CatalystCon Part 1: Dildos, Dildos, Dildos

I think we all know that dildos (and other sex toys) are generally pretty kick-ass. They can provide amazing, squirty orgasms and aid in fantasies, they come in all different shapes, colors, and sizes, and they’re super fun to photograph. But dildos can also do a lot of other things, like potentially make you money (reviews!) or poison your orifices, both of which I learned more about at CatalystCon West.

Will Write for Dildos: How and Why Companies and Reviewers Should Work Together (#cconreview)

(EpiphoraLorax Of Sex, Jenna Clark, Krista Arendsen)

I suspected that Will Write for Dildos would not only be informative but also entertaining, and I was right. In the panel, Epiphora and Lorax dished out some expert advice, complete with their signature sarcasm and wit, and they even did an impromtu rock, paper, scissors over who would answer my question!


During the panel, Epiphora explained that reviews should be entertaining, well-written, informative, honest, and not sound like an ad or a boring list of specs. Some other pro-tips Piph and Lorax shared: never agree to someone who asks to “proofread” or pre-screen your review, don’t review for companies without an affiliate program, and be clear, concise, and professional in emails with partners. They also discussed what they’re looking for from manufacturers and retailers, such as trust, availability, communication, patience, and mutual support.

From the manufacturer perspective, Jenna shared what Tantus looks for from reviewers, like diversity, honest feedback, and commitment to sexual health values. Though respected bloggers often champion the importance of honesty in reviews, it was refreshing to hear that manufacturers like Tantus value sincere opinions as well, so that they know which products are working and which could use improvement, etc. Krista from Lovehoney also spoke about the importance of professionalism during communication and honesty in reviews, but also fairness, for example thinking about who a product might or might not work for, not just whether it’s your new favorite.

Are you sad you missed this panel or want to learn more about it? You can listen to and/or read the whole thing here! Also, check out Epiphora’s #cconreview panel resource page.

Toxic Toys: Beyond Phthalates with Metis Black (#ccontoxic)


Another panel I found particularly important for my blog was Toxic Toys: Beyond Phthalates (#ccontoxic) with Metis Black from Tantus. I’ve known for quite a while now that phthalates (plasticizers added to PVC to soften it) are dangerous, and that since there is absolutely no regulation of sex toy materials, often toys are misleading labeled as silicone when they actually contain other materials. I was worried before, but after this panel I am all out horrified. Apparently there are lots of other dangerous chemicals, chemicals that could strip off paint or that should be labeled as radioactive, in sex toys as well, and not just jelly toys, but also others that we normally consider safe, such as hard plastic or glass.  Some glass toys that are made in China contain mercury and lead and can have tiny fissures that we can’t see.


Some other important things I learned in the #ccontoxic panel were that the novelty label on toys doesn’t mean anything if it’s implied for sexual use in a store, that raw silicone costs 3x as much as TPR (hence the steeper prices), Triclosan (the ingredient in most anti-bacterial soaps) is questionable as well, and that there is no proof that using condoms over jelly/other toxic toys will protect you (many have found it only delays reactions.)

Getting depressed just reading this? Luckily there is hope in Cali. Prop 65, which calls for clear and reasonable warning for reproductive toxicity and could mean a big WARNING label on toxic toys, as well as in organizations such as Dildology and informed manufacturers, retailers, bloggers, and consumers. We need to continue to learn more, spread the word, and only buy quality toys from manufacturers that actually oversee production.

Stay tuned for CatalystCon Part 2, which will be up soon!

Learn more:

Buying a Sex Toy: What You Need to Know

Dangers of Jelly Sex Toys

Dildology & Safe Sex Toys

Glass Sex Toy Facts

Metis Black on Toxic Toys: Beyond Phthalates

Phthalates in Sex Toys

Silicone Sex Toy Facts


4 thoughts on “CatalystCon Part 1: Dildos, Dildos, Dildos”

  1. Bedroom Bondage

    When I saw the title of your article in my inbox, I thought: “Yay, CatalystCon!” I must admit I was a tiny bit jealous when I saw so many bloggers Tweeting about it. Since I live in South Africa it’s not easy for me to go to something like it, but my Sir and I have already agreed that, when Bedroom Bondage is doing well, we’ll make a trip to the States when some kind of convention is happening (I’d love to go to DomCon LA), and then also hook up with lots of bloggers and artisans.

    I do wonder though.. why not review for a company without an affiliate program? I mean, I understand someone would like to make a bit of extra cash on the side, but if it’s a company you’re genuinely interested in, why not? Personally, I wouldn’t mind.

    Communication is a BIG pet peeve of mine. I’ve already had several companies disappearing on me after I wrote my review, without any reason. Also, when I have additional questions about the product, I expect a timely answer when I’m reviewing it.

    Yay, a whole thing to read. I’ll definitely make sure to do so. I thought I knew a bit about safe toys, but LEAD? Oh my..! I also had no idea silicone is so much more expensive. I think anyone should rather save up for a safe toy from a reputable company than purchase a cheap jelly one. It’s about the health of your pussy, for fucks sake!

    Thank you so much for writing this, as now, others who couldn’t make it in person can still benefit from the knowledge at CCon.

    1. Epiphora

      why not review for a company without an affiliate program?

      Because my blog is my business now, and I prefer to make (potential) money from anything I post. Like I said, it’s just MY policy, but it has helped my blog become a financially successful entity. I’ll make exceptions here and there, but generally speaking, if I’m going to take the time to review it, I want a little kickback in the future when people read it and click the links.

      1. Penny Post Author

        I feel similarly. I like sharing my experiences with products, but my time is valuable, so I’d like to have at least a potential to make money from reviews. It’s not that I would never review a product that doesn’t have an affiliate program, but in general I don’t see it as worth my time and effort.

    2. Curvaceous Dee

      As an alternate perspective, I’ve chosen not to advertise or have affiliate links on my blog at all – and that runs to my reviews as well. So whether or not a company has an affiliate programme is irrelevant to me. But if you’re looking to monetise your blog, even a little, I can see how getting something back for reviewing – more than the toy in question (because let’s face it, some of those toys can suck) would be worthy.

      xx Dee

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