Review:  Antiqued Copper and Brass Spreader Bar from Mercury Design

Review: Antiqued Copper and Brass Spreader Bar from Mercury Design

Are you ready for something special?

Check this out:

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Those of you into bondage may recognize this little beauty as a spreader bar.  A spreader bar is a fun and simple little piece of equipment to which you attach cuffs, rope, etc.  For example, you could tie someone’s wrists to the ends of this pole and then tickle them!  Or your could cuff someone’s ankles the the ends of this pole and then force them to have orgasm after orgasm.  Or you could use it as a hanger for some beautiful fiber art!  (Though that would surely be a waste.)  Point is, it keeps you spread- and it is unyielding.

When I was contacted by Mercury Design to see if I wanted to review their wares, I was really excited.  The Mercury Design shop offers a kind of toys I have yet to see elsewhere- canes, spreader bars, cuffs, collars, ice locks, etc. that are something beyond the typical BDSM stainless steel.  They’re quite beautiful, and sturdy as well as aesthetically pleasing.

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Here is another piece from the site. I’m not a collar girl, but that gorgeous lion piece might be enough to turn me! I keep just coming back and looking at it!

Back to my spreader bar.  Ahem.

038I loooove the look of these pretty loops.  They remind me of old nautical fixtures or drawer pulls or something.  To me, the copper/brass combo feels warmer and more gentle than steel- which could be deliciously misleading!  I was worried that the end pieces would be flimsy but so far my (quite strong) leg flailing, kicking, squirming, and wiggling hasn’t done a thing to them.

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The loops are affixed but can swivel freely, allowing for maddening fruitless struggle.  Delightful🙂

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The copper has a copper-y smell and shows fingerprints, which I like a lot.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this metal ages over time.  There’s something kind of nice about imagining the way it might gain patina over time, documenting experiences in a way that other materials don’t.

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Another thing that really delighted me about Mercury Designs is their mission statement.  From his website:

” I aim to open an expansive online boutique offering unique, sophisticated, top of the line and totally custom, BDSM, Fetish,and Kink gear. People in the kink community deserve to have a high end alternative to the plastic, synthetic, and sometimes toxic materials used in cheap, mass produced gear.”

In general, I try really hard to support small businesses.  I haven’t seen many small sex toy businesses, and I’ve seen even fewer who offer a product that looks safe, looks unique, and looks usable.  In my process of deciding which product and which size worked best for me, I was able to email directly with the craftsman and get a really personalized and custom shopping experience.  It was really great and definitely a level of connection you just can’t get elsewhere. I really liked it.  I also like the steampunk-ish look of these toys and think they’d be really sexy to show off during public play.

I look forward to to seeing what else Mercury Design comes up with next.  One thing I’d love to see on their site is some thuddy floggers with big, thick, soft falls- the ones on the site look like the sting-y kind, which are too scary for me.  But man are the handles sexy!

5 out of 5 stars.  Thank you, Mercury Design, for sending me this bar for review!  Readers, I encourage you to pop over to the etsy shop and have a look around.  There’s some really neat stuff there.

Review: Tantus Ryder, the world’s comfiest butt plug

I love the Ryder.  I’ve had mine for years and really love how comfortable it is.  It stays in really nicely, and a comfy shape, and is squishy enough that it’s great for double-penetration.  I recently bought a new one from Tantus because they have improved the design of the plug!  Take a look:

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left: new design. right: old design.

The new plug (pink) is on the left, old design (purple) is on the right.  Don’t be confused by the color- the new version is available in both purple and black!  Mine is pink because I got it from the grab bag section.  What we’re looking at here is the difference in the base.  The old version had a very comfortable squishy base, but it was almost too squishy- I had one play session in which a partner’s enthusiastic bum sucked the base right up inside!  The new base is thicker and much sturdier. Tantus is only selling the new model, but if you’re buying off-site you should make sure you’re getting the thicker based one.

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Old base bad.

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New base good!

Should you ever find yourself with a foreign body up your tush, stay calm and gently bear down (or push as if you were trying to poop.)  In my case it only took a few seconds to get it back out, so think positive!  Otherwise go to the hospital.  They’ve seen worse.

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excuse me, doctor, I’ve got something in my teeth.

The Ryder is smooth and slightly squishy.  It’s on the medium-large side  (diameter 1.5″, length 4.6″)  It’s got a nice tapered neck which makes it super comfy to slide in and out.  It gives a gentle but present feeling of fullness.  It feels so nice that I was inspired to try out the off-label use of putting it inside my pussy.  I left it there while doing some household chores and then later while giving a blowjob and it felt AWESOME.  It gives your kegels something to squeeze against and just feels nice and full.  The thought crossed my mind just now to use two at once- one vaginally and one anally.  Am I flying too close to the sun??  Time will tell.

You can get your own Ryder at Tantus for $38.44!  As always, they use awesomely body-safe silicone that is easy to clean.  I tend to boil mine.  Good silicone ain’t cheap, but Tantus has a fabulous grab bag section where you can get this same amazing plug for $17.99.

Five out of five stars, for sure.  This is one of my favorites.  Give it a try!

Butt plugs forever.

KATE OUT!

The Tantus Sport Long: that’s deep, bro.

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Hey you.

You guys already know about how much I love Tantus, right?  I have a slew of toys I bought from them recently that I haven’t yet reviewed because I’m too busy stuffing them into my vagina but I thought I’d be cool and send you a review for the Sport Long, because it’s great.

The Sport is made out of the same high-quality silicone you always see from Tantus, which is smooth and lovely but also a dust magnet.  Seriously, it is unlike any other earthly substance I know.  I keep mine in a plastic bag to keep dust out, or just give them a once-over with a wet wipe or rinse before use.  For me, it’s not a big deal- since I know these toys will never poison my insides or melt into each other in my toy box.  Also they’re sparkly and pretty.  <3!

The Sport Long is 7.5″ long and 1.25″ around at its widest diameter.  I usually prefer thicker toys but this one arrived to me at a really apropos time- after a 3-day bone-fest with a lovely gentleman that had left my parts a little tender.  My other toys would have been too much but this one was just delectable.  As a gal who likes some pressure on her cervix, this toy gave me plenty to work with, in a pleasant, non-jabbing way.  It also comes in a 5.5″ length if you’re into something shorter.  

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The base is a great size and sturdiness for strap-on play, which I regretfully have not gotten a chance to test-run yet.  But one thing I liked about this base that is unique is that it is not perfectly round- it’s more of a tear drop, which can help the wielder to keep track of which direction the toy is curving inside the other person’s body. 

The curve and bulb on the end of this toy provide pleasant g-spot or prostate stimulation.  Now offered in 3 sassy colors (which are not all pink and sparkly- THANK YOU, TANTUS!)  Mine is purple, but I love the look of that silver one- and the black one too!  I’m pouty that I don’t currently have a strap-on-interested partner, because I’d really love to be fucked by someone else with one of these toys.

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5 out of 5 stars!  You can get your own Long Sport Dildo at Tantus for $47.  Tantus is always having great sales, so if this seems out of your budget, keep checking in on their website!  

Thanks, Tantus, for sending me this great dildo to review!  It’s an awesome one.

As a reminder: when you buy stuff from sites I’m an affiliate for, I get a referral bonus (at no cost to you)- which I usually use to buy more toys to review.  It’s small, but a nice incentive to keep reviewing!  I only get a kick-back if you clear your cookies before purchasing, so if you want me to benefit from your purchase, that’s how!  No pressure though- I just want everyone to get off and be happy🙂

Review: Silicone Nipple Suckers

I loooove nipple play.  But for me, it’s very difficult to stimulate my own nipples- kind of like trying to tickle myself.  I’ve heard of snake bite suckers before, which belong to a category lovingly referred to as “pervertables”- everyday objects that lead double lives as fun sex toys.  Originally these were invented as a safe way to suck venom out of a snake bite!  But some smart bastard somewhere must have realized they would also be awesome applied to nipples for straight up pleasure, and Silicone Nipple Suckers were born.  Check these suckers out:

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Get it? Suckers?


These are firm little silicone cups that you squeeze and put over your nipple.  When you release they’ll hang on with moderate suction, and gently and temporarily increase blood flow to your nipples.  My nipple suckers are the large size, and are close to the width of a wine cork and a little shorter.  Bigger suckers mean bigger suction!

 

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like thimbles fit for a leather daddy giant!

 

They recommend putting a little lube or lip balm around the edge if you’re having trouble making a good seal, but I found that to be unnecessary.  The feeling of these on is hard to explain- sometimes a gentle still suction, and more noticeable when I move.  I found it was fun to flick them while they’re on, or to squeeze them in different directions while maintaining the seal.  When I took them off, my nipples were definitely more sensitive for a little while.

My only complaint about these nipple suckers was their aesthetic- the grippy design reminds me of tire treads and feels kind of leather-scene-y to me.  It’s not a huge deal for me, and definitely not something that would prevent me from using them!  Now that it’s summer and I’m getting into all sorts of craft projects, I’m wondering if it would be possible to decorate them in some way…?  (Do metallic paint pens work on silicone?)

I really love these suckers for a lot of reasons.  They’re small, easy to bring along on a liaison, easy to clean (did I mention they’re silicone?), and inexpensive while still being well-made- no sharp seams on these!  But most importantly, they feel really good and they fill a purpose that few other toys I’ve seen do.

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And that purpose is dinosaur hats. Just kidding, it’s good strong nipple suction.

5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you, Good Vibes, for sending me these nipple suckers to review!  I love them.

Review: The Pirouette by Pleasureworks

Say hello to the Pirouette!

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This squiggly little thing is a vibrator for internal and external stimulation.  No butts, please- not only is it missing a flared base, it also gets quite slippery, as noted below!  The pirouette is a waterproof vibe made of ABS plastic.  It’s very hard, with no give.  The vibrations are medium-strength and the vibe uses 2 AA batteries.

This vibrator has a nice swirl shape that does make it feel a little girthier than its modest 1 1/8″ diameter.  At 6″ long you’ve got some room to hang out with your hand, but not much.

 

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The Pirouette turns on with a twist of the bottom piece, and you can twist up or down to control the level of intensity.  This is a two-handed maneuver, which I am not wild about.  Because the Pirouette is sold out right now (more in stock soon!) I had guessed the price of this toy to be $25 and it turns out to be only $18, which is a pretty good deal. Still, as you may be able to tell from my lack of exclamation points, this vibe didn’t wow me.  It’s kind of nothing special- none of those features that draw me in.  I like g-spot stimulation, or girth, or lovely texture, or interesting vibration patterns, or novelty.  This toy was just kind of… meh.

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After being spoiled by silicone, stainless steel, and glass, I just don’t love the feeling of plastic on my skin.  My biggest complaint, however, was that after some thrusting paired with clit stimulation with my hitachi, this toy got so slippery I had trouble holding onto it.  Turning the power up, down, or off was a full-stop two-handed ordeal, which was pretty disruptive to my masturbatory flow.  My vagina does tend to run on the lubier side, so this may not be a problem for everyone.  Also, do note that this toy doesn’t need a ton of lubrication to feel nice, which is a plus!

 

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A helpful re-design would have ridges around the base for help gripping, or something that is easier to navigate with one hand.

I totally dig beginner-friendly toys that are less expensive (and therefore less of a commitment.)  But it can be tricky to find good toys at affordable prices!  This brings me to a point that you know I’m all passionate about.  Cheaper toys are not inherently bad!  BUT- if you’re looking for something inexpensive, please be careful about what it’s made of.  In my early days of vibration exploration, I went to my seedy local sex shop and got a toy that, in retrospect, was made of super unhealthy jelly plastic.  But here’s where shit gets political, dearies.  I only review and bring to you toys that are safe (like this one!) and are from reputable stores whose mission it is to stock safe toys.  The good news about Good Vibes?  Literally anything you could get there is made to be ok for your bod.  They’re nitpicky about it because it’s important, and I hope you’ll be careful with your body too.  (Or throw a condom over your jelly toy.)  For more on this rant, you can read my manifesto here.

I know the words “beginner toy” are kind of taboo in the reviewing scene and for good reason.  All bodies work differently, and what gets you off might be different than what gets me off!  “Seasoned” vaginas do not all prefer super strong vibrations, or curves, or whatever.  That’s not a thing.  If you find something that you like, more power to you!  When I say “beginner-friendly toys” here, I’m talking about toys that aren’t super pricey, and are good to explore with.  I wouldn’t recommend some of my favorite toys to beginners- the Hitachi Magic Wand or the Pure Wand, for example- because the Hitachi could be too strong and could make someone think toys aren’t what their bodies like, and the Pure Wand has a strong and firm g-spot curve that some folks find is uncomfortable on their pelvic bones.  Purchases like those make more sense if you’re sure that’s what your body is looking for.   But if you’re looking for a first-time toy, or if you’re re-exploring what your body responds to (because bodies do change over time!)  I would recommend less expensive toys- and different toys than this one.  It’s not actively bad in a huge way (though the control really does bug me), it’s just not really anything special, and it’s kind of difficult to use.  And there are LOTS of other special toys out there, of all price ranges.  Good Vibes even put them together on a page for you, because they love you!  May I recommend the Purple Passion for good multi-speed clit vibration that changes with the push of a button, or the Dreamy-G for g-spot stim that’ll really get you going?  Or you can check out this post about good beginner toys.

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Sorry, Pirouette.  You might be right for some people, but you weren’t a match for me.  2 out of 5 stars.

Thank you, Good Vibes, for sending me this toy in exchange for an open and honest review!

Review: Butterfly Bliss

Introducing: The Butterfly Bliss!

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I’ve seen this vibe before and it was never really one that appealed to me much.  As a lady who enjoys the feeling of fullness, the thumb-sized knob of the butterfly bliss never called to me.  Furthermore, it’s been years since I’ve used a battery-powered vibe.  I tend to go for the convenience and green-ness of rechargeables.  That being said, as a sex toy reviewing veteran returning to the scene, I’ve realized I’ve been in a sex toy rut and am ready to give things a new go.  Bodies and pleasure change, and it’s always good to circle back every few years to revisit sensations!

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised!  Andy, my friendly Good Vibes affiliate contact, sent me over this vibe and a Pirouette (review to come) along with a little personalized note and some lubes, because he is adorable.  Here it is with the dino, for scale:Image

Stats-wise, this is a silicone vibrator powered by 2 AAA batteries.  It’s waterproof and phthalate free and has an insertable tip of 2 3/4″ by 1 1/8″ (aka, Not Enough For Kate’s Cavernous Vagina.)  Different vaginas like different things.  Mine is all about HEAVY g-spot action, cervix nuzzling, and stretching.  This is not a toy for that kind of thing.  The bulb on the insertable part of this toy does give a nice gentle fullness in the sensitive lower part of the vagina, but I found myself mashing it into me to try to get the fullness 2 fingers would provide.

The wings and antennae are intended to tickle and buzz against the clitoris.  For me, they did a little- but the buzzy vibrations numbed me pretty quickly and I had better luck grinding my clit against the textured body part of the butterfly.

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I experimented with different motions- rocking, swirling, pumping- and found a rocking motion worked best for me.  The vibrations were stronger than I expected.  Unfortunately, they were not enough to get me off completely.  To be fair, I’ve been using a hitachi a lot lately!  However, the squishiness of the silicone (which, BTW, is body-friendly and awesome) enabled me to maneuver things around and use another vibe on my clit without pinching my skin, which was good.  I also liked the one-touch power supply- which cycles through 3 levels of power at the touch of a button.

 

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This toy is not the noisiest, but it does make some noise.  I tend to vibe out (!) under the covers and once my nighttime noise machine is on, and this was not audible over that.

This would be a really good beginner vibe for someone.  It’s versatile- it can be used for penetration or clit stim or both.  It’s very reasonably priced at $28, which is pretty great for a silicone toy.  It’s body-safe, which is a great way to start off on the right foot!  It’s quiet enough, and also waterproof for added noise protection (showergasms!) for those living with roommates or parents.  Also it’s not huge, and it’s cute.

My one major beef with this vibe is that the ridges and highly textured surface make it obnoxious to clean.  My typical toy-cleaning routine is 2-fold- a quick wipe-down right away with a baby wipe, and then more thorough cleaning after the afterglow has faded with toy cleaner.  This butterfly’s ridges and wings and crevices require a LOT of attention.  Like, scrubbing with a toothbrush.

 

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And I am too lazy for that.

3 out of 5 stars.

You can pick up one of your own at Goodvibes!  This vibrator was provided to me by Good Vibrations in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  Good Vibrations, as you know, is a fabulous, woman-friendly sex toy store invented by vibrator fairy godmothers in 1977 that provides good quality, body-safe toys, all-body sex education, and general badassery.  I choose to review for them because I believe in their mission.

 

Madison Young’s “Daddy” is articulate, authentic, disheartening.

I love Madison Young and what she stands for. I met her first through Rough Sex #2, which was incredibly hot and in which she was phenomenal. I like to watch her because she seems like a real person- she attains real pleasure, and engages in real eye-communication with other performers- rather than the forced into-camera eye-flirt that so many others do. Madison is a self-identified feminist and highly accomplished BDSM educator, director, and actor- among other things.

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Perhaps my hopes were too high- or unfair. I hoped that this memoir would be a holy grail of How To Do Daddy Stuff Right. It was not. In fact, it ended up making me more afraid that Daddy play may ultimately prove risky or even harmful to those of us who have trauma histories or are especially vulnerable to powerful people who take advantage of us. I was hoping that this book could be a resource for mental health professionals who are trying to understand how a little girl/ Daddy dynamic, which makes many people have a knee-jerk squick reaction- can be played out lovingly by two well-adjusted, happy people. This book is not that. Truthfully, it made no claims of being so. Madison herself is only 34 (according to a likely-unreliable web source.) She is an actual human being who is every bit as entitled to making mistakes and bad choices as any of us. At no point did she claim that this book was a how-to guide. That expectation- or hope- is on me.

“Daddy” begins with a happy family- giving us a pristine snapshot of “after.” Madison is letting us know not to worry too much- that everything here turns out ok. She takes us on a journey of explaining how she came into her own sexuality- of the how and why she enjoys submission. It was well-written, even-headed, and sweet. I related here. I thought, “Finally- I can give this to people and they will understand!” Everything looked healthy. Dynamics were ultimately mutually caring. Things were good.

Some vignettes did make me worry for her- the initial pattern of trying intense BDSM for the first time in front of a camera, instead of on her own where she was able to have her own reactions without fear of losing a job. The time when she severely injured her rectum, continued with a scene, gushed “about a cup of blood” and then, rather than going to the ER, flew back to where her partner was before seeking medical attention. This, to me, was the first sign of dependency that seemed harmful. This is where I began to worry.

As the story progresses on, Madison develops a deeper relationship and connection to James Mogul, who we know from the beginning is her current partner. James seems to care for her sometimes- but frequently violates the terms of their poly relationship and treats Madison like she’s being unreasonable when she discovers and voices her hurt.

Madison tiptoes into wisps one hopes will turn into self-aware insights as to how she utilizes kink to heal old wounds, but she never quite gets there. She seems like an approval addict who will do anything for a fix. By three quarters of the way through the book we watch our heroine endure lying, cheating, drug use, emotional stonewalling, being abandoned in times of concern and crisis. Madison is surrounded by gentle, loving, and supportive friends and still focuses solely on the meager crumbs of loving from her Daddy. It is heartbreaking. You cannot blame Madison, but you want so badly to help her move forward from this seemingly endless repetition compulsion.

Ultimately Madison doesn’t explain much about how James came around. It seems like he did his own thing until he grew tired of it, never acknowledged or apologized for the enormous hurt he caused Madison, and quit the industry. We zoom forward into a birth scene- which chronologically could only be a few months away from the days when he was ignoring her entirely- and then snap right into the present.

My heart aches for Madison. I am deeply disappointed to report that this book gave me the sense that for her, the Daddy play significantly contributed to an extremely harmful dynamic wherein the powerful party abused and took advantage of the other, who was too lost in subspace to realize what was happening. Madison’s trust, love, and faithfulness were used as weapons against her by the man in whose hands she decided to place her well being. I found myself rooting so hard for Madison. But where she appeared willing to forgive her Daddy on faith without explanation or understanding of what had happened- and I felt like she invited her readers to do the same- I simply could not get on board. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch porn starring James Mogul without feeling disgusted and turned off.

Though she is an educator, Madison makes no claims that this book is intended to tell people how to do things. It is not fair for me to fault her for being imperfect. But I was hoping for some lesson learned from all of this- some way in which she grew or progressed or learned how to care for herself, or thought about how to talk to her daughter about how to identify healthy relationships. There was none of that. Perhaps the painful parts of this book struck me with such force because I related to them and saw myself in them. (This is more than a “perhaps.”)

So is this book true, and authentic, and descriptive of the submissive experience? Yes. But overall I found it troubling and sad. I hope that Madison is able to treat herself with love and respect, and someone with whom she can play with Daddy dynamics in a way that is truly safe and loving and caring. I hope that people outside of the scene will not take this memoir as proof that all Daddy/little girl relationships are abusive, manipulative, or harmful. And I hope that those who do read it will both have compassion for Madison and also try to look for something better.

I thank Madison for sharing her story and for not whitewashing it. Books like this help us gain an accurate perception of others’ experiences so that we can relate to their struggles and mistakes. It takes bravery and love for others to choose to open ourselves in that way. Madison surely knew that some readers would look down on her for including the less- than-pretty, not-perfectly-empowered pieces of her story and she included them anyway. This was a very conscious choice, and one that comes from the queer, feminist, radical Madison I know and love.

I can’t rate this book because it would feel like I am rating someone else’s life. So instead I will say: this is a worthwhile, if uncomfortable, read. This is a work of bravery, strength, and love. This is the beginning of a conversation.

Thank you, Madison. And good luck.