Get Out Your Wash Boards! Why I love GladRags Reusable Pads

Last month, I lost my diva cup. It was a devastating experience― but still hoping to find it1, I took the opportunity to get myself some reusable pads from GladRags to try out.

As you may know, I’m a huge supporter of reusable menstrual products. I’ve interviewed the CEO of GladRags, Tracy Puhl, on the dangers of disposables and I’ve repeatedly shown my love of the diva cup both on and off the blog. As someone who is chemically sensitive, this is an important thing for me, but the fact of the matter is that disposables have been proven to be dangerous for everyone―disposable tampons and pads can cause severe drying which is damaging to the vaginal environment and vulval health, and they often include dangerous chemicals like dioxin and bleach as well as scents that can cause irritation in the best of cases.

Whatever your choice is, whether a reusable pad, menstrual cup, or a sea sponge tampon, you’re doing good not only for the environment, but also for yourself. Seriously, just think about how many pads and tampons you use per menstruation. Now consider where they all go, and that they’re generally made up of plastics which won’t degrade anytime soon.

GladRags suggests having six of their reusable pads to use per cycle- I bought a box of three, and with some thriftiness, I’ve been able to make it work. If you don’t want to hand wash your pads after each use or have a heavy flow, you’d probably be better off going with their suggestion. I’d also suggest getting more if you spend a lot of time at work, out and about, or traveling- though it isn’t too much of a hassle to wash them when you’re out, it can take time and you need to let them dry if you want to have enough. If you have a light-medium flow like I do, and don’t mind washing after each use? You should be good with the three pack.

I also have personally found, in terms of cleaning, that I’m fine just rinsing them out thoroughly in the sink and hanging them somewhere to dry before using again- though they do end up a little “crispier” drying like this, it doesn’t bother even my sensitive skin. I have too few pads to wash them in laundry between uses- though I will, if there’s a load going in. GladRags also sells a variety of cleaning helpers- a bucket, where you can soak your pads while waiting to wash2 as well as wet/dry bags to help you carry your clean and used pads when traveling or just out or at work. I’m definitely interested in these myself, and it’ll be an investment in the longevity of my pads and make it that much easier to use them.

In terms of use, they’re really simple and effective. They each come with two inserts- you can use the winged pad3 by itself as a pantiliner in between periods or during really light flow days, use one insert on low-medium flow days, and two on medium-high flow days or during extended wear.

Personally, I’ve been able to use a pad with two inserts for 6+ hours on my normal flow days, which are medium-heavy. During the beginning of my period, which is the heaviest part for me, I’ll usually go through one every 4-5 hours- though today is the first day I’m bleeding and I went 9 hours before changing to a new pad. I’d say that these are on par with disposables, but often last longer because they’re more comfortable, stay dry longer, and seemingly hold more.

Would I recommend them? Definitely. I still prefer a menstrual cup― I’ve come to hate the feeling of moisture on the outside of my body after getting used to my diva cup, and I’m not accustomed to the bulk of a pad throughout the day. That said, I find these less bulky and more comfortable than even my old standby, Naturacare organic cotton pads. Although I’ll definitely invest in a new menstrual cup when I can, I’m happy to have these for the beginning of my period, when my pelvic floor aches to terribly and my cervix is so sensitive that pulling out a cup- even with breaking the seal- makes me want to cry. I’ll also be more than happy to invest in an awesome wet/dry bag, the soaking bucket, and one of the awesome washes GladRags carries for their pads.

Don’t be surprised if, at some point in the near future, you find me with a washboard happily scrubbing the blood out of my pads.

What are you waiting for? Grab some of your own reusables, cleaning, and storage supplies here, and get an additional 5% off just by clicking my link!

  1. I have yet to do so []
  2. you can also get an enzyme based cleaner to put in here, which helps keep them from staining while being safe for the environment []
  3. it attaches with a snap closure around your panties []
The things they’re cooking up these days… my review of The RevelBody Sonic Vibrator.

Innovation within the sex toy industry is infrequent and often doesn’t result in anything too spectacular1, but we take what we can get. This is why I was both hopeful and cautious when the RevelBody came onto the scene: crowd funded projects to create any new electronics have to make a lot of claims in order to get the funding they need to move forward, and claims were definitely made in this instance. Despite an enduring skepticism of any product that says it’s better than the competition, I was intrigued by the promise of technology that was never-before-seen in the world of sex toys: a sonic powered motor.

The revel body sits in it's charging dock on a cutting board, surrounded by a pastry bag filled with ravioli filling, a knife, mushrooms, and raw asparagus.

The Revel Body featuring the Cona piston.

Science!

Traditional vibrators get their buzz from a rotational motor that has a weight on one end- this is why a small, round vibrator like the we-vibe tango spins if you turn it on and rest it in your palm. A sonic motor, however, uses electricity to create a magnetic field that alternates at varying frequencies.  The RevelBody is a tennis ball sized sphere with a hole through it where a piston magnetizes into place. The alternating magnetic field of the sonic motor causes this piston to move back and forth rapidly, creating a movement something like vibration, but not quite.

The version 1 of the RevelBody, which was sent to me by RevelBody at SheVibe’s recommendation, has two power buttons- (+) and (-) – which control the frequency of the pulses. Because of this, pressing the (+) button actually weakened the perceived intensity of the vibration. The lower the frequency, the more apparent the pulses were. Because this was confusing to many users, Revel has updated to a version 2 that only has one power button. Since I do not have a v2 to compare with my v1, I cannot say how different the 10 settings are from my version to the updated one- but the higher the frequency on my product, the weaker and whinier the ‘vibrations’ are, while the lowest settings feel like the piston is ramming into you. The middle frequencies are the sweet spot for me, because they’re thuddier without feeling like the RevelBody is an opposing army trying to lay siege to my clitoris. The highest frequencies are more like a fly buzzing around irritatingly than anything else.

The claim that Revel makes of having a larger range of frequencies than it’s competitors- because each ‘speed’ is just the piston being pulsated by bursts of electricity at different frequencies- is absolutely true. But that doesn’t necessarily make it better; the difference in the actual movement of the piston in the revel body means these frequencies don’t translate in the same way as a traditional rotational motor. What you end up with is barely noticeable buzzing at the higher frequencies, something akin to the vibration we’re used to in the middle2, and what can only be described as button jamming in the lower frequencies.

The revel body is held with a mesh spoon above boiling water. It's hot pink piston features a bunch of tiny nubs that look almost like a brush made of silicone.

The revel body with the Fawn piston.

Performance

What this means for actual use is that ¾ of the settings are essentially useless for most people3, end of story. The vibrations put out by the few more pleasurable settings in the middle can be achieved and even bested by traditional vibrators that are considerably cheaper than the $189 price tag on the Revel Body. Because of this, I can’t really recommend it to someone unless they’re really set on sonic technology.

There are also a lot of caveats that come with the functionality of this product. People who have metal implants and especially people with pacemakers should not use a product with strong magnets like those inside the Revel Body. Though they claim it to be travel safe, you have to pay extra for a traveling case and shouldn’t keep it near electronics or credit cards, lest the magnets swipe any magnetic data stored on them. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with long nails- pushing the piston out could break them. It’s not recommended for people with pubic hair or fleshy labia, as the piston can grab and pull, pinch, or epilate. The shape does not lend itself well to people with ‘innie’ or concealed clitorises that are difficult to access… unless you buy one of the additional pistons at $19 each, which may or may not work for you. There are too many extra considerations when thinking about buying this product. Personally, I think it would be much simpler to buy a good quality product like my favored We Vibe Touch, or products that Revel claimed the Body was better than- such as the Eroscillator or Mona 2- which may reach fewer frequencies than the Revel Body- but the frequencies they do reach are better, more pleasurable, and the quality of the vibration is far superior.

I almost feel that the nature of the sonic motor- using a piston and moving it back and forth to create ‘vibration’- may not be capable of producing these quality vibrations I speak of, though I admit that it may be possible. I just don’t see it in this first version of the RevelBody.

The revel body is seen from above on a plate with cream sauce, ravioli, and roasted asparagus.

The Revel Body with the regular piston it comes with.

Post Script. 

I should never feel like I cannot or should not express an honest opinion about a product. My job as I see it is multifaceted: I give an honest review for the benefit of readers, retailers, and manufacturers alike.

A reader benefits because an honest review, in my eyes, should give them the information they need to know whether or not a product is something they should invest in- even a negative review should hold information that will assist the reader in discerning whether or not a product is something they would enjoy or not. I may not like something, but a reader may decide otherwise for themselves based on what I have to say; everyone likes something different.

Retailers benefit because they can get a variety of opinions on a product before they carry it or if they already do carry it. Reviews give retailers a variety of experienced opinions and sharing a positive review can increase sales of a product. If the retailer is an affiliate company of the reviewer, they may garner sales from that.

Manufacturers benefit from honest feedback of people who make it their business to know the industry inside and out from a firsthand perspective. Many good reviewers have worked with manufacturers, in retail stores, and regularly interact with the industry in a multitude of ways. Having a handful of honest opinions from a variety of reviewers with different backgrounds and personal needs helps manufacturers discern what they might have to work on or what they’re doing right so they can steer their business in a positive direction. Reviews also gain recognition for products. This should be a win-win situation.

The way the CEO of this company has conducted themselves did not make me feel comfortable writing an honest review, and that should never be the case. Harassment, threats of legal action, public bashing in comments and on social media, and fishy faux personas harassing reviewers on twitter clearly because of their review of the RevelBody do not make for a safe environment in which to be honest- and honesty should be what we all strive for.

In the end, I wrote this review because honesty is important to me as a sex educator and as a reviewer. I want people to have fun with their sex toys and sexuality. I want to help my readers make informed decisions about the products they buy and the companies they support.

Though I wanted more than anything to be able to support innovation and change within the sex toy industry, I’ll have to find another company to use never-before-seen technology. I am given some solace knowing that RevelBody is not the only company producing sex toys- and that as long as people enjoy sex, there will be innovation in the sex toy industry.

Thank you to SheVibe for recommending Revel send me this product to review in return for my honest opinion. You can get the Revel at the discounted price of $129 on their website, and they’re having a sale- while supplies last- on the pistons and travel case!

  1. see my review of the iGino []
  2. because a traditional vibrator does move back and forth in a sense, just not in the same range as the revel body because of how it works []
  3. I say this only because I know there may be someone out there who would like the highest or lowest frequencies- everyone is different and everyone likes something different- but the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people will not get anything out of these high and low settings, and I can say this with confidence because most nerve endings won’t get much out of feeling like there is a fly buzzing on them, or feeling like someone is repeatedly pressing a button at regular intervals. I am confident in my appraisal as someone who has not only used a lot of different kinds of vibrators, but also as someone that has worked one on one with customers at an adult store. []
Valentine’s Day: Sales, Suggestions, and a Gift Wrapping Idea!

Ah, Valentine’s Day. I remember what it was like to work in an adult store around valentine’s day; mostly, I remember the people running around trying to get together gifts last minute. This year, if you’re looking for something for your sweetie, cut down on the hassle and shop online- I’ve brought together sales, suggestions, and a gift wrapping idea so you’re not left in the cold. Not into the mushy stuff, a romantic, or flying solo this year? Nothing wrong with taking advantage of these awesome sales for yourself- or just treating yourself to some fun things! Sometimes, the romance should be all about you. I’ll be keeping this page updated with sales, so keep an eye out!

 

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TANTUSVDAYTantus’ February sale covers all dual density silicone O2 toys- just use code IHEARTYOU at checkout to get 30% off! Click the image above- and don’t forget the awesome deals going on in the Grab Bag and Closeout sections! 

vdaycandy1. Lelo Gigi 2. Tantus C-Ring 3. We Vibe Tango 4. We Vibe Salsa 5. Key by Jopen Comet G 6. Uberlube Samples 7. Tantus Pro-Touch 8. Glyde Condoms in Slimfit and Flavored (Strawberry) Candy purchased from Shane’s Confectionary, here in Philadelphia! I’d highly recommend them and their counterpart, Franklin Fountain, for all your vintage confection desires!

One really great way to wrap up the gifts you got for your sweetie(s) is to disguise it as a candy box: whether you buy a candy box already filled with candy or go to a craft store and get an empty one like I did, you can find a variety of sizes that should accommodate most anything, unless you’re getting a spreader bar or sex furniture. If you buy a box with candy already in it, just take out the candy and any trays inside of it and fill it up however you want- and eat the extra candy (duh). You can wash and charge anything before putting it in the box so it’s ready to go, and keep any manuals in an envelope to give the person(s) you’re giving the presents to later. I mocked up a few ideas, but feel free to go wild personalizing the box you put together!

vdaymoss1. Pure Plug 2. Crystal Delights Small Frosted Plug 3. Nobessence Seduction 4. Sliquid Organics Natural Water Based Lube 5. Laid Norway D.1 Norwegian Moonstone Dildo 

Massage Must-Haves 

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vdayropenumbers1. Nitrile Gloves 2. Aneros Helix Syn 3. Crystal Delights Colors Against Cancer Melanoma Studded Dildo 4. Uberlube 5. Je Joue Mimi 6. Whartenberg Wheel 7. Tantus Fantasy Gag 8. Tantus Plunge Paddle/Dildo combo.

Rope in box and behind the box courtesy of Kink Shoppe- their house conditioned and dyed hemp and house conditioned tossa jute. They have a large selection of ropes made from hemp, linen, and a few varietals of jute, and can do custom orders with the color and length of your choice. Get in touch with them [here].

Spank You Very Much

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vdayrose1. Lelo Mona 2 2. We Vibe 4 3. Nobessence Fling 4. Pure Wand (it’s hiding in the roses, but it’s there!) 5. Tenga Egg 

Looking for Something Else? Live Outside the US? Check this out: 

Are you shopping in Canada? I’ve got an awesome sex positive cooperative you should be looking at right now. They’ve got a lot of the products mentioned above, and more.

Shopping Internationally? You should be talking to my friends at Lovehoney.

Looking for some sexy lingerie? Right now, my favorite is the Kiss Me Deadly line, which is carried by Lovehoney. You can get HommeMystere, a line of femme lingerie made specifically for bodies assigned male at birth (wide shoulders, small/no breasts, penises) from Early to Bed

Vegan? Here are some options from SheBop and SheVibe.

All in all, the dreaded Vday doesn’t have to be intimidating. Feel free to contact me via email or my tumblr ask if you want specialized suggestions or have any questions.

Catalyst Con East: Help.

Ok. So. I hate asking for help, especially financial help- but things are really crazy right now. Long story short, things seemed like they’d work out but then everything changed and I’m staying in the suburbs (and spending a lot of money getting to work) while I look for an apartment, which is seeming like a really daunting task in and of itself. I’m going to try taking on more hours at work while simultaneously trying to get more writing gigs to survive the next few months.

That all aside, I really want to attend Catalyst Con, and was planning on doing so until all of these financial changes came along- and I’m swallowing my pride and asking for help funding the trip.

Reasons I should attend Catalyst Con are many: the opportunity to connect with people in my industry (reviewers, other writers, sex educators, manufacturers, retailers, publishers, and more), attend Tristan Taormino’s Sex Educator Bootcamp (which has been lauded as a must-attend for people aspiring to make sex education their career, like myself), Sex Writing 101 with Rachel Kramer Bussel, and workshops I couldn’t even begin to name because I’ve been too scared to look at the offerings in case I can’t go. I’d be able to meet and hang out with people I’ve talked to online and worked with in person for the first time, and I’d be able to visit local sex positive adult stores and make connections there- where I’d like to teach sometime due to my close proximity here in Philadelphia. Catalyst Con is something that will help me immensely with my career- giving me skills, connections, and passed on wisdom that will help jettison me into a hopefully more successful place. A place where I can spend more time writing, researching, and teaching, and actually get paid for it.

What you get for helping me out- beside the obvious (pictures, video, tweets, and writing all about the convention, better content here, the drive and inspiration it’ll give me to do more), I’d also like to offer a few incentives. If you donate, you’ll get a mention in my catalyst con post as a sponsor under the name of your choosing, and a post card from catalyst con itself when I attend (I’ll be designing them myself!) if you leave me your address in the note on Paypal. If you do choose that option, you’ll also get a holiday card from me later this year, also designed by me. If you donate $50+ or more and give me your address, you’ll receive a copy of my finished and professionally printed guide, Go Fuck Yourself! And Maybe Someone Else, when I get it done later this year. You’ll also get my eternal love and gratitude, if that means anything.

The Rundown. These are the expected costs of Catalyst Con, broken down into immediate needs and extras:

Necessaries

Tickets for the weekend: $155 (including tax)

Hotel for Thursday, Friday, Saturday: $327 (not including tax)

Round Trip Train Tickets: ~$100 (without tax)

Total: ~$600

Extras

Sex Writing 101 with Rachel Kramer Bussel: $47.12

Sex Educator’s Boot Camp I with Tristan Taormino: $92.22

And that’s about the jist of it. If people donate and I do not end up pulling in enough to attend, I can either refund the money or use it for another project related to the blog. Feel free to let me know in the notes when you donate what you’d like me to do in the event that I cannot attend Catalyst.

 










For the Love of Lingerie

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“Death From Above” featuring Miss Mosh by Tomi Knox

My love of lingerie began in my late teen years when, as a young artist, I was scrolling through deviantART1 and found Miss Mosh, at the beginning of her career. Something about her aesthetic- carefully dyed hair, impeccable makeup, skin tight latex, and dangerously high heels- was alluring to me in a way that was simultaneously exhilarating and conflicting.My gender has always been a confusing matter. When I was younger, I was very stubbornly tomboyish, wanting to fit in with “the boys,” while simultaneously having what I deemed to be a conflicting, secret passion for all things high femme: dresses, fine fabrics, painstaking hair and makeup, heels…. I hid this interest from everyone around me, feeling it conflicted with my identity. When my love of lingerie came along, it was a hidden obsession- many hours staring at pictures of beautiful femmes with hair styles I could never even dream of accomplishing and thoughts of silk and nylon on bare skin. Images of lingerie were as comforting as they were frustrating and confounding as I tried to navigate my gender.

"The Adventure Continues P1 & 2" by Jim Weathers

“The Adventure Continues P1 & 2″ by Jim Weathers featuring Miss Mosh

As the years have passed and with much introspection, I’ve realized that my gender is more of a blender of things- masculine, neutral, and feminine all- and that my physical form has a lot to do with my presentation. My teen years were awkward and more androgynous than not as I grew into my body, and I’ve since come into a body that is feminine, curvy, and even graceful at times (when I’m not moving, anyway). Once this transition started, I felt more comfortable bringing my high femme fantasies out of the closet- though I still enjoy contrasting femme and homme aspects of my presentation2. This has also allowed me to entertain my lingerie obsession outside the confines of my brain, and it feels… right. Not overtly sexual or arousing, but like home. I never feel more right than when I’m in a garter and nylons, or have a waist cincher hugging me close.

Miss Mosh by Percolate Deuce, copyright Sancollaboration

Miss Mosh by Percolate Deuce, copyright Sancollaboration

Lingerie makes me feel powerful, and confident- when I’m alone, or when I’m with a partner. It is especially affirming that my partner R has fetishized the exact aesthetic of lingerie I have grown to love- retro, pinup, vintage, whatever you’d like to call it- for years.

Most people seem to think of the wearing of lingerie as a submissive act; the female wears these things in order to impress the male, and while they are seen as a tool used to arouse the opposite sex, lingerie does not bestow power upon the wearer in the common conception of the thing. My experience of wearing lingerie has been quite different; while it is certainly a tool used to arouse my partner, it also is the tool by which I wield my sexual power and prowess. When I wear lingerie, I express my gender in a way that bestows confidence upon me. When used almost as a sex toy in this way, my experience is that lingerie can put you in a position of power- whether from the top…. or the bottom.

Miss Mosh in ” Sweet and Sour” by VsN

Lingerie- either the hard femme with spiked heels, fishnet stockings, and leather corsets of Betty Page wannabe dommes or the sugar and spice ‘goody goody’ all frills and poufs bathed in baby pink and pastel shades- is a sex toy, and a highly provocative one at that. For some, there is nothing that is more a tease than knowing that you’re wearing thigh highs and garters under your skirt, with a seductive stripe from heel to the round of your ass there to remind them. For others, a transparent babydoll draped over the bed is a hint of whats to come.

Lingerie in all its forms is a tease and a sensory adventure that can be fun for the wearer and for their partner(s), and that’s why I find it to be a successful tool of power and submission and effectively a sex toy in and of itself. Sex is all about the senses, and lingerie can bring a simple touch to new enthralling heights.

I expect I’ll be reviewing and taking pictures of lingerie for the website soon. If you have any suggestions or are a company that would like me to review for them, you can  contact me here.

* None of the photos in this post are my own, and I have done my best to name the artists and copyright holders when able. If any information is incorrect or missing, feel free to let me know.

  1. yes, seriously. No, you cannot know what my screenname was []
  2. imagine Kurt Cobain with immaculate bumper bangs and red lipstick- I’ve done it []

As of December 16th, I’ve been blogging and reviewing for a year.

This year has brought a lot of amazing and unexpected things into my life. A year ago, I had been working in an adult store (a job I was offered unexpectedly and took because I needed a job, and “Why not?” despite knowing nothing about sex toys) for about 6 months. My partner had bought me my first ever vibrator after a lot of consideration1, and I had learned so much about sex toys, materials, and safety- and seen how little people knew about these incredibly intimate yet potentially dangerous products- that I took my thoughts online. My life is certainly more interesting for it, and I would undoubtedly be an incredibly different person had this not happened.

A year later, and I am no longer working at the adult store- I recently taught my first workshop, wrote, designed, and illustrated my first guide, had my first article published on the blog of a national magazine… I was #24 on Kinkly’s 2013 Superhero Sex Blogger list alongside awesome people and friends -like Erika Moen, Epiphora, Ashley Manta, The Redhead Bedhead and so many more- as well as #54 on the list put out by Between My Sheets. I’m terrible at receiving any sort of flattery, but it is incredibly affirming and exciting to know that people within my community appreciate my input.

Mostly, I am thankful for the friends I have made. Former coworkers, owners and workers at other adult stores, the amazing people I talk to with manufacturers and retailers across the country and around the world, other reviewers, bloggers, and educators, and my readers. You all are what has driven this endeavor from the beginning and nurtured it.

The best way I can thank you all is to give away some awesome things; realize that I am also available to answer questions, give suggestions, or just talk. I’m looking forward to another year that looks like it’ll be filled with conferences, workshop teaching, and writing.

In order to thank everyone, I’m giving away some things- a vibrator I think everyone should try, sex toys made out of glass and aluminum (because it’s good to try new materials!), and a reusable pantiliner so those who menstruate can try out something new, better for your body, and more comfortable.

The Goods

We Vibe Touch

Provided by the good people at SheVibe

If you read my review, you’d know that the We Vibe Touch is my FAVORITE vibrator. Hands down. It’s versatile, incredibly strong, rechargeable, waterproof, and made of quality silicone. Not only that- it travels well, holds it’s charge forever, and it’s small and easy to use during partnersex. What more could you ask for in a vibrator? Really, the only complaint I have is that they no longer offer color options- at least it’s purple, but I loved the teal color of my original Touch. So, yay everything except lack of color options, which isn’t the fault of the vibrator.

This prize is available internationally, but any international winners are responsible for any taxes, duties, or fees the package is subject to in your country. Shipping cost will be taken care of.

Tantus Alumina Motion

Provided by my favorite manufacturers, Tantus Inc.

If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, you’d know that Tantus is by far my favorite manufacturer of naughty goodies. Working primarily in silicone, they have everything from dildos and vibrators to insert-able paddles and cock slings. The Alumina line, however, is different: made of aeronautic grade aluminum, these awesome toys can unscrew and swap parts for interesting new combinations. Unfortunately, the Alumina line is discontinued and will only be available while supplies last. In order to help you catch ‘em all, I’ve partnered up with Tantus to offer the Motion, which is my favorite shape of those in the line, by far.

This prize is available internationally. Again, the winner is responsible for any taxes, duties, or fees associated with the shipment of the prize; shipment itself is taken care of!

GladRags Reusable Pantiliner

Provided by GladRags

If you read my interview of the President of GladRags, Tracy Puhl, you’d understand why reusable pantiliners are something everyone who uses menstrual products should consider. Disposables are not only an environmental issue; they often contain harmful chemicals and chafe and dry very sensitive skin, potentially causing long term damage. I love my Diva Cup and want to try out other reusable options like cloth pads and sea sponge tampons, but it’s more important to give the gift of trying out a reusable to friends, family, and readers first.

This prize is only open to people in the US and Canada!

Small Frosted Glass Plug with Aurora Borealis Crystal

Provided by Crystal Delights

People are often worried about glass sex toys, and this is something I want to work to change. Glass sex toys will never break inside of you. This particular one is made of Borosilicate, also known as Pyrex, which is harder than your average glass and can withstand more extreme temperature shifts- making it great for temperature play2. I can assure you that glass sex toys will only ever break if you take a hammer to them or throw them at the ground. If you want an opinion on this particular product, you can read my partner’s review here.

This prize is open to international entrants- and like the others, all taxes, duties, or fees are the responsibility of the winner.

I wish I could give each and every one of you a prize for being awesome, but I’ll have to settle for four of you for now. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  1. the Lelo Gigi []
  2. keep in mind that you should only use warm or cold water, never extreme temperatures- the glass should be comfortable to the Touch. It should be remembered that your orifices are more sensitive to temperature changes than your hands; press the glass or metal toy you’re heating up or cooling down to your lips to ascertain how comfortable it is []

This interview is part of a series, asking industry professionals and experts about toxic sex toys, how our adult stores have changed, what we can do to support change- and most importantly, how we can avoid toxic toys ourselves.

“Ideally, nobody would’ve ever been enough of an asshole to make toys that poison people.”

Epiphora is a big deal. With six years of reviewing sex toys, hundreds of said toys residing somewhere in what I assume is a magic carpet bag not unlike the one Mary Poppins touts, and a job selling sex toys, she knows her stuff and is one of the most well known reviewers on the internet.

“Nobody should have to endure creepy chemicals in things that are meant to touch mucous membranes.”

Sexational!: When did you first become aware of the existence of Toxic Sex Toys? I know from your “Terrible Sex Toys I Used to Lust After” list that at one point, the idea that jelly was bad was a quiet whisper rather than the roar it seems to be now. What changed? 
Epiphora: I started out knowing nothing. I owned a grand total of two vibrators before I began reviewing, so I learned as I went along. I had to start by reviewing lower-end products, but I mostly stuck with hard plastic vibes. As I devoured more information about the industry, I learned more about phthalates and labeling issues and such. It quickly became a crusade after that. Nobody should have to endure creepy chemicals in things that are meant to touch mucous membranes.

“[the porous PVC James Deen Dildo] reminded me why I stick to non-porous materials. They never smell, they don’t harbor bacteria, they’re SO EASY TO CLEAN, and I know that they’ll last forever. I must say, I really appreciate that I can leave them out for days and wash them whenever I get the chance.”

S!: Have you ever and do you still own any Jelly/Porous sex toys? After experiencing a wider range of products and materials, are there reasons you prefer non-porous toys beside the fact that they are less likely to have dangerous ingredients? 
E: I have a few. I had a red cock ring that leached its coloring onto another toy’s charger. I had a finger sleeve that promptly melted when I took a flame to it. Most recently, I had the PVC James Deen dildo, which smelled so strongly that I had to put it in a cardboard box under my bed, by ITSELF. I banished it from all my other dildos. That was a special case; normally I don’t accept anything porous to review. But it reminded me why I stick to non-porous materials. They never smell, they don’t harbor bacteria, they’re SO EASY TO CLEAN, and I know that they’ll last forever. I must say, I really appreciate that I can leave them out for days and wash them whenever I get the chance.

“It upsets me to see people so disillusioned with sex toys.”

S!: As someone that works in a retail environment, how do you talk to customers about toxic toys? Since you work in a more sex positive store that has few (or no?) porous toys, is it a topic that comes up often?
E: Aside from mentioning that all of our toys are body-safe and most are 100% silicone, I don’t bring it up unless the customer does first. But once they do, and especially if they mention having had a bad experience with a toxic toy, the flood gates open. Most people are shocked to realize that nobody is stopping companies from making sex toys out of whatever materials they want, then labeling them however they please. It upsets me to see people so disillusioned with sex toys.
S!: How do you determine whether or not a company is one that is trustworthy in terms of the materials they use?  What advice would you give to someone trying to figure out what is or is not safe? 
E: Certain companies have been around long enough and built up a reputation. They’re reputable. They have always had safety in mind. Then there are other companies, like the huge ones that churn out tons of toys, who still peddle toxic products. My best advice would be to read blogs! Or email me. I can tell you right off the bat whether I trust a company, but I only know that from years of reviewing toys. It’s an unfortunate fact that it requires research, but it does.
S!: In an ideal world, what are your solutions for eliminating toxic toys? 
E: Ideally, nobody would’ve ever been enough of an asshole to make toys that poison people.

“…Informed consumers put their money into companies who are fighting the good fight.”

S!: Since we live in reality, what are some more feasible answers you have for combatting the plague that is toxic toys?
E: Education. Government is not going to do it for us, at least not completely. At this point, the best we can do is get the word out. Blog about it. Tell our friends. Tell our family members. Teach people that toxic toys are unacceptable and that there are much better alternatives. It’s happening slowly, but people are starting to hear about this and they’ve started to ask questions. They’re becoming informed consumers. And informed consumers put their money into companies who are fighting the good fight.
You can find Epiphora at her website, heyepiphora.com, as well as on twitter, facebook, tumblr, and pinterest.

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When I began writing about sex toys, I knew I wanted to find a variety of outlets to educate on the subject- especially ones to bring illustration and design (what I’ve been doing since I can remember) into the fold. This guide is the first big step in that direction- though there’s still work that needs doing and refining that has to happen, I’m pretty pleased with how this first physical copy- a special edition for my workshop that just happened at Kink Shoppe- came out.

To come:

  • A “regular” edition with refined content, more illustrations, some anatomical information, and possibly more as I work on it.
  • A webshop with some physical copies of the “regular” edition and limited quantities of special editions as they happen- some people have expressed interest in getting some!
  • Hopefully, more special editions which will include special cover art and special edition content.

I’m looking for people, shops, and other entities to collaborate with on special editions… so if anyone is interested in such a thing, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I made the entirety of the special edition shown above (which doesn’t have special edition content) and could do future special editions collaboratively, or generate content on my own; whatever works.

I hope to be doing more fun projects like this as time goes on- I’ll have sneak peeks in my newsletter, so sign up to the right if you want to be updated on things like that, have sneak peeks of reviews, early access to giveaways, and more!

I hate mailing lists. I very often delete before opening unless they’re something I really care about, like Epiphora’s monthly Snark Digest (if you haven’t signed up for it yet, you don’t know what you’re missing).

My plan with my newsletter is to do similarly to ‘Piph- a monthly email with reviews, articles I want to point out that are mine or someone else’s, upcoming reviews, tips and tricks, insider deals and sneak-previews of various projects I’m working on before anyone else, and updates of my schedule- workshops, conferences and events I’m going to, etc. These’ll go out the first week of every month, and I think it’ll be worth it but don’t take my word for it.



 

Go Fuck Yourself! (And Maybe Someone Else): Sex Toy 101

It’s here. This week, I’ll be teaching my first ever workshop at Kink Shoppe here in Philadelphia.

Do you live in or near Philadelphia?

Do you want to meet me and pay to hear me ramble about sex toy materials, kinds, and fun things you can do with them?

Do you like the idea of a free limited edition guide that goes along with the class?

I’ll be updating info about the guide in particular as the week goes on. Keep an eye out on my social media!

This Saturday, November 23rd, 6:00pm to 7:30pm, 126 Market Street Philadelphia, $25. I’ll see you there. You can preregister here, find the fetlife event here, and the facebook event can be found here!

What's more convenient than having my blog posts- reviews, articles, and giveaways- go directly to your email?

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