Apr 302013

Ask Piph

Want to ask me a question? Email me at hey.epiphora [at] gmail [dot] com, or ask here.

I was wondering if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to any of your toys, or what you might suggest someone do if they did? (Other than buying 100% silicone/using a condom/etc. What if it’s too late, and they realize they’re having a reaction, what should they do?)

I’ve never experienced any sort of reaction to a toy, so I had to phone friends on this one. Thanks to Metis Black, InsatiablyTakenBeck, Lorax of SexDangerous Lillysepticidal, and many others on Facebook for their enormous help. Also, please remember that I am nowhere near a doctor.

If you have washed the toy before use, what you will most likely be experiencing is an allergic reaction and inflammation from the chemicals in the toy coming into contact with the skin. If this appears to be the case, here are some steps you can take immediately upon experiencing the reaction:

  • Take a shower ASAP and rinse the inflamed area as much as you can with water only. If you don’t have access to a shower, try to find a baby wipe.
  • Pee, to further flush stuff out of your urethra.
  • Take Benadryl. The pill, not the cream.
  • Call a nurse helpline and ask which additional steps you should take. Be honest and tell them that you believe an icky sex toy is the cause, since most will assume you have an STI or infection without additional info. Many do not know that sex toys are unregulated and can contain chemicals.
  • Go without underwear for a while, or at least wear loose boxers to allow your skin to breathe. Don’t scratch the area.
  • If you have trouble breathing or suspect your symptoms are worsening, go to the ER.

Other tips for temporarily relieving your symptoms:

If you have not washed a porous toy before use, it is possible (though not likely) that you have a yeast infection, UTI, or STI rather than an allergic reaction, in which case there would be different steps you’d need to take.

And just to reiterate, THROW OUT THE OFFENDING SEX TOY IMMEDIATELY. Replace it with something non-porous: silicone, glass, metal, or sealed wood. You having a reaction to the toy means that you absolutely cannot use porous (usually jelly) sex toys in the future, so please, spend a bit more money for something that’s not crap. Visit The Coalition Against Toxic Toys for more info.

Have you ever thought about reviewing one of the “adult” subscription boxes? Some of them are pricey, but it could be hilarious.

Spicy Subscriptions boxI’ve received an AVALANCHE of emails about these. For a while there, I felt like I was getting a new offer every week.

So far I know of Unbound Box ($45-65/box), Spicy Subscriptions ($25-35/month), and SecretSexBox ($20/month).

Each service, more or less, follows the same (often hetero-focused) pattern: cheap body products, dubious lube samples, some shitty “romance” item like a heart-shaped warmer, and maybe, if you’re lucky, a sex toy you could buy for under $15, but wouldn’t want to (seriously, two different boxes I read about contained cock rings that retail for under $5).

Sugarcunt reviewed LuvMyBox, pointing out, “you pretty much have to use [everything in the box] if you don’t want to have burned $35.” Tracy Clark-Flory tried several of the services and found many of the included products grotesque. Same with this reviewer. I suggest using your brain and buying sex products you actually want that are actually body-safe.

I said no to every offer I received because, while I’ve been known to review things solely to massacre them, lickable body butter and dust and glycerin-filled lube and gross sex toys are where I draw the line.

How far up are vaginal balls supposed to be inserted? I have the Je Joue Ami set, and I tend to insert them like an o.b. tampon, but I’m wondering if that’s too far up for their purpose. I haven’t found anything that says “this is how they should be inserted; if you feel this, you’ve gone too far.”

Je Joue Ami kegel ballsI don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule about this. It’s basically what feels comfortable to you. I always push them past my pubic bone, then stop when I feel them pressing into my cervix. They feel weird to me if I don’t push them all the way up like that; plus, if they’re inserted too shallowly, they can worm their way out.

looked it up, and apparently the PC muscle stretches from the pubic bone to the tail bone. So it sounds like nestling them past the pubic bone is the perfect spot anyway.

I’m looking for a comfy butt plug. A butt plug that I can wear for hours without everyone knowing I am wearing something in my ass. I should be able to walk around a lot, sit down, wear clothes that don’t reveal the toy, and not be worried that I could drop it. Do you know any kind of butt plug on the market like that?

Tantus Juice plugsYes! I have high standards for my butt plugs that play into your needs. I don’t appreciate uncomfortable bases, and I get really annoyed when plugs either slide out or feel like they’re about to. Basically what you want is a plug with a comfortable and low-profile base, plus a narrow neck that will keep it securely in your ass.

Here are my recommendations:

It just depends on which size/shape you want.

*The Pure Plug I’m not 100% sure about recommending for your situation, since it could be uncomfortable if you sit down on a hard chair. But stainless steel will probably be the least chafing of all the materials you could use anally and for extended wear.

I was reading about the Mr. Man dildo from Jollies on your site, and was incredibly disappointed to discover that it’s been discontinued. After doing a bit of searching, I came across a site that appears to sell them… but it looks a little sketchy. I was just wondering if you knew anything about it before I blindly throw my money at them. I REALLY want this product, but I don’t want to be out $65.

Mr. Man dildosI’m glad you asked, because I do know. That site is run by the original creator of Mr. Man, Stacey. But Jollies is no longer involved, and the toy is being produced in PVC, NOT silicone (despite the fact that the website uses old photos of the silicone Mr. Man).

A friend of mine had the displeasure of smelling the new Mr. Man, and she said it smells horrible, which is a problem for a toy that is specifically meant to be sucked on. Stacey told me that she plans to make it in silicone once it “takes off,” but to be honest, I get a strong sense that she is nowhere near organized/smart enough to make that happen. I mean, look at that website. It’s a travesty.

I hate to say it, but I really think you should pass on this one.

  • My personal experience with the Pure Plug is that the small didn’t bother me on a hard chair. (My desk chair is hard as a rock.) HOWEVER, I have a big ass, so there was some natural padding between the Pure Plug’s base and my seat.

  • (FS) Navigator

    Fuck, the Mr. Man travesty is the most disappointing thing I’ve heard all month. That probably says more about me than it does the dildo.

  • I have been approached by nearly all of those Box people too, and after trying to deal with the first one I gave up on responding, at all. I am pretty sure it was Boink Box whom I gave a very brutally honest response to as to why I wouldn’t support their services…..and at first they gave me hope and response favorably, wanting to know more. I don’t give that shit all away for free so I told him he could hire me. At first he seemed very interested in doing so. I actually spoke with him on the phone which I nearly never do. I wasted time in doing some research for him and in the end, I just got the run-around. I had thought that maybe…just maybe…he wasn’t lying when he said he truly did care about the quality of the products and wanted a really good service. Shame on me. I was wrong. I won’t make THAT mistake again.

  • Stars

    The mr man website is also using your review of the orginal.

  • I know. Every single review on the site is a review of the silicone original.

  • Bambarella The Great

    I have the large njoy pure plug. While I do appreciate the way it feels inside me, the handle can feel kind of cutting/pinchy in between my buttcheeks when I try to sit with it in. This may be because I have a huge butt and am a bigger girl (size 18/20). I do own the Bootie, and I love it. The flexibility and shape of the handle = no problems for me wearing it around the house or sitting down with it in.

  • The subscription boxes: Back when it first started, Boink Box had
    asked about hiring me as a consultant to help them curate their toy
    selection. A couple of emails and my standing my ground that I wasn’t
    going to give any actual consulting until a contract was drawn up, and
    they fell off the face of my earth. Oh well.

    The Mr.
    Man dildo: Smells just as bad as you think it would, being made out of
    PVC. The person who owned it was seriously heartbroken when I told them
    that it was NOT non-porous and that I wouldn’t recommend using it
    condom-free. Kinda defeats the purpose eh? The whole “when it takes off”
    thing bugs me a lot, because it’s NOT GOING TO TAKE OFF until it’s
    silicone. Why people don’t get this is beyond me. Feh again.


    I actually disagree with all of your suggestions, and this is why I
    love what we do. For me, the closest to any of those that would work is
    the Pure Plug but that’s iffy because of the curvature. In someone with a
    prostate it’s prolly gonna be ok, but anyone built like me the angle is
    all together wrong for long-term comfort. I like the Crystal Delights
    plugs for all-day wear. They’re so smooth and rounded on the bases and
    they lay so snug to my body that they’re the only ones I really honestly
    like for that usage. The new Tantus plugs ALL poke me in the cunt in
    weird ways. Depending on how wide-set the wearers buttcheeks are, the
    Vixen Tristan plug is nice for longer-term wear, as it really anchors
    itself in there nicely. Just my thoughts. Yay and boo for the variance
    in human bodies?

  • Wow sorry that was long.

  • nuala macmoragh

    Bummer on the Mr. Man. I’d LOVE one of those, and sadly I don’t think it’s gonna take off unless she makes it in silicone. given that the whole point of the Mr. Man is that you can have your partner suck your cock while you can actually feel it– who wants to suck on PVC or stick it up against your clit? Well I don’t.

    A friend of mine ordered a giant jelly dong from LoveHoney (makes me so sad that they even sell this shit), even after I warned her off jelly toys. She said something like “Well, it’s only 10 quid!” She wound up in the ER the day after using it with cystitis. Only 10 quid…

    I was never into butt plugs until someone wrote a rave review on the njoy pure plugs and I discovered that they really did feel like they were “coated in magical horndog dust.” Now I have a Booty, a Boosty, the med & large pure plug, a Ryder, and a Juice plug. I’ve never had an issue with any of these plugs myself (excepting that the Ryder is still a bit on the big side for me) but a friend of mine had an njoy pure plug fall out (probably because he’s an ass whore, and it’s pretty heavy). The booty didn’t work well on my partner, simply due to the shape–the stem wasn’t long enough, so it wouldn’t stay in. I’ve worn my medium pure plug for extended periods–even to my Tai Chi classes–I happen to love it, and sitting isn’t an issue for me but I have a fleshy butt.

  • I really like my Mood Naughty Medium plug. The base is very comfortable on that one and it stays in better (than the first plug I bought) .

  • Stars

    Really? That reeks of bait and switch to me. Thanks for pointing out the difference!

  • Silvar

    I remember reading about one of those awhile back and after seeing the garbage that was in the box I was just shaking my head. Pretty sure it was in an article by some mommy blogger type who was raving about how great and original the concept was. Yeah $50 bucks a month for some jelly garbage and some yeast infections from shitty lubes. I think we’ll pass on that. I would actually really love for either you (Lilly) or Epiphoria to just destroy some of those companies in a review though, those are almost always my favorite kinds :3

  • Adriana

    I had no idea that there were so many shitty subscription boxes

  • We tried to make a good, full of safe and awesome items Box service but it was a bust. People don’t want to actually pay for good toys if they are not picking them out.. or so I think. I did have fun making the few that I go to do and I like the idea as a concept, but I also think a lort of the companies making them now just are not sex toy companies and know little/nothing about materials and such.

  • http://dotekyimaung.blogspot.c
  • Tmcaurinus

    I think in order to do it right, the subscriber would have to fill out a questionnaire about personal preferences, and the boxes would have to be at least somewhat individually selected based on that. And that would probably make it more expensive than most people would want to pay.

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