It’s been a review and work month for books, but I’m still eager to keep finding those titles that are breezy-easy reads, that engage me fully, and that are extremely fun and satisfying to finish.
Here’s what I’ve been reading this month.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love from Cleis Press to be part of the blog tour for this book, but I was immensely impressed. Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson have penned quite a few books on Tantra, and they teach extensively on the subject, but I believe this is their first more general book encouraging sexual engagement and interaction for couples ongoing. Bed death is another one of those topics that I am fascinated in, so I was very curious what they would say and what they recommend. It is an excellent read. I loved how they portrayed Tantra in that chapter, and the many chapters on experiments for couples, keeping sexy times alive, and ways to work through your own internal blocks are essential and fantastic. I appreciated the extensive amount of gender inclusion, including some testimonials and quotes from trans folks in very respectful and interesting ways, and of sexual orientation inclusion, too—I worried Michaels & Johnson would be very heteronormative in their work, but it didn’t feel that way to me at all. On the contrary, it felt like they were over for dinner at my house and they were just chit chatting about the very real challenges that I have faced in many relationships. (But in a deep, personal, open, insightful way, not in a superficial chit-chat way.) It was much more than I expected and I think everyone curious about enhancing your sex life, and your connection to your partner, should read it, and every one of us who teaches about sex, bed death, and maintaining erotics in a long term relationship should look to it as an excellent resource.
The Big Book of Sex Toys: From Vibrators and Dildos to Swings and Slings—Playful and Kinky Bedside Accessories That Make Your Sex Life Amazing by Tristan Taormino is not a new publication, but it’s new to me. I remember when it was released a few years ago and I just didn’t have time to pick it up and check it out, but because it’s Tristan, I knew it’d be good, and I figured I’d get to it eventually. I finally did, and glad I did. It’s not so much a bible of all available sex toys (perhaps you want Hey, Epiphora for that) but it’s an excellent primer on the types of toys available and highlights of some of the very best. Since the world of sex toys changes constantly (which is one of the reasons it’s fascinating, and one of the reasons it’s frustrating), the book is not comprehensive—but doesn’t claim to be. In addition, it is about SO MUCH MORE than just sex toys—it has excellent essays on communication, experimentation, and owning your own desires mixed in, almost disguised under the premise of sex toys, which is extra clever and a really good entrance point for people delving into more creative sexualities. It belongs up there with The Good Vibes Guide to Sex and Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind Blowing Sex.
I was severely disappointed with Madison Young’s new memoir Daddy. I expected it to be the story of her life, highlighting the daddies she had along the way (as the back cover blurb implied), and including her rise to her pretty famous position of “feminist pornographer.” She wrote about her family-of–origin father, and her partner-cum-dominant-cum-daddy James, but virtually nothing was said about her feminist politics, and very little was depicted or delved into about the sex work and porn that she is particularly famous for starring in and creating. I thought the conflation of her “daddy issues” with her biological father and the daddy role and play that she and her lover take on was irresponsible and cliche. I would have hoped for something more in depth, more thought out, and more, well, feminist, in that it would depict power dynamics with awareness and consciousness and show personal agency. Maybe it’s just because I know Madison’s story has so much more to it than what was shown in this book, but the many claims (two of them being “feminism” and “the many daddies”) just didn’t deliver.
Shanna Katz’s book Lesbian Sex Positions: 100 Passionate Positions from Intimate and Sensual to Wild and Naughty was one of those review books I mentioned, that I picked up because I have deep respect for Shanna, and because I have a kinda quirky fascination with sex positions. On the one hand, having sex in different positions seems like a kind of irrelevant thing to teach or know about, but on the other hand, it is an amazingly popular way that couples “spice up their sex life” and begin seeking more in the worlds of sexuality and toys and kink. It’s also incredibly useful to know about sex positions for people with different physical abilities, be that from injury or disability, and often useful for differing size issues, too, both “my partner is a full foot taller than me!” and “I weight a lot more/less than my partner.” Also, someone (Megan Andelloux I think?) once told me that she believed there are only four real sex positions, and all the others are variations of those four, and I’ve been trying to figure out which four those are ever since. So I was curious to see lesbian-specific ideas for positions. I was disappointed by the skinny-white-girl depictions of the positions, though I think I remember seeing Shanna say that herself too, and that she didn’t have any choice, it was the publisher’s decision. It doesn’t highlight Shanna’s extraordinary skills around disability and size and gender-diversity, so the book doesn’t feel like a very good representation of Shanna’s sex educator smarts. Still, her introductory essay is great (and probably the best part of the book), and I think it’s fascinating that there’s a market for gift books like this.
I’m really into Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham. I devoured it from the library and then went out and bought my own copy so I could follow along with the stages of running (and meditation) that he talks about. I miss studying Buddhism—I haven’t found my place here in the Bay Area yet (mostly because I haven’t really looked yet). I love looking at running through the teachings of meditation, and I was moved, inspired, and curious about the ways he interweaves the two. He does say explicitly that though running can be meditative, it is not a replacement for a meditative practice—”running is not your meditation,” (I’m paraphrasing), “any more than meditation is your exercise.” This book made me want to run better and meditate more. Which is just what I wanted it to do.
I’m not sure what it is, but I have a small collection of funky queer coloring books. I don’t color in them (though maybe I should—I try not to treat my objects as too precious to be used for their intended purpose), but I seem to collect them anyway. I picked up the Sex Position Coloring Book as a review item because I am—what did I write up there?—quirkily fascinated by sex positions as a thing that sex educators teach, and I’m trying to figure out how it’s useful to my own teachings and workshops, particularly since I teach strap-on workshops so frequently. The book depicts only heterosexual cis male & cis female couples, but that’s one of the fun things about a coloring book: you could always add harnesses or other bodily modifications. In full disclosure: I also picked this up partly to inspire rife to possibly do some of his own coloring pages, maybe of sex positions even. That secret covert plan hasn’t worked yet, but I still have some ideas up my sleeve.
I’ve just finished Farm City: Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter this week, so it just squeaked on to this list. I have TWO beautiful big photo books about beginning to grow food in your (urban) backyard, but I haven’t quite devoured them because, well, I’m still so intimidated by the process. I moved into the house I’m in now in August 2013, and we spent the winter prepping the yard and getting it ready to plant and grow more things. Now that it’s spring in the Bay Area it is clearly time to plant things and start planning. It’s exciting! The options feel limitless! And also, eek! We do already have quite a few things in the ground, kale potatoes peas tomatoes pumpkins, and some herbs, sage dill mint basil, and a wildflower patch and a jasmine bush and a satsuma orange tree in a container, but I want to know how to do it all better and want to play in the dirt. So, in order to get myself a bit more excited about these kinds of ideas, I picked up Novella’s book. She had an urban farm in Oakland actually not too far from my house, so I loved hearing about the changes in the neighborhood and the local events. She raised ducks, rabbits, and even pigs for meat, and I will absolutely not be doing that, but in comparison it sure makes growing kale seem easier. I love how extensively researched she is—every few pages she quotes another book, another writer, another hippie back-to-the-land philosopher who came before. I’m definitely more inspired to get out to my own backyard garden and see what I can help grow.
I’ve been devouring some business books lately, and Start Your Dream Business was one of them. It, unfortunately, is almost completely about motivating the reader to follow their dreams and pursue that wacky business idea that you might have, and it is not at all about the nitty-gritty how to do it. In fact, often the business profiles completely skip that part, going from “I had this great idea!” to “and now it’s a 6-figure business!” Great, good for you—and also, how’d ya do that!? Regardless, I picked up the book from the library because I was interested in the premise, and zoomed through it because it included so many people whose work I’ve been familiar with online (like Tara Gentile and … lots of others I can’t remember now). Sarah Wade is UK-based, so many of the references and business owners are not American, which honestly made it even more interesting, since I am mostly familiar with American methodologies of entrepreneurship. I still don’t feel like I’m a pro at this whole business thing, but it’s curious and I am enjoying the learning.
I picked up Switch by Astrid Knowles because it’s in that BDSM-novel genre of power dynamic romance that I have enjoyed picking up recently, because I zoom through them and sometimes they’re kind of fun and mostly I can ignore the problematic gender/power alignment assumptions. This one had a curious class premise—that the dominant the narrator meets and falls for is homeless and jobless at the beginning of the book—but other than that, it was pretty fluffy and not very memorable. I ran into a quote from this book about switching, which is what turned me on to it in the first place, but I might have put the book down before I got to the switching part, or just didn’t notice it. The writing is less than average, so I often skimmed through chapters.
Um okay so that’s all I have to say about that.
One more sidenote: I decided at the beginning of March that I would do my best to NOT read online, and to read books instead. It was interesting—it took a lot of discipline, and I noticed how many times, over and over, I clicked through to an article on social media or via email. I didn’t realize how much I was reading online every day, and how many of those articles had so much throw-away content—not things that were actually enriching my life, or teaching me things, but more sensationalized what’s happening in the world things. So that practice has helped me both focus on work more when I’m at the computer and read more books, which has been excellent. I aim to continue that habit.
You can support my reading habit, and encourage me to read and write book roundups like this one, by buying me gifts through my Amazon wish list! (Did I mention it’s my birthday today?)
Or, check out more books that I recommend:
What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?
I’m obligated by the blogger’s code to let you know that the Sex Position Coloring Book, Daddy by Madison Young, The Big Book of Sex Toys, Lesbian Sex Positions, and Partners in Passion were all sent to me by the respective publishers as review books. My opinions on those books are solely my own, however, and they did not pay me or influence me in any way to write them. Pick up these books at your local independent bookstore, or, if you must, on Amazon.
Maybe it’s silly, and it’s probably 99% an issue of marketing and what the majority of the population knows, but every time I see a product that advertises that it’s “for the g-spot,” I think, “Really? Do we really have to have this magic “spot” on bodies that is named after a male doctor who “discovered” it?”
I resent that women’s bodies have been claimed.
The “g-spot” is a word and concept that symbolizes the “discovery” of and ownership over parts of women’s bodies, and it is a big ol’ pet peeve of mine.
Of course, there’s constant debate in the scientific health communities about whether the “g-spot” really exists at all—just like how there’s sometimes “official” debate about whether or not someone with a g-spot can ejaculate. Um hello? That just seems … ignorant. Based solely on my completely unofficial poll of my however-many lovers in the last fifteen years, ejaculation can happen and clearly there is some sort of area in the g-spot region that, for some people, when stimulated, is quite pleasurable and can result in either ejaculation or orgasm or both. Of course, for others, there is no pleasure (or sometimes discomfort or pain).
What does that tell me? Well, that our bodies are different.
The New View of a Woman’s Body calls that area the “urethral sponge” and I like that better, though it’s way less of a sexy phrase. Dentifrice vs toothpaste. It’s argued that the g-spot exists somewhere within the urethral sponge, so I suppose they are somewhat different things.
Anatomy is not my specialty, though I am fascinated by our genital parts and what they do. Even more than that, perhaps, I am fascinated by the social and political decisions made surrounding bodies, particularly marginalized bodies (people of color, trans and intersex and “other” genders, women).
So now that you’re Public Service Announcement about my annoyance about the concept of the g-spot is out of the way, let’s move on: This is a review of the Aneros Evi, a somewhat new (as it came out in 2013) g-spot massager toy.
The Aneros company is best known for its neat-shaped prostate toys, which I, not having a prostate, have often admired, though not had much excitement when trying. It seems not all that different than a butt plug, to my non-prostate-having butt. Still, the products are well designed, and that is always a turn-on for me.
So when the Evi was released, which is specifically for g-spot stimulation, I was eager to try it. I like toys that stimulate the g-spot, generally, and lately more and more I have wanted something inside, in that spot, while I’m getting off.
And as a bonus, Evi’s little foot (or, the engine of the starship Enterprise, if you are thinking what I’m thinking) is supposed to give the wearer some added clitoral stimulation too.
The stimulation is supposed to happen purely when squeezing. The kegel exercises (hey look! Here’s another man, Arthur Kegel, who has named a (genital) place on my body after himself) combined with this toy is supposed to simply be enough for this toy to massage my g-spot.
And, does it?
Well … it doesn’t suck. I
wouldn’t don’t kick Evi out of bed. But it’s not any sort of mind-blowing stimulation. I think for my particular body, the Evi isn’t quite the right shape. It’s too small, the foot is not long enough to reach my clit, it doesn’t stimulate my g-spot/urethral sponge enough, or the way I’d like it to.
Still, it’s a great toy to have at arm’s reach in my arsenal. I bet it’s going to be great for a little extra added front hole stimulation while doing some ass fucking. I hear it’s a pretty decent butt plug, and I suspect it’d also be comfortable to wear out in public. So I still have some ideas about and things to experiment with my new Evi friend.
Aneros Evi was sent to me by Good Vibrations to review, but this review consists completely of my own opinions and ideas and is not influenced by anyone else (except maybe rife). Pick up your own Evi at goodvibes.com, & see more of my very favorite recommended sex toys at Good Vibrations here.
It’s Valentine’s Day this week! You didn’t forget it, did you? Well, you’re lucky—if you place an order before noon on Wednesday, they’ll upgrade your shipping to next day air, with some other goodies thrown in too.
Whether you’re single, or have one or two or more hotties you want to share some sexytimes with this V-day, I’m sure you can find a way to … work this to your advantage.
Here’s some of my very favorite desert island toys. Maybe it’s time to add them to your toy box!
What’s that? You still want more?
Well, okay then. Here’s even more of my favorite products of all time over at Good Vibrations. ‘Cause you’re gonna need some condoms, gloves, and lube to go with those toys, aren’tcha?
Order by noon today (Wednesday) & get free next day shipping, free vibrator, free gift card, & other goodies!
Hello! This is your monthly affiliate feature, where I share with you some of the reasons you should indulge in a particular product or service. This month, February 2014, it’s going to be Pink & White, fine makers of such queer porn as the Crash Pad Series, Pink & White Productions, Pink Label (streaming on demand), and Heavenly Spire.
I’ve had a Crash Pad membership for years. Shine Louise Houston makes some of the fucking finest queer porn currently available—and I don’t just say that because she features queers of all genders, all body sizes, all races and skin tones, and all kinds of kink. I also say that because I’ve seen boatloads of queer porn, and her stuff is, quite frankly, the very best.
Remember back when the internet was a baby wee “net” and so of course was 65% full of porn? I drew the (mistaken) conclusion that all people who made porn were somehow exploitative, so therefore I would never pay money for it.
But then, a few years later … I saw this:
And I watched it over, and over, and over and over and overandoverandover. It was the. Hottest. Thing. I’d. Ever. Seen.
(And because it was such a significant moment in my sexy timeline, and I watched it
two twenty thousand times, I STILL think it is incredibly fucking hot.)
It took me a while before I actually saw the full-length DVD. A year or two? But I didn’t forget this trailer. And then after I saw the actual DVD, I thought … this is a game-changer. You know what this means? There is actually good queer porn.
I’d never seen that kind of queer dyke porn with that kind of intensity and strap-on play in any place other than, well, SIR Productions (like Sugar High Glitter City and Hard Love and How to Fuck in High Heels). I was impressed. I mean like really impressed.
And … well, then I started paying for porn.
I started interacting more with the folks who were creating the porn—the filmmakers, the porn stars, the photographers—and I wanted to support their work. I thought it was important for them to be able to get paid to do this work, so that they could keep doing it and not have to go do some day job they didn’t really like and then stop making porn.
(You can rent the original Crash Pad: Director’s Cut film on Pink Label, and if you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a treat.)
So! Fast forward a few years, and I’ve been watching the online Crash Pad Series religiously. (I mean really: my boy & I have a tradition of watching porn and having pancakes on the weekends, which I consider another form of worship.) I get really behind and don’t always keep up with the new episodes, but because sometimes reviewing porn is part of my job, I love excuses to catch up. Like this one!
So I started watching backwards from the most recent season, and picked some of my favorite more recent scenes to feature and share with you. These all have strap-on play in it, because, well, that’s kinda my thing.
Without further adieu …
Five Amazing Crash Pad Strap On Scenes
I don’t know if you guys know this about me, but I kind of have a foot fetish. (Turns out, all those years of adoring shoes? I guess that was a gateway drug.) And finding queer porn with lovely foot play is, well, pretty rare. And two super hot trans queers? Unh I’ve never quite seen anything like this. And I liked it. Um a lot.
Okay, okay, you got me: This isn’t exclusively a strap-on scene, though lots of these have other things in addition to their strap-on play. Though there is an appearance, this is more of a take-down kind of scene. Courtney Trouble & Dylan Ryan are two of my favorite queer porn stars, and Chelsea Poe is so fucking hot in this, and they are fantastic together. So consider it a bonus.
PS: As a teeny little aside, I ran into this interview I did with Shine from 2010 while I was working on this article, which talks all about her homage to masculinity, Heavenly Spire. I love what she has to say about being a queer and masculine of center / butch pornographer who is interesting in pointing her camera at cis and trans men. And I really love the artful films in that project, too.
PS: There’s a Valentine’s Day sale going on for new members.
Little note: I use Grammarly’s plagiarism detection software because duplications, while sometimes necessary, are never as good as the real thing.
I read seven books in January! I’ve had such difficulty focusing on reading the past few years. I think at first it was because of my weird fogged-out grief-brain, but then this past year I think I was just out of the habit, going instead to my Facebook feed or Twitter feed or Tumblr feed if I wanted things to read.
I’ve also been realizing that the massive stacks of books that I read for work are sometimes really hard to get into and not exactly “pleasure reading.” While I love love love to read relationship theories and gender theories and gender memoirs & narratives and sex education things in general, I also don’t necessarily curl up with those before I go to bed. I used to—but I guess that’s the difference between doing that kind of stuff as a JOB and reading them all for fun.
So around the holidays, I put out the question to friends and started accruing a huge list of indulgent novels to try out and read. I wanted to start with some easy page-turners, those “unputdownables” that I bring to the dinner table and wake up wanting to read. I got some fantastic recommendations.
I started with Divergent, the first in a YA dystopian trilogy. The narrator, Tris, is in a society that measures by value, and at 16 they are sorted into the faction where they will stay. They do have some choice, but they also take an aptitude test to determine where they would best fit. Excellent premise! I was into it, and excited about the story, and devoured it quickly, but the writing was not so great. Thin and definitely plot-based. I would absolutely watch the film, though, and I may pick up the other two books in the series, especially when I need to remind myself that books are easy to read and I can zoom through them in a couple days.
Tiny aside: Do y’all read through a Kindle or Kindle app? I think it’s kind of fascinating that it tracks how many hours you’ve spent reading any particular book, and then it also tells you how many more hours you have to go in reading it. I don’t track time very well, I am coming to realize, so that was really interesting.
After Divergent, I almost picked up book #2 in the series, but decided to try another YA fantasy-type series instead, and I picked up Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Holy crap, I thought that book was amazing. From the introductory chapters that normalize Karou’s strange life to her romance and the profound reveal toward the end of the book, I was hooked. I read the second,Days of Blood & Starlight, and then was so ready to pick up the third, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, when I discovered that it’s due out this spring! Noooo! So I picked up the #2.5 novella, Night of Cake & Puppets, which was charming and sweet and fun, and I am even more into Karou’s best friend Zuzanna. I hear it’s going to be a movie, and they are going to be big hits (if Twilight and Hunger Games have any precedence, which they do). I would absolutely cast Kenzi from Lost Girl as Karou, and if they cast anybody else I might hold a protest.
I took a little break from YA fantasy after that series, because I am not sure it gets better than that, at least for right now. So I picked up The Delicious Torment: A Story of Submission, Alison Tyler’s second in her recent trilogy. If you like Fifty Shades type of erotic romance fantasy novels, I highly recommend Alison Tyler. She’s the real deal, with actual experience and solid writing talent.
I picked up Night Film by Marisha Pessl on recommendation from an old friend, one whose fiction opinions I usually trust. I couldn’t put it down. It was more dense than the others I’ve been reading, but I got so deeply engrossed in the story of the eccentric horror film director and the narrator investigative journalist dead set on exposing whatever real horrors the director was up to. The strange cast grows, and I was so impressed with the world that Pessl built. I don’t usually read such suspense or mystery, but it reminded me of the years in high school where I used to read book after book of Christopher Pike and Dean Koontz. Maybe I should try some of their more recent books again.
That is precisely the kind of reading I’m looking for these days—something somewhat light, that I can devour, but with some magic underneath it that keeps me enraptured and entranced.
I finished off the month with Jeanette Winterson’s latest memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?. I have read almost all of her books, I think I read everything up to The Stone Gods, though I’m a few behind now. I love her intense writing, her experimental style, the ways she is obsessed with love. Oh, and this book, this book. This book made me want to go back and read all the classics of English Literature A-Z that she talks about discovering, it made me want to theorize about love and loss and the lost loss and healing and grief and how we can ever recover from trauma. I marked all sorts of quotes and cried and wrote things down. I had to put it down and read some of it slowly, connecting deeply to the amount of feeling she is able to convey. After reading it, I feel like I just took a big deep breath. It made me want to pick up many more things of hers, or to re-read some of my favorites, like Gut Symmetries and Written on the Body.
Thus concludes my January book roundup! Follow me on Goodreads and see which books I’ll be reading in February.
What have YOU been reading? Anything amazing lately? Anything to recommend?
This month’s roundup is sponsored by Grammerly. I will receive an Amazon gift card in exchange for that link placed up top, but they had no say over the content that I posted. So that’s only half selling out, right?
Dear Mr. Sexsmith,
Have you tried the Spare Parts Tomboi Harness? I saw your review of the RodeoH and agree with the lack of clit stimulation. I was wondering how the Tomboi compares. Would love your feedback before spending $80 on it if you have any!
Yes, I have tried the Tomboi harness. I think it’s better than the RodeoH in fabric and fit—the RodeoH is so much cut like girl panties, not like boy briefs, that drives me nuts particularly. But just like the RodeoH, there’s no particular tight fabric that goes near my bits like on a regular harness (of any fabric), and it really doesn’t do much for my own stimulation. The hole for the dildo to go through is also quite high—most harnesses are made for them to ride on the pubic bone, not get right aligned with the clit or lower, so it’s hard to have sensation from the back of the cock/base of the cock, too.
Your milage may vary, of course! And both the RodeoH and Tomboi leave pretty decent room for good access under a cock for your own bits to be stimulated, so that is a plus for a lot of people.
But for me, I know I need a lot of direct contact, kind of hard, and often repeated, so it’s really hard for me to use any brief or underwear harnesses to have enough stimulation to get off. I definitely think the Tomboi is better quality and will last much longer (I’ve had RodeoH’s fall apart after just one or two times through the washer). Still, it’s a lot. If you are going to invest, I’d wait for one of those sales days that Babeland or Good Vibes has—often online, often around the holidays—and at least cut it down in price.
I do think it’s super fun for packing and wearing a dick out. Oh—and I do think wearing a cock that has balls can sometimes increase the sensation, too, since sometimes the balls hang low enough to stimulate me a little more. Just one last thought
I hope that’s helpful! And hope you find a good harness that works well for you.
The Spareparts Tomboi briefs harness
The first thing that comes to mind when I consider what to tell you about this handsome Rug Beater Paddle by Kink Nerd Toys is something rife said recently: “I wouldn’t give it to a beginner.” It is a mean, intense instrument that hurts—more than you would expect—and can do some serious bruising.
Check it out.
I highly recommend bottoming to any impact toy before you use it on other people. Of course, everyone’s reaction to a toy is different, so you may love it or hate it and someone else may feel the opposite, but regardless, you’ll have a better sense of how it feels, what kind of impact it has on your body, and then how you would use it on others.
Some of the marks this toy left on rife:
A few of my thoughts and tips about this toy:
* Start slow. Really slow. Much slower than you think you should. Wait until they arch into it and are really ready for it to go any harder.
* Try beating in some small patterns: five rapid very soft, then three slower and medium hard, then five more soft. Or five soft, one hard. Or fifteen soft, three hard. Experiment.
* It’s quite hard, so I would only use it on pretty dense, fleshy parts of the body. I’ve used it on rife’s ass and thighs primarily. Using it elsewhere seems too intense, and that there’s not enough muscle or flesh to absorb the strong impact it makes.
* It leaves beautiful marks. If you have someone who marks easily, this might make little knotwork patterns in their flesh. Gorgeous. Rife doesn’t particularly mark easily, and it leaves marks on him fairly well.
* Great toy to explore sadism and masochism. It definitely got my inner sadist riled up to see him squirming in pain, trying to take the beating well, both of us testing out the limits of what we can give and receive.
I love having this toy in my toy box, and will definitely use it again. Particularly when I want to give a painful beating, when I want to leave marks, when I want to go slow and work up the bottom to taking a lot.
It’s a great price for something this mean. If impact play, pain, sadism & masochism, and beatings are the kinds of things you like, I highly recommend the Rug Beater Paddle.
And hey, isn’t some consumer holiday coming up really soon? Check out all the stuff by Kink Nerd Toys—Kimber makes all kinds of things and they’re quite affordable. Excellent way to build a more varied toy bag without spending a whole lot of money!
Thanks for the paddle, Kimber! I’ve been getting lots of use out of it.
Rand Leather (on etsy or on follow on tumblr) is a one-man-show out of Maine where Matthias Rand makes all kinds of leather goods from scratch. In addition to these bondage cuffs and bow ties (which I’ll tell you more about in a minute), I’ve also seen chest harnesses, suspenders, and even leather dresses that he’s made.
If you liked that Aslan Leather binder harness that I posted recently, but you want something a little differently shaped, check out Rand Leather’s binder harnesses. They are custom built and beautiful.
The cuff and bow tie were the items Rand Leather sent to me to check out.
First: the bondage cuff!
I love it. I wear it often. I love that it is an accessory that is also a toy and tool. See, it unwraps from around the wrist to have two square-rings (what do you call them? Square o-rings? Square metal bits?) along the leather that, when you snake the other end through in an S shape, makes a pair of handcuffs.
It works exactly like a bondage belt, only miniature!
It’s become one of my staple outfit pieces at recent leather events and I’ve worn it at IMsL, Northern Exposure, and Queer Invasion (to name a few this year). (Also, that tells you I’ve been really behind on reviewing. Sorry!)
Now: the bow tie!
It has not become the staple to my fancy leather dress collection that I would have expected. I think mostly that’s because I’ve discovered that I just don’t like wearing bow ties that much. I love the look on other people, and I keep thinking that I could rock it if I just had the right one, but it doesn’t quite fit. Too nerdy? I mean, I am pretty nerdy. Maybe it’s the proportions.
I think part of it, too, is that I have a pretty large chest and I don’t like having things on my neck or upper chest. It’s hard enough just binding, which often pushes my breasts up higher in order to flatten them and makes wearing a tie right under my chin really uncomfortable.
The bonus is, it looks really really adorable on rife. So here he is modeling the beautiful leather bow tie.
These pieces are both available on Rand Leather’s Etsy store, and both the bondage cuff and the leather bow tie come in other colors!
I had my hesitations about the Love Bump. It’s kind of odd to be able to add and remove the balls from the dick, kind of … disembodies them in a way that is weird. I have had mixed feelings about balls in general, through my 15+ years (!!) of using a strap on for sex. In the beginning, I was often shamed by my partners for wanting dicks with balls, or for wanting anything that looked realistic. It was deemed “not lesbian enough” and only very non-realistic looking dicks were approved in that relationship.
Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting a dick that doesn’t look realistic. If that’s what you want, I totally support that. But in my book, it’s not okay to shame someone for wanting something that you don’t want. I’d love to encourage us to talk about things in terms of “our personal likes and dislikes” rather than “why someone else liking something that I don’t like is bad and wrong.”
As the trans movements have grown in the recent decades, so too have the options of realistic looking strap on dicks in feminist and queer toy stores. More and more of the dicks are realistically shaped and colored. I’ve heard a lot of folks wanting for less realistic colors lately, actually. (Which is why it’s exciting that NYTC is offering the Shilo in other colors!)
And as the options have shifted, and my own sexuality has evolved, and as I’ve had more permission to be cock-centric and cock-based in my sexual play, I’ve been gravitating more and more toward strap on dicks that roughly match my (white) skin tone, realistic shapes, and balls.
I like how the balls feel. I like the weight. I like how my underwear cups them a little bit, and holds them, cradling. I like having them sucked on and played with. I like how they hang and smack against the person I’m fucking.There are a lot of things that make Shilo’s Balls really cool. Like:
I’ve never seen “balls sold separately” on a dildo before, so this is new. It seems a little odd and, like I said, disembodied, except when you realize what some of the perks are: a) removing them to have a more discreet package (or adding them to juice up your package, if you want that), and putting them on when you are ready to play; b) turning them upside down when fucking face to face in order to stimulate the person’s clit (assuming that they have a clit that wants to be stimulated in that way); c) adding them to other dildos.
Like NYTC’s other products, the balls are silicone and can be sanitized in a 10% bleach/90% water solution, on the top shelf of the dishwasher (with no soap! Assuming that your dishwasher gets hot enough for sanitizing, check your model), or in cock soup boiling water for 5-7 minutes. It’s beautiful quality silicone, too. Mostly matte, not shiny, pliable, soft to the touch, feels good. I think NYTC has some of the best silicone offered.
I have to be honest and tell you that I haven’t played much with the vibrator. I get pretty over-stimulated, so I don’t tend to turn it on. I’d like to try it out a little more, though. You know. For science. And for my thorough review to report to y’all.
4. Juuuust right.
Their size is excellent and matches the Shilo so, so well. They—both Shilo and the balls—feel like a good size for my body, too. Not too small, not too big.
So, in conclusion: Highly recommended if you’re interested in adding some balls to your strap-on play, regardless of whether or not you have the Shilo. It can be a really fun addition for more sensation, for gender play, or for other role play during strap on sexy times.
Pick up The Love Bump from the New York Toy Collective, or at your local awesome feminist sex-positive queer sexuality resource shop.