Jul 302017

“Everything’s temporary if you give it enough time.” —Jewel

Fucking Sculptures G-Spoon glass dildo (large)Last week, I learned that Fucking Sculptures is closing up shop. It seems like just yesterday they popped into existence, delighting me with their jaw-dropping, hand-blown glass dildos and unabashedly straightforward company name. Their G-Spoon was lauded as a serious A-spotter, the beastly Double Trouble revered by size queens. They donated dildos to my giveaways. My girlfriend visited their studio.

Now… they’re gone. After four and half years producing gorgeous toys, their website has been reduced to a vague goodbye message, and we’re left to scramble to scoop up the last of their inventory at retail shops.

It all seems creepily familiar.

As a lifer in the adult industry, I watch companies come and go on a regular basis. Many are no great loss, but some of them are, and those are the ones that get me. There’s no funeral for a dead sex toy company. No procession of people paying their respects. A few stray tweets here and there, maybe, but nobody heaping praise on their work. One day they’re here, and the next they just aren’t. Without blogs, without the few sex toy aficionados out there, these companies and their toys would be lost to the ether.

Usually, I imagine, the reason is money. Artisans can’t compete with giant companies churning out toys in factories. To stay afloat, their prices must reflect the process of hand-crafting each and every toy… and consumers don’t want to spend $180 on a dildo. Without undercutting someone somewhere, the sex toy manufacturing business is probably not particularly lucrative.

Ophoria Beyond 3 dildoPart of my sadness is knowing I can never point folks to the wonderful toys these companies made. I still mourn the death of Ophoria, manufacturers of forgettable vibrators and one unbelievably good G-spot dildo, the Beyond 3. No hyperbole: this dildo makes me squirt all over the floor in 30 seconds flat. It also made my girlfriend squirt for the first time. Something about that shape, the way you can grasp the handle and thrust with all your might. It’s just perfect. But the company bit the dust in 2012, with nary a peep except a tweet inviting folks to a “NSFW garage sale” at their location. (Dude, if I could’ve gone to that… I would’ve bought like five Beyond 3s.)

I routinely wish Jollies was still in business, because they made several toys that to this day have not been rivaled. For stationary G-spot stimulation, their rainbow polka dot Jollet is hard to beat. I also love the Jack, which aside from containing FLAKES OF GOLD GLITTER features the surprisingly stimulating combo of a smooth shaft and a textured, off-kilter head. Then there’s the revolutionary Mr. Man, which for the first time allowed someone with a clitoris to receive a phallic blowjob. (The BJ is similar, but not as effortless to use.)

For a while, you could collaborate with Jollies and embed virtually anything you wanted in a custom dildo. I have many #regrets that I never did that, although I still have a funny memento from the company: a silicone ashtray they sent me.

Sex toys from defunct manufacturers Jollies, Whipspider Rubberworks, Eros & Isis, Fucking Sculptures, Papaya Toys, and Ophoria

Jollies Jollet and Jack; Whipspider Jellyfish, Ghost, and Tentacle; Eros & Isis Chunkee Munkey.
Fucking Sculptures G-SpoonJollies Mr. Man,  Papaya Toys Ice, Ophoria Beyond 3.

2014 marked the demise of Whipspider Rubberworks, who made 100% silicone toys in fantastical, incredibly detailed shapes, such as unicorn horns and tentacles. My texture-loving vag was really into the Jellyfish, so before they disappeared, I grabbed myself a Ghost — a glow-in-the-dark skeleton dildo with hauntingly realistic eye sockets, perfect for Halloween play parties and actually just an excellent dildo.

There have been other, short-lived companies. Eros & Isis, who made silicone toys that resembled bronze sculptures, sent me their “Chunkee Munkey,” an intricate dildo featuring the three wise monkeysPenetralia made wooden toys, one which I still pull out when I want a no-nonsense vag-filler. Papaya Toys’ vibrators came in a vibrant neon green that I loved. Once, on an excursion to a megastore sex shop, I found a Papaya Toys Ice dildo in their clearance bin for $8. It has, perplexingly, a removable jewel in the tip.

Fucking Sculptures mini Corkscrew glass dildoThese days, there are newer silicone options — Hole Punch Toys, Split Peaches, and Etsy sellers make playful toys in unique shapes, while others offer generic shapes in fun colors. But where will we go for our artisan glass? Now that Fucking Sculptures, Phallix, and Luxotiq are gone, there are but a few companies left: Crystal Delights, Simply Blown, Standard Glass. Pickings are slim.

It is strange to think, looking at the landscape now, that some of these companies will survive, and some will not. Some will endure, much as we wish they wouldn’t, and others will quietly dissolve. A few years will pass, and most people will forget.

I’m a sap. I know. But when we lose companies we love, it feels alarmingly out of my hands. I’m not a glass-blower, sculptor, silicone pourer. I can’t design or produce sex toys myself. I can’t fill the void left by Fucking Sculptures, but I can do my part to immortalize them and other bygone companies. They existed, once. They made beautiful toys, toys that brought many people great pleasure. They mattered, and we miss them.

Which now-defunct sex toy companies do you miss most? Which toys do you wish you owned?

Jul 242017
SheVibe's new site = awesome

There comes a time in every website’s life when it starts to outgrow itself. It becomes clunky, out-dated, technologically subpar. Building an entirely new site from the ground up is a huge undertaking. But that is just what my favorite sex toy retailer SheVibe has spent the last 2+ years doing, and today we get to reap the rewards in the form of their sparkling new website!

This new site is everything I’d hoped for. It feels expansive, fresh, and bright. SheVibe’s signature art (all drawn in-house by the freakishly talented Alex) looks somehow even more amazing than before. Products are shown in a grid format, so you can view more of them at once and spend less time scrolling. [. . . read the rest]

Jul 142017
Movie Night: Dildo Diaries

Dildo Diaries (2002) and the Downunder Toys Hot Banana Rod.

Buying a sex toy is a snap these days. Simply type “adult shop” into your Yelp app, or enter the product name into Google, and in mere seconds you can find a place to purchase the dildo or vibrator of your desires. We take this for granted. I take it for granted. But as recently as 9 years ago, it wasn’t that easy — especially in the South.

Dildo Diaries (2002) is a documentary chronicling the absurdity of Texas’ anti-sex toy legislation. Directed by Laura Barton and Judy Wilder, it’s a joyous defense of our right to purchase and use sex toys. [. . . read the rest]

Jul 062017
Announcing the Amplified Voices Sex Blogger Scholarship!

Hi! Me again! Today I am using exclamation points a lot because I’m so excited to announce this thing! Remember how I’m teaching an online sex blogging class this fall with my good friend JoEllen Notte? WELL, thanks to several amazing companies, we are offering six individual scholarships to the class, which will be held online from September 1st through October 20th. Yes, six, thanks to the generosity of Early to BedFuzeWe-VibeDameCrystal Delights, and OhMiBod.

Our aim with this scholarship is to amplify the voices of people who have, in the past, been under-represented in sex blogging. [. . . read the rest]

Jun 292017
Review: Wish

There’s a common piece of sex advice, an old sex educator adage usually aimed at people wanting to please vulvas: “consistency is key, especially when someone is nearing orgasm. If your partner implores you not to stop, DEAR GOD DO NOT CHANGE WHAT YOU’RE DOING. NOW IS NOT THE TIME.”

You never want your partner to be that guy. But the We-Vibe Wish is that guy. The Wish is the guy who thinks this advice doesn’t apply to him, because he has this one technique that the ladies go wild for, that gives them screaming orgasms 100% of the time, and you just don’t know how good it could be unless he bestows his gifts upon you.  [. . . read the rest]

Jun 192017
The secret truth about sex toy reviewing

“Holy shit, you masturbate for a living?!”

This is how people often respond when I tell them what I do, and honestly, I can’t blame them. On the surface, “sex toy tester” sounds like a dream job. “You’re so lucky!” they exclaim. “You get paid to orgasm!” But this is an oversimplification — and it starts to get annoying after a while. Aside from dismissing all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into running a blog, it glosses over the aspects of this job that are less than idyllic.

While being a sex toy reviewer is definitely more fun than most jobs and has its fair share of perks,1 there are a number of drawbacks too. [. . . read the rest]

Jun 072017
Hell Yes: We-Vibe delves into cock rings and butt plugs

Progress is slow, yet quick.

I’ve had this sex blogging gig long enough to have been around when the first rechargeable cock ring was released, and while a handful more have cropped up throughout the years (oh and never forget the LELO Pino, more known for its sleazy marketing tactics than its functionality), there haven’t been a ton of new rechargeable rings.

Then suddenly, in a flurry, We-Vibe has released three new toys: the Pivot ($109), Verge ($119), and Ditto ($129). Two cock rings, one butt plug. All rechargeable. All app-responsive. Probably, knowing We-Vibe, all equipped with kickass rumbly motors?! [. . . read the rest]

Jun 012017
Sex toy news: a pint-sized Doxy and devil horn cervix ticklers

We-Vibe is making cock rings! And a butt plug! All of ’em are app-compatible, which makes a lot of sense for toys that get all up in your genitals’ business. Rumbly vibrations, too, I bet. Gooood.

How truly majestic is this new uncut dildo from New York Toy Collective? And I thought Carter was beefy — this toy is 2.5″ in diameter! In keeping with their “let’s name sex toys after people” theme, it is called… Leroy. Yeah. Well.

I’m having some conflicted feelings about the Womanizer 2GO. I’m not a lipstick person at all, but the idea of a smaller, less potato-shaped Womanizer does appeal to me. [. . . read the rest]

May 222017
Calling aspiring sex bloggers: my online class is back!

Do you dream of becoming a sex blogger — or becoming a better sex blogger? Like the idea of an intensive online class to kick your ass into gear? Prefer pajama pants to actual pants?

Perfect, because I’m teaching my popular online sex blogging group class again this fall, with my good friend and expert sex writer JoEllen Notte! We’re offering early bird pricing of $100 off through the end of May (with payment plans available), and — get this — we’ve expanded it into a six-week long class! September 1st through October 20th, we’ll gather virtually with our students for six weeks of camaraderie and critique. [. . . read the rest]

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