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.
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.
A week ago Lelocame out with their new LUNA Smart Bead™, a product that is supposed to function as a personal trainer for your vag. Sounds amazing right?! Spoiler alert: be prepared for an incredible let down.
The idea behind the LUNA Smart Bead™ is that you insert it and follow a 5 minute workout program, squeezing your PC muscles when it vibrates and relaxing them when it doesn’t. Based on your performance, it rates your orgasm potential and gives you a routine based on that the next time you use it. After doing the routine every day, you’re supposed to progress to higher levels and strengthen your muscles over time and therefore your orgasm potential as well.
The Smart Bead™ is silicone (but is hard and has no give), and its retrieval cord seems to be made of plastic, though the manual doesn’t specify. It’s fairly easy to use–here’s how it works:
-You press the power button to turn on the LUNA Smart Bead™. It blinks to show you what Level you’re on (it starts you at L3: Intermediate.)
-It gives you a 5 minute kegel exercise routine to follow–when it vibrates, you squeeze your PC muscles, and when it stops, you relax them. As you squeeze, it increases the vibration (you may or may not feel it.)
-After the 5 minute routine, it signals it’s over by vibrating 3 times quickly and then turns itself off.
-The next time you turn on the LUNA Smart Bead™, it blinks to show what Level you’re on (it remembers based on your last workout and is supposed to select the right level for your next routine.)
I was really excited to try out the LUNA Smart Bead™ because I like the idea of following a short kegel workout routine everyday, and a product that can rate my orgasm potential seemed like a really cool idea. Since Lelo’s other kegel workout product, the Luna Beads, are awesome, my expectations were high.
But sadly, the LUNA Smart Bead™ is so disappointing, I’m embarrassed for Lelo.
First of all, it doesn’t seem to measure “orgasm potential” or really anything for that matter. The first time I used the Smart Bead™, I almost threw it against the wall when it gave my vagina an L1 rating. I know my vagina isn’t an L1: Beginner, “For the uninitiated who has never practiced before” (quote from the manual.) Um, no. I have long, intense orgasms. I squeeze and workout my muscles frequently. I was incredibly insulted, although I had a hunch that the Smart Bead™ was full of shit already.
So, Jake and I experimented with the Smart Bead™. Jake, who does body building and is very strong, went through the 5 minute program, squeezing the bead with his hand as hard as possible, and it gave him a L3 Intermediate score. Afterwards, I tried squeezing it with my hand, and it gave me a L4 Advanced score. There is no way I was squeezing it as hard as Jake, so it clearly isn’t actually measuring strength. Within the week I’ve had it, I’ve also tried it as intended vaginally, and it’s given me scores of L1, L3, & L2. If it measures anything (which I’m skeptical that it does) it’s definitely not muscle strength or “orgasm potential.”
The second fail of the LUNA Smart Bead™ is its vibration. I get that it’s supposed to be a workout product and doesn’t necessarily need to be super strong, but the vibration is disgraceful. Let me put it this way: it’s about the same strength as the first speed on the crappy Princessa. It’s supposed to increase in strength as you squeeze, and sure, it does…it goes from incredibly weak, buzzy vibration, to slightly less weak, still incredibly useless vibration. Coming from Lelo, makers of Mona, this is just sad. And in the manual, it claims that the Smart Bead™ provides a continuous vibration mode “purely for pleasure.” HA.
In addition to its questionable workout levels and disappointing vibration, the Smart Bead™ is battery operated. Lelo products are known for being rechargeable as a standard, so this is a backwards move on their part. And not only is it battery operated, you have to take off the top of the Smart Bead™ to insert the battery, so it has a seam on the part you insert. Lube and juices crust along the inside of the bead, and it’s gnarly. And since it’s only waterproof when closed, that means it’s pretty much impossible to clean thoroughly. Oh, hell no.
Regardless of the fact that it doesn’t really measure orgasm potential, it could be debated that using the Smart Bead™ daily could increase your muscle strength. And sure, I guess it could, but using it is a snooze fest. It’s too small to provide any real muscle resistance, its vibration is weak, and it will occasionally stop vibrating for 10+ seconds , which doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re focusing only on the program, it’s enough to almost put you to sleep. Don’t worry though, it will eventually awaken you with sad vibration. And then disappoint you by its crappy level system. And then straight up infuriate you by the fact that it can’t be cleaned thoroughly and that it’s battery operated. Oh, and to add to it all, it only comes in 2 shades of pink. I guess it makes sense that it debuted near Halloween, because the Smart Bead™ is so bad, it’s scary.
I haven’t been this disappointed by a Lelo product since the horrible Ida. At least the Smart Bead™ doesn’t hurt. But its design is incredibly flawed, its vibration is sad, and it’s a ridiculous $109. If you saw the Smart Bead™ and thought it’d be cool to try, I strongly recommend that you reconsider. Get the Luna Beads instead, and let’s hope Lelo decides to fix the Smart Bead™, because it had the potential to be great…but instead it’s just an incredible disappointment.
Thanks for sending me the Smart Bead™ in exchange for my honest review, Lelo!
Meet the LUNA Smart Bead™, your very own personal pleasure trainer! With touch-sensors that respond to your every squeeze, the LUNA Smart Bead™ tailors a Kegel Exercising routine that is right for you. Simply progress through its 5 vibration-guided levels as it automatically updates to match the strength of your pelvic floor. Regular use will have you enjoying even longer and stronger orgasms in no time.
So basically, it’s supposed to function as a personal trainer for your vag!
Having strong PC muscles is vital to having strong orgasms, since orgasms are basically rhythmic muscle contractions. While you can do Kegel exercises on your own by simply doing reps of squeezing and relaxing or by wearing Kegel balls like the Luna Beads as you move around, I love the idea of a product that helps you follow a workout routine, so I’m excited to be one of the first to try out the LUNA Smart Bead™.
Stay tuned for my review to learn more about how the LUNA Smart Bead™ works as well as my experience with it! (It should be up within a week.)
I have a confession, y’all. I’ve been slacking on using kegel balls. It’s part laziness, park forgetfulness, and part me thinking that my vag is probably pretty strong from clenching around sex toys. But kegel health is important! And if there’s one body part I want to be strong, it’s my PC muscles. I need to be able to crush skulls with my vaginal canal…and squeeze around dildos harder, of course.
So I mostly wanted to try out the Tracey Cox Supersex Toner Set to remind myself to do more kegels, and it worked!
The Tracey Cox Supersex Toner Set comes with a single kegel ball and double kegel balls that are made of body safe silicone and hard plastic, and they feature balls with weights inside that move around and a stretchy silicone retrieval cord. The single ball is a little over 2″ long and 1.5″ wide, and the double set is about 4.5″ long and 1.5″ wide. While you can’t switch out weights like you can with the Luna Beads, you can start with the single ball (39g) and move up to the heavier double balls (78g) when you feel ready. (Comparatively, Luna Beads weigh between 28-74g.) I started with the double balls and had no problem holding them in.
When I wear the Toner Balls, they feel similar to the Luna Beads. They’re not quite as jiggly, but I can feel the balls’ subtle movement as I walk and move around. They’re fairly big for kegel balls, so I can always feel them, and they remind me to squeeze and exercise my PC muscles. They’re also really comfortable, and I’ve worn them for hours while out and about without any problems. The double balls are heavier and more stimulating, but I can feel the single ball by itself as well.
Although the fact that you can’t switch out the balls means they aren’t quite as versatile as the Luna Beads, I like that the Toner Balls aren’t in a holster. I use the blue beads on my Luna Beads anyways, so the holster is somewhat superfluous, and vag gunk loves to congregate around where the holster meets the balls.
I also like that the retrieval cord is made of soft flexible silicone because it’s easy to tuck out of the way, and it doesn’t poke at my vulva. I’ve heard of a few people who have issues with the stiffer Luna Beads cord irritating their urethra, so a soft silicone cord should eliminate that problem. The cord is odd when I’m naked though–it feels like I have an antenna coming out of my vag. I’ve heard that the cord’s stretchiness can be an issue, but I haven’t had any problems with it. I just do a sort of gentle tug, tug to get them out, so I don’t stretch the cord too much.
Toner Balls vs. Luna Beads Original & Noir
The only issue I have with the Toner Balls is the hard plastic circles on the balls. They don’t seem to serve any purpose, and although I haven’t noticed any vag gunk collecting there, there are tiny ridges that could potentially hold bacteria etc. I also wish they came in other color options besides Generic Sex Toy Pink.
Although they aren’t really orgasmic toys, kegel balls are awesome because your muscles have to work to hold them in as you move and walk around, so if you wear them while you’re active, you’re getting a workout without any actual effort. It’s kind of like sitting and watching a workout video in your sweats with a glass of wine…except it actually works!
Simple and effective, the Tracey Cox Supersex Toner Balls are a solid set of kegel balls, and for $26.99 for just the double beads or $35 for the whole set, they’re a great deal. If you don’t care about switching out weights and feel ready for heavy balls, I’d go with just the Toner Balls. If you want to work your way up to more weight, I’d get the the Toner Balls Set since they have more of a weight range. You could also get the single ball for $16.99 by itself, but I’d recommend getting the set because you’ll probably want to move up weights after a while. If you want a more gradual weight progression set, get the Luna Beads. If the Toner Balls look too big for you, the Luna Beads Mini/Noir are also good options, though I prefer bigger balls so I can feel them when I wear them.
*UK readers: the Toner Balls are available here & the Set here!
**Post updated 11/6 from the Toner Balls to the Toner Set (Lovehoney sent me the single ball as well.)