Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rainbow Nights Paddle

Ruff Doggie Styles really is one of my favorite brands out there. They make fantastic, affordable products and understand that a toy should look as good as it feels.

I recently bought the Rainbow Nights paddle, which is a gorgeous piece of work. I bought mine in black, but it also comes in silver.

As with all products by this manufacturer, the packaging was simple - just a plastic sleeve and a descriptive tag on the end of the handle.

The paddle itself did not disappoint. The back features velvet with beautiful all-over stitching and beadwork; it was slightly imperfect but I think it added a handmade touch. The other side of the paddle is smooth black leather. I inspected the paddle closely and didn't find any loose stitches, which I've seen on other, lower-quality products.

The paddle measures 11 inches top to bottom. The actual hitting surface is roughly 7 inches long and is 5 inches across the widest part. The handle is roughly 4 inches long and has a cord for hanging. I thought the handle fit well into my hand and made the paddle easy to maneuver.

As for my experience on the receiving end: don't be fooled by the price tag or pretty designs on this one. It is designed to hurt. The hitting side is a smooth, hard surface, and there is little flex in the paddle. I think beginners can certainly enjoy this paddle (test it on yourself first!), but experienced folks will have a great time inflicting pain with it as well. You can also use the beaded side to rub against your partner's skin - I couldn't feel any sharp or painful parts on it, although I'm sure over time the beading will start to wear out.

I really have no complaints with this toy. It's functional, well-made to last awhile, and is pretty enough to hang on your wall without embarrassment.

You can clean the leather side of this paddle easily with a damp cloth; the cloth beaded side might be more challenging, however, so I'd recommend not letting that side come in contact with bodily fluids.

product picture
Paddle by Ruff doggie styles
Material: Leather / Velvet

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Love Series Cupid

I receieved a Twisted Hearts vibrator by Doc Johnson as a free gift from EdenFantasys. Unfortunately, the toy was broken upon arrival, so I got a Cupid vibrator by the mysterious Shaki Toys instead. I had never heard of the toy or manufacturer before, but free gifts are free gifts.
The Cupid vibrator packaging is, um, well, entertaining. Simply put, it's covered in Engrish. I say this not to be cruel to the manufacturer, but because it honestly makes me a little skeptical about putting this object in my body. Call me a snob, but I want to know that the toy I'm using had a lot of thought and design put into it (a la LELO or JimmyJane).

Obviously, I'm not expecting velvet and gold out of a $23 vibrator, but I'd rather have minimalist packaging (as Ruff Doggie Styles is known for) than a failed attempt at a product description. For example:

What? What am I about to put in my vagina??

Packaging aside, the first thing I noticed about the vibrator was that it has a tremendous amount of flex. The material itself is soft and squishy (apparently a TPR silicone), and twisting and shaking the shaft yielded a lot of movement.

I don't really like flexible vibrators, but if that's your preference, you'll have a great time with Cupid. I did like look of the all-over flowers and ridging. Texture is a big plus. The size is also pretty decent, with a 5.5 inch circumference, 1.75 inch diameter, and 6 inches of insertable length. The vibrator takes two AA batteries (not included), and it is multispeed, controlled with a rotating dial at the base.

The side of the package encouraged me to "lube up and enjoy the stimulation of the realistic penis head and veined shaft" (last I checked, penises don't have flowers on them), so that's just what I did.

I was pretty underwhelmed by my experience with Cupid. The vibrations aren't very strong. I used the maximum setting the whole time and had to really press the vibrator against my body to feel the sensation.

Cupid worked fine against my clit, but inside my body, I was unimpressed. The ridges felt nice, but vibrator is so flexible that whenever I tried to press up against it for a deeper sensation, it yielded nothing. Eventually I just ended up using Cupid to stimulate my clit directly and bring me to orgasm.

Points to Shaki Toys for making an attractive toy, but in terms of delivery, honestly, I would've had a better time with a $5 bullet vibrator. It's great that Cupid is waterproof and multispeed, but those are standard settings for most vibrators of its class. At $23, there are better options out there.

Cupid has a bumpy surface, but can be cleaned easily with soap and water.

product picture
Traditional vibrator by Shaki Toys
Material: TPR Silicone


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Glass Wand

I received a $25 gift card and was excited to put towards an item I'd had my eye on for a long time: the mysteriously-named "glass wand". I saw a photo of this a few months ago and, being a fan of nubby and ridged dildos, instantly put it on my wish list.

It's made by a random, I assume German manufacturer listed as WHK GmbH. The package calls the toy a "Hygenically Glass Massager". I think the packaging makes this toy look like something you'd get at Spencer's, and not in a good way - black background, neon-colored letters. The glass wand is packed in foam and held in place with some wire ties. I have no idea what the deal is with this company. Still, I appreciated the lengthy description in the back, which tells you the "glass massager dong" is made of non-porous, hypoallergenic, tempered glass and is "seamless with an edgeless surface", among other things.

The glass wand is rather weighty and made of a highly reflective glass that makes it look opaque, but the toy is actually see-through. It's certainly an attractive piece, and all the nubs and shapes on it make for a promising solo session. The whole thing measures 8.5 inches, but all the "fun stuff" (bubbles, ridges) is 5.25 inches in length.

The packaging suggests: "Ice It Down, Heat It Up". A good idea, if I do say so myself. Although I couldn't stick this guy in the freezer for fear of weirding out my housemates, I ran it under some cold tap water for a bit before using.

I wasn't disappointed! Normally I prefer insertable vibrators to static dildos, but the hard, cold surface, weight of the toy, and the crazy shapes made for a fun time. I came quickly, and after removing the glass wand and relaxing for a bit, I inserted it again and came instantly. Instantly. Those ridges do wonders, let me tell ya. I will definitely be putting the glass wand into my regular rotation.

There were a few downsides, though, that prevent me from giving this toy 5 stars. Firstly, the nubs on the end of the toy sort of come to a point (see photo below). Call me crazy, but I kept feeling nervous that I'd be stabbing or hurting myself if I pushed this in too far. It forced me to be more gentle with the toy, and I didn't want to be gentle.

Second issue: as mentioned, the "fun part" of the toy spans about 5.25 inches. I couldn't access all of it. The last "bubble" would not fit in my vagina. It looks nice, sure, but it seems sort of silly that they made the ridges and shapes so long that I can't even use them all. Shouldn't this be designed for a woman's anatomy? Some women likely have longer vaginal canals, but there are few who could use this whole length. I was sort of disappointed about it.

I also tried vaginally inserting the other, smooth end of the wand but found it to be uncomfortable and almost painful. I'm sure some would find it highly pleasurable, but I don't tend to respond well to intense G-spot stimulation, which the upward curve of the smooth end certainly provided. If you like G-spot stimulation, you'd probably enjoy exploring both ends. You could probably also use it for prostate stimulation, but use caution as the other end isn't quite flared (although I'd be shocked if you got that whole thing stuck in your bum!).

Some final notes on cleaning and usage: glass can be cleaned with soap and water. I didn't have trouble cleaning all of the nooks and crannies. As for other uses, you could insert this anally (although I think it would hurt!), because there is a handle at the bottom. The wand also feels nice when rubbed on other parts of your body, especially when it's cold.

The next glass dildo I'm eyeing on my wish list: the blue swirl dildo.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sportsheets Noir Blindfold

Another product review for a toy in the light-BDSM category from Sportsheets: the Noir blindfold.

I requested this product because I currently own a blindfold in a color that was once described to me as "pussy pink". In other words, it's a little girly, and I feel weird using it or having it used on me in a power-oriented setting. So I decided to check out this toy from Sportsheets, figuring if nothing else, I'd now have a blindfold in the more serious "faux-leather black".

The packaging is nothing special. The blindfold is just attached to a piece of cardboard that says "Sportsheets - Noir - Cruelty-Free" on it. I discarded it.

The blindfold is pretty thin and flimsy-looking. It's stronger than, say, a felt blindfold, and it's lined, but it's not padded in any way. The outward-facing side of the blindfold is made of fake black leather and the inside is lined in a soft, velvety plush. Like I said, the color and materials make the blindfold look a little more serious than the one I currently own, but the flat, thin area of the blindfold means it still doesn't quite command POWER, in my opinion.

The edges of the blindfold are unfinished and slightly rough, but certainly not enough to accidentally cause pain or damage.

  • Elastic band is 1 inch wide and measures 12 inches long, unstretched
  • Blindfold area itself measures 8.75 inches across and 3.5 inches high at the widest eye parts

I tested this blindfold out. It is quite comfortable to wear, I'll say that. I love the plush lining, which doesn't get as sweaty during sex as a leather-lined blindfold might. The flatness of the blindfold also meant there wasn't anything cutting into me. I felt like I could wear it for awhile without getting uncomfortable, and I didn't feel anxious to take it off by the end of our session.

However. And this is a big however. It did NOT block out my sight entirely. I couldn't see anything important, but there was definitely light leaking through the bottom part of the blindfold, underneath my nose. I tried adjusting it myself, and there was no way to keep that light out. It was distracting.

This may be because I have a small nose, but here is where the flatness of the blindfold is a weakness. It doesn't mold to your individual face shape. It has a fairly rigid shape, and if your face doesn't quite fit that, well then that's just a shame. I wouldn't use this blindfold on myself again for this reason. Comfortable or not, it just didn't do its job, which is to block out all light and sight.

I'll keep it around to use on other people (with bigger noses, perhaps?). And maybe I'd use it onmyself in a pinch. But for now, I'm glad that my main partner owns a nice padded leather blindfold that blocks out all sight for me (something along the lines of, although not exactly, this blindfold).

To keep things in perspective though, the Noir blindfold costs 10 bucks. For 10 bucks, it really is a good deal. It's nice-looking, lined and comfortable to wear. I just got unlucky with the fit. So I would recommend buying it if you're confident this is going to fit, or if you don't mind having a little light leaking in through the bottom.

For care and maintenance, the faux-leather side can be cleaned with a damp cloth. The blindfold seems like it could get "stuck" in a shape after a bit (after several uses, it's started to take on a curved shape), so if that bothers you, you could try storing it flat to even it back out, but it might be a good thing that it starts to shape to your face after use.

product picture
Blindfold by Sportsheets
Material: Faux-Leather
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Sportsheets Fur-lined Paddle

Ah, it's been too long since my last review! I requested this fur-lined paddle from EdenFantasys, made by Sportsheets. Sportsheets is known, among other things, for making affordable, "entry-level" bondage toys that are great for the casual experimenter. I wasn't expecting much from this paddle and went into the review with an open mind.

The paddle's packaging is pretty bare-bones, which is fine by me. Just a tag that says Sportsheets on it. The paddle itself measures 14.5 inches long from handle to end, and the "paddling area" itself is 9 inches long and 2.75 inches wide. There's a handle shape built into the paddle as well as a wrist or hanging strap which seems to be made of nylon. One side of the paddle is black leather with "Sportsheets" stamped into the handle. Stitched onto the other side is black fake fur. The fake fur is essentially plush and very, well, fake-looking, which again is fine by me.

This is not the most durably-crafted paddle. Before I even used it for the first time, the stitching on the leather side began unraveling and I had to cut it with a pair of scissors. Not very confidence-inspiring. At $26.99, the paddle isn't a huge investment, but I still think that I shouldn't expect the stitching to unravel before first use.

My partner used this paddle on me in a variety of ways. I enjoyed the double-sided, fur/leather feature of this paddle. You can engage in a bit of temperature play before the paddle warms to your body. My partner rubbed the warm fur side on my naked body before flipping to the cool leather side. It felt good. I also enjoyed the building of suspense on my ass with the soft fur side before getting slapped with the hard leather side. The double-sided feature definitely gave this paddle a leg up from a traditional leather paddle.

However, Sportsheets' paddle does not inflict a whole lot of pain, which may have something to do with its long rectangular shape. I like to get spanked hard, and while the paddle certainly smarted, it wasn't much more pain than my partner could inflict with just his hand. We tested it on my tits and on my ass. I would recommend it for more sensitive areas like tits, but for a really painful paddling on the ass, this guy probably isn't gonna do the trick.

In summary, I would highly recommend this paddle for beginners, people who don't want to commit to a serious/expensive paddle, or people who want to do light experimentation with spanking. The paddle doesn't seem to be particularly durable, but it's not expensive, either. It's also just great for light teasing; I did enjoy having my partner alternate dragging the fur and leather across my skin, with light spanks in between. If you're looking for something that will really hurt, though, I'd suggest investing in a more durable and powerful piece. I haven't used either of the following toys, but this paddle by PHS International and this one by Spartacus have both gotten some delightfully painful reviews.

As for toy care, you can clean the leather side with a damp cloth, but I don't know how you'd go about cleaning the fur side. Remember that this paddle can't be sanitized, so avoid using with multiple partners if there is the potential for an exchange of body fluids.

I had a hard time rating this toy: I ultimately gave it 3 stars because I think it's pretty average for the paddle category overall, but for an entry-level paddle, it does do its job. Sportsheets knew what kind of paddle they wanted to create, and they delivered. If I were rating it among more basic/less painful paddles, I would give it 4 stars.

product picture
Paddle by Sportsheets
Material: Leather / Fake fur
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Rainbow Star Crop

I received a rainbow crop from EdenFantasys. I had been looking for a crop with personality, and when I saw this one, I knew that was it. The rainbow crop is made by Ruff Doggie Styles, which, true to its sassy name, makes a number of products in fun shapes and designs that are designed to hurt (including this one, shaped like a giant hand).

A crop that looks like a magic wand, with a rainbow star to boot? And the potential to leave star-shaped marks on my ass? Sign me up!

The crop is 25 inches in length, with the star measuring up to 4 inches from point to point. It doesn't come with any memorable packaging - just a plastic sleeve - but I got a kick out of the tag attached to the handle. This toy combines my love of fantasy with my love of sex toys!

The handle and star are made of leather, and it's pretty supple. If not the highest quality, it's much nicer than I was expecting. The handle has two thin leather strips that form a wrist strap, and the leather on the star is much thicker, but still has a good amount of flex. (The star itself is flexible, and the star also flexes against the crop itself.)

As others have noted, the length of the handle is made of a gold-colored nylon. I'm not bothered by this at all. I think it's a pretty color, and to me it looks exactly as in the photos. My only concern is that the nylon will start to pill and fray after some use. Also, only one side of the star is rainbow-colored; the other side is black (and made of leather, not suede, as the description states). Again, I'm not bothered by this, but some people might feel shortchanged.

When I received this crop, I noticed that the star was bent upwards a bit towards the rainbow side. This may have just been a result of shipping, but even after use I've noticed that the star hasn't completely flattened out. This affects how you use the crop if you're trying to leave star-shaped marks. It's better to smack your partner with the black side facing up so that the star flattens out when it hits the skin. But, of course, it's not as attractive-looking for the person using the crop. As I was on the receiving end of the crop, it didn't affect me, and as I said, this may have been peculiar to my crop, but I wanted to make note of it. It's still perfectly usable with the rainbow side facing up, though.

For the rainbow crop's first use, my partner trussed me up in a hogtie, wrapped a belt around my neck, and held on with one hand while laying the smackdown with his other hand. The crop smarted against my skin. I winced, cringed, and squirmed helplessly against the pain.


Afterwards, I did not have a single lasting bruise or mark on my ass. My partner was unable to produce star-shaped marks that lasted long enough for me to see afterwards. It looked great from his end while beating me, but I was hoping for some star-shaped bruises as a souvenir. Maybe I was expecting too much.

The smacks from this crop sting, to be sure, and I think it has a place among novice and more experienced users. The crop is lightweight enough that you can go nice and easy on your partner, or you can really make your partner squirm. But no bruises? I cherish those post-sex bruises. It's possible my partner didn't hit me hard enough, but this is a guy who made my ears ring by smacking me across the face and has no problem leaving bruises on my skin with his hand, so I doubt it was for lack of trying.

So yes, I was left feeling a little disappointed that I didn't have anything to show for after using this crop. But overall I'm still very satisfied with it and have continued to use it. I imagine making those star-shaped marks and bruises will require some practice. And I love, love, love the magic wand theme of this crop! It looks great on its own, and I even managed to carry this around in public without receiving any stares. (To be fair, I live in San Francisco.)

Something I considered when picking partners to test this crop with is that some people might feel emasculated or silly to be smacking someone with a rainbow star crop. But that applies to most of these novelty design toys for beating and is a matter of personal preference. The partners I used this with (both male) absolutely loved the design and shape and felt very comfortable handling the crop.

One last thing I noticed, for those of you hoping to leave star-shaped marks: the combination of the size of the star and the curve of a human's body means that there are better and worse places to hit your partner. You want the whole area of the star to make contact with the skin. The top of the buttocks and the back has that potential. I didn't see many other places on my back/ass where the star will make full skin contact.

product picture
Crop by Ruff doggie styles
Material: Leather
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Bubbles Minivibe

I bought the latest and greatest from Fun Factory's "Click n' Charge" line of vibrators. This line of four vibrators are rechargeable. Not only that, but they recharge with a magnetic charger. I know, it's trendy, but I had to have one. I was between the Bimini Ocean and the Minivibe Bubbles. In other words - clitoral or G-Spot stimulation? Ah, life is hard.

Ultimately, I went with Bubbles because I wanted a nice thick vibrator (it's 1 5/8" diameter, or 5 1/4" circumference) that would hit my G-spot. I had reservations about buying a vibrator that looked like the Michelin Man, but it's a very pale blue, not white, and I convinced myself it looked more like a caterpillar.

Bubbles comes with two packages - one for your vibe, and one for the charger. The package with the vibe includes instructions and a sample of Toyfluid. The charger plugs into your wall like a cell phone charger and has two magnetic points. (Beware, they will cling to your magnetic things!)

The toy itself is small (hence the name "Minivibe") and fits snugly into the palm of my hand. The bubbly parts are made of soft, squishy silicone and have some surprising flex to them. It curves up slightly at the second-to-last bubble. The black plastic base exists solely for charging purposes; the actual controls, a simple plus and minus sign, are on the bottom bubble itself.

Bubbles needs to be charged before first use. Simply let the magnetic points attach to the base of the toy, which you do by matching up the words "Fun" on the charger and toy. There's no open port here, which means it's very easy to knock the charger off. Thankfully, you know it's charging when the word "Fun" lights up on the charger. It charges fully after a couple of hours.

Off to the races! I lubed Bubbles up and settled into bed for a good time. There is no on/off button - Bubbles is turned on and off by pressing the plus and minus signs. To increase the intensity, you can hold the plus sign down, or press it several times. Once you reach maximum intensity, hold down the plus sign again to activate three pulsation patterns. The first two are escalation pulses (one fast, one slow), and the third is short, fast bursts of vibrations.

First thing I noticed: the controls are annoyingly-placed. The toy is short to begin with, and having the controls on the bottom bubble instead of on the black base makes them difficult to use. It's especially slippery when there's lube on the toy. I found myself fumbling around several times, not sure if I was hitting a plus or a minus until after the fact.

The vibrations, however, made me quickly forget my annoyances. WOW. My G-spot was definitely feeling the love. This toy is powerful at its highest setting, and I also like that you can dial it down very, very low. It does the full range. The vibrations at any level feel more like thrumming. It also isn't too loud. You will be able to hear it through bedsheets, but not through a closed door.

The pulsation patterns, though, were what sold it for me. The second pattern in particular almost immediately rocketed me into orgasm. I was shocked. I also enjoyed the first pattern. Third pattern, not so much. It is the pattern equivalent of an inexperienced fellow shoving their fingers in and out of your pussy over and over again. I couldn't get that image out of my head long enough to enjoy pattern #3. But maybe some people will find that appealing.

In using Bubbles, I treated it more like vibrating anal beads for my vagina. The toy is so thick that you can leave it in there and attend to other parts of your body, then slowly pull a few "bubbles" out for the sensation before pushing it back in. I barely had to move Bubbles at all in order to reach orgasm. Having it press deeply against my G-spot while vibrating was enough. I enjoyed three orgasms in a row this way. Bubbles's slight upward curve means it can also be laid across your clit and vagina for dual stimulation, although the vibrations are not as strong towards the tip.

Cleanup is easy with some soap and water. Bubbles is a waterproof toy. I don't know how much of the battery I ran down during my session, but I recharged the vibe anyway, and it fully charged in about half an hour. Bubbles attracts dust and lint like crazy, and it's a shame it doesn't come with a storage bag, but I think the plastic mold packaging it came in will suffice for the time being.

In short: well, despite being a little too short, Bubbles is my new best friend. Bubbles's lack of length doesn't affect its ability to deliver pleasure, it just makes it more difficult to use during play. But it has an uncanny ability to hit my G-spot via thickness and some amazing vibration patterns, and for that I can forgive any other shortcomings (last pun, I swear!).

product picture
G-spot vibrator by Fun Factory
Material: Silicone