Sunday, March 19, 2017

AphoJoy Cockring

When I was contacted about reviewing a vibrating cock-ring 2 days after I’d decided to start blogging again, it seemed like some sort of cosmic sign. A big thunder-clap and lighting spelling out the message: “Yes, this is what you’re supposed to be doing”.
Okay, well maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but when Lily Yu asked if I’d be interested in reviewing some toys for her company AphoJoy, I was really excited for the opportunity to start blogging and reviewing again! Before I go any further in this review, I just wanted to take a moment to thank Lily for giving me the kick-in-the-pants I needed to get my blog up and re-running. Thanks Lily.


I was particularly excited to review a cock-ring because, I’d never tried one before. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did at one point own a pink jelly cock-ring that ran on a watch battery. But my boyfriend at the time (now my husband) rightly refused to let it anywhere near his dick. Considering how weird it smelled, can’t say that I blame him.
This cock-ring, however, is in an entirely different class than my first crappy BOGO grab-bag piece of junk I’d got at some seedy sex store when I was too young to know any better. This cock-ring is beautiful, soft and smooth and so much fun to touch.

First Impressions

The Joy-Ring looks a little different from most other cock-rings I’ve seen and/or come across. Instead of being just a ring with a small vibrating portion stuck onto it, it looks more like a small bullet vibe with a nice smooth stretchy ring attached. It’s made from a buttery-smooth purple silicone, and seems not to attract too much lint, so that’s a good thing. It’s about 4.5” from the end of the ring to the tip of the bullet, and the ring itself is about 1.5” in diameter (though it can easily stretch much wider).
Charging Port
The toy is really easy to use. There is a power button on the top, and you just hold it for a few seconds to get things going. Once the toy is on, you can cycle through 3 different speed settings, and 4 different vibration patterns. To turn it off, just hold the power button again for a few seconds, and it shuts off, no matter which vibration cycle you’re up to.
The Joy-Ring is rechargeable, which is always a plus (have I mentioned how much I hate having to replace dead batteries in the heat of the moment? It's not my favorite way to spend my sexy-times), though the charging port was a little hard to find the first time I tried to plug it in. Here's a hint: it's the little depression under the DC stamp on the "back" of the vibrating portion of the ring (it looks like it’s been covered over with silicone, but you can get the charging cable in there… it just looks a little dirty…).

In Use

    Right away I noticed how the design has an impact on the function. The motor is housed in the middle of the bullet-section of the toy, which makes sense. What doesn’t make as much sense is the fact that the vibrations are mostly felt on the tip of the bullet-section, otherwise known as: not the part that’ll be touching my clit when it’s being worn on a cock (or dildo, or strap-on, etc.).
This wasn’t my favorite part of the toy, because while the vibrations are actually fairly strong, they don’t hit where I need them to hit. I could definitely feel the vibrations while my husband and I were having sex, and I enjoyed the feeling, but it wasn’t really enough to get me off by itself. That was okay though, because in conjunction with the thrusting of a cock (or dildo, strap-on, etc.) the vibrations felt reeeeaaalllly nice, and it added a fun buzzy feel to our sex.
My husband has told me repeatedly that he’s not a huge fan of vibrations on his cock, and he hasn’t particularly liked me trying any of my other vibrators out on him, but he liked this toy. It wasn’t that he enjoyed these vibrations more than other types, it was that he couldn’t really feel them all that much, and therefore, he didn’t mind them at all.

Here are some quick pros and what I’m calling pro/cons,
and then I’ll talk about a few features that stand out to me:

  • Holds a charge for a long time - like, a looong time
  • There are 7 different speeds/vibration patterns and they’re easy to cycle through
  • It’s really fun to watch!
  • Smoooooth silicone - I just can’t stop touching it
  • The indicator light matches the vibration setting, which makes me happy for some reason
  • Waterproof - easy to clean up

  • Kinda looks like a bottle-opener
  • Charging port can be hard to spot. The pro of this is that it blends in nicely, but uh… where do I charge it?
  • Don’t know what the little metal bit on the side does - seriously, there is a little metal panel on the side of the toy, and I have no idea what it does… or if it even does anything
  • Vibrations are in the tip which uh… doesn’t touch my clit while in use

The vibrations are nice and rumbly, and if they were just a bit more centered in the middle of the toy (the part that my clit presses against while in use), I think the highest setting would be enough to get me off.
Okay, so there’s this little metal panel on the side of the toy, and I honestly have NO IDEA what it does. I’ve tried pressing it, but it doesn’t seem to do anything. I’ve held it down while the toy is on (thinking it might be touch-sensitive), but that doesn’t do anything either. If it’s decorative, it’s asymmetric, and that’s kind of an odd design choice. So yeah… no idea. 
The Joy-Ring holds a charge for a long time, and that’s a good thing. I don’t generally want to have to think about if my toys are charged or not when I reach for them. I know that’s me being lazy, but the longer a toy can hold a charge, the more likely I am to reach for it and use it regularly.

Bottle-opener or cock-ring?

I think that’s about it. Overall, I really enjoyed this toy, and I’m glad that my first experience with a cock-ring was with such a nice, high quality toy. Knowing that the toy you're using is made of body-safe materials, and knowing that you don't have to run out to grab a new battery, makes such a difference when you're in the middle of sex or masturbating. 
I don't know that this'll be a cock-ring that we reach for every single time we have sex, but I do know that this is going to be the toy we reach for when we want some buzziness mixed in with our sexiness.

If you’d like to try the Joy-Ring for yourself, pick one up on amazon!

Thank you so much to AphoJoy for sending me the Joy-Ring in exchange for my honest review!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Good Vibrations Pilgrimage!

Back in November, my husband was asked to attend a work-related conference in San Fransisco. Naturally, we jumped at the chance to leave the cold and miserable MidWest and head out to sunnier climes for a long weekend. We have family in the area, so there was another incentive to make the trip.

While hubs was at his conference, I spent a few days wandering around the city, doing all the touristy things. I took a tour of Alcatraz National Park, visited the Cable Car Museum (and got to ride on one!) and the SFMOMA. I even got a private tour of the American Bookbinders Museum (one of the city's hidden gems).

But no trip to San Fransisco would be complete without a pilgrimage to Good Vibrations! Our hotel was only a 20 minute walk from the Polk St. location, and while there was a store a little closer to us, we really wanted to see the Antique Vibrator Museum! (or at least, I really wanted to see it!) So we took a nice quick walk... uphill... the entire way... I mean, I know intellectually that San Fransisco is all hills, but it's different when you're actually climbing them.

But every minute of that climb was so worth it! It's been years since I've shopped for sex toys in person, and I didn't have the best memories of it (visiting seedy adult "novelty" stores as a young woman, feeling so unwelcome and out of place). Good Vibes was so different though! It was clean and well-lit, with a big sign outside proudly proclaiming the name of the store, and a big, open picture window. The selection was huge! And the staff were helpful, but not pushy. I quickly found a few toys that I wanted, but lingered to browse and enjoy myself. I didn't feel like I needed to grab my purchases and leave before I got creeped on.

 And.... and there was the antique vibrator museum! Which was just beyond cool. I was super impressed with how many antique and vintage vibrators they had, and how nicely they were displayed. It really was like a little museum!
It was neat to see some really old vibes, and some that looked... kinda familiar. I'm looking at you Hitachi Magic Wand!

All in all, my husband and I had a great experience at the store. It was worlds away from buying crappy jelly toys at the local adult bookstore when I was just a wee little thing. I really just felt like I was in any other store, picking up something that I needed/wanted. I didn't feel creepy, out of place or ashamed. I just felt happy, and glad to be there.

Thanks Good Vibes, for being such an amazing store, and an amazing place to buy toys. I probably won't be back to your brick-and-motor store(s) any time real soon, since I don't like in the right area, but next time I'm in the City by the Bay, you can bet I'll be stopping by!

Thanks again to the staff at the Good Vibrations Polk St store who were friendly and funny, and didn't mind me asking a lot of questions about the museum! You guys really made the experience memorable.

Also, if you're curious, I bought the Stronic Eins in purple and the Pop Tops Deluxe G-spotter, also in purple. I'll have reviews for both of them coming up in the next few months or so, so stick around!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Septimus Still Reviews!

So… Some of you might have noticed that I’ve been gone… for almost 3 years. That’s a long time, I know. But I promise, I have a good excuse. Or rather, excuses. (Why come up with one when I can come up with 3?) Anyway, here goes:

First of all, I was in grad-school. I know I had tweeted about that a few times, but grad-school kind of ate my for 2.5 years. It was… fun? I’m very glad that I stuck through it and finished my program, there was more than one point where I wanted to just say ‘fuck it’ and quit. But still she persisted, and after 2.5 grueling years, I now have a shiny Master’s Degree to show off (It’s a Masters in Library and Information Science, for those who are curious. And yes, I’m a librarian in my “real” life).

Second, depression. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but I suffer from depression. I’m not on any medication at this time, but I’ve taken anti-depressants in the past, and I’ve also seen a therapist on and off since I was a kid. My depression hasn’t been bad in the last several years (moving out of my parent’s house really really helped), but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impact my daily life.
For the most part, I’m fine. I can get through every day with little to no symptoms. But when I’m stressed (like, trying to write 2 papers and get my ass to work on time), my depression tends to be worse.

Excuse number 3, and it’s a big one: I have ADD. ADD and depression you say? Isn’t she lucky! Yeah… Anyway, I’ve been dealing with symptoms of ADD since I was in middle-school (and isn’t that just the best time of our lives?). It’s been mostly under control since I finished college, but then again, I haven’t had to write papers, and do reports and surveys, and keep track of my own deadlines as intensely as I had to when I was in school. And then, well, I went back to school. I was very impressed with how I did in grad-school, but it was because I hyper-focused on school and work. If it wasn’t a paper for school, or something that paid my bills, I couldn’t focus on it.
This is also tied in to my depression. When I slipped up, or fell behind on an assignment or work task, I got stressed, which made my ADD harder to deal with, and depressed me. Being depressed makes it harder to concentrate on tasks… and well, vicious cycle and all.

So, where does this leave poor Septimus? Not reviewing, that’s where. Not only does depression decrease your sex-drive (which makes it a lot harder to review sex toys), but it makes it harder to get and stay motivated to complete tasks at all. Plus, with me having to hyper-focus on school and work, there just wasn’t a lot of time for me to be blogging.

TL;DR? I let my blog slip over the last few years because of grad-school and the ADD symptoms and depression that can with it. I lost my domain and stopped blogging at all. Luckily, I had all of my reviews and was able to re-publish them on blogger.

I’d been thinking about getting back into blogging since I finished school in December, but a week or so ago I was approached about reviewing a new toy from a company I already love. That was the kick-in-the-pants I needed to get my blog back up and running.

What can you look forward to here?

A new toy review coming soon (I hope)
A write-up of my pilgrimage to the Good Vibrations store in San Fransisco
A renewal of my own domain (though it might be slightly different - update your links!)
And much more!

Stay tuned folks, I’m back.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Submit! To Pleasure

A few months ago when Rachel Kramer Bussel over at Cleis Press asked me if I wanted to review another book for them, I almost literally jumped at the chance. See, right now I'm actually in graduate school, working on getting my Master's of Library and Information Science degree (so that I can be a librarian) and books, are kinda my thing. And even if BDSM (the theme of this collection, as you'll see shortly) isn't my go-to kink, I still wanted to read some hot stories about it, and get a chance to tell you nice folks what I thought! So, without any more ado at all, let's dive into the Big Book of Submission.

The Big Book of Submission is a collection of "69 Kinky Tales", all on the topic of BDSM. But that's pretty much the only thing all of these stories have in common.

  • One story is about a voyeur, watching the couple across the street have some fun with spanking. 
  • Another is about a man who discovers that his new personal trainer has some unique methods for getting results.
  • The Dear Sir is in the form of a letter from a sub to her dom, detailing the fun evening that they had together.
  • And yet another story is all about the artistic use of ropes in a non-traditional photo-shoot.
And that's just a quick sample of all the kinky fun that's to be had between the covers of The Big Book of Submission. I don't want to go as far as to say that there's something for everyone in this book, you probably have to enjoy a good spanking story to really get the most out of the book, but there's enough variety to keep you on your toes, so to speak.

Now what about me? I already told you that BDSM isn't exactly my go-to kink, so did I like the book? Absolutely. While being spanked (and frankly, reading about spanking) doesn't really turn me on, well written erotica does, and this book has that in spades! Ever since I first started to masturbate, my material of choice has always been erotica. While my peers were discovering internet porn, I was consuming erotic fiction at an alarming rate. And I would dabble into everything. Lesbian porn, Gay male porn (still my favorite), stories about BDSM, sex toys, even erotic horror. I could get myself off to a story of almost any genre, as long as it was well written, and these stories hit that mark!

But are the stories hot enough to get me going? Is what you might be asking yourself (or me) right now. Well, for that, I'll have to refer you to my poor husband, who got jumped last night while I was browsing through some of my favorite stories in preparation for this review. When asked for a comment he said:
"Sex with you is always wonderful. I love you. I'm not being helpful, am I?"
Well... no dear, not super helpful. But I love you anyway.

I guess if you want to find out if these 69 stories are hot enough to get you off, you'll just have to pick up a copy and try for yourself! If you like well written erotica of the BDSM variety (that also touches on a lot of other themes, like gender identity and marriage), then you won't be disappointed in The Big Book of Submission. And if all else fails, I'm sure you'll get a laugh out of the piece Story Time in which, as punishment, a sub has to read excerpts from everyone's "favorite" BDSM romance novel to her dom.

If you liked this review, check out all of the other cool reviews on the Big Book of Submission blog tour that's happening right now! You can see their tumblr page here! And of course, go get your own kinky copy on amazon!

Thank you to Rachel Kramer Bussel (the editor of this kinky book) 
for sending me my free copy in exchange for my honest review!
Thank you again Rachel, and thanks to Cleis Press too!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

My Experience with the LayaSpot

A caveat before we begin. This is not a review. This is just a post (maybe a rant) talking about my experiences with a specific toy. Other people might have had a different experience, this is just mine.

This is a post that I've been wanting to write for a very long time, but one that I had actually convinced myself shouldn't be written. Recently however, I listened in to a twitter conversation about the pros and cons of reviewing bad toys, and I decided that this was something I had to write.

A long time ago (back when I was just getting into sex toys), I bought myself the FunFactory LayaSpot. I think it was the second or third toy I had ever bought, and it took me long enough to work up the nerve to actually take the thing up to the register and purchase it.
At the time, I had never even heard of FunFactory, (The only toy company that I was even remotely familiar with was California Exotics who made the set of crappy jelly anal beads I had purchased a few months earlier - a mistake) and didn't know anything about them. All I knew was that the LayaSpot looked like a higher quality of toy than the crap I had been purchasing up until then.
I took it home and was eager to try it out right away. The LayaSpot is a clitoral vibrator that is supposed to fit easily into the palm of your hand  (and therefore be more ergonomic than other clit vibes out on the market), and since at the time I wasn't big on internal vibes, I thought that this would be perfect for me.

The FunFactory LayaSpot, which I inexplicably still have

Unfortunately, I didn't get to find out that night. I took the toy home, put batteries into it (it takes 2 AAs) and turned it on. It felt nice and buzzy, especially in the tip (which was exactly what I had been looking for). I tried it out, and at first, I was pretty pleased. The LayaSpot fit nicely into the palm of my hand, and the tip sat right over my clit, transferring the deep buzzy vibrations nicely. I was really enjoying myself, and just starting to get into things when... it stopped. I assumed that in my pleasure-induced haze, I must have pushed one of the two button controls. I pushed the + button to turn the thing back on, and resumed what I had been doing. But again, as soon as I started getting into things, the toy just turned off.
This time I opened up the battery compartment (still one of the more obnoxious ones I've dealt with) and checked to see if anything was leaking. Since nothing was, this time I made the assumption that the batteries I had supplied it with were perhaps not the freshest.
So I dutifully switched out the batteries and tried again... with the same result. Dead after just a few minutes of use. Frustrated, I shoved the toy back in my toy-drawer and tried to put it out of my mind long enough to finish the task at hand.

Sometime later, I decided to give the LayaSpot another go. And to my surprise, it turned on without any problems! But then, a few minutes later... You guessed it, dead again. At this point I was so annoyed that I boxed it back up and took it back to the store I got it at.
The lady who ran the store was very nice and exchanged it for me, no questions asked. We both assumed that I had just gotten a defective item. It's annoying sure, but it happens from time to time.

I took my new LayaSpot home and ended up having many enjoyable orgasms with it, at least until it too started exhibiting the exact same malfunctions.
After a few days of normal use, it started to randomly die on my during use. It happened over and over and over again. I switched out the batteries almost every time I used it, just so I could try to get a few moments of use out of my only "real" viberator.

But it was no use, the thing was a dud and there was no getting around it. A few months after taking my second LayaSpot home (most of which time it lay forgotten and dead at the bottom of my drawer) the thing died pretty much for good. I had taken it out to give it yet another one last chance, and it wouldn't work at all. I opened up at battery compartment and found that the batteries had leaked everywhere. I cleaned it up the best I could, dumped the batteries and shoved the thing back into my drawer, this time for good.

Like I said at the beginning, this is a post that I've been wanting to write for a long time. At the time, I was just starting to get into the toy-reviewing community and was a member of a web-site with some pretty stringent rules regarding toy reviews. One of which was that "As a matter of policy ***** does not host reviews on defective products." This of course served to deter me from sharing my experience with this toy. In principal, I agree that reviews of defective products don't really help anyone (which is one of the reasons why this isn't a review), but when you have the same bad experience with two separate items, you have to wonder if they were defective, or if something else was going on.

I've since owned several other FunFactory products, including the SmartBalls (which I loved), and don't really understand how I seemed to end up with 2 broken toys in a row. I want to make it clear again that I did not buy straight from the manufacturer, I bought from a 3rd party retail establishment. And I probably could have gone back and exchange my LayaSpot yet again for store credit or something, but at that point I was so annoyed that I didn't want to deal with it.

I'm sorry that this post has been so long, but I wanted to get my thoughts out there and share this experience with you nice folks. Please let me know what you think. And if you have had any similar experiences with the LayaSpot, please, share them!


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