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Review: Sona Cruise

LELO’s “sonic” sex toy feels like my clit is being haphazardly wheedled by an inept lover.

LELO Sona "sonic" air flow vibrator on a flower-patterned plate.

You could almost hear the collective groan from the entire sex toy industry when LELO announced the Sona. After an insufferable year and a half of HEX HEX HI HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT OUR HEX, this is what they released. This is the cool new thing. And as per LELO protocol, boy do they want you to think it’s special and revolutionary and entirely their own idea, not at all influenced by the bevy of air flow clit stimulators that have flooded the market in recent years.

LELO calls the Sona a “sonic massager,” claiming that the toy uses “sonic waves and pulses” rather than vibration. What does this mean in reality? Well, if you peer into the Sona’s nozzle, you can see an attached silicone plate that oscillates up and down. But from what I can discern with a flashlight, that’s what the Womanizer and Satisfyer utilize too: a pulsing plate that creates sensation by displacing air. Other companies have called this technology “pressure wave” and “pleasure air,” but I’m pretty sure it’s all the same goddamn thing.

Naturally, I badgered my sound engineer partner about how on earth a sex toy could use “sonic waves,” a.k.a sound waves, to stimulate. “They’re saying it’s shooting sound waves at your clit and that’s supposed to do something?” he asked as I pressed my Sona Cruise against his palm. “Sorry, but the only kind of sonic wave that will affect you physically like that is a very low frequency sound at a very high volume. Like when you go to a show and the bass guitar and kick drum are so loud it feels like they’re hitting your heart.”1

Considering all vibrators make noise, and “sonic” is just another word for “sound,” LELO calling the Sona “the world-first sonic clitoral stimulator” is a) inaccurate and b) meaningless. Taking a sip of his beer, he finished, “they’re just trying to use buzzwords to make it sound cooler than it is.”

DING DING DING.

Unbeknownst to my partner, LELO’s own marketing likens the feeling of using the Sona to standing next to a speaker at a night club. “Do you feel the music throughout your body, as if it was inside you?” the voice-over asks. “It’s exactly the same principle.”

Only it’s not, because the Sona doesn’t stimulate with sonic waves. It stimulates with air flow, just like the toys from Womanizer and Satisfyer. That’s why simply aiming it at your genitals doesn’t do jack shit — you have to press it against your clit, creating a seal and allowing the air to move. But the difference with the Sona is how little space there is between the tip of the nozzle and the moving plate: less than a centimeter when the toy is running.

You see, I felt the need to dismantle the idea of “sonic waves” because those sound so nice and gentle, and the Sona is not nice and gentle. “Intense” would be putting it kindly. “Overbearing” feels closer to the truth. It’s as if LELO took the technology that already existed and said, “don’t you want this closer to your clit? Even more pinpoint?! Don’t you? Don’t you love it?!?”

I do not love it. I’m not convinced I even like it. Rather than a subtle, undulating sensation, it feels instead like my clit is being haphazardly wheedled by an inept lover with no awareness of how sensitive clits can be. But you can’t teach a sex toy to perform better, not like you can with humans. The Sona is what it is — and what it is is aggressive. It seems like the small tip, and short distance to the moving plate, magnify the harshness.

LELO Sona "sonic" air flow vibrator on a flower-patterned plate.

The Sona comes in two versions: the Sona ($149) and the Sona Cruise ($179). They’re the same toy, quite nearly: both have 8 intensity settings, both are waterproof, both come with storage bags and one year warranties. So what does that extra $30 buy you? It buys you CRUISE CONTROL (no trademark symbol yet? Unbelievable!):

Specially developed by LELO and exclusive to SONA Cruise, Cruise Control is a feature that reserves 20% of SONA Cruise’s full power during normal use, so that when it’s pressed hard against the body and the motor begins to drop power, that extra 20% is unleashed so that there’s no reduction of intensity. It’s not a setting, it’s completely automatic, and it eliminates the single most common complaint against pleasure products.

$50 for anyone who can guess what this actually means in use. Yep! Sudden and unpredictable jumps in power, whether you like it or not! And it doesn’t seem related to the amount of pressure I’m using, either. This “feature,” of sex toys presuming to know what I need at any given moment… lord, one day I’m just going to turn into the eyeroll emoji.

Because I don’t want any extra power from a toy that already feels like it’s flicking my clit at warp speed. In contrast to the touchless, ephemeral fluttering of the Womanizer, the Sona Cruise is so abrasive I wonder whether its silicone plate is actually coming into contact with my clit. I even summoned my partner mid-masturbation, imploring him to measure my clit for me. Apparently it protrudes half a centimeter, which seems like enough to collide with the Sona’s moving parts.

Rather than a subtle, undulating sensation, it feels instead like my clit is being haphazardly wheedled by an inept lover with no awareness of how sensitive clits can be.

This is relevant because my clit is tiny, y’all. Like, the size of a Jelly Belly, at best. Anyone with larger genitals is completely SOL with the Sona. Its opening measures a mere centimeter wide. (Many of the Womanizers come with an alternative, larger nozzle with double the diameter.)

The Sona does not turn me on, because it doesn’t feel good enough to get me aroused. Pleasure is elusive because the entire time, my brain is like this is… not ideal, is it. And orgasm is more of a byproduct, really — the result of something thwacking away at my clit until it has no choice but to surrender.

Oh, and it makes wet fart sounds whenever it encounters lube/skin/folds.

In short, the Sona is nothing like being surrounded by the booming, intoxicating music at a concert. It’s more like the nasally-voiced person behind you who feels now is the perfect time to have a loud yell-conversation with their friend, actively ruining the experience and testing your patience in previously unimaginable ways.

Is the stimulation unique? Sure, sort of. But fuck unique; give me any old reliable vibrator from my collection, one of which is literally made by LELO, and I’d be happier. Besides, the Sona does not exist in a vacuum. (Ha.) It was, consciously, born into a world already inhabited by direct competitors. Competitors that are cheaper and, in my opinion, much more pleasurable. The Sona’s prettier and shinier and it has a name that doesn’t sound insulting, but when it comes time to latch it onto my clit, none of that matters. That’s the trouble with yanking existing technology, LELO. Your toy will then be judged against a criteria that pre-dates you.

On the first page of the Sona’s manual, before delving into the toy’s features, the text instructs me to use my clitoris “wisely” and “with care.” That’s some sage advice, and I plan to take it to heart. I won’t be using the Sona again.

Get the LELO Sona or LELO Sona Cruise.

  1. My partner would like to clarify that it is possible to physically experience high frequencies, but it would be unpleasant and not at all suitable for a sex toy. Please don’t mansplain to him in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Don’t ask me how I landed here again (I guess to cringe and gawk at the horror that is this torture device again?!) But given it’s clit cutting potential, I just want to point out, even to people on the smaller side or who haven’t has an issue yet… Clits and clitoral hoods (and the rest of the delicate surrounding skin and bits ( swell with arousal. When I use the womanizer, if I continue to use it for a second or third orgasm it drives me crazy that I end up having to swap the heads out on it. As in, even semi aroused or whatever, the larger womanizer head is too big to get proper suction, but post orgasm, the smaller head is now too small.

    It was exactly that issue that made me more aware than ever and maybe more aware than most of thr considerable size difference that comes with that natural swelling and increased blood flow. (And i never thought I had a particularly large clit/ clitoral hood. Average-ish for porn, certainly much smaller than a number of real women I’ve seen). But sharing this point, as is perhaps obvious by now, to say even if the Sona seems to safely fit without cutting or hitting your clit at first, it’s entirely possible that going for a second orgasm (if you can beat it from all everyone has described!) Or using it after getting off another way… You could suddenly find things are very different. And yikes.

    I just saw they’re already on the Sona 2 and couldn’t stop rolling my eyes long enough at all their bullshit buzzwords and ridiculous claims to begin to understand what makes 2 different but I damn sure hope it’s no longer injuring people. If ever a toy should have been recalled… But throwing this comment down, either way, should someone come upon this considering this one… Even if you think you have a tiny clit… It’s remarkable how much size can change with arousal and after orgasm and just… Be careful pleeeease. (and screw Lelo. Bleck. I can’t believe there are still people fawning over them acting like there’s not a zillion other, better, high end, nice looking, “luxury”, etc toy brands on the market at this point).

  2. Don’t ask me how I landed here again (I guess to cringe and gawk at the horror that is this torture device again?!) But given it’s clit cutting potential, I just want to point out, even to people on the smaller side or who haven’t has an issue yet… Clits and clitoral hoods (and the rest of the delicate surrounding skin and bits ( swell with arousal. When I use the womanizer, if I continue to use it for a second or third orgasm it drives me crazy that I end up having to swap the heads out on it. As in, even semi aroused or whatever, the larger womanizer head is too big to get proper suction, but post orgasm, the smaller head is now too small.

    It was exactly that issue that made me more aware than ever and maybe more aware than most of thr considerable size difference that comes with that natural swelling and increased blood flow. (And i never thought I had a particularly large clit/ clitoral hood. Average-ish for porn, certainly much smaller than a number of real women I’ve seen). But sharing this point, as is perhaps obvious by now, to say even if the Sona seems to safely fit without cutting or hitting your clit at first, it’s entirely possible that going for a second orgasm (if you can beat it from all everyone has described!) Or using it after getting off another way… You could suddenly find things are very different. And yikes.

    I just saw they’re already on the Sona 2 and couldn’t stop rolling my eyes long enough at all their bullshit buzzwords and ridiculous claims to begin to understand what makes 2 different but I damn sure hope it’s no longer injuring people. If ever a toy should have been recalled… But throwing this comment down, either way, should someone come upon this considering this one… Even if you think you have a tiny clit… It’s remarkable how much size can change with arousal and after orgasm and just… Be careful pleeeease. (and screw Lelo. Bleck. I can’t believe there are still people fawning over them acting like there’s not a zillion other, better, high end, nice looking, “luxury”, etc toy brands on the market at this point).

  3. https://www.lelo.com/blog/difference-sona-and-sona-2/ I found this on Lelo’s own site, explaining in the most cringeworthy and sterotyped ways, the difference between Sona and Sona 2 (they definitely changed the head at least?).

    “Badass babes with a gentle side” so that’s what they call anyone not into clitoral torture?

    The BS thing about color and girls who like to match their panties to their outfit. (Really? I’m way more into the sexy surprise of having a zillion fun colors and patterns to wear under my boring jeans and black leggings but okaaay).

    Calling us “girls” again and again. Nothing is sexier than making me feel like a child…

    And they actually flipping wrote “Don’t be afraid to get real wet either.” F you, Lelo, I never was…

    Jeez, it’s like they only continue to get worse and worse and more cringey sterotyped than ever. Trending exactly the opposite way from all the truly respectable companies out there. A just the facts on the differences (or “Hey we made the head deeper and wider so we won’t chop up your clit, hopefully, this time!”) was all I wanted. Not this overly wordy patronizing bullshit. I feel sick reading that garbage. I am enraged. Garbage company.

  4. Hi all, I want to echo all the comments here. I want to point folks to my own horrific experience with both the Lelo AS THE company, and the Lelo Sona, which caused bleeding, cutting, abrasion, burning, and nerve damage. I wrote the whole thing up on Reddit. I have been in pretty much constant pain for over 6 months, and not able to be intimate with anyone, and a host of whole other things (I can’t even wash my hair normally in case of getting soap down there.) This has been hellish, and I don’t want anyone to go through what I have been through. I hope somehow more search engines pick this up more. I cannot thank you enough for being ethical here. This not being “my world” I have learned that sex toy bloggers seem to get paid for a lot of reviews, and even reviews in women’s magazines (by “sex positive” authors) are product placements and “sex positive” in the new pinkwashing. I would hope that anyone who experiences injury would contact them directly at customercare at lelo dot com, if only to prove to the lowly women they have answering tickets that the company will never have their or anyone’s back.

  5. Hi all, I want to echo all the comments here. I want to point folks to my own horrific experience with both the Lelo AS THE company, and the Lelo Sona, which caused bleeding, cutting, abrasion, burning, and nerve damage. I wrote the whole thing up on Reddit. I have been in pretty much constant pain for over 6 months, and not able to be intimate with anyone, and a host of whole other things (I can’t even wash my hair normally in case of getting soap down there.) This has been hellish, and I don’t want anyone to go through what I have been through. I hope somehow more search engines pick this up more. I cannot thank you enough for being ethical here. This not being “my world” I have learned that sex toy bloggers seem to get paid for a lot of reviews, and even reviews in women’s magazines (by “sex positive” authors) are product placements and “sex positive” in the new pinkwashing. I would hope that anyone who experiences injury would contact them directly at customercare at lelo dot com, if only to prove to the lowly women they have answering tickets that the company will never have their or anyone’s back.

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