Duff Note Vibrator

I *LOVED* the look of this toy. The packaging was as you’d expect from a sex toy (naked woman in heels, looking suggestively at the camera), and a transparent window displayed the box’s contents perfectly, which is always a bonus – I like being able to see what I’m buying! Through the window we could see an attractive, vibrant pink, curvy, unusually shaped, hand-sized vibrator with an inbuilt plastic handle-loop. The handle piqued my interest immediately – I like unusual, good-looking toys, and often think vibrators would be better with a handle (my favourite vibrator is a Lelo Isla for this very reason). I liked the bright pink, bold colour, too.

Duff Note Vibrator. The Ringo amongst its more talented and sexy peers.

The vibrator felt great in my hand, and I really liked the soft rubber tip – infinitely preferable to those classic old vibrators made out of hard plastic. The box said ‘Sensitive and soft’, and the material the vibe was made of was certainly perfect for this. All in all, a very promising start – especially as the Pink Note packet included batteries and a sachet of lube!

But here comes the crunch: in action, the item was a great disappointment – like, HUGE. The battery noise was loud and promisingly powerful, and the seven different vibration settings sounded impressive. However, when we actually used the product, my husband and I were confused to find that the Pink Note vibrator was surprisingly…well, vibration-light! For example, I could press the vibrator onto the outside of my jaw, and although sonically the vibrations would be roaring in my ear, and I expected some serious teeth-rattling as a result, instead my teeth would barely feel anything: all very bizarre. In fact, the harder I pressed the Pink Note against my skin (anywhere!), the less vibrations I could feel. It was more like a vibration vortex, really!

But then when we re-read the packaging, not only does it state that this particular vibrator is ‘Sensitive and soft’, but it also says in many languages that it’s “For exciting foreplay and love games! Lies perfectly in the hand, stimulates love spots (eg: nipples, clitoris and testicles, etc) with its soft tongue and expertly stimulates vagina and anus”. This made a bit more sense, as like I said above, it didn’t work for rough play or hard foreplay, and definitely did nothing for clitoral stimulation. It worked best when applied very, very gently against the skin, so that it was more like a tickle – albeit a very loud one!

Ringo Starr: Out of all The Beatles, the least likely to make you hot under the collar…

One good thing the Pink Note did achieve was to make my husband and I think more about gentle foreplay, as the more gentle we were with this product, the better it seemed to work. My husband certainly liked it tickling his balls, although it was an extremely light tickle for the roar of the engine behind it – sort of like having the noise of a F1 car, with the performance of a Nissan Micra!

Yes, my husband and I were both frustrated by the Pink Note, as although the seven vibration setting sounded great, unlike usual vibrators where you can press the vibrator harder against you to get more of an effect, and this way essentially intuitively and reflexively choose how you want it to feel, with the Pink Note we were stuck with exactly the settings the manufacturers had made – there was no way of making the experience more intense. It was very frustrating instinctively applying the vibrator ever harder, and feeling even less than we had initially!

Plus, I always think that a sterile wipe or some sterile spray is an essential addition to any adult toy, and I never understand why manufacturers don’t include a small sample. Luckily we always keep sex toy disinfectant at home, so after a good clean, I showed the Pink Note to a girlfriend of mine, and she also loved the inbuilt handle and the rubber softness of the tip. So when in its ‘Off’ setting, visually and materially it looked and felt like a certain success to all three of us. Unfortunately, when actually ‘On’, it failed to deliver.

I wish I could recommend this item to a friend, as all the component parts are nicely in place, and I love the feel of the product as a whole, but until the vibrations are improved (and this is a vibrator, after all – even if it is aimed at foreplay!), I wouldn’t recommend it. Adding lube improves the Pink Note experience, as does using it during its pulse settings: the more constant vibrations may sound impressive, but they are almost totally ineffective – especially for use alone, as you would probably only end up more frustrated than you were when you first started your play!

From our experience, the best use for the Pink Note is for light things like nipple stimulation, and for super-gentle tickling of the testicles or perineum. As long as you’re using it for titillation and foreplay, and aren’t expecting the earth to move, then this is a nice warm-up toy for a couple to use as foreplay. And I use ‘nice’ slightly derogatorily.

Yup, the Pink Note has much scope for improvement. The idea is great, the shape fantastic, and the manufacturing materials spot-on. It just needs to be as forceful vibration-wise as it is loud! Come on Orion/ You2Toys, you have some very positive nuts and bolts for a vibrator here, and with a little more work you could make the Pink Note the ultimate adult ‘his and hers’ adult apparatus and shake us to our very foundations – so get cracking!

1/5 for effectiveness, 5 for appearance & materials

A version of this text appeared on the Sex Toy Testers website

Whilst writing this review, for once I didn’t listen to anything on Spotify, instead I listened to the Ireland Vs Wales Rugby quarter finals World Cup 2011 game playing on the TV in the background (my husband’s a Welshy. And they won!).


Glamourpussy

When I saw this Glamour box-set of seven – yes seven! – varied sex toys, I was really impressed, and thought my luck was in! There was a plain silver vibrator with additional G-Spot stimulator sheath, a dildo, love egg, love balls, anal beads and a cock ring. There was also a sachet of lube and the all-important batteries, a necessary inclusion to any electric toy package – after all, there’s nothing more frustrating than a pack of sex toys without the means to make them work! The selection looked well thought out, and the presentation was great: silver, glittery, and great fun. It was slightly hen-party tacky, but that was also part of the appeal – I like a sex toy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, so seven sex toys has got to be seven times as much fun, right?!

Glamour Pur Collection

The Glamour Pur Collection

Sometimes with a big collection of toys you can imagine a female partner feeling over-awed or swamped by the sheer size of the dildos/ bum toys/ etc, and she might like to veto one or two of the items before trying them with her male partner, but that wasn’t the case with this range. Personally I felt more than comfortable trying all the toys out with my husband – the selection wasn’t too intimidating, and it was a good box-set to explore together straight-off the bat.

The vibrator was your standard 3-speed vibe that’s probably been the same since 1970s, which was disappointing, as you’d hope vibrators have evolved since then – which they certainly have! Maybe here it was a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. The vibrator wasn’t loud, but then it wasn’t particularly effective either!

The G-Spot stimulator sheath which slipped over the vibrator was a disappointment: imagine putting a condom on and it only coming three-quarters of the way down your partner’s penis! Not a good look. And not particularly sexy on a vibrator either.

The same went for the dildo, which size-wise came way shy of my (admittedly unusually well-hung) husband’s cock. But in that respect – in its favour – it wasn’t a threatening size, and I do appreciate that not everyone’s a ‘size queen’ like me! Not only did it lack in girth, but it was too short to comfortably hold manually inside you vaginally. It needed to be a good couple of inches longer so that you could hold it in your hand and still feel it was secure inside you – and get some good leverage to use it against your G-spot. It might be better used as an anal toy for someone who’s moving up to a larger size butt-plug, but not quite ready for real anal sex yet. That said: it didn’t have that all-important butt-plug base to stop it from being sucked up by your sphincter, so maybe it wouldn’t actually be appropriate for bum-play after all…

The Love Egg was cute and space-age silver, with four speeds, and the buzz on high speed was really impressive! It would have been better clad in nitrile or some such similar phthalate-free plastic-y type-material, as the join/ seam running around the Love Egg was, well, unseemly, and not very hygienic either! Before using a specially-designed hygiene spray, I like to give my sex toys a good wash first, but I was uncomfortable using water on this toy for fear that the join would let water into the engine. Moreover, the vibrations kept cutting out during use, and in fact the love egg finally stopped working altogether – a real disappointment!

It seemed to be a design fault due to how the wire (connecting the Love Egg to the battery/ control pack) was positioned as it came out of the Egg. When we moved position it seemed to work again. From personal experience this isn’t an unusual fault for a Love Egg, but that doesn’t make it OK – especially if you’re using something brand new for the very first time! And that wasn’t the only issue: the battery/ control pack itself was also faulty, and despite us rejigging the brand-new batteries every now and again to make sure that there wasn’t a loose connection, the battery/ control pack wouldn’t let us adjust speed unless it felt like it! It seemed to jam somewhere inside: a real disappointment that neither the egg itself nor the battery/ control pack it was attached to worked properly. Nul points, mes amis!

The Love Balls were a good weight, attractive and silver, but similar to the Love Egg it was lacking a hygienic cover, and again the toy would have been better encased in nitrile or something similar so that the seam/ join was completely covered and waterproof, so easier to clean, and more smooth-looking. Still, the Love Balls did the job, and would be good for any mum who needs to give her pelvic floor muscles a workout, or for any woman to wear at work, for example, to make her day pass a bit more pleasurably!

The anal beads were standard plastic anal beads, but with a fun, glittery silver finish which looked great. My husband had a secret solo go without me, and was a very happy man. Personally I would have included a butt plug instead of anal beads, but then I guess the Love Egg and dildo were supposed to cover that angle – literally!

The cock ring was cute and non-threatening for men, but whether you could get a guy to actually wear one, I couldn’t say: he might have liked the anal beads, but my husband took one look at this cock ring and laughed out loud. Maybe it wasn’t manly enough – it was glittery and silver, after all! It was however nice and flexible/ stretchy, and as it’s two-tiered (so it sits quite deep on the shaft), it might be handy to use it to stop your man’s cock from penetrating you too deeply during sex.

The sachet of Lube was a useful inclusion – it would have been a helpful introduction for lube novices to see how much difference Lube can make, and I thought it was a nice touch to include it in the toy assortment. What was missing, however, were image-based instructions for those who aren’t sure what goes where – this assortment of toys came with no practical instructions whatsoever, and I’m sure not everyone is equally clued-up in mutual sexual and self-pleasure as me and ‘im!

This is a great collection of toys to use with a partner: you don’t have to go it alone here, get your man involved! In my opinion, its unique selling point is that that there are items here for both men and women to enjoy alone or together. And everyone knows it’s always better to share…

A version of this text appeared on the Sex Toy Testers Website

Whilst writing this text I listened to the following on Spotify:

Roots Manuva – 4everevolution (Kinda poppy, but with deep enough basslines to hook you right in, and top lyrics to accompany them – as always)

Brett Anderson – Black Rainbows (This reminded me not just of Suede, obviously, but also something else that has momentarily escaped me. I’ll be back to correct this sometime soon when I get the thought back!)


‘Bitch Ass’ Latex Loving

The packaging for this ‘Bitch Ass Black’ coloured Latex Body Paint was great: a 10″ smart black cardboard box with hot pink writing, a photo of the product inside (essential for any shopper); clear instructions (again, it’s good to know what you’re getting inside); and a photo of a couple of hot (but not too unattainable – so this really could be you!) girls painted in the Body Paint product itself.

Bitch Ass Black Latex

Hello Tiger!

Nope, this packaging would certainly not have been named as an offence against the Trade Descriptions Act, as it was a pretty clear depiction of what it included, the product involved, and the finished result. It was also very tasteful, considering the naughty-fun factor of its contents! My husband and I loved the ‘Bitch Ass Black’ colour name too – it would repel those who wouldn’t like Latex Body Paint anyway, and easily attract the right audience/ market without even trying. Clever!

Applying the latex paint was sexy and fun – my favourite combination! My husband painted it onto my chest, and we both enjoyed every moment of the light-hearted intimacy involved in painting someone’s breasts in ‘Bitch Ass Black’ latex. But it was sexy too, and it applied well: the latex was easy to spread, and the foam applicators were comfortable to use, and not too ‘dinky’. All too often these things have cheap and nasty applicators, but these particular sponges were smart with wooden handles, and did the job really well.

Once on, it was a sure-fire hit, and we’re not huge rubber enthusiasts – well, apart from a couple of extremely naughty rubber dresses in my wardrobe! The latex paint dried nicely, and felt great once it was actually dry. In fact, it felt f***ing fantastic to the touch! I would suggest using two coats of paint, however, as you could see the brushstrokes on only one application of paint, and here and there the skin showed through.

Bitch Ass Black Latex Paintbrushes

Get yourselves ready for some rubber latex loving…

On the interior tub of paint, it suggests “for a durable finish, apply sparkle dust to the dried latex”. I believe it’s a big mistake not to include a sachet of said “sparkle dust” in the box – especially as “sparkle dust” is impossibly non-specific: where would you buy it,www.princessandfairysextoysrus.com? Or perhaps http://www.magicnaughtinessforgrown-ups.com ?! Likewise where it says “a glossy, wet look can be achieved by using a silicone-based shine spray”, including a sample of that same spray in the box would be handy. Kinda frustrating…

The package says “peeling liquid latex off is as much fun as putting it on – do it with a hot friend”, but only real difficulty in using the product was removing it: wow it hurt! Imagine being female and getting your chest waxed, when you weren’t even aware you had any body hair there in the first place – and personally, I actually like a bit of pain here and there! Ouch – and not in a good way. I have no idea how you’d remove a whole body’s worth of dried latex paint – for me washing it off would be the only way…

Generally speaking, since your skin does have to be hair-free, this does limit you a little with regards to using this product on a man, for example. I wouldn’t suggest going off-piste on non-recommended areas with this body paint, although on a thoroughly waxed bikini area it could add a certain something! I think I’ll try it when all my laser hair removal sessions are completed. In fact, the very thought of that is getting me all hot under the collar already…!

So I’m glad to say that the novelty of the latex covering my skin so closely was a real turn-on, which means you won’t be limited to just painting it on as foreplay. Yup, this body paint will get you both hot under the collar when it’s dry too: I can guarantee that getting your partner to run their hands over your newly sculpted rubberised body will make you both melt at the novelty of it all. It was really unusual to have something so tightly mapped to my body, which made it a totally unique experience. I loved the feel, and so did my husband: he couldn’t keep his hands off my breasts – always a winner! Being painted in Bitch Ass Black is like having a super-sexy extra-sensual second skin. What’s not to like? I want the brand’s Joanna Angel Hot Pink Pubes pubic hair dye – now!

A version of this text appeared on the Sex Toy Testers Website

Whilst writing this post I listened to the following on Spotify:

DJ Shadow – The Less You Know, The Better (Shadow doing what he does best: nice enough tracks but pretty dull, as you’ll have heard it before around fifteen years ago, as it’s very Endtroducing-y: I would have liked something more fresh, but I guess it’s a case of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! An updated sound would be nice though…)


Monday Morning at the Clap Clinic

Being a (mostly) happily married woman, it isn’t often that I find myself at the city’s Sexual Health clinic, and even more unlikely that I should be there first thing on a Monday morning. After all, instead of going out on the town, getting trolleyed, and losing my inhibitions maybe a little too much, I’d actually stayed in all weekend, and I hadn’t really done anything I shouldn’t have – well, not really…

No, I was at the Clap Clinic to offer support to my friend Claire* who had been, in the immortal words of Beyoncé Knowles in Lady Gaga’s utterly fabulous video Telephone “a very bad girl! A very, very, bad, bad girl”. Not that I’m jealous of her single-girl activities or anything – honest! But leading a rather more dull life than I’d once envisioned, I couldn’t help but notice a twinge of something at her account of the weekend’s shenanigans chez Claire – regret? Nostalgia? OK, I’ll admit it: maybe there was a leeettle jealousy involved – but only a little bit!

Anyway, as a housewife who’s at home during the day, I often get called on to accompany friends to hospital appointments, wedding dress fittings and the like. I’d been to the clinic before, when my husband and I first got together – after all, it’s always good to have a thorough sexual MOT before you embark on a protection-free relationship – but this Monday morning was a first.

On my previous visit I’d marvelled at the good humour and tolerance shown by the clearly extremely busy health clinicians, neatly efficient, clipboards in hand, calling visitors by their first names into one room, then shortly after, exiting – as if by magic – by another door entirely. Exceedingly welcoming, kind and non-judgemental, as a patient you just know that these guys have seen it all, and that therefore they’re neither bothered nor surprised by what you’ve come to share with them. These health workers are so utterly un-shockable, so forearmed with a wealth of personal and professional experience, that they manage to make an excruciatingly embarrassing situation into an impressively non-humiliating experience. On this Claire and I agreed wholeheartedly.

And needless to say, after a busy Brighton weekend the place was heaving. Waiting with Claire I took the opportunity for some serious people watching. It might not have been a Parisian café-scape, but it was entertainment of sorts to help pass the time, and with all the busy-ness of Piccadilly Circus on a Saturday night there was a fair amount of action going on.

There was the middle-class married mum, my age, with her young daughter in a buggy. There were plenty of teenage boys and many surly young girls, and I exchanged a few bashful smiles with the friends of friends of friends I spotted. But mostly – unlike the midweek afternoon when I’d previously visited the clinic – on this particular Monday morning there were numerous gay men, aged mid-twenties to sixties, running the entire gamut of their sexuality: tearing up stereotypes and showing up sub-tribes.

Of course, Brighton being an unashamedly bohemian environment with a high gay occupancy, this was bound to be the case. It made me think that if this hadn’t been an STI clinic, it would have presented quite a good dating opportunity! It also made me glad my husband wasn’t bisexual (he tried it once but decided it wasn’t for him), as I don’t think I could deal with him potentially fancying the whole of Brighton – between us, with our former joint track record, we could have ended up camping outside the Clap Clinic every Sunday night!

*Not Gemma’s real name, obviously, or she’d kill me! 😉

Whilst writing this post I listened to the following on Spotify:

Zola Jesus – Stridulum II  (which was a bit dull, really, but easy to have in the background while I was tapping away)

Niki & The Dove – DJ, Ease My Mind; Under the Bridges, The Fox (equally dull – could have been written by Zola Jesus)

Emeli Sandé – Heaven (trying too hard to sound like Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy); Easier in bed acoustic version (really rather pleasant, shows Emeli’s vocal skills off nicely)

Cocknbullkid – Adulthood (not great, but unapologetic pop, and a relief after the grisly dirges from the above artists)

MJ Cole – Sincere (Ahhh, I remember this album, and his older, classic single of the same name: those were the days…)


Pubic Topiary – which pubic hairstyle to choose?

I love my pubes, but I don’t love the maintenance.

Shaving is inexpensive, but the effect is short-term and the re-growth unsightly, while waxing is costly and uncomfortable – and frankly, it’s weird paying someone else to regularly prune your lady garden under a bright light as Enya plays on the salon stereo (more pain than the wax, believe me).

So I took the plunge, and recently bought a series of four laser hair removal sessions via Groupon. After the initial test-patch consultation (which was agony – I’d forgotten the golden rule: never wax during your period, let alone laser!), I returned for my first proper appointment. Pre-shaved, as required (this leaves the pubic roots more accessible to easily absorb the laser light), I had also taken two paracetamol and two ibuprofen to blunt the pain, and come armed with with four layers of EMLA cream (a cheap topical anaesthetic available over the counter here in the UK), which nicely numbed my skin in preparation for a serious nuking.

And a nuking my poor pubic roots got! I am a woman who can handle having all her pubes waxed off with only a slight swearing, but Jeez, lasering is far more uncomfortable, and even painful at times. The fact that the laser machine beeps before each single activation of the laser only adds – Pavlov’s Dog-style – to the expectation of pain. Still, at least it wasn’t Enya.

Already, after only my first session, I noticed that many of my pubes hadn’t grown back. I also noticed that I’d instinctively just plumped for a simple rectangle, and hadn’t really properly decided on a serious shape for my lady garden. This would be forever, after all.

I love being totally bare, but I don’t know if I want to be naked as the day I was born on the day I actually die. Provided I make it to a ripe old age, wouldn’t it be a little disconcerting to be totally pube-free? Of course, avoiding any future grey pubes would be nice, but I’d always fancied dying my pubes pink or purple now and again anyway, so having none at all would deny me this little bit of potential fun.

I think the Triangle effect is a bit twee, and the Pine would have to be really carefully done – I’m not sure I entirely trust the shaping skills of my unknown pube-nuker. My husband D said he slept with a girl with a V shape once, and it totally turned him off (although, as you may notice, he still managed to sleep with her somehow!).

The Toothpick or Brazilian (in the UK that means a Hollywood landing strip – confusing, I know – whilst a Hollywood here denotes having the lot off), would look the most likely path for me to choose, as I love having my labia bare (as does D), but then it doesn’t give me much leeway in future.

So perhaps the rectangle I instinctively, originally and unthinkingly shaped my shaven pubes into, would indeed be the safest long-term option? Hmmm… Pubes for thought…

 

 

(Images courtesy of Intimate Hair)

 

Whilst writing this post I listened to the following on Spotify:

Kate Bush – The Whole Story; Ariel