Oct 08

Sex Stuff: The Unknown Flogger

If you know me, you know that I am all about DIY culture and creation. If you have doubts, check out this and these and this.

For me, the fall season means zine fair time! Time to make new things, discover new things and spend great times behind a table hawking my sex wares.

I’ve been going two zine and craft fairs for about 15 years. These days there are two main events I get out to: Canzine in Toronto and Expozine in Montreal. And I will be at both this year!

Not only do I go to these events because I love them, but I also go to represent sex culture in a space that is predominantly not sexual. Now, I’m not usually the only sexual exhibitor. There are usually a handful of us. And it was from one of these sexy people that I bought one of my favourite sex toys of all time.

This little flogger has been a great addition to my tickle trunk. I’ve used it for some hot and fun times. Made out of recycled bicycle tires, it carries a just enough of a nasty little sting. I’ve used it on others and it has been used on me and I never tire (ha ha) of the pleasure it brings.

It has also endured! When I bought it, I thought it might fall apart fairly quickly. Now, I’m not a hardcore flogging machine so it doesn’t get massive wear and tear, but not a single strand has fallen off and the handle is wound just as tight as when I bought it.

So, the mystery remains. I know I bought it at Expozine. From whom? Not sure. Not a clue! It was probably eight years ago. Although, I am pretty sure it cost just $5.

I really wish I knew the freaky friends who created it! Every year I’ve been back to the fair and I haven’t seen them since. Maybe they’ve made more awesome toys!

If, by chance you know you made this fine DIY sex product, give them my thanks.

Oct 02

Sex Stuff: Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex, Series Premiere

I’ve been looking forward to the debut of this show for a couple reasons:

  1. I really don’t know all that much, other than the basics about the work of these two revolutionaries
  2. Anything that gets sex ed and understanding on the airwaves is a good thing!

So, why do I feel so underwhelmed by the first episode?

I am certainly not going to level a judgement of the show based on one episode, but I do want to look at a couple things about that first offering.

Casting: Many critics are raving about Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan. I’m not entirely sure, at this point, that either are right for the role. From what I’ve heard about Masters, he was neat, tidy, professional, without compare in his field. That last quality resulted in an ego and a bit of arrogance. At this point, I’m not seeing this from Sheen. Instead, I’m seeing the arrogance with a side of sleaze. He has some caring moments, but for the most part his detached, monotonous countenance is a bit too much. That said, there are glimpses, whether through acting or writing, that I think could break me of this opinion.
On the other hand, I’ve just never been a big fan of Caplan. She does deer-in-the-headlights well, which is needed and appreciated in this opening episode. But I fear for her being able to handle this character in the long run. I mostly wonder if she’ll be able to capture Johnson’s confidence.

Excitement: Many articles are describing just how frothy and sexual the show is. Again, I’ve only seen the one episode, but…it…wasn’t. There was a bit of nudity. There were depictions of sex acts. Obviously there was talk of sex. But it wasn’t as salty as everyone is making it out to be. Does it get moreso? Does it need to be?
I’m not looking for a historically accurate, well-acted porn here, nor should it be sensationalized, but the minimal sex made the show somewhat boring to me. If these people are studying and making advancements in sexual education…then shouldn’t they be seeing more if it themselves? Again, maybe this is just the start and more will come. I’ll try to have patience.

Overall, between Sheen’s monotony, Caplan’s one-dimensional acting and the general quietness of the show, I have to say I found this first episode to be mostly dull.

Sep 24

Sex Stuff: Hustler, November 2013

I was riding my bike yesterday, heading home after the day job, wondering what I should review this week. The cupboard is a little bare of new products (must do some shopping!) so I actually thought I’d skip Sex Stuff this week. 
But then, as is often the case, I started thinking about sex some more, specifically masturbation, and that lead my mind to pornographic magazines. 
I have a bit of a checkered past when it comes to porno magazines. Having experienced my hormonally-raging teenage years in the pre-Internet days, skin mags were the way to check out porn. Sure, there was video, but VCRs weren’t cheap and I didn’t have one in my room. I had a few videos but watching an x-rated film was not a daily occurrence, as it had to happen on the sly. Magazines however fit neatly under my bed and were available at any time. 
And I had lots. Of many different genres. I was rather prolific at stealing acquiring them, despite being underage. Seriously, I had a hockey bag full of glossy print hotness. 
When I moved away for university, I must have gotten rid of my stash. I remember actually going and buying a few pervy periodicals…but then the internet happened. Sure, it took an hour to look at 5 photos, but from then on, digital replaced print as my wank watching choice. 
That was almost 20 years ago. And I’ve barely looked at a porno mag since. So I decided to check in on the paper and ink crowd to see what is up. And what better choice than the classic and controversial Hustler
We’re familiar with Larry Flynt, we’re familiar with how Hustler has been a polarizing commentary of our times. This November issue certainly seems to maintain that tradition. Though at times, I felt like I was reading old-school Playboy
Right off the bat, Larry’s editorial is in support of teachers and educators who have been fired from their job because of having porn-involved pasts. Right on Larry! There are also very good articles on the FBI and terror, President powers, surveillance the government and Google, as well sex-themed pieces on sploshing and plastic surgery for the vulva. Hustler has always pushed the envelope with their mix of social commentary and porn, sometimes being awesomely cutting edge and sometimes being awfully misogynistic. This particular issue skews to the former, though some of their trademark comics are pretty awful. 
But really, am I here to read the articles? Okay, maybe back in the day I wasn’t, but this time I actually enjoyed that part. Probably because the actual sex, the main draw of the this whole publishing genre was…dull. 
Maybe it is because all of the models were so similar. Not just the models themselves, but the poses, the settings, the photography. I remember Hustler to be much more raunchy. Very little raunch here. Sure, one model had her pubes shaved into an arrow and that made me chuckle, but otherwise I wasn’t really turned on. Turns out the pictorial I enjoyed most was a retro set from 1978! What does that say about me! Really, I wish I could expound on this more, but the photos didn’t even register in my nether regions. 

At this point, I’m a bit surprise print porn mags still exist and I really wonder how much longer they’ll be around. I think they will still have a place, for some, who aren’t interested in having this material on their smartphone or computer. But those people are surely becoming more rare. Having this material on your phone or tablet would be the best way to have it! Much easier to hide than an overstuffed hockey bag!

Sep 17

Sex Stuff: Female Condoms (a non-review)

A funny think happened on the way to picking up a female condom to review.

I couldn’t find any.

Truth be told, I had no idea that September 16 was World Female Condom Day. But after reading about the initiative on Twitter and Facebook, I thought “hey, self, you’ve never even tried a female condom…and a Sex Stuff review is due on September 17…”

I thanked my self for the idea and after work set out to find a female condom to bring home and try.

Now, I know two places in Toronto, Good For Her and Come As You Are where I am fairly certain I could have picked one up—and gotten good advice about which brands are best. Unfortunately, I live in a different direction than both of those fine establishments and couldn’t make it to either because of time constraints.

So instead I rode down to downtown Toronto and hit up two shops. One I was sure would have one. The other, given that it has ‘condom’ in its name seemed a good bet as well.

Nope, thwarted at both. I am actually really shocked about the first place.

I was out of time to look in the city, and I thought my prospects were pretty grim. I met my lady friend, exercised the demon dog and we headed out on our trip back to the suburbs. There my only hopes were a name brand sex shop and our leading drug store.

No female condoms at either. How very disappointing. I don’t actually use condoms anymore (long-term, monogamous), but I was looking forward to trying one. I think I’d quite like them.

But no, the selection of stores I went to—a sampling that encompasses most of the types of shops where you could reasonably expect to find a female condom—do not carry these items.

I wonder why that is. No customer demand? No customer interest? Reticence on the part of shop owners/product buyers to stock a “new” item? Lack of knowledge of female condoms?

The answer could be any of the above, plus possible others. But female condoms are a great method of safer sex and more and more people are trying them out. Have we not reached a watershed of interest yet? Are penis-involved condoms so prevalent? Is safer sex assumed to be the penis-bearer’s responsibility?

I am pretty damn shocked I couldn’t find a female condom and surprised that people who wish to use these items have to either buy online or visit specific shops.

So, I encourage you to give female condoms a try…just call ahead before you actually go out to buy them!

Sep 10

Sex Stuff: Behind The Whip: Dominatrix Portraits and Words

Behind The Whip: Dominatrix Portraits and Words

This book is gorgeous. I mean, I love photography books and I pay careful attention to fine details like paper, binding, printing (that being a former profession of mine)…and Behind the Whip: Dominatrix Portraits and Words is a beautiful, realized vision of what is possible when desire meets ability.

I was first in contact with photography Maria Coletsis because the short documentary that came out of the making of Behind the Whip screened at Toronto’s International Fetish Film Festival. After interviewing her, I was delighted that she sent me a copy of the book…and devoured it immediately.

Again, these photos are excellent. Coletsis travelled the world to capture images of and speak with women with experience, candour and wit. She captures both their personalities and their alter egos to so well, both in the photos and the interviews. All of the women interviewed offer their thoughts and feelings of being in pleasure work in an engaging and thoughtful way.

I particularly enjoyed both the photos of and the words of Mistress Scarlet of Glasgow. She explains her personal roots in dominatrix work, gives examples of what she enjoys in the work and provides a hint to her business plan. Smart, open, practical, but from the photographs, you can tell that she does enjoy her profession and is very comfortable in her surroundings.

And that is just one story in Behind the Whip. Maria Coletsis brings together dominatrixes from around the world, including Mistress Silvia from Berlin, Mistress Erzuile from Montreal, Mistress Ginger from New York, Mistress Benio from Tokyo and many others. A fascinating look into a world usually reserved for only those who are involved.

Sep 03

Sex Stuff: Sliquid Natural’s Swirl Blue Raspberry

Sliquid Natural’s Swirl: Blue Raspberry

I think I have a new favourite lube!

Now, we did just try a sampler, but Sliquid Natural’s Swirl, Blue Raspberry flavour was an absolute delight to try.

Normally I do not go for any kinds of lubes, massage oils or other intimate products that have a scent to them. I like my sex to smell and taste like sex! But we were in a bit of a pinch, needed some lube and this sampler happened to be on the bedside table. It was grabbed, opened and used, and if things can be put bluntly, we had a fucking good time.

It was only later that we noticed the lube was scented…and it wasn’t at all unpleasant. Actually, it smells really good. Not chemically, not overpowering, just a pleasant addition to our own sex aroma.

The lube itself I wasn’t worried about. Sliquid’s products are always top notch. All are water based lubricants—glycerin and paraben free—with these flavoured versions containing flavouring and a hint of aspartame. This means they are very safe for those with vulvas as they won’t cause yeast infections or uti’s.

Other flavours in the series include: Cherry Vanilla, Green Apple Tart, Blue Raspberry, Pina Colada, and the new Pink Lemonade & Strawberry Pomegranate. I’m looking forward to trying others!

Remember, this is a water-based lube so reapply frequently during your scene. But I don’t think you’ll mind!
Aug 27

Sex Stuff: Sportsheet‘s Sex Sling

Sportsheet‘s Sex Sling

Sometimes things just work out!

I was visiting Oasis Aqualounge for their weekly Hot Springd event last week. Part of my desire to be there was to finally take part in Thereasa‘s fun and sexy Dirty Bingo. Combine that with naked swimming, drinks in the pool and other amazing times and I couldn‘t imagine a bettet time.

Until I became a winner!

We played dirty bingo with vigour and determination, but all attempts were coming up short. Our dabber was barely dabbling! Until the last game.

We had a few cards left and divided the up. Tereasa called for an X on the card–tough! But we were bound and determined to win one of her dirty prizes.

As it turns out, we were truly bound!

When I called out the magical “Dildo!“ (not bingo in this game) I got to strut myself up to the front and claim the grand prize of the night: Sportsheet‘s Sex Sling.

I have been looking forward to trying this product for a long time but just hadn‘t gotten around to picking one up. So I was delighted to win this prize and my mind started swimming with sexy possibilities.

A big part of the reason I wanted to try this sex sling is because it is simple. A long, adjustable strap, a neck pad and two cuffs to strap ankles or legs in. It is so simple looking, I feared it would be uncomfortable and useless. Or it could be great.

It is great! Versatile, comfortable and easy to use. For the person strapped in, the tension provided gives all of the necessary support to keep your legs on the air without particular strain.

We experimented with various different configurations. One of the best is having your partner strapped in, scooted to the edge of the bed. For whomever is being penetrated, this works great.
Other activities we tried were oral sex on her, fisting on her and me getting my ass fucked. All were greatly enhanced by using the sling. We did adjust it to having the cuffs around our knees sometimes, which works just as well.

All in all, how could I possibly ask for a better night out? Awesome fun playing dirty bingo at Oasis and a great new sex toy.

Aug 20

Sex Stuff: Fetish Seductions

Fetish Seductions

Everybody has to start somewhere, right? Especially when it comes to sex. And even moreso when it comes to fetish.

Getting into fetish play can be both exhilarating and intimidating. It can be so exciting to try something new—but that can also be a rather daunting idea.

A game like Fetish Seductions (Kheper Games) is a great starting point for newcomers to the fetish scene.

The game itself is pretty simple. It comes with a deck of cards with different scenarios to play out plus a couple dice and a selection of sexy tools including rope, a massage candle, a feather and a blindfold. Players either role the dice and determine the card and action or, and I credit the creators with acknowledging impatience, players can just move through the deck at their own pace. The point isn’t winning or losing, it is closeness, connection and sexy times.

I do have to note something important here: this games is for beginner fetish players. They will find the activity cards new and interesting. Experience players, on the other hand, might find the directions to be a bit pedestrian. I’m not suggesting that anyone shouldn’t try the game out, I’m just putting that out there.

While the instructions are limited, there is a note right in the beginning that players should become acquainted with safewords. An important touch.

The cards are a fun assortment of light, fun play and somewhat harder edge play involving the various tools. Some involve bondage, feet, voyeurism, exhibitionism, BDSM, gender play and much more. The variety is quite good for a beginner’s game.

I will admit, I bought Fetish Seductions on a lark, thinking it would be a silly waste of time. I am no significant fetishist (well, not with what is in these cards!) but I have had a lot of fun with the game and look forward to playing some more.

Aug 13

Sex Stuff: Turbo Stroker

I was very excited when I received a message from the fantastic folks at Come As You Are, letting me know that they had a toy they were hoping I could take out for a test spin. Never one to pass up a fun toy adventure, I happily skipped my way down to the shop and marvelled at what they offered.

I think I may have giggled in delight when I was handed a toy with the word “turbo” in it. It felt both ridiculous and and exciting to have something called the Turbo Stroker in my hands and I couldn’t wait to get it home.

What a letdown.

The Turbo Stroker (from California Exotic Novelties) has all the potential in the world, but just didn’t do it for me. What we have here is basically a jack-off sleeve with the added bonus of an automatic pumper. Basically, a Fleshlight that does the work for you. The unit features both vibration and pumping, with different frequency and speeds available.

It seemed like it would be good…but…

I make the comparison to Fleshlight on purpose. The two products are pretty similar, but some main parts of the Fleshlight that are so good are not so in the Turbo Stroker.

The main thing is the sleeve. The Fleshlight is so soft and pleasant. The Turbo Stroker is rippled and made from a more basic plastic. It is somewhat soft, but really. I also didn’t enjoy the ripples as part of the experience.

Perhaps most disappointing though is the defining feature of the Turbo Stroker. The stroking action, in its variable speeds, is like some kind of jackhammer jerkoff. The lowest speed is about the only one that doesn’t feel beyond unnatural. I mean, sometimes we all pick up significant speed in masturbating, but this thing is ridiculous. I’m glad I poured on a bunch of lube to absorb the speed.

To add insult to injury, the box says it has fancy lights. Sigh, no such lights. Sigh.

Ultimately, in a rare instance, I actually put this toy down and didn’t finish with it.

I can’t recommend this toy at all.

Jun 14

Sex Stuff: The Cage

The Cage by Louise Friday

Personal growth, retrospection, questioning and resolution are common themes in all kinds of fiction—erotica included. Each and all are difficult tropes to maintain over the length of a narrative, particularly when the story is first-person. Involving sex can certainly complement the story, but it can also be a burden. Adding sex can make the character even more introspective and this is what makes The Cage a challenging read.

There is certainly a story here, one woman‘s journey of self-reclamation and discovery. But that story is weighed down by the reader having to wade through the narrator‘s repetitive inner monologue. Over and over we hear the same thoughts on her lover, her needs and her difficulties.

However, at the same time, there are significant contributing factors to her story that are only vaquely referenced, or oddly referenced. And some are inconsistently referenced. Her use of spliff (synonyms for marijuana abound, please use some different ones) is a minor factor in the beginning but becomes a massively pervading influence by the end.

Was she coming to an understanding? Perhaps. But it is too hard to tell because we are only privy to the characters rambling, not a structured narrative.

A bright spot in The Cage is how she relates to and comes to understand her lover. This is balanced, though still somewhat repetitive. Their interactions are strong and fully relatable. And their sex, a key ingredient to their journey and hot. Really really hot.

I do think this character‘s story is compelling and if you like single-stream narrative with some hard sex as a contributing factor to personal movement. A bit too much in someone else‘s head for my head.