Review: Nobessence Romp

There aren’t many sex toys that make me feel like writing love letters, so I figure that, if one does, I should ride the inspiration. That said, here is an open letter to the Romp. Creepy? Cheesy? You decide:

Dear Romp,

I just want to let you know that I’m completely and utterly in love, and I don’t ever want you to leave. I heard so many good things about you before we met; that you were a real catch. Sure, I thought at first, but maybe you wouldn’t be right for me… I abandoned that train of thought when I first saw you, and my cunt instantly flooded because of how good you looked. I was enraptured by your glossy sheen and exquisite Cocobolo wood. Even your presentation in a padded box was pleasing to me.

I wanted you in my ass right away. It’s a good thing I had experienced smaller plugs and anal play before, because I didn’t have the patience for much warm-up. This is when I figured out the benefits of your unique – and, I admit, what I found initially odd – shape. Your handle fit my fingers perfectly, and I could easily tilt and turn you to the degree that pleased me most, once you were inside me.

When you first slid in, your tip went in easily, and I had some trouble with the bulge, but when you were finally in? You were the perfect fit for my ass. You didn’t just fill me: it felt like every dip and curve hugged my ass at just the right spot, like you were meant to be there. Your narrow handle settled comfortably between my cheeks, and I could sit down and walk around with no discomfort. Your tip pressed tantalizingly against my vagina – sometimes against my g-spot – so that every motion with you in felt like foreplay.

So, alright – your hard exterior was a little difficult to swallow at first, and you’re quite the expensive date – but I’m so glad I gave you a chance, because everything about you delights me. You don’t just fill me up, like many other plugs can do; it’s like you were made to inhabit me.

Love,

Wilhelmina

I can’t wait to try more Nobessence toys.

Cleaning instructions: Unlike silicone toys, which can be boiled or dish-washed, since the Romp is made of wood with a varnish finish, you should clean it with 10% bleach solution instead, to sterilize it (before sharing).

Review: Crystal Delights Plug

The Crystal Delights plugs aren’t just anal plugs… they are, in all respects, jewelry for your butt. No, it’s not like vajazzling where you superglue crystals to yourself, or whatever. The Crystal Delights plug is a glass, bulb-shaped plug with a Swarovski crystal in the base. It’s absolutely beautiful, and was also my first glass toy, so I’m really excited to talk about it.

The plugs come with several different colored crystals to choose from, and in two sizes – short and long, referring to the length of the neck. The company that stocks and produces the plug actually created the short version after Britni reviewed & criticized the length of the original plug. If that’s not great service, I don’t know what is!

Since I’m a small person, I picked out the small version. I couldn’t decide between any one color, so I ended up getting the Aurora Borealis, which has hues of topaz and turquoise among its multiple colors.

The plug is on the small side, but the hardness of the glass makes it more substantial than the size might suggest. However, I found it comfortable enough to wear. The short neck fit perfectly, and was very snug.

I cannot get over how gorgeous and glittery it is. The first time I put it in, I snapped a picture and sent it to L immediately. (No, I’m not going to post it.) He really liked how it looked.

The toy also comes with a nice velvet and leather padded case that closes securely with two elastic straps.

The only complaint I have about the plug is that it isn’t suitable to wear under your clothes, or if you’re going to be sitting down for a long period of time. The base is fairly thick and bulky, so felt a little awkward under my jeans. I also couldn’t sit comfortably. It was better when I sat on something soft, like a padded chair or a sofa, but hard surfaces were completely out of the question. When I wore it underneath panties and a miniskirt, then sat down on a wooden chair, I could hear the glass clunking against the surface.

However, I don’t think that should deter anyone from getting the plug. This plug is meant to be flaunted, not hidden away under clothing! Let your partner(s) appreciate it, or use it during sex. Wearing this plug made me want to walk around the apartment naked (unfortunately I still had roommates at the time, so I didn’t indulge). If you want a plug for long-term wear, there are plenty of other, more affordable options on the market.

A lot of care seems to have been put into this product. Each piece is hand-made, and since it’s made of glass, it’s completely non-porous and body-safe. You can sterilize it by wiping it down with 10% bleach solution or rubbing alcohol. (I hesitate to suggest boiling for 5 minutes since I don’t know how the crystal is secured in the base, and I don’t know what effect boiling might have on that. I’d be reluctant to put it on the top shelf of the dishwasher due to potential damage of the crystal, also.)

Next time you have to buy a significant other a gift, you won’t have to pick between a fancy sex toy or jewelry… you can get the best of both worlds.

You can buy your own short AB plug here.

Thanks, Crystal Delights!

Review: Midori’s Expert Guide to Sensual Bondage

If you’re interested in trying bondage for the first time, but have trouble even tying a square knot correctly (like me), you’d be relieved to know that you don’t have to become a Master Rope Rigger to do bondage. Midori’s Expert Guide to Sensual Bondage, from Babeland.com, is a wonderfully put-together introduction to simple and sexy bondage.

The people behind the DVD are stellar. It’s directed by Tristan Taormino, so you already know it’s going to be pretty sweet, and it’s written and hosted by Midori: internationally acclaimed sexpert, author, performer, and workshop instructor.

Introduction

Midori has a very calm & elegant demeanor; at times her voice or gestures seem contrived, but then she’s used to working live, not on camera. She goes over some basic dos and don’ts: like communication, safe-words and other safety issues, and why people might find bondage hot. Some tips I’d already encountered in any BDSM beginner’s book or workshop, but others are very specific and useful, and I probably wouldn’t have thought of them myself. Examples: where on the body is ok to bind, and bondage tools you don’t have to spend a fortune on, like stockings, bathrobe sashes, scarves, and belts. (Why didn’t think of that?) She also goes over the typical leather cuffs and handcuffs.

The Lesson

Next up is a demo/lesson, featuring Adrianna Nicole and Mark Davis. Midori is present to instruct them, with Adrianna and Mark throwing in the occasional question. Midori begins with some tips on how to best set up the bedroom; using bungee cords and the Under the Bed restraint system as attachment points, and scarves and leather cuffs to demonstrate the actual bondage. They run through a bunch of different positions and combinations: with the scarves, they tie Adrianna’s hands together, tie her wrists to her ankles, create a “sex-sling” with three scarves, and lots of other fun things. They also do a good job of showing how four cuffs and a couple of metal snaps can result in lots of different positions.

I’ve been very interested in learning more about bondage, and I’ve perused a few books and attended a rope bondage workshop once. I found hands-on experience to be the most helpful, but written instructions and even pictures to be woefully inadequate. I guess I’m just a very visual learner. So actually seeing Mark and Midori move Adrianna into different positions was very helpful to me.

After this scene, Midori departs in order to let the porn ensue. Her voice narrates the two sex scenes, giving useful little tips, but you also have the option of a narration-less version in the “special features” section.

Adrianna & Mark

I’m not really a fan of either of these actors. I find Mark Davis kind of boring, and I really want to love Adrianna Nicole because she performs so well, but I just don’t find her that attractive, and like before, I found her grunty/wheezy sex noises annoying. However, together the two had a very hot, playful dynamic and they were clearly very familiar with each other – I wondered if they had been a couple at one point. At the very least they must have performed together before.

Anyway, this scene is pretty hot, but also doubles up as a great instructional scene. It incorporates as many positions and different kinds of restraints as it can: the Under the Bed restraints & leather cuffs, a sex sling set, and leather bondage belts.

This scene contains a bunch of things I absolutely love:

– LOTS OF PUSSY EATING. Shots of Mark flickering his tongue over Adrianna’s clit, getting her pussy all wet and swollen and pink? I find blowjob scenes really boring, but I love watching women getting eaten out. Why don’t they have eating-out in every porn scene?! My world has been changed forever.

– Mark simultaneously fingering Adrianna’s pussy and ass while she’s face-down-ass-up, and then briefly rimming her. Oh yes.

– Mark coming all over Adrianna’s pussy.

Madison Young & Danny Wylde

OH MY GOD. This is possibly the best scene I have ever seen. I want to watch it over and over again. I love it. Hell, I would have sex with it if I could.

Where do I even begin? Okay, first off, both of these performers are so hot that I almost came from simply watching them make out. With all their clothes on and everything. (Madison Young was wearting the best cat-eye glasses.) Danny pushes Madison around and she responds in kind (“It’s your pussy, Sir!”), but he also constantly checks in with her and sometimes narrates what he’s doing; which is both arousing and an example of good communication. This isn’t a straight-up maledom/femsub scene; they switch in the middle, with Danny blindfolded and Madison teasing him.

This scene doesn’t show off as much bondage versatility. At one point the scene devolves into more of a D/s scene, with no bondage happening at all. However, you do get to see a doorjamb restraint set in action, a cuff used as makeshift cock bondage, some creative use of neck-ties, and a scarf turned into a harness which holds a Hitachi against Madison’s clit.

I think it’s time for another list:

– Madison’s enthusiastic blowjob-giving. Seriously. I said that I usually think blowjobs are boring; she was sointo it that I couldn’t be bored.

– Madison sitting on Danny’s face.

– Danny spanking & playing with Madison’s ass while she’s restrained, and demanding that she stick it out further.

– Madison’s SCREAMING ORGASM. SRSLY

My one complaint about this DVD? No femdom. The instructional scene is completely maledom/femsub. Sure, Madison tops Danny for a little bit, but it still looked like she was servicing him.

When I first got interested in domination, I naively assumed that femdom/malesub was just as common as… any other configuration, but sadly the DVDs I’ve watched so far have lead me to believe that it isn’t. Either that, or femdom/malesub just isn’t represented as much in more “mainstream” porn titles like this one, which is also disappointing.

In any case, if you’re a bondage expert you might not find this DVD very useful… but if you have even a smidgen of interest in BDSM/bondage, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Review: Lovemoiselle Cecile

The Lovemoiselle Cecile from TabuToys falls short as a vibrator, and yet I wanted to marry it after the first time I used it, and it has been my go-to toy for about a month. Cecile is a luxury toy in every sense of the word – it isn’t meant for a quick-and-dirty wank break, it’s meant to be enjoyed. Preferably with aromatic candles and mood music.

Cecile is made of ceramic – a material I’ve never tried before and was very excited about – and is aesthetically beautiful. I admire the minimalist, elegant design – white, with two small flower motifs. The vibe tapers out to the battery compartment, getting gradually wider, so it looks quite like a flower itself.

It comes in an equally elegant box, with an information booklet and a velvet storage pouch. I don’t use the pouch, because it isn’t padded, so I’m paranoid that it won’t be enough to protect Cecile from cracking or breaking. The box, however, is a perfect storage unit. It’s pretty small and comes with a foam “mould” that Cecile rests in, preventing it from being jostled around. The booklet provided me with useful info about the toy, ceramic as a sex toy material, and how to take care of it. The same info can be found on Lovemoiselle’s website.

Ceramic, as a sex toy material, is excellent. Unlike silicone, it’s hard and unyielding, but much lighter than steel. It can be heated up and cooled down. It’s also non-porous, and can be sterilized with 10% bleach solution or alcohol. You can’t boil it or put it in the dishwasher, though, because of the electrical components. Well, you could probably just dip the shaft into a pot of boiling water, I suppose.

I had my own preconceptions about ceramic. I expected Cecile to be fragile, which didn’t turn out to be the case. Cecile definitely feels very solid, and I have no qualms about putting it inside me and thrusting away. However, be careful not to drop Cecile, and don’t abruptly expose it to drastically different temperatures.

What’s nice about Cecile is that it doubles up as a dildo as well as a vibrator. I first tried it out as a dildo. Cecile felt pleasantly cool (thanks, cold Northern winter) sliding into me, but warmed up quickly to my body temperature. As I thrust Cecile in and out of me, it felt like this… smoothness inside me, not an object. And, god, is Cecile smooth. Compared to silicone, it’s hard and sleek, and only needs a dab of lube in order to be used comfortably. Cecile also has light ridges, which make the sensation of the Cecile that much better.

I’ve never really understood the point of straight-shafted toys. I mean, the G-spot exists, shouldn’t every toy be made to pinpoint it? I’d prefer Cecile to be more curved than it is, but by angling the toy, or my hips, I was able to hit my G-spot pretty easily. Also, in other reviews I’ve read, some bloggers have complained that the toy being wider at the base was uncomfortable. But since I can’t even get that much of the toy inside me in the first place (typically when I use toys I only fit about 5 inches of them inside me) I didn’t have that problem.

Cecile as a dildo was amazing. I really can’t articulate why, but it feels so good that I want to use it on myself over and over again.

Now, as a vibrator, Cecile doesn’t perform quite as well.

The toy takes two AAA batteries (not included), and the battery compartment twists off very easily. (After experiences with annoying, fiddly compartments, I’ve come to appreciate ones that actually work.) The vibrations are controlled by a single button on the base – press it to turn it on, then keep pressing to cycle through the modes, and press it for a few seconds to turn it off. I appreciated that I didn’t have to cycle through all of the settings to turn it off, which you have to do with some vibrators. I don’t grasp the base in order to thrust, I use the tapered end of the ceramic to do that, but if you prefer to hold onto the base, you might have some trouble with pressing the button by accident.

Cecile has five different vibration settings:

– constant – low intensity
– constant – high intensity
– pulsations – high intensity
– pulsations – low – medium – high – [pause] – high – high – high
– pulsations – high intensity – long – short – short – short – short – long

For some reason I expected Cecile to rattle really loudly because it was made of ceramic. Don’t ask me why I expected that; most vibes are made of plastic, which is a hard material, and those don’t rattle. Cecile is a little on the loud side, though, to the extent that I’m a little worried about my neighbor hearing me use it. Thin walls.

I tried Cecile both on my clit and inside me. The vibrations weren’t strong enough for my clit. And coming from me, this says a lot. Compared to other sex bloggers I know, I don’t need very strong vibrations to get off. I’m able to get off from a Lelo vibe on a medium setting, when many sex bloggers complain about even the highest setting being too weak. Internally, Cecile didn’t do it for me. Vibrations on my internal walls don’t really do much, and I couldn’t maneuver Cecile to vibrate well against my G-spot. The last two of Cecile’s settings just confused my vagina. They’re too complicated.

I adore Cecile. Thrusting it in and out of me, with Mia on my clit, makes for one luxurious orgasm indeed. However, as a vibrator it doesn’t quite cut it.

Specs:

– Type: Traditional vibrator
– Length: 8″
– Diameter: 1.5″
– Material: Ceramic
– Vibrations: 2 speeds + 3 pulsation patterns
– Other features: slightly ridged
– Powered by: 2 AAA batteries
– Color: White with lavender accents
– Price @ TabuToys.com: $97

4 out of 5 hearts.

Kinklab Wartenberg Pinwheel Review

The Kinklab Wartenberg Pinwheel from SexToy.com is a classic BDSM toy. It may look a little bit like a pizza-cutter (actually that’s what J called it when he first saw it), but Wartenberg wheels were originally used to test neurological responses. It fell into disuse because of hygiene issues. Its medical-related background and appearance is part of its appeal to me; as is the lovely sensations it produces. Running it lightly over the skin results in a tickling or slight pricking sensation; if you exert heavy enough pressure, you can break the skin.

First try

I tried it out with J. I got naked, and he gently ran the sharp tips over my back and arms, while I squirmed and giggled. Being naked while he was clothed, and having the steel points coasting all over me, was quite an enjoyable sensory experience. It’s hard to describe. It felt like tickling, but very intense tickling concentrated on a very small area of skin. Then he moved on to my breasts and nipples, which definitely started to turn me on.

I teasingly ran the wheel over his arms a few times. He thought it was interesting; probably would get a bit overwhelming after a while, which was true for me. After about 15-20 minutes of tickling and poking, I had had enough.

Cleaning

I attempted some research on how to clean the wheel if you break a person’s skin and then want to use it on someone else. Obviously, that can be dangerous since you’re getting blood on the implement. Google yielded no results; I got the most responses from Twitter:

  • – soak it in a 10% bleach solution for 1-2 minutes
  • – boil it
  • – wipe it down with “medical wipes”
  • – sterilize it in an autoclave (can be found in tattoo parlors and used for a nominal fee); if any other method is used, wait at least 21 days before using on someone else

The best response I found was actually a comment by Mina made on Panthera Pardus’ review of the same product:

I would sterilize it the same way doctors sterilize a lot of things. Go to the drug/grocery store and get yourself a bottle of betadine (or any brand of povidone iodine) It’s a general antibacterial sterilizer most commonly used to prep people for surgery. Put a little in a container and add water. You’ll want it to be a “tea” color. Put the wheel inside and let it soak for at least 10 min. The dry.  Just note that the povidone iodine will eventually stain the container after continual use. Make sure to rinse your hands after using it, but if you are trying to be completely sterile I would suggest wearing gloves while handling the wheel during the sterilizing process or washing your hands with the povidone iodine as well. May I also suggest using hot water.

Material it’s made out of

I’ve yet to determine if this wheel is made of surgical-grade, non-porous steel, which is the only safe material that would be share-able. Couldn’t find any information on Kinklab’s website.

The wheel also comes with a nice leather sheath that snaps shut.

Overall thoughts

I really don’t have much to say about this product; it either works for you or it doesn’t, and I don’t see much opportunity, or NEED, for variation of any sort on its basic shape and appearance.

I really like Wartenberg Pinwheels. I’m glad that I own one.

Specs:

  • – Type: BDSM/Medical fetish toy
  • Length: 7″
  • Material: Steel
  • Price @ Sextoy.com: $14.85

 

Four out of five hearts!

Other kink type products you may be interested in:

Love Botz Auto Banger Sex Machine

Midori’s Expert Guide to Sensual Bondage

Bend-Over Beginner Kit

Review: Just in Case Condom Compact II

CNVJIC-A400BLKTa-da! This is my first review for SexToy.com, and it’s a condom storage case.

The Just in Case Condom Compact II is designed to look like a powder compact. (There’s a version I that’s a lot shinier and girlier and comes in lots of different colors, but I preferred the sleek, sophisticated black of version II :) )

There are a lot of other types of condom cases out there (French envelopes, condom cubes…) which you can either carry with you when you’re out and about (you know, if you in into someone you absolutely have to fuck in that restaurant bathroom, or if you go home with someone… it’s good to be prepared!) or set unobtrusively on your nightstand. Portable condom cases don’t just save you the embarrassment of having condoms dicovered by friends who rudely rifle through your bag, they protect the condoms from items you might be carrying with you that have sharp edges, guarding against potential holes, as well as not exposing them to your body heat, like they would be if you stashed them in your wallet/pockets.

As a condom case, the Just in Case compact works fine. It holds two condoms, and easily snaps open and shut. I also very much like how it’s designed – out of glossy plastic with a simple logo. It also comes with two complimentary Lifestyles condoms.

What the Just in Case has that other condom cases might not is an added layer of discretion, since it’s designed to look like a compact. I decided to see how well it held up to one of my younger sister’s actual powder compacts:

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Exhibit A! As you can see, the Just in Case compact is pretty much exactly the same size and shape as a regular compact. The manufacturers have even thought about details like sticking a production label on the back in the same spot. There’s even a tiny little hole in the back, just like a regular compact (also check out the reflection of my wonderfully classy Winnie-the-Pooh comforter):

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Functionally, I’m not quite sure what purpose the hole serves. It definitely isn’t big enough to allow poking (unless you carry pins with you…).

When you open the compact up, here’s what you see:

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There’s even a mirror inside! However, clearly the Just in Case doesn’t have any powder in it, so anyone curious enough to actually open it would be puzzled as to why you were carrying around an empty compact. Granted, making it an actual powder compact would be costly not to mention inconvenient to use, but adding a powder-poof would be a possible improvement.

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…And the secret is revealed! If you pull up the “floor”of the compact, there are the condoms. The floor is pretty tamper-proof: when you snap the compact open, it opens to the mirror part, and there’s another catch holding the floor in place, so you need to actually open that compartment to get to it. I.E. if you’re not looking for it, you won’t realize it’s there. Just be careful to close the two lids separately, because if you close them both at the same time, the floor doesn’t snap back into place.

So far, I’ve carried it around with me pretty constantly, and I also use it as a hand mirror when I touch up my hair/lipgloss/eye makeup, and nobody I’ve been with has made a comment about it.

In conclusion, the only things that might give the Just in Case compact away are: the emptiness, and the fact that it feels significantly lighter than a regular compact.

All in all, though, I think it serves its purpose pretty damn well, so it get’s

5/5 stars :)

Review: Intimate Organics Sensual Cocoa Bean & Gogi Berry Cleansing Gel and Body Souffle

Intimate Organics Sensual Cocoa Bean & Gogi Berry Cleansing Gel (translation: bath / shower gel) and Body Souffle (translation: body lotion) from PinkCherry.com are something else: they aren’t sex toys, or lube, but they promise “to leave your body and mind relaxed, invigorated and ready for whatever your night holds.” I put them to the test one evening to see if they left me feeling ready for a sexy evening.

I hopped in the shower and as soon as I snapped open the Cleansing Gel, my nose was filled with the scent of what seemed like, to me, chocolate and raspberries. Yum. The only problems were that the scent was kind of artificial, and it only lasted while I was in the shower. Once I got out, I smelled myself (good thing I didn’t run into any of my housemates) and the smell had pretty much gone. Kind of defeats its purpose, if you ask me.

Next, I dried myself off and smoothed on the Body Souffle. Now, I grew up in a tropical country and I am currently living in the frozen wasteland (not really) that is New England. My skin dries out so fast here that it’s not even funny. After trying a slew of products, the only ones I’ve found that actually keep my skin moist are Eucerin (which is dermatologist-approved and specifically for dry and sensitive skin) and a moisturizer from Lush, the name of which I’ve forgotten by now. Basically, the Body Souffle had a lot to stand up to.

It held up alright. It left my skin soft and shiny, but definitely wouldn’t protect my skin completely from dryness. The good thing about the Body Souffle was that the chocolate-raspberry smell lingered a lot longer, basically all afternoon.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about the scent. On the one hand, I love desserts, and chocolate especially, so I definitely found the scent pleasant at first and was turned on by the idea of making out with a partner and smelling that on them, or having a partner smell it on me (and thinking that it made me even yummier ;) ) However, a while after my shower, when I was in the library and kept catching whiffs of the scent on my hands as I worked, it started to wear on me, and instead of liking it I began finding it too sickly-sweet. It didn’t help that I ran into my friend SA and she asked, “what’s that smell? It smells like those cupcakes I had as a kid with lots of artificially colored icing all over them.” Not what I want my lover to associate me with when we’re about to get down and dirty.IN.002207-250-1

This is probably just my personal preference though. If you like sweet smells, you’ll probably like these products, and I have to commend them because of their 100% organic and vegan-friendly ingredients.

If only the Cleansing Gel had a stronger smell, and if only the Body Souffle was less overpowering. My verdict is: for now, I think I’ll stick to my favorite bath & skin care brands, Lush and the Body Shop. The pricing isn’t that much different anyway.

Specs:

  • All-natural, organic ingredients (no parabens, glycerin, DEA or animal products)
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Cleansing Gel amount: 240mL (4oz)
  • Body Souffle amount: 150mL
  • Price (of each, separately) at PinkCherry.com: $14.99

Two out of five hearts. 

Review: ID Millennium

ID is one of my favorite lube brands, and for good reason. Just like vodka quality is judged by “purity”, so does it go with me and lubes. ID Millennium? Is as pure as a lube can be: it doesn’t smell like anything, it doesn’t taste like anything, and instead of sticky residue, it leaves behind a slick softness. Kind of like if you just rubbed moisturizer into your hands.

This lube works very well with anal play, and is very long lasting. You only really need a couple of drops, so even though the bottle I received is tiny (1oz), I’ve used it multiple times and I’ve barely even used any up. The tiny bottle is also perfectly travel-sized.

I’ve read that this lube doesn’t wash off in water, which at times is a negative thing because it makes it more difficult to get off my hands/toys post-wank-sesh, but that’s the only complaint I have about this lube.

That’s really all I have to say about this lube. It works. Just remember not to use it with silicone toys, since it will fuck up the toy.

Specs:
– Material: Silicone
– Amounts: 1oz / 2.5oz / 4.9oz
– Prices @ PinkCherry.com:
 $9.99 / $14.99 / $28.88

Review: Heart 2 Heart Cuffs

The Heart 2 Heart Cuffs encapsulate three things that, IMHO, are essential for a set of cuffs: they’re affordable ($35), pretty, and well-made. In fact, I’m so taken with them that I want to try and collect the whole set: another pair of cuffs, blindfold, and whip, which have the added charm of being decorated with rows of tiny red hearts, which make me think of the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland (for me, a good thing).

The cuffs are fairly simple. To my understanding, from reading the packaging and the product description, they’re made of real leather, though shinier and more towards the patent-leather type. The leather is soft and pliable. None of that tacky, stiff, unpleasant bullshit that comes with shitty or fake leather. They also come with shiny silver buckles, studs and D-rings. The best part? They’re black and red. Which is my favorite color combination (um, just check out the theme of this blog). Now I have cuffs that match my lingerie! Yay!

The cuffs aren’t lined, but they’re comfortable, and I can strain against them without any chafing. I also couldn’t tease the buckle undone with my fingers, even with the cuffs connected together with a carabiner. Fairly escape-proof.

I’m very happy with these cuffs – as functional and wonderful as the Sportsheets Under the Bed cuffs are, it’s nice to have something prettier and a little more heavy duty. I only have a few criticisms:

#1 The set doesn’t come with any kind of connector. They’re cheap enough that I’m sure it wouldn’t kill the company to include one. I don’t own any, so I had to steal a carabiner off of one of my roommates’ Nalgenes.

#2 The cuffs don’t look like they’d fit people with thicker wrists/ankles. My wrists are tiny, and I already use the fourth hole. I honestly doubt that anyone has wrists so bony that they’d need to use the first or second hole.

#3 If you look at the underside of the cuff, the line of holes is accompanied with a long cut of some sort, that goes down the length of all the holes. It’s not that big of a deal, and the cuff doesn’t threaten to rip apart or anything like that. It is a little ugly to look at, though.

#4 I just cannot back putting “2″ in the name of a sex toy. I am not a teenager on AIM, and I don’t want sex toys that make me feel like one.

There you have it. My BDSM toybox is growing, and the Heart 2 Heart Cuffs are a wonderful addition to it.

Review: Forplay Toy Cleaner

Today I’ll be reviewing an “Adult Toy Cleanser” by ForPlay from PinkCherry.com sex toys. I requested it as a change from straight-up sextoys, and also wanted to try something that I could contrast with the antibacterial dish-soap I’ve been using to clean my toys so far.

I’ll get the banalities out of the way first: using this cleaner is pretty straightforward. The cleaner comes in a 7 oz bottle, which lasts for about 11 washes. You pour 2/3 oz into 3 quarts of warm water and stir it around with your hand to mix the cleaner in. The bottle has lines along the side marking 1 oz so you can measure out the amount easily. According to the description on the bottle and on PinkCherry.com, the cleaner is compatible with pretty much anything, but works better with soft materials like silicone. I tried it out on a few of my toys and it was a relatively straightforward process, although I didn’t find it necessarily more convenient or hygienic than just using soap.

That said, I discovered the problem with this cleaner when I decided to Google the main ingredient so I could contrast it with soap/other cleaners in terms of efficiency and hygiene. The main ingredient, as stated on the bottle and website, is Nonoxynol-9, known to some as N-9. The bottle describes N-9 as a “stabilized aqueous solution” and warns that it may cause irritation if splashed into one’s eyes. Fair enough. I don’t generally let my toys get too close to my eyes anyway.

Some quick research online and a shout out to my Tweeps yielded very different results. Apparently, N-9 is used in spermicides, condoms, cervical barriers and lubes because people thought it guarded against pregnancy and STDs (it can kill microbes in vitro). That would make sense as a sextoy cleaner, because spreading STDs and other germs is always something to guard against when sharing toys, right?

No. Studies have shown that N-9 not only isn’t effective in guarding against STDs, but actually increases the likelihood of contracting them by 50%, to be precise. And this is including HIV and HPV. It irritates the vaginal wall, and several of my Tweeps said that using products with N-9 in them caused itching.

Okay, so the toy cleaner isn’t meant to be applied directly to one’s vagina, just on the toys, so if you rinse the toys thoroughly, you should have nothing to worry about.

N-9 is more effective in killing bacteria, which would make it a more effective cleaner than ordinary soap. But what about, say, bleach solution or rubbing alcohol? I’d be more inclined to use one of those instead of shelling out ~$10 for something that isn’t absolutely body-safe.

2/5 stars.