Banter

Ramblings, usually about sex toys, sometimes about my gaping vagina, sometimes about sex-related falsehoods perpetuated by the media, sometimes about horrific blowjob advice. Notable subcategories include Disingenuous Assholes and Toybox Reports.

The secret truth about sex toy reviewing

The secret truth about sex toy reviewing

“Holy shit, you masturbate for a living?!” This is how people often respond when I tell them what I do, and honestly, I can’t blame them. On the surface, “sex toy tester” sounds like a dream job. “You’re so lucky!” they exclaim. “You get paid to orgasm!” But this is an oversimplification — and it starts to get annoying after a while. Aside from dismissing all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into running a blog, it glosses over the aspects of this job that are less than idyllic. While being a sex toy reviewer is definitely more fun than most jobs and has its fair share of perks,1 there are a number of drawbacks too. The following is a list of 22 unfortunate . . . read more

The Coming Out Interviews, pt. 1: Mom, I'm queer

The Coming Out Interviews, pt. 1: Mom, I'm queer

I’ve had to come out to my parents more than once. When I was 14, I wrote them a letter confessing that I was in love with my female best friend. Almost exactly 5 years ago, I revealed that I was a sex blogger. Then, a little while later, I told them I was non-monogamous and introduced them to my girlfriend, Aerie. (My other partner is my boyfriend of 12 years.) While some parents might begrudgingly acknowledge these identities, my parents go beyond that. My mom, in particular, is remarkable. She doesn’t realize how radical it is for her to embrace who I am with not just acceptance, but active encouragement and genuine love. She’s a very “live and let live” . . . read more

So, about that We-Vibe lawsuit...

So, about that We-Vibe lawsuit...

It’s all over the news right now that We-Vibe is settling a lawsuit over their app-enabled vibrators, and naturally, everyone wants to know my opinion. (Thank you, by the way, for thinking of me whenever sex toys are in the news.) According to the plaintiffs, We-Vibe was collecting app usage data without their knowledge. One headline reads, alarmingly, We-Vibe vibrator creator to pay damages after spying on user sex lives. Obviously, privacy and consent are important, but so is context. So, what kind of data was collected and how was it used? When the issue was brought to We-Vibe’s attention in September, they explained: We do collect certain limited data to help us improve our products and for diagnostic purposes. As a matter . . . read more

Review: Carter

Review: Carter

I squirt every time I use the New York Toy Collective Carter. Movement or not. No matter the external vibe. Whatever my mood. If clitoral stimulation makes me come while the Carter is inside me, I gush. I’ll be just hanging out, about to have a completely ordinary orgasm or so it seems, when I feel the pressure building, urging me to slide the dildo out. Sure enough: an expulsion of fluid follows. It hardly ever feels like I’ve earned it, yet it happens, consistently as the sun rising and setting each day. Sneak-attack squirting. And oh, with movement? With actual thrusting? Then I’m ejaculating even more, soaking through the towel on my desk chair. Carter is a meaty dude. . . . read more

Step inside my sex toy closet

Step inside my sex toy closet

This is the stuff dreams are made of — my dreams at least. This, friends, is my majestic sex toy closet. The culmination of years of collecting, organizing, and fantasizing. It is here where I store my gigantic sex toy collection, which is rapidly nearing 600. How did I get here? Well, shockingly, one does not amass enough sex toys to fill a walk-in closet overnight. In fact, nine years ago, my sex toy collection lived in a single cardboard box under my desk. As I began reviewing more, the toys graduated to a purple zippered storage case, and later to a herd of similar cases. This was an adequate but ineffective long-term system, so when I needed more space, I . . . read more

Ask Piph #9

Ask Piph #9

Want to ask me a question? Email me at hey.epiphora [at] gmail [dot] com, or ask here. Can you squirt with something inside you or do you have to pull it out? In most instances, with most toys, the toy has to be pulled out at the exact right moment, after which the squirt follows. This is especially true with larger toys, or when it’s more of an accidental squirt during a clitoral orgasm — where I’m using a clitoral vibe and stimulating my G-spot, but not trying to ejaculate. There’s a build up of pressure and it feels like removing the dildo is the only way to release it. However, things are different when I’m on a serious squirt mission. . . . read more

A sex blogger by any other name

A sex blogger by any other name

I never know my name anymore. A few months ago, I was at sex educator friend’s party getting high out of a homemade bong and listening to Dark Side of the Moon. It was the most high school moment of my life — particularly so because, aside from meeting boys off the internet in mall parking garages, I never did anything terribly forbidden in high school. Amidst dramatic readings of Sextrology and attempts at acting out #buttstuff in charades, a woman I’d never met arrived at the party and asked my name. As I often do these days, I hesitated. The same thing happened at the airport coming home from Woodhull, when the restaurant hostess asked for a name to reserve a table. It happened when I . . . read more

Look, I got a sex toy manicure (at Finger Bang!)

Look, I got a sex toy manicure (at Finger Bang!)

[Top: Ryder, Pure Wand, Magic Wand Rechargeable, Mona 2. Bottom: Luna Beads, Joque, Mustang, Seduction. Photo by my boyfriend!] In the past, there was no option for me to enshrine my favorite objects — sex toys — on my fingernails. For one, I bit my nails ravenously until about 4 years ago (obsessively painting them helped me stop). Also, I feel like most traditional nail salons would not take kindly to a request for such “lewd” designs, and my life is just so lewd. But now there exists a place called Finger Bang. Aside from having a name that is irresistibly fun to say in front of your in-laws (after which you shrug nonchalantly and go “what? That’s what it’s called”), Finger Bang is open . . . read more

Review: Automatic lube dispenser

Review: Automatic lube dispenser

The simplehuman Sensor Pump squirting lube onto the njoy Pure Wand. Many a time, I stared at it longingly in the aisles of Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Among the as-seen-on-TV contraptions and glistening stainless steel bathroom accessories it beckoned, goading me to use it for nefarious purposes. I’d never spend $40 on an automatic soap dispenser, but in my household, the simplehuman Sensor Pump has a much more life-sustaining function: dispensing lube. Bzzzt. That’s the sound it makes. An adorable mechanical blip, and my god — it’s a glorious thing. The first time I used it, I couldn’t stop myself. Lube was flowing like water, like wine. It was one-handed. It was instantaneous. My left hand was still firmly grasping . . . read more