Nov 182011
 

You’ve been covertly checking out the reviews online and visiting your favorite sex shop, and you’re ready to bring home your first toy.  But how do you warm up to a vibe when you’ve never had one before?  Dr. Ruthie and FunWares walk you through Sex Toy 101 for first time vibe owners to help you get comfortable and explore your next best friend.

Ask a question of @DrRuthie on Twitter.

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:
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.

 

Mar 212011
 

Fun Factory has always had a unique and light-hearted design ethic that I really like.  Maybe it’s our shared German heritage, but the smooth, round lines and bright colors are a reminder that sex toys are meant to be fun.  Recently, they’ve been moving toward waterproof, rechargeable vibes of a more premium quality.  Although I miss their old mid-range items, I have to say that it’s really nice having waterproof rechargeable products from them with the same thumpy, hearty vibration as always.  The Yooo, by Fun Factory, is definitely unique in a surprisingly functional way.  I’ve been calling mine “Bubbles,” but that doesn’t really do it justice.  Anyway, check out the video and see for yourself what makes this one special.

  • Toy: Yooo (sent by Babeland.com for review)
  • Type: Rechargeable vibrator, outtie, waterproof
  • Manufacturer: Fun Factory
  • Material: Silicone and plastic
  • Price: $119
  • SMT rating: N/A (Would be an SMT 1 if it were an innie; multiple levels of vibrations and throbby pulsation modes.  Has 2 vibrators inside, making it even stronger)

The Fun Factory Yooo's cute, unique shape make it an excellent outtie vibe for women and men

The Yooo is a pleasantly shaped outtie vibrator made of three bubbly spheres.  It’s about 4.75″ long and 2.5″ wide, and is made from silicone and ABS plastic.  Like most Fun Factory toys, it’s rechargeable, and its charger uses magnets to attach to the toy.  Since this means there isn’t any sort of hole for a cord to go in, the Yooo is entirely waterproof.  It has two motors inside, and has strong, thumpy vibrations, particularly on its higher pulsation settings.  Besides the usual “Plus” and “Minus” buttons to control the speed and setting, the Yooo also has a “Turbo” button that, when pressed, sends the toy into a high, strong vibration for when you need that extra little kick to push you over the edge.  The button area is backlit and seems to light up even when merely jostled (instead of only when a button is pressed), which is cute and makes it easy to find the buttons even in the dark.  The Yooo is an outtie-only vibrator, meant to stimulate the clitoris, vaginal opening, labia, or even the penis and scrotum in your life.   It shouldn’t be used as an innie vibrator, but it’s excellent for what it’s meant to do!

Since it’s Fun Factory, it goes without saying that the Yooo is high-quality and has captured my heart.  It’s cute and non-intimidating and comes in a variety of adorable colors.  The bulbous shape makes it easy to grip, even for those with poor hand strength.  Its shape lends itself equally well to stimulating a clitoris as stroking up and down a penis.  It has lots of strong levels of vibration, and all the pulsation settings are pleasantly strong.  The Turbo button is an excellent additional touch that other toy manufacturers could learn from.

I have very few complaints about the Yooo.  Foremost would be that the buttons are all small and a bit hard to press, especially the Minus button.  For those who are visually disabled, if you can’t see the magnetic charging attachment light up when correctly aligned with the toy, it may be difficult to tell when the toy is charging correctly and when it is fully charged.  Finally, it’s disappointing that the Yooo isn’t being marketed toward men as well as women, because it makes a perfectly enjoyable boy toy!

Overall, the Yooo is yet another well-made, interesting and original toy from Fun Factory that is high-quality and enjoyable.

Mar 212011
 

Thanks to Funwares, I post two videos a week to my YouTube in which I answer your questions on sex and relationships!

This week, one of you sent in a question about differences among vibrators.  Our questioner wants to know if vibrators feel different from each other.  What makes a vibrator feel stronger, lighter, thumpier, or more high-pitched?  What is a vibrator, anyway?  Dr. Ruthie answers all this and more in this video.

Mar 032011
 

Je Joue makes great stuff, so when they sat down and decided to make a super-powerful little clitoral vibrator, they made sure to make an amazing one.  Sure, you’ve been seduced by cute little outtie vibes before, only to be left wanting more.  This smooth, disceet little number is different; it has a powerful enough vibe to practically knock you out of your panties while still being whisper quiet and easy on the eyes.

  • Toy: MiMi (sent by Babeland.com for review)
  • Type: Outtie vibrator, waterproof, rechargeable
  • Manufacturer: Je Joue
  • Material: Silicone
  • Price: $80
  • SMT rating: N/A (settings from a hearty rumble to a strong buzz, would be an SMT 1 if it were an innie)

The small but mighty Je Joue MiMi

Je Joue continues to impress with their high-quality toys.  The MiMi is their new outtie vibrator and it’s a delightful small powerhouse of a toy.  It’s an oval shape, about 3.5″ long and 2″ wide at its widest.  It’s made from velvet-textured silicone, with plastic pad and metal buttons on the base; since the buttons are on the “bottom” of the toy with the charging contact, they’re less likely to get bumped in the heat of the moment and change your settings at an inopportune time. The MiMi has five different vibration speeds and vibe pulsation patterns, controlled through its two plus/minus buttons.

Of course, the important question with a small toy like this is: Is it powerful enough? Some small travel-sized toys don’t seem to have the punch necessary for people who like a good buzz, but thankfully, the MiMi averts this trend.  It has a very, very strong motor and its settings range from a decent rumble to a serious buzz that is surprising for an outtie of this size.  Through all the settings, it’s still very quiet.  And, as stated before, it’s fully rechargeable with a magnetic charger that attaches right to the base.  Plus, it glows when it’s in use (to keep you from losing it in the sheets, I guess?).  Unlike some other toys that combine silicone with plastic or metal, there aren’t grooves in the toy that would be difficult to clean between the silicone and plastic.

The only one major concern with the Je Joue Mimi is the buttons; they require a fair amount of hand strength to press, and are pretty small.  While people with full finger functionality shouldn’t have any major problems, people with reduced finger mobility may have trouble pressing the buttons. Due to the small size of the buttons and the fact that they could be slick with lube, it would be difficult to operate them on the side or corner of a table as I sometimes suggest.  On the other hand, the slightly more difficult buttons do reduce the chance of bumping your settings in the heat of the moment, so for those that have the finger strength and dexterity, this may actually be a plus.

There’s really very little bad to say about the Je Joue MiMi besides the button difficulty.  This is a fantastic little outtie clitoral stimulator.  It’s sleek, small, whisper-quiet but quakingly strong.  It’s yet another great toy from Je Joue, and gets a hearty recommendation.