Saturday, March 30, 2013

Je Joue Ami Winner!

Guess what?  I know who won the giveaway.  Wanna know?  Well, it happens to be Travelnurse!
Uber congrats and I'll be looking for your shipping info!

Didn't win?  Well...sorry.  I wish I had many more to give out and may be giving out more in the future.  If you want my personal opinion, though, beyond the review I've already done, I would highly advise you to pick up a set.  They are, so far, my favorite Kegel exerciser.

And, I mean... come on.  It's a graduated set so you can move up the chain.  I wish more companies would do that.

Monday, March 25, 2013

How I very nearly stopped blogging, tweeting, and reviewing, and why I'm still here

I walk a fine line here.  I'm not as straight-laced as my parents (not even kind of), but I am a bit more conservative than other sex bloggers.  This has lead to times of indecision, uncomfortable discussions with other bloggers, and once or twice I've been shamed by bloggers that considered me on the outside (I'm not going to name names.  Don't ask).  At this point, I don't care.  I am what I am, I write what I write, I think what I think.  Still, I can't help but notice that as not fully a sex blogger, not fully a marriage blogger, and not fully a review blogger, I don't quite fit.

A few days ago I woke up and found several contacts I had with companies had quit, lost their jobs, or simply stepped down from their positions, and several perks and discounts I relied on for my reviewing hobby were disappearing.  This was going to deeply impact how and how often I receive toys for review, how much I would pay for them, and what quality I was going to be able to afford.  I thought about joining some affiliate programs, but after talking for a while with Husband on the matter, we decided it is not something we want to get involved in at this moment.  That aspect of the blog is something I'm still trying to figure out.  But to be honest, the reviewing was only supposed to be a bit here and there anyway.  I know there have been a lot of reviews lately, but that's just because I happened to try several new products fairly close together.

Then there is the rest of it.  The part where I actually talk about sex.  The part where I talk about marriage.  And occasionally, the parts I talk about kids or why something in the news/magazine/internet has greatly pissed me off and I felt it needed to be discussed.  I'm sure you remember last time that happened.

I was in a pretty big funk.  I thought that I really had nothing of value to say except for the review part, and with reviews possibly slowing down in the near future perhaps it was time to call it a day.  What could I possibly offer?  Does anyone even read the nonsense I type out?  It was time, I decided, to hang up my sex blog hat and walk away.  It was fun while it lasted.  So long and thanks for all the fish.*

Small bouts of depression will do that to you.  Not that giant, suicidal, life is not worth living depression, but the small little thunderstorms that make you doubt yourself.  Make yourself a cup of tea, listen to Mumford & Sons, have a good cry, and move on.  You'll find a new hobby.  It's the same self-doubt crap that's been occasionally rearing it's ugly head since I was a kid.

"It would free up more time for you in the evening," Husband said.  I agreed that it would.  He wasn't sure how to advise me, and I don't think he felt he should be giving any direction at all.  This, he feels, is my thing.

In retrospect, it all sounds very silly.  Big deal if my reviews are a little further between.  I've got other things to talk about.  But that's where I was.  I was ready to end this aspect of my creative life and go back to focusing purely on my mommy blog.  (Yes, I have one of those.  Shut up.  Don't judge.)  The plan was to finish up the reviews for products I had, say whatever came to mind, and that's it.

And then it changed and I knew that if I ever decided to stop, now was certainly not the time.  You see, a friend was taking a human sexuality class and asked if Husband and I would be open to being interviewed about our sexual history and current sex life.  We both readily agreed.  To us, it's just sex.  It's something everyone does.  She thanked us several times and told us her classmates were having a heck of a time finding couples to interview.  No one, it seemed, wanted to talk about sex.  We don't understand why.

Sex sex sexity sex sex.

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  This particular person knows that I'm Batman my true identity and that I run this blog.  Occasionally, she reads it.  (Hey, there.)  Now, I can't remember if this was part of the interview or just small talk, but she did ask me some questions about the blog.  Husband chimed in, telling her that I've been a big help to some people who have been able to open up to their spouses.

That's when all the self-doubt and worry and plans to pack it in came crashing to the floor.  As Husband talked about me and this blog, I realized that he was right.  I thought about all the messages I've received from people.  All the questions I had answered.  The people that were actually opening up discussions about sex with their spouses because the read something I wrote.  I was succeeding at doing exactly what I wanted to do: make sex normal and open up frank talk.  Allow spouses to see that they can, and they should, be open with each other.  That it's perfectly fine for friends to swap tips.  That sex in and of itself is not shameful.

I realized that I don't give a flying flip if I only have 20 people--5 people--2 people reading what I put out there as long as those people are taking something away from it and opening up to each other.

*It's a Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference.  Kudos if you got it.  You know where your towel is.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Of Removing Wedding Rings

This morning I'm making bread.  We almost never buy store bread anymore, and Husband and I both both have our particular recipes that we like to use.  (When we try to use each other's recipes, no matter how close we follow the guidelines, they always fail).  His recipe can be kneaded in our stand mixer, but the recipe I use is too big and I have to knead it by hand.  I don't mind kneading.

As I started the dough, I took my engagement and wedding rings off.  For some reason, this shocks people.  I always take my rings off when I'm about to do something potentially icky or gunk inducing, especially baking or working with raw meat.  I do it now more than ever since last time I had my engagement ring cleaned the jeweler looked at it and said, "There's...something in it."

"Yeah, that's dough," I had to admit.  "I bake a lot."

Husband doesn't wear his ring at all.  He used to, long ago before he was Engineer Husband and was Works For a Shipping Company Husband.  After just a few days working for the shipping company, his ring was covered in dents and dirt.  He took it off.  That was almost 10 years ago and he hasn't put it back on.  He's left-handed and finds it gets in the way.  And lest you think he's not fair about this issue, he has told me that he doesn't particularly care if I wear my ring or not.  We're married whether or not we wear our rings.

Some people, though, have very high emotional feelings about removing wedding rings.  Even though many wives and husbands remove their rings at certain times or don't wear them very much due to allergies, comfort, weight loss or gain, fear of losing them* or getting them dirty, there is still the pervasive idea that removing your wedding ring for any reason is somehow immoral.  I've talked with some people that even worry that removing their rings, even for a second, will somehow indirectly and cosmically cause a divorce down the line.  They don't take theirs off and don't like to see other people taking theirs off.

Obviously, taking off a wedding ring has a lot of cultural symbolism.  If you do a quick Google search about taking off wedding rings, you'll see a lot of images that are meant to hint that the person in the photo is about to have a go at adultery.  If you look further, you'll see many discussions about who takes off their wedding ring and why.  And then we have products like the Anti-Cheating Ring, which is engraved on the inside so that if a would-be cheater removes their ring, an impression that says, "I'm Married" is left on the skin.

It seems that there are a lot of people who feel that taking off a wedding ring is either asking for a divorce or signifies the intention to cheat.  What about you?  Is taking off your ring a big deal or no?

*One time I was just wearing my wedding ring when my engagement ring needed repairs.  I had lost weight since my wedding and my ring was huge.  I looked down at my hand and found it missing.  I searched and searched for it, wondering if I had just put it somewhere, while a friend of mine questioned me as to the reason that I would dare to take it off long enough to loose it.  It turns out it actually fell off my hand when I was doing laundry.  I found it in the washer.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Little Deeper Cushion Review

It is my firm belief that everyone should give sexual support cushions a try at some point.  They can take a lot of unnecessary strain off of your joints, making sex more comfortable.  Personally, I've found that support cushions also allow our love making sessions to last longer.  I've made no secret about how much I love my Liberator Wedge and Ramp, but when I saw the Little Deeper Cushion with it's dips and contours, I was intrigued.

Note: I received the Little Deeper Cushion free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

A little bit about it: The Little Deeper is a sort of jack-of-all-trades of support cushions.  Not only is it a sex positioner, but can also be used as a yoga tool and a body support pillow when you are just lounging.  It does a little bit of everything and does each one fairly well.

Unlike the typical pyramid/wedge shapes of other support cushions, the Little Deeper is contoured to support the body while remaining firm but comfortable.  The cushion itself is made of polyurethane foam with a polyester cover.  The cover can be removed and hand washed.

What I loved: I want to say right out that the thing I loved most about the Little Deeper is that it is not Liberator.  It's not trying to be Liberator.  It's not copying Liberator.  It is it's own product and that is refreshing.  I'm tired of seeing cheaper products that try and fail to copy Liberator designs.  Seeing that the Little Deeper Cushion is not trying to copy anyone or anything (although you could make the argument that they are trying to improve old designs) is just gravy.

The Little Deeper is a pretty decent sex positioner.  It's not uncomfortably hard, nor is it so soft that you sink in.  It's about the same firmness as the Liberator Wedge and Ramp.  It's the same height but longer than the Wedge, but not as long and shorter in height than the Ramp.  It's a nice in-between size.

I need to say, flat out, that my favorite use for the Little Deeper has nothing to do with sex.  It has to do with meditation.  I suffer from a lot of anxiety and tension issues and sitting for meditation for a few minutes helps me a ton.  However, I find if I sit on the floor to meditate with my back straight, it hurts.  A lot.  It feels like someone is sticking shivs of ice into my spine.  I have not yet been able to figure out what I'm doing wrong.  I tried sitting in a half lotus position on the Little Deeper and was perfectly comfortable.  No pain in my spine at all.  However, it was hard to meditate because I was distracted by just how comfortable I was!

What I didn't: The only thing I really didn't like about the Little Deeper is the cover.  The material feels wrong to my fingers.  It reminds me of cheap Christmas stockings or a holiday dress from the '80s.  There is just something about the material that feels off.  Even Husband, when he first touched it, made a face and declared that he didn't like the way it feels.  I much prefer the cover of Liberator products.

Final Thought: Oh, boy.  Tough call here.  I'm going to have to say I still like my Liberator better, but only slightly.  The Liberator Wedge and Ramp fit our anatomy just a little bit better.  And that's the problem with position cushions in general, isn't it?  Not every cushion will fit every body.

Most of the time I don't like a product or choose to not use it any further I can point to a specific design flaw as the reason. This time, I can't do that.  There isn't anything wrong with the Little Deeper Cushion.  It just isn't quite right for us.  The Little Deeper is very similar in size to the Liberator Wedge but we actually use our Liberator Ramp more often.  We need something longer and higher.  The Little Deeper is just not quite the right size for us.

That being said, I would heartily recommend this cushion if you are in one of three groups of people: those that find wedges too small and ramps too big, those that need contoured cushions for proper support, and those that can't meditate without pain!

Want your own?  You can get them through the Little Deeper website!

~I received this item free of charge from Little Deeper in exchange for an honest review.~

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Je Joue Ami Review and a Giveaway!

My experience with the MiMi was such an utter fail that I never wanted to even consider another Je Joue toy.  EVER.  For a year and a half I let my eyes skip over any and all Je Joue toys, even if they looked interesting.  Then I saw the Ami and was sucked in.  I drooled over it and then I saw the dreaded information on the product page. Manufacturer: Je Joue.  I was instantly disappointed.  I ignored the Ami for a few months, but in the end I had to have it.  Now I'm so very glad I gave the Ami a chance.

A little bit about it: The Je Joue Ami is a set of 3 Kegel exercisers made of smooth, waterproof silicone that has very little drag.  I recommend using a lubricant if you are on the dryer side, but use a water-based lubricant only.  Since the Ami balls are silicone, silicone lubricant will damage them.

If you are new to Kegel exercises, you start with Ami 1 and progress slowly through the course of several weeks to Ami 2 then Ami 3.  If you are intermediate or advanced, you can skip Ami 1 and move right to Ami 2 or Ami 3.  Ami 1, 2, and 3 are all included, along with some instructions on how to begin working your Kegels.

Ami 1: Single ball and weighs 47g.  Roughly 5 inches in circumference at the widest point.

Ami 2: Large double ball.  Weighs 78g.  Each ball is roughly 4.25 inches in circumference.

Ami 3: Small double ball.  Weighs 106 g.  Each ball is roughly 3.5 inches in circumference.  That's not a typo.  Ami 3 is smaller but heavier than the Ami 2.

What I loved: I love being able to step up or down depending on where I am in my pelvic strength.  That is a huge attraction for me.  There have been times when I tried other Kegel exercisers that didn't work for me, but there was nothing I could do.

Typically, when I use Kegel balls I just put them in and go about my business, relying on my muscles to keep them in.  When I tried this with Ami 1, it took no effort to keep it in.  It was too light and too big.  The size alone kept it in place.  I moved on to the Ami 2, which did take a little more work.  It wasn't particularly difficult, but it certainly wasn't easy.  The next day I tried the Ami 3.  Now that one took some effort to keep in place!  I'm delighted to say that I will actually have to work up to that one!  I wore it for a little while and then I sneezed and lost it.  You post-childbirth moms know exactly what I'm talking about.

What I didn't: I'm hard pressed to find something I didn't like.  I guess if I had to pick something it would be that Ami 1 wasn't enough of a workout, but that's why there's Ami 2 and Ami 3.

I think I should note here two things that weren't bothersome to me, but might annoy others.  First, I can not feel the inner balls rattling around.  In case you didn't know, each Ami ball has a smaller ball inside it that rolls around.  Many people love this sensation.  Some claim it actually helps them get a better workout.  I simply can't feel it with the Ami the way I can with Smartballs, but that really doesn't bother me.
Smartballs comparison shot

Second, if you are used to something like Smartballs with a very flexible neck between the balls, you need to know that the necks on the Ami balls are much stiffer.  It's not really a problem, but I didn't think to check the stiffness and accidentally jammed my cervix.  Ow.  Again, I only did that once just because I wasn't paying attention.  Now that I know, it's not a problem.

Final thought: Worth it.  Worth it.  WORTH IT.  Being able to step up or down in size?  Awesome.  Velvety silicone?  Also awesome.  And guess what?  They are reasonably priced!  They cost around $50, which is not that much considering how long they will last you.  Do you know how much I've spent on Kegel balls I didn't like as much?

~This product was given to me by Eden Fantasys in exchange for an honest review.~

Giveaway Time!!!

Eden Fantasys has generously given me a second Je Joue Ami set to give to you!  And guess what else?  I know many of my readers have been in contact with me privately because they don't want to leave a public record of them being on a sex blog.  Hey, I get that.  Really, I do.  It's a legitimate concern for many of us Clark Kent types.  So guess what?  The first entry on the list is for my private readers so you can enter the giveaway, too!  Yes, you!  All you'll have to do is sign in to the giveaway with your email, then shoot me an email from the contact tab at the top of the page, then click the button in the giveaway widget saying you sent me an email.  That's it!  This option is only for those that won't be using the other entry options.  For everyone else that doesn't mind leaving comments and likes social media, move on to the the second option.

Now, I hate to do this, but this is my first giveaway and I want to keep it simple, so I'm opening it to  US residents only.  I know, I know, it's mean and I have so many UK readers.  Cut me some slack while I'm learning the ropes, OK?  I'll make it up to you later.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bedroom Misadventures Episode 5: Blogging Edition

It was all going so well.  The house was quiet and I was alone.  I am almost never alone.  We had house guests, but they, along with Husband and Children, were out for the day.  It was just me.  I thought I would take the time to snap some photos of products for upcoming reviews.  Generally, I do this outside for the better light.

I set it all up.  I even had the different backdrops (because photos going to different places get different backgrounds.  It's how I organize).  I snapped all the photos from all the angles that I needed, and triumphantly went inside.  Once in, I took a quick snap of a product's seam that I hadn't noticed before. The camera's click didn't sound right.  It wasn't the rapid focus-click I expected on the auto setting.  It was slower, and even though I was in a relatively dim room, the flash did not come on.

I wonder why that is, I thought.  It's dark.  The flash should have-- Oh, crap.

The settings on the camera had been changed.  Husband must have used it after I did.  He likes to set up his camera just so, controlling everything.  Even though I know how to use the camera (and find the info I've forgotten), I generally just have it set to auto.  Being a wife and mom, I'm always bouncing from one thing to another, so having it set to auto just helps me get through photos faster when people aren't looking.

Maybe the photos came out, I thought desperately.  I plugged in the camera card and had a look.  Grainy.  Dark.  Unuseable.  I would have to do the entire shoot again.

Time was getting short and I had no idea when everyone would be back.  I certainly didn't want to explain why I had sex furniture everywhere.  I hurried to set everything back up.  Suddenly, I was aware that the neighbors on both sides of our house were out and active.  Time to go lightspeed before they decided to pop their friendly heads over the fence to see what I was up to.

I retook the photos of the small items, then laid out the backdrop for the bigger items: a comparison shoot between the Little Deeper Cushion and the Liberator Wedge.  I put the Little Deeper Cushion down, and ran to get the Wedge.  On the way back out the Wedge slipped from my fingers.  It landed on its edge in the dirt and started cartwheeling across the yard.  I chased after it, but when I picked it up I learned the hard way that dirt and sand had stuck to the microfiber of the cover.  In my race to pick it up, I jerked it too hard and dirt flew off the cover and into my eyes.

Rubbing debris out of my eyes and off of the Wedge, I took as many good shots as I could, than hustled to pack it all back up before everyone came back home and the neighbors got curious.

In case you are wondering, I made it in time.

Monday, March 4, 2013

We-Vibe Salsa Review

Note: Before I go on with the review, I need to tell you that the We-Vibe Salsa is getting discontinued.  If you like my review, go, NOW, and get yours.  We-Vibe currently has them for 30% off.  Once they're gone, they're gone.  If you miss it, don't panic.  The We-Vibe Tango is a very near cousin, and the only difference between them is how the very tip is shaped.  Only the Salsa is being discontinued, not the Tango.

I have owned a lot of vibrators at this point.  Some were good, some were great, and some immediately went into the garbage in disgust.  I'm always on the lookout for a new clitoral vibe, especially one that Husband and I can use together, and I found it in the We-Vibe Salsa.

A little bit about it: The We-Vibe Salsa is a small clitoral vibrator, about 3.25 long by my measurements.  It's waterproof, strong, rumbly, and quiet.  You can't hear it outside of a closed door unless your house is absolutely silent.  I don't know about you, but my house is never silent, so this would be hard to hear.

The Salsa comes in a really neat trapazoid-shaped box very similar to the We-Vibe Touch, and includes the vibe, charger, and storage bag.

The Salsa is made to be an external vibrator.  Even though it is waterproof and lubricant friendly, it would not make a good vaginal toy.  Also, I need to stress that this is not an anal safe toy.  The attempt would likely end in an embarrassing trip to the emergency room.  External use only, people.

What I loved: Wow.  Just wow.  The Salsa has deep, rumbly vibrations.  None of this surface buzzy nonsense you get from cheaper vibrators.  Husband was concerned that the power may equal buzziness, but that is certainly not the case.

The Salsa is perfect both for alone time and couple's time.  The pointed tip is great for those that need pinpoint stimulation, while the side can be used for people who really like to have broad stimulation.  The Salsa is small enough that it fits between Husband and I really well, making it perfect for extra stimulation during sex.  However, because of the size and shape, it does move around a little bit.  You either have to hold it, or readjust it every now and then.  Neither are really an issue.

There are 8 vibration settings total: 4 speeds and 4 patterns, so there should be something for everyone. For those that need really strong vibrations, the Salsa delivers.  If the Hitachi is a 5 in intensity, the Salsa is a mid to high 4.

What I didn't: The Salsa has a similar flaw to the We-Vibe Touch in that it doesn't last too long on high power.  After about 20 minutes on high, it gradually loses power, finally dying at around an hour. All We-Vibes I've had do that.  I would suggest that you don't reach for the Salsa until you are very aroused.

Final thought: Love it.  Even though the battery doesn't last as long as I'd like, the pros outweigh the cons.  The Salsa is essentially a luxury version of the cheap bullets, and I must say that We-Vibe really got it right.   I would highly recommend it to those that want something small but high quality.

~I received a discount for the Salsa in exchange for a review on another site.~

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lelo Ella Review

I'm the type of person that knows pretty quick whether or not I like a toy.  The Ella, however, really had me stumped.  I didn't seem to have any feelings about it.  It didn't blow me away, but it didn't disappoint me, either.  My sexy self viewed the Ella the way my non-sexy side would view a pencil: it's just an item that is in my house that I have no emotional attachment to.  It took some real pondering to be able to put into words how I feel.  Honestly, I feel meh about it, but I had a lot of trouble figuring out what exactly was wrong.

A little bit about it:  The Lelo Ella is a double-ended silicone G-spot dildo.  On one end is a curved neck with a flattened head that reminds many people of a hammer.  On the other side is a wider shaft that tapers down to a point.  It's waterproof and easily cleaned with soap and water.

Ella is about 7.5 inches long, if you follow the outside curve.  The "hammer" end is around 4 inches around.  The other end (the one with the point) is also around 4 inches at the widest part.

Packaging: I love classy packages.  Not a duckface-making porn star in sight here.  There is an outer cardboard box, then an inner, heavy-duty, but beautiful box.  You know what?  I'm going to let the photos do the talking here.

What I loved: The texture on the Ella is amazing.  It's not glossy and dragging like the We-Vibe Touch, but doesn't have the powdery matte feel of the G4 Big Boss.  It's something in between, and oh how it just glides.  The Ella feels better to my fingers than any other toy I've ever had.  I carried around for at least half an hour just playing with it in my hands.  I didn't want to put it down.  Unfortunately, my G-spot is a little less picky over such things.

Ella calls the color "Deep Rose" but really it's more like a fuchsia.  Even though it is pinkish it is not the standard bubblegum pink that so many toy companies firmly believe that women want.  And, they had the forethought to also offer Ella in white and black.  Kudos.

The Ella is not too big around, nor is it so small that it is unsatisfying.  It's not phallic shaped, so those that are new to toys or those that want more art than reality in their toys will appreciate the beautiful aesthetics that can still get the job done.

What I didn't: The shape isn't quite right for me.  The most obvious (to me) issue is the pointed end.  I've seen a lot of reviewers complain that the point smashes painfully into their cervix.  Honestly, I like my cervix being bumped, but not like this.  This is a sharp, intense feeling and is in no way pleasurable.

The length also needs to be a little bit longer.  If you use it as a thrusting toy, there isn't a whole lot left outside of the vagina to grab onto.  If you have a particularly deep vagina, this is going to be a problem.

Something about the size and shape of the Ella makes it very hard, ergonomically speaking, for me to use.  I find I need to almost hyper-extend my elbow to be able to use it effectively, and that is certainly uncomfortable.

Final thought: I like the Ella, but I don't love it.  If I could redesign it, it would end up looking more like this:

It's not a particularly fantastic toy.  It's not a horrible toy, either.  I would recommend it to new people who are just starting in on toys and don't know what they're looking for, particularly those that are new to luxury and silicone toys.

While the Ella isn't the worst toy I've had, and it is fairly decent at G-spot stimulation, I'm going to have to stick to my Pure Wand for G-spotting.