Dec 312015
 

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

What a year 2015 was! I showed my face on the internet and subsequently used it to prank all of you. I got emotional about what being a writer means to me, then had my work published in Best Sex Writing of the Year. I managed to get out of the house a couple times, to attend the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summitan epic sex blogger retreat, and two smaller #dildoholiday vacations with friends. When the universe manifested yet another “scientific” “study” “proving” that squirt is pee, I protested loudly, and so did many of you. Dr. Drew was perplexed.

2015 was the year I programmed my own vibration patterns, took a video of the inside of my vagina, and found a tiny dildo in my shoe. I failed at cloning my boyfriend’s penis and attempted to get my vulva stoned. Through it all, I continued masturbating, putting new sex toys on/in my body, and faithfully reporting the results back to you. Now: the culmination of all that work.

As in 2014201320122011, and 2010, I’ll first list the best/worst toys, then give out awards such as “I Risked My Life for You; You Are Welcome.” I have two new awards this year: “One Step Forward” (coolest actual innovation) and “…And Two Steps Back” (you should be ashamed of yourselves).

Don’t forget to comment with which toys you loved and hated this year!

Best sex toys of 2015

Hitachi Magic Wand Rechargeable vibrator L'Amourose Rosa and Rosa Rouge vibrators
Diva Cup silicone menstrual cup Fun Factory Bouncer kegel ball dildo joyful-pleasure-midnight-joy-glass-dildo

  1. Magic Wand Rechargeable (buy— A triumphant upgrade from the classic Magic Wand, now with more vibration settings, portability, and a 4.5-hour run time. This toy is so good I toted it along to #dildoholiday and introduced all my sex blogger friends to its glory. Just strap it to my body forever.
  2. L’Amourose Rosa (buy— Want to impress my clit? Deliver deep, rumbly vibrations directly to it as the Rosa did. This vibrator came dangerously close to usurping my beloved LELO Mona 2, which I’ve been devoted to for 3 years. Dun dun dun.
  3. Diva Cup (buy— I know, I know, not a sex toy at all. No orgasms can be conjured simply by wearing a menstrual cup. But blood is captured, and that blood is ceremoniously dumped in the sink, and the Diva Cup is then held to the sky in gratitude.
  4. Fun Factory Bouncer (buy) — Stuffed with free-rolling balls that cause a unique jiggling sensation, this is a dildo I was proud to introduce to my vagina… even if I had to exhaust all my arm strength to fully appreciate it.
  5. Joyful Pleasure Midnight Joy (buy)— I’ve used approximately a zillion glass dildos in my day, so it takes a lot to impress me. This one did. I love its combination of curve, pronounced head, and impeccably-placed bumps.

Worst sex toys of 2015

Vibratex Princessa rechargeable clitoral vibrator Jimmyjane Hello Touch X finger vibrator with electrostim Jimmyjane Form 5 rechargeable vibrator

  1. Vibratex Princessa (don’t buy) — The mere sight of this vibrator makes me shudder now. I currently use it as the shitty cherry on top of an abstract art piece on my dining room table, where I can can easily hand it to visitors and upset them with its buzzy vibrations.
  2. Jimmyjane Hello Touch X (don’t buy— Let’s see: it made my girlfriend want to stop having sex with me, it shocked my vulva with electrostim, and it cut off the circulation to my fingers. What’s not to hate?
  3. Jimmyjane Form 5 (don’t buy— Unfair to mention two Jimmyjane toys in this list? Of course it isn’t. Jimmyjane continues to peddle mediocre shit under the guise of “luxury,” and I’m growing increasingly angry about it. The shape of this vibrator makes absolutely no sense, and I refuse to act like it does.

There are other toys I disliked this year — the Afterglow, these plugs, the LELO Mona Wave — but none of them are as patently bad as these three.

The Ends Justify the Means

(My favorite review of the year.)

I’m going to give this to three different things because I’m a cheat.

One: my first ever video review, of the Vibratex Princessa, which was my April Fool’s Day joke. Watch as I chug wine more quickly than I ever have in my life, then proceed to say mean, mean things. Listen as I finally get MY OWN THEME SONG.

Two: my post about the vulva laser was kind of the best. Skewering a product this ill-advised and body-shaming comes naturally, so I concocted some really sick burns. My fave:

Day by day, second by second, time is destroying your vulva. Your labia are deflating like a sad soufflé. Your vagina is drying up. The color is draining from your genital region. Your husband is weeping. Your dinner is burning. Your life is a farce.

Jimmyjane Form 5 and Hello Touch X vibrators (plus masking tape labels)

And finally, three: everything came together with my Jimmyjane Form 5 and Hello Touch X review. I allowed myself as much time as I needed to write it, which meant months of brainstorming how to articulate my rage. One night I sat at my dining room table hashing out this simile with my girlfriend, squealing with delight when we hit upon the perfect wording:

Jimmyjane is like that aging, obstinate techie hipster in the room who for years has been standing around with a beer in his hand bragging about his grand idea for a Facebook-killing social media website but has never lifted a goddamn finger to make it happen.

Some might say the Womanizer was my best review this year, and it’s a close call, but when I think back to the writing process and the finished product, I’m most happy with the Form 5 and Hello Touch X.

Here are more of my favorite quotes from the year.

The LELO Mona Wave feels like being fingered by someone who is absent-mindedly planning out the toppings on the pizza they’re going to order after I finally fucking come.

LELO Mona Wave review

Do not pass my sphincter, do not collect $200.

Marc Dorcel Geisha Plug and B Balls review

Guys, it’s 2015, you need to nary lift an ass cheek off your chair to find the answer to any imaginable question. For instance, I recently Googled “do cats go through menopause” and “can guitar face be controlled.” You are capable of Googling “womanizer.”

Womanizer review

My clit should be wild and free.

L’Amourose Rosa and Rosa Rouge review

He wants to take you mudding. This vibrator wants to take you mudding. Are you not instantly aroused?

Um, No: Bliss Me vibrators with… personalities

It wants to be stationary and perfectly-positioned atop my clit. It wants not to be interrupted while it does important work, like an egomaniacal surgeon or a dad building a ship in a bottle in his study while sipping scotch.

Womanizer review

If takes 500 kg of force to fracture someone’s skull, how many years will I need to diligently do kegels to create enough collective vaginal force to crush a single man’s head? Will I go to my grave without reaching this goal? I need to know.

Minna kGoal review

If I wanted to be badgered by disingenuous romanticism with absolutely no orgasm to show for it, I’d go to any bar in America.

Um, No: Bliss Me vibrators with… personalities

So, I didn’t achieve nirvana with the Afterglow. Maybe because I don’t own a “do not disturb” sign. Or because I took 19 breaths in one minute. Perhaps because I didn’t buy their special lube with its “unique ‘light activated’ formula.” More likely, it’s because I am a fully-functioning human being capable of independent thinking.

Afterglow review

This toy looks like I’m checking my clit for a fever or sucking snot out of it… in 1987.

Womanizer review

—————

Hardest to Wrangle

(My most difficult review to write.)

Womanizer suction vibrator

Not to be hyperbolic, but the Womanizer review was probably the most challenging one I’ve ever written. I labored at the computer for at least 8 hours, and that’s not counting time spent masturbating with the toy. All previous winners in this category — the G-Spoon, Mia 2, Fun WandMiMi and Form 4 — feel quaint in comparison to the internal struggle that preceded this review.

I started having a bit of an existential crisis as a sex toy reviewer. What would it mean, in the grand scheme of things, if I liked a toy this ugly and this strange and this expensive? Could I, in good conscience, tell anyone to buy such a device? Would I be laughed out of town for delivering anything but a blistering burn of a review for a toy called the goddamn Womanizer?

But in the end, I emerged victorious, with a review that I really, really like. So it was worth it.

—————

I Risked My Life for You; You Are Welcome

(A toy that caused pain, night sweats, disillusionment, etc.)

Marc Dorcel Geisha Plug and Fun Factory B Balls kegel ball anal plugs Pipedream Ceramix No. 4 ceramic dildo

This is a tie: the seam on the Marc Dorcel Geisha Plug scraped my ass, and the Pipedream Ceramix No. 4 nearly gave me first-degree burns on my vulva.

That last one is totally my fault for putting boiling water in the hollowed-out center of the toy (“just to see”), but I’m blaming Pipedream anyway.

—————

One Step Forward…

(Honoring actual innovation in the sex toy industry.)

Minn kGoal kegel exerciser vibrator and my Android phone

Oh my gosh, can we talk about the Minna kGoal? This is such a cool thing to exist in the world — a kegel exerciser that provides tactile, vibrational feedback when squeezed. And it has an app! With games! And reminders!

Vibration as incentive for kegel exercise is genius. Now let’s get vibration as incentive for everything else.

—————

…And Two Steps Back

(A toy helpfully undoing all our progress.)

Afterglow

Bombastic marketing of sex toys is a big pet peeve of mine. Afterglow began with that: by promising a new level of enlightenment. By claiming to stimulate with laser light technology. Then it insulted me with its $199 price tag and a manual that dictated exactly how to use the toy.

This is just a boring rabbit vibrator. And that’s the problem: for every sale of the Afterglow, there is a consumer feeling duped and puzzled, wondering whether sex toy marketing claims can ever be trusted again. Thanks for nothing, Afterglow.

—————

Biggest Disappointment

LELO Mona Wave rechargeable G-spot vibrator

This was a depressingly easy one to decide, because the LELO Mona Wave brought forth a devastating level of disappointment. When I realized its vibrations were weaker than those of the Mona 2, I felt personally hurt. I still do. It may or may not be rational.

—————

Stupid Sex Toy Trend of the Year

Douchebro marketing at its finest: Fifi and 3Fap

Douchebro marketing.

This is not a new phenomenon, of course — Pipedream has been douchey since the beginning of time, in 2012 we shunned Liberator due to their inane tweets and memes, and 2014 brought us a toy marketed as a “guybrator” and the puke-worthy video promoting the LELO Pino.

But shit hit a breaking point last month when a new masturbation sleeve called Fifi (which looks like a blood pressure cuff with a condom stuffed in it) started making the rounds. First, there’s the “How it Works” video in which the woman gets progressively more naked. Then, there are Fifi’s memes: fat-shaming, racist, and downright offensive to any self-respecting person.

As another example of douchebro pandering, I give to you… 3Fap:

The implied blowjob part. The sentence “if you’re still using this old stuff, your penis is prison.” This dude is the very definition of insufferable. He thinks he’s sooooo clever. He is sooooo not. Also, I hate to break it to you, but despite your best efforts, you still only have one penis.

Does it remotely surprise you that this is the guy behind the Vaginal Beauty Contest?

Finally there’s the Gnarly Rider, a silicone saddle you strap to a pool noodle (pool noodle not included) to make it vibrate (vibrator not included). Somehow they thought this video would appeal to the masses:

Hey guys, you do know you’re marketing to women, right? We’ve seen boobs before.

This company also uses a LOT of UNNECESSARY CAPS LOCK PHRASES such as POWERFUL AND TURBULENTBALLS OUT DANGEROUSEXTREME PLEASURE, and DOWNRIGHT NASTY. Kill me now.

Honorable mention: “upgrades” that aren’t actually upgrades, like LELO adding a scent to their Lily 2 and a music mode to their Siri 2.

—————

Manufacturer of the Year

Tantus

It’s high time Tantus won this coveted award. I have loved them deeply for the entirety of my blogging career — a love that has only strengthened each year as they continue to release fantastic toys and unabashedly support the blogging community.

Tantus never stands still and never stagnates. This year marked the release of tons of new stuff, such as some of the first ever uncircumcised body-safe dildosvibrating silicone anal beads; new dual-density realistic dildos, Gary and Alan; a vibrating version of their great Super Soft C Ring; and more. Their toys even made a special appearance on Inside Amy Schumer!

I’m usually allergic to crowdfunding campaigns, but I made an exception for my buddies at Tantus when they asked me to be interviewed for their Rumble campaign. That should tell you everything.

—————

There you have it! My favorites and least favorites of the past year. What about you? What was the best toy you discovered in 2015? The worst? Your favorite stupid sex toy trend?

  • I don’t think I’ve heard anyone use the term “gnarly” since the 90’s.

  • Spangle

    Even more depressing is the fact that the Gnarly Rider does not include a vibrator. It’s just a device for strapping a slimline vibrator to a pool noodle. AND IT COSTS $50.

  • Come Heather

    I love the seductive way the narrator says, “pool noodle.”

  • Um, your best and worst of the year posts are pretty much my favourite thing ever. I loved every single thing about this, from how much you hate Jimmyjane (SO MUCH) to what was basically your listing off of every single stupid thing that LELO has done this year.

    I actually missed the news about the Lily scented vibrator until now, but I plan on being angry about this for the rest of the goddamn day because WHAT ARE YOU DOING, LELO. I’m looking forward to it.

  • Jillian Boyd

    But why would you even want to fuck a pool noodle???

  • AceDenise

    I never knew pool-noodle porn was a thing. Oh wait, that’s supposed to be an ad? Yeah, that’ll work. Sigh.

    How embarrassing for those girls, to have to take such a crappy job. Makes me wonder if the producers shot more video of them humping pool toys to recycle as porn clips later, and I bet they didn’t get the ladies’ permission or pay them fairly for THAT. And the Gnarly Rider is 50 bucks? WTF? Did they just buy a bunch of cheap pool noodles at walmart and glue a dildo holder (read: pointy piece of plastic) on each one in the garage or something? And I can’t believe a pool sex toy (even a not-stupid one) would sell all that well since lots of people don’t own a pool themselves, seems like it requires having your own private pool. And many of those pool-owners probably also have kids- good luck getting some alone time in the pool if you have inquisitive children.

    Great list as always, Epiphora! I especially enjoyed your Um,No posts this year (as I do every year). We had some real gems- the Afterglow, Aurora, and BlissMe posts were the best- and by best I mean your burns, not the products of course! I second your Tantus nomination- always loved them, and now they even have a VIBRATOR coming out! I can’t wait until my Rumble gets here! Go Tantus!

  • AceDenise

    This reminds me too much of the homemade dildo videos on YouTube- remember the one that was “flesh-color” painted? Like with actual hardware-store PAINT? And the ice one? I bet I could make my own “Gnarly Rider” with junk in my garage, if I wanted a shitty pool sex toy holder. Thankfully I don’t.

  • AceDenise

    I kinda like the word “gnarly”. And “bitchin” too. But then, I am old enough to remember when “Valley Girls” were a thing in the 80’s. I never talked like that, but I always found it hilarious.

  • AceDenise

    Now, every time I think of the word, I will remember that chick’s silly porn-moan of “Ohhh, gnarly” and laugh even harder.

  • HeadlessLegoMom

    Um, why was my post detected as SPAM?!
    Boo! Hiss!

  • ShriektheMighty

    My best sex toy of the year is the stronic eins. I’ve only used it twice so far, because it arrived two days after my boyfriend committed suicide, but (and this feels really shallow and gross to say) it actually gave me something to enjoy since that happened, and joy has been very hard to come by in the past month since it happened.

  • I KNOW, I CAN’T UNHEAR IT

  • I’m so proud!

  • *hugs*

  • It’s interesting how many people can’t put the Womanizer into words. It intrigues me, and once every sex toy retailer ever drops it from its exemption list I might consider giving it a whirl.
    An awesome year for your reviews and thanks for reminding me all in one year-end-like place! 🙂 Good luck for 2016!

  • MyNameIsJohny.com

    Gnarly Rider is cool. But the reason we are seeing all these toys is mens capability has been decreased and womens expectation has been increased.

  • robodragonn

    That Gnarly Ride commercial was the most unintentionally funny thing I’ve ever seen.

  • I wish I found this before picking up the LELO Mona Wave!! Such a betrayal XD

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