Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Archive for the ‘product review’ Category

Predator Alert Tool comes to Facebook

There has been a bunch of chatter on my social media streams about the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook, so I thought perhaps I should take a look. Oh, and this was largely my first real look – I have let this one completely pass me by in its development. I didn’t preview it or participate in its creation, and so I’m in the interesting position of this being the first PAT tool that’s truly a surprise to me.

The premise is pretty straightforward: automate the process by which (mostly) women warn each other off dangerous men in their social network. And lets face it most rape is perpetrated by someone the victim knows, which means rapists aren’t crazy dudes in a hidey hole somewhere, they’re in our social networks.

The tool is actually introduced as:

The Predator Alert Tool for Facebook is designed for survivors of sexual assault and rape. It allows you to share information about people in your social network who may be dangerous without having to reveal your identity.

Using Predator Alert Tool for Facebook, you can:
Talk about it. Contribute your story with as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable sharing.
Decide who knows. Control who gets to see your story and who doesn’t. Display your identity only to the people you choose.
Get support. Connect with friends who have had a bad experience with the same person you did.
Hear about it. Find out about others’ bad experiences with people you know.

This is an interesting choice of framework, “designed for survivors of sexual assault and rape.” That sounds like designed for sharing, voicing, healing. It’s a valuable framework, but it’s not for me. I’m not a survivor, and when I asked here’s what others said about the word:

“In some ways I think it’s appropriating…survivor is not a word I feel comfortable using abt myself.”

“I was abused as a child, but I don’t think of myself as a survivor.”

“Not a term I’m fond of…”

“We are all survivors”

“I also dislike when people feel that they can TELL me I’m a survivor.”

But there is something for me in this. The much cooler side of this tool for me is designed for hearing, thinking about, comparing notes – designed for active prevention, and ladies, lets be honest, designed for learning more about that guy who bought you a beer. Not that I would ever advocate hijacking someone else’s tool, buuuuut, this is just what the Women’s Information Network needed – way more streamlined than trying to pop into the ladies’ at the same time as his ex’s sister’s roommate :-p

Now the makers of the tool are getting prepared for people screaming about the rumor mill or vigilante justice, and you can read their very well thought out responses here. But let me tell you what actually happens when a woman is thinking about going on a date with a dude: she asks her girlfriends. She engages in the exact behavior this tool would automate, only she does it in analog. “Hey Barbra, do you know Jake from chem lab? What’s he like?”

My coworker once had a crush on the college friend of someone I used to date, we’re all in our late 20s/early 30s, and we still did the “my friend likes your friend” dance. Humans are tribal animals, that’s just what we do.

You know what else women do in the physical world? We warn each other if we see our friends flirting with the douch at the party. Maybe we’re vague about it, maybe we only warn the women we already know not the new girl he’s talking to, but this app is cool specifically because it mirrors existing behavior.

And it scales it.

And that scares the shit out of the douch bags we’ve been talking about all along.

The other thing I really love about this tool is that it’s the first PAT tool I see as truly mainstream. This is not for or about the BDSM scene, this deals with a modality of interacting every western woman I know has experienced. As such, I am really curious to see the response. Frankly, I would love to see a partnership between the creators of PAT-Facebook and college rape crisis centers, and I know the creators are working hard to achieve that.

Still concerned that this will be misused to spread rumors? That will probably happen. Most technology is, sooner or later, used to spread rumors. But tell me, how is it you’re ok with teenagers – scratch that, adults too – having access, to Facebook at all? And what else, aside from opposing this tool, are you doing to combat cyber bullying? Sorry folks, but if this bugs you more than all of Reddit, I’m gonna assume you have some other agenda that’s best served by sweeping rape under the rug.

Written by kinkinexile

October 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Product review: Blossom Organics Warm Sensation lube

It’s been a while since I’ve done a product review, and this is perhaps a tame one to start with, but who doesn’t love lube?!

Lube is one of those things that I feel is pretty universally accepted as a sex aid, marital aid, masturbation aid and medical accessory, so I’m always curious about variations on the theme.  While I was familiar with Blossom Organics, I’d never actually tried their products before.  I had tried various “warming” gels, cremes, lotions and potions and was a huge fan of the added sensation especially outside of partnered intercourse.   I was excited about the Blossom Organics Warm Sensation version for two reasons: first it seemed sex safe (not for external use only) and second it came in a hygenic seeming squeeze tube rather than the little creme pots you have to stick your finger in that my last such product came in.

I made one mistake though, and that was to read other people’s product reviews before I had the chance to try it…it seems this product has very different results depending, presumably, on one’s biological makeup. One reviewer on the Goodvibes blog called this product “way too strong,” causing me to delay trying it until after I’d completed some travel “just in case.”  Imagine my surprise then when I had no warming sensation.  No tingling, warming, buzzing…anything.   I tried a couple of times just to be sure, but concluded that the Blossom Organics Warm Sensation lube just didn’t work.  Or rather didn’t work as advertised.  It worked as a lube, didn’t cause any irritation (and I’m pretty sensitive) was viscus enough to get the job done, and long lasting enough to, well, let me get the job done, but had absolutely no added benefits what so ever.

Unfortunately, you’re just going to have to try this one out on your own lady bits to determine if it works for you.  I imagine that if it is too strong for some, and completely ineffective for me, somewhere there is the golden middle path.  Or if you’re just looking for a body friendly and earth friendly lube take a look at Blossom Organics full product line which is all made with natural, “female friendly,” ingredients.

I learned two cool things from this review though:

1) Personal lubricant was first introduced by KY in 1904 (for medical use).

2) Good Vibrations actually carries an entire selection of “ecorotic” toys and accessories which are environmentally friendly, animal product free, and of course, body safe.

 

 

Written by kinkinexile

May 27, 2012 at 12:54 am

Toys I’ve been thinking about…

(AKA, a break from the hard stuff)

I have been meaning to write about the Lelo Alia since I got it a couple months ago.  I hadn’t actually realized that this was a Lelo toy, but now that I know that, everything makes perfect sense.  Lelo is the be all and end all of sex toys far as I’m concerned (and no, they didn’t pay me to say that; they didn’t even pay for the toy).  The Alia is perfect for an unusual reason though; it doesn’t cause wrist strain and that’s, sadly, been my selection criteria for toys since I fist struggled with tendonitis in 2009.  It has a nice grip opening in the middle to slide your fingers through so unlike other clitoral vibes it’s easy to hold.  Awesome job Lelo, keep up the good work.

I’ve also just come across DreamLover Labs, apparently a company that makes electrostim attachments for male chastity devices.  You know, like those electronic training dog collars!  It’s funny, some men talk about having a Pavlovian response to chastity; it’s difficult to put on a chastity device because the idea of putting on a chastity device makes them hard.  Strangely, I seem to have developed a similar response to the thought of my lover in a chastity device.  I see something like a remote control (mild) electro-shock correction mechanism built into a chastity device and I go completely gaga, lose my words entirely and blush like there’s no tomorrow.  Did I mention it has a lock detection mechanism?  How about the fact that CBT rocks my little red wagon?

And thinking of toys, I am going to be experimenting with doing some toy reviews for Good Vibrations again.  Last time I tried toy reviews they sorta took over my blog, which is not what I want, but I do want to alternate the politics with some sex (this being a sex blog and all) and I think some prompts might be good.  I’m also trying to wrap my head around how to make toy reviews into actually valuable content rather than just promotional pieces.  I would totally appreciate your feedback, questions, or ideas!

 

 

 

 

Written by kinkinexile

April 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Wedge air pillow:

Have you ever noticed how a pillow makes everything better. A strategically placed pillow under your hips helps you get just the right spots during sex and makes everything flow…or at least it does for me. Being a long time fan of the pillow, and an I’ll-try-anything-once kind of girl I was very excited to try the Wedge Air Pillow by Doc Johnson. It seemed at first glance like a great idea, just like a pillow but with more shape and the promise not to get squished too early. The promises of easy storage and cleanup sealed the deal.

The Wedge Air Pillow, exciting as it is, is a departure from my usual luxe sex toys with their carefully designed packaging. It arrived in a cardboard box with the kind of image typical of adult novelty stores. That said, the fact that it came with it’s own air pump and spared me the desperate runabout with a broken ball point pen and bike pump that I experienced with the Tilt Master, makes this package just fine in my book.

The air pillow itself is a mixed bag. True to its promise, the Wedge keeps its shape, has a soft fabric cover, and is easy to clean and store. The problem I had was that it was just a spot too big for me to fit comfortably. I’m a small person (5’1″) but still. Bending over it doggy style caused it to press uncomfortably into my stomach though laying on my back, head up or down the wedge, was pretty good. Over all I think this is a good alternative to the pricier Liberator having tried both (and having had similar size compliments for both actually). And while not as compact as your vibrators, the Wedge does deflate and fit nicely into the closet or under the bed when not in use, something that can’t be said of the Liberator.

I’d say check it out if you like props or hard to get into positions.

Written by kinkinexile

November 5, 2010 at 10:11 am

Tantus Flow – product review

Okay this is one of those toys that I oggle in the store but am actually a little intimidated by in real life. The Tantus Alumina collection is made of aeronautic grade aluminum. These pretty purple aluminum dildos comes in a variety of shapes and are all lubricant safe. I started with the smoothest one in the collection – the Tantus Flow – even though I got the Tantus Motion as well.

The first thing I noticed about this toy is the weight. Unlike plastic or silicone toys I already have, these guys are heavy! They also get frigidly cold. Aluminum actually holds temperature really well and you can adjust the temperature of the toy by running it under hot or cold water. My favorite game along those lines is to play with the cool Tantus Flow before fucking my boyfriend who is of course amazingly warm by comparison. I haven’t tried warming it up yet…I was a bit distracted by the contrast play 🙂

The Tantus toys unscrew in the middle, though I am unclear as to the benefit of this. You can mix and match but they come as a set, so you will still have to buy multiple full sets. Why not just use both toys? I guess being able to interchange them lets you make your perfect toy and not have to find two different toys when you want them, but I’m still unconvinced. Over all though, I like this toy lot. It’s not my go-to toy because it is too intense, a little too intimidating, and much more fun with a partner at least for me, but it is definitely one that offers a new range of sensation distinct from what I already had.

You can check out all the Tantus toys as well as other dildos and sex toys at Sextoy.com!

Written by kinkinexile

September 1, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Posted in product review

Lube review part two

A while back I reviewed the Liquid Silk lube, which if not for our love/hate relationship with chemistry would be my gold standard for lube. Today I have a natural alternative. Sliquid Organics natural lube! Yup, it’s Berkeley safe.

Sliquid has a lot in common with Liquid Silk, same amazing texture, about the same endurance and no overwhelming plastic-y scent. Sliquid is also 100% glycerin and paraben free for the health conscious (and when it comes to those nasties we should all be conscious). Picking between the two is hard…they have so much in common. Sliquid seems better for me: I’ve never had an adverse reaction, and it has ingredients I can pronounce. Liquid silk on the other hand, has a very slight hand up on texture, but occasionally doesn’t quite work for me.

Luckily, both come in tester sizes, so check them out at Babeland.com where you can also find a wide array of sex toys to try them with!

Written by kinkinexile

June 23, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Posted in product review

Package design and a review

Maybe because I was visiting a printing press yesterday, maybe it’s just because I’m a dork, but the first thing I noticed about the Bliss 3 is the packaging. The outside cardboard sleeve has a really nice use of embossing that makes it look like a fancy DVD box set. The outside sleeve also has half circle cuts at the outside edge so you can easily grip the inside box and pull it out. The inside box, a purple two part pull-open, is less impressive but still nice. The inside is clearly inspired by a mac book box though, complete with branded tab that lets you pull up the top toy holding tray to reveal the batteries, storage baggie, and manual bellow.

Why do I mention all of this? Because packaging adds a lot to the perceived value of a product, and it seems to be on the forefront of the sex toy revolution. Think about it. Put the same vibrator in a transparent plastic blister-pack with a picture of a porn star on the front and you have a different product. Make it beige and put it in a brown paper bag and you have a different product. I’m not saying that the qualities of the vibrator aren’t important, they are, and we’ll get to them shortly. What I’m saying, however, is that the care and attention paid to the packaging of high-end sex toys highlights the engineering and design that went into the actual toy and changes our opinions of who should buy this product, where, and for how much.

I guess non-geeks out there might want to know about the actual toy though, right? The Bliss 3 is about 5 inches long and over an inch in diameter. It is made out of silicon, and powered by AAA batteries (which are included with the toy in the little sub toy compartment that looks oh so much like a mac book box). The toy claims to be super quiet using “whisper-quiet” technology but I didn’t think it was any more or less quiet than the bulk of high-end vibrators I have seen. The 9 vibration patterns range from 3 levels of continuous vibration to more exotic pulsing patterns and are very, very nice (try #4!) These are all controlled through one power button at the base. I like the simplicity of just one button, but it would actually be nice to be able to go forward and backward instead of having to cycle through all 9 patterns if you miss the one you wanted.

Long story short: Nice vibrator with plenty of options to choose from and a very pretty presentation that makes this a great spoil-yourself-silly kind of toy.

Written by kinkinexile

April 24, 2010 at 12:15 am