Tag Archives: vibrator

One Vibrator Per Teen

Hello Kitty Vibrators

One Vibrator Per Teen: Changing A Teenager’s Life, One Sex Toy at a Time.

To get sex toys when I was a teenager, I had to break the law. Like all teenagers, I was obsessed with sex. Unlike all teenagers, I was obsessed with sex toys and would tromp into sex-toy stores just to gaze at the bizarre dildo packaging. This being the late 1990s, shopping online wasn’t an option. So I went to brick-and-mortar stores for my dildo fix. The only problem was that I was 16, and the minimum age was 18. So every time I went into the Adult Fun Shop, I was afraid that I’d get kicked out. Even its name reminded me that I wasn’t welcome. That added to the thrill, of course, but it also made me think that exploring my sexual desires was illegal, which leads me to my proposal (actually it was my boyfriend’s idea) that all adolescent girls should be eligible to receive a free vibrator when they turn 13. 

Here’s how the One Vibrator Per Teen program would work:

When a girl turns 13, she would be eligible to sign up for the One Vibrator Per Teen program via a website, which would feature information on masturbation, sexual health, contraception, and all the other things you need to know when you develop breasts and pubic hair. A week later, a phthalate-free rechargeable silicone vibrator clothed in discreet packaging would arrive at her home, packaged with water-based lubricant and an informational booklet.

Not only would teenage girls benefit from this program, but sex-toy companies would also profit from the early brand recognition. Gaining brand loyalty by giving away swag to hormonal girls is a time-worn strategy. For decades the feminine-hygiene company Kimberly-Clark has offered free sex-education materials to teachers in an attempt to get their maxi pads in the hands of as many new menstruators as possible, so why shouldn’t Trojan also get in the game?  Continue reading

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Do Sex Toys Infantilize Women?

I Rub My Duckie Kitty

Is this a sex toy or a children’s toy?

Sex toy. The very name implies a childish device, something that doesn’t take sexuality seriously. While in theory this is fine, in practice the toy-ness of the devices sometimes ends up flowing through the design in a way that implies that female sexuality is infantile and frivolous.

It’s not that I want all sex toys to be realistic looking. In fact, one of the appealing things about sex toys is that they represent the cleaning up of the genitals. They’re not marred tangly pubic hair, pendulous droopy testicles, or uneven textures. But it’s worth examining why we have so many cloyingly designed genital stimulators. There is something decidedly un-erotic about many of the female sex toys on the market. It’s as if sex toy companies were focus-group testing  themes on elementary school-aged girls. Why else would we have sex toys in the shape of seahorses, kitty cats, butterflies, roses, and cupcakes?

Take the Big Teaze Toys’ I Rub My Duckie, which is, as its name implies, a rubber duck-shaped vibrator (pictured above in the Furry Hoodie Kitty version). More akin to a Polly Pocket doll than to a dildo, the I Rub My Duckie comes in a variety of personalities, including Bondage Fashionista, Sweetheart, and Pirate. Most of these come with matching removable accessories, including a feather boa for the Paris and Sweetheart ducks and a fuzzy hat for the Furry Hoodie Kitty, unfortunate accessories for devices that routinely get slathered in female sexual juices. (In all fairness, the boas and hats are removable.) With its Swarovski crystals and hard plastic exterior, the design of the I Rub My Duckie has very little to do with sexual pleasure, and everything to do with play. It’s all toy and no sex. Continue reading

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Ask the Dildographer

While guiltily not working on my dissertation on Labor Day, I decided to traipse down to the bookstore and pick up a few sex advice books and magazines, a few of which contained sex toy history in them. So I ended up technically working on Labor Day, after all, which calmed my bat-shit crazy mind. Some of what I found in these books was enlightening (I learned a new fellatio technique, for example), some was disheartening (no, author of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, your boyfriend or husband isn’t gay if he enjoys being pegged. He’s straighter than Mitt Romney on a ski slope.), and some was essential basic anatomy that I never learned (ie. where the frenulum is).

But what these books made me realize is that people crave very basic information about sexuality and that this information is in short supply (the entire sex advice section would’ve fit on my coffee table).  The recent popularity of 50 Shades of Grey demonstrates that when the market for sex advice literature isn’t satisfied, readers will simply transform their smut into sex-advice manuals. The only problem with employing 50 Shades as a sex manual it is that it encourages the use of dangerous hardware-bought sex toys like zip ties and ropes. I don’t fault E.L. James because she didn’t intend for 50 Shades to be used as an instruction manual. But now that women are using it that way, it’s important that they apply the central message of the story to their lives–that people in love can and should have taboo-busting rough sex and not just make vanilla love to each other while pumpkin-scented candles flicker in the background–without reenacting the sex scenes using the possibly dangerous tools mentioned in the story.

I figured that I’m as good a person as any to offer this type of sex-toy advice, so I’ve decided to start a recurring Ask the Dildographer feature. Ask me anything sex-related (not just sex-toy related), no matter how bizarre or taboo you think that it is. Chances are that I’ve either tried it, thought about trying it, or read about someone who has tried it. All question-writers will remain anonymous. Send all your emails to askthedildographer@gmail.com Continue reading

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What is a Sex Toy?

Wahl 2-speed all-body massager

Is this a sex toy or a therapeutic massager? How do we make this distinction?

It seems ridiculous to ask this question, nearly a year into writing my blog and my dissertation. But it’s an important one because what is and is not a sex toy is not readily apparent. Sure, you could confidently state that the devices sold on a sex-toy site like Good Vibrations, are in fact instruments that are designed to stimulate the genitals. But not all sex toys are sold in sex toy stores. Nor are all massagers that are marketed to “relieve pain and fatigue,” actually used for back massage.

So how do we judge whether something is a sex toy or a therapeutic device? Do we accept a company’s marketing claims at face value? Or do we factor in how the consumer actually uses the device?  Take the Wahl Two-Speed All Body Massager  for example. Wahl makes vague claims that the massager: “Increases circulation,” “Relieves aches and muscle pain,” and works well for “facial” and “deep tissue” massage. But nothing indicates that the massager provides women with incredible orgasms. You have to look to Amazon.com’s product reviews to find that information:

“Best. Thing. Ever. No clue how it does at massaging sore muscles, but as a vibrator it’s definitely in my top 3. Most of the time the low setting is perfect, but for an extra little something there’s a way to hold it so you can flip it to high right before you have a orgasm [sic] and I have to say it’s better than anything else I’ve experienced. A definite must for anyone.”- Anonymous

Not all of the reviews are like this, of course. But enough of the reviews are like this that there should be no doubt in any consumer’s mind that the Wahl provides an amazing clitoral massage. Continue reading

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This Vibrator Wants to Replace Your Boyfriend

LadyHug Vibrator

Introducing Your Vagina’s New Best Friend: The LadyHug Vibrator
Image from AHAlife.com

Women’s sex toys are capable of terrifying the most secure man in the world. They’re  candy-colored, hairless devices that vibrate and pulsate with an intensity that no man can achieve with any part of his body. The human penis looks wildly unimaginative in comparison. Sex toys are proof  that intelligent design does not exist. If we really had an intelligent designer, men’s penises would wiggle in five million directions, their testicles would vibrate, and they’d ejaculate White Mystery Airheads candy. And, yes, with that sentence I’ve just put an end to all theological debate. You’re welcome.

So along comes men’s biggest nightmare: the LadyHug, the empathetic vibrator that not only improves upon the penis but also gives the vagina emotional fulfillment. Fortunately for men, the LadyHug can’t quite pull off this persona. It’s marketed as a sex toy that “hugs” and “embraces,” but never “fucks.” A bright red palm-sized device that looks like a bargain-basement robot’s flying vagina, the LadyHug has tiny “paddled arms” that are designed to grasp the labia and clitoris and multiple downloadable vibration patterns so that a woman’s vagina never gets bored.The LadyHug “snuggles up as close as it can get while it vibrates.” And it’s also designed to bolster your self-esteem. “LadyHug is as intuitive and ever-changing as the female it satisfies,” the company proudly declares. Meanwhile, the vibrator itself looks like an alien weapon from BattleshipI can imagine it developing “intuition” and tearing off the clitorises of all human females in an attempt to build the universe’s most powerful pleasure device.

The problem with the LadyHug’s marketing campaign is that it miscalculates in its use of female stereotypes. I don’t want my vibrators to compassionately copulate with me. If I wanted to be made love to, I’d become a feminist juggler in a Marxist clown troop, since they’re the only demographic who makes love anymore. Women don’t want to be friends with their vibrators. They don’t want their vibrators to compliment them or tell them that they look skinny in their new outfit. They don’t want their vibrators to be gentle or cuddly. They want them to be sexy and edgy and give them the best orgasms of their lives. The LadyHug assumes that every woman’s clitoris is a timid organ that needs to be gently coaxed into orgasm. But the clitoris doesn’t need platitudes. It needs to be dominated. And the poorly named LadyHug isn’t up to the task.

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Sex Toy Review: The Trojan Vibrating Tri-phoria

Trojan Vibrating Triphoria

The Trojan Vibrating Triphoria, un-boxed and mysteriously standing upright. Mine couldn’t do this. (Image from trojanvibrations.com).

After months of debate, I finally decided to purchase the Trojan Vibrating Tri-phoria at Walgreens early this morning. I came to this decision after I determined that no self-respecting dildographer could carry on her profession without trying out one of the most widely marketed vibrators in the United States. Trojan is one of the few companies that advertises their vibrators on TV, so chances are if you ask the average American to name a vibrator, the Tri-phoria or the Twister is what comes to mind. I think of Trojan vibrators as either introductory vibrators for those who are too scared to enter a sex-toy store or impulse purchases for women who stumble upon them in their drugstore aisles while searching for Kotex’s new multicolored tampons . Trojan’s brand recognition allows their sex-toys to serve as gateway vibrators. If you’ve already entrusted Trojan condoms to protect you from AIDS, buying one of their vibrators just makes sense.

I surprised myself in being mildly embarrassed while purchasing this at Walgreens. Maybe it’s because I’m a regular at this Walgreens. Yes, you can be a regular nighttime shopper at a local chain drug store, and I’m proud that I’m a member of this exclusive club. Anyway,because it comes in a beautiful glossy purple package whose cover lacks any images, it’s not too embarrassing to buy.

The Trojan Vibrating Tri-Phoria

The package that almost killed me.

Unfortunately, upon coming home and  tearing upon the box, I discovered that the vibrator was ensconced in one of those miserable hard plastic tombs that require rarefied skill to open. I had a Larry David moment where I screamed and poked at it with a pair of old, dirty scissors. When that didn’t work, I switched to a dull steak knife, which punctured the resilient plastic, but resulted in a small cut on my pinky. Continue reading

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Kris Jenner’s Vagina is Trying to Sell You Something

Kris Jenner's New Product (Image from Zestra.com)

Hearing the news about Kris Jenner’s endorsement of the sexual arousal gel Zestra filled me with conflicting emotions. On the one hand, I am always happy to see sexual products in the news; on the other hand, I don’t really want to think about Kris Jenner’s dribbly vagina being slathered with copious amounts of Zestra by Bruce’s enfeebled hand. A botanical gel that’s applied to the labia and clitoris to heighten pleasure during sexual intercourse, Zestra is supposed to give women a “rush” that causes tingling and arousal within three to five minutes of application. For most women rubbing the clitoris will provide a rush within three to five minutes, regardless of whether Zestra is being rubbed into it. That’s why in a Kinsey Institute study (sponsored by Zestra), both women using a placebo gel and women using Zestra experienced increased arousal, but women using Zestra saw a larger increase in arousal. Even though I question whether a liquid containing Evening Primrose Oil and Vitamin C can really lead to more sexual satisfaction, I’m pro-clitoral massage, so if purchasing this product leads to more clitoral massage, I’m all for it.

But what bothers me about using Kris as an endorser is that Kris says she uses Zestra to “keep monotony out of monogamy.” This declaration comes just days after revelations that she had a hot 18-month affair with a man a decade her junior while married to first husband Robert Kardashian. Clearly Kris found a better way to reduce the monotony of marriage, and that was by fucking someone else.  As I’ve previously stated, I don’t think that sex toys can fix a broken marriage, but they can improve one that’s in a rut. I’m tired of companies promoting sex toys as a way to solve the problem of monogamy. Trojan’s new campaign for their Vibrating Twister plays off of this same theme, to an even greater degree. Trojan claims their vibrator can transform your spouse into the perfect husband, one who enjoys shopping for shoes, watching bridal TV shows, and doing laundry (see video below). Basically, they’re claiming that the Vibrating Twister can convert your husband into a gay man who also enjoys fucking you. And although that’s my dream man (if he’s over 50 and looks like Larry David), I don’t hold out any hope that a vibrator, or even a butt plug could effect this change. Not even daily pegging sessions could transform a heterosexual man into a doting gay husband.

Vibrators and clitoral lotions cannot solve the intractable problem of achieving sexual satisfaction within a long-term monogamous relationship. They should not be sold as sexual talismans.  That’s setting them up for failure.  They should be sold as products that can increase your sexual pleasure during intercourse or masturbation, not as products that can rescue a miserable marriage. Sexual aid companies continue to promote their products as a part of a family-values monogamy discourse because they want to normalize sexual devices. But this discourse needs to change. Singles should be featured in sex toy ads. More gays should be featured in them. It is time to challenge the narrative that the only normal way to use a sex product is in a monogamous heterosexual relationship.

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Can a Dildo be Art?

Ten years from now, when I’m breaking ground on the Lieberman Phallological Museum and Dildo Emporium, I don’t want to be the only person in the world who believes that sex toys can rise to the level of art.  In that spirit, I will use this blog post to attempt to convince the world that some dildos, vibrators, and male masturbators should be categorized as art. The question of what art is can never, and will never be answered. So I’m not going to try to do that here. I will just use Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography to define art: “I know it when I see it.”

Functional objects always have a disadvantage when it comes to being labeled as art. It seems like if something actually serves a purpose, it cannot be art. That’s why car museums are considered kitschy and museums filled with sculptures of giant human fetuses are considered high brow. And when the object has a sexual use, it’s more difficult to convince people of its artistic character, which leads to this intractable question: “If you can fuck it, is it art?”

Even if you believe that sex toys can be art, in the past 30 years most sex toys have been too ugly to be thought of as art; they’re frequently made of fluorescent jelly plastic and feature disturbing faces. But recently, some progress has been made in this industry, and companies are manufacturing beautiful sex toys. I’m not sure what caused this trend. Partly it’s the green movement, which led consumers to be concerned about the materials their products are made out of. This has caused a shift from sex toys made from phthalate-filled jelly materials to those constructed from silicone, wood, steel, and ceramics. It has also led to some accountability in the industry, which is important because the FDA doesn’t regulate sex toys.  And since you can’t try out a sex toy before you buy it, the design is extremely important. If you’re going to shove something up your ass, it better be well made.

Here are three sex toys worthy of the label art, and my speculation on their artistic inspiration:

(side note: This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means. There are at least a half-dozen other sex toy companies producing fuckable art).

DILDO

Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Yellow Red and Blue) 1953

Girard Dildo by Babes N Horny

Girard Dildo by Babes N Horny:

Made of high quality silicone, this dildo is designed to fit perfectly into Babes N’ Horny’s hand-crafted harnesses that are painstakingly constructed by a London tailor.

VIBRATOR:

And Then…Gargle Glop by Takashi Murakami

Yooo Vibrator by Fun Factory

Yooo by Fun Factory:  Appearing like an inverted Mickey Mouse insignia and available in Pop candy colors, the Yooo vibrator is playful and unique. It’s also made of silicone, has two motors, and is rechargeable.


MALE MASTURBATOR

Frank Gehry’s Dancing House

Tenga 3D Male Masturbator

 Tenga 3D: So beautiful that it would be a shame to ejaculate into it, the Tenga 3D is made of elastomer. The beautiful designs provide textured stimulation for the adventurous masturbator.

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Nobody Ever Said: “When I grow up, I want to have a loose vagina.”

 The Intensity Vibrator. Image from Jopen’s website.

Like all women, sometimes I wonder if my vagina is properly toned. I don’t spend too much time worrying about it because I have more important things to concern myself with like how to best utilize Princess Peach’s new flying capabilities in Mario Kart 3DS. But I probably should devote more of my life to strengthening my PC muscles, because when women age, their vaginal muscles lose tone, and there’s nothing worse than having a loose vagina (except for poverty, AIDS, unemployment, and bubonic plague). Not only is having a loose vagina unpleasant for your sexual partner, but it also can impact your own sexual pleasure. Strengthening your vaginal muscles increases the intensity of your orgasms. And if you assume  that nobody thinks you have a loose vagina, you could be dead wrong. Curb Your Enthusiasm has a classic episode devoted to this issue, in which Jeff’s former lover confides in Larry that Jeff has a small penis. When Larry relays this information to Jeff, Jeff claims that, in fact, it is not his penis that is the cause of the problem, but it is her enormous vagina. This causes Larry to famously exclaim: “Those big vagina ladies are getting away with murder!”

Most women are aware that they should be doing kegels, but it’s easy to get lazy and forget to do them. So how do you motivate a woman to strengthen her vagina? By creating a vaginal strengthening device that also doubles as an amazingly powerful sex toy. Enter Jopen’s award-winning Intensity vibrator. If the Reebok Pump had a threesome with the Rabbit and an early 20th century Heidelberg Electric Belt this would be the result. The bright pink vibrator contains an inflatable shaft with a g-spot vibrator and two electrodes, a rabbit-shaped clitoral stimulator, and a control panel that would baffle me even if I weren’t sexually aroused, but especially if I were. The control panel is in the bulbous base of the toy. It contains an inflation pump, an air valve release, LED lights, and five different buttons to control the vibrators and the electrodes. Yes, just writing about the operation of this vibrator confuses the shit out of me. However, a lot of sex toys have multiple controls, so that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker for me. But it gets even more complicated. You have to put two different types of lubricants on it before you insert it in your vagina: a water-based lube and electrode-stimulating gel. You then inflate the toy, turn on the electrodes, and activate the two vibrators. You are absolutely not supposed to turn on the electrodes before inserting it in your vagina, but Jopen mysteriously never explains why. I assume that turning on the electrodes prior to insertion will set your vagina on fire.

While I like the idea of this toy, I don’t think I want to be an early adopter of the Intensity. The concept is great: You get to have an orgasm while simultaneously improving the strength of your future orgasms. But it costs $170 dollars. And I’m wary of any vibrator that comes with its own instruction manual,  requires a 10-step process to operate, and has an accompanying list of 10 warnings, including the ominous “Do not use if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator.” While I’m all for technological innovation in sex toys–in fact, Intensity’s slogan is “The Elation of Innovation”–I think that no matter how advanced the toy is, it needs a simple user interface. But if it sounds enticing to you, you can buy it here. For everybody else, you can watch this Intensity video to get an idea of how it works.

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Sex Toy Season

A Man Celebrating Sex Toy Season in his Rustic Home

It’s that time of year again, when the cold weather draws us into our cozy homes, where we put a few logs in the fire, pour ourselves a nice cup of hot chocolate, and insert newly purchased silicone phalluses into our orifices.Yes, Sex Toy Season has officially begun.

A period of time from the 1st of the year through Valentine’s Day, Sex Toy Season’s celebrants are singles who’ve made New Year’s resolutions to masturbate more efficiently and with more pleasure (I know that I’m not alone in this resolution) and couples who’ve vowed to spice up their monotonous sex lives.

During a recent trip to my neighborhood sex toy store A Woman’s Touch, I noticed multiple couples shopping for dildos together, a sign that the season was upon us. As I mentioned in an earlier post, sex toys can’t save your relationship, but they can improve a sex life that’s getting stale, or, conversely they can confirm that your relationship is dead and not even the Euphoria Prostate Massager can save it.

In honor of this season, I present you with a new sex toy review.

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