Sex toy review: Lovense Hush

I met her at a castle in France. Twenty-two people or so all came together to celebrate the birthday of my partner Maxine in the best way kinky poly people know how: by spending a week having kinky group sex in a castle.

I found myself with a bit of a crush on her almost immediately. We had a lovely time snogging.

I talked about that crush in an answer on Quora, in fact.

Fast forward about eight years. I invited her to my wedding. We’re all sitting there at dinner: me, my wife-to-be, Maxine (who graciously agreed to be the best man at the wedding), my other partners, the bridal party, mutual friends, when Maxine says “Hey Eunice, did you know Franklin has a crush on you? Check out what he wrote about you on Quora!”

Because that’s just the kind of troublemaker Maxine is.


Maxine, me, Eunice, arranged in order of height but not in order of evil

Now, Eunice lives in London, and I do not. She also doesn’t do long-distance relationships. So we’re in a…well, let’s just call our situation a “situationship” and leave it at that.

A long-distance situationship requires a fair bit of creativity, to overcome the logistical incompatibility inherent of being a very small creature living on a very large world.

Fortunately, we live in an era of technology. And the last half-decade has seen a renaissance in high-tech sex toys.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the culmination of thousands of years of relentless technological progress, stretching in an unbroken line from the first stone tools to the Information Age: the Lovense Hush.


So much better than flint knapping!

When you buy a sex toy that comes with a 40-page instruction booklet, you know you’re in for a treat. (Granted part of the reason it’s that long is it’s written in several languages, but still.)

Remote-controlled sex toys are the greatest gift to long-distance relationships since the invention of writing.

They’re not everything, of course. Part of the creativity we’ve had to exercise as part of this situationship has involved installing new server infrastructure in the house and brushing up on open-source streaming video server software. I now have a streaming camera in the bedroom that any of my partners can log in to so as to make sure I’m properly behaving myself, which, given the sorts of folks I like to date, generally means behaving very improperly indeed.

It was nice to find a turnkey gadget that allowed her to reach out and touch me without the need for fussing with Darwin Streaming Server or dynamic DNS configuration. The current state of the art in open source software is why we can’t have nice things…but I digress.

This is a lovely device. It’s absolutely fantastic fun. The smartphone software is easy to use, though you need to register an account with Lovense to make use of it…such is the nature of our modern, interconnected world. (And, as we recently discovered, it won’t work long distance if the vendor’s authentication servers are down. This, too, is the nature of our modern, interconnected world.)

While the Amazon description doesn’t mention this, the control app included an alarm clock function.

Let me say that again to let the magnificence sink in: The app includes an alarm clock function! I anticipate that making waking up in the morning a whole lot more interesting.

The plug itself is quite well-designed and definitely stays put even when you’re out and about. It’s not silent, but it’s a lot quieter than many other wearable toys I’ve used. In a normal environment like a restaurant, the sound it makes is not likely to be noticeable.

It offers powerful vibrations, of a deep, raspy sort. I quite prefer this to the high buzzing of some other vibrating toys.

From an engineering perspective, it’s covered in silicone, but it is not solid silicone all the way through; the electronic gubbins are inside a hard plastic shell beneath the silicone. For that reason, it’s a lot harder than pure silicone plugs. I was debating whether to get the small or large size. I’m glad I went with the small. (If you’re contemplating getting one of these but on the fence as to size, I’d recommend going with the smaller size, simply because if you’re accustomed to other toys the hardness of this one makes it feel a bit bigger than it is.)

The description advertises 1.5 to 2 hours of use. We get 2 or more, but that might be because my crush is a tease and likes to run it at low levels just to frustrate me. If it’s not running at all, expect about a full day of standby power on one battery charge, which means if you’re in, say, hypothetically speaking, just as a random example, the Pacific time zone, and your significant other is in London, and you wear it to bed, you might expect to be jolted out of your sleep at 4AM when your London partner is waking up for the morning. Just, you know, hypothetically speaking.

All in all, this thing is quite lovely. Definitely worth the price. We’ve talked about getting one for her.

#WLAMF no. 10: Sex toy review: Tenga 3D

It came to pass a while ago that I had some Amazon store credit built up, and I told Eve about it. She went looking through the less respectable corners of the Amazon virtual storefront, whereupon she came across the Tenga 3D Sleeve Spiral for Male Masturbation and said “hey, you should totally get this!”

Now, I’m generally fairly adventurous–I backed a crowdfunding campaign for a blowjob robot, after all–yet I’ve never used anything like this before. So I said hey, sure, why not? And some time later, through the magic of electronic commerce, there it was in the mail.

I brought it with me the next time I visited her, where it sat in the sex toy case (because of course there’s a sex toy case) unused.

This is what it looks like in its case, all futuristic and funky and spirally and stuff.

Shortly after the book More Than Two was finished, Eve and I found ourselves in the Deep South, talking polyamory to folks in North Carolina. We stayed at a remote cabin deep in the woods, because remote cabins deep in the woods have figured prominently in our story together almost since the beginning, where it came to pass that we were making out and getting ready to get jiggy with it.

And then, out of the blue, she starts wrapping rope around me.

Now, normally I’m more the tie-er than the tie-ee, if you will, so this came as a surprise to both of us. But before long I was lashed down helpless, and she was digging through the sex toy case, and she found the Tenga. “Hmm,” she said, “I wonder how this works?”

So what you see when you look at it in its case is actually the inside. You turn it inside-out to use it, which makes it look rather less futuristic and funky and spirally and stuff.

The funky spiral bit is actually the bit that goes against your bits, if you catch my drift.

So she squirted some lube in it and crawled over to me, a gleam in her eye and high-tech, advanced-materials-science silicone in her hand. I, of course, didn’t do anything, being tied quite securely to the bed with a very limited range of things I could do. Other than scream, that is, which apparently I did a lot of. Or so I’m told. I’m not really sure; that’s not what I was paying attention to.

So the whole point of a male masturbator is, as near as I can tell, to put something twixt you and your hand (or your partner’s hand) for the purpose of either better simulating the feeling of a human vagina or changing up the sensation, depending on the deign objective of the object in question. The Tenga toys generally seem to dispense with trying to simulate actual intercourse in favor of creating a host of new and pleasant but distinctly non-human-vagina-like sensations, and this they do splendidly well.

Bottom line: This thing feels really good. It’s very soft but also interestingly textured, it conducts heat well, and it does precisely what it says on the tin.

I don’t actually remember making quite as much noise as Eve says I made, because I was too busy having a mind-blowing orgasm to pay attention to trifles like my own vocalizations. I have no reason to doubt her reports, however. She thought the whole thing was great fun. I thought the state of the art in human pleasure took, thanks to the careful application of materials science to the problem of inducing orgasm, yet another step forward. God bless science.


I’m writing one blog post for every contribution to our crowdfunding we receive between now and the end of the campaign. Help support indie publishing! We’re publishing five new books on polyamory in 2015: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/thorntree-press-three-new-polyamory-books-in-2015/x/1603977

Robot sex machines? Yes please!

Of all the deadly sins, my favorite by far is Lust. In fact, I’m actually a bit rubbish at all the other ones, so great is my fondness for Lust. I am also a huge fan of mixing sex and tech. So when I saw a crowdfunding campaign for a “robotic blowjob machine,” as you can probably imagine, I had to get on board with it. Women generally seem to benefit the most from the intersection of sex and technology, so the notion of a sex robot for men had more than passing appeal to me.

The campaign was a success, and I recently received in the mail one “Autoblow 2,” the robotic sex machine whose marketing campaign advertises “unlimited blowjobs on demand.” (Seriously.)

It’s an interesting-looking piece of kit:

Not quite as stylish, perhaps, as the new wave of vibrators from companies like Lelo and JimmyJane, but hey, I’ll take it.

This thing has two parts: the base, which contains a motor that moves a pair of spring bands covered with little rollers up and down, and a sleeve that inserts into the base. The sleeves come in several sizes, and are made of this really bizarre soft silicone material that flops about and feels kinda squishy. (Materials science is an avenue of human endeavor that has, until now, rarely been applied to the pursuit of the ultimate orgasm, more’s the pity. For hundreds of years, leather, stone, wood, and ivory represented the state of the art for Things To Make You Come, so I’m pleased to see improvements in this area.)

Still, when the time came to put my willie in this thing, I will admit I was a little apprehensive. I looked dubiously at it for a bit, until my sweetie zaiah said “oh, give me that” and took it away from me. She squirted some lube into the “insert willie here” end and stuck it over my junk.

No robotic blowjob machine would be complete without a speed control, and sure enough, there’s a little knob on the bottom that makes it go. She turned it on and it whirred to life, stroking mechanically away.

Now, I’ve had some amazing blowjobs from some exceptionally talented partners, so honesty compels me to admit this gadget does not really feel like a blowjob. It’s a fair approximation, I suppose, considering the formidable engineering challenge that a real blowjob simulator would face, but it isn’t quite up to a true blowjob experience. A double-blind face-off between this thing and genuine oral sex would, I suspect, be rather lopsided.

However, even if it doesn’t quite capture the true essence of the oral arts, this robotic sex machine does feel good. Really, really good. I was surprised, in fact. I cranked it up to maximum speed and, yeah, it did exactly what it says on the tin.

I am normally multiply orgasmic; it’s not uncommon for me to get off half a dozen times or more during sex. But this thing…well, when this thing got me off, it was intense and it got me off for good. I was done when I finally stopped screaming.

At which point I discovered a design flaw. The little control knob on the bottom? It’s little. As in, really difficult to find in a hurry when you’re gasping and panting and your body’s still shaking. I tried to yank it off my junk, but my partner grabbed me by the wrist. “No,” she said, and held it there until I found the control.

Which, naturally, brought up a really interesting idea, because I’m a kinky motherfucker and there’s no innocent pleasure I can’t find a way to corrupt with wicked thoughts.

A lot of women quite like the notion of forced orgasms, and it’s pretty easy to do, really–there are entire Web sites dedicated to the high art of the forced orgasm, but when you get down to brass tacks all it really takes is a bit of rope and a Hitachi magic wand. It’s more difficult to find ways to do the same thing to a person with an outie rather than an innie…

…at least until now.

This thing feels good on its own, no question about it, but a bit of rope, perhaps a blindfold, a gag if you don’t want to wake the neighbors, and this gadget can be so much more. Tie your guy down, set this thing going, and wait. You probably won’t have to wait to long. If my brief experience is any indication, the results should be pretty…um, dramatic.

You can find this robot blowjob machine here. (Full disclosure: I liked it enough I signed up as an affiliate.) Get one for yourself or that guy in your life you want to tie down and make scream give the gift of pleasure! You’ll be making the world a happier place and encouraging new high-tech sex toys for men, both of which I think are laudable goals.

Review: Kinklabs Neon Wand

Back when I was married and living in Tampa, one of my favorite sex toys in the sex toy drawer box closet was a violet wand. It’s a gadget that you plug glass electrodes into and then plug into the wall. When you turn it on, it makes a buzzing noise and the glass electrodes turn purple, and then when you touch someone with the electrodes you get a sensation that’s like…

Well, it’s kinda hard to describe what it’s like. A lot of folks (like me!) who don’t like electrical play still like violet wands, because they don’t really feel like electric shocks. It’s more like little teensy hot needles caressing your skin. There are lots of different shapes of electrodes, that all make different sensations, but that’s the basic theme.

They’re amazing toys. They’re also very spendy. The violet wand I used to have cost me about $700, so when I lost it, I couldn’t afford to replace it, and I’ve been missing it ever since.

Recently, JT’s Stockroom sent me a neon wand as part of a promotion. And, to be honest, I’ve been waiting for someone to realize the market for cheap, reliable violet wands for rather a long time.


This is the Kinklab Neon Wand. If you really want to get technical, it’s not a violet wand, though the reasons that’s true are largely academic.

But, since this journal has never been afraid to venture forth into the academic, I’ll explain why; click here if if you’re interested.

Some more thoughts about sex toys, with a bit about dishwashers

Okay, let me start by saying that guys don’t get nearly enough credit.

Seriously. When it comes to sex, we really don’t get the props. It’s surprisingly hard work propping yourself up and doing the grunt-n-thrust, and any woman who’s ever tried a strap-on for the first time will probably discover muscle aches in muscles she didn’t know she had.

Now, I’m a big fan of strap-on sex. Receiving or watching (hey, I am a guy; watching two–or more!–girls get it on never gets old. I swear it’s genetic.) And, fortunately, I’ve been graced with a number of partners who dig strap-on play too. The biggest problem, at least from a strictly physical perspective, is that it’s generally not as much fun for the giver as it is for the receiver, which is why this thing exists:

This is the Tantus Feeldoe. If it doesn’t look like an ordinary dildo, that’s because it’s not. It’s the Ferrari-frikkin’-Formula-One race car of dildos. This thing has a patent on it, and seriously, who patents a dildo?

The “strapons are more fun to receive than to give” engineering challenge has been tackled before, of course. The old-fashioned double-ender was an early attempt to design around this problem, and today modern science has given us other specialized strap-ons that try to work the same way (like the Nexus and the Share, or if you’re a mutant extra-terrestrial creature whose ideas of Earthly delights come from watching tentacle hentai beamed into space from Japanese network television, and perhaps had had a female vagina described to you but had never seen one up close, the Tango), but none are as successful as the Feeldoe, at least from the point of view of your humble recipient.

The Feeldoe comes in four sizes, which Tantus calls “Slim,” “Original,” “Stout,” and “More.” People who use them for girl-on-girl vaginal fun might call them “small(ish),” “medium,” “large(ish),” and “large;” for teh mad analz, they might more reasonably be described as “big,” “really big,” “really really big,” and “holy mother of God!” They’re conveniently color-coded, so you can avoid those awkward after-sex “are you sure that was the size you intended to use?” conversations.

And did I mention they vibrate? Seriously. There’s a cunning little slot in the base for a small but remarkably powerful little vibrating device.

Plus, silicone! You can wash it in the dishwasher! I don’t actually know anyone who washes silicone sex toys in the dishwasher, but everything I’ve ever read about silicone always mentions that you can, so…you can wash it in the dishwasher! I don’t recommend it if your mother or your aunt Mildred lives within easy driving distance and has the habit of popping over without warning; “Hey, Mildred! Come look at what I found in the dishwasher! It’s…it looks like…Oh my God!” But you can. If, y’know, that appeals to you. Or you have a dishwasher fetish. Or something.

So, yeah. Good for the giver as well as the receiver; that’s the general engineering notion here. There is actually a downside (and I don’t just mean with the “Holy mother of God!” model) and that’s the fact that it isn’t a strap-on for beginners.

Any hands-free, harness-free design, no matter how clever, takes some work to learn how to use, which is probably another of those places where we guys really don’t get near enough credit. Granted, you can use this dildo with a harness; you get one of the harnesses that uses rings to hold the dildo in place, you take out the panel behind the ring, you put on the dildo, you put the harness on over it, and it ain’t goin’ nowhere, so you end up with the best of a harness design and the “oh my God it gets me off to give it to you!” benefits of the hands-free design, and that’s all well and good.

Gets a bit spendy, though. This toy won’t be the cheapest thing on your shelf to begin with (though I happen to believe it’s more than worth the cost), and a high-quality harness is going to double the price, so it…

Well, now that I think about it, it’s like anything else. Spend the money to do it the easy way or spend the time to learn how to do it the hard way, I suppose.

As for the rest, it’s pretty much what you expect from a well-designed sex toy. Yes, awesome G-spot stimulation (for both the giver and, if the receiver is a woman, the receiver). Yes, Incredible, mind-blowing orgasms, of the kind apt if they are not well-regulated, to have you waking up some hours later with a chunk of missing time and a “what the hell just happened?” expression. The state of sex toy design being what it is, these should be baseline givens in any good toy, and the Feeldoe meets those expectations admirably.

And it has a bit of that “mad scientist’s lair” look to it. I’m always partial to things that look at home in a mad scientist’s lair.

I have two of these, in the “big” and “really really big” sizes. If you prefer the “holy mother of God!” size, then you’re a far better man, or woman, than I.

Some thoughts about sex toys

…in which Franklin raves about his current favorite toy, made by NJoy:

This thing, which I’ve recently heard compared to a prop from Star Trek, is an NJoy Pleasure Wand. It’s about eight inches long, it’s heavy (weighs nearly a pound!), the ball on the right-hand side is about an inch in diameter, it’s made of surgical stainless steel, and it is without question one of the Coolest. Sex. Toys. Ever.

It even comes in a neat red-lined display box.

And man, this toy can do just about anything. Any kind of sensation you can imagine (and as a seasoned, veteran pervert, I can imagine quite a lot) you can get with this.

Let’s start with the obvious uses. The right-hand side is for vaginal penetration, the left-hand side is for anal penetration. As a straight-ahead dildo, it’s quite good. The stainless steel warms up very quickly, and it’s very smooth. The end is curved, and manages to find the G-spot of everyone I’ve used it with very nicely. Insert, move vigorously or not so vigorously (as your own personal taste dictates), repeat ’til orgasm. It’ll certainly never wear out or need to be replaced, and it does the job quite nicely.

But it’s got so much more to offer. Oh, my word, does it have more.

This thing is exactly what the doctor ordered for any mad scientists out there–and I know I have more than a few of you on my friends list. It looks the part to a T; it’s hard to show in a photograph just how beautiful this toy is, and it’s got that slightly sinister, slightly alien look to it that’s always in vogue among mad scientists and evil geniuses everywhere.

It can be used to create and manipulate sensation within your victim partner with exquisite control. If temperature play is your thing, it holds both heat and cold very well, and unlike most glass toys, you can actually put it in the freezer without worrying about thermal stress cracking it.

It’s hard but very smooth; the smoothness means that when it’s exactly at body temperature, if you move it slowly, it almost doesn’t feel like a solid object. If it’s moved very slowly and gently, it’s more a rush of sensation than a feeling of penetration; one of my partners has described it like feeling a gush of warm liquid, rather than like a hard object.

That’s if you move it slowly and gently, of course.

If you move it less slowly and gently, then it feels a bit more like a conventional dildo, except that if your partner is lying on her back and you’re holding it so that the end curves upward, it has a quite effortless habit of moving precisely along some very, very sensitive bits inside, with all the effect you’d expect from that. You can even, if you’re of a suitably wicked bent, rest the ball precisely against your partner’s G-spot and then turn it slightly from side to side, rather than in and out, and move more and more slowly as she gets closer and closer to orgasm, and stop right when she’s on the edge. If you hold it still, then she might even be able to come just by contracting around it.

Or not, if you tilt your hand upward slightly when she contracts, bringing the ball away from the inner wall of her vagina. If you do that, she’ll just be frustrated and horny.

Not that, y’know, I’m actually recommending that, or anything. I’m just sayin’.

And it’s even useful for secret police, interrogators, and space aliens everywhere. If, for example, you were to have abducted an earth human and wanted to probe your captive as part of some kind of weird alien experiment, or if your captive was resistant to most normal interrogation techniques and a bit more persuasion were called for, well, this little implement is just the thing. It can go from “Oh my God I’m going to come!” to “Sweet Jesus, I’ll tell you anything!” in just a flick of the wrist, and the transformation is…dramatic.

Should this be the sort of thing that suits your tastes, you might want to tie your partner down first. Again, I’m just sayin’.

One of my own personal favorite things to do is to use it on my partner directly after I’ve just fisted her. Three or four nice, hard orgasms around my hand is really good at getting the blood flowing and getting all the sensitive bits especially sensitive, when even the slightest touch is almost unbearably intense…that’s just the right time to get out the probe. And just…barely…move it.

If you’ve got your partner tied down for this, might want to have a gag handy, too. You don’t want to, y’know, disturb the neighbors or anything; that’s just rude.

Just to be perfectly clear on this point: There’s no evidence that the people who designed this toy are actually Cylons.