Review: Fun Factory Laya II

How does that saying go? “Be careful what you wish for; you might get a less-good version of it”? Yeah, something like that.

I tried the battery-powered Fun Factory LayaSpot back in 2013. In my review, I wrote: “The vibrations are too weak and surfacey to get me off… I really wish they would overhaul this vibe as a rechargeable, because I would buy the shit out of that.” Lo and behold, four years later, Fun Factory came out with the Laya II, a rechargeable upgrade on the LayaSpot.

This new model has the exact same shape and dimensions as its predecessor, so devotees of the classic will dig it. The Layas’ shape is one of the things I like best about them: the rounded tip can dig into my clit with the moderate pressure I like, and is broad enough to cover the whole head of my clit but pinpoint enough to stimulate only where I want it. It feels comfortable in my hand, which wraps around it ergonomically such that my index finger can rest over the controls. It’s really quite a well-designed vibrator, shape-wise.

Motor-wise, though, not so much. The reason I wanted a rechargeable version of this toy is that Fun Factory is known for their fantastic rechargeable motors. Their other rechargeables, like the G4 Patchy Paul and G5 Big Boss, are remarkably strong and rumbly – but they’re all big enough to be used internally, and I wanted a li’l clitoral vibe, since I use vibrators externally almost exclusively. The Laya II does not have the signature bomb-ass Fun Factory motor; it has, instead, something weaker, buzzier, and disappointing.

It’s possible they did this because of size constraints – you can’t fit the same mechanics into something little like the Laya II that you could fit into a bigger, penetrative vibe – but other companies have managed to make powerful, rumbly clit vibes. (The We-Vibe Tango, VeDO Bam, and Swan Wand Mini come to mind.) I believed that if anyone could make the next truly great clit vibe, the one that would rival the Tango at long last, it would be Fun Factory. I’m kind of bummed that that isn’t the case.

Don’t get me wrong: the Laya II’s motor is fine. It can get me off. I’d rate it as a 6 out of 10 on the buzzy-to-rumbly scale – not awful, but not my favorite. And any level of buzziness grates on me these days, frankly. Like my friend Epiphora says about rumbly vibes: “My clit perks up, longing for orgasm, becoming an active participant in the process. Using a buzzier vibe, my arousal level is more stagnant, less dynamic, and the masturbatory experience is just not as fun.” The Laya II’s vibrations feel great for a couple minutes, but then their buzziness numbs my clit, so I have to move the vibe around, thrust my accompanying dildo faster, and/or crank the power. That buzzy quality would be understandable in a $50 battery-operated vibe like the LayaSpot; it’s less reasonable in a $120 rechargeable like the Laya II.

These vibrations are also loud. They make a high-pitched, jangly clattering noise that reminds me simultaneously of bees and snakes. And they numb my hand. Like it’s been stung and/or bitten by a bee and/or a snake.

To add insult to injury, the Laya II has a super unintuitive controls scheme whereby hitting the “plus” button again after the third steady speed turns the toy to a vibration pattern. This has tripped me up multiple times: I keep thinking I can increase the vibration speed further (because my clit’s so numb that I need mega-powered vibrations at that point), but then accidentally switching to a pattern and fucking up my impending orgasm. Aaaargh!

It’s just so frustrating that Fun Factory put such a sad motor in a toy as otherwise lovely as the Laya II. It makes me want to crack this vibe open and replace its motor with one from the We-Vibe Tango. You know, if I knew a damn thing about electronics and could do that. Which, alas, I don’t and can’t.

 

Thank you so much to Fun Factory for sending me this toy to review! You can shop their toys at SheVibe, Peepshow, and Come As You Are.

Review: BMS Factory Swan Wand

Here’s a fact about the BMS Factory Swan Wand: I once knew a super-hot sex toy salesperson who told me the Swan Wand was his favorite toy.

This piqued my interest on two levels. Firstly, when someone whose literal job it is to know about sex toys tells you their favorite toy – and indeed, he was hyper-knowledgeable about toys, moreso even than me – they probably know what they’re talking about. And secondly, when a hot person tells you about a sex toy they love, it’s hard not to imagine them using it. On themselves. On other people. On you. Whatever.

I didn’t own a Swan Wand at the time. But he kept telling me to buy it. And his very endorsement made me want to do what he said. (It certainly helped that he was pretty dommy, too.)

Here’s another fact about the Swan Wand: I once mistook it for a motor vehicle.

I had the vibe with me when I got on a streetcar one night, and must have bumped it through the side of my bag as I sat down. It jolted to life but I 100% assumed it was the streetcar’s thrumming motor I felt against my elbow. I had earbuds in, so I couldn’t hear the wand clattering against the other contents of my purse. It took me over ten minutes to realize what had happened. The Swan Wand’s vibrations are that strong and rumbly. (I cringe to imagine what the other streetcar-riders around me thought was going on in my bag.)

Though this vibe has the word “wand” in its name and often appears in the “wand vibes” section on sex toy websites, it’s not really a wand in the traditional sense; it’s more of a super-powered G-spot vibe. I can take the smaller (1.5″ diameter) end in my vag comfortably with a good water-based lube, though I wish it was a little more tapered to allow for easier insertion without warm-up. The larger end, by contrast, has a 2.5″ diameter – so, while some people could insert it, I have not attempted it and tend to use that end more like I’d use an actual wand vibe: for broad, general stimulation over my whole vulva.

Each end of the Swan Wand has its own motor, and they feel quite different from each other – so cool! While both motors are remarkably strong and rumbly, the one on the larger end is rumblier: I can feel it physically thrumming against me like a jaguar that’s swallowed a jackhammer. However, despite this, I still use the smaller end far more often, because my clit prefers its pinpointed shape.

The Swan Wand is rechargeable (with a surprisingly long-lasting charge for a dual-motor toy), fully waterproof, and has a convenient travel lock (which I foolishly forgot to turn on before the vibe clattered to life in my bag that day on the streetcar, natch). There’s a lot to love about it. But I have a couple issues with it that make it unlikely to become a go-to for me.

First: the controls. The Swan Wand has two buttons – one to control each motor – and they both work the same way: you press once to turn the motor on, press additional times to scroll through the toy’s 7 vibration functions, or press and hold to increase the vibration speed. The toy’s LED light flashes gradually faster as the vibration speed increases, and then turns solid once you’ve reached the max speed. At any point while on a higher speed, you can press the button again to bring the vibe back down to the speed you started at – a useful function for people like me who get overstimulated easily and need to dial things back multiple times in a session.

Try as I might, I can’t seem to get used to this controls scheme. I keep accidentally hitting the button instead of holding it down, so I’ll flip to a different vibration pattern at the key moment when I needed to boost the speed. Additionally, I find it hard to get to the exact speed I’m looking for, because the press-and-hold system is imprecise if you have a somewhat slow reaction time like me. I would much prefer a simple “this button increases the speed, this one decreases it” interface.

Turning the vibrator off entails pressing both its buttons at the same time – a not-entirely-intuitive move for many. (God, I can’t even tell you how many times I had to help a blushing customer shut off our demo Swan Wand at the sex shop where I used to work.)

My other major issue with the Swan Wand is that the intense vibrations travel throughout the toy’s entire body, so you feel them in your hand the whole time you’re using the toy. This isn’t as annoying as it would be if the vibe was buzzier and more numbing, but it’s still pretty annoying, and often puts me off of using this toy when I would otherwise like to.

That said, you’re probably not gonna find a stronger G-spot vibe than this one. I find it stronger and rumblier than some of the industry’s other major contenders, like the Lelo second-generation G-spot vibes, We-Vibe insertables, and Fun Factory G4 and G5 vibes. G-spots typically respond best to deep vibrations such as these, rather than more surface-level ones – so if you already know you like vibration on your G-spot and want to kick it up a notch, the Swan Wand would be a great investment.

But I use vibrators externally almost exclusively, and this one is a bit too hand-numbing and unintuitive to operate, so I’ll probably only reach for it when I need a lot of power without much finesse.

 

Thank you to Adam & Eve for providing this toy for me to review, and for sponsoring this post! The discount code “GIRLY” will get you 50% off almost any one item on their site – including this vibrator, if you choose to buy it – as well as free shipping on your entire order in the U.S. and Canada. 

Review: Sportsheets Under-the-Bed Restraints

I am kinky, and I’m lazy.

These qualities do not conflict as often as you might think. I’m a submissive and a bottom, so as much as I love BJs and facesitting, a lot of what I do in bed basically amounts to “lie back and receive sensation.” My boyfriend is a sadistic, toppy, domly dom, so we’re a good match in that way.

But kink, in general, is not always compatible with laziness. There’s often preparation involved. You have to keep your rope detangled, your leathers shiny, your toys sanitized. This type of ritual is part of the fun for many people. But me? I’m lazy. And impatient. If setup’s gonna take more than a few minutes, I’ll probably pass.

That, my friends, is the #1 reason I adore my Sportsheets Under-the-Bed Restraint System. It takes the prep time out of bondage. Your cuffs are ready to go – literally attached to your bed – at all times. It’s fucking genius.

I first discovered these restraints when a Tinder hookup of mine cuffed me into his after a cute drinks date. What followed was probably the best one-night stand I’ve ever had – I normally hate them, but this one was a gem in the dumpster fire that is Tinder. I experienced a triple whammy of uncommonalities for me: I had an orgasm, during a first hookup, during PIV sex, without using a vibrator. Reason being: he was dominant and toppy in all the ways that turn me on the most, and I was strapped to his bed, helpless and immobile and fucking soaking wet. The dude was hot and dommy and fun, and so were those restraints. Unf.

So obviously, when Adam & Eve asked if I’d like to review something for them, these restraints topped my list.

Here’s how they work. Four cuffs (two for wrists, two for ankles) are attached to long straps that you can slide under your mattress. I am neither strong nor handy and I managed to do this myself, without injuring myself or breaking my bed (hurrah). They are then held in place by the weight of the mattress and whoever’s on top of it, so you can struggle pretty hard against them and still feel hopelessly trapped, you lucky, lucky thing.

The straps are highly adjustable, so they fit just fine on my diminutive double-size bed and supposedly on any size bed (though, if you’re tiny like my friend Sarah, the straps might not reach your limbs on a large bed). The first time my boyfriend smirked at me darkly while tightening the straps attached to my wrists, I may have blushed, giggled, and gotten ridiculously wet all at the same time…

The cuffs that come with this set are cheap black nylon ones that fasten with Velcro. They’re fine, especially for kink novices who don’t intend to struggle much, but I replaced my wrist cuffs with ones from Aslan Leather because I find them more visually appealing and also more comfortable for scenes where I’ll be moving around a lot. The single strip of Velcro on the original cuffs can dig into the skin and become irritating if you pull against them hard.

Additionally, the clips to which the cuffs attach cannot be detached from the under-the-bed straps, so if you want to replace the Velcro cuffs with better ones, you’ll need some kind of clip or connector to link the two together. I picked up some purple metal carabiners at a hardware store for about $2 apiece, and those work fine. Would’ve been nice to not have to buy anything extra, though.

The one plus side to keeping the original Velcro cuffs is that they’re super quick to remove, if need be. If someone starts to have a panic attack or a medical emergency and needs to be out of bondage immediately, Velcro’s gonna be the better choice than a leather cuff that takes multiple steps to undo.

That said, once I get a nice pair of leather ankle cuffs with which to replace the other two Velcro ones still strapped to my bed, I’ll be 100% thrilled with this restraint system. It makes bondage soooo easy and quick, eliminating the barrier of laziness that often kept me from doing kink stuff because it felt like “too much work.” Plus there is something so badass about having bondage devices strapped to your bed at all times. That shit makes me feel like the committed lifestyle kinkster I aspire to be, or maybe already am.

 

Thanks to Adam & Eve for supplying me with this product to review, and sponsoring this post! The discount code “GIRLY” will get you 50% off almost any one item – including this restraint system, if you choose to buy it – as well as free shipping on your entire order in the U.S. and Canada. Rad!

Review: We-Vibe Wish

“It’s like two Tango motors in one toy,” said one of the managers at the sex shop where I worked, and my ears perked up so hard they practically fell off.

The We-Vibe Tango is my favorite vibrator. It’s my bedside buddy, my travel-size titillator, my ‘gasmic go-to. It comes with me on sex dates and on vacations. I use it solo, with partners, and various combinations thereof. It’s simply the strongest and rumbliest vibrator of its size (with the possible exception of the Swan Wand Mini, which I sadly don’t yet own), so nothing has yet unseated it as my number-one toy-bag essential.

You can imagine, then, how excited I was when I heard the We-Vibe Wish was like two Tangos in one. And in my favorite shade of bright turquoise, no less. “I Wish I owned one,” I started joking every time I showed it to customers at the shop, but it wasn’t really a joke.

The good folks at Luxury Vibrators sent me a Wish to try, and I’m sad to say it didn’t quite live up to my hopes. There’s a lot to love about it, but it’s not as flawless a fit with my personal anatomy and vibrator usage style as I had expected.

First, let’s talk about the motors. Yes, plural – because there are two of them. As it’s been explained to me, the vibrations shift back and forth quickly between the motors, creating what We-Vibe calls PowerPulse™: “a new, ultra-powerful vibration sensation that feels like waves of pleasure.” Indeed, it whirrs and rumbles unlike any other vibe I’ve felt of this size; the quality of vibration reminds me of the lower speeds on the Magic Wand Rechargeable, which is a very, very good thing.

That said, when I put pressure on the toy, I can feel the motors’ rhythm skipping like an arrhythmia. It doesn’t take much pressure to activate this flaw; sometimes it happens just from me lightly resting the toy against my clit. This is apparently a common problem with dual-motor toys: it was observed by many a reviewer about the Jimmyjane Form 2, for example. In the case of the Wish, it doesn’t interrupt the sensation on my clit too much, but it is definitely noticeable and often distracting, and makes me worry that the motors’ function will decline as time goes on.

As with most newer We-Vibe toys, this one is controllable via the company’s We-Connect app. While I love using my phone as an intuitive remote for more complex toys, it’s less useful for a simple vibe like the Wish: it’s easier and quicker to just cycle through modes using the vibe’s one button than to connect the toy to the app. You can use the app to let a partner control your vibe from across the room or across the planet, though, so that’s cool. And while the toy’s button lets you cycle through only three steady speeds (more on that in a sec), the app gives you more granular control: you can swipe or tap your way through 10 different steady speeds, plus several vibration patterns, plus make your own patterns if you are so inclined.

At the store, I used to tell customers that the Wish would be perfect for use during PIV – but now I regret that, because it isn’t really true. Despite its gentle, vulva-esque curve and squishy silicone housing, it’s just a little too big and bulky to comfortably fit between bodies, unless you’re intentionally leaving enough space between your pelvises. That curved shape also causes the Wish to make a rhythmic purring noise when a partner’s body moves against mine during intercourse. It sounds like a goddamn jaguar. “It was a bit distracting,” my beau said, tactfully, after a PIV sesh in which we were trying to be Seriously Kinky but just ended up Seriously Giggly because of those damn noises.

The other distracting factor: I was expecting the Wish to work like my ol’ faithful Tango, and it doesn’t. I thought it would have four steady speeds and four patterns, and that you’d have to cycle through all of them to get back to the beginning; that’s how the Tango works, and it’s not a perfect system, but I’m used to it and know how to do it in a hurry. The Wish has three steady speeds followed by seven patterns, which, as you might imagine, has been a bit of an adjustment for me. During PIV with a partner, I kept clicking to what I thought would be the highest steady speed, only to accidentally activate a pattern and fuck up my own impending orgasm. This is frustrating, but as with any vibrator, I could become accustomed to it if I was using this toy a lot.

It’d be less annoying to cycle through those ten modes if the Wish’s button was easier to locate and press in the heat of the moment. It’s smaller and flatter than the button on the Tango, takes a more thorough push, and feels tactilely similar to the magnetic charger port right next to it, so I have to look right at it when I press it, or I risk missing it altogether. This, again, would be mitigated if this was the only vibe I was using and I was therefore forced to get used to it, but that’s not the case. Even so: why does We-Vibe insist on only putting one button on most of their toys? I think everyone would be happier if they had an “increase speed/next mode” button and a “decrease speed/previous mode” button. It’d be way more intuitive than having to cycle through all the speeds and patterns to get back to the first one.

Shape-wise, the Wish is well-designed. Its pointed tip will appease those who like more pinpoint sensations like the Tango could deliver, while its edges and flat sides are ideal for broader stimulation or even full-body massage. In many ways, it feels like a wand vibe without the bulkiness and heaviness most of those toys suffer from.

It’s also just super cute. I love the way it looks in my hand: adorably turquoise, sensual but not overtly sexual, substantial but not massive. It’s the kind of toy that probably wouldn’t intimidate a partner (unless your partner is the worst), and that wouldn’t horribly embarrass you if you’d left it lying on your nightstand when company came over.

On top of all that, the Wish is 100% waterproof, charges magnetically (via a much better-developed system than the Tango’s frustratingly weak magnetic charger), and comes with a one-year warranty. I want to like it. We-Vibe tried so hard to make this a great toy. But the pressure-induced skips in vibration, plus the annoyance of having to cycle through all the modes, make it unlikely to join my roster of go-to vibes. It’s bigger than I’d prefer for usage with a partner, and more finicky than I’d prefer for usage alone. Dammit.

I’m still waiting for someone to make a decent competitor for the Tango. C’mon, vibrator industry. You can do it. I believe in you!

 

Thanks so much to Luxury Vibrators for sending me this product to review!

Review: Sili Saddle

I’m conflicted about the Sili Saddle. It is, as its name suggests, silly. And yet it might also be useful for lots of people. People whose genitals are different from mine in many ways.

The product’s website describes it as a “super-soft non-penetrative manual vulvar stimulator.” It was apparently developed by a woman who had vulvar irritation and couldn’t have her genitals touched in the usual ways without pain. “It’s great for gentle solo stimulation and enhances partnered intimacy, acting as a soothing yet stimulating barrier when skin-on-skin friction is uncomfortable,” the product’s website explains. “It works beautifully as a non-vibrating pleasure pad for sensitive vulvas.”

This is a fantastic idea, and serves – I’m sure – a niche market that has always existed but has rarely been acknowledged. I know there are people who are reading this right now, eyes wide and mouth ajar, thinking: This! This is what I need!

I’m happy for those people. However, if you’re looking at this product and feeling mystified – a non-vibrating, flat disc of squishy silicone with a ridge along the underside?! – here are some other uses I’ve found for the Sili Saddle, as a person who doesn’t have recurrent vulvar pain or irritation:

Warm-up. Sometimes, if I start masturbating without getting myself turned on through porn or other means first, my clit is too sensitive to be touched right away. I can lay the Sili Saddle’s raised ridge over my clit, put my palm on its flat side, and move it around for some super gentle, indirect clit stimulation. I do this with lube if I want some slippery-slidey friction, or without lube if I’m more in the mood for anchored pressure. I don’t think I could have an orgasm this way unless I had gone several days without coming, was very turned on, and had maybe smoked a bunch of weed – but if your clit is more sensitive and your orgasms more easily induced than mine, you might like using the Sili Saddle in this way.

Orgasm deprivation. I could see the Sili Saddle being useful in a kink scenario where a dominant partner was purposely denying you sensation. “You’ve been so good that I’m going to let you touch yourself,” they’d say, and your eyes would light up – but then they’d slap the Sili Saddle onto your bits and add, evilly, “THROUGH THIS!” Then they would watch with devious amusement as you tried to eke an orgasm out of this toy. Ah, the delicious cruelty of it all!

Strap-on cushioning. When I worked at a sex shop, I heard customers complain all the time that strapping on during sex can result in uncomfortable friction and impact against the genitals of the wearer. My shop didn’t carry the Sili Saddle, but I wish it had; I could’ve sold dozens! The soft silicone of this toy is ideal for absorbing the impact of thrusting, so you won’t feel bruised after a thorough strap-on sesh. Furthermore, that ridge along one side can provide some gentle clit stimulation for the strap-on wearer that’ll add to their enjoyment.

Vibration mitigation. If you have, say, a Magic Wand, and you find it sometimes (or always) feels too intense, you can use it through a Sili Saddle to help manage those sensations. This is different from using the vibe through clothes because a) the Sili Saddle is thicker, so it subdues the vibration better, and b) it has that ridge, which sits against your clit and focuses the vibrations while softening them. I love using my Sili Saddle and Magic Wand this way when I’m getting warmed up ‘n’ turned on, especially because it keeps the vibrator from numbing my genitals before the party even gets started.

PIV padding. As someone who often sleeps with scruffy cis men, I am familiar with the perils of scratchy dude-pubes against my sensitive clit. If pubis-on-pubis contact during intercourse is uncomfortable for you, whether due to pubic hair, pressure, or some other factor, you might wanna slide a Sili Saddle in between and see if it improves things. For me, this is more of a “decreasing discomfort” thing than an “adding pleasure” thing; if I want to amp up my pleasure during intercourse, I’m likelier to grab a We-Vibe or a small handheld clit vibe.

As you can see, the Sili Saddle can be used in many ways and would, I’m sure, be an invaluable tool to folks with super sensitive and/or irritated genitals. However, that’s not me, so I doubt I’ll use mine much after I’m done this review.

It sure is pretty, though.

 

Thanks to the folks at Sili Saddle for sending me their product to review!