The Best Sex Toy Reviewers list was published today, and on it, at #7, with a bullet, is yours truly. Thanks y’all! I’m glad the reviews that I do are useful for you.
So … now that I’m writing about sex toy reviews, I have a few things to say before getting on to the list. Our sexblog communities are currently flooded with sex toys. Go figure, sex toy shops have figured out that it is quite profitable for them to give us not-so-expensive products, which in turn gives them sales. Sex bloggers are happy – free sex toys! – and sex toy stores are happy – more sales!
Okay, but what about the readers?
I’m sure some reviews and recommendations are very helpful – especially when you’re not so used to shopping for sex toys, have no idea what’s out there or where to start. Great! Happy to help, happy to provide some information and ideas about certain products and how they worked for me.
I have a couple complaints about this, though:
- Some blogs seem to be taken over by reviews, and the reflective, personal writings are becoming background content.
- Some bloggers never write bad reviews. This kind of makes sense, since for the most part, the toy comes by request of the blogger, and we’re not really about to request things that we dislike. But how can I trust the good reviews, if there aren’t any bad ones?
- Some sex toy sites are sketchy, and bad business. I cringe at their awful objectification of women and hetero-centric gaze. I wouldn’t want to support them with my money, and I do sometimes feel judgmental about supporting them with links and promotions.
I did a lot of reviews in 2008 – thanks to my lovely assistant Alisha, I’m working on a round-up of reviews from the last year, especially focusing on which toys I still use (and which are just sitting in a box). I admit, I was wowed by the options of getting sex toys in the mail (yay!) in exchange for my opinions on them. I reviewed for Eden, Babeland, Spartacus Leathers, and even got a harness from Good Vibes. And I was asked by at least a dozen other companies to review things for them, but I usually felt too strange and uncomfortable about their politics for me to follow through.
For me, it comes down to this: our sexblogs are profitable promotional tools for sex toy sites & companies. I want to be intentional and consciencious about the politics and policies I’m supporting. Toys with phthalates cause cancer and are a problem. Lack of gender and queer diversity and knowledge is a problem. A non-feminist approach to sex, sexuality, and sexual health is a problem.
I have been limiting myself to one review a week (max!), and I’m going to continue to say no to a lot of the review requests that come through. I will absolutely accept review requests for gender-bending products, for cocks and harnesses, for BDSM toys, and for occasional other fun stuff that I’ve been curious to try out, but I’m saying no a lot more than I was last year. I don’t want toy reviews to overwhelm the content of this site.
If you’ve got opinions on the ways that I review things, now’s a great time to speak up!
- Any toys you would love to see me review?
- Any specific questions about toys that I’ve reviewed, sex toys in general, how to use a harness, which cocks to start with, etc etc? Ask away, I’ll see what I can do to answer!
- Any ideas about how I can make reviews more useful?
And now, without further ado: the Best Sex Toy Reviewers of 2008.
Congrats, Essin’ Em, for the #1 slot! You definitely deserve it.
Best Sex Toy Reviewers is a new annual list compiled by Domina Doll and Scarlet Lotus Sexgeek. Only reviewers who reviewed during the year of 2008 were considered, there will be a list for 2009 next year.
- Essin’ Em
- Domina Doll
- Beautiful Dreamer
- Scarlet Lotus Sexgeek
- Gabe and Elizabeth
- Sinclair Sexsmith
- Catalina Loves
- Agent Ansley
- Betty Rocket
- J.D. Bauchery
- Thursday’s Child
- Dame Demi
- Shasta Gibson
- Freddy and Eddy
- Dangerous Lilly
- Erin Leone
- Sleeping Dreamer
- Ellie Lumpesse
- Wendy Blackheart
- Ducky Doolittle
- Curvaceous Dee
- The Porn Librarian
- Lux Alptraum
- Naughty Secretary
- Nadia West
- Alpine Subdreams
- Radical Vixen
- The Beautiful Kind
- Toys for Tarts
- Audacia Ray
- Lucy Vonne
- Coy Pink
- Backseat Boohoo
- Bad Bad Girl
- Jimbo Jones
- BOX: Les Petites Morts
- Phaedra Fallen
- Jiz Lee
- Panthera Pardus
- Sommer Marsden
- The Countess
- Madeline Glass
- Hussy Red
- Roxanne Rhoads
- Sylvanus and Mina
- Dark Lady
- Sex Is Fun
- Adrie Santos
12 thoughts on “Best Sex Toy Reviewers of 2008”
I'm so glad you wrote this. You've articulated some of the thoughts that have long been on my mind. I just may be inspired to say some more at my own place.
I, too, am glad to hear this coming from you. As with AAG I might also write something up with my own opinions, cause boy am I opinionated!!
When I first discovered the sexblogs (because I was trying in vain to find real reviews, in-depth information that wasn't available to the toy sites I knew about), I thought that the review stuff was absolutely wonderful. But yes, for a lot it seems that reviews have overtaken. I have worried about that with my own blog. I now keep my reviews to the weekends for the most part.
I take this reviewing stuff very seriously. If I hate a toy, you'd better believe I'm going to say so. I've given some so-so reviews because the toy is well made but not right for ME (but could be great for a large population of women). If it just sucks, I rail on about it. It makes me leary when I read the short blurb reviews on say, VibeReview, of all these gals saying that a certain toy is just the next best thing since sliced bread and I cannot find one good thing to say about it. If there's some very pertinent information that is not on the sellers site, decent photos, I'm going to add my own. At one point I was VERY clueless on toys and wasted a lot of money – I want to prevent other newbies from doing the same.
When I see reviewers on that list that I know first-hand have given out incorrect information (if it's a big deal, I'll correct them in comments, whether I know them or not), or seem to gush about a toy that I know I didn't like nor did a few other personal friends, I then seriously take stock on their blog as a whole, if I want to read it at all any more. If you are an affiliate, and you want the sales, don't lie or gloss over the bad points. Simply recommend other toys that you think are better.
I also turned down a lot of requests, and removed myself from a few others. I won't review just anything, I'm really picky about it. I've become a complete "toy snob", and if it's not phthalate-free, I simply won't review it. These toys, this knowledge, has made my sexlife (solo and otherwise) better by tenfold. I want others to get the same from me.
Wow, I talk a lot. Told ya I'm opinionated….
Thanks for this post, Sinclair. I think you have articulated some necessary issues around blogger toy reviews, the politics of the companies that request reviews, the obligation of the reviewers to disclose any benefit from the relationship to the product seller (free product, advertising revenue), and a truthful and fair review of the product. You all are kind of the pundits of toys.
It would be helpful to know what toys you turn down for reviews and why. Non-recommended materials, exploitative websites, bad history of consumer service, bad politics. I would also like to hear if you would rethink any product recommendation you have made in the past after much use.
The other thing, as a consumer, that I am interested in is price. I comparison shop, and so shop online since the bricks and mortar stores often seem to be much pricier (sometimes shockingly so) for the very same product. I have also seen price variances between online stores, once you include shipping (if shipping costs apply). I recognize that this is far afield from what you do, but in the world of dreams, I would love someone to set up a cost/service comparison site for the online stores. I would not shop only based on price (politics matter to me) but it helps to know the additional cost I may be paying to support a progressive business.
I like the policy of no more than one review a week – they’re fun, but I miss the theory!
I am totally with you on this. I think it's totally getting out of hand and boring. It's why I opted out of The Pleasurists. I do a few reviews and always have, but I won't let it overtake my blog.
And yes, I agree. In the same way that I only sign up for affiliate programs for companies I believe in, I only review toys for sites that I believe in/are changing for the better. I've turned down many companies…for sex toys, for link exchanges, etc. As soon as I get my affiliate earnings to $100 so I get the damn money they owe me, I'll be breaking with XR – I don't approve that they sell head cleaners. I broke with EF after the way they treated a variety of people. I think we have responsibility to remain ethical in how we present ourselves through out blogs, and that includes who we review for, affiliate with, etc.
I've been trying to keep it at one toy review a week, and then possibly a book or movie review…it's hard, because part of me (the selfish one) likes getting all these free toys and things to try out. However, my blog is a sexuality blog, not a sex toy review blog. Thank you for reminding me of this. Hopefully, I haven't turned over completely to the dark side yet :)
And congrats on being #7!
Hmm. I have to say I'm still a gold star girl when it comes to sex. but still I would love the how to's of a harness so I can know what's going on and buy a good one for my (hopefully) girlfriend.
Both you, Sinclair, as well as AAG have written excellent posts about what place reviews ought to hold in a good and well rounded sex blog.
Circumstances, at the moment, ally me with a company that features a lot of great products at very fair prices, but that as a whole does not subscribe to a lot of the points both you and AAG mention.
To the list of grievances, I'd also like to add herbal supplements. While it pains me that this eliminates the vast majority of mainstream sites, herbal supplements are open to too much trouble and complications. If the FDA doesn't protect us properly from Phthalates, imagine what they're turning a blind eye to in these pills. Heck, Rize 2 The Occasion was one the of biggest ones, and they had a huge recall when it was discovered they were slipping in actual viagra/cialis-ish ingredients in. Sure, they were effective, but what about the complications it could cause, medically, in people that were unfit to take Viagra and gambled on herbal pills? They're just not safe, and I wish sites would stop carrying them.