Best Women’s Erotica of the Year Review (Volume 1)

Best Women's Erotica of the Year volume 1 review

Photo credit: Cleis Press

~I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.~

There is something so attractive about good erotica.  Erotica without punctuation errors, grammatical problems, and above all, tells a decent story.  I found that in Cleis Press’s new book, Best Women’s Erotica of the Year (volume 1), edited by author and editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel.  However, like any anthology, there were stories that I found enchanting and wanted to fall into, and others I didn’t care for.

Best Women’s Erotica is 22 stories by a variety of authors packed into 207 pages.  The stories themselves vary widely.  Some are hard, fast, well-written sex from start to finish.  Some are a slow dance, and the sex (or at least sexual activity) are almost a footnote in the closing paragraphs.  Want sweet romance?  It’s in there.  Hardcore sex?  Sure.  BDSM?  Yep.  Vanilla?  You betcha.

The characters themselves are no less diverse.  Singles on a hot night out, couples adding spice, groups, mono couples, couples in open relationships, renegade artists, hipsters, escorts, office professionals, theatre actors, cis/hetero people, LGBT folks, doms and subs, childhood crushes come to life.

The inclusiveness of the collection is very well done.  The LGBT relationships are not treated any less valid than the hetero relationships.  I was relieved to see this when so many erotica stories fetishize those relationships in stories with no real understanding.  Likewise, the stories that included people of color brought them to life, when so many other stories use them as tokens or stereotypes.

And the characters aren’t physically perfect.  If you are looking for stories of “She had a huge rack and he had a massive dick bellow a six pack,” this is not for you.  Or maybe it is, and you would like a tale with a little more realism, like the story of a woman coming to terms with losing her breasts after a battle with cancer, or the deaf woman struggling to remember the sound of her lover’s voice.

My favorite story by far was The Carnalarium by Rose Caraway.  It’s the tale of the ending of a relationship between two women: Kendra, deeply loving and seeking stability, and Beth, cursed with too much wanderlust to settle down anywhere for long, regardless of her love for Kendra.  The women have a sort of last hurrah at the Carnalarium, a very exclusive BDSM club.  During a delightfully kinky and more than a little hot sex scene, they are able to have a bittersweet split, with Kendra able to move on, and Beth acknowledging she needed to let Kendra leave her, not the other way around.  Hot, sexy, and strangely heart wrenching.  Oomph.

As a have a favorite, I have a least favorite as well.  Waiting to Pee by Amy Butcher is a very well-written, detailed story, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.  It starts with fascinating, almost voyeuristic, people watching in a public bathroom in a park, standing in line and, well, waiting to pee.  It ends with a consensual water sports encounter.  Water sports aren’t quite my thing, but moreover, the author goes into such detail about the surroundings–no toilet paper, the general dirtiness, the drunk young woman in the next stall constantly retching while her friends encourage her to just let it out–left me feeling more queasy than turned on.  Even still, the detail of the story would make me curious to read other works by the same author.  If it’s your thing, it’s very well written, but it wasn’t mine.  No judgement.

The only other issue I had with the collection is there are a few stories where it seems like it’s strangers getting together, and they turn out in the last few sentences to be married and just getting their roleplay on.  It’s cute, but in my humble opinion, I find that device to be overused in erotic fiction in general

Final thought: This anthology has a little bit of everything, from sweet romance to hard lust, and characters from every walk of life.  If you like your erotica to be eclectic, you’ll love this book.  New to erotica and not really sure what you like?  Read this collection to help you narrow your tastes.  It’s well worth it!

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

We-Vibe Nova Review

we-vibe nova review~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

We-Vibe makes the coolest toys.  Seriously.  And although I am generally not a great fan of rabbits, I wanted to try one of their newest toys, the Nova, because of the unique shape and, well, We-vibe.  Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out great, but it has a happy ending!

A little bit about it: The We-Vibe Nova is a waterproof, silicone, rechargeable, rabbit-style vibrator.  It is multi-speed, multi-pattern, and vibrates with two separate motors.  It has a compatible app that allows close control over bluetooth, or at a distance with wifi.

We’re going to do this backwards today, and start with what was wrong, and finish with what was right.

What I didn’t love: Here’s the thing about me and rabbits.  My clitoris is a little farther than average away from my vagina.  There.  I said it.  Not incredibly far, a fraction of an inch, perhaps, but that little bit of extra distance makes all the difference when we’re talking about rabbits.  I can have the clitoral arm hit my clitoris, or the internal arm hit my g-spot.  I can’t have both.

With the Nova’s flexible arm, I had hope.  There was a chance that maybe, with it being flexible, I could make this work.  I always wanted a rabbit I could really, really like.  Sadly, this one isn’t it.  The clitoral arm is very curved, and when I tried to apply pressure to change the point of contact, the arm just curved all the more, so the point of most contact with my own body remained the same.

What I loved: But the story isn’t over!  This little lobster claw has a lot of great things going for it.

The silicone is smooth and body safe.  The vibrations are powerful and quiet, and the clitoral arm and vaginal shaft run off of two motors that can be independently controlled.  And to be perfectly honest, the curve of the vaginal shaft feels good.  Really good.  But as the clitoral arm doesn’t hit me right, it just doesn’t work as a rabbit, and it gets in the way to use it as a typical dildo.

I had a suspicion that, with as much care and craft that We-Vibe puts into their toys, there was a good chance this toy was not a flop, but maybe just a flop on me.  So I grabbed a friend (you remember my friends, right?  I have great friends that help with these things), and presented her the Nova to see if her reaction was any different.  After a few days, we discussed, and her experience with it was nothing like mine.

As as wonky and misplaced as it was with my anatomy is how well it fit her.  She had a great time playing with all the app functions, but did admit that there was a bit of learning to find the exact right positioning and angle of the toy.  But once she did, it hit all the right spots on her, and “…it was a very quick zero to O for me.”

Final thought: The Nova didn’t work for me, but rabbits in general don’t work for me.  My little fact finding mission lead me to believe that for those that like rabbits, the Nova is a great choice and an awesome toy.

Not sure if you like rabbits?  The Nova’s independent motors, silicone shaft, and strong vibrations might be a good place to start.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

L’Amourose Rosa Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~l'amourose rosa review

I’ll be honest.  I was confused on what the Rosa was.  I took it out of the box, flipped it around in my hands a few times, trying to figure out if I was looking at a G-spot vibe or an anal plug.  A friend and I argued about it for a while, staring it down, willing it to tell us what it actually is.  Well, it turns out it’s a G-spot vibe.  And an amazing one at that.

A little bit about it: The Rosa is a waterproof, rechargeable G-spot vibrator made of silky silicone.  It has two separate, multi-speed motors: one for the base, one for the shaft.

What I loved: This toy.  THIS TOY.  The L’Amourose toys are beautiful, but the Rosa‘s function is even greater than it’s beauty.

When I first inserted the toy, I was surprised by how well it fit, as if it was made for me.  It slid right in, its turns and ridges fitting against the exact right spots, as if it was made from a cast of my vagina.  Of course it wasn’t, but the design felt like it curved and moved with the rest of me and fit with my shape, instead of fighting against it.  I didn’t know a toy could be comfortable and orgasmic at the same time.

rosa2And then there’s the dual motor vibration.  The vibration is deep and rumbly, stimulating my G-spot, labia, and clitoris at the same time and bringing me to orgasm very quickly.  Not clitoral orgasms, you understand.  Those are a little hard for me to get to, but the G-spot orgasm was almost instant thanks to the way it fits inside me.

Oh, and it’s practically hands free!  If I lay on my back with my legs closed-ish, it’s held in place just right by it’s shape and vibrates away.  No thrusting necessary.  A truly hands-free experience is so hard to come by, and doesn’t even seem to work that well with toys that are actually designed to be hands-free.  Finding one that I can do that with AND has a great vibration?  Awesome.

What I didn’t: Yeah, no.  We’re good.

Final thought: OK, I’m not going to lie here.  It’s expensive, around the $180 mark.  That’s a lot to ask for a vibrator that won’t do your dishes, pick up after your small humans, or mow the lawn.  But it’s amazing.  I will henceforth call it the lazy girl’s bit of awesome: intense orgasms with little work.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Tantus Alan O2 Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~Tantus Alan Review

BONUS: Sale information at the end of this post.

I’m continuing to love Tantus’s O2 line, which they’ve used to shape everything from hyper-realistic, uncircumsized cocks to more fanciful pieces in stunning colors.  Next up for review is another realistic dildo, the Alan O2.

A little bit about it: The Alan is part of Tantus’s ever growing O2 line, which consists of a softer outer layer and a firmer core, all made from high quality silicone.  It has a circumference of roughly 5″ and an insertible length of 6.5.”  It comes with a suction cup and bullet vibrator.

What I loved: Tantus has been changing my feelings about realistic dildos.  If you asked me a few weeks ago how I felt about them, I’d probably roll my eyes and just assume you were talking about some jelly or PVC atrocity.  And they tend to be rather…unattractive.  But after I received the object of my last review, the Tantus Uncut #1, I started to re-examine my feelings.  The Alan is also a realistic dildo, but is in no way atrocious.

Tantus Alan ReviewWhile the Uncut was hyper-realistic, the Alan is more understated.  The wrinkles, veins, and pores are still there, giving a definite real appearance, but it’s a bit more muted than on the Uncut.  This is neither good nor bad, just a thing to keep in mind if you have preferences.

The shaft is straight and has some give to it, which typically would make my G-spot a little on the pissed-off-from-lack-of-stimulation side, but the head more than makes up for it.  The ridge at the base of glans hits my G-spot just right.  But it doesn’t just hit it.  It hits it and, because of the shape, pulls on it in the best way possible, creating a distinct kind of stimulation that is part glide, part tug, part pressure.

The size is in the realm of just right.  The circumference and length is roughly equivalent to the average penis, neither too large nor too small for most people (with exceptions, of course).

What I didn’t: I dig the suction cup, but have never been a fan of Tantus’s included bullet vibe, or bullet vibes in general, with notable exceptions.

Final thought: Like many of Tantus’s toys, the Alan O2 hovers around the $120 mark, but worth every penny.  Tantus toys are high quality and with proper care will last a lifetime, unlike cheaper toys that will break down over time.

BONUS SALE: For all of this March, you can get 20% off any O2 toy with the code SPRUNG.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Tantus Uncut #1 Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~Tantus uncuts review

Realistic dildos have never really been my thing.  Yes, I have them, but I don’t really seek them out.  Typically, the more fanciful ones hold my interest and I bypass “realistic” ones, as they often end up looking more comic than real.  But then I saw the Uncut #1, and it changed everything.

A little bit about it: The Tantus Uncut #1 is a realistic silicone dildo, meant to resemble an uncircumsized penis, thus, “uncut.”  The silicone is dual density, with a soft and squishy outside and a slightly more rigid core.  It is roughly 7.5 inches of insertable length, and 5.5 inches around at the widest point of the head.

What I loved: The Uncut seems to transcend what is a simple dildo and move into the realm of art.  It’s not just detailed.  It’s detailed.  Tantus did an amazing job sculpting what is one of the most realistically styled dildos I have ever seen.  Generally speaking, realistic toys seem to be ridiculous affairs.  Their coloring is exaggerated, the veining and wrinkles swollen and odd to the point that they look like cock caricatures.  The Uncut #1, however, keeps the realism without the silliness.

Everything is carefully crafted on the Uncut.  It has everything from the slit on the cock head to the foreskin with the head just ever so slightly peeking out.  The wrinkles and veins are clearly there but in a way that’s closer to reality, and not so cartoonish.  They even crafted skin texture right down to the pores.  It’s not just realistic, it’s hyper realistic.

I’ve always gravitated towards unrealistic toys, whether they be artistic, beautiful, unique, or even kind of utilitarian.  The Uncut changed the way I look at realistic dildos, and although most are still kind of silly looking to me, I’m excited to see what kind of realistic awesomeness Tantus comes out with next.  But then again, I’ve never tried any of their dildos that I wasn’t an immediate fan of.

But enough about the aesthetics.  I could go on and on about how detailed and beautiful it is, but how well it works is also extremely important.  The outside is soft and squishy (I may have wandered around for a bit, just squishing it in my fingers.  You practically have to when touching dual density silicone), while the inside is firmer, but not rock solid.  The shaft still has a fair amount of give and bend to it, instead of it being completely rigid.

Typically I need something completely rigid to work for me to produce a G-spot orgasm, but the size and shape of the head allows me to reach climax easily without the shaft needing to be solid.  It’s not completely firm, but firm enough.

What I didn’t: If I had to pick one thing to complain about, it’s that the amount of detail makes it slightly more difficult to clean, so be prepared to take a few extra moments.

Final thought: The Tantus Uncut #1 sells for about $114, which might seem like a lot for a non-vibrating toy.  But, unlike dildos made of lesser materials, it won’t degrade or melt into other toys, and will hold up to what will likely be a lifetime of use with proper care.  Their asking price is more than fair for what they are providing and I highly recommend this one for a toybox staple.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

We-Vibe Rave Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~we-vibe rave review

I love most of what We-Vibe puts out.  Though they started with couples’ sex vibes and clitoral stimulators, they have now branched out into plugs and dildos.  The Rave is one of their newest toys.

A little bit about it: The We-Vibe Rave is a silicone G-spot vibrator.  It’s splash proof (note: not waterproof), rechargeable, and asymmetrically shaped.  It has it’s own app that you can download and use to control the toy.

What I loved: Most of the toys We-Vibe put out are pretty awesome. [Note: whether their flagship toy, THE We-Vibe works for you is very anatomy dependent and people either love it or hate it, but we aren’t discussing that one right now.]  The motors are strong, they do their job, and they are fantastic toys to have.  The Rave is no exception.

The Rave has an asymmetric shape, allowing for stimulation of different parts of the vaginal walls when you turn it.  In addition, the curved shape makes it great for G-spotting with very little effort.  It has more of a curve than many other G-spot toys, and is solid, so if you are one of those people that really likes pressure on your G-spot, this is perfect.

If you are a techie, the Rave can be paired with We-Vibe’s app.  The app allows you or your partner to control the vibration and pattern with a smartphone.  This is particularly great if you have trouble with pressing buttons on the toy during play, or want to have a bit of a power play or partnered play session.

The vibrations are strong, making it a fantastic clitoral vibrator.  My favorite way to use it is externally, using the head of the toy to stimulate my clitoris.  The curve rests against my pubic bone and abdomen, making it very comfortable to use that way.  And, as a clitoral vibrator, it is very easy to control.  Most clitoral vibrators are very short, but the long handle on the Rave makes positioning and use far more comfortable than on standard clit vibes.

What I didn’t: Though the shape is great for hitting my G-spot, my spot is extremely finicky when it comes to vibrations.  I haven’t yet quite figured out what makes one vibe awesome for my G-spot and another not when they both feel the same to my hand.  The Rave doesn’t do a whole lot for vibrating my G-spot, but the shape let’s me rub it well, and I use the vibrations on my clitoris.

Final thought: Sex toys are moving into the technology age.  Consumers are getting more aware of safe materials, and companies are responding with better materials and technology which pairs with devices we already have.  The We-Vibe Rave is definitely worth a look if you like partnered play, techie toys, clitoral vibes, G-spot toys, or all of the above.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Prism V Review

Prism 5 review~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Some of my favorite toys on the market are ones that can double as clitoral and G-spot stimulators, and do so equally well.  The L’Amourose PRISM V is one of those rare but awesome toys.

A little bit about it: The PRISM V is a silicone, rechargeable vibrator with a pronounced head and artistic styling (hence the name “prism”).  It comes in azure blue (pictured), sky blue, and sunset red.

What I loved: I was kind of in awe when I took the PRISM V out of the package.  It’s pretty without being gaudy, classy without seeming like it’s trying too hard, and cute without being over-the-top (I’m looking at YOU, Cupcake!).

Of course, I’m always madly in love with rechargeables and silicone vibes, because, well, body safe and I don’t have to scramble to find batteries at the worst possible time.  But most quality vibes have that going for them now.  What sets this one apart, aside from a beautiful design, is that it is fairly strong.

Most G-spot vibes don’t do a whole lot for me.  Heck, it was only about 3 years ago when I finally found how to properly stimulate my finicky G-spot.  The Mona 2 does a pretty good job, and what I generally consider to the be alpha vibe for me, but the PRISM comes pretty darn close to that with it’s strong, rumbly vibration.

It’s also great for clitoral stimulation.  The shape is comfortable in my hand, and the long shaft and pronounced head makes positioning over my clit very simple, very easy.  The deep vibration allows me to come fairly easily.  Well, as easy as it can be for me.  Clit-o-steel and whatnot.

What I didn’t: A couple of minor issues.  First, the handle vibrates a lot.  Now, with it being as strong as it is, I don’t know that there is a whole lot that can be done about that, but if you have hand/nerve issues, it is something to consider.

Second, I’ve had a little bit of an issue getting in touch with customer service and getting some things straightened out, but others have not had the same problem.  YMMV.

Final thought: The PRISM retails for $115 ($105 at Shevibe).  It’s a little pricier than I’d like to see, but as quality goes up in the industry, so does the price.  If you are looking for a quality vibe that is great for both G-spots and clitoral stimulation, but aren’t a fan of the Mona’s shape, I recommend this one.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Sportsheets Ponytail Flogger Review

ponytail flogger review~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

I’m still pretty new to impact play, but there’s something exciting about dancing the line between hurts so good and just flat out hurts.  Sportsheets’s Ponytail Flogger sits well within the former.

A little bit about it: The Ponytail flogger is made of roughly 16″ of real horsehair, but has a handle wrapped in vegan (faux) leather.  It comes with a loop on the end for hanging, if you are one of those lucky people with a dedicated toy closet.

What I loved: These sections are hard to fill out on impact toys because they are just so delightfully simple.  You get hit, you feel stuff.  But the feeling of the impact from toy to toy is different.  Does it hurt?  Yes.  There is a definite bite to it, but it’s not as intense as some other impact toys.  For me, using this flogger is right there on that mild to medium sensation side.  It’s not intense, but it’s not nothing.  If he’s using it on me, it stings, but it’s not so much that I get restless or uncomfortable.  But, if he’s done anything else beforehand, like a spanking or using a paddle, the flog is much more intense.

Because it gives a pretty good sensation without being over the top, I imagine beginners to impact play would like this one.  However, everyone has different skin sensitivities, so what felt to me on the pleasant side of ow to others may fell unbearable, and vice versa.

What I didn’t:  He complained about the handle.  He didn’t like the way the faux leather felt on his skin.  Since he has experienced only leather floggers before, it felt wrong to him.  In my hands, it felt fine.  However, since he disclosed his feelings about the handle wrapping, I have taken it out again and noticed that the wrapping is starting to come undone, like it wasn’t secured on the wood beneath it well enough.

Final thought: I like this flogger.  It’s nice, light, and it has a good sensation without (in my opinion) being too much.  You can get it for between $35 and $60, depending on your shop of choice.  Those with a taste for leather and more high end toys might not like this one, but it’s a good starter piece or for those that like the sensation of horsehair.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Edge Adjustable Spreader Bar Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Edge spreader bar reviewContinuing right along in what is turning out to be a month of BDSM toys, we have Sportsheet‘s Edge Adjustable Spreader Bar!  Is it a BDSM toy?  A position aid?  It’s a little of both!

A little bit about it: The Edge Spreader Bar comes from Sportsheets, a well known retailer of BDSM toys (but they have other kinds as well).  The bar is black aluminum that adjusts from 28.5-37″.  It has a clip on each end to attach cuffs, along with a D ring in the center of the bar, and can be completely disassembled for easy storage and traveling.

What I loved: I’ve had cuffs and other kinds of restraints, but I’ve never had a spreader bar.  I ended up really liking it.  It holds my legs (or arms) securely open.  The swivelling clasps at the ends give my feet a little bit of wiggle room, so I stay both mostly immobile with just enough movement to stay comfortable so I can stay bound for a longer amount of time.

When I’m on my back, he can attach my ankles to the bar and use it to raise my legs.  Very simple, but has a huge impact on positioning, allowing him to go deeper.  It’s a little easier for him as well, since he can hold the bar to raise my legs from a more central location, instead of struggling with my ankles.

I passed the bar on to a good friend of mine that you may remember from the male kegel exerciser post.  He took it home to his wife and tried it out.  They also loved it.  Like me, they loved that you can use the bar to push the bound person’s legs back, and could even have the receiver hold the bar (and therefore legs) for themselves, freeing the giver’s hands to do other things.  As a bonus, the wife reported it was extra comfortable for her.  She sustained a foot/ankle/leg injury a few years ago that left her joint permanently immobile.  She reports that the bar helped keep her legs in position and pressure off her injured joint.  For them, it was less of a BDSM tool, more of a position aid.

What I didn’t:  The only problem one may have with this bar that I can see is that they will have to purchase cuffs separately if they don’t already own some.  The bar does not come with a set.

Final thought: Worth it.  It retails for between $35-55, depending on your preference of shop.  Shevibe carries it for around $33.  It’s not super pricey for the amount of use you may get out of it, and well worth having it in your collection.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Liberator Cuffs Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~Liberator Cuffs Review

So, I loved Liberator’s spanking bench.  ‘Cause, wow.  And what’s a little spanking without some light bondage, amiright?  Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, Liberator sent me a set of cuffs with the bench, which are giving me all kinds of mixed feelings.  I love them and hate them.

A little bit about it:  The soft, velcro cuffs come in a set of 4 (two ankle, two wrist), and attach via snap clips (think backpacks) to Liberator furniture.  You can buy them separately, or get them with a piece of furniture.

What I loved:  They’re comfortable.  Like, really, really comfortable.  They are soft and feel like my wrists and ankles are being caressed by blankets.  They are warm, without being hot, so ambient temperature isn’t as much of a problem as it might be with leather cuffs.

They hold well and you can’t just pop out of them.  They are comfortable enough that I could see wearing them during an extended session (unattached to any frame) and only snapping them onto furniture when it’s bondage time.

What I didn’t: I have one pretty big complaint about the cuffs.  The snaps.  I had it in my head that it would be great to try these snaps with a new spreader bar I received (upcoming review), and was so excited.  I took everything out and realized I had a pretty big problem.  You see, most bondage items utilize D-rings and connectors, while Liberator uses these plastic clips.  These things are not compatible.  So while I was excited to use my spreader bar, I had to put away the Liberator ones and reach for a different set.  Having to do that makes me less likely to recommend them.

Now, you can buy a set that comes with extra connectors that will allow you to hook your cuffs up to D-rings, and a set of connectors sold separately will turn your clips into D-rings.  If you want to use any other cuff set with their furniture, or any other furniture with their cuff set, these things are necessary.  I would much rather see them come with the standard D-rings and attachments to make them more readily compatible with other lines of toys, especially there isn’t a Liberator equivalent to most of the toys I’d use cuffs with.

Final thought: Although I liked the cuffs themselves, and I can use them with my Liberator furniture, I don’t like that they aren’t (easily) compatible with other toys unless you make sure you get the right set or buy them separately.  However, they do work well with Liberator’s own furniture.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~