Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Lelo Gigi

I feel like some of my other toys, specifically the Beyond 3 which has become a staple in my masturbatory fun times and the Pure Wand which I've been in love with since day one, have spoiled me. As much as I love Lelo toys, the Gigi did not really live up to my expectations.

Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely toy, and I don't have some of the problems with it that I have with other penetrative toys. Specifically it's not big enough that I feel overwhelmed by the size when inserting it, which is great, but for some reason it just doesn't give me the kind of stimulation I get from other toys. I have some thoughts about why this might be, and am going to try some different things to see if I can't make Gigi work better for me. As it is, it's a toy that feels very nice, but I'll pick the Pure Wand or Beyond 3 over it any day.

One potential problem that I specifically have is that, being a big girl, I have a hard time moving Gigi around much at all when I'm laying down. The angle is awkward and a bit uncomfortable, so I can't really get in to it like I can with toys that have more external/handle bits. It's also possible that I just can't get the right angle with it, which could also be the problem. I'm going to see if I can try this toy with a partner to see if it might be better that way, I'm also considering trying it with my upper body more propped up to see if that gives me better access.

The other thing is that I'm not sure that, for me, vibrations are necessary/good for g-spot stimulation. I can see where it works really well for other people, and I do like some slight vibrations, but the top level on the Gigi seemed to be way too much, so I kept the vibrations at about half way the whole time. I'm going to try it without vibrations on at some point, but it seems silly to have a toy that vibrates and use it without vibrations when the same shape of toy exists in dildo form for less money. The pulsing patterns however were very nice.

I was also a bit turned off by the amount of noise it made. Mine at least makes a very rumbly sort of noise and is much louder than my other lelo toys. I have roommates, one of whom decided it was time to be in the kitchen right outside my room when I was using Gigi, and though I'm sure it wasn't a big deal to her, the fact that I could hear the toy over the porn in my headphones made me worried that she could hear, and possibly made the experience less awesome.

So, basically, the Gigi is a nice toy that just seems to miss the mark for me. If I find something that makes it work better for me, I'll write another post and add the link here, but for now, it's just not what I was hoping for.

Learning and Losing Control

So, a few months I found myself very suddenly single, after almost 2 years of a relationship that pretty much absorbed my whole life. This has been an interesting experience so far, and I've been learning a lot about who I am and all of that fun stuff, but one thing has come up that I'm interested in talking about right now.

As it happens, currently everyone I've ever had penis-in-vagina sex with was a virgin before me. Those people are also the only ones I've ever let do much in the way of playing with me. Everyone else has been something that consisted mostly if not entirely of me performing oral sex on them. By and large, even with the guys I've had standard heterosexual intercourse with, I tend to take care of my own orgasms. This is made even more interesting given that in my new found singleness I'm very interested in hooking up with new people...but I'm still not interested in letting other people do things to me. I'm not sure what exactly this is, but it's manifesting itself as a desire to stay away from anyone who is not experienced already.

To some extent, this is probably good for me. There's something kind of strange about only having sex with virgins, and some weird feelings that go along with knowing they go on to have sex with other people. I also imagine I could learn a few things about the whole business from someone who has experience with other people, and that would be good. The problem seems to be that I like sex/related things to progress at my pace, and there's a rhythm of foreplay that I'm still very used to and that has been present with pretty much everyone I've ever been with (except possibly the ones who got blowjobs when I was drunk). I feel like it's a lot easier to say "this is how this progresses" with someone who has never been there before, especially because it seems that it may be a lot easier to just lead someone new than it is to direct someone who already has expectations.

Expectations are sort of the problem. With someone who has previous experience, I don't have any idea what they expect or what women they've actually been with are like. I'm very clear on what I like, but with someone with any experience I get confused because I don't know how to express that without worrying about hurt feelings, bruised egos, or just generally making everything strange. I also suppose you should compromise so you can both do things you like, but I'm frequently not very comfortable being out of control. More accurately, feeling like I'm not in control makes me a little panicky, and I'm often only able to feel out of control around people I trust much more deeply than I trust, well, most people. Somewhere between other people's expectations, and my dislike of being out of control, sex with someone who isn't a virgin becomes a sort of difficult concept for me.

I can't do anything about what other people expect or will do, in sex or otherwise, all I can do is make it clear what I want/don't want and what I need physically, emotionally, or whatever. Another thing I can do, and have really been learning to do, is deal with the fact that I'm not always in control, and remember that losing control is actually very fun sometimes. For me it's sorta like a roller coaster, I'm scared to death at the beginning and want to hold on to the control of being attached to the chain, and then it lets go and as soon as my breath comes back, it's among the most wonderful feelings ever. I think most of us could stand to be a little out of control sometimes. Sure, be clear about what you do and don't want and expect, no, demand who you're with listens to you when you say no (or whatever your word of choice is)...but for the most part, enjoy the ride.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Review: Lelo Lily

After I got my first Lelo toy, the Elise, over a year ago I really began to lust over all of their other products. Rechargeable, made of nice materials, various interesting vibrating patterns, what's not to love? So, out of desire for something nice and compact, I got myself a Lily.

In the time since I bought it, Lily has become pretty much my bff. When I locked myself in the library while writing my final papers, lily came with me. When I go to my parents' house for a weekend, lily comes with me. For these situations, Lily is really perfect because it's so tiny and rather quiet (except that it also makes a kinda high pitched noise which is irritating, but I imagine that in a few years my hearing will go enough that I can't hear it anymore), but that's really not all lily is good for. Not at all.

Before I got Lily I had been having a very hard time giving up the first vibrator I ever owned, a really basic slimline that worked every single time, even though I had "better" toys. The thing is that, though I love a lot of my other toys, I like how vibrations transfer through hard plastic much better than I like how they transfer through any other materials, and I like something with a bit of a rounded point on it for clitoral stimulation, which most of my other toys don't have. Lily has all of these things that I loved about my first vibrator, plus a whole lot more. For one thing it's really easy to use in combination with a dildo, which I love doing. It's small and light which means I can actually do something with the dildo while getting vibrations on my clit. For another it's got all of these vibrating patterns that, for me, work really well as a way of getting myself worked up before going for the gold. I'm particularly in love with the last setting, which is like a roller coaster, going from the lowest vibration level to the highest and then back down again in pretty quick order, I don't think there's much else that works quite so well as build up for a big orgasm.

Basically, Lily is pretty much everything I wanted in a go-to vibrator, and it will likely be my masturbatory BFF for a long time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Things that do not belong together. Or: The difference between reviewing and selling.

So, this post comes at the same time as some shiny new drama at EF, but it isn't actually directly related to them since I've never (and will never) work with them due to, well, all the drama.

What this post does have to do with is my experience selling sex toys, and the really obnoxious/bad/terrifying things that happen when corporate ethics are what corporate ethics are, namely, unethical.

You see, the place I used to work carried anal-eze, and jelly toys with pthalates in them (including some that seemed to leak chemicals so badly that they were wet when taken out of the packaging). This made me uncomfortable, especially since the company likes to bill its salespeople as knowledgeable and the company in general as sex-positive, body-positive etc. etc. I, a lowly sales person, didn't expect to be able to change what the company sold (though, it was a small enough company that I probably could have), but I had hopes that I could teach my co-workers about the dangers of some of these things so they could possibly give customers better advice, and at very least, I hoped to be able to avoid selling these things in general.

I at least managed to teach most of my co-workers what the hell a pthalate is, though "icky plasticizing agent" was a harder concept to grasp than I anticipated, and I did a decent job of not selling the products I had issues with, but that was mostly because most people coming in didn't know what they were looking for, or what their options were and would just let me lead them to something I thought would work for them. However, when people would specifically ask for some things, anal-eze in particular, I would try to nudge them in the direction of better options, like a very nice silicone lube we also carried, when they wanted "shrink creams" I'd try to point them in the direction of kegel balls, and when they went for the obnoxious, disturbingly cherry scented dong, I'd show them nicer, less scary things. When my boss heard me doing this, I got reprimanded for "scaring" the customers and not being "positive" enough. Yes, really, how dare I actually care about the health of my customers. The problem, it seemed, specifically with the anal-eze and "shrink creams" was that even though I would sell the significantly more expensive product, I could have sold both things.

And here is the problem of where the sale of sex toys and the running of a business collide. You see, we, like every business, had some sort of sales quota we were supposed to meet every week. This quota was in part just straight up monetary, but also partially how many items we sold, and if I had sold people both the anal-eze and the silicone lube, we would have done better on both counts. I understand, and to some extent accept, that businesses have to sell things, and that's fine, it's when companies want people to sell things for them but also want to act like these people have decently vast knowledge that I have trouble. Someone who is under pressure to make sales quotients or whatever is almost obligated to bend her standards, and the truth, in order to make sales. There's a reason we have things like CarFax for making big purchases, so the person doing the selling has a harder time lying to you in order to make their sale.

This is a large part of why I think sex toy reviews/reviewers are so important, and a big part of why I think there needs to be a decent degree of separation between reviewers and the companies they work for. If you can be punished, like I was, for being "negative" about a product that is dangerous or just plain sucks, then you can't tell the truth and you're not "reviewing" you're selling. We need to make the distinction between people who are supposed to be selling and people who are supposed to be reviewing.

Reviewers, in my mind, are more like sex educators. They give you the facts of their experience with and opinions of certain products, and the ones I follow most closely seem to be very interested in creating a truly sex-positive, friendly place where their readers can learn about what options are out there. Reviewers are like a good friend who takes you shopping and will actually tell you if what you're looking at buying is a piece of shit. They are, for lack of better analogy, the CarFax of the sex toy world. Of course some toys will work better for some people than for others, but in my mind, reviewing should be about being honest about your experience, not trying to play up how wonderful the toy is, even if it isn't that great.

For my part, I promise to always tell you where any toys I review come from, and to do my best to only work with companies that are okay if I say something bad about a product they sell. Additionally, now that I've found myself with more free time, I'm hoping to write some posts about sex toy basics - such as materials and styles - that can hopefully be of use to people looking to buy new toys/first toys/etc. If anyone reading has any questions I could address, or suggestions of any sort, please let me know.