marvelous darling http://marvelous-darling.com in hot pursuit of hedonism Thu, 12 Oct 2017 14:52:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.10 http://marvelous-darling.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/cropped-icon-1-32x32.jpg marvelous darling http://marvelous-darling.com 32 32 Life Update October 2017 http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/10/life_update/ http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/10/life_update/#comments Thu, 12 Oct 2017 14:52:21 +0000 http://marvelous-darling.com/?p=4374 Well, it’s been a hot minute since my last post. Most — if not all — of you probably know that I relocated to England at the end of August. September passed in an absolute flash. In fact, I can’t believe October is nearly halfway over. I wish I had a “better” reason for neglecting writing for the last month,...

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Well, it’s been a hot minute since my last post.

Most — if not all — of you probably know that I relocated to England at the end of August. September passed in an absolute flash. In fact, I can’t believe October is nearly halfway over.

I wish I had a “better” reason for neglecting writing for the last month, but the truth is just that I’ve been busy. I’ve been a happy kind of busy, in fact. I started a new job in late September, and while it’s just a temporary position for now, I’m absolutely loving it.

Here’s what it feels like to be here: It feels like finally getting enough air. I never felt fully comfortable or fully at home in Germany, as much as so many people seemed to want me to, or even expect me to. The truth of living in another country, particularly one where you don’t fluently speak the language, is that it can be very isolating and very hard. When you have depression and anxiety, that can make things even harder. I never fit in, and while I miss the community that I found among some of my closest friends, I don’t miss living there.

I feel like I fell right into step here. It’s new, it’s different, but it’s also familiar. I’m a person who finds fulfillment in interacting with other people, and being able to now have a full, real, rich conversation with just about anyone is the most fulfilling thing about my day-to-day life. It’s amazing, not having to struggle for words or piece together sentences that I really need to hear twice to understand. I feel buoyant.

And so, I’m really concentrating on setting myself up for success here. I’m finding solace in long conversations with my coworkers, and even with customers who are excited to chat about new products, expatriating, or how their day is going. It feels good and right to throw myself into my life here.

I don’t know what this means, really. I was working on a new project that’s stalled a bit in a light of changing the direction of my efforts. I have no desire to say that I’ll never come back, or even that I’m gone at all. I just wanted you — anyone who care about where I’ve been and where I’m going — to know that things are looking up.

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Fleshlight Guy, or Everything You Shouldn’t Do on a First Date http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/09/fleshlight-guy-first-date/ http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/09/fleshlight-guy-first-date/#respond Sat, 02 Sep 2017 12:55:26 +0000 http://marvelous-darling.com/?p=4361 Settle in, kids, and I shall tell you the tale of My Worst First Date. Picture this: Me, young and fresh, a mere 20 years old and — this part is kind of important for what comes later — not a sex blogger yet. Just a gal looking for a good time. Full of hopes and dreams, not yet battered and...

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Settle in, kids, and I shall tell you the tale of My Worst First Date.

Picture this: Me, young and fresh, a mere 20 years old and — this part is kind of important for what comes later — not a sex blogger yet. Just a gal looking for a good time. Full of hopes and dreams, not yet battered and bruised by the realities of the dating game. Maybe kind of a Libertarian, too, but let’s not dwell too much on that.

It’s my first day on a popular dating site that shall remain nameless. I’m so excited to receive a message that piques my interest that I hastily agree to a same-day date. We arrange to meet at the cafe where I work1.

It began in such a normal way. We briefly discussed him starting a graduate program at a local university in the fall, and my experience as an undergrad at the same school. When, after the typical this-is-who-I-am spiel, he asked if I wanted to hear a funny story, my reply was, “Of course!”

“You know the sex shop on 51, right? The one out kind of by Elizabeth? Well, I’ve been there a couple times.  I mean, who hasn’t, right?” 

At that point, I actually hadn’t, but I simply nodded along.

“So I went down there a couple weeks ago. Oh man, this is a good story. So okay. I’m going there for something very specific, you know? All right. I was in a year long relationship up until a couple months ago, so I got uh, pretty used to getting’ it on the regular, right?”

“Sure, that kind of thing happens. I’m really sorry to hear about the breakup.” I took an awkward sip of my coffee and looked around the café patio. The entire evening had begun awkwardly when he ordered nothing and insulted the café for being cash-only, then suggested we sit outside where it was a bit too cold for my tastes. Now that he’d brought up the seediest adult store in town, though, I had begun to feel grateful that we were on the relatively deserted patio.

“No big, she was a huge bitch. And I mean huge bitch. Like she wasn’t your size!” That’s when I started to feel it, like Botox. My face was immobile, caught in a pained, confused grin that might have begun to shift to a grimace. I couldn’t make heads or tails of where this was going. “Anyway. I finally bought a Fleshlight a couple weeks ago! All right so you gotta know, my parents are super conservative.”

“You don’t say! Wow, we must come from very different backgrounds, then. Hey, I remember on your profile you said something about a funny story related to the library? I’d love to hear it!” Good God, I tried. I really, really tried.

“Oh yeah, that! Ha. This is funny. So like, I went to this volunteer thing, and it was just full of old broads and one cop with like, one foot in the grave, I’m tellin’ ya. So they’re like, just wasting my time trying to teach me how to use Google, right? Seriously. So I’m like, ‘Hey, I want to fucking volunteer. Stop wasting my goddamn time.’ And the bitch in charge tells me that I can leave and they’ll call me about volunteering. They never called me! What the hell? 

Anyway, so I go into my room with this Fleshlight, still in the box, right? I have someplace to be that night, but I don’t want to risk my parents seeing it in case they go through my room. So I take it out of the box, throw it in a drawer, and put the box in my trash. Ok, so get this: I come home later and my dad just throws the box at me! ‘What is this? Didn’t we teach you to respect women?’ HA! So my parents think I don’t respect women. Hilarious, right?”

At this point, we were about fifteen minutes into the date. Our first date. (Our only date.)

Important note: Owning a Fleshlight is not a red flag. It’s totally normal. It’s fun, and as long as you’re cleaning it, it’s perfectly healthy. But everything else that he said? Red flag after red flag. The problem wasn’t the Fleshlight — the problem was the way he spoke about all of the actual, real, live women that he was referring to. Moving on.

“Wow. Well, that’s unfortunate.” I could barely choke the words out. Little mini me was so, so not prepared to call this motherfucker out.

“So yeah. Ha ha. What are you going to school for? How are the parties at Pitt?” 

Hopeful that we may have found a less fraught topic, thinking we might just pass the next ten minutes in relative peace and boredom before I could reasonably make a quick and tidy exit, I took the bait. 

“I’m actually going for my BA in economics. It’s pretty interesting. I think I want to get my Master’s in public affairs, maybe work for the government.2 The parties are pretty crazy, but I prefer throwing them.” I could only put off drinking the rest of my coffee for so long, and I downed the rest like a shot. The other patio patrons had disappeared, leaving us alone on Murray Avenue.

“Yeah, that’s pretty cool. I did poli-sci. Oh man, I got to tell you about this party I went to one time! Oh God. I came out of a blackout at this apartment I totally didn’t recognize and, get this… and this girl was having sex with me!” He laughed, as though that was not a massive consent violation.

Into which circle of hell had I inadvertently stumbled?

“You know, I think I need to run to the bathroom. It’s just inside. I’ll be right back.” Happily, it had been cold enough for me to wear my coat, which contained my phone, so I didn’t even stumble awkwardly trying to get it into my pocket inconspicuously.  As soon as I passed the windows that line the patio, I was dialing my friend Rob’s number. He picked up almost immediately.

“Praise Jesus. I’ve never had to use the emergency call before, but this ship is sinking fast. I’m parked here, but I don’t want to even give the dude a chance to walk me to my car. I’ve seen The Silence of the Lambs, and yes, I do remember that that was a moving van, but my car is a rather spacious sedan and I’m not taking chances.  …Please come get me?” 

“I’ll be there in ten.”

When you’re stalling, suddenly a million things become important. Do I have any loose threads? How are my teeth? Could I possibly make myself look slightly less attractive? (I never thought I would have to consider that one.) At some point, I sucked it up and headed back out.

“Sorry about that, I actually got a call from a friend while I was in there. But wow, I’m really sorry to hear that! That must have been very scary. I was actually just at this anything but clothes party where all of the girls had made dresses out of…” 

This was kind of like trying to guide a puppy for the first time on a leash, except puppies don’t generally sound like they could be felons.

“Aw, man, those are sweet. Easier to get ‘em out of their clothes if they’re not in ‘em to begin with, am I right?” 

…Definitely a felon.

“Uh… Sure. Nothing wrong with no strings sexI actually haven’t had one of those random party hookups, but I guess in theory…” I trailed off.

“Oh God, my back! Oh Jesus! Aw, fuck!” He shouted these as though someone had, moments before, shot him. (No such luck.) 

I jumped and without thinking, asked, “Good lord, are you okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, oh God. I’ve had these awful back problems since I had this job at Express last summer. Oh, God. I mean like, I think I was the first person ever to get a job simply by virtue of my status as a white person with a penis. You know? Like, white men are just so discriminated against. And because I’m just some white dude, they stick me in the back, lifting merch all day. It’s not like I’m not a fucking people person, not like I don’t know how to talk to customers, right?”

It was at this point that I started to suspect that this entire thing might be a farce, or maybe even performance art. There was absolutely no way that one person could be this revolting, right? (Wrong.)

“What on earth did you do to throw out your back?” I was too shocked and confused even touch the rest of what he’d said.

“Just lifting and shit. I don’t know. What’s it matter?” He was getting surly, and I wasn’t sure I liked this any more than I liked talking about masturbator sleeves. Blessedly, my phone said it had been eight minutes.

“You know, this is all super interesting, but like I said, I just got a call from a friend and it turns out I’m expected at this party tonight. I would love to invite you, but guys have to pay $5 cash and since you don’t carry it… Plus, I have kind of scary guy friends. You know, big guys, tattoos, shaved heads…” 

“Are you sure? I mean, I could drive you. You gotta hear the end of this story! Oh, man, like I remember coming out of that blackout and being like…”

A dirty green Subaru Forester pulled up, windows down, blasting Jay-Z. “Dang. It was nice to meet you. That’s my ride.”

And that’s the only time that I have ever run away from a date. Tell me the story of your worst date!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by No Strings Sex and contains a link to their website, as well as an affiliate link to a retailer. All stories, opinions, and writing are my own. Sponsored posts help keep my content free, fresh, and produced in like, y’know, healthy living conditions.

  1. Note: I did not tell him I worked there. When I arrived early, I told my coworkers not to mention that we work together and instead to act like I was just a regular customer.
  2. Hahahahahahahahah

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The Opposite of FOMO Isn’t Being There — It’s Cultivating Abundance http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/08/fomo/ http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/08/fomo/#respond Wed, 09 Aug 2017 09:31:23 +0000 http://marvelous-darling.com/?p=4348 Author’s note: FOMO is an acronym for fear of missing out, and was coined in 2004 by Patrick J. McGinnis.   If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that my plans to attend the 2017 Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit (#sfs17) were derailed as a result of visa-related bureaucracy. I’d been planning for the trip all year. I’d even secured sponsorship...

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Author’s note: FOMO is an acronym for fear of missing out, and was coined in 2004 by Patrick J. McGinnis.

 

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that my plans to attend the 2017 Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit (#sfs17) were derailed as a result of visa-related bureaucracy. I’d been planning for the trip all year. I’d even secured sponsorship with SheVibe and made plans to spank the night away. It was supposed to be my one trip home in 2017 — first for Woodhull, then for a family visit and to attend the wedding of one of my oldest friends.

Then it came to a grinding halt, and the FOMO began to set in.

You Have to Feel Your Feelings

Was I mad? Absolutely. Was I sad? Fuck yeah, I was sad!

In a way, I was lucky, because this news came amidst some wonderful news and some terrible news. It was sort of like being hit with so many waves that you just drop, hoping to wait it out, trying to make it just a little closer to shore. We were moving! Finally! We had a house to move into! But, I was losing my best friend, who was slipping away almost day by day to old age and heart failure. Somewhere in the middle was my lost trip home.

Processing everything at once was impossible. What actually happened was that my emotions cycled. I would cry, mostly over the loss of Daphne. I would get excited about moving and spend a few hours looking for jobs and sprucing up my résumé. I’d get angry and head outside for a walk, or pick up my kettlebell. (Or, let’s be honest, throw a pillow at one of our blessedly thick walls.) I journaled. I read my cards. I talked, a lot, to the wonderful people all around the world that I’m lucky to call my friends.

To be honest, I’m not that great at feeling my feelings. But I’ve been trying. I’ve especially been trying to notice my feelings, name them, and approach them without judgment. (I believe this is similar to or a tenet of mindfulness, but I could be wrong.) It’s hard for me to sit with an unpleasant feeling, so I’ve been trying to notice those feelings while also letting myself do something comforting.

You’re Going to Miss Things, No Matter What

Here’s the thing: I’m no stranger to missing things. I moved from the US when I was 22, and shortly after, my friends began getting engaged and then married. They’ve got new jobs, new friends, new partners, and new lives in new cities. I spent a lot of time worrying that I would be left behind, and thus, experienced a ton of FOMO.

With the benefit of four years’ experience, I can say that yes, I have grown apart from people. But I’m still on their side. I’m still watching from the social media sidelines. I’m still catching up when I get a chance to. We’ll always have the time that we spent together, even though things will change.

Every time you make a choice to do something, you are giving up the possibility of doing something else at that exact moment in time. Sometimes that is a massively frightening concept. That’s part of why people get cold feet. It’s why you might second-guess even decisions that you feel very strongly about. But if we let fear dictate our choices, we’re giving up our power. Worse yet, we might end up stuck, stock-still, doing absolutely nothing.

Some questions have correct answers. Some don’t. Some situations have a multitude of good potential outcomes, while others leave you kinda screwed no matter what you choose.

My Philosophy on Moving Forward and Choosing Abundance

It’s very simple: I learn from my choices, and unless I can do anything productive with regret that I’m harboring, I let it go. Hopefully, I’ll have at least 60 more years to make choices, good and bad. That’s so much time. I know for a fact that there will be times where I’ll look back and wish that I’d made a different choice. But as long as I let what I learn inform my choices going forward, I’m doing the best I can.

I did not naturally come with a mindset of abundance pre-installed. As far as I can tell, most people in the Western world did not. Whether we’re nervous about having enough food, money, friends, or time, I think most of us harbor some deep-seated fears about not having — or being — enough.

Here’s where it all ties together: There is an abundance of life out there. Many of us have an abundance of choices. Sometimes, that’s terrifying. But let’s think about it logically for a second. Do you really think that there’s only one right choice, and that any of the other numerous choices you might make are going to send you down the highway straight to hell? I don’t. I think we have the chance to make varying degrees of good and bad choices every day, and many choices that are morally quite neutral. There are so many places that we could end up. I don’t think most of us have one or two major forks in the road, and that’s it. We face smaller choices all the time that help shape who we are and what we become.

What the Hell Does This Have to Do with Woodhull?

If there are an abundance of choices, and if our daily lives really do matter (which, they do!), then going to one event will not make or break my entire life. It won’t break the friendships that I’ve spent months or even years cultivating. It won’t shut me out of every potential sponsorship deal, every review, every consultation.

If you didn’t make it to Woodhull this year, you are no less a voice that deserves to be heard. It can be a magical, transformative experience, yes. But it’s not everything.

And I may not have an abundance of money to travel with, or the ability to stay awake until 3am to Facetime my Americans. But I do have an abundance of time. I have an internet connection. I can choose to remind myself that there is enough fun, enough love, and enough support to go around. I can say, yes, I am sad… But I am also so thankful to have friends that I miss, family that I love, and a dog that was so wonderful that 5 years together made up for more than 20 years of waiting.

There’s so much out there. I want to move forward with abundance1.

  1. If you want to read more about abundance, I would highly, highly recommend Brené Brown’s writing!

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Quickie: The Vibrator I Recommend to Almost Everyone http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/07/quickie-vibrator-i-recommend/ http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/07/quickie-vibrator-i-recommend/#respond Sun, 30 Jul 2017 14:02:34 +0000 http://marvelous-darling.com/?p=4344 Update: This weekend you can score the Prism V for only $69 at Peepshow Toys with the code PRISM69! One question seems to follow me everywhere I go: What vibrator should I buy?? The primary challenge here is that not every body is the same. People – and genitals – have different preferences, different needs, different experiences. But when I’m talking to...

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Update: This weekend you can score the Prism V for only $69 at Peepshow Toys with the code PRISM69!

One question seems to follow me everywhere I go: What vibrator should I buy??

The primary challenge here is that not every body is the same. People – and genitals – have different preferences, different needs, different experiences. But when I’m talking to someone who has never had a sex toy before, they often can’t tell me much about what they think they’d like.

Hey, guess what? The answer isn’t to shove a Magic Wand in everybody’s hands and say, “If this doesn’t work, nothing will!”

Instead, I usually advocate for trying something that can be used a few different ways. Something that’s powerful but not numbing. Something rechargeable and relatively quiet. Something fully body-safe. Something with a warranty and good customer service, but that can be had for less than $100.

If that sounds too good to be true… Friend, I’ve got some great news.

sky blue L'Amourose PRISM V vibrator lying on a faux sheepskin rug

When I initially reviewed the L’Amourose Prism V, I gave it a good rating, but not the most exuberant of endorsements. At the time, it didn’t really stand out in my collection. Since then, I’ve been keeping track of how often I use and recommend it, and the numbers don’t lie: It’s a hit.

In fact, it ticks each of the boxes listed above.

  • It’s a G-spot vibrator, and as such, can be used internally or externally. In fact, the longer handle makes it great for folks who have a tougher time reaching their clit, like those with bigger bellies. Even with my frame, I usually find a longer vibrator with a handle more comfortable to use.
  • It has 12 speeds, ranging from very soft to downright formidable. Additionally, it’s towards the rumblier end of the vibration pitch spectrum, which seems to be a sweet spot for a lot of folks based on the success of the LELO Mona 2. (And, particularly on its lower settings, it’s one of my quietest toys.)
  • Speaking of speeds, its controls are wonderfully simple: Plus, minus, and a pattern button. Press and hold plus to turn it on, press and hold minus to turn it off. Press and hold both the plus and minus buttons at the same time to activate the travel lock. Hallelujah!
  • It’s made of smooth silicone and ABS plastic, making it perfectly body-safe. It’s easy to clean, too, since it’s water-proof.
  • L’Amourose provides an 18 month warranty as well as a lifetime quality guarantee1
  • You can get it for $99 at both SheVibe and Peepshow Toys.

If that’s not enough to sway you, consider this: I own approximately 100 sex toys. I’ve packed most of them already for my upcoming move. The ones that aren’t packed? My L’Amourose Prism V, Womanizer Plus Size, and the LELO Mona 2.

Are you interested in seeing more of these quick little posts? I’d love to get more content out on a regular basis, but I usually hesitate to publish anything too short. I’d love to hear what you think!

 

This post contains affiliate links.

  1. which entitles you to 50% off a new L’amourose product if your PRISM V dies after the 18 month warranty period.

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Womanizer vs Satisfyer: Clash of the Clit Suckers http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/07/womanizer_satisfyer/ http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/07/womanizer_satisfyer/#respond Tue, 25 Jul 2017 12:34:41 +0000 http://marvelous-darling.com/?p=4337 It’s taken me quite a while to gather my thoughts on this whole “suction”-based toy trend. In reality, I’m fairly certain that these things work by using puffs of air and a vibrating motor, but since I understand absolutely nothing about engineering, I couldn’t tell you for sure. But I can give you my opinion, since that’s ostensibly what you came...

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It’s taken me quite a while to gather my thoughts on this whole “suction”-based toy trend. In reality, I’m fairly certain that these things work by using puffs of air and a vibrating motor, but since I understand absolutely nothing about engineering, I couldn’t tell you for sure. But I can give you my opinion, since that’s ostensibly what you came here for.

I was sent the Womanizer Plus [Size] and Womanizer 2Go, as well as the Satisfyer Pro 2, Satisfyer Pro Penguin, and the Satisfyer 2. Now, it’s time for a Smackdown.

Womanizer versus Satisfyer: Clash of the Clit Suckers

Womanizer vs Satisfyer: The Original, and the Copycat

The original design, the toy that started it all, was the Womanizer. The first model was god-awful hideous, but it was an immediate hit. The design mimics some of the sensations that oral sex can provide, and at the time of launch, there was nothing else like it on the market. Sometimes, there truly is innovation in this industry. Since they launched the original, they’ve expanded to include a range of models in various sizes and shapes. The two least expensive models are the W100 and Pro40 — unfortunately, I don’t own either of those.

Satisfyer arrived on the scene shortly after with a familiar business model: Take a great idea, make it cheaper. Unfortunately, they rushed to market so quickly that they ended up releasing updates to their models before most people even had time to review the first round. And, oh my, what’s that? They’re releasing even more new models soon? Grrreeeaaat. While all of the Satisfyer models are less expensive than the Womanizer range, they also feel considerably cheaper.

Build Quality

With the exception of the W100, which is splash-proof (aka shower-proof), every Womanizer is advertised as water-proof. The same is true of the Satisfyer range. However… There were so many problems with the waterproof claim on the Satisfyers that SheVibe ceased stocking them. The same has not been true of Womanizer.

While both lines are made of plastic with silicone heads, Womanizers feel a bit more solid and expensive. The seams of the toys are thinner and less obtrusive and the plastic feels a bit thicker and sturdier. Of the Satisfyer models that I own, the Pro 2 is definitely the sturdiest (and the best-performing)1. The Satisfyer 2 feels the cheapest, with the Pro Penguin coming in at goofy, but not horrible.

But that doesn’t mean the Womanizers are perfect: The cap on the Womanizer 2Go is poorly fitted. Mine slides right off, which makes it easy to lose, which kind of undercuts the product’s claims of discretion. The Womanizer Plus [Size] looks like if a Kardashian designed an ear thermometer, but its long handle is legitimately useful.

Still, the winner of this round is undoubtedly Womanizer as a whole.

Noise Level

None of these are whisper-quiet, unless you don’t know how to whisper.

As with many toys, the pitch and the volume of the toy changes as you cycle through different settings. That being said, some of these are much quieter than others. The loudest one of all five was the Womanizer 2Go, while the quietest was the Womanizer Plus Size. Among Satisfyers, the Pro 2 was loudest, followed by the 2, and the quietest was the Penguin.

Here’s a very important note about volume: Because of the way these are designed, they’re much quieter when their heads are in contact with your bits. They’re significantly louder if they’re not nestled in a vulva.

The winner: Womanizer Plus Size.

Heads & Nozzles

Part of what makes these toys “unique” is the head or nozzle. That’s what’s coming into contact with your body, it’s what distributes the vibrations in most cases, and it makes a huge difference as to whether the toy is going to be comfortable for you.

With either Womanizer product, you get 2 different heads — one with a smaller opening, and one with a bigger opening. This means that if one Womanizer head doesn’t quite work for you, you can try the other, and you might find it to be a better fit. (I personally prefer the slightly larger heads because inner-labia stimulation is *hot fire emoji* *bomb emoji*.) This isn’t so with Satisfyer. Again, you’re getting what you pay for.

The tiniest, thinnest head belongs to the Satisfyer Penguin, which is why I found it downright uncomfortable and unpleasant to use. The Satisfyer 2 wasn’t much better, despite having just a smidge more cushioning. Of the Satisfyer models, I far and away prefer not only the head on the Pro 2, but just about every aspect of that model’s design.

Both companies have labeled the removable heads as silicone, meaning all of the toys are equally body-safe and easy to clean.

The winner: Womanizer, by a hair.

Controls

For the love of all that we hold dear, can we please cut it out with the single-button bullshit? Three of the five models I’m examining today have only one button to cycle through modes2. Maybe this is wild, but I like to turn the intensity both up and down at different times in my jerking off process. I don’t want to cycle through every setting. What if I cycle past the one I wanted to use? I have to waste another five seconds fiddling around? No, thank you.

The only toy that gets a pass for using this type of control is the Womanizer 2Go, which legitimately only has space for a single button. The Satisfyer Pro 2 definitely has space for improved controls.

Once again, this round goes to the Womanizer Plus for its clearly marked up-and-down controls and the placement of its Power button, which is towards the nozzle end of the toy, making it more difficult to accidentally shut off during use.

Strength

It’s a bit harder to interpret strength with these toys, as opposed to a traditional vibrator. They use a combination of vibration and air pulsation to create the sensation of suction. Overall, I found the Womanizer models to be stronger and more intense than the Satisfyers, but the Satisfyer Pro 2 does pack a punch.

One major pro for the Womanizer Plus Size is the sheer range of settings: It has 12 speeds, ranging from feather-light to thuddy. This is perfect if you’re the kind of person who likes to start low and slow and then ramp things up. Personally, I really only use the Plus Size on settings 4-7.

The Womanizer 2Go and the Satisfyer Pro 2 are quite similar in that they both are very powerful from the lowest setting up to the highest. For me, this translates to achieving orgasm a bit faster, but your mileage may vary.

And now for the weak links: Satisfyer Pro Penguin is a bit weaker than the Pro 2 and does not transmit vibration as nicely, while the Satisfyer 2 is just weak all around. Skip both of these.

This round was a tieWomanizer Plus Size and Satisfyer Pro 2.

Price and Value(s)

I can’t avoid addressing the elephant in the room: Both of the Womanizer models I received are fucking expensive. In fact, you could buy all three of the Satisfyers featured here for less than the price of the Womanizer Plus Size on its own.

In the past year, I’ve become more and more concerned about the price of the toys I feature here. I still review luxury items — I still love many luxury items — but I can’t ignore the class implications of luxury pleasure. I can’t, in good conscience, say that you absolutely need a $200 sex toy.

I also am concerned with the practice of pilfering designs and concepts. Womanizer did it first, and Satisfyer rode in on their coattails. They’re not making knock-off products (unlike some companies and their dildos that look suspiciously like the nJoy Pure Wand…), but they are profiting from someone else’s design work, in my opinion.

So, what’s more important? Accessible pleasure, or ethics in toy design? Honestly, I don’t think there’s one single, neatly summarized answer to that question. I think you’ll have to decide for yourself.

You can purchase the Womanizer Plus for $219 from SheVibe or Peepshow Toys. The Womanizer 2Go can be had for $169 from SheVibe or Peepshow Toys, as well. Finally, all Satisfyer models are available at Peepshow, too.

 

The Womanizer Plus and Womanizer 2Go were provided by Womanizer in exchange for an honest review. The Satisfyer Pro 2, Pro Penguin, and 2 were provided by Satisfyer, also in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions and photos are my own and are not to be used or reproduced without my permission.

  1. Unfortunately, they’ve discontinued it.
  2. in addition to the Power button

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3 Things Monogamous Folks Can Learn from Swingers http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/07/monogamous-swingers/ http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/07/monogamous-swingers/#respond Sun, 02 Jul 2017 11:28:19 +0000 http://marvelous-darling.com/?p=4328 With non-monogamy of all kinds becoming less taboo, from swinging to polyamory to open relationships, there’s a lot to learn out there from some really amazing sources — like my friends at Swingtowns! Even if you’re not interested in going down that road right now, there’s a lot that monogamous folks can learn from teachings around open relationships. Communication Just...

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With non-monogamy of all kinds becoming less taboo, from swinging to polyamory to open relationships, there’s a lot to learn out there from some really amazing sources — like my friends at Swingtowns! Even if you’re not interested in going down that road right now, there’s a lot that monogamous folks can learn from teachings around open relationships.

3 Things Monogamous Folks Can Learn from Swingers

Communication

Just about any source for information on swinging, polyamory, open relationships, or any other non-monogamous relationship configuration emphasizes one thing as the foundation for solid relationships, and that’s communication. Obviously, communication isn’t just for poly people!

Communication is something we all do every single day, in so many ways, from the time we wake up until we go to sleep at night. It’s pretty easy to just fall into communication patterns and assume that you and your partner are on the same page. Even if you feel like your communication game is pretty strong, I’d encourage you to think about some of the following and see if there’s anything that you can take away from my suggestions. Can’t hurt to try, right?

In my opinion, communicating effectively is about 30% speaking and 70% listening. Research has shown that actively listening — even to things like a standard recounting of your partner’s day — builds trust and intimacy.

In the beginning of a relationship, that often feels a lot easier. You’re just getting to know someone new, so of course you’re going to pay attention. But don’t stop just because it’s been a few months, years, or even decades.

If making a conscious effort to give your partner positive attention is a comparatively simple way to improve communication and strengthen intimacy, then how do we do it? Personally, I try to treat dinner with my partner like a date in one very important way: We both put our phones away and focus on conversation with each other for those 30-60 minutes. That’s it. But it’s 30-60 minutes where you’re definitely hearing and being heard.

The takeaway: Don’t stop paying attention.

Relationship by Design

One of the chief complaints about monogamy from folks who prefer a poly, open, or swinging configuration is that it’s considered the default. Monogamy is treated as the automatic next step after meeting someone you like, often to be followed with marriage, kids, and a white picket fence (unless you spent all your money on avocado toast).

But it doesn’t have to be that way — even if you do choose monogamy.

What monogamy means to you might actually be different from what it means to other people. When people who choose a non-monogamous relationship structure complain about monogamy, it’s often a complaint about some of the toxic relationship norms that we are socialized to believe are normal, like possessive jealousy, controlling behavior, or denial of sexual feelings or interest outside the monogamous couple.

So what’s the antidote to toxic relationship habits? Awareness and communication. Knowing what you want, knowing what’s healthy for you and your partner, and creating a safe zone to express those needs is so important.

For example, my monogamy means that I don’t have sex (hand sex, oral sex, PIV, etc.) outside my relationship. It doesn’t mean that we don’t cultivate emotional intimacy in friendships, regardless of the gender of our friends. It doesn’t mean that my partner and I don’t go out without the other person. It definitely doesn’t keep me from attending conferences where play and flirting happens — it just has an effect on what I participate in. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t support my poly-/swinging/non-mono friends. We don’t deal in rules so much as we deal in boundaries and mutual respect and caring.

If you are monogamous, you still get to decide what that means for you.

How We Can Handle Jealousy

Jealousy doesn’t simply disappear because you’ve decided that you want to open up your relationship (or any other decision you might make outside of monogamy). It’s not magicked away.

While it’s not easy, there are some things you can do to deal with jealousy. I think the most important thing is to accept that jealousy can happen in any kind of relationship, and it’s not something you need to ignore or to force yourself not to feel. Recognizing that you feel jealous means that you have a choice about how you’re going to respond to that feeling.

A good response might be journaling about it and taking some time to feel without reacting to anyone else. You might be able to talk to your partner about it (in a non-accusatory manner), or to a supportive and even-keeled friend.

Experiencing jealousy is completely natural. Healthy responses to jealousy take time to develop, but there is absolutely hope of changing your thoughts and behaviors.

I hope this has given you something to think about, regardless of your relationship orientation and preferences. There are so many ways to have a relationship — there’s no reason not to design yours to fit you and your partner(s), regardless of how you choose to label it.

Disclosure: While this post was sponsored by Swingtowns, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Sheetfaced: A Sheet Mask Round-Up http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/06/sheetfaced/ http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/06/sheetfaced/#respond Sat, 24 Jun 2017 15:59:12 +0000 http://marvelous-darling.com/?p=4322 In case you missed it, I recently wrote about my skincare routine and briefly mentioned sheet masks without going into too much detail. Today, I’m doing a quick round-up of the sheet masks I’ve used most recently, and I’ll also explain why I use sheet masks in my routine at all. Top row (L-R): SNP Gold Collagen Ampoule Mask, Benton Snail...

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In case you missed it, I recently wrote about my skincare routine and briefly mentioned sheet masks without going into too much detail. Today, I’m doing a quick round-up of the sheet masks I’ve used most recently, and I’ll also explain why I use sheet masks in my routine at all.

seven sheet masks pictured on top of a faux-sheepskin rug

Top row (L-R): SNP Gold Collagen Ampoule Mask, Benton Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack, Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Mask in Manuka Honey

Bottom row (L-R): Lanocreme Soothing Face Mask with Manuka Honey, MediHeal Kiwi Apple Ade mask, My Beauty Diary Red Vine mask, Mediheal Collagen Impact Essential Mask Ex

Quick ‘n Dirty Sheet Mask Reviews

Of the masks above, both the MBD Red Vine (pink packet) and the Benton Snail Bee (brown packet) were repeats. I adore both of these masks and would highly, highly recommend them! I think both of them do an amazing job of calming redness and de-puffing the skin, and they both pack a lot of essence as well. I believe they’re both cheapest on Amazon, but you may be able to get them from Walmart and/or Target if you’re in the US. (The Manuka Honey Innisfree mask was also a repeat, but I cannot seem to ever remember what it’s like, so… I guess I’ll just settle on “underwhelming.”)

I was really, really impressed with both of the MediHeal masks (green and yellow packets), too. I’d heard good things about their masks on the ‘gram, but I didn’t get to try them until I found some in my local TK/TJ Maxx. The Kiwi Apple mask made my skin feel very… firm. There’s no other way to put it. It somehow managed to dry up some zits and plump up my cheeks at the same time. (Probably sorcery, idk.) The Collagen mask was a little less impressive, but it felt great on my face and definitely delivered the promised plump and moisturized results.

Ok, now for the disappointments: First of all, that SNP Gold Collagen Ampoule Mask was not golden. I repeat, it was not golden. It had gold flecks in it, which is fucking useless (but does remind me of Goldschläger, which is kind of whimsical, I guess). While the Lanocreme mask was perfectly decent, it had a somewhat odd fragrance that I just couldn’t get behind, and I felt like the fabric was a little unnecessarily thick.

A note on fit: I never take photos or make much note of sheet mask fit because it seems to vary so, so much, both by mask and by human face. Plus, I usually put a mask on and then lie down to read or listen to a podcast, so it doesn’t really matter if it fits perfectly and adheres well — I’m hardly putting it through the ringer.

Sheet Masks: Why & When?

Why? Because I can. When? Whenever possible.

Ok, no, but for real… Sheet masks are usually a 50/50 combo of legitimate skincare practice and skincaretainment.

On the one hand, I tend to choose masks that are intensely hydrating and soothing. This isn’t going to do as much for me in the long run as my intensive and extensive daily routine, but I can see an immediate effect from a well-formulated sheet mask, and I like that.

On the other hand, it’s pampering. When I put on a sheet mask, I’m blocking out 20-40 minutes to do something chill. For someone with absolutely no inherent chill whatsoever, that’s huge. Call it self-care, call it skincaretainment, call it vanity — I’m gonna keep doing it.

The thing about sheet masks is that, while the ingredients aren’t necessarily earth-shattering, the method of application is what it’s all about. The sheet keeps the essence from evaporating too quickly, trapping it between your skin and the sheet itself. The theory is that more will be absorbed by your skin if it’s not escaping into the air. This is also why I like to apply my masks after most of my other skincare — might as well seal it all in, right? I’ll cleanse, apply my acid actives, pat on my Benton essence followed by my rosehip oil, then apply the mask. Most of the time, I apply a cream moisturizer after my mask to seal in the mask essence. Sometimes, I fall asleep and forget. It is what it is.

Finally, I would be letting you all down if I didn’t mention that sheet masks are exceptionally travel-friendly because they aren’t considered a liquid, much like makeup removing wipes and exfoliating pads. I still wouldn’t suggest using one on a plane — so many people have fragrance allergies and sensitivities, and you don’t want to be responsible for someone’s migraine — but once you’re sequestered in your own hotel room, have at it.

If you’re interested in keeping up with my skincare routine and new discoveries, you can follow me on my beauty & skincare Instagram.

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What You Don’t Know About Vaginal Lubrication http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/06/vaginal_lubrication/ http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/06/vaginal_lubrication/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:42:04 +0000 http://marvelous-darling.com/?p=4313 Natural Lubrication – What is it? Vaginal lubrication isn’t just for sex, although that’s when most of us think about it the most. Aside from making sex of all kinds easier and more pleasurable, natural vaginal lubrication keeps the vagina and the vulva healthy and facilitates self-cleaning. The pH of a healthy, pre-menopausal vagina is most often between a 3.8 and...

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Natural Lubrication – What is it?

Vaginal lubrication isn’t just for sex, although that’s when most of us think about it the most. Aside from making sex of all kinds easier and more pleasurable, natural vaginal lubrication keeps the vagina and the vulva healthy and facilitates self-cleaning.

The pH of a healthy, pre-menopausal vagina is most often between a 3.8 and a 4.5, which means that the vagina is actually an acidic environment. This is why, if you have a vagina, you may have noticed that sometimes the gusset of your underwear will turn lighter over time from being exposed to completely healthy vaginal secretions. (It’s worth noting that I said pre-menopausal because menopause can actually cause your vaginal pH to rise. Remember this for later.)

So what controls vaginal lubrication? First of all, estrogen is the hormone most responsible for the production of natural vaginal lubrication. As a result, the amount of fluid that the vagina produces tends to change during the course of a menstrual cycle, because estrogen levels fluctuate. This is also why menopause tends to result in increased vaginal dryness.

Estrogen isn’t the only factor, though. Many common medications like birth control pills, antidepressants, and antihistamines can contribute to a lack of vaginal lubrication. This goes to show that if you’re in your 20s or 30s and wondering why you aren’t producing as much natural lube as you think is “normal”, medication could be a factor.

Arousal and Vaginal Lubrication

Remember the Ronda Roussey “gritty kitty” debacle? Long story short, Roussey claimed that if you encounter a dry vagina during sex, it means that you were lazy with respect to foreplay. She even boldly claimed that no one should ever need lube.

She was wrong.

See, there’s a difference between arousal and physical response. It relates to one of the best-kept secrets in sex education: Arousal Nonconcordance. (If you want to read about this concept in depth, I’d highly recommend Dr. Emily Nagoski’s book Come As You Are.)

The basic gist is that it’s very common for our mental state (arousal) to contradict our physical state (the presence or absence of lubrication and erection). In fact, your mental state of arousal may line up with your physical state of lubrication less than 20% of the time. This is why it’s so important to advocate for shame-free sexuality and collaborative consent practices — because a verbal, enthusiastic yes is the only foolproof way to know that your partner is ready to get down.

In other words, you might have spent an hour on amazing foreplay. You might even be super mentally aroused, only to find that your natural lubrication isn’t quite matching your mental or emotional readiness. And that’s okay.

What Can You Do?

If a lack of foreplay isn’t the issue, make sure that stress isn’t causing you to hit the brakes. If you feel stressed out, it can be hard to relax into the optimal mental and physical state for sex. All fine on that front? Then let’s look at some other options.

Using kegel balls or a kegel exerciser can be a great choice to increase vaginal lubrication. If you have sexy plans later, you can try wearing kegel balls for a few hours ahead of time in order to engage your muscles and increase blood flow.

If you’re already in the moment, you might find that some kind of direct stimulation helps. Whether you like manual stimulation, oral sex, or using a toy, just getting things started often helps.

When it comes to getting wet on short notice and with minimal effort, though, a quality lube is the way to go.

Choosing a Lube to Supplement Your Own

You’d think that choosing a lube would be simple, given the sheer volume of lube on the market today. But the fact is, a lot of widely available lubricants just aren’t that great for the vagina. It comes down to a few factors, chief among them being pH, osmolality, and ingredients1.

At different times in your life, you may need a different lubricant. As stated above, before menopause, the vagina is more acidic. During menopause, the pH may rise, and you can end up with some discomfort if you choose a lube with a lower pH.

Osmolality remains a constant concern across the lifespan. It refers to the concentration of a water-based lubricant. Ideally, your lubricant’s osmolality should be as similar as possible to that of the cells in your vagina. This ensures that the lubricant doesn’t damage your cells and keeps you wetter, longer.

Generally speaking, water-based lube is going to be the closest thing to your natural lubrication that you can buy in a store. It doesn’t last as long as silicone lube, but it’s often preferred because it plays nicely with all kinds of sex toy and condom materials and tends to be less expensive. You can even apply water-based lube on a daily basis as a moisturizer if you tend to experience an uncomfortable lack of natural lubrication.

If you’re pre-menopausal and looking for a simple water-based lubricant, Sliquid Sea is a great choice, with a pH of 4 and low osmolality to boot. It’s one of my go-to picks for all kinds of play.

Post-menopausal vagina owners looking for a water-based lube may want to try Sliquid Sassy, which is a little less acidic than Sliquid Satin, or Sliquid Satin if you prefer a runnier texture.

Looking for something with a little extra staying power? I absolutely love Sliquid Silk, which is a hybrid lube (containing both water and silicone). Because it contains 12% silicone, it outlasts purely water-based lubes, but doesn’t contain enough silicone to damage silicone toys.

Hopefully now you feel a little better-equipped to make well-informed choices. With all the misinformation out there – from the dry panty challenge to Ronda’s bad advice – it’s easy to feel mystified by the vagina’s inner workings. All you really need to do is pay attention to your own lubrication to find out what’s normal for your body, and supplement when necessary with a high-quality, body-safe lube.

Appropriately enough, this post was sponsored by Lubezilla — but as always, all opinions are 100% my own. This post does not contain affiliate links.

  1. BadVibes.org has an amazing resource on lube that I would heartily urge you to check out!

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How to be a Great Hookup http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/05/how-to-be-a-great-hookup/ http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/05/how-to-be-a-great-hookup/#respond Tue, 30 May 2017 08:09:46 +0000 http://marvelous-darling.com/?p=4304 When I was contacted by Local Bangs US to write a post about hookups, I was really excited to jump at the chance. I thought back to my time online dating and realized how much it taught me about what to look for — and what to avoid — in partners of all kinds. And then I remembered that that...

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When I was contacted by Local Bangs US to write a post about hookups, I was really excited to jump at the chance. I thought back to my time online dating and realized how much it taught me about what to look for — and what to avoid — in partners of all kinds.

And then I remembered that that was five years ago.

How to Be a Great Hookup

Y’all. I’ve been out of the game. And I’m not, like, announcing my return here. This isn’t a Mario Lemieux situation. Instead, I want to talk about what a great hookup would mean for me now. Knowing what I know now, having learned so much about sex geekdom, the intricacies of consent, and just plain how to be an adult, what would my dream hookup look like?

Environment

Is your space hookup-ready? I’m not suggesting you do a full, top-to-bottom spring cleaning before hopping on Tinder… But you should definitely do a quick tidying up. Put some toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet, empty the bathroom and/or bedroom trash, and change your sheets. (Seriously, cis dudes, change your goddamn sheets.)

This might be controversial, but don’t light incense or candles — you never know if your hookup might have allergies or just bad scent memories. Instead, open up a window and your bedroom door to get a nice, fresh cross breeze.

Attitude

Simply put, be kind, not just nice. What does this look like in practice? Kindness brings together elements of enthusiastic consent, thoughtfulness, and healthy boundaries.

Be honest and forthcoming about your intentions.

For example, “I’m looking for a hookup and I’m not really interested in anything seriously romantic right now, but friends with benefits is a possibility.” 

Look for enthusiastic consent. 

It can be challenging to communicate about sex, especially with someone you don’t know very well. Someone who’s enthusiastically consenting is most likely someone having fun — smiling, relaxed, making eye contact, and giving affirmative answers. The worst sex I’ve had has been with partners who didn’t know or didn’t care that I was uncomfortable. The best sex I’ve ever had has been with partners who made me laugh and helped me fully relax.

Try to please your hookup, but don’t make it all about the orgasm.

Some of the basics of dirty talk are actually all about finding out what a person likes, and making it super hot to ask and answer. This of course ties into enthusiastic consent. Ideally, both (or all) of you want to be HELL YES-ing your way through this whole thing. But sometimes, an orgasm just isn’t happening.

It’s natural to want to please your partner. If you’ve had partners in the past who had orgasms really easily, you might be put off if a new hookup isn’t quite getting there. But another person’s orgasm really isn’t about you. If they say something like, “Hey, I don’t think I’m gonna be able to come, but this is really fun,” please don’t take that as a challenge. The best thing you can do is make sure you both continue to have a good time.

Preparedness

I know not everyone has 100+ sex toys and sixteen varieties of lube at their disposal, but you can easily put together a safer sex arsenal to suit all your hookup needs. Depending on what kind of bits you have — and the bits of those you’re hooking up with — your kit might look a little different from someone else’s. Let’s go over the basics:

Condoms

You’re an adult and you know what condoms are good for. But because condoms come in different sizes and different materials, it’s a good idea to have a couple different kinds on hand for different partners or different situations. If you buy your own — rather than getting them from a safer sex resource like a university health clinic — I’d heartily suggest my favorite non-latex condom, Lifestyles SKYN. In the past, I’ve also loved Durex UltraThin (latex), and I’ve heard a lot of great things about Crown (also latex), too.

Other Barriers

Yep, there are other choices beyond condoms! Nitrile gloves are a particularly popular choice among sex geeks. Gloves are a great choice for group sex (change partners, change gloves), fisting, and safer finger-banging. You can also cut a glove (or a condom) into a makeshift dam to act as a barrier for oral sex or rimming.

Lube

Like condoms, lube isn’t really one-size-fits-all.

Water-based, low-pH, low-osmolality lubes like Sliquid Sea or Good Clean Love are great for vaginal sex, and they’re condom-friendly. Silicone-based lubes like Sliquid Silver are great for longer PIV sessions, sex in the shower, and anal sex, and they’re compatible with condoms. Oil-based lubes like plain coconut oil or The Butters are vagina-, penis-, and anus-friendly, but they’ll weaken or destroy latex and its derivatives1.

Depending on your favorite ways to have sex, you’ll want to choose a lube that suits your needs. If you just want a good all-rounder, I’m a big fan of Sliquid Silk, since it’s a silicone/water hybrid that has great lasting power, is safe for use with silicone toys, and is well-formulated.

Toys

I’m not going to get into sharing toys here (because that could be a whole ‘nother post!), but rather keeping your own and bringing them to hookups. For this, I would really recommend something smallish and relatively quiet, preferably either with a travel lock or with removable batteries. The We-Vibe Tango seems to be a popular choice. If I were to head out the door right now to hook up, though, I would grab my L’Amourose PRISM V.

In Conclusion

Be kind. Have fun. Make good choices.

This post was sponsored by Local Bangs US. As always, the content of this post was written by me and all opinions are my own. The stock image for this post comes from PicJumbo.com.

  1. From what I understand, Lifestyles SKYN condoms are not compatible with oil-based lubricants despite being non-latex.

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The Tenga Iroha Stick and Pleasure Politics http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/05/tenga-iroha-stick/ http://marvelous-darling.com/2017/05/tenga-iroha-stick/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 08:55:03 +0000 http://marvelous-darling.com/?p=4258 Every once in a while, a product comes along that reminds me of the importance of considering factors outside of sheer power. These products make me really question what a good toy is, what it means to be committed to pleasure equality, and what the market really needs. The Tenga Iroha Stick is one such product. Pictured: The Iroha Stick...

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Every once in a while, a product comes along that reminds me of the importance of considering factors outside of sheer power. These products make me really question what a good toy is, what it means to be committed to pleasure equality, and what the market really needs. The Tenga Iroha Stick is one such product.

Image of the Tenga Iroha Stick vibrator

Pictured: The Iroha Stick on the same fake sheepskin I take all my toy photos on. Hashtag basic.

Tenga has long been one of my favorite companies for myriad reasons. They make products that suit all kinds of junk, from masturbator eggs to BJ-simulation cups to ultra-squishy little pillows of vibration. They use safe, stable materials in their manufacturing (which shouldn’t be a rarity, and yet here we are). All of my exchanges with their reps — both via email and in person — have been lovely. Put simply, I really like to support Tenga, because I think they’re doing it right.

In order to fairly evaluate the Iroha Stick, we need to talk about what it is and what it isn’t.

It is made of high-quality materials, but it is not a luxury vibe.

The Iroha Stick is marketed as a portable, affordable indulgence, which is something that I am all about. Like a Toblerone or a Benton sheet mask, the Stick is a both better made and a bit pricier than its bottom-shelf counterparts. It is to a watch battery bullet as a pour-over from a local roastery is to a 20oz brew from 7-Eleven.

Silicone has become the gold standard for vibrator materials, and we’re starting to see it more even on entry-level toys. The silicone that makes up the usable tip (the coral-y-orange-y bit) is very smooth with a bit of give to it, but not so soft as to catastrophically dampen vibrations. It also isn’t a huge dust magnet. Consequently, the silicone feels quite luxurious to me. (Note: It comes with a clear plastic cap to protect the silicone tip, but I already lost it.)

At first, I was skeptical about the control mechanism. It’s very simple: You twist the base to control the vibration level. It seemed a little old-school at first, and I wondered why they didn’t opt for buttons. But when combined with the removable battery, the twist base makes the Stick a great travel option. Also, and this is purely conjecture, it probably costs a bit less to produce, which is a savings that Tenga can pass on to consumers.

Tenga makes it pretty clear that they were going for a lipstick kind of vibe (heh) when they designed this toy. It’s not exactly discreet, but it’s a minimalist, inoffensive design that allows for you to use it externally in a couple different ways. You can press the very tip — which has a wedge cut out of it — against the clit for pinpoint stimulation. You can also use the slightly concave top to cover more area, be it against your clit or your perineum.

But here’s the catch: Power Queens and Beans, this is not the bullet for you.

It’s not uncommon to find bullet vibrators buzzy, especially ones that are powered by either watch batteries or AAAs. Small form factors necessitate small motors, and most vibrators that run on batteries just can’t pack the same punch as a rechargeable. I definitely own toys that are weaker or buzzier than the Iroha Stick, and the Stick is definitely no Tango substitute. (To be fair, it’s not trying to be.)

All that said, I don’t find the Iroha Stick to be un-usable. Quite the contrary, I actually enjoy it on its lower speeds, where it’s a bit rumblier1. If I’m in a good headspace, if I’m aroused, if I’m having a good time, I can easily have a totally decent orgasm with the Iroha Stick. It’s not the heavy hitter I bring out on days when I wonder if I’ll ever come, but with a good head start, it can get the job done.

Ok, but should I buy it?

If you’re like me in that you can pretty easily orgasm — especially if you’ve had success with inexpensive bullets in the past — then the Iroha Stick will probably work for you. Not everyone needs the most powerful, the rumbliest, or the most expensive toy. Maybe you just want something well-made and reliable.

If you just want to find out if you like vibration and you really don’t want to spend more than $30 to do so, I would totally recommend this. It’s body safe, it’s affordable, and it’s made by a company that I actually feel good supporting. Similarly, if you’re not picky about buzzy versus rumbly and you want something tiny to travel with, this would be a great pick.

Because it can be had for less than $25, it’s a low-risk investment for many people, and it’s within reach for those who simply do not have the cash for something more luxe. Personally, I think we need to make more room for toys like this in the market. People deserve access to safe pleasure products.

Ultimately, I’d love to see powerful, safe, affordable toys made by ethical manufacturers. But I’ll settle for safe, affordable, and ethical if need be. I think the Iroha Stick ticks those very important boxes.

Many thanks to the folks at Tenga for sending me the Iroha Stick in exchange for a fair and honest review! This post contains affiliate links.

  1. This is a common thing with buzzy motors — they tend to be rumblier at lower speeds, which means that if you prefer or require rumbly vibrations, you may actually want to step down on your vibe’s speed if you find it too buzzy.

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