Review: Lelo Heaven Scent Pleasure Set

A Lelo candle and a Lelo vibrator, both purple

Lelo wants you to feel ashamed of your junk. There’s no other possible explanation for this abomination. You don’t create a scented vibrator unless you believe genitals are inherently smelly and gross. You just don’t. So that is what Lelo must believe. Or, at least, it is what they must want you to believe, so you’ll buy their products.

People were understandably upset when Lelo released their revamped Lily vibe with “aphrodisiac” scents in 2015. “Just what every girl wants: a vibrator that smells,” Twitter users deadpanned. “There’s still no credible scientific evidence that aphrodisiacs, y’know, work,” Diane Kelly pointed out. “JUST MAKE A FUCKING VIBRATOR, LELO,” Lilly begged.

Some concerns were reasonably aired about whether the toy’s fragrance is actually “body-safe” as Lelo claims. They posted a “how it’s made” blog post which explained the aroma comes from “scented pellets” mixed in with the regular plastic pellets that are melted down to make the Lily. They say the vibrator is “sealed and sterilized” in the final step of production, so theoretically the scent should be locked inside, rather than leaching out to fuck with your vulva’s pH. But I’d still hesitate to recommend this toy to anyone with infection-prone parts. (After all, Lelo is the same company that somehow claimed it’s a safety feature that you can’t tell when their condoms are punctured.)

Lelo sent me the Lily 2 as part of one of their special Valentine’s Day offerings, the Heaven Scent Pleasure Set. In addition to the vibrator, the set contains a scented candle – to continue the theme of “Let’s cover up your icky body smells with perfumey fragrances!!” – and a bottle of Lelo’s own lube. I’ll talk about each in turn.

a purple scented candleFirst, the candle – which is, admittedly, the main reason I requested this set over any of the other Valentine’s sets Lelo recently came out with. I am a bit of a scented-candle fiend; Bath & Body Works is a staple of my mall trips, and I’ve been known to stand around in shops inhaling deeply from candles long past when my friends would’ve liked to leave. My thought process was, “Well, it’s a Lelo set, so I probably won’t like most of what’s in it, but at least I’ll have a scented candle to enjoy.”

They kinda fucked up the candle too, though, because of course they did. It’s supposed to smell like “bordeaux and chocolat” (yes, chocolat, spelled the French way, as only über-pretentious Lelo would). To my nose, it smells more like artificial raspberry candy – which, fine, but I wouldn’t exactly describe that scent as an aphrodisiac. The wick on mine was also placed weirdly off-center, so that only about half of the wax actually got used, halving the burn-time of the candle. Boooo.

a bottle of Lelo lubeAs for the lube – Lelo makes a big bragadocious deal out of telling you their lube is paraben- and glycerine-free (great!), but it still contains propylene glycol, a known irritant that can cause vaginal infections. I will concede that the futuristic-lookin’ pump-top bottle thrills my inner fancyperson, and the lube sticks around pretty well and has a good consistency. But though the packaging claims this lube is fragrance-free, it smells like rubbing alcohol and tastes like bitter chemicals. And in this, 2017, the Year of Our Lord Sliquid, I should not have to use any lube that carries any risk of vaginal infection. Better options exist, and they don’t even taste gross.

Now onto the vibe itself. The Lily 2, I will admit, is a pretty awesome vibe. The motor is noticeably stronger than that in the previous iterations of this toy. It’s rumblier than your typical external vibe – not quite so rumbly as the Tango, say, but certainly closer to that end of the spectrum than many other clit vibes. My clitoris is a certified snob and I still find the Lily 2 plenty powerful and rumbly enough to get me off when combined with a great dildo.

The shape isn’t my favorite. When the tip of the toy is nestled on my clit the way I like it, the buttons are planted in my mons, so I have to lift up part of the vibe to change the speed (which I do a lot). However, that’s because I prefer to place vibrators on the shaft and hood of my clit, rather than the head; I’m sure there are plenty of people who will find the Lily’s shape more intuitive and comfortable. It certainly curves nicely against my body and gives me placement options both pinpointed and broad.

the purple Lelo Lily 2 vibrator on a turquoise background

I also like the Lily’s silky, matte plastic coating, its well-crafted and prettily-lit buttons, and the fact that it’s waterproof. It’s quiet, sturdy, locks for travel, and comes with a cute storage bag. There’s a lot to like about this vibrator, actually. Which is why it’s so disappointing and so typical that Lelo loused it up by adding a scent for no goddamn reason. (A scent which, by the way, I can barely smell when the toy is pressed against my nose, let alone when it’s pressed against my clit.)

There was a time when Lelo made consistently good, standard vibrators that everyone loved. But in recent years, they’ve gotten into a bad habit of adding offensive gimmicks to everything. They made a cock ring for bankers, a We-Vibe ripoff, a lacklustre cunnilingus simulator, a tuxedo for your dick. They made shitty, probably-unsafe condoms and hired known abuser Charlie Sheen as their spokesperson. In short, they’re a mess. Most of my blogger friends refuse to support them anymore, and I have to agree that I won’t feel right recommending Lelo to anyone unless and until they apologize for the Hex condoms and their various sexist missteps. On top of all this, it somehow makes me even angrier that Lelo had a perfectly fabulous clit vibe which they chose to taint by adding a gimmicky scent no one asked for.

If you want a great rechargeable clitoral vibrator, get a Tango, Lust L2, or Form 2. If you want some lube to use with it, pick up some Sliquid. If you want a scented candle, grab one by Jimmyjane. If you want to spend $129 (!) on a better Valentine’s Day gift than the Heaven Scent Pleasure Set, consider a night’s staycation at a local Airbnb, a big gift card to your sweetie’s favorite bookstore/makeup company/repertory theatre, or – hell – a Magic Wand Rechargeable. (Everyone needs one of those.)

But don’t give your money to Lelo, especially not for Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing less romantic than abusive spokespeople, bitter lube, and genital-shaming.

 

Disclosure notice: Lelo provided this product to me in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

12 Days of Girly Juice 2016: 9 Best New Sex Toys

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I am a lucky, lucky babe: companies are always sending me new sex toys and sexual products to try. However, my genitals are picky as hell, so it’s rare for me to deviate from my tried-and-true favorites and fall in love with something new. However, here are 9 toys I received this year that I liked a lot.

9. I don’t really consider myself a “size queen.” True, some of my favorite toys are big – most notably the Double Trouble and Eleven – but I like those more for their curve than their size. So I’m a bit surprised that the Tantus Sam snuck onto this list. It’s pure girth, and doesn’t really bring much else to the table. But gosh, sometimes I just want something thick and meaty inside me and nothing less will do. And when that craving hits, all I can do is sigh, roll my eyes, pull out the Sam, slather it in lube, and get ready for a good solid fuckin’. Available at SheVibe, PinkCherry U.S., PinkCherry CA, and Peepshow Toys.

8. Dammit, Lelo; I can’t believe I kind of like your Mona Wave. Its come-hither motion is still just as torturously slow as it was when I wrote my review, but I must admit that sometimes I’m in the mood to be edged like that. (God knows I’d never have the self-control to stroke my own G-spot as languorously as the Mona Wave strokes it.) Though I’m hesitant to support Lelo anymore because they’re the worst, admittedly I don’t have any other toys quite like the Mona Wave. Available at SheVibe, Come As You Are, and Peepshow Toys.

7. I bought my hot pink California Exotics mini clit pump impulsively, while taking a friend shopping for sex toys, and I’m so glad I did. Previous shitty cheap pumps had failed me, but this one – while still affordable – actually does what a pump is supposed to do. I find it pairs especially well with weed; when I’m high, the intense suction on my clit feels like almost enough to get me off. And it’s certainly enough to get me extremely wet and turned on. Available at Come As You Are.

img_52396. I’ve owned an Aslan Jaguar harness for a while, but this year I traded my black one for a pink one. Still haven’t had occasion to actually use a harness, despite owning three of them (what am I even doing with my life?!) but my raspberry Jag makes me extremely happy nonetheless. One day I’ll fuck someone while wearing this, I promise. Available at SheVibe, Come As You Are, and Early to Bed.

5. During our road trip to Minneapolis in April, my best pal Bex visited kink-themed coffee shop Leather & Latte without me and came back to our Airbnb with a brand new stone lollipop crop. I tried it out on my arm and then on my thigh, and before too long, decided I needed to pay a visit to the café and buy my own crop ASAP. I’m so glad I snapped it up while I had the chance! It’s the stingiest, bruisiest impact play toy I own, and was an oft-requested hit at our spanking partyAvailable… fuckin’ nowhere except in-person at Leather & Latte, apparently. Sorry!

img_52464. Speaking of impact play toys… My KinkMachineWorks Lexan paddle is my favorite one of all time (at least so far). I bought it after eying it on Etsy for quite some time. The first night I got it, I brought it over to Georgia‘s house and she left some impressive bruises on me. What I like about this thing is that it’s bruisey and pleasantly thuddy without being overly painful. Yeah, it hurts, but it’s rarely too much for me to take. Not to mention, there’s something to be said for a see-through paddle, especially if (like me) you like to look at beautiful butts as you smack ’em… Available on Etsy.

3. I don’t have much to say about the Doxy Wand, ’cause it’s just a good vibrator that does its fuckin’ job. You would be surprised how few vibes I can actually say that about. This thing is rumbly and dependable; it was an easy choice for this list, even though I still favor my Magic Wand RechargeableAvailable at SheVibe, Tantus, and Early to Bed

img_52322. I knew the Liberator Jaz would upgrade my sex life, but I didn’t realize quite how much! I’ve used it countless times during sex and masturbation, to boost my hips for a more comfortable and pleasurable angle of penetration. It also works great for spanking, blowjobs, cunnilingus, and all manner of other fun things. I’m glad I made the investment in this firm little workhorse! Available at SheVibe, Come As You Are, and Peepshow Toys

1. Hands down, my favorite new toy I acquired this year is my Eroscillator Top Deluxe. I’ve said it all before and I’ll say it again: it makes me come super hard, super fast. It fits neatly between bodies during sex. It pairs well with dildos, partners’ fingers, and/or partners’ dicks. It’s quiet-ish, well-made, slightly less ugly now than its previous copper iteration, and a definite conversation starter. It’s remained on my nightstand ever since I got it, which is the highest compliment I can give a sex toy, truly. Available at SheVibe, PinkCherry U.S., and PinkCherry CA.

What were your favorite sex toys this year?

Review: Lelo Mona Wave

There are a number of missteps that get sex bloggers up in arms. Conflating vulvas with vaginas. Sexist or racist toy marketing. Medical misinformation. We hate all of those things, but if you really wanna set off sex blogger tantrums galore, try telling us sex toys are a substitute for a human partner. Oh, we will flip our wigs.

So, what I’m about to say is somewhat sacrilegious, but: the Lelo Mona Wave is a sex toy which makes it glaringly, dishearteningly obvious that I am fucking a sex toy and not a person.

Normally this wouldn’t bother me. I’m under no illusions about sex toys needing to feel like real dicks, or mouths, or what have you. I know that human partners edge out toys in terms of spontaneity, excitement and responsiveness, but toys usually win when it comes to intense G-spot stimulation, hyper-efficient orgasms, or multi-tasking. But there’s something about the Mona Wave that routinely makes me sad it’s not a person. Like, deeply, disproportionately sad.

The Mona Wave is basically Lelo’s answer to Fun Factory’s Stronic line: automated thrusting for lazy masturbators comme moi. But while the Stronic thrums back and forth like a thrusting cock, the Mona Wave curls up and down like the come-hither-ing fingers of a G-spot-savvy lover. If that lover was extremely stoned or had just taken an elephant tranquilizer.

See, the Mona Wave’s motion is slooooow. There are two movement speeds, and they might as well be called “leisurely” and “tortoise-esque.” And that slowness is what makes me wish the toy was a human. It tries to directly imitate something humans do – that intense finger-curling that pleases so many G-spots the world over – but it does a bad job at replicating this act. If the Mona Wave were a human, I could sit up, give it a slightly exasperated look, and chirp, “Faster, please!” But it’s not a human, so I can’t do that. And it makes me feel… weirdly lonely.

Getting finger-fucked is one of my favorite acts. I fantasize about it frequently, and it’s often the way I get off with partners, their thick fingers stroking my insides as I hold a vibe to my clit. But what makes it exciting for me is the dynamism. It’s electrically hot to feel someone’s fingers quicken inside you when they sense that you need that, or ramp up the power of their thrusts as they feel you getting close. A well-attuned partner might slow down as you descend from the peak of your orgasm, or keep pounding at top speed if you prefer that. The Mona Wave doesn’t do any of these things, or even approximate them convincingly. And I know a toy isn’t a person, but it feels like Lelo has sent me a toy to do a person’s job.

Aside from the lacklustre motion settings, there’s not a whole lot to say about the Mona Wave. It vibrates, too, but as other reviewers have noted, the vibrations are disappointingly weaker than those on the standard Mona 2. I can rarely get off with the Mona 2 anyway – its vibrations are rumbly-ish but still just a liiiittle too buzzy for my demanding clit – so the Wave’s non-motion modes aren’t terribly exciting to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had several wonderful orgasms with the Mona Wave. But the G-spot stimulation is so tantalizingly slow that it feels like a partner is trying to keep me on the edge without letting me go over. If you’re into that sort of carefully meted sensation denial, you might enjoy the Mona Wave‘s lackadaisical stroking. But if your G-spot needs speed or pressure (and most need both), I’d recommend a Stronic thruster instead, or any decent G-spot dildo you can thrust by hand. You deserve better than a toy that almost gives you what you want.

Thanks for sending me this toy, Lelo!

Review: Lelo Siri 2

There’s a part in How to Be a Woman that’s about boyfriends but reminded me of the Lelo Siri 2. (That should give you an idea of how poorly my love life is going, eh?)

In the passage to which I’m referring, Caitlin writes that a woman who’s unhappy in her relationship will have a million different things to say about it: excuses, justifications, explanations. But a woman whose relationship is going well will be comparatively tight-lipped about it – not because she’s being secretive, but because there just isn’t much to say. “I’m really happy,” she’ll tell you if you ask. “It’s just… good.

That’s how I feel about the Siri 2. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, because it’s just… good. Really, really good. Solidly, dependably, surprisingly good.

I say “surprisingly” because Lelo’s product line has been massively hit-or-miss for the past few years. They keep putting out gimmicky bullshit like an oral sex simulator, rotating Kegel beads, and a cock ring for bankers (WHY?!) – and then once in a while they’ll throw in a toy that actually works really well, like the Mona 2. Every time Lelo launches a new toy, I tiptoe toward it hesitantly, like I’m approaching a landmine field: will this new thing make me scream in pain or will it actually get me off?

Well, I’m delighted to report that the Siri 2 has gotten me off. Many, many times. In fact, it snuck into my top 5 all-time favorite vibrators after I’d only owned it for a couple months. It’s that good. Let me tell you why.

The Siri 2 is, of course, an update on the original Siri. (Before you ask: the Lelo toy predates the Apple lady-robot.) I loved the Siri from the get-go. It had what was, at the time, Lelo’s strongest and rumbliest motor ever. Its shape is surprisingly versatile for a clit toy: you can get broad contact or a more pinpointed touch, depending on how you hold it against your body. The controls are easy to understand and operate, the toy locks for travel, and it’s quiet.

Basically, it was everything I want and need in a clit vibe, except that it wasn’t waterproof – a problem that has been rectified in the Siri 2, which you can use in the bath to your heart’s delight. (Which I have. A lot. Thanks, Lelo!)

Lelo achieved what a lot of toy companies seem to fuck up: they overhauled one of their existing toys and actually made it better, without adding (too many) extraneous or useless new features. The Siri 2 is quite a bit stronger than the old one, and it has several new vibration patterns. I don’t normally like vibration patterns – give me steady power or you might as well try to get me off by wiggling a feather on my clit, i.e. it’s not gonna happen – but these ones are actually quite lovely. They can bring me right to the edge and keep me there, which is really what patterns should do: tease and titillate. (And, admittedly, one time I had an orgasm while using the Siri 2 on its weirdest, randomest mode. I was shocked, but pleased.)

For reasons that are confusing to everyone, Lelo also added a sound-responsive setting to this iteration of the Siri, in which the toy is supposed to respond vibrationally to any music you might be listening to or noise you might be making. Call me a shoddy reviewer, but I haven’t even bothered with this mode. Plenty of other reviewers hated it and/or said it didn’t work at all, which fits with Lelo’s M.O. of releasing gimmicky shit that doesn’t appear to have been tested thoroughly enough (*cough* the barely-functional remote control on the original Tiani *cough*). I wasn’t about to let my love for the Siri 2 be ruined by a pointless and poorly designed “music mode” that’s pretty clearly an OhMiBod ripoff anyway, so I didn’t try it. Sorry-not-sorry.

But as a regular ol’ clit vibe, the Siri 2 exceeded my expectations and is pretty close to perfect. It’s hella rumbly and has a wide variety of power settings, from “gentle buzz” all the way up to “HOLY FUCK YES.” The shape of it works splendidly for my clit. The whole unit is comfortable to hold, even for long periods of time. I love being able to take it in the bath. I love the vibration patterns. I love the smooth silicone, grippy plastic, and color options. I love that the controls are so intuitive I can operate them even when I’m drunk or dead-tired or in a hurry.

The buttons are a little hard to push. That’s really my only complaint. And it’s hardly a big deal. I think this problem has actually improved substantially with use, since, you know, mashing on buttons in the throes of ecstasy multiple times a week will tend to loosen ‘em up pretty quick.

So, yes – the Lelo Siri 2 goes wholeheartedly on my list of Vibrators I Definitely Recommend. Put it on your clit and the clits of people you love. It’ll do ya right.

Thank you, Lelo!

My Top 5 Favorite Vibrators of All Time

The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory, so let’s hop right to it, shall we?

1. The Eroscillator (review) is my favorite sex toy in the universe. End of story. I’ve easily used it hundreds of times since I got it 3-ish years ago, and it’s still going strong. The oscillations feel noticeably different from regular vibrations; they seem to go deeper into my internal clitoris and don’t cause me numbness like vibrations can. The Eroscillator is also long and thin so it fits nicely between two bodies for use during PIV sex; the Eroscillator + penis combo is one of my favorite ways to get off ever ever ever. I particularly recommend picking up the fingertip attachment because I find the harder attachments too intense sometimes.

2. The We-Vibe Tango (review) is my favorite rechargeable vibe, bar none. It’s soooo strong and rumbly, and the focused shape is perfect for my clit. I don’t love that you have to cycle through the modes one-by-one, but I’ve gotten used to it now so it doesn’t feel like a big deal to me anymore. It’s also waterproof and water doesn’t really dampen its magnificent rumbling. The only thing I don’t love about my Tango is the way it charges, but that’s been updated since I got mine, and I hear the newer ones are a lot better in that regard.

3. The Hitachi Magic Wand gives me very mixed feelings, but now that I know how to use it in a way that works for me, I at least don’t hate it anymore. It can get me off on those days when my bits seem irreparably numb or finicky, and it also works through multiple layers, so if I’m too lazy to take off my pants, that’s not a problem for the Hitachi. It’s a classic for a reason, and that reason is that it’s strong as fuck.

4. The Lelo Mona 2 is just exactly what a penetrative vibe should be. The handle is long enough to provide adequate leverage. The controls are easy to use, even in the heat of the moment. The vibrations are strong and rumbly enough to stimulate my vaginal walls without numbing them. The curve accesses my G-spot with minimal effort and feels good whether I thrust the toy or keep it still. It’s waterproof for bathtime shenanigans. And the toy can be repurposed for clitoral use, no problem. Lelo recently tried to update the Mona but you can’t improve upon perfection, man.

5. I only just received the Lelo Siri 2 and my review is forthcoming, but suffice it to say: this new offering from Lelo is simple and effective. Or perhaps effective because it’s simple. (Seriously, Lelo, stop trying to make everything so fancy all the time. Just keep making easy-to-use sex toys with excellent motors like this one and you’ll stay on top.)

What are your favorite vibrators of all time?