Guest Review: Venus for Men

Note from Kate: In over 5 years of writing this blog, I’ve never published anything from guest writers, because, frankly, I wanted this to be my space and I have super high standards. However, a friend of mine recently bought himself a Venus for Men and wanted to contribute a review, and since I know he’s a funny writer, I was excited to publish it here. Enjoy!


I’ve been looking for the perfect penis-centered toy for a long time. At age 12, I cut open a rubber ice pack, shoved it between couch cushions, and fucked the shit out of it. It may have been the most sensual seventeen seconds of my life. By age 18, I’d put my dick in dozens of household objects; it’s a miracle that I never ended up in the emergency room! As I got older, I kept searching for better toys. I tried all manner of low-quality Doc Johnson toys, pussy sleeves, the disappointing Autoblow, the classic-but-underwhelming Fleshlight, and even the futuristic Soloflesh. I got a Cobra Libre last year, and it was fun now and then, but I had always been jealous about the wealth of toys available to the vulva’d among us.

It always seemed that one small consolation of our bustling patriarchy was the plethora of techno-marvels available to your average AFAB (assigned female at birth) person. The Rabbit, the Hitachi Magic Wand, the Satisfyer, the Eroscillator, the Sybian, and every conceivable shape, size, and feel of dildos and insertables. It makes sense; the very notion of “the female orgasm” has been considered elusive or unimportant throughout history, whereas your average penis-haver can experience orgasm seemingly by accident. Of course there would be more options made with women in mind.

But anyway, back to me. A man.

I would watch porn where women seemed to be deliriously possessed by the power of their sex toys, and I had so rarely felt that way. I watched a man attach a dildo to a power tool and fuck his partner at a speed that would be humanly impossible. I wanted to experience something like that! But the more toys I bought, the more I felt like the ones made for my anatomy would never hold a candle to their vulva-targeted rivals.

There was, however, one shining star in this (ahem) Milky Way… one last hope, however far-off and improbable: The Venus For Men. In a world of cheap and disappointing dick toys, the Venus For Men – which, when I first heard about it, was called “The Venus 2000” – unabashedly touted itself as the best of the best. Sure, there were always RealDolls, but even if you shell out the money and have somewhere to hide the lifeless body in between uses, you still have to expend the energy to physically fuck a RealDoll. That’s not a penis’s equivalent to an Eroscillator, it’s an Ab Roller with boobs.

Let’s talk for a second about what the Venus For Men is and what it does. In practical terms, it’s a black box that sucks and blows. That’s all it does, it’s a box containing an actuator which simply sucks and blows. You connect the box via air hose to a cylindrical plastic dick chamber with a skin-like liner inside of it. Another hose connects to an air controller, and you operate the Venus’s speed and stroke length with wired remote control units. The unique feature of the Venus is that it changes the pressure in between the liner and the cylinder, so the user’s penis is sucked in and out of the liner, which in turns slides the perfectly form-fitting dick cylinder over the penis like some kind of magical, prehensile orifice. And, once properly positioned and calibrated, it will cling to your dick regardless of what position you’re in. It’s a sex robot without the creepy facial expressions. A subby vacuum cleaner with a hungry mouth. The pinnacle of space-age wiener tech.

And, since it’s the cream(ing) of the crop, it’s also quite expensive. The Venus retails for $956 USD, and that’s without optional attachments. Maybe some billionaires can drop that on a whim, but I’ve resigned myself to paying off student loans and keeping a tight leash on my credit card.

At least that was the case, until the money came in.

I made a good business move once that led to a huge financial windfall this year. So I paid off my loans and decided to celebrate my debt-free status by allocating a few thousand dollars as “fun money.” One lonely night, I rediscovered the Venus For Men website. This formerly unattainable item was now well within my budget. When would I get another chance like this? And, hey, they even had a 45-day money-back guarantee (though they discourage you from sending back a used dick cylinder). What did I have to lose?

By the way: One unique element of ordering a Venus is the five – FIVE – measurements you’re required to take of your penis. But after years of lackluster “one size fits all” sex toys, I went along with it. Even the inseam.

Finally, the day arrived. I carefully opened the box, took out the pieces, and I found the setup pretty simple. Within five minutes, I was lubing up the dick cylinder (officially called “the receiver”) and taking her for a spin. And WHOA wowee wow wow what a short and intense ride that first orgasm was. The way I remember it is basically like this:

0:01 Whoa, it’s really pulling my dick in there.
0:04 Wow, that feels amazing. I can see why it’s so expensive!
0:11 I wonder how fast this thing can go…
0:15 Holy shit that was amazing.

It was like a sexy wizard said “Here, let me give you a kickass BJ” and then, after a few seconds, got bored and just cast an instant-orgasm spell on me. I clocked the max speed of the Venus at around 5 strokes per second, and by “stroke” I mean a complete in-and-out suck-and-fuck of your dick. Even if blowjobs were an Olympic event, I don’t think the most performance-enhanced athlete could achieve speeds anywhere near what this baby can do. This was the deep-throat version of one of those power tool dildos. Finally, instead of wishing I had an organ as magical as a clitoris, I was ecstatic to have a dick just so I could stick it into this thing. I had found the equivalent of the magic I’d seen in so many vulva toys.

The Venus’s 12-page operating manual states, “At climax, you may ejaculate inside the receiver. We suggest it be washed before anything dries.”

Before anything dries? So the part where I usually feel sleepy and glowy now comes with the anxiety of a ticking clock?

And the cleaning process is not a simple rinse. You have to pull the pieces apart and clean them individually. You have to use a large-bristled brush that comes with the kit. You’re also encouraged to store the receiver in a dark area because excess light causes the liner to deteriorate – another ticking clock! It was annoying. I have to walk through a hallway to get from my bedroom to the bathroom, and I don’t particularly want to explain to my roommates why I’m carrying a miniature toilet brush and a fleshy beaker of cock chowder. But, then again, I blew a thousand dollars on this thing. This is the Lamborghini of sex toys, and if you get jizz in your Lamborghini, you’d better clean it before it dries. So I cleaned it. The hole that connects the cylinder to the hose needs to be plugged before each cleaning, but its cover is very annoying to get off and on, so I ended up just plugging the hole with my thumb when I cleaned it (also anxiety-causing).

The Venus brought me to orgasm six times on that first day. I would use it, clean it, dry it, remember it existed, and use it again. This may be more a matter of my addictive personality than the efficacy of the product, but I couldn’t get enough of it. Suddenly, this feeling that I had only experienced with another person was now mine to feel in a magically self-centered and entirely on-demand way.

It was past my bedtime when I finally climaxed the sixth time (basically ejaculating an invisible poof of glitter at that point). My legs shook as I shambled over to the light switch and got into bed. I laid down, still blissing out, looking forward to a sound sleep. But just as my eyelids began to droop, I realized, “Oh fuck. I have to fucking clean this thing.”

Back on with the lights. Back on with the clothes. Grabbed the now-veteran cleaning brush and the dick cylinder, skulked down the hallway like some kind of sex toy burglar, spent a few minutes cleaning it, and set the pieces to dry in a part of my room that would be hidden from light. What a production! When I jerk off before bed, I typically do a quick cleanup with whatever undies or socks are lying around and just let the sleepy feeling float me off to dreamland. Not so with the Venus. Clean it, or risk whatever happens if you don’t (it’s so expensive, I was afraid to find out)!

Another drawback is that it’s a bit loud, especially at high speeds. At max speed, it’s about as loud as a squeaky mattress with a pair of giant rabbits mating on it. Its slower speeds are quieter, but part of the fun is feeling how fast it goes. Sure, there are plenty of popular sex toys that are loud (Hitachi, anyone?) but this particular sound is mechanical and repetitive. What would my roommates even think they were listening to? Often, I would get nervous that they might walk by my bedroom door while I was using it, and the thought of it took me out of the moment.

After a few weeks of using the Venus, I started dating a new woman. I actually thought she might be “the one.” My Venus use went from daily to rarely. Sure, the sensations are more optimized than sex, but the chemistry and intimacy of sex were much more enticing than the prospect of sitting, bored, while Robocock dutifully did its job.

A few weeks into the new relationship, I realized I only had a few days left if I wanted to return the Venus. I considered it. “Maybe I could find something more constructive to do with the money,” I thought. “Maybe I’ll be with my new girlfriend forever and I won’t need this thing.” Wrong. I decided to keep it, and I’m not sure why. But it came in handy, because New GF and I broke up after a month or so. Just like in the beginning, the Venus was amazingly precise. Once again, I had that “hooooly shit” feeling when its suction drew my penis inside of it. I learned to customize the placement of the liner to make it even more intense. I could once again have as many orgasms as I felt like over the course of a horny day. In its way, after my relationship ended, the Venus was a pretty great rebound.

So, would I recommend that you buy a Venus For Men? It depends upon your priorities. It’s a damn good blowjob anytime you want and you can control various aspects of it in realtime, allowing you to literally DJ your BJ. But it’s loud, high-maintenance, and costs a thousand dollars.

That said, you don’t have to use it alone! Imagine making out with your partner while the Venus sucks you off and they use a toy on themselves? Hot, right? Or imagine if your partner was too tired for sex and your consolation prize was an immaculate suckoff. Not too shabby! And it can also function as a penis pump and a unique nipple stimulator.

Is it ethical to spend this much on a sex toy when there are starving children in the world? That’s for you to decide.

All I know is this: In 2001, I bought my first disappointing sex toy, and ever since then, I’ve wished there were a penis toy to rival the most legendary vulva toys. Sixteen years and about a thousand dollars later, I finally found it.

Review: Zolo Pocket Pool Corner Pocket

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Has it always been common for sex toy companies to blatantly steal designs from other sex toy companies, or is it just starting to happen a lot? Because I feel like I’ve seen crap like this everywhere lately.

The Zolo line of toys caught my eye because it’s all products for men, and there just aren’t that many good toys for boys out there. There’s Tenga and Fleshlight, and there are other companies that dabble in making male masturbators, but the field is pretty limited compared to what’s available for women.

Hoping for something new and innovative, I was kinda pissed when it turned out that Zolo is just a blatant rip-off of Tenga.

The toy I scored for my boyfriend is the Corner Pocket, a single-use masturbator made of a stretchy material. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s a bad knock-off of Tenga Eggs.

My boyfriend wholeheartedly recommends the original Tenga product over this sad Zolo copy, for the following reasons:

1. The Zolo is made of a more rubbery-feeling material that seems cheaper and grosser.

2. The packet of lube that comes with the Zolo lists a whole whack of nasty ingredients, like glycerin, propylene glycol, and parabens. Granted, this lube isn’t intended to go into a vagina, so these pussy-unfriendly chemicals aren’t a huge deal – but Zolo’s lube is still significantly stickier and cheaper-feeling than the lube that comes with Tenga products. My boyfriend was so disgusted by the lubey residue left on him after using the toy that he had to immediately go rinse himself off.

3. The texture inside the Zolo toy isn’t nearly as raised and detectable as the Tenga textures. In fact, it’s so shallow that he could barely feel it. He was able to reach orgasm using the Zolo, but he didn’t find it to be a pleasant experience at all, and said he would’ve preferred to just use his hand.

4. Zolo Pocket Pool toys are $2 more expensive than Tenga Eggs, which feels kind of like paying $500 for a cheap made-in-China derivative of a $400 designer handbag, y’know?

In summary: Tenga rules, Zolo drools.

Review: VerSpanken

I love that more and more companies are launching innovations in the world of male masturbators. Vibrators and dildos for women are always moving forward in their technology and design, but it seems like male toys have been at a stand-still for quite a while.

And then… along came the VerSpanken.

My local sex shop said they needed someone to test and review a new toy for penises. As I have a willing boyfriend and some experience reviewing toys, I volunteered myself (and my man’s cock) for the job – and I was gleeful when they said yes.

It’s a weird-looking toy. It initially reminded me of an alien’s vagina or a pair of skinny water balloons.

Basically, it consists of two bright blue tubular inserts squished inside a plastic casing that can open and close. You snap it open, stick your dick in it, pour lube all over everything, snap it shut, and thrust to your heart’s content. It’s supposed to mimic the sensation of a blowjob.

I didn’t think this toy could pry my boyfriend away from his Fleshlight, and I was right. The VerSpanken is too thin, he says: it doesn’t cover the length of his dick, only a small section at a time, which isn’t enough pressure or stimulation to get him off. He tried this toy a few times, both with my help and on his own, and it was never able to bring him to orgasm.

On the other hand, there are ways in which the VerSpanken is way more convenient than a Fleshlight. For example, it’s much easier to clean: the whole thing is soap-safe and open-ended, so you can wash it with soap and water without even taking the components apart and nothing horrible will happen (like mould). You can also use any kind of lube with it – you’re not limited to water-based like you are with a Fleshlight. It’s significantly cheaper than a Fleshlight, at only $39. And it’s practically silent – none of those weird wheezing or squishing noises that our other male masturbation toys have produced.

It’s also worth noting that the VerSpanken is quite tight. One of its selling points is that you can supposedly adjust the pressure – which is slightly true; you can squeeze it if you want it to be tighter – but it’s already tight on its own, at least for my boyfriend’s average-sized penis. This will make it a success with guys who like a lot of concentrated pressure on their dick.

Another cool feature of the VerSpanken is that you can swap out the original inserts for “WaterWieners,” water-filled inserts which can be microwaved or refrigerated for temperature play. We tried these out and they hold temperature very nicely.

Overall, my boyfriend wasn’t thrilled with the VerSpanken – not because it’s a bad toy, but because it just didn’t work for him. His dick isn’t a fan of intense pressure or stimulation that’s limited to only one area at a time – but if you like that kind of thing, or your man does, this might be just what you’re looking for.

Review: Fleshlight Stamina Training Unit

My boyfriend is a lucky guy. I buy him Tenga Eggs practically every time I’m in vicinity of a sex shop (which, as you might imagine, is often), and this past month I asked him if he’d be interested in reviewing a Fleshlight with me. Naturally, he said yes.

After poring over all the options, he settled on the Stamina Training Unit, or STU. It’s marketed as an aid for guys who want to last longer, but it only “helps” with this problem because it’s so stimulating that lasting five minutes with this Fleshlight is supposed to be like lasting ten minutes in a real vagina. My boyfriend just wanted it because the texture looked awesome, though.

Like I said, he has tried a few Tenga Eggs, including the Clicker, the Wavy, and one of the limited edition models. He reported to me that the Fleshlight actually feels very similar to the Eggs – soft, squishy, textured – but that the Fleshlight is better overall.

Why is it better? Well, one obvious reason is that it’ll last longer. If you take care of a Fleshlight properly, it could conceivably last for hundreds of uses, unlike a Tenga Egg which tend to start to fall apart after 5-10 uses, even with diligent cleaning.

The Fleshlight is also significantly quieter than an Egg. The Tenga products we’ve tried have always produced loud squelching noises that could definitely be heard by a bedmate or roommate. The Fleshlight does make sounds in use, but they’re quiet and subtle. You might even be able to get away with using it while someone sleeps in the same room as you, if you can control your moans.

For my boyfriend, the biggest factor giving it a leg up over Tenga Eggs is the cushiony “vulva” which he can press into his pubic mound. He likes pressure at the base of his penis, not only because it feels like “the real thing” but also because it just feels good, so he appreciates that he can apply that kind of pressure to his heart’s content with the Fleshlight.

There’s also a suction function, controlled by the screw-off cap on the end of the toy, which he doesn’t really dig, though he says that plenty of guys would like it.

He likes that the Fleshlight allows for “a level of disconnect” that the Eggs don’t. Using the Fleshlight almost feels like he’s not jerking off, like someone else is in charge of the motion – perhaps because he doesn’t have direct control over the tightness of the Fleshlight’s grip, unlike he does with the Eggs.

I asked him what he thought of the visual of his penis going in and out of a rather realistic-looking vulva. He said he’d prefer if it was just a plain slit, because as is, it “feels a little objectifying.” I asked him if he thought my realistic dildos were “objectifying” and he wasn’t sure what to say to that. (My boyfriend is such a feminist. It’s nice.)

As for the actual texture of the sleeve, it’s very intense. He’s uncut and very sensitive, so I was worried that this texture might overwhelm him, but he really likes it – as long as it’s thoroughly lubed. I gave him a bottle of a thin Sliquid lube to use with it (the Fleshlight’s material can only handle water-based lubricants), and he says he likes it but it dries out too quickly. Something thicker and more gel-like would probably be a better choice.

The main downside to owning a Fleshlight is that cleaning it is a big fuckin’ deal. You have to clean it after every single use, as soon as possible (i.e. ideally within an hour), or it risks becoming gummy, tacky, or even mouldy. You can’t use soap, only water and maybe some isopropyl alcohol if necessary. You can’t turn it inside out, or it’ll tear. And once it’s clean, you have to set it out to dry, and you can’t put it back into the case until it’s completely dry or it’ll get mouldy. Does this sound like a process you want to go through when you’ve just had an orgasm? Not so much.

Another “con” of this product is that it’s not discreet in the least. For a company that has built an entire line of toys on the idea of “looking like a flashlight,” the STU really doesn’t. It’s way too big and bulky to be a flashlight, plus it’s gold, plus it has the word “Fleshlight” emblazoned on the side of it. Yeah, real subtle. Needless to say, my boyfriend would prefer if the case was plainer and looked less like a prop from a Las Vegas burlesque show.

I asked him for an overall rating out of 5, and he said 3.75. At $70, the Fleshlight STU would be worth the money if he was single, he says, but as a guy in a happy sexual relationship, he just doesn’t use it often enough to make it worth that price tag. It feels great, but the impending cumbersome cleanup makes him reluctant to use it as often as he’d like to. Still, he likes it more than I was expecting him to.

Thanks so much to Sex Toys Canada for sending us this toy to try out!