Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: Impressions Paddle hearts

The Impressions Paddle hearts by Sportsheets has been in my toy drawer for almost four months. For me, that's a long time to wait to review something (excluding the toys I got before I started reviewing).

The products that wait this long usually fall into one of two categories: either we use them so often and without thought that we forget about them, like our old standby condoms, or they rarely get used. This paddle falls into the latter category.

We had never tried a paddle before. Floggers, yes, but gentle ones. We had been thinking about trying a paddle, but not too seriously. As big fans of Sportsheet's products, we had toyed with the idea of getting one similar to this, but without the cutouts. What we were looking for was a good set of leather cuffs.

As was usual for our poor college budgets, it was the price that kept us flinching from buying. We loved to drool over all sorts of design, but we could never justify the price.

Enter my secret vice: ebay.

After buying my first sex toy on ebay, I took my business exclusively to bigger online retailers for a while. Then, I discovered that a few brick-and-mortar stores sell the stock that hasn't sold as quickly through ebay, sometimes at list price, sometimes at steep discout. I found one that started auctions low enough and flooded the market enough that I made a few purchases that would usually have been in the $80-$100 range for under $15 apiece. I was very pleased with myself. (unfortunately, the store where I got these amazing deals has since wised up and started listing items for only 25% off, instead of 75%)

Then, I saw it. The set of my dreams. They had taken matching leather ankle and wrist cuffs, a matching collar, and the Impressions Paddle hearts and made them into a store-designed kit. When I saw it, the bidding was under $10. I won it at $30.

To be honest, I bought it for the cuffs and collar. The paddle was an extra, as far as I was concerned. A bonus.

And then, when we opened the package and saw the gear in person, he decided the restraints were too much for him at the time. We packed them away, for when we were ready. I wasn't very upset, because we would use them eventually, and we'd never have gotten a deal like that again. Oddly enough, the one thing he didn't ask me to pack away, the one thing he was willing to try, was the paddle.

In the week between its arrival and its first test run, I tried it out on my thigh. Let me tell you, outside of an erotic context, that thing hurt. In a way that involved profanity. And I hadn't even managed to get the hearts to show. Getting those hearts to show, clean and sharp, is harder than it looks. It involves a fair bit of force, a good angle, and an unflinching target. Being my own unflinching target after that first swat was hard, but I was determined to learn how to get it right before I used it on my boyfriend. He likes being spanked, but I wanted to get those hearts to show before the real play got started. It took me most of the week to learn, because I couldn't do it more than a few times in a row.

Who was I kidding? I learned how to hit it just right, but I knew there was no way we'd be able to use this for a hard spanking like we'd planned. Between my very fair, delicate skin and his much darker, but rather sensitive skin, we never got very far. For us, it just hurt too much.

Regardless of the fact that we didn't get much erotic use from it, and that I have a friend begging me to give it to her if we're not going to use it (which is never happening, since you can't sterilize leather), we decided to keep the paddle. It's a beautiful piece of work. The leather is of good quality and very smooth, and feels almost cool when drawn across hot flesh, rather like a piece of satin would. The stitching is precise and sturdy; the cutout hearts are crisp, without snags or rough spots; the metal ring is set well, and doesn't shift or rub at the leather. It was very well made, and I couldn't bear to part with it.

And it's still packed away. It hasn't been used since, but I take it out every so often, just to look at it.

Head over to to read my full review of the Impressions Paddle hearts!

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