The Annual Critic Sex Toy Review
Personal development guru Tony Robbins is famous for breathlessly rhapsodising to lumpen Wal-Mart shelf-stackers that the fastest route to career success and satisfaction is to find something you love doing, and make it your job. I spend most of my time lying in bed with the curtains drawn jerking off to Redtube’s lesbian section, so when the chance arose to do a paid review of sex toys for Critic I realised that I had an unmissable opportunity on in my hands. It seems unlikely that Tony had getting paid to masturbate in mind when he devised his Once In a Lifetime Date With Destiny® seminar, but I feel that wanking is no less authentic a path to self-actualisation than incorporating Power Virtues into your life, or whatever. Anyway, paradoxically, my method probably still makes you less of a wanker.
Even though my career has apparently reached an all-time high, unfortunately I can’t say the same for my vagina. I tested out a range of toys, from basic vibrators, to more specialised models, to a few things requiring a partner. Some were excellent, some were disappointing, and some are guaranteed to kill a boner, or lady-boner, faster than watching Home And A Lay (Fist You Each Day), starring Colleen Smart and Alf Stewart.
Fetish Lover’s Fantasy KitI love a good whip, handcuff, and mask, so I had high hopes for the Fetish Lover’s Fantasy Kit. Such high hopes, in fact, that I brought it to a booty call/partying/snowboarding weekend in Queenstown, a concept of such fabulousness that anything less than the best fetish gear would not suffice.
This is much, much less than the best fetish gear. This is to the best fetish gear as playing Skyrim is to actually having a social life. The mini flogger was the cheapest-looking and-feeling piece of tat I have ever seen. There was no satisfying smack, just the sad sound of cheap vinyl trying and failing to penetrate thin air. When my Queenstown Booty Call (henceforth known as QBT) hit me with it, the only way I could tell he was whipping me was from the lingering stench of synthetic textile.
The handcuffs fared slightly better - despite the prominent “Made In China” label, they did at least function as intended. According to a cop who was also staying with us, they were “an ok set of cuffs, but definitely more ‘Castle St rioter’ than ‘Palmerston North P fiend’.” The mask looked like something you’d buy for $4.99 at the airport Whitcoulls along with noise-cancelling headphones when you notice an unpleasantly high proportion of screaming toddlers in the departure lounge. Economy class air travel
= not sexy.
Screaming O Vibrating Cock RingI have major problems with the whole concept of a vibrating cock ring, and this did absolutely nothing to change my mind. If you’re being fucked any faster than pure Sting the vibrating bit bangs painfully into your clit, yet it isn’t really in contact with your clit consistently enough to offer an orgasm. QBT described the cock ring as “The Office-level uncomfortable”, which is understandable — I wouldn’t want the equivalent of a Woolworths Snagless Ponytail Elastic restricting blood flow out of my sexual organs either. “Screaming O Vibrating Cock Ring” was not a total misnomer, though. It may not have offered any Os, but there was a lot of pained screaming when QBT tried to finger me in a dark corner of Subculture the following evening (don’t judge) — pretty sure I sustained some serious clitoral bruising. This is the Chris Brown of sex toys. Stay far, far away.
Screaming O Glow BulletFor me, the clitmus test of any bullet vibrator is how it compares to the undisputed saviour of covert teenage wanks - the Oral-B Professional Care 5000 Triumph. Until I encountered the Screaming O, I was yet to find a clit-only vibrator that surpassed the Oral-B’s unique pulsating-oscillating-rotating technology. The Glow Bullet admittedly doesn’t remove up to ten times as much plaque as a manual toothbrush, but the vibrations are really, really, strong, which is almost as awesome. It’s marketed as “discreet”, so I tested it out while driving to Queenstown. I started the test in Cromwell. I ended the test in Cromwell. It takes about 45 seconds to drive through Cromwell. Enough said. Except that those real fruit icecreams you can get there taste particularly good after an orgasm.
Intimate Dares Card GameI took this “risque card game” to Queenstown, hoping that it might indeed “open the door to hours of naughty, sexy fun with your lovers and friends!” I brought out the game at 5pm on Saturday, which is much less awkward than it sounds as by that point several of the 15 or so people staying in the house were already doing lines off an ancient copy of NZ House & Garden.
I am unsure what the rules of the game were, because someone ripped the bit of paper up to snort rails with almost immediately. However, it became instantly clear that this game was unplayable. There are two decks of cards, a normal deck and the “Dare cards”.
“Go out the front door naked, and do a 10-second Irish jig.”
“Dry hump any other player for 30 seconds.”
“If you have balls, impersonate a brain with them.”
“Get naked and do 10 jumping jacks.”
“Shave your pubes in front of all the players.”
“Wield your penis in front of you like a sword.”
“Use your boobs like puppets and have them talk to each other.”
I don’t know what the makers of this game consider “naughty, sexy fun”, but in my world nude calisthenics and Irish jigs are not “naughty, sexy fun”. In fact, I would go so far as to say that traditional Celtic dance and exercise are the antithesis of “naughty, sexy fun”. Still, I can’t argue with the general promise of hours of entertainment; the cards were ridiculed aloud almost constantly for the rest of the weekend.
for sheer entertainment value.
Evolved Sweet Embrace Multiple Girth G Spot MassagerI am a big fan of penises. Yes, they’re inherently ridiculous, but they are still a more important part of my life than The Simpsons, which is saying a lot because I snap-judge everyone I meet on their ability to appreciate and deploy a good Simpsons’ quote. Well, turns out the human wang could stand to be even more inherently ridiculous, because despite its abstract appearance the Sweet Embrace vibrator is fucking insane.
Initially, I wasn’t sure quite what to make of it. In appearance it is pleasingly Jeff Koons, but when you turn it on you can hear the batteries rattling around inside, which didn’t immediately inspire confidence — no one wants to wank with the sex toy version of Lana Del Rey. Still, intrigued by the post-modern vibes (sorry) and claims of waterproofness, I decided to invite the Sweet Embrace to my next shower. I started with the smaller end then progressed to the girthier end, which is sort of like the ultimate combination of a dick that hits just the right spot and nimble G-spot stroking fingers. I came way before the hot water ran out, which in my ancient flat is liable to happen in less than five minutes. Can’t recommend this highly enough. It’s perfectly, um, cromulent.
Evolved Love n BathWhen the manager at Peaches and Cream gave this to me, she said she had selected a smaller model of rabbit-style vibe because she thought it would be “less intimidating to students”. My heart immediately sank. I am a student. I am not intimidated by a large penis. Admittedly I tend more towards the ooh-it’s-Saturday-who-can-I-blow? than the pure-as-the-driven-snow, but judging by post-BYO scenes from Copa to the Craic I’m not the only one.
To be fair, as far as the classic rabbit-style vibrator goes, this ticks most of the boxes — nice strong vibrations, designer colour “Sugar Purple”, dual motors, three different speeds —except it fundamentally failed to tick MY box because they took all these unarguably brilliant features and fucked everything up by making the stupid thing COMPACT. Who wants a COMPACT penis substitute?? It’s not a Ford fucking Focus. It’s meant to get you off, not get you into a tight parallel park in Ponsonby.
I wish I could be more positive about this toy, because it’s purple and pretty and waterproof and clearly very well-made, but for God’s sake, I already lie enough to real men about the adequacy of their dick size. I don’t want to have to lie to an ELECTRONIC DEVICE. The whole POINT of a vibrator is that it compensates for all of the penile/digital/oral inadequacies of a real sexual partner, and the point of THIS vibrator is lost both on and in me.
Assorted lubricantsJO silicone and non-silicone lubes - Both were silky smooth and non-irritating. Highly recommend; much better option than Pantene or Flora Pro-Activ.
Frolic specialty toy lubricant - super-lubricating so you only need a little, and light enough that it’s unlikely to dirty your sheets. Washing your sheets post-coitus is one thing, but needing to do laundry after over-zealous masturbation? That’s just depressing.
Hot Pink warming lubricant for women - an OK basic lube, but pretty sure the only warmth it conducted came from my own fingers.
A big thanks to Peaches & Cream, Dunedin’s friendliest and best-stocked adult shop, for generously providing the toys
for this feature.
Address: 112 St Andrew St
Hours: Sun/Mon/Tue/Wed 10am-6pm, Thu/Fri/Sat 10am-9pm.
Phone: 03 477 1005