Dec 122010
 

Want more guidance? Check out my beginner’s guide to sex toy reviewing.
I also teach an entire online course for budding sex bloggers!

Table of dildos! And camera! And notebook! And laptops! And coffee!There is no rulebook for writing sex toy reviews, but any longtime reviewer will tell you that there are definite amateur mistakes, mistakes that make our eyes glaze over with terror.

When a person begins reviewing sex toys, their first impulse may be to write a cutesy, coy, infomercial-like review. This is no surprise, since sex toys are seen as taboo and “naughty,” and new reviewers (perhaps unknowingly) feel the need to perpetuate those stereotypes.

My first reviews were, admittedly, pretty atrocious. I’m guilty of breaking some of these rules myself — under “cons” for a glass dildo, I wrote “doesn’t vibrate.” But I eventually learned not to do that. Most reviewers do. It’s all about recognizing the problem and fixing it. And then becoming increasingly more judgmental of people who still fall into the traps!

This list is the bare minimum for writing a sex toy review that doesn’t make me homicidal. And while fixing these mistakes may not result in an awesome review, it will make for a passable one. Frighteningly, the examples have been taken from actual sex toy reviews. Please enjoy!

  1. Write at least semi-well. Learn how to use apostrophes so I don’t have to endure another “dildo’s.” Find a way to express glee without resorting to “LOL.” Do not make purring noises. Do not overdose on exclamation points. NO SMILIES. Watch out for sneaky incorrect words like “alot,” “discrete,” “silicon,” and it’s/its. Don’t fall back on pop culture references, e.g. “ribbed for her pleasure.” Unless your toy is behaving like a teenager, I’m pretty sure the word you’re looking for is “definitely,” not “defiantly.” And finally, the color red is not “inquisitive.”
  2. ACTING COY ISN’T CUTE. You are writing a sex toy review, and we are reading one. There is no need for you to feign embarrassment or act demure. Don’t write anything that could possibly end in a winking face. Question your use of quotation marks (e.g., I gave him a “hand”). Don’t muse over whether the postman suspects your “naughty little secret” or not.1 Don’t refer to “spicing things up” unless you are talking about rolling in nutmeg. And for reals, don’t use euphemisms. A dildo is a dildo, not a “dingaling” or “little booger.” A clit is a clit, not a “magic button.” Sex is sex, not  “doing the deed” or “sexploration.” An orgasm is an orgasm, not a “big O” or “happy place.”
  3. Do not assume your readers’ marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Far too often, it is implied that the reader is female and in a relationship with a dude. Don’t address your review to “ladies,” and don’t use the phrase “your man,” and you’ll already be better than a lot of fools. Which is sad.
  4. This is a review, not an erotica submission or an infomercial. You were horny when you used the toy? I could have deduced that. And please, do not direct your creepy erotica at me by writing things like, “you’ll be screaming for hours!” and promising that jelly anal beads will give me anal orgasms “every time.” Never, never write, “this is the only toy you’ll ever need” — because no, no it is not.
  5. Sex toys and people? NOT THE SAME THING. I once read this in a review: “who needs a man when you have this stud?” And subsequently wanted to gouge my eyes out. There is simply no reason to make this comparison. A masturbation sleeve is not “like some real loving.” I never want to hear the phrase “the real thing” again. And don’t you dare imply that using a sex toy is like cheating on someone.
  6. Knowing your shit might help. This way you will not end up recommending a non-flared toy for the butt, or suggesting that jelly is a super-duper material, or worrying that ben wa balls can get “lost” in the vagina, or contending that CONDOMS TAKE AWAY FROM THE “MAGIC OF SEX.” You might also avoid saying nonsensical shit like “this toy is made of silicone-feeling jelly,” and refrain from calling Caucasian skin tones “flesh-colored.”
  7. No generalizations. I have seen some of the weirdest shit put forth as truth. Like that no woman can resist a pirate, nor can they resist an elephant-shaped clitoral stimulator. But it’s the rampant stuff that really gets me, like that all women loooove pink, that all guys want threesomes and bigger dicks, and that women only use sex toys when they are either lonely, single, or their (ALWAYS MALE) partners are gone.
  8. If at all possible, please describe how the toy actually feels to you. You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many reviews I’ve read that refer only to the reviewer’s “hubby” and his opinion of the toy (often, “he thought I looked hot using it!”). Besides that, there are tons of almost-good reviews that read more like product descriptions.
  9. Don’t lie. You had a “mind-blowing” orgasm from tiny ben wa balls and nothing else? You think a gross jelly dong smells amazing? A candy G-string was one of the most delicious things you’ve ever eaten? You’re certain your mom wouldn’t notice if you left a dildo on the coffee table? You’re absolutely shocked to find a fake pussy in the fake beer can that you ordered from a sex shop?2 I don’t believe you. At all.
  10. Anthropomorphize toys sparingly, or not at all. I know it’s hard, especially if the toy has a human name, but if every review you write refers to the toy as “him” or “her,” especially if you get all cutesy about it, I’ll be clicking away. Sex toys: still not people.
  11. Don’t turn negative attributes into positive ones. If a toy is too weak to get you off clitorally, don’t turn that into “it’s great for nipple stimulation!” If a toy is hard to clean, don’t turn that into “I like that, because I don’t have to worry about ruining the toy with water!” Don’t give a toy props for simply not hurting you. If a condom rips on you, don’t praise the fuck out of it. I mean, really.
  12. Sexist jokes: please don’t. If I had a penny for each time a guy reviewing a sex doll or masturbation sleeve made a crack about how a toy “doesn’t nag,” well…
  13. “Good for beginners” is a phrase that should be used with great caution. Ask yourself why you have the urge to write this phrase. Because if the reason is “this toy is made of a shitty material, never got me off, and broke after 3 uses,” that is a terrible reason. Beginners are already freaked out enough; they don’t need a shitty sex toy to enforce their fears. In similar news, the phrase “this toy is good for beginners and advanced users” means absolutely nothing.
  14. Insecurity isn’t hot. You’re ashamed of your stretch marks? You’re too timid to talk to your significant other about anything sex-related? You would describe yourself as “lonely”? That’s sad, and I didn’t need to know.
  15. If a toy fails to do something it is not meant to do in the first place, let it go. Most dildos aren’t meant to stimulate your clit. Watch battery bullets are not going to be “Hitachi strong.” And, for the love of god, a condom is not supposed to stimulate your G-spot.

Follow these rules, and you will be well on your way to writing a sex toy review that, at the very least, will not induce headaches in the people that read it!

What do you think, amigos? Which of these makes you cringe the most? Did I miss anything?

Want more guidance? I teach an entire online course for budding sex bloggers.

  1. Besides, online sex shops really don’t need to be lauded for shipping things discreetly — only chastised if they don’t. []
  2. To be fair, this person was clearly trying to be clever in acting like he expected beer, but it was so dumb that I’m counting it as lying. []
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