Review: We-Vibe Nova

“You should buy this rabbit vibe,” my co-worker at the sex shop half-jokes while restocking the wall of rechargeables. “We’ve only got one left and we’re not re-ordering it when we sell out. I want it gone.” It’s some garish, hot pink, unfriendly-looking thing. I don’t want to buy it.

“I don’t really like dual-stim vibes,” I reply with a shrug.

He narrows his eyes at me. “If you don’t mind me asking: is that ’cause you don’t like internal stimulation, or external?”

I choose my words carefully. “I don’t really like internal vibration. And I’m also too much of a control freak for rabbits. I like to decide what kind of stimulation I’m getting internally and externally at any given time; I don’t want a toy to decide that for me.”

This was true, until I discovered the We-Vibe Nova. It’s a rabbit of a different color.

It’s rare that I’ve liked dual-stim vibes in the past. I can count the ones I’ve enjoyed on one hand: there was the Jimmyjane Iconic Rabbit, the California Exotics Silicone Jack Rabbit, and a jelly CalEx rabbit that felt good aside from the mild chemical burns it gave me (beware of phthalates, kids!). These vibes all have two major things in common: their internal portions rotate rather than vibrating, giving my G-spot the pressure and motion it craves, and the internal and external portions can be operated independently from one another, satisfying my need for control over my sex toys.

The Nova’s internal arm doesn’t rotate, but it doesn’t need to, because I can thrust with it. If you’ve ever tried to thrust a dual-stim vibe inside you, you know how frustrating it can be. The clitoral arm of rabbit vibes typically needs to be placed just so to make contact with your clit in the particular way you like, and thrusting disturbs this delicate balance. You therefore have to choose, in any given moment, between pleasing your G-spot and pleasing your clit. It’s like moderating an explosive debate between two screaming six-year-olds: you can’t win.

But the Nova changes all that. Its clitoral arm is brilliantly flexible, such that it moves with me as I thrust, maintaining constant contact with my clit. This makes all the difference in the world. I can piston the internal arm against my G-spot as fast and hard as I like, and the vibration on my clit continues all the while. This magic is why the Nova gets me off more easily and consistently than any dual-stimulation vibrator I’ve ever tried.

The centre button of the Nova’s control pad lets you choose whether the vibrations of its various patterns and speeds will emanate from the internal arm, the external arm, or both at once. Because I’m not too fond of internal vibration, I usually leave that arm turned off. Even by themselves, the clitoral vibrations are deliciously rumbly and strong, sinking deep into my clitoral network and resulting in profoundly satisfying orgasms.

In recent years, We-Vibe has introduced an app, We-Connect, through which you can control (some of) their toys via Bluetooth. This is genius in some ways and less so in others. It’s cool to see visualizations of patterns as you use them; I particularly like one called Surf, where the external vibrations remain steady while the internal ones pulse, creating the illusion of someone’s fingers tapping hard against my G-spot. I like being able to flip through modes and speeds with a swipe or tap of a finger. I like that the app gives me the ability to cede control of the toy to a partner who lives far away – I don’t currently have anyone in mind for this, but it’d be a cool Skype-date activity if I did! The only major drawback of the app is that lubey fingers don’t mix well with smartphone touchscreens, but that’s easy enough to solve.

I will admit, the Nova is not foolproof. It always takes some shifting and shimmying before I get it situated just right on my G-spot and clit. I have to tilt the toy’s handle toward my butt to get the internal arm to press up into my G-spot the way I like, but I’m used to doing that with toys. The Nova’s control pad also feels far away from me when I’m using it, because the handle curves downward right where the controls are, so it’s not always easy to change speeds or patterns in a hurry (although the app helps with this substantially).

But overall? The We-Vibe Nova is easily the best dual-stimulation vibe I’ve ever tried, and the one that gives me the best, most consistent orgasms. I’ve always rolled my eyes at that famous Sex and the City episode where Charlotte becomes addicted to her rabbit vibe and doesn’t want to leave the house anymore, let alone waste time having sex with men who’d never satisfy her like her vibrator does – but I can sort of understand where the show was coming from when I use the Nova. It wouldn’t make me eschew partnered sex altogether, but it sure does make lukewarm Tinder hookups seem less appealing. Why waste time on a dudebro who might not even know where my clit is, when the Nova dominates both my clit and my G-spot and can be controlled via smartphone?

If you need me, I’ll be curled up in bed with my Nova.

 

You can get the We-Vibe Nova at Come As You Are for $170 CAD (about $127 USD!), at SheVibe for $149 USD, at PinkCherry for $142 USD (or $180 CAD), or at Peepshow for $149 USD.

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.

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: Shibari Mini Halo Wand

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I wanted to like the Shibari Mini Halo Wand. And there is so much that I do like about it. But it has a fatal flaw that I just can’t get past, no matter how much I try to convince myself it doesn’t matter.

So let’s get the Mini Halo’s hamartia out of the way right off the top. When you turn it on, it starts at the strongest vibration speed. If you want to get to the lowest speed instead, you have to hit the “change speed” button eight times.

Please take a moment to visualize yourself trying to press a vibrator’s button exactly eight times in the middle of a masturbation session – no more, no less. And then imagine yourself needing to do that multiple times during any given session. And then imagine yourself throwing the vibrator across the room in a fit of rage. Congratulations, you have just experienced a fraction of the aggravation I endured while trying to test the Shibari Mini Halo Wand.

See, when I use vibrators, I always begin at the lowest speed. My clit is sensitive so I need to start gentle and ramp up from there. If I start at a moderate or high power level, not only will it feel painful and uncomfortable, but it’ll also get me real numb real fast. And that significantly lowers my likelihood of reaching orgasm. So the lowest speed is the way to go, at least at first.

If you read that last paragraph and thought, “That’s not just you, GJ – that’s how most people use vibrators,” well, yes, I think you’re probably right. Which is why it’s so annoying that Shibari chose to design their wand this way. I could understand having the wand remember the speed you used last time and starting there, like the Doxy Wand does; I could even understand having the wand start at the top speed if there was also a “go to the lowest speed” button, to make that process instantaneous. But there isn’t. You gotta hit that middle button eight fucking times to get it to speed number one.

If it seems like I’m harping on this a lot, that’s because I am. And also because it irritates the fuck out of me. This wand could have been so great if not for this one issue.

The Mini Halo is a wonderful size for a wand vibrator. It fits in my hand comfortably, and is large enough to feel impactful but small enough to fit into a purse. The head is shaped such that you can get broad or narrower stimulation depending on how you angle it. The vibe feels solidly constructed, but retails for just $59, less than lots of “fancier” wands on the market.

The vibrations are excellent. They are deep, rumbly and penetrating. The intervals between each of the eight speeds are small, so the cranking-up process feels smooth and gradual rather than jumpy or jarring. The toy is rechargeable and holds its charge for a long time – I’ve had mine for over three months and have only needed to charge it once in that period. Although, admittedly, I probably only used it 7 or 8 times before deciding the deep, strong orgasms it delivers aren’t worth the hassle of dealing with its tragic flaw.

If you want a rechargeable wand vibe, get the Magic Wand, Iconic Wand or PalmPower. If you just want a strong, rumbly, awesome vibrator, get the We-Vibe Tango, Lelo Siri 2 or (again) Magic Wand. If you think you can forgive the Shibari Mini Halo for its major defect, then go for it, because it’s otherwise a top-notch toy – but as for me, I am far too lazy and uncoordinated to press a button exactly eight times after each and every instance of turning my vibrator on.

 

Thanks to Peepshow Toys for sending me this vibe to review!

Review: Jopen Lust L2

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I’m always hesitant to review new vibrators, because my clit’s standards are so high. Few vibes make it into my inner circle of classic faves. To win me over, a vibe has got to be rumbly enough, strong enough, pinpointed (but not too pinpointed), easy to hold, easy to charge (or plug in), not too loud, ideally waterproof, and easy to control in the heat of the moment.

The Jopen Lust L2 meets all of these criteria except that last one. (Boooo.) And as it turns out, that’s kind of an important criterion.

I requested the L2 from Peepshow Toys because I’d read some rhapsodic reviews from Dizzy and Peep. They have kinda picky clits, too, so I was intrigued by their enthusiasm about this toy.

And they’re right. It’s an underrated gem of a vibrator. Jopen has historically been very hit-or-miss: their Comet Wand is one of my favorite G-spot toys I’ve ever tried, and their rechargeables are generally considered decent (albeit weird), while their battery-powered vibes can be buzzy, disappointing, or sometimes absurdly overambitious.

But with toys like the L2, Jopen’s done what Lelo seems determined not to do: left off the bells and whistles, kept things simple, and created something that just works well.

The L2 is a cute little hot-pink crescent of silicone. It’s thicker at the base to give you something sturdy to hold onto, and thinner at the tip to give your clit (or other body parts) a little pinpointed action. I like that the tip isn’t so small as to feel laser-focused; it’s just right for me. In fact, its size and shape are similar to that of my clitoral glans when I’m really turned on, so this vibe stimulates my clit, my whole clit, and nothing but my clit. Perf.

The vibrations are a delight. They start rumbly and stay rumbly all the way up to the highest speed, which is easily strong enough to get me off on all but my most desensitized of days. In terms of clit-rumbling power, I’d put the L2 lower on the scale than my beloved Tango (almost nothing compares), but in roughly the same neighborhood as the Lelo Siri 2 and Jimmyjane Form 2. It satisfies my clitoral network in a way that buzzy, surface-level vibes can’t, and since that’s my main criterion for a successful vibrator, the L2 will probably hold a place of honor in my top drawer for a long time to come.

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The fly in the ointment, however, is the way you control the L2’s vibrations. It has only one button – always annoying, but I can deal with a one-button system if it’s relatively intuitive like the Tango‘s. The L2’s isn’t intuitive, at least not for me. You press the button once to turn the toy on, and then press and hold it to turn up the power. The problem is that if you accidentally press the button once instead of holding it down, the vibe turns off. Which, you know… is kind of a boner-killer if you’re, say, right about to come.

I bet I’d get used to this system if this was the only vibe I was regularly using, but it’s not. And as is, it’s a problem that’s mildly distracting at best and completely orgasm-ruining at worst. I can, and do, have terrific orgasms with the L2, but there’s usually lots of stops and starts on the way because I just can’t get used to how this damn button works.

That’s really the only complaint I have about the Jopen Lust L2, though. Its curvy shape sits neatly against my mons and arcs right into my clit. Its silicone is smooth enough to feel good on my vulva but grippy enough to hold onto. Its motor rules. It’s waterproof, very quiet, and cute.

Dat button, tho. It’s the L2’s hamartia, its Achilles heel. Maybe one day I’ll stop being frustrated with it… but that day is not today.

Thank you to the cuties at Peepshow Toys for sending me the L2 to review!