Day 20 of #FebPhotoFest
This list includes the best and worst products that I reviewed during 2014! (They weren’t necessarily released in 2014.)
LELO Mona 2– Mona–the vibe that’s so good, I chose it over pizza. It has a wide range of moderately strong vibration, it’s easy to use and hold, it’s waterproof, rechargeable, and incredibly versatile. It’s definitely one of the best LELO products I’ve ever tried, along with the awesome Luna Beads.
Runner Up: Eroscillator Top Deluxe Ultimate Combo– If I were to judge by orgasm alone, the Eroscillator would win over Mona. But the Eroscillator doesn’t have as many other redeeming qualities as Mona–it’s not waterproof or travel-friendly, and it’s not made of silicone. It’s also $115.95 more expensive than the already not cheap Mona for the version I have. In a perfect world, everyone should have an Eroscillator, but not everyone can drop $200+ on a vibe that isn’t even waterproof or discreet. That’s why Mona wins–it has more features and a better overall value than the Eros. If you have the money though, you should get one–your clit will thank you!
Vixen Creations Buck– Where do I begin? Buck is a beautiful creature. It’s made of Vixen’s incredibly realistic, squishy silicone VixSkin, and that head… If I had to choose to keep only a few of my dildos, Buck would be in the top 3, below only the amazing, insta-squirt inducing Pure Wand & Comet Wand.
Runner Up: Tantus Splash– I actually didn’t care for the Splash’s unique intense sensations at first…but like Fernet, it was an aquired taste, and now I can’t get enough. Thanks to the Splash, I am now a member of the exclusive “texture slut” club.
Best Butt Toy
NobEssence Romp– I cannot truly express how amazing the Romp feels in my butt-I can only say that if you enjoy putting things in your butt, you need to experience it. And not only does it feel amazing, it’s fucking beautiful. Just look at it. All hail the Romp!
Runner Up: Fun Factory Bootie– I don’t use the Bootie often anymore because it’s a little on the small side for my tastes now, but it is the perfect beginner plug. It’s small and easy to insert but also stimulating and super comfortable to wear around, and it’s also affordable. Yay, Bootie!
Best BDSM Toy
Tantus Plunge– It’s an intense paddle, with a dildo-handle. It’s also 100% silicone & completely sterilizable, unlike most paddles. Need I say more?
Runner Up: Bettie Page Picture This Spanking Bat– I love all things Bettie Page, so I fell in love with this gorgeous paddle the moment I laid eyes on it. It doesn’t hurt much, so it’s great for beginner impact play or for those who don’t like a lot of pain…or for any die hard Bettie fan, of course.
The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy by Violet Blue- Violet Blue’s Ultimate Guide to Fantasy is chock full of helpful information and ideas for adding excitement to your sex life. At 256 pages, it’s not exactly light reading, but Blue pulls you in with an accessible, easy to read tone and exciting topics that will keep you interested the whole way through.
Runner Up: 50 Shades of Kink by Tristan Toarmino- This book should be required reading for anyone interested in BDSM and kink. Taormino stresses the importance of consent, communication, and safety while she discusses the basics of BDSM and power play.
Tracey Cox Supersex Toner Balls– Simple and effective, the Tracey Cox Toner Balls are a solid set of kegel balls, and for only $26.99, they’re a steal!
Runner Up: Tantus Slow Drive– The Slow Drive is an amazing little g-spotter and my go-to recommendation for an affordable first time g-spot dildo. At full price it’s only $37.40 with code PENNY at checkout, & right now the limited edition purple haze version is only $25.50 with code PENNY. For a high quality 100% silicone dildo, that is ridiculously cheap!
LELO Ida– My version of Ida’s product description: Ida: the toy for those who like a challenge (can YOU finish without crying?)
Runner Up: Vibratex Princessa– The Princessa looks like a cross between a flower, a nipple, a bug, and an alien, which I love, but unfortunately it has some of the weakest, buzziest vibrations I’ve ever felt.
LELO Smart Bead– I was really excited to try out the Smart Bead, which is supposed to measure your “orgasm potential” (aka kegel strength) and then give you a customized 5 minute kegel routine–you squeeze when it vibrates and relax your muscles when it stops. Sadly, the Smart Bead doesn’t seem to measure kegel strength at all, and its vibration is so weak you can barely feel it in use. Oh, and it’s battery operated and has a seam on the part you insert, so lube and vag juice seeps into the bead. A gimmicky, impossible to clean, weak ass toy for $109? Hell no.
Runner Up: Shibari Halo Wand– I had high hopes for the Halo Wand since it was the first rechargable wand vibrator I’ve tried, and it features a silicone head, unlike many wands, but its vibration is buzzy, and it cannot get me off. Fail.
Most Entertaining Review
Pictured: Tantus Vamp
So I haven’t actually seen the show True Blood, but I read most of the Sookie Stackhouse books with the exception of the last few (which weren’t out yet) a few years ago and loved them. I’m planning on re-reading the series and finishing them all…and I’m wondering if I should give the show a shot too. I’ve heard good things about it, but I’ve also heard it’s quite different from the books. Thoughts anyone?
I started reading Violet Blue’s The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy while on a bus to Houston. A college aged guy sat next to me and asked what I was reading, and when I flipped the book to show him the cover, his tone went from conversational small talk to genuine interest.
“So what’s that about?” he asked.
We chatted about it for a bit, and at one point I gave him the book, which he flipped through, checking out the chapter and section titles like “Fantasies for One (Masturbation, Just Do It)” “Fantasies for Two,” and “Role Play,” and he even stopped and started reading at “Threesomes, Foursomes, and Moresomes.” After a few minutes he returned the book to me, but it had definitely piqued his interest, as I think it would most people!
The Ultimate Guide to Fantasy is quite a claim, so you’re probably wondering, does it live up to its title? And what exactly does this book cover?
Basically, the book discusses how make your sexual fantasies like exploring dirty talk, erotic dancing, group sex, public sex, fetishes, s/m scenarios, and more come true. The book is meant for anyone–it has an easy to read, conversational tone, and it isn’t specific to gender, sexual orientation, or experience level.
Violet Blue doesn’t just give you tips and ideas (although those are aplenty), she provides the practical advice you need, like how to bring it up with a partner, how to plan ahead for the fantasy, how to find props, and how to make sure everything goes as smoothly (or as roughly, depending on your fantasy!) as possible. And at the end of every chapter, there’s a hot story related to the section by well-known erotica writer Alison Tyler to fuel your imagination.
In addition to covering a huge range of fantasies, Violet also covers various options for making that fantasy happen depending on your comfort level. If you and your partner are interested in adding a third to your sex life, for example, Violet offers many different ideas for how to make that come true, from using sex toys & porn in the background to create a “pretend” threesome, to finding someone to actually join your for a hot encounter, to exploring strip clubs, phone sex, call girls, and sex parties.
The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy is lengthy sex book (at 256 pages), and although you may want to read it cover to cover like I did, I think many people would best enjoy it by exploring a chapter or two at a time, based on what peaks your interest. Some of my favorites chapters were “Threesomes, Foursomes, & Moresomes,” “Strip Clubs, Phone Sex, and Call Girls–for Two,” and “Public Sex.” With all of the taboo that surrounds sex work (and all of the interest for that matter) I’m glad that Violet included it. I’m also glad she included a vital chapter on safer sex practices with protection options and charts with the risks involved in various sex acts.
In certain parts of the book I could tell that it was an updated version of the last edition (2004), like in the DIY porn section (no one uses VHS video cameras anymore, do they?) and in the resources section (Forbidden Fruit only has 1 location now, not 3,) but it was only a few minor things.
After reading The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy, I’m confident that you’ll feel like the world is your sexual oyster, ripe and ready for you to devour it! I recommend it to anyone who wants to strengthen their sex life–Violet Blue makes learning about all of the possibilities for fantasy fueled sex accessible and exciting.
“Fantasies are your own private, personal sex toys. They send a direct current buzzing from your brain down to your groin. The right sexual fantasy, running in your head like your own private movie, can turn you on like a switch. When you know what works for you, your own vivid imagination can bring you to dizzying heights of arousal–and take you over the orgasmic edge.” — Violet Blue, The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy
Tristan Taormino’s 50 Shades of Kink should be required reading for anyone interested in BDSM and kink. Although 50 Shades of Grey has popularized power play and allowed many people to discover new fantasies, it also inaccurately represents kink, and the books shouldn’t be seen as a guide or a model for realistic or safe BDSM activities. Thankfully, Tristan Taormino has put together all of the basics of kink in an accessible, easy to read guide for anyone who wants to take the fantasies they’ve discovered and explore them safely with a partner. In 50 Shades of Kink, Tristan Taormino introduces the basic terminology and practices in BDSM as well as possibilities for play while stressing the essential themes of consent, communication, and safety. And although the book is instructional, Taormino peppers her tips and explanations with sexy images and possibilities, her guides serving as educational foreplay. Throughout the book, Taormino explores topics like sexual power games, sensory deprivation, sensation play, and more. Below is an excerpt from one of my favorites, “Rough Sex.”
A pink handprint on a pale ass cheek. A fistful of hair. A string of gooey spit dripping down your chin. Nails dragged across flesh. A slap across the face. An order barked with cool confidence. A guttural groan or a high-pitched squeal. These are some of the sights and sounds of rough sex. Although it is obviously intensely physical, there are also strong psychological elements in rough sex. Rough sex tops get turned on by taking control of a partner’s body, using physical force, and breaking taboos. Bottoms like to explore feelings of being scared, overwhelmed, and out of control. In my work as a sex educator, I’ve talked to thousands of people over the years, and some are very big fans of playing rough but don’t associate it with kink at all. It doesn’t really matter what you call it. Rough sex is another kind of dominant/submissive role play where you can explore power, control, and surrender, and use intense physicality to push limits and break taboos. Rough sex can include BDSM activities like spanking, blind-folds, or bondage as well as smacking, pushing, grabbing, hair pulling, spitting, scratching, being held down, and face slapping. If these things sound fun to you, read on. Although some folks distinguish between rough sex and and BDSM and others don’t, what’s most important is that the basic principles of kink should always be in play: consent, communication, negotiation, education, safety and risk reduction, and after care. Telling your partner, “I want it rough,” just isn’t specific enough. You need to negotiate, talk about what activities are off limits, and constantly check in about the degree of roughness that works for you. For example, some people love to be slapped in various places on their body, but being slapped in the face is too much for them. But if you are interested in being slapped on the face, think about what will make it sexy for you. Some love being spit on, but others find it degrading; where does it fall on your “Yes-No-Maybe” list? What about having your hair pulled? If you want your partner to grab you, push you, and generally “manhandle” you, talk about how you want that to feel.
In 50 Shades of Kink, Taormino gives you the tools you’ll need to explore kink safely, stressing the most important one, consent:
Consent–explicit, informed verbal approval after negotiation, a confident and secure “Yes!”–is the bedrock of sex and relationships, and one of the most significant elements of kink. It’s what separates kink from abuse. You will read about consent repeatedly in this book. Securing consent from a partner is a necessity, and this holds true whether the person is brand-new to you, you’ve played together more than a dozen times, or you’ve been in a relationship for ten years. Never assume anything. When you ask for consent, you clearly speak your part in the exchange: I need to know you’ve agreed to this before we begin. Giving your consent to a partner prior to a scene is absolutely crucial. It establishes that you’re ready, willing, and able to proceed; you’ve discussed what’s likely to happen, shared any concerns, talked about your limits, and agreed to dive in. When you give consent, you do so willingly, without pressure, coercion, or reservation. You agree to play, communicate during the scene, and stop if you need to.
Like anything new, BDSM and kink can seem intimidating to beginners, and this book does an excellent job of explaining how to begin without sounding overwhelming or condescending. It’s the perfect stepping stone into the realm of kink if you’re a newbie as well as a great way to review core concepts even if you’re an intermediate player. If you’re already an experienced kinkster, you probably won’t find anything new in 50 Shades of Kink, but I’d definitely add it to your list of resources for newbies.
In fact, although this guide is geared towards people interested in kink, I wish I had read this book before I began having (“vanilla”) sex, because the themes and tips it presents are essential, (oh how my 16 year old self could have benefited from the idea of a “Yes-No-Maybe” list!) and even if there isn’t an explicit arrangement, power play is always present to varying degrees in sex and relationships. I long for a world where 50 Shades of Kink is featured as required reading for sex ed!
If you’ve read the 50 Shades of Grey books or other erotic novels and found the power play, bondage, and hot sex intriguing, I definitely recommend Tristan Taormino’s 50 Shades of Kink. Read it and have your partner read it, or read it together, and use it as a guide and inspiration for your exploration of kink. Thanks Cleis Press!
Best Women’s Erotica 2014, edited by sex guru Violet Blue, is an anthology of erotica that centers around women’s pleasure, with stories that feature a wide array of steamy fantasies and sexual encounters.
I read the majority of Best Women’s Erotica 2014 on a bus to and from Houston, and I must admit it was somewhat challenging–not to read, the stories are extremely well written and enthralling–but to read without letting out a sigh during the hot encounter in a coffee shop bathroom or without doing what I’d do if I was at home (run and grab my nearest toy to join in with the character’s pleasure.) I will say I considered moving to the back of the bus, but I wasn’t feeling quite as daring as Mischievous Mindy from the story “Out in the Open.”
What I liked most about Best Women’s Erotica 2014 is that it was full of surprises–not just in the stories themselves, but in my reactions to them. I enjoyed those that featured my favorite fantasy scenarios, but I also found myself fascinated by situations I hadn’t considered before and by some that I don’t usually consider “my kinks.”
In the introduction, Violet Blue describes the heart of the purpose of the series, and I agree that it accomplishes exactly what it strives for:
“Once women uncork the possibilities of what they like in sexual fantasy and fetish erotica, they don’t stop at the first story that works for them. We keep going, and no, it doesn’t get old because we keep looking for more to turn us on and get us off–which exactly what this series sets out to do.”
To get a taste of what Best Women’s Erotica 2014 has to offer, here is an exclusive excerpt from one of my favorite stories, “In Threes” by Elizabeth Coldwell:
Lee took a couple of paces closer to the bed and the two men regarded one another, expressions inscrutable as they sized each other up. Butterflies whirled crazily in my stomach, as the reality of what I’d engineered struck home. Beginning to consider all the ways this situation could go wrong, I was stopped in my agitated mental tracks by Mitchell’s voice.
For the briefest of moments, I thought it might not happen. Then Lee’s hand was around my waist, pulling me to him so he could tug down the zip of my dress. Keeping just on the right side of roughness, he yanked each strap off my shoulder. The garment puddled at my feet in a soft heap of Pucci-printed viscose, leaving me in nothing but nude lace bra and high heels.
“And where are your panties?” Mitchell’s tone was that of the weary headmaster confronting a recalcitrant pupil, the tone that always let me know some kind of punishment was on the cards.
“In my handbag—Sir.” I fought the urge to cover my crotch with my hands, knowing both men would be enjoying the sight of my pink mound, covered only by a thin strip of hair.
“And what kind of slut walks the streets without her panties on?” he continued.
“This kind, Sir.” The kind that does it because you love it, I wanted to add. The kind who’ll make some wild suggestion to a guy she’s only seen twice about joining her and her lover for a threesome. The kind who hasn’t been fully bared yet and is desperate to be.
As if sensing my unspoken need, Lee flicked open the front catch of my bra and let my breasts fall free of the cups. Almost before I knew it, he’d caught hold of my wrists and used the bra to tie them together behind my back. Though not in my plans, or Mitchell’s as far as I knew, the impromptu bondage only served to make me wetter, more anxious for fulfillment.
Lee pushed me onto the bed. I landed facedown, my nose only inches away from Mitchell’s terry-covered crotch. With a grin, he pulled the folds of toweling away, and I gazed on the fat bulk of his erect cock, the foreskin peeled away to reveal the tender core within. My mouth watered in response to the sight and smell of him.
“Suck me,” he ordered, “and do a good job, or it’ll be the worse for your ass.”
Crawling into position wasn’t easy, my movements hampered as they were by my bound wrists. But I got myself settled over Mitchell’s dick, and ran my tongue over the head, just the quickest of flicks, to lap up the juice that welled from its tip.
“Not good enough, slut.” Mitchell slapped my ass, with a crisp, upward stroke that stung only a little. In my eyeline, I saw movement; heard the rustling of clothing being removed. I’d wanted to watch Lee undress, but the two men had contrived to deny me that treat. Who’d set this whole thing up? I wondered, as I took more of Mitchell’s length in my mouth. Who was in charge here?
Not me, that became all too clear, as I felt Lee’s hands on my asscheeks, pulling them wide apart. Helpless to prevent myself being spread for his gaze, I could only imagine how I looked to him. He’d be able to see everything, even the dark, wrinkled star of my asshole. This was what I’d wanted, to be open and available for both men to use. And now I had Mitchell’s cock in my mouth, leaking its salty juices as I sucked him, and Lee’s hand probing between my legs, tracing the length of my crease.
Thanks to Cleis Press, you can win a free copy of this steamy erotic anthology in my giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below! Since I am responsible for shipping, this giveaway is only open to US residents. You must be 18 to enter.