Monday, September 30, 2013

The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Sex Toys 2nd Edition Review 

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Every now and then a friend will come to me for advice.  "Is this the kind of toy I want?  What about this material?  What do you think of this shop?"  I always answer as best and honestly as I can, although often my answer is "Walk away from that right now."  This is mostly because the toys that appeal to people new to sex toys are not only shiny and colorful and cheap, but also tend to be poor quality and potentially dangerous.  Add that to the fact that manufacturers and shops aren't always totally honest and the world of sex toys can seem to be a rather treacherous field to navigate.  That's where Violet Blue's The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Sex Toys comes in.

A little bit about it:
If you've never heard of Violet Blue, you should know she is a renown sex educator, author, and editor.  I'm a fan of her writing and own several of her books.  In The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Sex Toys, she takes on the confusing maze of sex shopping and breaks down the different types of toys, what each toy is used for, different materials, and even how to avoid getting ripped off.

I need to point out that I am reviewing the 2nd edition of this guide.  Both editions were published by Cleis Press.

What I loved:
I knew I was going to love this book when right off she breaks down the difference between "novelties" and toys properly designed for sex, pleasure, and safety.  This is such an important distinction, and one that is easily overlooked by newbies.  After all, if you didn't know any better, why would you buy a $150 silicone rabbit vibrator, when you can purchase a $30 jelly one?  Because one is a novelty, one is a sex toy, and it is vitally important for shoppers to know the difference, which she goes into detail about.

There is, of course, a breakdown of different toy types, materials, and cleaning basics.  There is more than enough information to help a newbie choose their first (or next) toy.  But of course, this is a book aimed not only at individual shoppers, but couples as well.  Bringing up the idea of sex toys, especially if a couple doesn't have very frank conversations, can be tough.  Don't worry.  Ms. Blue has it covered with some handy tips for opening up the conversation.

But let's say a couple is feeling truly adventurous and wants to go beyond the simplicity of adding a vibe to intercourse.  If that's the case, get ready, because after the basics, you'll find sections on kinky toys, strap-ons, sex machines, sex furniture, and even "teledildonic" toys!

If you know what you want, but don't know where to get it, she's got you covered there, too.  Not only does she give a list of reputable dealers both at the end of the book and peppered throughout the chapters, but she also gives tips and warnings to help you find a decent shop and what to watch out for.

What I didn't:
I have very few complaints about the book, but there were just a few things that I felt may be outdated. For one, she mentions that most books do not talk about prostate play, or gloss over it quickly.  That seemed odd to me, so I pulled out all the books I had that mentioned male pleasure, and all contained pretty significant information on prostate stimulation, even the books that I thought were terrible in other regards.  However, it's possible that I just happen to have books that are good with that particular piece of information.

She also mentions plug-ins and rechargeable toys as being not that common, but it seems to me, as a consumer, that they are becoming more prevalent and sought after.  But then again, if you compare the number of rechargeable toys to the vast number of battery toys, I imagine rechargeables are rare by comparison.

Final thought:
The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Sex Toys is definitely worth a buy.  For those just starting their sex toy experience, or for those that are already acquainted with toys but are looking for something different, this guide is full of information.  It contains more in depth information than any other toy guide I've yet read.  For those that may consider themselves sex toy experts, there probably isn't new information for you, but it is an extremely handy reference guide to have in your library.

If you'd like your own copy of The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Sex Toys, you can buy it here from Cleis Press.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Friday, September 20, 2013

Follow-Up Friday: LELO Mona 2

~I originally received this item at a discount in exchange for an honest review.~

How I felt about it then:
I was floored by the sheer awesomeness that is the Mona 2 when I first reviewed it back in June.  The vibrations nearly rival a Magic Wand, and although it's not particularly girthy, the shape combined with the vibrations make it so I don't even notice the lack of girth.  For me, that's really saying something.  I've had other toys that fall flat with me because they simply aren't big enough.  And can we say G-spot stimulation?  My G-spot has never, ever responded to vibrations before, and has never responded in the same way with any toy since.  In short, I loved the thing.  I wasn't expecting to love it, and in fact wouldn't have bought it if other reviewers hadn't sworn up and down that it's incredible.

How I feel about it now:
Nothing has changed.  I still love the Mona 2.  In fact, it's the only toy I took traveling with me over the summer.  And why not?  Rechargeable, waterproof, has a travel lock, strong, and very, very quiet.  It's the perfect travel toy.  I still love it and have had no problems with it dying on me, battery life issues, or any other malfunctions.

Revised Final Thought:
I had said that if you buy only one toy this year, you should seriously consider the Mona 2.  I stand by that.  It works for both clitoral and G-spot stimulation, and most important, it does both well.

~I originally received this item at a discount in exchange for an honest review.~

Sunday, September 15, 2013

So, having sex every day is news?

It seems that about every 6 months to a year a blogger makes big news by doing one thing: pledging to have sex every day for a certain amount of time.  People go nuts over these stories.  Now, if you've been paying attention, you know that I personally feel that having an active sex life is really important in relationship health, but not being a sex therapist or educator, I can't really say anything with any authority.  All I can say is that Husband and I are super cranky if we go without sex too long, and are generally happy people if we are going at it often.  Friends of ours that are having...marital problems is too strong a term.  Let's say they are easily irritated with each other.  We've noticed those friends often have a very infrequent or nearly non-existent sex life.  But which came first?  Is not having sex leading to irritability, or is irritability leading to not having sex?  Or are they completely unrelated?  I have no idea and wouldn't even venture a guess.  All we know is a good roll in the hay (or lack of it) affects us (Husband and me).

Once upon a time, we tried the whole sex for a year thing, really just so we could say that we did it.  We quit because we have sex almost every day anyway, sometimes twice a day, but knowing we had to felt too much like work and not enough like joy.  And then we got to wondering, for the sake of the experiment, what counts as sex.  Vaginal intercourse?  Oral sex?  Any sort of penetration?  Does one or more of us have to orgasm for it to count?  We sort of figured that since we have sex almost every day anyway, this experiment wasn't worth the frustration it was giving us.

All of this brings me back around to my main point.  Since we have sex almost daily, I'm always surprised when I see yet another blogger in the news pledging to have sex every day for a month, year, or other period of time.  After the latest one (which I admit was actually partially about body image, so there was a whole new dimension to the experiment that I fully applaud), I looked at Husband and asked him point blank why this is news (the sex every day part.  Not the body image part).  Doesn't every healthy married couple have lots and lots of sex?  Barring emotional or health concerns, of course.  I mean, aren't we the picture of average?

"It's news because not everyone is us.  We're not average," Husband said.

I always forget this.  Always.  Our frequency just feels so natural and comforting that I never remember that we're the exception.  A friend I confided in even told me once that Husband and I simply have too much sex.  Another friend told me I must be the best wife ever for giving my husband sex that often (I had to correct her and told her that we both have high sex drives.  I'm not sacrificing.  We're both giving and receiving).  And yet, I always forget these conversations that indicate that we're not average.  According to the Kinsey Institute, our age group generally has sex an average of once a week to a few times a month, and the youngest married couples (18-24) average about 2-3 times per week.  But with so many sexless marriages running around (an estimated 15-20%), I figured the average among happy, sexual fulfilling marriages must be higher.  It must be that 5-6 times per week (sometimes as much as 14) that Husband and I have, right?  RIGHT???

I made a quick and dirty informal poll of both my mom friends and my sex blogging friends, all happily married, all in relationships that are by no means sexless.  I expected to see at least 4-5 times per week, probably more.  Maybe as much as 7+.  I expected to see that answer from just about everyone.

That's not what I saw.

The average among my friends of a wide variety of ages was still (drum roll please) 1-3 times per week, with only a couple of exceptions.  I'm trying to wrap my brain around this.  Maybe we are odd after all. And somehow, I don't care that we're the oddballs.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Look! I'm still here!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks.  The freezer malfunctioned and dumped water everywhere.  The AC decided to stop working...a few times.  The washing machine literally ripped itself apart for no apparent reason.  When all that was fixed, all of us picked up a little virus making it's way around the kids' school.  And then various medical check-ups, appointments, school conferences and volunteer "opportunities" (the kind where a pen is thrust into your hand and you are told what you will be doing, period) on top of all that is enough to make anyone say, "What's a vibrator again?"


The good news is things are settling out now.  It's time to get back reviewing and blogging.  I've got some lovely posts coming up, so stay tuned.