Archive of ‘Personal & Advice’ category

Life and Links

As you might have noticed, I haven’t posted a lot in the last couple of weeks. I’m not losing interest in reviewing – far from it. I’ve just had a whole lot going on. amsterdam_canalLast week, I took a trip to Amsterdam to interview with a brand new startup. And I got the job! I’ll be revealing more soon, once I have or can create some guidelines to keep each space secure. Long story short, it looks like I’m going to have the opportunity to help shape my favorite industry.

Additionally, I have a handful of toy reviews in progress, but I’m not quite happy with any of them yet. From the Bbold by Bswish (thank you, DiddleWorks!) to a little treasure box sent by SheVibe containing the brand new Iroha Mini and some other goodies, I have a lot on my plate.

Since this post is a little low on content, here are some links of interest!

From my archive:

Sales, deals, and promos:

From around the web:

If you’re interested, I’m also now accepting sponsors. You can check out my statistics and rates on my sponsor page. If you have any questions, please email me.

How Disillusionment Led to Toy Reviewing

Around this time of year, I start to get nostalgic. It’s not Christmas, New Years, or anyone’s birthday… No, around this time two years ago (2012), I bought my very first luxury vibrator, and a whole new world was opened up to me.

The way I feel about my first luxury toy is the way some people feel about their first love. Just thinking back on those first few orgasms puts a smile on my face and a spring in my proverbial step. But how did I get to that point? What pushed me make that purchase? A double-whammy UTI and bacterial infection, a breakup, and a lot of time spent scouring the internet.

In August 2011, I became a Pure Romance consultant after hosting a party. I loved it. Finally, an outlet for my perviness! And I actually did make money. I did about 1-2 parties per month, and averaged $600 in sales per party. Then, I got a horrible infection from a product I had never thought to question. At that time, my interest in sex toys and other adult products became deeper. I started digging, and I wasn’t happy with what I found.

For as much as those massive party companies (Pure Romance, Slumber Parties, Pleasure Parties, etc.) want you to think that they rigorously train their consultants, I’m here to tell you, the training material never covers the most important topic: real, scientifically-based material and ingredient safety. You might get lucky and hear “phthalate free,” but in an unregulated market, that means nothing. My personal pet peeve is one particular creamy emollient Pure Romance lubricant (Whipped) that’s made with ingredients which are completely unsuited to the vagina, including oils and glycerin – something consultants are never warned about. The emollient nature makes it easy for the product to be pushed into the urethra, and the ingredients simply do not belong up there. Unlike a simple water-based formulation like Sliquid Sassy, your body has a much harder time eliminating Whipped with an after-sex pee. That’s how I wound up on a bevy of drugs, peeing blood, and begging the good Lord to cease the pain. Oh, and did I mention that because consultants get a 30-50% cut, and the company itself still has to make money, everything is egregiously overpriced? I’m talking $30+ for a gross jelly cock ring with a watch battery bullet. (You can get a pure silicone ring with a bullet vibrator from my loves at SheVibe for $10.99.) Thank God for the Internet.

So, armed with new knowledge (extra special thanks to Epiphora and Lilly!), I rebelled. I quit, I continued my search for knowledge, and I purchased my first completely body-safe vibrator: the original JeJoue Mimi, which now also comes in an intriguing soft version.

At the time, I bought my MiMi from the godawful wasteland that is EdenFantasys, where I also took advantage of their review program. Besides their horrid disrespect for the English language, they also have terrible ethics. If you’d like to learn more about why you should avoid them at all costs and why I and many others left their program a long time ago, please check out Epiphora’s post on the matter.

In March 2012, I started blogging in earnest, and a while later began reaching out to companies for products to review. I’ve had the good fortune to work with some amazing, fantastic, big-hearted people at SheVibe, Vixen Creations, We-Vibe, Tantus, Bad Dragon, and Vibratex. I really hope to grow that list in 2014. I know there are people out there working to change this industry and turn it into what it should be: pleasure- and health-based, open to all. I’ve made a lot of blogging friends (shit, I ran out of words!). I’ve tried a lot of toys, both really good and really bad. I’ve even spent a weekend with some of the most inspiring folks alive.

If you’re interested in doing what I do, it’s entirely possible to start right now. Don’t let anything intimidate you. You don’t have to be a size queen, but it’s okay if you are. You don’t have to be kinky, but you will be welcomed with open arms if you want to write about BDSM. If you’re willing to learn, to be completely honest, and to treat masturbating like it’s your job, then you can do this, too. It’s not always an easy job, but it is rewarding.

Why 2014 Will Be Our Best Year Yet

By our, I mean yours and mine, this blog, for everyone who interacts with it. I’m determined to take it to new heights this year, while I have nothing but time and at least decently appropriate tools of the trade.

Expect many more high-quality photos to be hitting this blog! As it turns out, you can’t really use Amazon.com gift cards to buy things in Germany. For some reason, I was totally convinced that shipping would be no big deal – WRONG. Very, very wrong. So we split the card values, and I Donna Meagled my half. For Black Friday/Cyber Monday, I scored a Nikon D3200 with the regular kit lens (18-55mm) plus a bonus telephoto lens (55-200mm). Now, I just have to get back behind the viewfinder and dust off my skills!

nikon

So far, I have four products in my review line-up for early 2014: the WeVibe 3, the Magic Banana, the Tantus Meteorite plug, and the Crave Wink. I had to visit the customs office twice, and explain each product to a disapproving lady with hideous frosted hair, but I finally got my hands on those last three. Oddly, my favorite toy of the bunch so far is the one I was least sure about. (Anyone care to guess which?)

In the coming year, I’d really like to expand my review horizons. I’d love to tackle another wand vibrator, like the new Magic Wand, or one of its competitors. Because my G-spot can be even more fickle than most, I’m still looking for the perfect G-spot vibrator for my anatomy. As an exceptionally short lady with a tall partner, I think I’d be able to really put a position assist cushion through its paces. And, of course, to go along with more G-spot play (because I would love to make 2014 the year of the female ejaculation), it would be pretty rad to finally try an absorbent sex throw. As always, anything else you want to throw at me I will at least happily attempt to put into one of my orifices.

So, what would you like to see on Marvelous-Darling.com in 2014? More reviews? More dating advice? More on sex, with and without toys? Let me know, please!

 

Bonus: While this has nothing at all to do with sex toys, in the last two months, I’ve fully rediscovered my love for makeup. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you might have noticed, since literally half of what I got for Christmas or had shipped to the US for myself was made by Urban Decay or Stila. One of my major goals for 2014 is to begin writing about beauty. Since I recently refocused Marvelous-Darling.com on sex toys and sexuality, I’m not sure if I’ll be doing that here, if I’ll be pitching to outside publications, or if I’ll be turning to Tumblr. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Again

For two or three months, I sort of tried to be a “normal” blogger. Blogging about my life, my wedding, my move, my travels. It was sort of fun, but it wasn’t really… me.

When I think about the things that bring people to me, it’s overwhelmingly sex. From sex toys to sex positions to sexually transmitted diseases, if you made a word cloud of my day to day vernacular, sex-related terms would be both huge and plentiful. I just love talking about sex. Furthermore, the majority of search terms that lead people to this blog are sex or relationship related. So that’s what I’m going to get back to writing about, to bring you a marvelous sex life.

Even more good news: I have a box of goodies on its way, as well as 2 other toys that need to be reviewed. Since I’m now 1 week off The Pill, I can just feel those drives kicking in. So, do you have any topics you’d like me to cover?

 

It’s good to be back.

 

If you’re interested in keeping up with my travels, my (non sex toy related) photos, my dog, and anything else generally safe for work, please check out my Tumblr. It’s 100% safe for work and linked to my Instagram, so you know it’s gonna be full of Daphne goodness.

 

 

My Love/Hate Relationship with Hormonal Birth Control

For the past 9 years of my life, I’ve been on and off various forms of hormonal birth control. At 14, I was prescribed Yasmin by a dermatologist to get my acne under control. When combined with a strict face washing regimen and an oral antibiotic, it worked quite well. (Would I go back to that? Absolutely not, especially the oral antibiotics.) Sometime around age 16, I was switched to Yaz, which worked equally well. At 20, I got the Mirena IUD because my partner wanted to stop using condoms and I was too afraid to rely on just the pill because most of my friends used two forms of birth control. Mirena is where shit began to get crazy, and the love/hate affair began.

My skin freaked out. I had lovely skin until I got my Mirena. Suddenly, zit city. On the other hand, it stopped my periods entirely. This phenomenon might have caused other women to panic but I enjoyed every second of that period-free existence, except the part where my face looked like the surface of the moon. What was the best part? Mirena is >99% effective, and you just set it and forget it (provided you have either the means or the insurance to afford it).

When I determined that I couldn’t stand the acne anymore and decided to have the Mirena removed, I opted for NuvaRing, which I hate with a burning passion. Hate it, hate it, hate it. First of all, there’s a slight chance you’re going to end up playing a game of Penis Ring Toss. That’s not as fun as it sounds, especially when it’s your birth control. Additionally, it was somehow really hard for me to remember to replace it every month, even with a calendar event. Sometimes, the alarm would go off and I wouldn’t be home, and would thus totally forget until a day or so later. But worst of all, it made my vagina dry. Like, Sahara desert dry. Multiple applications of even the best Sliquid has to offer, dry. When your partner is wincing trying to put it in, you know there’s a problem. So, out came the ring.

For somewhere between 8 and 12 months, I went au naturale. During this time, I switched my skincare over to a brand I used to work for (hate to bad mouth them – it just didn’t work for me), and my skin decided it was once again not pleased. Was this more to do with my skincare switch, or my birth control ditch? I might never know. What I do know is that my sex drive was normal, my periods were erratic but never terrible, and I took the chance to experiment with all kinds of condoms to become a bit of a connoisseur (Lifestyles Skyn are my condoms of choice).

Around July, I became frustrated again with my acne. It was majorly flaring up, and I had scars from previous flares to boot. I wasn’t even considering switching my skincare, so I decided to try hormonal birth control again. Enter: Sprintec, a mono-phasic birth control pill that’s approved for acne treatment. So what’s the problem? It murdered my sex drive. Totally annihilated it. I’m a newlywed! I should be having sex like 20 times a week, taking breaks only for sustenance! It’s only been three months, but in these three months, my sex life has taken quite a blow. Sure, it’s nice being 98% sure I won’t get pregnant. But you know what? If I’m not having sex, it’s not really doing me any good. Furthermore, it’s really dampening my desire to test products and write quality reviews.

I’ve spent the last week doing some research to see if another pill might be a good option for me. Unfortunately, it looks like the ones that don’t negatively affect your sex drive do tend to cause acne. These two things are not items that I’m willing to compromise on. I will not trade one for the other. If I’m going to take a pill, it had better positively impact both, otherwise I’m not sure what I’m paying Big Pharma for, you know? Which leads me to my solution: The humble condom.

Since I’ve finally gotten my skin under control, which I believe is much more a result of discovering the magic that is Avene, a healthy diet, and regular exercise than using Sprintec; and because I would like to actually bone my husband more than once in a blue moon, I’m switching back to good old condoms. Lifestyles, don’t let me down.

 

Please note: This is entirely my own personal experience. I am not in any way a health care provider or expert, and you should always consult your own before making any birth control decisions. What’s right for one person might not be right for you. But I do highly recommend Lifestyles Skyn condoms, because I am at least an expert in wrapping before tapping.

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