Mar 202018

We-Vibe Gala rechargeable clitoral vibrator

My clit is a pretty sensitive creature. You’re going to need to know this going in. Take notes for the final test. When I haven’t had an orgasm yet, I can usually come during one of the lower settings of a vibrator — generally speaking, with good vibrators. I’ve been known to “just get the first orgasm out of the way” during my masturbation sessions; I’ve accepted that I come quickly at the beginning, so I figure, why fight it?

The We-Vibe Gala doesn’t even get me there. Even when it’s my first toy of the night. When I haven’t come yet. When I’m watching pretty boys blow each other in a fort or fuck passionately by an outdoor fireplace. It doesn’t turn me on… and it rarely, barely gets me off.

The Gala is a disgrace to the We-Vibe name. Among sex toy aficionados, We-Vibe is known for small rechargeable toys with robust motors, such as the Touch and the legendary Tango. I love their asymmetrical G-spotting Rave, the Nova is one of the best rabbit-style vibes I’ve tried, and Dusk gives me awesome hands-free orgasms. My expectations are elevated for this company, so an uninspired shape that seriously lacks vibration strength? Not gonna cut it. No self-respecting sex toy company should skimp on power like this, but We-Vibe especially shouldn’t.

They also skimped on ergonomic design. The Gala is comically oversized, especially for a clit toy; at 5″ long, 2.5″ wide, it makes me feel like I’m holding a hockey puck or something. The buttons are too small and indistinguishable, too close together, and located on the wrong side of the toy. The tips are firm and feel foreign against my body, and its bulkiness is strange and unnecessary. I guess you could lay the whole thing against your vulva, but… no. Wand vibrators are best for covering surface area, not weak-ass vibes with nothing else to offer this world.

It’s more than a matter of paltry vibrations, though. It’s also a matter of absent vibrations, vibrations that feel far away and unreachable — much like the concept of a functional democracy. Using the Gala is like trying to talk to someone while they stare at their phone: an unsatisfactory, one-sided conversation that likely goes nowhere. I have to CONCENTRATE if I want an orgasm out of it — a task not unfamiliar to me as a goddamn professional, but not something the average joe should have to endure.

So yes, I am annoyed by the Gala. Not unlike how I would feel at an actual gala: this is weird and I’m uncomfortable and when can it end. Like, can I just get out of here and grab some Taco Bell or something?

Gala’s vibrations make me question reality. I’ll be mashing the plus button fruitlessly until I realize I’m already at the highest intensity. Does it need to be charged more? Is it dying? There’s no way this is high… is it? 

It is.

That is “high.”

We-Vibe Gala rechargeable clitoral vibrator

I’m only second-guessing it, I realized, because the vibration feels stronger against my fuckin’ fingertips than it does against my genitals. Still, I raced to my partners to ensure I wasn’t imagining things. I made each of them close their eyes, then I touched the Gala to their hands — first the side edge of it, then the prong tips. “Which is stronger, A or B?” I asked like an eye doctor. Both quickly chose A. THE SIDE OF THE DAMN TOY.

For a company known for its rumbly motors, it’s incredible how much power they sapped out of this one. On high, Gala feels weaker than the second setting of the We-Vibe Touch. HOW?! I don’t know, but it is not OK. Now, as was the case with the disappointing We-Vibe Wish, you can hack a slightly less offensive vibration into the Gala by using the We-Vibe app.1 But it’s not enough, and should absolutely not be necessary to make the toy palatable.

I probably age 10 years every time I say this, but fuck it: I do not want to control my sex toys with my phone. I will proudly die on this hill; put it on my tombstone for all I care. Not everyone has a smartphone, or wants to waste battery life or storage space on a vibrator app. I, personally, am too busy wielding a dildo with my other hand, so I have zero hands with which to operate my phone. You know what we had before smartphones? Buttons. Actual, literal buttons on the toys themselves — which, spoiler alert, we were holding anyway! We survived before smartphones and we can survive now.

Well, we can survive if the base sex toy is actually good. Which the Gala is not. I’d rather use the Snazzy or Touch or Volta or Rabbit Bullet. I’d rather use the Form 2 for god’s sake, even with its glitchy weirdness and buzzy vibrations, solely because it has actual power. Oh, yeah. Standards are getting lowered as fuck.

These are a lot of words to say one thing: I shouldn’t have to turn a vibrator on high just to have a snowball’s chance in hell of an orgasm. Especially not a high-end $129 vibrator. As I was finishing this review, my cat Boris jumped onto my desk and started pawing at the Gala. A brief thought flickered through my mind: his claws are sharp, he might rip the silicone. I let him continue playing.

  1. With the draw-a-pattern feature, or by isolating one of the motors using the Crest mode. []
Mar 092018
How not to design a sex game

Why are sex games so bad?

This is an eternal question I ask myself regularly. I have a whole label in my Gmail for sex games, and it’s filled to the hilt with shitty, offensive products I’d never want to play in a million years, often including pleas for me to review them. (People love to say stuff like, “it’s not a sex toy, but it’s KIND OF A SEX TOY!”) Ha. Ha. Hahahaha.

Usually I just send the links to my girlfriend so we can ridicule the games in private, but I just got one that perfectly demonstrates everything that’s wrong with terrible sex games. [. . . read the rest]

Feb 282018
Review: Smooth Operators (Snazzy, Choosy, and Classy)

Blink and you might pass right over them. They’re not terribly attractive, not revolutionary in function, not aggressively marketed. These vibrators have no celebrity endorsement or PR campaign behind them, and I’d bet serious money they’ve never been mentioned in any mainstream magazine. You can judge a lot about a sex toy without holding it in your hands, but there’s one thing you can’t predict, and it’s the thing that matters most: vibration quality. This is where the Smooth Operators pleasantly surprised me.

The Toyfriend Smooth Operators — Snazzy, Choosy, and Classy — are made by a company named Tickler, and again, you could be forgiven for not knowing they even exist. [. . . read the rest]

Feb 132018
The clitoris: still the center of my universe
Or: why G-spot stimulation is not the pinnacle of pleasure.

Hi, my name’s Epiphora, and I almost always need clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm.

I thought this was common knowledge, clueless as that may sound. I mean, I write about my genitals on the internet every day of my life — obviously people must know this about me? But something happened the other day that made me realize that may not be true. That perhaps I haven’t been explicit enough about the types of stimulation I like and how, logistically, that plays out in my sex toy testing.

Recently, I struck up a friendship with a new sex blogger named Wendy. [. . . read the rest]

Jan 312018
Review: SenseVibe

The SenseVibe, much to my dismay, is not a fortune-telling sex toy. It can’t give you the weather forecast or lift your mood. It cannot intuit what your vag or clit wants. It is, despite the enigmatic name, merely a rechargeable dual vibrator from a newish company named SenseMax.

I know what you’re gonna say. “Piph, you don’t even like rabbit-style toys, why would you want to try this one?” AN ASTUTE OBSERVATION, my friend, because yes — I am normally highly averse to dual vibes. They are very anatomy-specific, significantly less likely than other types of sex toys to properly align with genitals. [. . . read the rest]

Jan 212018
Layers of hurt

CN: sexual assault, consent violation, grey areas, Trump, Aziz.

This Christmas, every time I hugged my grandpa, he feigned outrage and yelled “sexual assault!”

At my boyfriend’s parents’ house, after dinner and presents and peppermint schnapps, our conversation veered into dangerous waters. Politics. Racism. Sexual harassment. Lies they’ve absorbed from Fox News, parroted back at us with alarming conviction. Beliefs so entrenched and toxic they felt impossible to dismantle; all our attempts seemed woefully inadequate.

The topic shifted to the recent wave of sexual assault allegations. You can’t even hug people anymore! they declared. The words collected at the back of my throat, my cheeks flushing hot, desperate for the perfect rebuttal. [. . . read the rest]

Jan 132018
Buzzy vs. rumbly vibrators: SEE & DISCERN the difference!

“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. [. . . read the rest]

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]

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