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Review: Caress

Look... it feels like a kitchen tool trying to make meringue out of my clit.

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It’s a genius name for a sex toy, because it conveys so much. Caress, like the breeze casually ruffling a line of laundry. Like the back of your lover’s hand against your cheek. Gentle, romantic, safe. What you’d do to a kitten. There’s care in it. Tenderness. Caress, a verb that does no harm.

Alas, with sex toys, names are often meaningless.

The Adrien Lastic Caress has not taken care of me. In fact it has slapped me around a little, pestering my genitals with its mechanical rotating tip and prickly attachments that get tangled in my pubes. When I think of verbs for its stimulation, I think of words like manipulate. Wheedle. Yank. When I think of exclamations to describe it, I think of “ow!” Stick that in your mad lib.

The packaging purports this to be “revolutionary” stimulation, and I guess that’s a way language could be used. I’ve had sex toys that tried to lick me before, and a weird one that rolled a tiny bump over my clit, but nothing quite like the Caress’s spinning movement and back-and-forth shuffle. I was drawn to the idea, like a freak.

The Caress has 10 rotation modes and five interchangeable silicone attachments. Do you realize that’s fifty combinations for little old me to test!? My notes for this review (in a Google Doc simply titled “jack-off notes”) are verbose, overwhelming, a symptom of my neurotic brain trying to make sense of chaos. As if collecting enough data will reveal one magical combination of attachment and rotation mode that doesn’t grab my pubes…

But I can’t promise that. Because masturbating with this thing is like playing pube-yanking roulette.

Apparently it also vibrates, which is a fucking laugh and a half. Any added vibration is negligible and imperceptible, too buzzy and light. The movement is doing all the work when it comes to stimulating my clit, and all I hear is a mechanical whirr, like a tiny pissed off kids’ toy.

And it’s pink. Only pink. Pink like a disingenuous International Women’s Day ad, or a flower blooming in my least favorite color.

The settings on the Caress are as follows. Modes 1-3 shuffle back-and-forth with increasingly wider movements, never rotating more than half an inch. Modes 4-7 rotate one direction for longer, then make a pit stop to reverse. Modes 8-10 rotate one direction only, with accelerating speed.

I have to fool my clit into accepting this type of stimulation, this movement-and-little-else. It’s like someone rubbing too insistently, the way dudes in porn do. So much and not enough. A flickering sensation that borders on uncomfortable, or else just kinda weird, especially if I’m not aroused yet.

I’m always going to favor an effective sex toy over a flashy one that gets a lot of clicks on Instagram. I’m older than Instagram, so I get to say that.

Look… it feels like a kitchen tool trying to make meringue out of my clit.

For my body to really register this as pleasure, it needs a vaginal accompaniment: a good dildo. This is the advantage I was inadvertently giving the Caress by pairing it with insertables such as the Pearl, Firefly, and Ranger. Without a dildo as supplemental stimulation, the Caress feels sorta inadequate. Odd. Hard to get into, like an action film starring a bunch of indistinguishable white men. But if my G-spot is singing, no doubt the pleasure reverberates to my clit. This symbiosis is the opposite of what I normally experience.

Also, lube. Lots of it. Slather it on or face the consequences. Then regret it whenever you go to swap out the attachment.

The Caress gets me off, but there’s always something a tad dangerous about it. My vulva feels booby-trapped — one wrong adjustment away from pube-pulling. I ride out my orgasms while mashing the toy into my clit, where pressure dulls the sensation. What else can I do? The flickering that brings me to the peak isn’t always the sensation I like mid-orgasm, but I have no choice.

Adrien Lastic Caress on a layer of snow, with some grass peeking out in the background.

Then one day, while taking a shower and thinking about this review, I started anticipating the comments. Low voices rang in my head, bellowing: did you even try shaving, you disgusting hippie? So I grabbed my shower scissors and gave myself a trim. Nothing drastic, just snipping the ends of the curly-Qs, tidying up the grown-out bits. I definitely wasn’t willing to go full-on naked mole rat or anything. This was already silly enough. A sex toy should not require a pubic haircut of its user.

But, annoyingly, it did help. The pube-grabbing was less frequent, and when it did happen it was less intense. Suddenly able to relax enough to appreciate the sensation for what it was, I liked the Caress better. Not in the way that I’m ever going to use it after I publish this review, but enough to understand why some people might be into it. Orgasms kept creeping up on me, although my clit was sore afterward.

The attachment with the flat flaps gave me the most positive experiences. Its fits between my labia better than the swirly attachment, and its stimulation has a more unique bite than others. The circular prongs feel gentler and more subdued. The rabbit ears attachment is useless on certain modes but on others feels like nothing more than a weak vibrator.

On certain settings, the swirly and flat flap attachments want to push themselves off me, so I can’t keep them in contact with my clit. It feels — and sounds — like a wind-up car rolling back and forth over my vulva. Not good. Disconcerting.

Attachments for the Adrien Lastic Caress lying on a snow bank.

Then there’s the HAIRBRUSH. You know which one: the attachment that resembles the bristles of a My Little Pony hairbrush. It’s abrasive, skidding across my clit abruptly. No amount of lube is enough to take the edge off. During the one-way settings, it wants to take my pubes on a 360-degree ride. In other words, keep this attachment away from your mane.

The Caress seems like the right kind of toy for a brand like Adrien Lastic, and that’s not a compliment. Their catalog often provokes questions such as “WHY,” “HOW,” and “for what earthly reason?” But I did try some of their more average-looking vibrators, the Nyx and Symphony. Nyx has a decent shape but vibrations so paltry they’d barely disturb a sleeping guinea pig. Symphony’s motor isn’t bad, but its neck is far too flexible and I see no reason to choose it over more powerful options.

Well, I tried.

Masturbating with this thing is like playing pube-yanking roulette.

I don’t want you to spend $99 on the Caress. Will you be annoyed if I recommend getting the Volta and just… moving the toy manually if you want? Vibration has been the gold standard of clitoral sex toys since forever, probably because it works. I’m always going to favor an effective sex toy over a flashy one that gets a lot of clicks on Instagram. I’m older than Instagram, so I get to say that.

Something about the Caress feels rudimentary, like a factory had a basic rotating mechanism so they just slapped it on a base and called it good. That’s not enough for me. Until I see a toy like the Caress with separately-controlled, rumbly vibrations to compliment the movements, and at least one attachment that plays nicely with pubic hair, I remain unimpressed. At the end of the day, when the buzzing ceases and the lube dries, I think we can do better.

Get the Caress at SheVibe. Or maybe the similar but cheaper Satisfyer Sweet Treat.

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Comments

  1. I feel like this review deserves a standing ovation at the end, both because it’s almost instantly one of my favorite reviews of yours and because you put yourself through that just to give us a full review.

    Honestly, I don’t understand the point of this toy. The name “Caress” makes me think of something softly stroking or cupping my cheek, while this looks like something that would jab my clit either until it either ekes out an orgasm or goes numb altogether. My clit is already sensitive, so just looking at this toy makes me wince. I’m pretty impressed you were able to orgasm with this damn thing even with added G-spot stim. And this thing is supposed to simulate oral sex?? From who? Someone who added a tiny fan blade to their tongue? I hope you were able to treat yourself with a nice, non-painful orgasm after testing this out. Sheesh.

  2. I feel like this review deserves a standing ovation at the end, both because it’s almost instantly one of my favorite reviews of yours and because you put yourself through that just to give us a full review.

    Honestly, I don’t understand the point of this toy. The name “Caress” makes me think of something softly stroking or cupping my cheek, while this looks like something that would jab my clit either until it either ekes out an orgasm or goes numb altogether. My clit is already sensitive, so just looking at this toy makes me wince. I’m pretty impressed you were able to orgasm with this damn thing even with added G-spot stim. And this thing is supposed to simulate oral sex?? From who? Someone who added a tiny fan blade to their tongue? I hope you were able to treat yourself with a nice, non-painful orgasm after testing this out. Sheesh.

  3. Hard to get into, like an action film starring a bunch of indistinguishable white men.

    Ha ha, you just nailed my standard response when my husband asks me to join him in watching an action movie. A world of nope.

  4. i have that 2-ended deal. it’s not the worst thing in my toy box, but that isn’t saying much. it is NOT worth the price imo. (the caress already scared me, your review is just more NOOOOOO.)

  5. Hard to get into, like an action film starring a bunch of indistinguishable white men.

    Ha ha, you just nailed my standard response when my husband asks me to join him in watching an action movie. A world of nope.

  6. I tried a new pube yanking you recently too! I won the Le Wand Baton (with a copy of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year. So at least I got a book out of the ordeal!) which is a terrible friggin name as well. I don’t want my sec toys to remind me of police violence or the talent portion or a friggin beauty pageant, thanks.

    It’s a typical not quite powerful enough (especial for how all out they went on the luxury look and $$$) bullet or WeVibe Tango wannabe but it also comes with a strange little attachment, a “textured silicone ring” and while it looked mostly pointless, of course I had to try it. It did seem like just maybe it might feel nice on my clit. But silicone ring on silicone… you can see where this is going. Really bad friction and it wouldn’t stay still. And no matter how many ways I tried it was yanking hairs.

    I genuinely wonder if these companies, regardless of how some may be trying to appear to actually care about women and female pleasure, I wonder if they’re still lost in the misogynistic BS idea that pubes are gross or whatever and never friggin test their toys on women with hair? Because the pube pulling nature of any toy that does it always makes itself clear very early on. And I started reading your review in yanked pube sympathy but then I saw the photo and holy hell. I can maybe see how one wouldn’t immediately assume the silicone ring on the toy I tried would yank pubes but this toy, the Caress, especially when you said it fruggin spins?! It reminds me of one of those as-seen-on-TV hair braider monstrosities. Yeeeeah, I don’t want that near my genitals thanks.

    Also. Caress. Seriously? I mean fuck yes I want a partner to caress me and all. But a sex toy? Who’s sole purpose is to get me off? Do they not realize a lot of us would legit be way more attracted to a toy called “Max Power Super Rumbly Fuck Yeeees!” versus friggin Caress?

  7. i’m all for “let’s blow shit up” action movies, but i’m a lot more for it when the folks blowing shit up that we’re cheering for AREN’T generic white dudes and i’m at the point where i am trying not to add “generic white dude protagonists/generic white dude authors afaict” to my reading list beyond the ones that are already there because that isn’t my reality.

    (more ladies, more people of color, more disabled folks, more QUILTBAG community members, you name it and i’m going to be more interested.)

    also, this toy is horrifying and i pretty much don’t think anything by adrien lastic is worth MSRP.

  8. i’m all for “let’s blow shit up” action movies, but i’m a lot more for it when the folks blowing shit up that we’re cheering for AREN’T generic white dudes and i’m at the point where i am trying not to add “generic white dude protagonists/generic white dude authors afaict” to my reading list beyond the ones that are already there because that isn’t my reality.

    (more ladies, more people of color, more disabled folks, more QUILTBAG community members, you name it and i’m going to be more interested.)

    also, this toy is horrifying and i pretty much don’t think anything by adrien lastic is worth MSRP.

  9. The back-and-forth settings look like a washing machine. I guess the higher settings are the spin cycle. 🙁

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