Mar 152017

We-Vibe Sync vibrator with gavel

It’s all over the news right now that We-Vibe is settling a lawsuit over their app-enabled vibrators, and naturally, everyone wants to know my opinion. (Thank you, by the way, for thinking of me whenever sex toys are in the news.) According to the plaintiffs, We-Vibe was collecting app usage data without their knowledge. One headline reads, alarmingly, We-Vibe vibrator creator to pay damages after spying on user sex lives.

Obviously, privacy and consent are important, but so is context. So, what kind of data was collected and how was it used? When the issue was brought to We-Vibe’s attention in September, they explained:

We do collect certain limited data to help us improve our products and for diagnostic purposes. As a matter of practice, we use this data in an aggregate, non-identifiable form. Processor chip temperature is used to help us determine whether device processors are operating correctly. And vibration intensity data is used for the purposes of helping us better understand how — in the aggregate — our product features are utilized.

They failed to disclose this to users. That’s it. This isn’t some nefarious scheme. Nobody’s email addresses or passwords were leaked. No bank accounts were hacked. No sensitive information was made public. Only We-Vibe had access to the data, and they then used it to… improve their products. I’m not saying it was okay for them to do this without telling us, or that consumers don’t have a right to be pissed. But is this worth boycotting an otherwise reputable company over? In my opinion, no.

We-Vibe has always been a stand-up company to me, so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that I would not give to other companies. They updated the app immediately when the issue was brought to their attention. There is now no registration or account creation and an option for customers to opt out of sharing anonymous usage data. We-Vibe destroyed all the data previously collected, and they’re offering to pay consumers who were affected. They responded appropriately and learned their lesson.

I can’t help but feel like sex negativity had a role in this, though. When the initial news came out it was constantly presented in an inflammatory way by the media, as if sexual data is somehow more egregious to collect than ALL the other data ALL other apps collect. We opt in to (or don’t opt out of) so much shit on our phones, we give up our privacy all the time, but OH GOD! The privacy of THE BEDROOM!

I know, sex is a bristly subject for people. It’s sensitive and loaded, and should be handled as such. I sometimes forget that, living in a self-created sex-positive utopia where relaying all the juicy details of my masturbatory life to the internet is the norm. I forget that for some people, sex is so taboo that to have any information about their sex lives divulged — no matter the manner, amount, or recipient — is a violation. I think, perhaps, We-Vibe momentarily forgot that too. I can forgive them for that.

Mar 102017
Sex toy news: masturbation polish & the rechargeable craze

WE-VIBE HAS A NEW TOY OUT AND I’M SCREAMING ABOUT IT. It’s a squishy, oversized bugger called Wish that’s packed with rumbly power. It’s not without flaws, but that’s all I’ll say for now.

New flavors of Sliquid lubes are here! I have yet to get my tongue on them, but damn if they don’t sound delicious: Tangerine Peach and Blackberry Fig.

Satisfyer, commonly known as “that company ripping off Womanizer,” has 5,000 different models of their suction toy these days. Incredibly, they sent all of them to me. My clit has some work to do.

Tickler, whose forgettable battery-operated vibes I reviewed years ago, has a new line of rechargeable toys: Classy, Choosy, and Snazzy. [. . . read the rest]

Feb 252017
Review: Carter

I squirt every time I use the New York Toy Collective Carter.

Movement or not. No matter the external vibe. Whatever my mood. If clitoral stimulation makes me come while the Carter is inside me, I gush. I’ll be just hanging out, about to have a completely ordinary orgasm or so it seems, when I feel the pressure building, urging me to slide the dildo out. Sure enough: an expulsion of fluid follows. It hardly ever feels like I’ve earned it, yet it happens, consistently as the sun rising and setting each day. Sneak-attack squirting.

And oh, with movement? [. . . read the rest]

Feb 192017
Poll: Which toys should I try?

It’s been a while since I sat down and scouted out new sex toys to review. Usually I grab items as they’re released, like the new We-Vibe Wish that just came in the mail. But as my list of “to review” items dwindles, I decided it would be a good idea to get more stuff — so I can start testing it all!

Thus far I’ve narrowed it down to these 20 products. But half the fun of reviewing is fulfilling your desires, so I would like you to vote on your top choices. Some of these are toys I already own, some I’d need to acquire, and at least one may be near-impossible to get, but like… RUMBLE SEAT, GUYS. [. . . read the rest]

Feb 122017
Step inside my sex toy closet

This is the stuff dreams are made of — my dreams at least. This, friends, is my majestic sex toy closet. The culmination of years of collecting, organizing, and fantasizing. It is here where I store my gigantic sex toy collection, which is rapidly nearing 600.

How did I get here? Well, shockingly, one does not amass enough sex toys to fill a walk-in closet overnight. In fact, nine years ago, my sex toy collection lived in a single cardboard box under my desk. As I began reviewing more, the toys graduated to a purple zippered storage case, and later to a herd of similar cases. [. . . read the rest]

Jan 282017
Review: Mystic Wand Rechargeable

It’s a let-down, but not in the “my clit is screaming” way. Not in the “orgasm seems like an impassable river” way, or even in the “these vibrations feel like death” way. But in the manageably sad way, like your car stereo breaking right before a big road trip. Not apocalyptic, but less than ideal. I expected to love this vibrator, but you know what happens when your hopes are high: they get dashed.

The Vibratex Mystic Wand Rechargeable weakens under the weight of comparison. It cannot outshine its competitors or its predecessor. Its shape bears similarities to other sex toys that surpass it; its name sets up promises it cannot keep. [. . . read the rest]

Jan 162017
A trans woman's orgasm savior: the (Hitachi) Magic Wand Rechargeable

The legendary Hitachi Magic Wand, with its robust vibrations and large head, is known as an effective vibrator for all sorts of genital configurations. The release of a rechargeable version was met with much (deserved) fanfare, which only bolstered my desire for more people to experience this fantastic toy. So I reached out to Zinnia Jones, trans activist, writer, sex toy user, and creator of Gender Analysis, to see if she wanted to try it. Zinnia was already a fan of the original Magic Wand, so SheVibe graciously sent her the Magic Wand Rechargeable[. . . read the rest]

Dec 312016
Epiphora's best and worst sex toys of 2016

[Check out my annual best/worst tag for older lists!]

2016 has been a trying, infuriating, exhausting year, and it seems trivial to jump straight to sex toys without acknowledging that. But this is also a year in which we’ve needed to learn how to remain resolute amidst unbelievable pain. To laugh at the absurdity of our world. And if you want absurdity, oh, look no further than my life.

This was my ninth year reviewing sex toys for all the internet to see. This year, among other things, I perverted a soap dispenser into a lube dispenser, let other people control my vibrator over the internet, and played vaginal Chubby Bunny with tiny silicone dildos. [. . . read the rest]

Dec 172016
Review: Eva

I’ve never told you much about my labia, but I guess now’s as good a time as any. I’d describe my outer labia as puffy, yet unobtrusive. My inner labia? Visible but modest. Usually, my labia don’t cross my mind often… but then the Dame Eva came along, and suddenly I was digging around in there like a raccoon foraging through the garbage.

Engineered with the wishful thinking that the vulva is merely a puzzle to be solved, Eva is a rechargeable vibrator with flexible arms that tuck under the labia to secure the toy to one’s vulva, against the clitoris. [. . . read the rest]