Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nuvaring - 1 Year In

I have now been on the Nuvaring for a year, and I must say I am impressed. I seem to be one of the lucky ones who has minimal side effects. My hormonally-driven mood swings are gone. I self-lubricate again. I'm not bleeding like the losing gladiator every freaking month. (I'm lookin' at you, Yaz) It works, I don't have to fuss with it except before and after sex, I don't have to remember pills, I don't have to worry about whether I can take my BC when I get sick (with my health, this is a serious concern. I just put it in, set a reminder on my phone to take it out in 3 weeks, and forget about it.

There have been a few slight drawbacks. Once in a while, an average of once every 3-4 months, I spot randomly for a day. Once in a blue moon (literally, it happened once all year) I have breakthrough bleeding. And that's seriously a bitch - I bled for 2 weeks, then I got to have my period ("withdrawal bleed" to be precise). Not cool, and a bit scary the first time, but not the end of the world. Also, the discharge production is up, but that's to be expected - when you've got a little ring hanging out up in there 24/7, any self-respecting mucus membrane is going to get a bit fussy. Again, no big deal, whoop-dee-doo.

If I had to really nitpick, the one thing that bugs me is that I HAVE to take the ring out for sex. I have a bitchy, whiny cervix, and she freaks the hell out if something even remotely pointy (i.e. the folded ring) trespasses on her domain. Seriously, that bitch is crazy.

Overall, I'm very happy with the Nuvaring. I can definitely say that I recommend it for anyone who has side effects with other birth control pills - it's the lowest effective dosage available, and being able to stop taking a pill on the clock is nice.

This month, I'm starting my second year of Nuvaring. Here's hoping that we have another good, side-effect-free year.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pleasurists #112

Tied Up by Sherwin-Prague

Welcome to Pleasurists, a round-up of the adult product and sex toy reviews that came out in the last seven days. For updates and information follow our RSS Feed and Twitter.
Did you miss Pleasurists #111? Read it all here. Do you have a review for Pleasurists #113? Be sure to read the submission guidelines and then use the submission form and submit it before Sunday January 1st @ 11:59pm Pacific.
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Scarlet Lotus St. Syr
On to the reviews…
Anal Toys
Toys for Cocks
Lube, Massage Oil, Bath Stuff, & etc.
Adult Books/Games
Adult DVDs & Porn
Sex Furniture

Pleasurists adult product review round-up

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spam FIlter Issues

I'd like to apologize on behalf of Blogger's spam filter to the people whose comments have been drifting in limbo. I'm trying to beat the stupid filter into submission so your wonderful, insightful comments will go back to posting automatically again. The filter seems to be snagging anything that mentions sex or anything pertaining to it... which kind of defeats the purpose of a sex and sexuality themed blog, dontcha think?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The fallacy of polarities and binaries

Polarity. Binaries. As humans, we're drawn to them, because they make the world easier to understand. They take the work out of classifying what we encounter in life.

If you're not with us, then you're against us.
If you're not perfect, then you're a failure.
If you're not straight, then you're gay.
If you're not gay, then you're straight.
If you're not male, then you're female.
If it's not perfectly good, then it's utterly evil.
If the answer isn't no, then it must be yes.
If it's not a scientifically proven fact, then it's a horrendous lie.
If it's not so clean it's sterile, then it's totally filthy.
If you're not a virgin, then you're a whore.
If you're not monogamous, then you have no loyalty or ability to love.
If you're not a scientist/doctor, then you're stupid and ignorant.
If you're not a layperson, then you can't understand what real life is like.
If you're not a size 0, then you're fat.

Look at those statements carefully. Anyone who can't see that there's a deep, common conceptual problem with each and every one of those statements should stop reading now.

In real life, there are few, if any, true natural binaries. All of these heavily polarized binaries are human inventions, human concepts. Even Alive vs Not Alive is a gradient - viruses are so hard to categorize because they straddle the barrier. We classify them as "not alive," but they haunt us, because they have so many of the characteristics we use to describe "alive." The barrier, the cut-off point is completely, humanly arbitrary.

So are all of the binaries I listed above. Each is a gradient, not just shades of gray but a glorious field of color. We have artificially created binary categories to define them because it makes it easier for our poor little brains. Sometimes, that's a good thing (for example, "food" vs "not food" was incredibly adaptive from day one); other times, it is horribly damaging.

How many times has "if you're not with us, then you're against us" been used as justification for hatred, violence, subjugation, exclusion?

How many bisexual people have found that they aren't welcome in many gay communities?

How many transpeople have found themselves unable to find acceptance at either pole of the gender spectrum?

How many non-monogamous parents have had their children taken away?

How many spiritual or philosophical truths have been laughed away simply because they cannot be tested?

How many people give up, or never even try, because because they cannot be perfect?

How many wonderful accomplishments are ignored or even reviled because they are not perfection?

How many good people find their lives destroyed because they made a single mistake, and were identified only by that mistake for the rest of their lives?

The answer is not to destroy all classification systems, all binaries and categories and labels. We're human, we need them - that's just how the brain works. The answer is to be aware of your binaries and your biases, your categories and your labels. The answer is to question them. How are they helpful? How are they hurtful? Why are they there? What does it mean to me? Do I really need it in order to function? When you find ones that are more healthy than hurtful, keep them, but always under surveillance. When you find ones that are harmful, try to understand them, and to perceive the gradient of color that lies between and around the poles.

Dare yourself to look inside, and to be honest with what you find. No one is perfect. No one can eliminate all of their false binaries and biases and stereotypes. That's not the point. The point is the awareness, the attempt.

The process.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Snowed in again

The last vehicle to make it up my street before the snow made it impassible was the USPS guy, delivering a box of sex toys for me to play with. I think this is a good sign.

I'm snowed in with new toys. Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: Incognito

I'm usually not much of one for watch battery bullets or sex toys that masquerade as something innocuous. I mean, why try to explain a giant plastic sunflower when you can leave a big honkin' back massager on your desk with no one the wiser?

However, said big honkin' massagers aren't the most portable of devices. For one thing, they're big. For another, they're usually tethered to a wall by that pesky power cord, and/or they're really, really loud. This is where small, quiet, portable, discrete toys come in. I figured it could be fun to have the thrill of walking around with a vibrator in my purse that no one would recognize. I wanted to be able to grab a quick orgasm between classes.

The Incognito is one such discrete toy. Designed to look like a bottle of nail polish, it hides a secret - removing the lid reveals not a pot of lacquer, but a small bullet vibrator. To turn on the bullet, you simply twist the business end. This is very easy to do, so make sure you take out the batteries when not in use unless you want your purse to start vibrating randomly.

The power is quite respectable for something that runs on (included!) button cell batteries, but there is only so much they can do. Its strength is about on par with your average 1-AAA vibrator, and quite buzzy. However, the trade-off is that the Incognito is comparatively quiet - not quiet enough to use in a bathroom if no one else is there, but quiet enough to be covered by a little background noise, like a fan or air conditioner. The bullet easily lifts out of the bottle for cleaning, and there is plenty of space below in the bottle to hold the batteries or even a small foil packet of lube when not in use.

The biggest downfall of the Incognito as a discrete toy for tossing in your purse or leaving on a nightstand is that it simply fails to pass as a nail polish bottle, except for the quickest of glances while it's half-buried in the deepest, darkest recesses of a purse. To be brutally honest, it looks like a small child's toy makeup. Its presence could easily be explained away by caretakers for feminine children under the age of around 6-7, but the rest of us are going to get some rather strange looks for carrying what appears to be a child's toy in our purses.

Is it worth it? Maybe. Buyers with a little more money to toss around and a little less need for toys that don't look like toys would do better with something that runs on AA or AAA batteries, like a pocket rocket or larger corded bullet. If you absolutely must have discretion, but want a higher quality toy, the Lelo Mia is the way to go. However, at only $10, the Incognito would make a nice toy for a beginner to start testing the waters. While the quality is not as high as other, more expensive toys, beginners are often afraid to spend too much at the outset. The Incognito is non-threatening, the appearance isn't as likely to get them "caught" as a cheap jelly dildo, and for a toy in this price range, it packs some serious punch. For such people, this could make a good "gateway" toy, or a fun gag gift.

This product was provided to me free of charge by MyPleasure in exchange for an unbiased review. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Where did the vacation go?

And here I thought that I'd have all this time to catch up on reviews over my lovely winter break. I guess I forgot that living under this roof means no locking of doors, no privacy because of freaky acoustics, no playing in the shower because of the small water heater, and no computer time because if I can't prove I'm studying for the MCAT, I get bitched at for wasting time goofing off online when I should be studying or cleaning up after my sister or, most importantly, spending time with my family!

(Oh Great and Terrible Goddess of Grammar, I do beseech thee to forgive me for creating such a hideous run-on sentence.)

I planned on testing toys at my boyfriend's house... until his family decided after 4 years of us enjoying ourselves in his attic room, that they didn't want to hear the floorboards creak anymore. Boo, hiss. (Also, they don't approve of kink, so I can't test my very first crop, or play with my scrumptious deer suede flogger)

I planned in finding time to test that nice crop... until I injured most of my upper back. (long story short, I caught someone WAY too heavy for me)

I planned on getting reacquainted with myself sexually, now that I might have a libido again... until I got hit by
epic stress + nuvaring = month-long "period"

And since then, I've been either ill, or in the hospital for a procedure (went fine, thanks), or studying my brains out for the MCAT. Free time? What's that?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Review: Lelo Ina

I like pressure with my clit stimulation. A lot. I'm what you might call a pressure junkie - I actually have a hard time getting off at all without pressure. Confession time: on two separate occasions, I have actually left visible bruises on my poor crotch in my, ahem, enthusiasm.

So when people started griping about how Lelo's first dual stimulator, the Ina, pressed down on their clits WAY too hard, my ears perked up. I might even have done a little happy dance. Epic pressure, without hurting my wrist or worrying about breaking the toy.

Bottom line? I adore it. It is the first and only dual stimulator I've ever tried that gave me the kind of vibration and pressure I wanted, without me needing to get another hand down there manipulating things. The inner portion was shaped just right to make it to my g-spot every time. It's no Pure Wand, but it does well enough. The motors are definitely stronger and are felt more deeply than the earlier motors.

Yes, motors. The Ina has not one, but two motors - one in the clit portion, and one up in the shaft. The vibration patterns let you choose between steady with both on, or with just one or the other, then patterns that include both. My favorite? When the vibration switches back and forth between the two motors. Some people have described it as almost feeling like thrusting; I'm not sure I feel that, but it's very, very fun.

For me, the icing on the cake was the pressure. The clit arm isn't rigidly attached to the shaft, as a solid piece of underlying plastic. Both the shaft and clit arm are solid under the pure silicone coating, but the attachment point is flexible. However, it is also quite stiff. You have to push it a bit to open it up for use, and once it's in place, it clamps down. The majority of reviewers have described it as pinching, painful, even torturous. Personally, I found it enjoyable and not at all painful, but I love pressure on my clitoris. Be warned - if you aren't a diehard clit-pressure fan, (or a masochist who's into clit torture) this toy may hurt!

I had very few gripes about the Ina. Sure, I would have liked a wee bit more power, but I'm a power queen. It was more than enough to get me off multiple times in a reasonable amount of time. I'd love to see them do a variation with the Gigi's head on a dual stimulator, because I still love that shape. As always, I wish it was waterproof, or at least splashproof - dorm-dwelling college students get most of their private time in the shower, ya know? It would make cleanup easier, too. (Since I received my Ina, Lelo has come out with the Soraya in their Insignia line, which appears to be functionally identical, just waterproof. Huzzah!) Otherwise, I'm happy as a geek in a gadget shop. This toy  has lived in my bedside drawer, charged, at all times since I got it months ago.

And? It's bright lime green. LIME. FREAKING. GREEN. Why don't more companies make toys in such wonderful colors?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you! May this coming year be a wonderful one, filled with blessings, opportunities, joy, love, and sex toys!