Jan 132018

“Buzzy” and “rumbly” are words you’re bound to encounter if you spend any time in sex toy circles. These words, popularized by bloggers and educators such as yours truly, refer to the quality (not intensity!) of vibration, with buzzy characterized as a higher-frequency, surface-level vibration and rumbly as a lower-frequency, more robust vibration.

I’ve long posited — and, to be honest, stated as fact, because I’m just that presumptuous — the idea that rumblier vibrations are deeper and more penetrating. Well raise your glasses, mofos, because now I have SCIENCE and VIDEO to prove it!

Below are some video clips made by Jeff Spitzer, a former aerospace engineer who spent over 30 years designing airplanes, engines, and scads of other gadgets before setting his sights on sex toys. The last few years, he’s been obsessed with figuring out what makes vibrators tick by tinkering, dismantling, and applying physics theory to them. In pursuit of demonstrating rumbly and buzzy vibrations, he created this cool rig using a Fleshlight sleeve.

Rumbly vibrator   Buzzy vibrator

These videos were shot with a GoPro at 240 frames per second, slowed to 15 frames per second or about 1/16th the original speed. The first image features the rechargeable We-Vibe Tango, widely lauded as the gold standard for rumbly vibrations, making the labia flap like flags in the wind. The second reveals the comparatively paltry and ineffectual vibration of a shitty bullet that takes an N battery.

Thank gawd for this, otherwise I’d still be over here screaming into the void, “THEY FEEL DIFFERENT, I SWEAR, TRUST MY CLITORIS ON THIS!”

Surface-level stimulation is all fine and dandy, and there are certainly people who prefer it, but in my humble opinion, things get really good when the vibrations are able to delve deeper and stimulate the internal clit and all-encompassing clitourethrovaginal (CUV) complex. Of course, rumbly vibrations are not inherently better (and most vibes are not firmly one or the other), but it’s clear they penetrate flesh better.

Buzzy vs. rumbly can be like vibrator spirituality. Some have never experienced it and have no sense for what the difference might be. Those who have felt the difference for themselves surely have a strong sense of what rumbly means to them. Amongst believers, the fact that this unseen and loosely defined “higher power” exists is undeniable. Rumbly vibes are different. You “just know it.”

—Jeff Spitzer

Here’s how he explained it to me, and it makes a lot of sense. Think about how effortless certain types of touch are: tickling, grazing the skin, even light rubbing. But the moment you start applying more pressure — say, with vigorous fingering or deep-tissue massage — it becomes more tiresome. Why? Because you’re transferring more energy.

That’s what rumbly vibrators are doing, and that’s how they’re able to stimulate more deeply. Rumbly vibrations are more profound, travel through flesh better, engage with the user more, and transfer their energy to the point of contact (and beyond) more readily than buzzy vibrations. This leads to the lovely jiggle you see in the video.

After taking apart some toys from We-Vibe and others, Spitzer learned that rumbly vibes use better motors which allow them to spin a heavier mass than buzzy vibes. The physics piece says that if the spinning mass is much heavier, you can drag the speed down more and thus transfer more vibration energy to the user. This is the essence of rumbly, and understanding it can help you discern the difference out in the real world.

In my original post about buzzy vs. rumbly, I gave some helpful hints for comparing toys based on movement, sound, and battery type, but Spitzer has an additional idea. He recommends turning a toy on its highest constant speed setting and holding it gently — allowing for the highest pitch of the sound — then using your other hand to slow the vibe to its lowest pitch. If the difference between the two pitches is significant, it will feel more rumbly than a vibrator with very little difference.

Spread the word, ’cause I do believe knowing about this spectrum is key to understanding which vibrators you’ll love and which you’ll hate. Me, I prefer motors that lean rumbly, but mostly I just want to annihilate any vibe that’s purely buzzy.

Which do you prefer? Buzzy? Rumbly? Some nuanced mixture of both, like a complex human being?
What are the buzziest and rumbliest vibes you’ve encountered? Comment below!

Jan 102018
Sex toy news: thrustin', suckin', and lube dispensin'

Most important news first, y’all: Fun Factory’s Stronic G is a REVELATION. Like the other Stronics, this toy thrusts all by itself — but this one can be used hands-free, and its perfectly-hooked tip gives my G-spot everything it craves. Ooof. So good.

Lube dispensers are all the rage now and I blame me. The Touch heats your lube and will utilize any lube you want, unlike the exorbitantly expensive Pulse, which takes proprietary pods.

Sliquid has a toy cleaner! I still don’t really believe in toy cleaners, but at least I trust Sliquid not to put junk ingredients in theirs. [. . . read the rest]

Dec 312017
Epiphora's best and worst sex toys of 2017

2017 was a landmark year for this old blog. I commemorated an entire decade of blogging about sex toys, got verified on Twitter (a longtime goal, shhhh), and found myself on the cover of SheVibe for a whole dang month. It was a year of new materials, in which my vag finally experienced crystal and porcelain. I gave you a grand tour of my majestic sex toy closet, watched in amazement as a dude fucked his own ass with his own dick and, somewhat accidentally but still hilariously, got stoned via my ass. What a world.

This year, I vacationed to Maui with my mom, where I interviewed her about my queer identity, visited the local sex shop, and took photos of sex toys in exotic locales. [. . . read the rest]

Dec 262017
Review: Zumio

When you’re a sex toy reviewer, certain toys can feel like a blessing from above. Mediocre masturbation sessions are par for the course with this job, and even toys that aren’t exceptionally terrible can start to feel insulting and exhausting after a while. If you’re lucky, there’s one toy in your to-review queue that you actually enjoy using. One that is effortlessly satisfying, enough to get you out of your head a little, remind you that sometimes this gig ain’t so bad. There should be a name for toys like this… hmm, “savior toys”?

The Zumio is my savior toy of the last few months. [. . . read the rest]

Dec 102017
Review: Doc Johnson TruSkyn

I should start with an apology, because when this line of sex toys came out, I mocked it. “Hahahahaha Doc Johnson acting like they invented silicone,” I tweeted derisively. But what I didn’t realize is that these aren’t garden-variety silicone toys — they’re made of squishy dual-density silicone, and I am so on board with more affordable dual-density dildos. (“TruSkyn,” though? Still ludicrous. Good lord, when will misspelling words become uncool again?)

So, I must eat my hat. I’m sorry for preemptively ridiculing TruSkyn. While I do think it’s amusing to watch bigwig sex toy manufacturers “discover” body-safe materials 500 years behind everybody else, it can only be a good thing for consumers. [. . . read the rest]

Nov 222017
Sex toy Black Friday + Cyber Monday sales!

GOBBLE GOBBLE, peeps. I’m here to help you get the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on sex toys! If you’ve been waiting to buy something I raved about, now is probably the time. Discounts like these don’t happen on such a grand scale at any other time of the year. The best part? You can stay in your pajamas!

If you’ve been waiting for a good price on the sex toy of your dreams, now is the time to get it. I watch sales and deals all year long, but this is when retailers tend to pull out all the stops. [. . . read the rest]

Nov 192017
Review: Stronic G

Four years ago, my G-spot was forever changed by a revolutionary sex toy called the Stronic Eins. Not really a dildo and definitely not a vibrator, the Eins features an internal weight that facilitates a back-and-forth thrusting movement. This “pulsator” felt unlike anything I’d ever tried, wiggling against my G-spot so enthusiastically, and quickly became one of my favorite insertables. Fun Factory’s Stronic line proved that innovation is still possible in the sex toy industry — true innovation, not gimmicky and spurious “innovation” with air quotes.

So a few weeks ago when an email popped up with the subject line CONFIDENTIAL: Secret Preview of New Stronic?, it set my heart fluttering. [. . . read the rest]

Nov 192017
Decade of sex toys giveaway winners (plus Boris video!)

That’s it! The hugest sex toy giveaway of the year is over, and I have awarded all 100-ish prizes to the winners! (Yeah, I have so many prizes now I’ve lost count. What a world.)

THANK YOU ALL for making the whole thing a roaring success — by commenting on my posts with sweet words, by sharing the giveaway on social media, by following Boris’ clues, and just for generally being amazing readers and followers over the years. The reason I’ve amassed so many prizes is because I want to give away as many as possible to you fine people. [. . . read the rest]

Nov 122017
Anatomy of a negative sex toy review (or: the Mimic)

You’re mid-masturbation and you’ve forgotten what it’s like for orgasm to feel achievable. You’re doing everything right, theoretically: the vibrator’s cranked up to its highest intensity, held faithfully against the favored side of your clit. You’re watching queer porn. Your vulva is well-lubricated. The cats are at bay. There is no reason this should be unpleasant.

Except that the vibrator you’re using is absolute shit.

Does it even qualify as a vibrator, really? These “vibrations” are pathetic and so, so buzzy. It’d be laughable if it wasn’t so sad. Actually, the emotion you feel is irritation — and it’s tainting everything. [. . . read the rest]

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