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Guide: What to Include in a Sex Toy Review

October 17th, 2010

I’ll be the first to admit my reviews aren’t perfect.  I’m betting this list won’t be perfect either.  And I’m betting there’s one of these floating around the web somewhere.  Probably, better reviewers than I have written one.  But when I Googled it, I got bupkis, and a student of mine asked if I’d make her one.  So… Here it is.  Feel free (read: Please do! I’d love to have some input! That’s not sarcasm.  Neither was that.  Or that.  Seriously.  It’s not.) to comment and let me know if I’ve forgotten anything.

Things I Want to Know When I’m Done Reading Your Review

1 – What’s it supposed to do? – You might have noticed that there are a million and one different kinds of products out there, for people of all gender identities.  And each and every one of them, for the most part, and especially when you delve into the wonderful world beyond the traditional plastic vibe, is just a little bit different.  Either in function, or ability.  Strength, or discreetness.  The possibilities are pretty much endless.  When you’re talking about the use of the toy, I don’t really want to know how it works for you, but rather how it was intended to work in the first place.  What body parts should I use it on? Are there any I shouldn’t use it on? Can I insert it?

2 – Who do you think this toy is best suited for? – If I were a beginner, would I enjoy/be able to use it right out of the box, or is there a learning curve? What about if I’m more experienced, and have dozens of luxury vibes, or Fleshlights? Is it only for bio-females, or can bio-males use it, as well? What about if I have a small penis? Is that stroker gonna be too loose for me to enjoy it? Or if I have a large one, will my penis fit inside? Would couples enjoy using this during foreplay, or intercourse? What about mutual masturbators? 

3 – Where can I use it? – All sorts of people are at all different levels of sexual openness and awareness.  Some are more modest about their sexual proclivities, and some, like me, don’t really care who knows what they’re up to in their bedroom.  So if I were a student in a dorm, and I wanted to masturbate while my roommate was sleeping, would I have to find another room to do it in? Does it look like a toy you’d like to take to a swingers or play party? Is it easy to carry around? Can I take it in the shower? The bath? The jacuzzi? The pool? Or should I avoid submerging it?

4 – Is it safe? – Can the materials be harmful to me? Does it include phthalates or latex? Is it porous? Can I disinfect it? Should I use it with a condom? Can I share it with some random chick M and I decide to have sex with if I disinfect it between uses, or should I put a condom on it first? Are there any precautions I should take when I’m using it? I’ve had more than one vibe that said they shouldn’t be used while pregnant, and one that said it shouldn’t be used during menstruation.  Does this toy have any instructions like that?

5 – What’s it feel like in your hand? – What’s the surface like? Is it smooth, rough, or sticky? Does it drag in use? Should I use lube? Does it attract lint? Is the toy flexible? Dense? Rigid, or floppy? Are there any seams? Does it smell? Did the smell wash away? Does it lessen with time out of the packaging? Did the smell detract from your experience? What about taste? Do you think the material will last, or does it seem flimsy?

6 – How big is it? – Yeah, in most cases, the product page has specs.  But there are plenty of toys that have more than one piece, and the specs are usually just for one of them.  So give me some measurements, or liken it to something most of us use on a regular basis to give me an idea.  If you’re telling me it’s girthy, tell me how girthy.  If you’re saying an average penis will fit inside, but your above average one didn’t, tell me how above average you are, so I can have an idea of whether or not my man will like it.  If there’s a wire, was it long enough for you to sit comfortably in any position? Did it get in the way?

7 – How strong is it? – If it’s supposed to simulate suction, how strong is the suction? Do the vibrations start out low enough to be pleasurable for those with more sensitive clits? Is it strong enough for those who need something stronger? If it’s a vibrating stroker, can you feel the vibrations in the sleeve? Do they travel well throughout the entire toy (vibe or stroker)? If it’s an insertable vibe, can you feel the vibrations when it’s inserted?

8 – How should I store it? – If my little sister finds it in my underwear drawer, is she going to know what it is? Is it easily hidden? Should I make sure to take the batteries out? Should I keep it away from my other toys? Does it need to be kept at a certain temperature? Should I make sure it’s dry? Should I hang it? Lay it flat? Is the package it comes in small enough to just keep it in that? Do I need to treat it somehow (cornstarch, oil, etc.) before storing it to protect the material? If it’s rechargeable, can I leave it on the charger, or should I take it off?

9 – How do I clean it? – Can I use just any soap, or are their specific cleaners for it? Can I bleach it or wipe it down with rubbing alcohol? Can I use antibacterial soap, or will it react with the material? Can I boil it, or put it in my dishwasher? If it’s lingerie, or clothing, is it machine-washable? Should I use the gentle cycle? Should I use a lingerie bag? Can I tumble dry, or should I line dry? If I tumble dry, what setting should I use? Can I iron or bleach it?

10 – What kind of lube should I use? – Lots of toys aren’t compatible with certain types of lube.  I don’t pretend to get it.  Apparently, like dissolves like, which never made sense to me.  I mean, how can silicone dissolve silicone? But since high school, I haven’t really kept up on the hows and whys of science, and experts make these rules.  So I follow them.

11 – How did it perform? – Were the vibrations steady, or did they seem glitchy? Were they deep and throbby, or high-pitched and buzzy? Where are they located, and do they travel throughout the toy? If it’s rechargeable, how long does it take to charge? How long does the charge last? If it takes batteries, how long does one set of good batteries last?

12 – What about the controls? – Are they push buttons, or turn dials? Are they easy to figure out, or does it take a little bit of finagling? Do they work like they’re supposed to, or did you have trouble with them?

13 – Is there anything I need to purchase to get the full effect of this toy? – Are there attachments that go with it? Do I need batteries? What kind? Special cleaners or treatments? Storage bags?

14 – Did you like it? – Did it work the way you expected it to? Did you enjoy using it? Why, or why not? Did you find any unexpected uses or functions of the toy? How hard was it to figure out the best way to use it for you and yours?

15 – (Optional) Would you buy it? – I rarely discuss this, and it’s not always necessary.  But in some cases, it’s useful.  So if you feel the need, talk about how you feel about the price.  Tell us if you’d buy it yourself if you didn’t already own it.

  1. Kindred
    October 18th, 2010 at 09:23 | #1

    Great comprehensive list. For battery powered toys, I try to include about how long the batteries seem to last.

  2. January 4th, 2011 at 08:49 | #2

    @Kindred Thanks, Kindred. 🙂

  3. February 1st, 2011 at 19:03 | #3

    Thank you for the insight. This is great.

  4. February 22nd, 2011 at 09:42 | #4

    YOINK!!!! Bookmarked!!!! I like this one!!!! Uber helpful for writing a review!!! Thanks!!!!

    g

  5. March 2nd, 2011 at 14:49 | #5

    @ Serafina Brightside, @ Woman Thanks, y’all. Hope it was helpful. 🙂

  6. April 8th, 2011 at 16:10 | #6

    This is great! I’m still new to the whole review thing and I always feel like I’m leaving stuff out, so now I bookmarked this and plan to use it as a guide for my future reviews.

  7. April 12th, 2011 at 15:54 | #7

    @ JuiceyJess Awesome. Glad I could help. 🙂

  8. July 28th, 2011 at 19:07 | #8

    Nice list!

  9. Lady Darknezz
    September 20th, 2011 at 15:05 | #9

    Thank you for the helpful guide! Geez, I’m so sexually inexperienced that I feel I can’t help but not know the answers to a lot of the stuff that makes a good review. I’ll still try and do some research on such topics in order to improve. 🙂

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