Nov 042011
 

  • Toy: Mahana Duo Vibe (sent by Babeland.com for review)
  • Type: AAA battery powered vibrator, dual vibe innie/outtie combo
  • Manufacturer: Picobong
  • Material: silicone and hard (ABS) plastic
  • Price: $69
  • SMT rating: 0, low to  moderate strength vibes
While rumor has it that I’ve never met a toy I didn’t like, I’m sad to report that I am not a fan of the Mahana Duo vibe.  It’s not that it’s crappy, it’s just not worth your time or money.

The Mahana Duo is not twice the fun

The Mahana Duo vibe from Picobong is meant as a lower-cost alternative to the high-quality, classy but more high-end toys from Lelo (which shares the same toy design team).  Unfortunately, it ends up being a get-what-you-pay-for situation, and so is hard to recommend.  The Mahana Duo is a combination innie-outtie vibrator, like several other toys that have been previously reviewed here (see the bullet list at the bottom for these more highly-recommended toys of a similar style).  It has a flexible C-shape with both ends containing vibrators; one end is meant to be inserted, while the other should rest against the clitoris.  It’s about 1/2″ wide at its widest, and takes 2 AAA batteries (one for each vibrating end).
On the plus side, since it’s from the same design team as Lelo toys, the Mahana Duo has a reputable brand to back it up, and is made from body-safe silicone and ABS plastic, as we’ve come to expect from its higher-end siblings.  It comes in two cute colors (pink and blue) and has a smooth, simple, non-intimidating visual design.  If the C-shape stays in place correctly, then its innie-outtie design can be useful (but see below on our testers’ feelings on how well it stayed in place).
Unfortunately, the Mahana Duo raised many qualms and negative points in testing.  First of all, it’s difficult to clean well; the engraved Picobong logo and the edges where the vibrator-ends screw onto the plastic are both grooved in a hard-to-get-at way.  Cleaning the Duo thoroughly would require Q-tips and a lot of patience.  It didn’t come packaged with any directions, instead opting to include a little six-sided die with various toy emblems on it.  This is exacerbated by the fact that the controls are somewhat non-intuitive; the buttons aren’t readily visible, and are hidden beneath plus and minus signs that blend into the logo.  It just feels cheaply made, with little aesthetic appeal and the sharp contrast between silicone ends and plastic middle.  The vibrations are fairly low-level and lackluster.  Additionally, C-shaped innie-outtie toys are meant to be able to stay in place without help (and maybe even be able to stay in place during intercourse or other play).  None of our testers, however, reported that the Duo could stay in place without constant assistance.  Finally, if you’ll watch the video review, you can see that the toy began making loud, ugly buzzing noises during the course of the review after only a couple of uses.  It’s normal for vibrators to become slowly louder over the course of many uses, but to have a toy start making such obtrusive noises so early in its life is a bad sign.  Overall, it’s hard to justify spending the money on the Duo–it has no special qualities to recommend it and several flaws that speak against it.  Here are some better alternatives that fulfill the same functionality and general design of the Mahana Duo, but are worth your time and money:
Oct 202011
 

Babeland.com is doing a wonderful October fundraiser called Pink October: Come for a Cause.  For each qualifying purchase, 10% will go to the Young Survival Coalition, which helps women under 40 with breast cancer.  One of the best ways to have fun while making a Come for a Cause purchase is by checking out the Power to the Pink kit.  This kit contains a delicious bottle of Sliquid Pink Lemonade flavored lube, a Babeland Buzz vibrator, and the ever-popular pink Mystic Wand.   Check out the reviews for all three products in these videos!

The Power to the Pink Kit is a fun way to support breast cancer survivors

Sliquid Pink Lemonade flavored lubricant is one of the most high-quality flavored lubes I’ve encountered.  It has a strong fruity lemonade scent, but only light to moderate flavor, so it isn’t overwhelming or sickly sweet.  It works quite well as a lube, especially considering it’s flavored (most flavored lubes tend to be stickier and less useful for actually lubricating).  It has a body-happy formula, a quality Sliquid products are known for.  And its pink lemonade flavor is unique and refreshingly different from the usual strawberry/cherry flavors of most flavored lubes.

The Babeland Buzz is a waterproof and easy-to-use bullet vibrator.  It has a simple one-button control, and provides strong buzzy vibrations.  It has all the convenience and fun of a good bullet vibe, plus it comes in a cute sparkly pink color!  Note: be careful to tap the batteries all the way down when putting them in, as I found it was easy to get them not-quite-all-the-way in by accident and think the toy was breaking (see video).

For the full scoop on the Mystic Wand, you can check out my review of it from last year.  In short, the Mystic Wand is a portable, battery-powered vibrator.  It has a variety of settings with powerful vibrations, and is nice and lightweight.  Plus, the button panel has a really bright blue light, so you can pretend you have some strange piece of alien technology between your thighs (if that’s your thing)!

Aug 292011
 

 

  • Toy: Ola (sent by Babeland.com for review)
  • Type: Rechargeable vibrator, mostly button-free controls, touch-responsive vibration, waterproof
  • Manufacturer: Minna
  • Material: Silicone
  • Price: $165
  • SMT rating: Strong 0 if you squeeze hard, but not quite a 1.

The sex toy industry is always looking for the newest, fanciest, prettiest way to seduce you into purchasing a brand new best friend.  Sometimes, these attempts are gimmicky flops, but every now and then one of their crazy ideas really hits the spot, if I ain’t being too subtle.  The Ola by Minna (aka the Minna Ola) gives us a truly original way to control the power of this S-shaped, waterproof, rechargeable sex toy.  The underside of the small part of the S is a squeezable, soft, enticing little touch-pad that reacts to pressure.  Stroke it softly, and it responds with an immediate rumbling purr.  The harder you squeeze it, the more intense the vibrations get, culminating in a very respectable intensity level.

The Minna Ola lets you make your own vibration patterns and control them by touch

The Minna Ola is rechargeable, and its recharger connection is magnetic, which makes it easy to line up and attach.  Thoughtfully, the Ola lets you know how charged it is by vibrating one to three times (three being fully charged) when it’s turned on; this is much more useful for people who are visually impaired than the “blinking light” method of demonstrating charge that many other toys use.  The S-shape of the toy works with the body in all sorts of delightful ways, whether you use it on the vulva or in the vagina.  The main draw, of course, is the touch-responsiveness.  You can use this to create all sorts of fun sensations and patterns, and when you find a favorite, you can use the second button on the toy to memorize and repeat a pattern until you want to give it a new one.  The Ola even comes fully charged, so you can start playing with it right away!
The touch-responsiveness of the Ola may be a downside, depending on what you like from a toy.  If you enjoy upping the vibration intensity or flipping through patterns by simply hitting a button, you may find the touch-pad too fussy a way of controlling the toy.  While this touch-vibration style makes it a great toy for exploring, either with a partner or solo, the creativity necessary to use it effectively keeps it from being totally effortless.  It’s intuitive, but not effortless.  The body isn’t flexible, which could be a plus or a minus, depending on what you’re looking for.  Finally, like any other silicone toy, you need to use water-based lubes, not silicone-based, with the Ola.
Overall, the Ola is a cool new type of  vibrator.  Its touch pad is intuitive and easy to use and allows you to let your creativity shine in what sorts of patterns you make for yourself (or your partner).  It’s a fun, sexy toy, and while the touch-pad is certainly unique, it isn’t a cheap gimmick.  The Minna Ola is being sold exclusively through Babeland, and I appreciate that they sent me a copy of this delicious toy for review.

 

Aug 182011
 

  • Toy: SpareParts Joque Harness (sent by Babeland.com for review)
  • Type: Washable fabric strap-on harness that’s highly adjustable, super comfy, and very durable.  Holds one cock, with a pocket inside if you want to add your own vibrator.
  • Material: Nylon, Spandex, Elastic and Velcro. Comes with a purple or black pouch and black straps
  • Price: $100
  • SMT rating: N/A.  It doesn’t vibrate unless you add your own vibrator.

Once upon a time, I co-discovered a new sex injury that I will simply name “The Kitty” in honor of the co-creator.  I will spare you the details, dear reader, and simply state that she was left with a rug burn on the bridge of her nose from repeated rubbing against a leather strap-on harness strap.  How embarrassing for everyone involved, although we were also proud of our new discovery!  Oh, the sacrifices we sex educators must make.  Anyway, the moral of the story is simple: I love a leather harness as much as the next person (assuming the person next to me loves them a lot), but sometimes a washable cloth harness is simply the best tool for the job.  I’d been hearing the joyful reviews of SpareParts harnesses, and so I asked Babeland to save my reputation as someone who invents new sex injuries by sending one right away.  Even better, they sent two – a his and a hers.  The Joque is the one for women, the Deuce review will be up shortly.

Joque Harness Image

The Joque is a sexy, comfy, highly adjustable harness. Watch the video to see just how adjustable it is!  It’s got lovely side cinches to make it easy to tighten, loosen, and slide on and off on a whim without making major adjustments.  The jock strap design highlights your round lil’ (or big) hiney, and the pouch has a stretchy cock ring to keep your dildo secure.  Plus, the inside of the pouch has flaps that cover the back of the flared base to offer padding between your mons (your fluffy mound area over the public bone) and your toy.  Toss it in the wash when you’re done and you’re all set.  Have sex with lots of people in a night/weekend? Buy a few so you always have a fresh one handy!  You can also tuck an outtie vibe into the pouch to get yourself buzzed while you’re strapping it to Kitty (she does get around in all the best ways) or whoever is lucky enough to receive your affections.

What are the cons to this design?  Frankly, I haven’t found one yet.  It rides low, as it should, so it’s easy to maneuver.  It’s easily adjustable and visually appealing.  It does not have a removable ring, but the ring it has offers a firm stretch that worked for my narrow dildo in the video as well as my thick Bandit dildo.  It didn’t chafe anyone, and people liked the way it looked. The washability remains my favorite quality, though.  With two generous size options, it’s likely to fit the slender folks and the thick ‘n juicy folks, which is a promise that’s often made and rarely kept so I appreciate that SpareParts does follow through on their size ranges.  No excuses – go give it a shot before you leave someone with some awkward explaining to do at work the next day!

 

Aug 182011
 

  • Toy: SpareParts Deuce Harness (sent by Babeland.com for review)
  • Type: Washable fabric strap-on harness that’s highly adjustable, super comfy, and very durable.  Holds two cocks (both silicone or one flesh and one silicone), with a pocket inside if you want to add your own vibrator or to happily hold your scrotum or entire flaccid package.
  • Material: Nylon, Spandex, Elastic and Velcro. Comes with a black pouch and black straps
  • Price: $130
  • SMT rating: N/A –  It doesn’t vibrate unless you add your own vibrator.
  • Ok, so the person sitting next to me is urging me to make some off-color and/or Strong Bad-related puns about the name of this product, but is too awesome to tarnish in such a way.  Besides, I think Strong Bad is trying to avoid strap-on related scandals in the current political climate.  Instead I will simply state the most important thing about this harness: you can now rock two cocks.  They could be two silicone cocks, one flesh cock and one silicone cock, or… if you were born with two flesh cocks one over the other, then you can now outfit them with a lovely harness.  Hey, this is a judgement-free zone, right?

    Back to two cocks.  Just… just imagine it.  Maybe the lower one is soft and tucked safely in the pouch, whether you’re wearing a soft pack prothetic cock or you were born with your package already attached.  Maybe you always wanted to have two hard cocks, just for the sheer joy of it.  Whatever your mood, the Deuce by SpareParts is ready in all its attractive-yet-washable glory.  The harness is modeled by what appears to be a cis-gendered male on the package, suggesting the delights of discovering what could happen if the stressors and/or distractions of an erection were removed from your minds.  Or maybe you wanna get a little kinky with your boytoy for the evening.  Super safe sex?  Another great reason!  Gosh darn it, the reasons are infinite.  It’s comfy, it’s highly adjustable, and the two sizes will fit a very wide range of body sizes.  That’s really true – it’s not just a claim.  And you can also use it with just one cock, of course.

    What are the downsides to this design?  You’ll have to tell me, because I haven’t found any yet!

    *Important note: Babeland was kind enough to let me know that the lower hole of the Deuce was not designed to support a silicone cock all on its own.  I would suggest wearing a basic rope harness or other adjustable harness that you can make extra-low-riding if you want to use it with two silicone dicks.

     

    Aug 152011
     

    • Toy: Love Bunnies (sent by Babeland.com for review)
    • Type: Bullet vibe in rounded bunny-shaped silicone form. Bullet runs on 3 watch batteries and has 1 speed push button control.
    • Manufacturer: LoveBunnies
    • Material: Silicone Bunny with ABS plastic removable vibe. Come in vibrant purple, pink and black.
    • Price: $20
    • SMT rating: 0.  It’s a mild-to-moderate toy powered by a bullet vibe.  But remember it’s an outtie so it you won’t be inserting it.

    When I first saw the Love Bunnies out of the UK I really, really hoped they would become available here in the US. Thankfully, Babeland.com has these adorable vibes for us in three happy (hoppy?) colors. Boasting an easily cleaned, firm silicone bunny with flickering ears and tail that is actually a removable bullet vibe, these are just too cute. I found that the bullet vibe on mine was much easier to remove than most sleeve & bullet type sex toys; however, my vibrating bullet was also quite loud and the button was a bit finicky. This toy will be a strong match for folks who like light to moderate vibrations but, as with all bullet vibe toys, those who want strong rumbles will be left appreciating its form more than its function. No matter what, though, you simply must see my Love Bunny’s adorable trick! If I turn the vibrator on, the bullet swirls itself right up her tail without any help from me. Seriously, you just have to see it.