Thursday, November 28, 2013

Lunapads Review

Delux Kit via
Warning: I'm about to talk about periods and reusable menstrual products.  If that makes you uncomfortable, don't read on.

I've been going back and forth, trying to decide if any menstrual product reviews would fit on my blog, as it's mostly about sexuality, marriage, and sex toy reviews.  But as another blogger pointed out, the reproductive system is an important part of sexuality.  So, I'm going with it.

Let me start by giving you a bit of background on me.  I have insanely heavy periods.  Like, crazy holy-crap-how-have-I-not-bled-to-death kinds of periods.  It got even worse after I had my IUD put in. Yes, I've consulted the doctors and they pretty much agree that there's nothing wrong with me.  I just am.  A super pissed off uterus is evidently my lot in life.  Now, think of how many pads and tampons I went through every period.

When I heard of reusable pads, my first thought was eww.  But then I thought, hey, I did cloth diapers with my kids.  How is this worse?  Then I thought, hmm.  And finally, worth a shot.  I didn't have anything to lose by trying washable pads, and I had heard somewhere that some people have a reaction to the chemicals in disposable pads that make their periods worse.  Mind you, that's just anecdotal and I have no idea if there was any truth to it, but at this point I was willing to try anything.  Enter my discovery of Lunapads.

Pad and liner via
A little bit about them:  Lunapads are reusable, washable cloth pads.  They are cotton with a PUL interior to prevent leakage.  They're easy to use and attach by using a snap button on the wings, securing them to your underwear.  The female side of the snap is on one wing, the male side on the other, and when you wrap them around the back of your underwear, they snap together and hold the pad in place.

There are two ric-rac straps on each pad.  That's the zig-zag ribbon looking strap for you non-sewers.  The ric-rac straps are used to hold extra liners, or "inserts" in place.  Having a heavier day?  You can stack more than one insert together on the same pad.

Please note: Lunapads also sells panty liners, which are all-in-one pieces that you don't use inserts with, and underwear designed for periods.  

You may be wondering how they get washed.  Honestly, I just give them a quick hand wash before throwing them in the washing machine.  Never had a problem.

What I loved: Lunapads are ridiculously easy to use.  Unlike other cloth pads that are all one piece, those clever inserts that Lunapads has allow you to just change the insert if you don't bleed through.  That is all sorts of handy and means less laundry.  When I tried other cloth pads that were all one piece (all the padding was inside the pad) they were difficult to wash and took forever to dry.

I was really worried about the ick factor with using washable pads, but I have to say that it's really not that bad.  After one cycle, using washables seemed perfectly normal.  I know a lot of people think it's going to be some sort of horror show, but really, it's not.  It's no more horrifying than pre-treating your shirt after you spilled coffee.

Now, on to how well they work.  After a couple of times through the wash, the pads are very absorbent and very comfortable.  The fact that the inserts can be stacked for heavier days, making them fully customizable, is just brilliant.  I'm not sure that I've ever, in the many years I've used them, had a leak-through.  No sticky, plasticy discomfort that you get with disposable pads, either.  No disintegration in your underoos.  Have you ever had a disposable pad suddenly disintegrate in your undies for no apparent reason?  Not awesome.

Can I talk about the smell for a second?  We all know that periods have a certain amount of smell.  That's why disposables have the perfumes and whatnot.  But, after I made the switch to cloth, the smell pretty much disappeared.

What I didn't: You know what?  There wasn't really anything I didn't love.

Final thought: I'm in love with Lunapads.  They are so simple to use, and come in a variety of colors, patterns, sizes, and absorbencies.  They're so much more comfortable than disposables, better for the environment, and did I mention they save money?  They save money.  They may look expensive, but think about how much the average person spends on pads and tampons each year.

I was hoping that my period would magically lighten up when I made the switch, like some people claim theirs did.  Honestly, it did lighten up, but just a tiny bit.  However, most of my very worst period symptoms vanished or greatly improved.  I had less severe cramps and I felt like I could actually move around on my period, which I had struggled with for years.  Does that mean I am one of those mythical people that was having a reaction to disposables and didn't know it?  Maybe.  Not being a doctor or scientist, I can't say for sure, but I suspect my body did not like the disposables.

After a few cycles, I decided to pair Lunapads with a Mooncup (UK, not US.  They're different companies).   It's been exactly what I needed.  The Mooncup catches most of the flow, and the Lunapads do the rest.  On lighter days (and note, my light days are medium days for everyone else), I just use one or the other.  I can now leave the house, do chores, and carry things on my heavy days.  I wasn't able to do that before.

It's been over six years since I first started using Lunapads, and am just now thinking that I should maybe purchase a replacement set, as mine are starting to show some wear.  In all this time, the only issue I've had is one snap on one of the pads wore out.  In six years, that's it.  They certainly hold up well.

If you are wondering whether reusable menstrual products are right for you, I highly recommend giving Lunapads a try.  Still need a reason to try?  Lunapads will send you your own sample pantyliner for just the cost of shipping.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tantus Echo Review

My love of Tantus products continues.

During the last sale, I discovered the have a Grab Bag section.  Same fun toys, but with unique, one-off colors and a lower price.  I knew I wanted the Echo, and since I didn't particularly care what color it was, I went with the Grab Bag instead of the standard Midnight Purple and Pearl White.  I'm so very glad I did.  I received this gorgeous color, which I think is black.  Or, it may be a very, very, very dark purple.  Either way, I don't have any other toy this color.  And if you look closely, it's got teeny, tiny little sparkles.  It is gorgeous.

And did I mention it came with stickers?  Stickers, ya'll.

Echo next to B-Bomb and stickers

A little bit about it: The Echo is a textured dildo made of silicone.  It has an insertable length of 6.5 inches (total length of about 7.5 inches), with a circumference of roughly 5 inches at its widest point.  It's covered in wave-like ridges along one side with a smooth underside.  At the base there is a hole where you can place the included bullet vibrator or use your own, like the Salsa.

What I loved:  Let me say the obvious.  The ridges are amazing.  They hit my G-spot with every move.  With my muscles relaxed, I can barely feel the ridges, but can definitely tell it's not a smooth toy.  It's like a gentle vaginal massage against my G-spot.  When I tighten my muscles, I can feel every single ridge as it bumps past my ring of muscles.  Unlike most G-spot toys where only the head of the toy hits the G-spot, this one hits it with every ridge.

Now about that bullet hole.  Most toys with bullet holes create a suction on the bullet vibe so that it's hard to remove, even with lubricant. [Side note: always use lubricant when placing a bullet vibe in a bullet hole.  It will be much easier to remove.]  This is even a problem with some other Tantus toys.  The Echo, however, has an extra ring of ridges on the inside of hole, helping to greatly reduce the suction problem.

What I didn't:  I'm not crazy about the bullet vibe that came with it.  It's buzzy and one speed.  But...meh.  I never really intended to use it with a bullet anyway, and if I want to use a bullet vibe with it, I'll use my Salsa.  But, to be thorough, I tried it with the bullet it came with.  It was tingly, pleasant even, but hardly orgasmic.  I'm not too disappointed, though, since I just wanted it as a dildo, not a vibrator.

Final thought:  I love the Echo.  It's large enough to be satisfying without being so large that it takes lots of effort to use it.  And the ridges...oh, the ridges!  It's like my G-spot getting bumped every time I move it an inch.  Worth the price?  Oh, yes.  Yes, it is.

Want your own?  Choose your color or snag one from the Grab Bag.  Have mobility or reaching problems?  Tantus also sells an Echo with a handle, but it does not vibrate..

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bedroom Misadventures Episode 8

Sometimes I wonder where time went.  It seems like it was just last week I was grabbing my backpack, scrambling for a lost notebook, and sprinting across campus to a class I was late for.  Again.  But really, that was years ago.

Husband and I have not quite hit middle age yet, but we're already having the not-as-young-as-we-used-to-be feelings.  He's losing his hair and I'm starting to see the first faint line of wrinkles around my eyes.  It's not much, and I know those older than us will be rolling their eyes, but it's enough to know we are changing.  Our we-can-do-it-all teens and twenties are behind us.

After an evening of fun that lasted perhaps a little longer than usual, Husband started complaining about his back.  He had arched it at some point, further than he should have, and for a day or two needed help putting his socks on.  He couldn't bend far enough to reach his feet.

He was sore for several days after.  In fact, he's still sore.  At one point, he was trying to get up from lying on the couch and announced that he felt like a turtle.  Because I'm a good wife and a nice person, I've been massaging his back and helping out when he needs help, but inside I was laughing.  Hard.

And then I woke up this morning with a sore shoulder and pain running down my ribs.  It had to do with me supporting my weight awkwardly during sex.  All of the sudden it's not so funny.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

When Sex Advice Get Silly. Or Just Wrong.

I've made it no secret that I'm not a huge fan of Cosmo's sex and relationship tips.  I mostly find them absolutely ridiculous.  I mean, there have been whole articles written on just how bad their tips are.  I should assume he's cheating if he's whistling?  Oh, really?  Gee.  And here I thought it was more sane to just assume he had a good day.  Give him a bit of a man-parts massage when I know he's had a terrible day?  Yeah, in our house that would end with him saying, "Did I not just tell you how horrible my day has been?  Not interested.Lower your voice when talking to him on the phone?  OK, I'm not sure if they mean volume or if they want you to drop suddenly into bass, but either way he'd most likely say, "What?  What?  I can't understand what you're saying.  Do you have a cold?"  And let's not forget that one fellatio book that I hated with a fiery passion also happened to be written by a woman that also writes for Cosmo.

A few days ago I ran into a Cosmo article that someone had tweeted about.  I had a few spare minutes, so I thought why not.  I've been trying to find the link again so you can see the article for yourself, but I can't seem to find it.  I honestly don't even remember what the whole point of the article was, but I do remember the part that sent me into a full rage and made me forget about everything else the author was saying.  She said men find it hot when a woman gags and gets teary eyed during oral sex.

Not a few men.

Not some men.

Not some men, sometimes.

Not even most men, sometimes.

Just men.  Men find it hot.

First off, I hate generalizations like this.  So of course, I was more than skeptical, so I asked Husband if he thought that was hot.  It seemed to me that it's more of a porn act, and as we all know, porn is not real life.

"Do you think it's hot if a woman gags?" I asked.

"What, you mean like in porn?"

"No, in general."


"Not ever?" I pressed.  I wanted a full, honest answer.

"Not ever.  If you gagged, I would think something is wrong."

I'm kind of with him on this.  I mean, I kind of imagine I would end up looking like I had the flu.  Not sexy.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Some women do enjoy gagging.  Some men enjoy seeing it.  But generalizations in sexual advice can be downright dangerous.  There should have at least been a "some" in there.  It would be easy to change it to, say, "Some men find it hot, so if you're into it, it may be worth discussing."

I did a little bit of casual research on the subject to see what I could turn up.  Do you know what I found?  Get ready for a shock: It was a mixed bag.  Some liked it, some didn't.  Oh, that wasn't shocking and was kind of obvious?  Yes.  Yes, it was.  So what's with the generalization?  Good question.

I now picture a young woman thinking she has to gag to please her partner because she's sure men find it hot.  Cosmo said so.  Like she would be doing it wrong if she didn't, no matter if she didn't want to.  And that makes me very sad.  Or, a man thinking that he should find it hot, even if he doesn't.  Also, very sad.

So what's a couple to do?  You could start by, oh, I don't know...talking to each other?  And probably not rely on magazines like this for sex advice.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bedroom Misadventures: Episode 7

So, the fact of the matter is that I'm a sex and marriage blogger.  I read, do research, test products, etc., etc.  I suppose this means that sometimes I think about sex toys more than the average person.  I guess.  Just the other day, I said this on Twitter:
See, that's where my mind goes when it's idle.  Better sex toy storage.  I mean, my stuff is all hidden away from the kids and all, but geez, it would be nice to have it all in one spot.  But as usual, I digress.

A large portion of this blog is reviewing.  I mean, if you are going to drop significant money on a toy, I want it to be a toy you are going to love, not a $100 regret or a $20 safety hazard.  And because I do so much reviewing and window shopping, sex toys are never very far from my mind.  Sometimes, that's distracting.  Yesterday, it was very, very distracting.

I had an appointment for a teeth cleaning, and I swear the hygienist must have been a relative of Sweeny Todd.  Lots of pain from this routine cleaning.  My mouth hurt for hours.  But again, not the point.  I was sitting in the waiting room, just looking around, being bored, and thinking about how little interest I had in People and Redbook, when I saw it.  On the front desk was a large glass statue.  It looked very much like a giant one of these:

Thanks to Beck (NSFW and often contains nudity) for lending me the visual aid pic.

Do you know what that is?  If you've not really a bedroom adventurer or frequent sex toy shopper like some people, you may not know what you're looking at.  I'll tell you.  That is a butt plug.  It does exactly what it sounds like it does.

And my dentist had a giant one sitting on her desk.

I mean, of course it wasn't actually a butt plug.  It was just a large, glass statue that was hilariously shaped like a giant butt plug.  So, I'm staring at the floor, thinking about just how inappropriate it would be if I started laughing.  I'm sure pretty darn inappropriate.  So, there I was, eyes on the floor and pretending that my dentist did not, in fact, have a giant glass butt plug on her desk.

Update: When I told my husband this story, he started laughing and said, "When I was there last week, I thought the same thing!"'s not just me, then?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Rare Assembly Bondage Bow Review

~I received this item for free as a prize from a mini-contest run by Rare Assembly.~

Not too long ago, the American Psychiatric Association decided that just because someone has a kinky streak, that doesn't make them mentally ill.  That's great news for bedroom adventurers everywhere.  How many have tried at least a little bondage?  Tough question, and it seems it depends on which study and/or survey you are looking at They mostly seem to hover between 30 and 50% of the population, with some as low as 2% and some as high as 75%.  The only thing I've found studies agree on is that the number of people that at least try light BDSM (like blindfolds or toy handcuffs) is on the rise.  But why the huge variety in survey and study outcomes?  I suspect it has to do with perception.  What one person considers kinky, another considers perfectly vanilla.

So let's say a person that has always been vanilla wants to do a little experimenting.  Looking around at BDSM shops online can be a frightening experience for someone just looking for a set of silk scarves, fuzzy handcuffs, or pretty blindfold.  What to do if you want to see if a little adventure is your thing without the in-your-face aspect?  Enter the Bondage Bow.

A little bit about it: The Bondage Bow (large) is a long band of rubber latex that comes wrapped as a...wait for it...bow.  It's about 75" long and just shy of 1.25" wide.  There are perforations down the middle that slide onto a large metal tack in the package, holding it in a bow shape.  Once unraveled, it lays flat.  It's extremely stretchy and made for exactly what it sounds like: bondage.  Or, as the company says in it's slogan, "Unwind this bow and tie somebody up."

What I loved: The best thing about the Bondage Bow is the aesthetics of it.  The bow shape is sweet and non-threatening.  A lovely, springy bow seems far less scary for a beginner than a coil of rope.  It's pretty without being cutesy, and the colors they offer seem to be changing.  I own it in black, but they currently they offer it in cherry red and honey gold.

Because of the tack that is used to hold the bow in shape when it's in the package, the Bondage Bow has perforations in the center all the way down the length.  I was worried that this would cause the bow to easily rip apart, but it didn't, even when I tugged on it width wise to purposely try to get it to rip.

There's a certain simplicity to the Bondage Bow.  It's not incredibly long, so there is only so much you can do with it.  OK, really, it's for tying wrists or ankles, but if you are brand new to the idea of bondage, that's probably all you're going to be doing, anyway.  So, it's pretty, simple, and pretty much a bit of kinky for those that don't necessarily consider themselves kinky.

What I didn't: My biggest complaint is that it is uncomfortable.  Really, really uncomfortable.  I know other reviewers have raved about how comfy it is, but that's not how I found it.  I even experimented by tying my ankles while doing some computer work, but only got about ten minutes in before the heat of it became unbearable and I had to take it off.  During sex, it's fun but only for a very short amount of time because of the same issues.  I mean, it's latex rubber.  It doesn't breathe.  My skin felt funny for an hour afterward as a result, and no, I don't have an allergy.

If you are interested in experimenting with being restrained in a manner that you can't escape, this is not your toy.  The stretchiness of the material makes it very, very easy to escape from.  When I tied it as tight as I felt was safe, I was able to escape in 3 seconds.  I timed it.  When I tied it slightly tighter than I would think is safe (with NO intention to stay that way and done in a safe and easily undone manner), I couldn't escape, but it pulled my skin and tiny hairs.  Ow.  The fact that you would have to tie it tighter than safe to make it "real" bondage is a big no-no for anyone looking to be actually restrained.  The Bondage Bow, it seems, is for looks only.  There's nothing wrong with that if that's what you are looking for, as long as you know the limits of your material.

Finally, the material sticks to itself.  It's nice to have the friction to help restrain, but it makes tying decent knots almost impossible.

Final thought:  The Bondage Bow retails for £18, or $25-30 (depending on the shop) which is not a bad asking price.  I've seen much worse toys go for much more money, but it's up to you to decide if it's worth it.  It is lovely and non-threatening, making it a nice introductory piece for vanilla people looking to experiment.  Like I said, it's a bit of kinkiness for people that don't consider themselves kinky.  However, any buyer needs to understand that the Bondage Bow is mostly for looks and the accompanying psychological affect.  It is not great for anything but brief wear, due to the fact that it doesn't breathe and can get uncomfortable on the skin.

So, is it worth it?  That depends on why you want it.  If you are just looking for an introductory toy, this is nice to have.  If you are interested in restraint that actually restrains, this is not for you.

~I received this item for free as a prize from a mini-contest run by Rare Assembly.~