with this toy!

C’mere, I’m gonna tell you a secret. It should be an obvious fact, but it’s still weirdly taboo and many people don’t accept it. Here’s the thing… There will be times in your life when your sex drive will wane. Even if you are typically a pretty libidinous person. And that does not necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with your body or your mind.

Granted, sometimes it does. As I’m sure you know, certain health conditions and life circumstances can contribute to a sag in passion. Sometimes it has to do with the expectations a partner places on you, or that you place on yourself. (Emily Nagoski has a lot to say about that in her book.) Sometimes your relationship structure doesn’t excite you, and that affects your lust levels. (In which case, I prescribe Esther Perel’s book and some soul-searching.)

But sometimes it just happens for no damn reason. And that’s okay too.

I’ve been singing “Where did my sex drive go?” for the past week. A week wouldn’t seem like a long time to go without desire or orgasms for some folks, but for me, it’s suspicious. I’m chalking it up to a combination of things: a confusing crush that’s occupying a lot of my heart-space, a recent disastrous encounter that left me feeling resistant to touch, and just general life-busyness. It’s all added up to me feeling pretty unsexy, and unmotivated to do much about it.

But there are things you can do to reactivate your appetite for the sensual, even if you’re still avoiding the sexual. I have some suggestions for you; they might make you want to have sex again, or they might not. But either way, they’ll be the gentle self-care you need at times like these, and they’ll help you get out of your head and into your body a little more. And that’s something we all need!

 

Moisturize and massage your body

Hey, the saucy definition of “touch yourself” isn’t the only definition!

Moisturization can be a meditative practice if you let it. Scoop up some coconut oil, cocoa butter, or other loveliness of choice, and start rubbing it into a part of your body that needs some love. Make it your goal to cover your whole body, slowly but surely.

You can make this a very focused, present practice by thinking about each body part as you moisturize it – what you like about that part of yourself, what achievements that body part is capable of, what it means to you. Or you can kind of zone out, by listening to some music during your self-massage and just letting your mind wander. Do what feels needed.

Meditation is proven to make you happier, and this is a low-pressure, easy way to do it. Self-massage also helps you get back in touch with your body, literally and figuratively. And hey, even if you don’t notice any of those benefits, at least you’ll have super soft skin by the time you’re done.

 

Exercise

It’s common wisdom that cardio can boost your libido, but of course, there are other reasons to do it.

For one thing, in the absence of sex or masturbation, you might be feeling antsy and full of stymied energy. While you could force yourself into not-fully-wanted sexual activity to help burn off that bounce, that might not be the best option for you right now. Exercise can help.

In cases where your flagging libido is related to depression, moving your body can also help by brightening your mood somewhat. It’s not a cure-all, but it might ease your sads a bit.

 

Make yourself look good

I sometimes view lipstick as a prescription for my lethargy. I make myself put it on when I’m sad, even when I don’t really feel like it, because it always lifts my spirits. Not a lot, but maybe enough that I can leave the house.

Sometimes a drop in sex drive can result from feeling undesirable. If that’s how you’re feeling, maybe some gussying-up is in order, to help restore some of your confidence.

Do whatever kind of appearance-finessing is most in line with your gender identity and/or sexual persona. That could be anything from lipstick and winged liner to moustache wax and a bowtie. See if you feel a little hotter once you’re done. And if not, that’s cool too.

 

Lose yourself in music

As Jim Carrey well knows, music can help us connect to our more primal selves. When I’m having a bad day or a bad week, few things work as well to shake off my misery as a night out dancing in a dark bar somewhere. It’s such a physically-focused activity that I really don’t have the energy (or even the desire) to think about whatever’s bugging me.

While dancing might help you for the same reasons I outlined when I talked about exercise above, even just listening to music can have therapeutic effects. If it’s music you love, the familiar comfort and joy of it can lift your mood. And some music is so sexy that it might get your hips grindin’ and your heart poundin’, and we all know where that can lead.

 

Use a vibrator non-sexually

My Magic Wand is the only sex toy in my collection that gets used regularly whether or not I’m feeling sexy. That’s because it can bring pleasure to just about any part of my body, not only the sexual ones. Sore muscles, blocked sinuses, even just the apathetic numbness I get when I’ve been sitting around too much – a strong wand vibrator can ease it all.

If you use a vibe on non-sexual body parts for a while and then decide you want to move it onto your genitals, you might find it more agreeable than using your hands to masturbate. Sex toys can give you some psychological distance from your sexuality that you might prefer if you’re feeling unsexy.

 

What do you do to rekindle a sex drive that’s stopped cold?

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Shout-out to January 2016 for containing the highest number of sexual partners I’ve ever packed into one month: three. (Some of my friends would tell me that’s “not that many,” but, well, one step at a time, right?) I told you back in October that I was entering a “Slut Phase” and I was not lyin’. Although, secret confession: lately I’ve been craving some good ol’-fashioned emotional monogamy. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

But I digress… Here are some of my fave sexy things from the month of January. What were yours?

 

Sex toys

• Oh my, I loved the Doxy Wand this month. My review is comin’ up soon, but here’s a preview: rumbly, ergonomic, reliable. The Doxy is to the Hitachi as Bart Simpson is to Dennis the Menace: a cooler, slicker upgrade for the modern era.

• I bought a Fucking Sculptures Pussywillow at a New York sex shop last month. Honestly, it’s not my faaaavorite Fucking Sculptures toy I own – that title still belongs firmly to the Double Trouble, like I’ve said before – but I’m still enjoying it. The bloops are satisfying and the gold glass is absolutely beautiful. (As above: review to come!)

• There’s a local leatherwares company here in T.O. called Unicorn Collaborators. They don’t have an online shop currently, but I will keep you posted if that ever happens. One of their products is a two-tiered leather bracelet that transforms into highly secure bondage cuffs when you flip one side onto your other wrist. My friend got me one in seafoam blue as a Christmas gift and I am obsessed. Aaaall the bondage adventures in 2016, please.

 

Fantasy fodder

• A dom-y partner has been helping me explore my DD/lg (Daddy Dom/little girl) kink, with the baby-est of baby steps. He’ll call me “princess” and “little one” and tell me what a “good girl” I’m being, and on the one hand, I find it really fucking hot, but on the other hand, it absolutely terrifies me. I constantly feel like I’m on the precipice of triggering icky feelings in myself and wanting to call the whole thing off. But I guess that’s just the nature of edgy kinks sometimes, huh?

• I’m not normally a domme at all, but one of my boycrushes/occasional play partners is very subby, and my deep affection for him seems to activate some toppiness in me each time I see him. I spent a night (and a sleepy sunlit morning) with him this month and it filled my head with notions of sitting on cute boys’ faces, riding their cocks, holding their wrists down, etc.

• This month I found and re-watched a video of myself having sex that I made when I was, um, too young to be doing such things. It was brutally awkward and badly shot, but it did get me thinking about early sexual experiences and how hot they can be (in fantasy, at least). Maybe it’s because of my aforementioned DD/lg kink, and inhabiting that “virginal little girl” mentality, but the freshness of trying new things in bed is really exciting to me.

 

Sexcetera

• I did so much porn-y stuff this month! First I shot a hella kinky scene for Spit – it was one of my first sexual encounters of 2016, which bodes well for the year, I think! – and then I posed for some cheeky pinup photos in the Glad Day Bookshop for Taylor J. Mace. (There was so little time between those two sessions that I still had a bruise on my ass from Spit when I shot with Taylor. Whoops!) I felt a little shy and awkward during both shoots, but less so than I was expecting to, actually. There are some more porn things on the horizon for me (follow my porn-y alter-ego on Twitter for updates) so it looks like this is A Thing That I Am Doing now!

• This month I reflected a lot on the importance of sexual mentors. I have a friend who’s just beginning to explore her kinks, especially spanking, and I’ve been trying to impart what little wisdom I’ve amassed on those topics. I also owe so much to the sexual role models in my own life, most of whom are strong, badass women. Here’s to sex-positive superheroines!

• After having a bit of a kink disaster mid-month, I found myself craving gentle, vanilla, kinda romantic sex. I was able to make that wish come true later in the month and it was so nice. Much like switching to apple juice after doing a flight of gourmet hoppy beers, sometimes it can be so sweet and healing to go back to basics. And while vanilla sex is considered boring by some, there are times when it is everything I need.

 

Femme stuff

• I now own the American Apparel Nylon Tricot Figure Skater Dress (phew, what a mouthful) in three different colors/prints: navy, floral, and leopard. Never enough slutty dresses!! This one is cut to be super flattering, making my waist look slimmer while playing up my curvy hips and boobs. I kind of want to buy, like, eight more of them…

• Sometimes my self-care practice manifests in very femme ways. This month, whenever I was stressed out or sad, it seemed all I wanted to do was pincurl my hair. I do it by curling small sections of hair with a curling iron and then pinning the still-coiled curls to my head with bobby pins until they’ve completely cooled. I find this method less time-consuming and frizz-inducing than the traditional “wet-set” method. There’s nothin’ quite like a bouncy head of hair to put a saucy spring in your step.

Caitlin showed me this video of Dita von Teese applying lipstick, and it made me want to invest in a decent lipliner and wear bright lipstick every single day. Maybe that should be a goal of mine for February!

 

Did you have a sexy January, my loves?

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Gaining life experience makes me better at having sex, but also, gaining sex experience makes me better at living life. It’s a two-way street.

I’ve talked to you before about the similarities between sex and improv, and one of those similarities is that they’ve both informed my life philosophy. Massively.

Recently I was trying to describe to a friend how I feel when I’m getting spanked – the times when I’m really in the mood for it, braced for it, craving it. I reach a point where the painful rhythm no longer feels like a series of individual impacts: it becomes a wave I’m riding. I feel in control of the ups and downs of my experience, even though I’m bottoming and therefore have given up my power in the context of the scene. I feel how I do when I’ve been running for a while, or gotten into the swing of an intense badminton game, or been kissing someone for so long that my mind goes blissfully blank.

That’s an endorphin high. And it feels like a meditative zen high, too – something like what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow.” It’s part of what keeps me coming back to the act of spanking, especially when I’m stressed and need a release. Like Jillian Keenan says, yes, spanking feels painful, and difficult, and in some ways unpleasant, but it also feels necessary.

When I first began experimenting with spanking, I would wimp out as soon as it started to actually hurt. I’d tell my partner to stop, feeling like I’d reached my limit, and we’d move on to other things. Over the past few months, I’ve explored this kink more and I can now handle vastly longer, meaner spanking sessions than I could when I started. But it’s not so much that my pain tolerance has increased; I just understand now that pain is okay. My world will not unravel if I experience pain. Some moments will be difficult, sure, but those moments will end. And I will still be okay when they do.

This is also a lesson I’ve had to learn in relation to my anxiety. A favorite mantra of mine (courtesy of author Susan Jeffers) is “feel the fear and do it anyway.” This is one of the simplest, scariest, hugest messages I’ve had to drill into my brain: that most of my fears aren’t based in reality and exist only in my own head. My amygdala might tell me that talking to a cute stranger at a bar or walking into a big party full of strangers is a lion-stampede-level hazard, but it is absolutely no such thing. In the vast majority of cases, I can safely ignore my fear. It’s tricky as hell, and my body and brain will fight me the whole time I’m doing it, but the exhilaration of going through with it is worth the risk, and it’s never, ever as bad as I think it’s going to be.

Alexandra Franzen said it better than I could: “Are you willing to feel temporarily uncomfortable so that you can accomplish something that is permanently amazing?”

When I push through my pain aversion during spankings, I reach that endorphin high – that top-of-the-mountain, good-kink buzz that quiets my mind and pleases my body. I impress my dom, and I get to rest easy knowing I’ve earned it when he tells me I’m a good girl.

When I push through my day-to-day anxieties, I get what Alex Franzen calls “glitter-bombs exploding through my veins.” I feel infallible, badass and brave. I gain a new fear reference, a confidence power-up, and whatever rewards await me at the other end of that courageous thing I did. (A date with a hot new acquaintance? A radio show hosting gig to put on my resumé? A hilarious story to tell at the next TMSG?)

Being brave is the hardest thing I ever do, and it’s also the thing that pays off the most. It’s terrifying, but it’s worth it. It feels impossible, but it’s worth it. It’s painful and awful and risky and reckless, but it’s worth it.

Now, what brave things are you gonna do this year?