I’m hoping to interview sex toy reviewers on a regular basis. It should be an opportunity to pick up some tips and tricks, as well as getting to know your favourite reviewers a little bit more. It’s also a great opportunity to find out about new and exciting reviewers, who may be not so well known via social networking and the main sex toy communities.
Where can we find your reviews? TruePleasuresReviews.com
You review both lingerie and sex toys. How do you feel these relate to each other?
Well, they’re all things that are introduced into one’s sex life to spice things up. Both categories of items are used to tempt, tease, and excite.
When looking for, or being asked to review products, is there anything you’d avoid, and why?
There’s a pretty long list of things that I prefer to avoid reviewing. At the top of that list is anything from California Exotics Novelties (aka CEN, CalExotics, CalEx, Swedish Erotica, Jopen…). I have to resign from their “Sexpert” program because I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. They sent me items that were not made of the material specified on the packaging, or had strange smells or substances. When I questioned them about any of it, apparently I was the only one noticing all this. I wanted to make a difference, but I just couldn’t stand it anymore. What little trust I had in them was completely broken. It wouldn’t have been fair to them, my readers, or myself to continue reviewing their products with the bias against them that I had developed.
I refuse to review anything that I even suspect to be unsafe. I try to always check out materials and ingredients before requesting anything for review. The EWG Cosmetics Database is a great place to go, if you need to check the safety of various ingredients. Honestly, I think most of the toys I review now are silicone. I’m just too spoiled by it, since it’s such a great material
Your reviewing has led you to set up a weekly post called Tentacle Tuesday. Did your reviewing give you a taste for tentacles, or was there a natural fetish established prior to this?
When I was younger, I was heavily into anime. It started off with watching Tenchi Muyo, and just sort of grew from there. Of course, it’s difficult to avoid the hentai (mature stuff) when you’re into anime, so I had stumbled across some tentacle stuff. It did interest me a little, but it wasn’t something I actively sought out.
Various relationship issues ended up with me absolutely unable to deal with anything anime. So, when I saw a tentacle dildo when I first started reviewing, I grappled with myself for a long time before buying it. It was just so beautiful and it was so cool and different, but I was afraid of introducing anime and its hentai side back into my life. I eventually managed to separate them somewhat, and went ahead and bought it. I have yet to show my husband any of my tentacle dildos due to that residual fear, though. Pretty much all of my tentacle dildo collection is because I found the designs and colors interesting. Tentacle sex does interest me to a point, but it also pains me somewhat emotionally. It’s a weird balancing act that often leaves me very conflicted. Whenever I play with them, if I fantasize at all, my husband is always in there. I just feel too guilty and weird otherwise. I know I should tell him about them, but I’m just afraid of a vast number of things…
Tentacle Tuesday came about partially because of all the tentacle dildos I was collecting, but also because of my love for sea creatures. I’ve always been fascinated with the water and all of the creatures that it houses and hides from us. There’s beauty in tentacles, as there is in all life. Although they’ve been the subjects of horror movies and whatnot, I don’t find them creepy in the least. The creatures that they’re attached to are remarkable, once you take the time to study them. Tentacle Tuesday is more of an acknowledgement of how wonderful these creatures are. I also suppose that it’s sort of a way to help me validate my collection of tentacle dildos, since it’s more about aesthetics than sex. Maybe once my sea-ish style office is completed, I’ll leave one of my tentacles out as decoration and just see how things go from there.
You review a lot of Bad Dragon products. What would you suggest to anyone wanting to try one of these, but who feels a bit too timid to give it a go?
That really depends on what they’re looking for. If, for example, they want to try one of the knotted toys, I would suggest Elden in the smallest size. It’s very small, compared to the other toys that I have from Bad Dragon, and should be easier to take the knot. Of course, a small Razor might not be a bad choice either.
Otherwise, Winston, the Tailstretcher, or a Tentacle would probably be a good place to start. The taper makes them easier to insert, and they’re a little less anthro for those who may feel a somewhat awkward about inserting a dildo modeled after a fantasy creature’s genitalia. An Unflared Chance in the smallest size is also a nice starter, if you prefer thinner toys.
Always check the measurements of each toy you want before buying them. You may want to experiment with some of the toys in the Adoptions section before buying a custom toy. All of the toys in the Adoptions section have slight imperfections like the wrong coloring, a slight nick or bubble, or maybe they were made in the wrong firmness. Those toys are considered flops and are discounted, instead of sending them to the customers that custom-ordered them.
Of course, if you’re having trouble deciding, you’re more than welcome to hit me up on my contact page, or check out my reviews for BD.
What is the oddest sex toy you have reviewed to date?
That would probably have to be the Pegasus Equine Sheath or the Cerberus K9 Sheath. Both are silicone sheaths designed to look like the penis of another creature, and have a stretchy strap to secure around the scrotum. Each of these also has a hole in the tip, so the wearer can still ejaculate into their partner while wearing the sheath. They’re great if you’re into pony play or puppy play.
When dealing with companies sending out review items, do you have any tips for the reviewer?
Just keep them on their toes. If they haven’t spoken to you in at least a week, send them an email just to check in on how things are going, and if anything has been sent out yet. Don’t be obnoxious about it, though. Write it as a friendly reminder in a curious manner, no badgering. Remember, you catch more flies with honey.
Also, if possible, get a tracking number. In case you never receive your item for review, you don’t want to have to deal with them saying you’re lying and being a bum about it. If they won’t give you a tracking number, ask them for the estimated shipping time, and email them if you don’t receive your package in that amount of time.
Lastly, as a general rule of thumb, do unto the company as you would have them do unto you. Send them updates when you receive your package and let them know an estimate on when to expect the review to be posted. If anything comes up that throws you off schedule, send them an email to explain; don’t leave them out to dry. Email your links as soon as you post, and thank them for the opportunity. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it keeps doors open for you in the future.
When a reader asks you for advice about what toy to purchase, is there anything you’d tell them to avoid?
California Exotics Novelties is one of the major manufacturers that I tell that I would avoid. Really, any manufacturer that has the word “novelties” in their name is one that I actively avoid. Their toys tend to be on the cheaper, unsafe side of things. I’m not about to support any manufacturers that value money over the safety of their consumers.
Depending on what they ask about, I’ll go further into detail about what to avoid. If they ask about sex toys, then, of course, I’m going to tell them to avoid materials that contain phthalates, like jelly, and let them know the issues of other materials and what would be the safest route. If they ask about lubes or various other body products, then I let them know about parabens and various other ingredients to avoid. One thing to always look out for is blanket terms like “fragrance” or “perfume”. These terms can hide a manufacturer’s secret scent mixture, which can include harmful toxins like diethylphthalates. With items like lubes and other body products, it’s hard to cover everything due to the vast amount of ingredients used in the cosmetics industry. In that case, we’ll make a list of items that the reader is interested in, and I help them research them through the EWG Cosmetics Database.
Do you have any interesting hobbies other than sex toys?
I used to sew, but reviewing has pretty much taken over my life. Whenever I take breaks to eat or relax a little, I usually watch a Kdrama or Jdrama. For the most part, I prefer the comedy ones. I can get pretty wrapped up in them sometimes, and forget about work. They’re kind of my guilty pleasure, but that’s expected, right? Afterall, I am an ajumma (what I’d be called in Korea, since I’m married).
It has been a pleasure having True Pleasures on my blog. I too look out for toxic substances in sex toys and will be writing guides in the future.