You Won’t Guess How I Use A Magic Wand…

Yes I photographed my new magic wand on a friend's patioI just ordered not one but two Magic Wands, the workhorse dependable of the sex toy set, one for me and one for a friend. There’s some standards you get used to, the rabbit (really not very trendy anymore), the Aneros, a bullet vibe, a vibrating cock ring, the CB(whatevernumber)000 in all its ugly clear plastic glory. But, if I could only have one famous sex toy it would be the Magic “stop calling it a Hitachi” Wand. The Magic Wand is just so standard it would be hard to have modern sex and not be aware it exists.

In makeup, they make a big deal about products that get branded “holy grail” or “ride or die” or whatever hyperbolic nonesense you want. The video game version is calling things iconic. Sex toy review haven’t as obviously come up with a cliche for that (although the intelligent snark in the blog genre is well worth a read, I’ve scattered the end of the post with a few who’s whos and invite you to share your favourite reviewer in the comments). In the sea of items that humans have created to get off with, The Magic Wand just is. It’s a platonic ideal of a sex toy, so standard and effective that even porn uses them with a more casual attitude than lube.

But after all that puffery: They don’t really work for me as a sex thing, but I use them happily with partners. I could skip them in the bedroom.

So, let’s review this supposed miracle of plastic and wire!

Allegedly the vibrator is one of the oldest patented electric appliances, which is unsurprising. The tech is simple, an electric motor and a mechanism to transmit the vibrations. A washing machine would give you that effect unintentionally.  Although I tried a washing machine and alas, no dice, although I have good things to say about the right shape of a chair and the seam of a pair of jeans, albeit only vaguely pleasant. But I digress…

The Magic Wand is ugly. White that can eventually age a bit, with a big chunky control switch and meaty head, if it didn’t have such a legacy as a sex toy, it would look just like the vintage wellness appliance it was created to be. Hitachi’s little embarrassment, its popularity is such that they have a love/hate relationship with their product. On the one hand, incredibly profitable, on the other hand, even to this day Hitachi is synonymous with vibrator the way that Kleenex is with facial tissue. Since people are understandably shy about sexuality, wanting both money and anonymity, their subsidiary Vibratex took over.

Aficionados tell me the Magic Wand got a slight change for the better during this period, more strength, with a lighter body. These improvements are welcomed, but are about the only updates it has received since its debut in 1968. There are great grandmothers (and great grandfathers) extant who got a good buzz out of this toy, but it generally is considered to sit at perfection.

Instead the market is full of knock off and imitations of the design. Most of these are disappointments, except for augmentations like the “Doxy”, which simply blows its muse out of the water for pure power, and is the pounding vibration favourite of many. But if you don’t have almost a hundred or so extra dollars to throw on the earthshaker version, you can get the Original Magic Wand for about $60 US.

Everybody has heard of a Magic Wand, reviewing it feels almost redundant.

The Magic Wand is so common, if you want, you can buy special nubby hats that go on the meaty bit, from a wide bunch of manufacturers. I wouldn’t bother, the Magic Wand’s main strength is that it turns virtually anything else into a vibe, from his thigh (straddle!) to the butt plug you have poked into him just so.

For me, the biggest payoff of having a Magic Wand around is using them on other people. Whether causing a friend to have her eyes roll like a slot machine, or taking a handjob up to the next level, it’s a sensory play toy for anyone with nerve endings.

If you are going to share it, the plastic head of the Magic Wand is probably one of the draw backs- it’s not going to give you cancer, but not only does it yellow a bit over time and take smudges (the worse being when I used one to vibe a steal cock cage- lesson learned, although the guy came because cock cages are not very effective. Put a large sized condom on it and laugh at how silly it looks. Phhhppppplllllttttt!

I, alas, can’t get off from vibrations. An up/down motion does it for me with very firm grinding, so while I have used them as a sexual enhancement, alas I remain bitterly jealous of all the cooing women who touch it to their clits and BLAM, orgasm. All I get is sensation, followed by numbness.

On other people. >:)

The place this toy shone for me is discovering how much of a cheat code it was with partners. Lube up his dick, cup in in your hand and rub it up and down the shaft. Boom, ropes of milky come everywhere. At a play party? Press it to her crotch through her panties and have a couple of friends hold her arms. Whee!

Is use on penis having people is a dearly neglected part of the value of the toy, so if you are into teasing and getting guys off as part of your femdom, and it hasn’t occurred to you, try bringing it out of the toy box to try on his squirmy, bound body.  Degender your sex toys.

Then, when you’re done, swab it down with a bleach wipe like it’s a piece of gym equipment. It sure looks ugly, but boy does is do the job it is supposed to (on most people). Heck, be a sex party hero and throw and extension cord into your bag.

I use the Magic Wand for its original intended purpose…

I hate to be NLOB (not like other bloggers) but this guy will never, ever be my own personal orgasm factory. Despite this, I had to get it.

I get migraines about monthly, biweekly if I am not taking good care of myself. They range from merely obnoxious, giving me days of fuzzy headedness, to accute, evening long sessions of screaming pain where I end up in the bathroom completely helpless. Over a lifetime of dealing with them I’ve learned tricks- advil or muscle relaxants at the first symptoms, dark rooms, gentle exercise if they go into a lull. All this is blissfully complimented by jamming a Magic Wand against the sinus under my eye and letting it buzz the pain right out of me.

Which I guess is part of the challenge with sex writing, as it’s so damn personal. In a world of gspot orgasms and squirting and people who like being rope bunnies, there’s so much yum that feels ubiquitous but when you look up close is a lot more custom to the person.

I will probably never get off from vibrations alone, my tiny clit doesn’t like that kind of lovin’.  But I think, as this blog suggests, that my approach to my sexuality will be as unorthodox as it is honest, that there is no one wrong way to do it and not having a migraine is well worth the sticker price.

Yeah there’s an affiliate link here. Yes, I tried and tested the product in question. I like it so much that I bought it.

Here’s a list of bloggers who are better at talking about sex toys than me:

Femdom Review “The Butters” Oil Based Lube

An oil based lube shown next to my favourite. I like this, but not for sex.

From time to time, as a blogger, I’m privileged to get random free samples shucked my way, for the publicity my talking about it gives, and also beta testing. In the case of The Butters, an oil based lube, it is one of the nicest moisturizers I have ever tried, but… I don’t want to put it on my vulva, or give someone a hand job with it, or slick up a toy with it. I will happily rub it into my legs and face, but it is not a good sex product for me.

And this brand does EVERYTHING right, so don’t think this is one of my little rants, like my disapproval of those cheap sex toys from overseas manufactures that swear they are 100% silicone and smell like a tire fire.  This is a a homemade oil based mix of different thick, edible fats with about the texture of a creamy body butter. You can’t use it with latex condoms, but it makes sure you know what it is right away, and it’s skin safe and scentless. I really like the politics of this producer and the fact that the branding is gender neutral while still taking into account its testers varied anatomy.

I even find the brown and yellow colour scheme visually attractive! Gosh, I wish I could tell you about how this was my go to lubricant, and how it totally rocked my socks. But it just doesn’t do the job it’s marketed to do.

That being said, the manufacturer is super responsive and gave me more tips on how to get the most value out of it (use a lot) as well as took my feedback regarding the sample bottles (yours would come in a jar, not a squeezy, I had trouble getting the product out). I was so sad I couldn’t make the sex part work that I put off my review for over a year. Procrastination isn’t the most mature solution, but I hate having to give a thumbs down, even a gentle, entirely it’s-not-you-it’s-me one.

I think I just need a thinner lube to experience the right mimic of what I naturally have. It feels unpleasantly chunky after getting used to oil for my massage and sex needs, and absorbs almost instantly in quantities I feel comfortable slathering on. That’s great stroked into freshly shaved legs or patted into my oft sensitive complexion. I imagine with a whole palmful it might be lovely for butt stuff.

I’m not the only reviewer to notice that it’s very other purpose friendly, not something I can say for water based KY (or KY knock offs) or silicone lube (no silicone lube for me, the bathroom floor was slippy for days after). It even lacks the excessively medicinal feel, and never goes tacky like the water based lubes due after a while.

But at the end of the day this is a fantastic natural, small batch moisturizer from a great independently owned business. I might even buy more to replace out my standard go to body butter, but I can’t make it work for sex, even if I actually like an oil based lube like coconut or sweet almond oil.

Note: The ingredient list has shifted a bit. Mine had arrow root powder but the formula on their website is as follows: “aloe vera gel, raw shea butter*, pure coconut oil, pure extra virgin olive oil, pure grapeseed oil, pure palm kernel oil*, pure soy lipid emulsion*, apple cider vinegar & guar bean powder.”

Femdom Review: SVACOM Cathy, Yay or Nae?

svacomSVACOM asked me to review a part of their catalog, the pink silicone skin vibrator titled “Cathy”. There’s only one problem, I generally find 99% of vibes, through no fault of their own, leave my lady parts cold. And numb. But still, here I am with a $ vibrator and wondering how to give it a fair shake.

Enter my friend Mrs. Castle. My neighbour and frequent tea companion, this woman is one of the lovely extra bright points in a life that’s already filled with some pretty sparkly people. She is able to give it a thorough testing, so when Svacom sent me the toy to test I was able to do a quick hand off and, within short order she had news to share.

Let’s see how Mrs. Castle enjoyed her date with Cathy?

Today I spent an hour getting intimate with my new friend Cathy. Cathy is Svakom’s much touted ‘Ultra-Soft Silicone Vibrator’, which comes in pink, or PINK.  The one gifted me by Miss Pearl is decidedly PINK (though on their site, Svakom calls it ‘Plum Red’). Cathy is a generous 180mm long, and 90mm wide, and so if you are not comfortable with a decent girth, you might consider being very liberal with your lube before playing with her. She is also waterproof, and made of eco-safe materials. She functions on polymer lithium rechargeable battery, and has a continuous working time of roughly 2 hours.

One thing that sets Cathy apart from other vibes is the ‘Svakom Intelligent Mode’. I admit, I was skeptical when I read that in the user guide, but it was actually fairly pleasant. It has a nice slow teasing build, which I did like, though I found the ‘climax’ period of the cycle to be far too short for my personal taste. Still, it is a far better cycle of vibration than I’ve tried with other similar toys in the past, and I mostly did like it. Happily, you can press the arrows to shift modes at any time to make your experience more or less intense.

Another feature I was very impressed by was how SILENT Cathy was. Svakom promises their toys are ‘whisper quiet’, and they really delivered on that front. I could only hear the faintest thrum of the motor, but only just. It was nice, and as such did not distract me from my self-pleasuring mission. I am sure that if others were home, they would have had no idea what I was up to.

I also want to highlight how wide Cathy is, and that she is a shapely toy. Many vibrators out there are pretty dull, and slim, and honestly do little for me. Cathy was wide, enough that I was surprised by it, and it made for a much more pleasant experience. She is also tapered, so you can insert to the girth you like best, though I found it to be the most comfortable when I had the vibrator in as fully as was possible without losing the control buttons.

My main critique would be that the design leads to some small frustration because the control buttons do end up very close to buried within you. Some sort of remote to control the settings would have been nice, and could lend itself well to more partner-play too.

Did Cathy do the job? I would say that she’s certainly a fun ride, if not a thorough one. I am one of those who requires far more clitoral stimulation than just vaginal, but I did enjoy the internal stimulation a fair amount. Cathy is a long girl, and I do really like being deeply penetrated, which was also agreeable. I also liked the feel of the ‘ultra-soft silicone’ as opposed to regular silicone or other materials I’ve seen used. I found that the sensations were well delivered, as well as thoughtfully-timed when I was playing with the ‘Intelligent Mode’.

7.5/10 will diddle with again.

What do I think of the SVACOM Cathy?

I like that it’s a rechargeable cordless vibe, although lurid pink is not my favourite, aesthetically. The promotional material hilariously promotes everywhere you could use it other than intimate purposes- a not unfamiliar quirk in a world where sex toys fall on the cusp of legal in some region and the framing is everything. I can’t see myself using it as a massage wand for my shoulder the way I will use a rumbley work horse like the good old Magic Wand.

On the other hand, the Svacom Cathy seems just as solid as her other, well more known cousins from established brands. Her price is not low budget ($95 US), but the build quality in comparable to similarly priced toys in other lines. She doesn’t horrify based on materials. Whisper quiet without sacrificing power is pretty key to self diddling, whether you are college aged and living with the ‘rents or living with kids who’ll ask why mommy is buzzing at night.

Okay, but why should I care?

A diversity of sex toys encourages exploring new designs (all the better for a diversity of bodies!) and well as driving the overall price. Although this is a first time with Svacom it will be interesting to see where the brand takes their output next.

Review disclosure: I got the SVACOM Cathy for free and shared it with my friend, who I allowed to keep it because A) used sex toy and B) she evidently enjoyed it enough it’ll keep being used.

(They offered a coupon code, if such a thing is applicable to you: specialdisc20 a $20 discount.)

Femdom Review: The Control Book by Peter Masters

controlOr, as an unofficial subtitle… A Manual on How to be That Guy.

This is a bad book. It gets a lot wrong, wastes a lot of the reader’s time doing it. I’m going to be charitable and suggest that Masters is expressing himself poorly and would never endorse violations of consent. However, based on how this is written, the advice contained within has no place in a contemporary BDSM scene. It’s a pity because there aren’t really much in the way of (focused) resources about the behaviours you can use to compliment and express power dynamics. It mistakes talking a lot for making an argument and has enough problematic suggestions that it has no place in any kink curriculum.

So if you want to read it, basically imagine you were going to do a comedy skit about the ponderous True Dom you may have had the misfortune to meet at a munch, and expect a combination of tedium and terrible advice.

[Before I go any further, it’s worth noting that everything I stand for is pretty much diametrically opposite to this guy’s approach in this book. I can’t actively claim that Peter Masters is a bad person with any confidence, so if you are the author rest assured that I’m the kind of TNG/18-35 tumblr born brat that’s probably ruining kink and my shit probably looks just as appalling to you. That being said you are wrong about things with this book. WRONG.]

Here’s the highlights of the yuck:

  • D/s is only 24/7 and that’s what makes it distinct from topping & bottoming.
  • There’s no such thing as a switch and no room for them.
  • The best way to approach and gain submission is to start ordering subs around at a party.
  • Negotiation? What negotiation?
  • Subs are slightly brain dead, but it’s hard(er) to control a sub who is a good communicator.
  • Safewords are a barrier to D/s & here’s how to ignore/avoid them.
  • Lots of unsubstantiated pop psych.
  • Gender archetype Warrior/Mother examples without much examination of where they might come from.

Need more critique? I’ve got more to say.

Read More

Femdom Review: Safe Words by Drury Jamison

Safe words by Drury JamisonTitle: Safe Words
By: Drury Jamison

Tl;DR: Your standard thriller romance, with a jaded cop hero, but  bonus femdom self discovery.

There’s a handful of books with this title (and zip between the covers to do with it, other than an offhand romantic joke) but Jamison breathes some pleasant life into a by the numbers plot. A killer is stalking femdoms, and our heroine, Detective Eleanor Silver, ends up discovering a bit more about her own desires over the course of the investigation. Inevitably she has to become a femdom to catch a killer and the guy helping her out takes things in an equally real direction. Also she’s a troubled cop with a drinking problem and a great deal of dedication to her job to the point of burn out. This is policing written meaner and more dangerous than the statistical experience of the average police officer. Assume you are reading an erotic thriller novel, not getting an inside scoop into anything real. But, it’s ok. The skill of a genre fiction writer is in their ability to manage our expectations, much like a sex scene will always involve sex by some value of the term, but can be written well or poorly.

Safe Words, despite the generic title, is good.

Specifically, there’s a few things I think are worth calling out as being particularly well handled. The main one being that we see submissive men as a wide range of complicated people with lives outside the bedroom. There’s no cliches about high powered executives blowing off steam or docile meek folk- every single guy has the same range of human agency and can be a good person or a bad person.  The love interest, Anderson, shows both agency, preferences and a spine. He’s, dare I say, cute and not ruled exclusively by his kinks. He’s well adjusted and likes himself. I could see myself chasing him.

Silver is written with some of the standard romance heroine problems (dowdy wardrobe, just doesn’t connect with dudes), but she is a hundred percent turned on by sub guys, and unlike many books in the genre has a loving and adorably vulnerable attitude to femdom. She doesn’t think less of submissive men and crave a dom or a “real man”. He dowdy clothes are her desperately trying to gain the upper hand in a world where her femaleness is a vulnerability and as soon as she gets introduced to the idea of femdom we get to see her masturbating to the subject enough not to worry that she’s just doing it to keep her boy interested.

That private time is a sneaky way that Jamison manages to pack more erotic punch into a burgeoning romance. I liked this handling, as it helped illustrate what falling in love is like and avoid making the actual interactions between her and the guy she is falling in love with drag or feel gratuitous.

What about the hero?

Romance has a hard time with sub men. With the genre aimed at making men into sexual objects, a lot of novels fall flat by making the guy either a pushy weirdo or a non-entity. Anderson, Eleanor’s psychologist-guide to the kink scene, is a bit of a cipher as we don’t really get a direct window into his head, like a nuanced person with other stuff going on than his penis. That’s damning with faint praise, but in a writing genre where “he had an erection” is used as shorthand for “he is interested and interesting” it’s nice to see that Jamison tries to have him express himself through word and looks. As a person has his own agenda, reputation with other characters, and past relationships. He makes good and bad choices, expressing a lot of courage but also managing to convey a desperate attraction and vulnerability to the heroine that he keeps on a short leash to be polite.

Gender comes in here a lot. Our male protagonist is not a sissy, but several of the other male sub characters are (and one is actually trans), and some of the development of their relationship is Elanor realising she doesn’t so much mind being a woman as what she previous assumed was mandatory submission and passivity. Anderson’s version of a sub knows and enforces his limits with pleasant firmness (for example where explains he is not a sissy, and the Mistress he would obey would not want that) and we don’t fuck around with “no but your dick says you want this!” limit pushing.

What he provides is what most femdoms want, someone who affirms and loves who she is, and gives her space to express the vulnerability of command.

Okay, what about the book as a whole?

I think my favourite part of this is that there’s enough characters that you get a lot of examples of femdom relationships with real humans- and see a spectrum of sub guys from the killer (anyone who has gotten an unhinged inbox message knows how believable it is that there is a Buffalo Bill knock off out there); nice, really loving husbands; hot singles, etc… When male submission in fiction tends to be treated like a bizarre anomaly or some sort of inborn fetish reflex that turns off a person’s personality, seeing it sketched out in a broader sense is much needed room to breathe.

We need more femdom books in general. On the plus side, the fact that it won a Golden Flogger award at  BDSM Writers Con means I hope we’ll see more like it. I am looking forward to the sequel where our Heroine gets to solve more mysteries and hopefully we see a continuation of her relationship with Anderson.

The Unbound Box Rocked My Socks

The Unbound Box - Photos By WildcardEvery blogger likes loot. In disclosure before I talk about the Unbound Box, the origin of this was a freebie with no expectations other than reviewing it, but I can confidently say I loved what I got. I liked the presentation, I liked the contents and I found the company itself super pleasant to work with.

Unbound is a sex toy/adult product retailer going for a combination classy/tongue in cheek aesthetic. They’re as likely to remind you you deserve equal pay as all the orgasms you want. Unlike many loot crates, you have some advance warning what you’re going to get, but in my case I went into this completely blind.

I also did not expect to be happy with the results, just vaguely awkward. I get a lot of promotional spam demanding the moon and offering dubious rewards, often “become an affiliate and I swear you will profit!” style invites for products I would never buy or suggest others buy. And although I like the theory of loot crates, in practice I’ve never got a surprise bag where the contents seemed worth the hype, whether makeup samplers like Birch Box (which SHOULD be a box of floggers and canes, but isn’t) or the eponymous “Loot Crate” full of geeky tchotchkes. There’s always a few ok items I wouldn’t have bought anyway and a lot of clutter that feels wasteful. So was the Unbound Box one of those junk bags? I’m happy to say it is not.

Unbound sent me the May 2016 sampler, DELTA ∇, a late birthday gift for yours truly.

Honestly, when I got the package notification. I forgot it might be coming. I had no clues of what was inside, just a plain white box, with something loose but heavy gently sliding when I shook it. However, slicing open the cardboard was a shiny black box tied with a satin ribbon. Squee!

I love presents. I love nice presents even more.

Although they don’t have a set guide on how much you get every time, there were four items in this box. The Intro 2, a vibe with a two finger design; a high end clitoral sensitizer (aka warming lube) by Exsens; and some rhinestone pasties and a body chain, all neatly packed up, including a little cloth storage bag for the vibrator with a sassy quote from Mae West.

As far as the wins, I fell in love with the vibe they gave me (the Intro 2) and they actually hit onto sexy adornment I might actually wear- probably to the sexy Indoor Beach Party I’ve planned next Saturday. And to be fair I’m giving the sensitizer a boot on principle- I’m not a big fan of warming lubes, but I have plenty of friends who are and was able to pass it on. (Note to you Peppermint Kitten, my readers are enthusiastically waiting to see how you liked it!)

Yes, I am shamelessly making my friend rub strange creams on her genitals. But if she doesn’t like it she has a wonderful submissive husband to use it on. #evilcackle

But the Intro 2… omgomgomg.

Not so much a rabbit vibe, but as one particularly reviewer put it, shaped like a Totoro, Unbound aimed to have you use this on your clit and nipples as a part of the Delta’s theme. Out of the box it’s got all the hallmarks of the modern lady friendly toys- pleasant colour schemes, abstract rather than shall we say organic shapes, silicone skin. In other words, a vibe that I would sadly admire on the shelf and move on.

With this toy, the idea is that you can blitz concentrated spots with tingles, lightly pinching and pressing for surround sensation. But what isn’t advertised is that this is a perfect masturbator for a clitoral sides/labia person, which I am, and someone who likes a lot of pressure.

My personal self pleasure technique is what sinks most vibes. In a diverse land of jackhammer hitachis, flicking bunny ears and buzzing bullets, none of this accommodates that my usual self frigging is a sort of rapid V motion with my fingers that puts more arm into it than rowing a boat. Add a motor and my tiny clit either goes numb from over stimulation or gets missed entirely. Vibes always were the thing the cool girls got to play with, and strictly not for me. That is until a nice little surprise inspired me to give it another shot. I mean, it’s only polite to try a gift, right?

Yeah, if you’re on team highly sensitive clit, this little wonder will fit just right into the sides and work with your natural  shape, teasing the lips and hood to let the sensations build up, while the base will let you keep pressing. No more going numb from too many tingles or not enough sensation- I’ve met my vibrator match finally and that means this loot crate did it’s work, getting you to reach out and try things, as curated by someone who understands their market. Consider the Unbound Box a win.

Inside the box, with the INTRO 2 in the front

Unbound Box Value, Based on my Searching:

  • Intro 2 by JimmyJane – About $60
  • Fresh Ginger Litchi by Exsens – About $30
  • Mimi Rhinestone Pasties by bjoux indiscrets – About $10
  • Body Chain by Unbound – $10-ish, but it’s a unique item

Cumulative Price: $110 US
Actual Price: $65 US
Functional Value, based on what I actually wanted: $80 US
A Vibrator that Actually Gets Me Off? Priceless.

 

Unbound by Cara McKenna: Femdom Romance That Gets It

femdom romanceWanna know how you can take the tropes and rules of the genre of romance and make a well realized self discovery setting with flawed but pleasant characters, and write a femdom story that is believable? Tired of erotica aimed at sub men and looking for something written to please a female dominant?

Unbound, by Cara McKenna is one of my more pleasant surprises for 2016. Holy shit, is it a tightly little packaged example of a good, realistic femdom romance. You know how you really want something to exist, and you bemoan that you can’t seem to find it, and BAM, there it is, better than anything you could write?

I have a moderate romance novel habit, usually enjoying the so-bad-its-good and the occasional just plain good read as I do my daily commute to and from work. I’m usually a big fan of historicals, but Amazon gave this to me as a suggested read. Judging a book by its cover, it’s another shirtless headless dude with a vaguely kink hinting title, and I admit I was all prepared to hate read my way through a hideous M/f train wreck someone dashed off to pay the internet bill. I admit I am a snarky, mean reader. Then by a few pages in the author managed to make me go from predatory reviewer to tentatively intrigued:

There’s nothing in summary to make you expect something different. Our heroine, Merry, is off to do a hiking adventure in the Scottish Highlands. She’s recently lost her mother and a significant amount of weight, and is dealing with the ramifications of that. This is the first sign that we’re in for an actual treat- while most books handle weight loss like a Cinderella transformation, Merry is dealing with all the realities- loose skin, changed relationship with people that’s a mixed blessing, and trying to bend her mind around a healthy relationship with herself and her body. Rather than glamour, she’s feeling alienated from her identity as the fun fat girl- her long term FWB dumped her and she’s having to re-examine both her friendships and her relationships with herself. Then her swimming in a Scottish lake gives her dysentery.

In a writing genre where beleaguered heroines get dainty fevers and miraculously limited concussions, I’ll give the story props for going there. The narrative about as coy as the POV would give about the symptoms, but weak and fainty, she ends up on the doorstep of a local hermit, a guy with a Dark Past (TM). Our hero, Rob, is an alcoholic who deals with his problem by getting away from society. Oh, and he’s a pervert.

The book teases you, taking a slow burn approach to all things sexual, and I was all prepped to pout a little when it was revealed that he was a Secret Dominant who was going to Teach Her To Love Her Body Through Submission, when once again the book surprised me. Rob is a sub with a thing for scratchy rope. And Merry, who hails from the west coast fashion industry is fully aware of kink things and doesn’t miss a beat. Repressed and British bloke meets a woman whose backstory is a baby born of a gay man and a single-by-choice hippy mother. She’s not only cool with it, it doesn’t occur to her that he’s odd.

You know how rare it is to find writing that really gets it? That recognizes the pure joy that’s in the dominant side for women? Or that clues in how desirable a sub guy can make you feel?  I won’t get too spoiler heavy, but these characters manage to connect on multiple levels, both zingy chemistry, and no sense that the demons they battle are pure dramatic padding. And my goodness, it’s good to have a sub guy be written as a delicious piece of fuck meat, and a dominant heroine not have to use the proxy of Mistress AngryWhip to express herself.

One does not read romance to break free of comfortable formats- like watching baseball you go into it with expectations of the rules everyone is operating under. Consider this a perfect play, from someone who knows her genre well and knows how to speak through it to make a very modern, approachable story that delivers the obligatory warm and fuzzies while managing depth of character.

 

 

Femdom Review: Dancing Backward- An Adventure in Male Submission

Dancing backwardDancing Backward: An Adventure in Male Submission by Thomas Lavalle

Nope, didn’t like it. Dancing Backward was a pretty good example of how not to make me happy, and really a good percent of what is wrong with femdom porn if you are trying to appeal to female readers. Or male ones who don’t get something out of self hate.

Some of this was simply it not being my way of expressing my F/m kink, but it had a lot of oopsies and pitfalls typical of the genre- as much as I hate to pillory the creative output of other people, this is precisely the sort of book that makes it hard for women think they would enjoy being a dom, and indeed represents male submission as something pathetic. On the other hand it’s one of Amazon’s more popular femdom novels, so if my review is scathing, I’m sure the author will dry his tears with a handful of the royalties he’s earned.

To briefly summarize the plot: This is a story about a control freak who marries a passive sponge, and then when he proves to be a passive sponge, turns him into a punching bag.

The most glaring problem was that I never got any sense of why the couple liked each other. An interesting premise, essentially of a gender inversion 1950s marriage, turned into odd abusive weirdness sans any sort of context- our hero Christopher is essentially an ambulatory submissive erection, while his wife, Kelly, didn’t really have any characteristics other than hawt n’ dominant- her G cup breasts had as much personality as she did, while she groped about the femdom cliches with inexplicable motive, coming across as less kinky and more that the universe had dictated this was how things worked because the author said so. Really, you know you’re going to have a bad time when the description blurb calls the femdom “spoiled” and “bossy”. About the only moment she seemed human is the vague mention she had decorative ballerina figurines- otherwise I got the impression that literally any idiot who met her minimum threshold of attractive and she could push around would do as she was just a culmination of everything the audience is supposed to find attractive crammed into one barbie doll shaped carapace. She had no beginning and no end, just ambition and a sense of self importance that came from no place other than narrative dictate. Hell, when the novel opens she doesn’t actually appear to have any close friends.

The writing honestly, is good at least as sketching out the male protagonist as a believable person (albeit a realistic waste of space or a victim, depending on your reading), but as a female dominant I found Kelly repulsive- angry and condescending, with a side order of female superiority wankery and nothing to back it up other than that she makes gobs of money. The side character, Carmen the Cuban, was actively offensive, a fetishists idea of what a Hispanic is, making sure you knew Ai AM EL SPANISH! every other sentence, in a way that made her feel like Dora the Explorer’s sociopathic cousin. None of the female doms made me want to be them or even in the same room as them. If a guy handed me this book and asked “can we do this please?” I’d probably run away.

And then there’s the whole subject of the weird abusive stuff, which was encoded into the universe such that the audience was supposed to see the aggressive mistreatment of males as not grounds to call the police, but just vaguely titillating. I’ll take the time to say this now: Mr. Lavalle, nobody this side of the ’90s says “you go girl!” unironically, and certainly not regarding CBT or how the only true way to deal with life is to dom the lesser menz. The only people who are still using that tired little phrase is the sort of persecution complex MRA who never actually interact with actual women and write eight page screeds on why women are out to get them.

As a writer of non-con who gets off on rape as a concept, you think I’d be all on board with the setting’s darker side- after all, I am quite the sadist. However, the rapey nonsense is all over the fucking place, and not even particularly empowering or just a sadistic fantasy for women- for example just incidentally in the background, Kelly worries about the impact on her career of turning down some random wealthy dude. This was forshadowed as her cuckolding partner in the next book, without examination of how creepy it is that now the guy is aggressively sending her mash notes bout how their hookup is inevitable. Of course, like any porn dom, rather than, you know, getting off on male submission, she’s written to actually want a Real Man TM, like Stalky Pants McSouthAfrican and this forceful attitude is not time to speak to HR, but a rare moment she seemed to respect a male.  Do. Not. Want.

Meanwhile Kelly, herself, also comes across as way less domly and more abusive. She isolates her husband, banning him from friends and hobbies. Even before they bring in the whips and chains side of things and she’s waffling about with a pure power exchange relationship, she mentions offhand that she rarely had to slap her husband as a sign of his goodness. This is supposed to be a normal relationship up until that point. Heterosexual dudes in relationships reading this, if your female partner slaps you and it is not part of a consenting dynamic or to get your attention while you sleep walk off off a cliff, that shit is not okay.

And then when she decides that they are going F/m full bore femdom, of course she doesn’t ask because in this universe male subs are just defective men who will go along with any nonesense as long as the woman forces them too. Half the time she’s mumbling about female superiority, the other half the time she’s debating who will actually fuck her now since a sub guy won’t do. Our hero devotes a extensive amount of whining and carrying on about how he’s sooooo emasculated, and yet as much as they started out exploring an inverted 1950s dynamic, much is said about how useless he is as a housekeeper, etc, etc…

Which is back to my point, Kelly talks about how her Christopher is ‘sweet’, but all he does is either fail to keep house (so she can punish him) or whine about how terrrrrrrible this new thing is, never showing an ounce of romantic initiative, agency or creativity. We learn that when he met Kelly in college, he dropped out of his graphic designer program a few credits shy of graduation to be her full time house husband, and never expressed himself creatively again. He does not turn around and flourish in the home. Instead, he becomes this useless lump who actually hates housework and does it for fear of punishment. He does not act remotely emotionally fulfilled by a life of service, but neither is he good enough at it to make me feel like Kelly’s getting a good deal- instead she spends much of the book pissed off that her partner is dull and clingy as wallpaper paste. Her solution, to transition from domestic D/s, to full sadomasochistic BDSM, feels like more effort than just hiring a damn maid and throwing him out on his ear.

If you are a sub guy into being treated badly (at least in fantasy) with stabs at SPH, domestic service, feeling emasculated by obedience, and the idea that nursing at big boobs are hot, you will have yourself at least one fantastic wank reading this. If, I suppose your SO lets you. Although if you have an SO, you’ll know this is pure fantasy, and one hopes your relationship is a lot more nuanced and healthy than the nonesense written in here.

If you are a dominant woman, you will come away feeling vaguely insulted and disappointed that once again, your kinks are simply not considered to matter when you can be used as a fantasy object.

Category: Erotic romance
Rating: o (1/5)
How I got it: Bought it!
TL;DR: Rising star executive Kelly turns househusband Christopher into her slave. An unsatisfying turn off, with unpleasant main characters.

Femdom Review: Roar of Thunder

redmaskRoar of Thunder by Gia Dawn

Roar of Thunder is what I’d describe as a Switch Romance- a story where both characters are competing to dominate the other. From my personal perspective I like a little competition in my dynamic and I don’t mind the idea of mutual thwacking. Switches are also extremely under-served.

And goodness, is this couple fighty and switchy. I emphasize this is a romance novel because the couple, Grace and Ty, do stuff that only makes sense in the weird rules of the genre- for example in the book, shoving someone and shouting “get out!” sans context of consent being simply high drama, not reason to call everything all off and see therapists. Grace and Ty roll around together on the pages like a pair of razor clawed roosters in a cock fighting ring, each trying to take big bloody slashes out of the other. That is, when you don’t have heavy dose of romance novel derp- where the hero inevitably has to talk to his best guy buddy because he doesn’t know how to talk to women, while his sister in playing cupid with the female lead.

But if you’re like me, and you like things turgid and non-con, as well as liking a comforting HEA, the formulaic structure works well with the contents, providing reassuring grounding to something that otherwise shoots my eyebrows up to my hairline as far as unsafe behaviour, while the foofy aspect is balanced by the nasty to avoid being unreadable. This is not a SSC book, indeed its barely RACK, even if it does use the setting of a BDSM club, with all the vocabulary and expectations that go with it. If you don’t like inappropriately pushy people, this is not for you. If, like me, negotiating the boundaries of it being acceptable for your sub to take a swing at you seems like it could lead to sexy results, you might actually have fun.

Now, about the story: Ty, the hero, is your bog standard ex soldier with a troubled mind waiting around to be soothed. Our heroine, Grace, had started as a sub, had a horrifically abusive relationship and couldn’t handle subbing, but her internal monologue makes it unclear if, indeed she’s suffering from “haven’t met the right man yet” syndrome. Grace, and all the various people in Ty’s life, get the idea that what Ty really needs is a dominant to cure his erectile dysfunction and deep seated PTSD problems. I was bracing myself for Grace doing the tumble into submission that so many romance novel heroines do, but I was pleasantly rewarded that all her dominance was most definitely not just for show. Its part of a “Red Mask” series, but you really don’t need the other books to know what’s going on.

You probably aren’t reading this for the plot though, so regarding the sex: When Gia Dawn found out I was doing a review, claimed to lack experience with the real thing (maybe she meant as a dom?). Honestly, it doesn’t show. She likes her butt stuff on the side of chaff-y and painful, but the beating and bondage are erotically constructed into something fun and ouchy. Grace is a caretaker, and her scene control is fun to observe. One thing I wish the author had explored more- Grace was an abuse survivor and decided that subbing didn’t make her feel safe. Ty in no way acted safe, leaping in with full bore jealous/controlling tantrums- I wasn’t sure if enough weight was put into her transition to acknowledge why Ty made her feel comfortable.

Still, about the only critical point I might make is a few “WTF” moments- the characters are supposed to be French, and Ty is mentioned as being ex French Foreign Legion. I think the author meant to place him in the Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (French Special Forces), the Legion not being for wealthy natives of France, but exclusively for non-natives. As a person living in French speaking Canada the French injections into both character’s dialogue felt a bit forced- but honestly, its not her fault her fetish sultry French stereotype fell flat with me- us quasi bilingual readers are not heavy on the ground.

All in all, a solid bit of erotica, whose best quality is the sex. And, if something fairly mainstream friendly makes femdom look hot as she managed, I only hope Gia Dawn writes more.

Category: Erotic romance
Rating: o~o~o~o (4/5)
How I got it: Bought it!
TL;DR: Switches Ty and Grace try to get over their issues by her dominating him.

Toy Review: Remote Control Silicone Plug by Pipedream

bzzzzThis Is The Story Of The The Vibrating Butt Plug That Didn’t

I like toys that work with two people. I like to buy Wildcard Tenga Eggs, and for our anniversary I got him a bouquet of crops and a Hand Solo. Valentines Day last, he came home to a bed scattered with hitty things and cut paper hearts. But this time it was his turn to go shopping and he tried to find us something we’ve both had fantasies about for a while: a remote control vibrator to tease him silly.

Vibrations work beautifully to reduce him to frustrated squirming, and our knock off hitachi comes to bed on a regular basis. However it’s surprisingly hard to find something that works for dudes and is portable- one supposes one can use one of the insertable eggs I’ve seen on the market, but I’m leery about losing things without a flared base in places where the plumbing doesn’t have a proper limit at the top. All manner of external vibes meant for women don’t tuck into the best spots and its surprisingly hard to tie something to a guy’s cock.

Enter the Remote Control Silicone Plug, ordered from Pink Cherry. It’s got a pleasant visual design and texture- black, a sturdy dense plug about the size of a standard chicken’s egg with a hollow core in which to insert a slim vibrator with a long looped tail, and a discreet remote with two buttons. Pipedream seemed to be a reliable enough brand and I’m a sucker for silicone toys, so when the box arrived I was more than a little excited, and I don’t just mean in my lady bits.

Pity its a non-functional piece of shit, isn’t it?

The first time we ordered it and found it to be defective during testing, we took advantage of the retailer’s no questions asked return/exchange policy and they shipped us a replacement. I was quite excited to get a second try, figuring that surely this time we were in for a treat. Then real life hit and it sat in its box, waiting for the right moment.

Luckily Wildcard was especially horny Tuesday of this week and in total anal slut mode, so it was time to finally break the new toy in. After some fiddling around with batteries (included) we got the toy up and running. (Did I mention there are few more mundane mood killers than trying to get watch batteries in the right way up?) Condom on the plug and piles of slippery lube, and I went to work.

Only the vibrations, when the toy actually worked at all, were so weak you could barely feel them through the vibrating insert itself, much less the stout silicone rubber plug that was supposed to cover it. Whisper silent it might be, but this wasn’t going to get anyone’s attention, not even a tickle.

Worse, something was fucked in the design itself- designed a three battery unit for watch style batteries that came included, the vibrator had had to sit just so for it to function and the tube that contained the batteries had too much space. Pretty quickly we discovered this was a broken toy with less rumble than a kitten trying to purr through a futon.

We got a little bit of pleasure out of trying to get the thing in (its a bit too big for him) but in the end this is either getting sanitized and sent back or going straight to the trash bin. One waste of time and money- a great concept and a terrible execution.