Erotica & Depression

It comes to no surprise to anyone that follows me on twitter, but for the last little while,

I’ve

been

depressed.

I live with schizoaffective disorder (which is like a hellish mixture of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) and I experience both manic and depressive episodes. Lately, I haven’t had any energy to get out of bed, let alone write. As a creative writing major and a blogger, a lot of what I do – both for university and for leisure– involves writing. I’ve had difficulty finding any inspiration or motivation for anything creative. I’ve also had a very decreased interest in sex. I’ve started keeping a sex spreadsheet (inspired by Kate Sloan’s own sex spreadsheet!) and I have had almost record breaks between sex and masturbating. I’ve gone from more-than-weekly sex in February and March (standard for me, considering I still live with my parents) to having absolutely no sex in April. Both times I’ve had sex in May have been followed pretty devastating fall-outs, where I’m shaking, upset, and nearly non-verbal. I’m batting average when it comes to masturbation this month, but only because I have spent literal hours lying in bed with nothing better to do. It’s not out of any real desire to jerk off, I don’t watch much porn during (very unusual), and it’s not uncommon for me to cry afterwards. Overall, sex has been a veritable bogeyman for me lately.

 

Nevertheless, I’ve been consuming more erotica (read: sexy fanfiction) than ever. It’s all I ever want to write and present in almost everything I read. The things I’m most proud of writing over the past two months have been two incredibly self-indulgent PWPs (porn without plots). Even then, I’m not particularly happy with them, but I like them much, much more than anything else I’ve written lately. When I was writing the first piece of erotica, it was confusing to me: I feel uncomfortable even thinking about having sex, but I could write about fictional characters getting it on at the drop of a hat. I reached the conclusion that it mostly comes down to two things: that I love, and have always loved sex, and that I can detach myself from the situation by writing it about fictional characters.

 

Sex is fun. It’s primarily about pleasure and mutual enjoyment. When I’m depressed, I drastically self-isolate, but I feel lonelier than ever. Sex is about connection and emotion, and it’s comforting to be able to fabricate that emotional exchange in written form. It’s the same kind of escapism that a lot of people look for in books – you could read fantasy novels because you want to feel brave, you could read detective novels because you want to feel smart, you could read erotica because you want to feel connected. Often when I’m depressed, the emotions that I share with my partner during sex are overwhelming for me, and leave me feeling upset and self-conscious. With erotica, I can control everything about the situation, right down to what emotions are cropping up. Absolute control is useful to stop any unwanted sadness from seeping in, but it can also mean that I can play out my fantasies in a very fulfilling way. For me, fiction writing is often about playing out personal fantasies, and my erotica is no different. I still crave some kink practices when I’m depressed, but I’m not in the headspace to engage in them, so I write.

 

Part of writing out a fantasy is detaching that fantasy from real life, which I definitely do with erotica. I’m not writing about myself and I’m not writing about people I know. However, it’s not always easy to distance myself from what I’m writing. Writing about my kinks and my fantasies can make me feel a bit raw afterwards – not as intense as if I had actually had sex, but it definitely makes an impact. I had a lot of difficulty writing a scene with a trans character in it, because it felt too much like imagining myself having sex.

 

Erotica also has a strained relationship with my dysphoria. Lately, I’ve been feeling really at wars with my body versus my gender presentation, and reading and writing about characters who are generally thinner, taller, and prettier than me is frustrating. It can leave me feeling inadequate and upset. My dysphoria gets particularly bad with stories about cis men, because descriptions of all the wonderful things a penis can do can whip up some unwelcome feelings about my genitals. I rarely have bottom dysphoria, but when I do have it, I have it bad. While erotica can be a bit of wish fulfillment, it can also be very painful, a reminder of what I’m lacking.

 

Fanfiction, rather than just general erotica, has the added benefit of almost immediate attention. I get likes and comments and appreciation, that makes me feel like I wrote what I did for a purpose. I know it’s unhealthy to rely on external approval for my mental health, but sometimes it’s the only way to brighten up a bad day. Fanfiction is also low pressure, because I don’t have deadlines or obligations with it, so it’s written mostly for me. The cost-benefit of the stress versus the approval is very favourable.

 

Writing erotica can be an escape, it can be cathartic, and it can be just plain fun. When I’m depressed, I think I deserve all the fun I can get. As far as coping mechanisms or self-care goes, it’s hardly the most conventional, but I’m not ashamed to while away a few hours writing about blowjobs where I would otherwise be spiraling in self-loathing. I’m not suggesting that erotica is a useful tool for many, or even for some, but it works for me and for that, I’m glad.

A red brick wall

From Brick Walls to Buttsex: A Personal Journey Through Fanfiction

I first learnt to delete my internet history for fanfiction. I would search up dirty and no-so-dirty stories on livejournal in the hour or so before my mum came home from work, and voraciously read about my favourite characters getting together and getting it on. I was 13 when I read my first sex scene. Instead of regarding it with fear like many of my friends did with their first exposures to video porn, I was intrigued. I didn’t know people could write about sex, and I didn’t know they could do it in a way that appealed to me. I don’t remember much other than the description of the brick wall that the character was pressed up against gripping his back like tiny hands. It was ultimately that line that encouraged me to write my own fanfiction.  For a long time, all the fanfiction I wrote was rank plagiarism, filled with other people’s phrases and scenarios, and it thankfully remained unpublished in private word documents and notebooks. After a while, I began to become more original. I wrote “fanfiction” about my own life, about what I wished my crush would do and say to me. I wrote stories almost every day, building on my fantasies each night.

 

When I was 13, I realized I was interested in women as well as men. Fanfiction became a way to read about gay people in love, in a way that I couldn’t find anywhere else. Sure, most of the stories I was reading were about gay men, but it still filled that lonely hole in my heart that begged to see someone like me. I was also reading stories where weird, neurodiverse characters were being loved and loving in return. I was a mess of undiagnosed OCD, anxiety, a mood disorder, and pre-psychosis, and I frequently worried that I was too nuts to date. I could imagine that there was someone in my future who would love me and wouldn’t think I was disgusting for being crazy and bisexual. I used to print out fanfiction and read the physical print outs when I was feeling sad or alone. It was the strangest kind of hope.

 

Almost as soon as I started reading smutty fanfiction, I started imagining myself in the positions of the characters. I imagined what it would be like to get a blowjob, to fuck someone, to kiss someone and have them feel my stubble. In the year following, I found that more and more of my fantasies were of myself with a penis, or myself with a flat chest, or myself with a deep voice. It wasn’t until I was 14 that I consciously knew what the word transgender meant, but it didn’t take much deliberation before I decided that that word described how I felt. Fanfiction yet again opened up to me the same opportunity it had with my blossoming gayness: a chance to read about characters I already related to, and reading about them as trans, while being loved and fucked and happy.

 

I didn’t put anything I had written up on the internet until I was 15, when I had my own computer. I wrote regularly after that, putting my favourite characters into different scenarios and settings. I loved writing, and it became my main pastime. I wrote introspective character studies and silly jokes and everything in between. Fanfiction is looked down upon, obviously partially because of its connection to femininity and women’s labour, and I was ashamed of what I was writing. It didn’t seem like people would enjoy what I was writing, but eventually I worked up the courage and posted. It was exciting for people to read what I had written, and I enjoyed seeing people’s responses to my work. I wrote my first sex scene when I was 16. I was, as I am now, in love with blowjobs, happy trails, and puns during sex, but had an inexplicable obsession with licking the roof of your partner’s mouth while kissing. I loved writing it, and I loved writing about sex. I have no doubt that my interest in sex and sexuality started with fanfiction. I went through a period when I was 17 where I identified as asexual, because a mix of depression, severe anxiety, and dysphoria made my sex drive absolutely plummet. I did, during this time, spend 24 straight hours writing asexual-themed fanfiction with a friend. It was a respite for me, a way to escape from the realities of my life. I was in the grips of my final year of high school and I had less time to read for pleasure, so the shorter format of fanfiction was the perfect solution. Fanfiction was still a constant as I began to discover my own sexuality again, encouraging me to try out new things and build new fantasies.

 

Last year, I took an extended break from fanfiction. I was busy with university, and my mental health was deteriorating, and I was doing other forms of reading. I didn’t have time really to engage in fanfiction in the same way I did before. I still found I needed an outlet to read and write about sex, though, and I became more interested in the world of sex blogging. Last year, I started this very blog, and it was a wonderful outlet for a few months. In March, I fell in love with a new show, and a month ago I wrote my first fanfiction in 8 months. These past few months, I’ve been able to see my kinks reflected in a more precise and cerebral way than I can in porn, and I’ve been able to explore fantasies in a safe and non-judgmental environment. I’m not kidding when I say that there’s a particular story that gave me a foot fetish. Because I’m more kink oriented than I was a few years ago, my fanfiction creation and consumption has become more kink oriented. I’m also studying a creative writing degree now, and fanfiction is a fun, low pressure way to play with character development and phrasing and emotion. I see myself writing fanfiction in some way or another for a long, long time. It’s been a way to process emotions, to discover new things, and to learn more about myself. I’m so glad I’ve found my way back.

The sky blue L'Amourose Prism V lying on a floral bedspread.

L’Amourose Prism V Review

The sky blue L'Amourose Prism V lying on a floral bedspread.The L’Amourose Prism V has become my sneaky jerk-off vibe, as well as my go-to travel vibe. Last week I was on holidays in the country, and when I was picking what toys I wanted to bring with me, I immediately knew that I wanted the Prism V. I received it from Max Black a few months ago after lusting after it for months, and the honeymoon period looks like it’s never going to end.

The Prism V is made of body safe, non porous silicone, meaning that it won’t leech chemicals or harbour bacteria, and can be cleaned with a toy cleaner or a 10% bleach solution (provided you rinse that off afterwards!). It’s also fully waterproof and submersible! It charges via USB, which I am usually wary of, but I found that the charging for the Prism V was easier than I expected, and it really holds a charge well.

A closeup of the buttons on the L'Amourose Prism VAesthetically, the Prism V is to die for. I chose the sky blue because it made me think of floating on a soft cloud, but it also comes in a royal blue and an orange-y red that are equally enticing. I’ve seen all three models in person, and the colours are as appealing in reality as in photos. The silicone is also some of the best silicone I’ve ever felt on a vibrator. I was a big fan of Lelo’s silicone, but I think this stuff is way silkier. I spent a good ten minutes just stroking it when I pulled it out of the box, it’s that soft. I’m also head over heels with the buttons on this vibe! It is honestly the most intuitive button system I’ve encountered. I can find everything by feel, and when the Prism V is inserted, I don’t even need to think before I can find the buttons to change speed and settings. The plus button is on the lowest portion of the toy, which is where I usually hold it, so it’s no effort at all to turn up the intensity. This is the first vibe where I remember the placings of the buttons by heart. I love it. All vibrators should have buttons like this.

I think the design of the Prism V is incredible. The head is quite large, which helps with putting pressure on my G spot, but also means that I love the Prism V externally. I often find that strong vibes like the We-Vibe Tango are too small to feel good, because I want my vibrator to cover the whole surface area of my cock when I’m masturbating. Because of the effects of testosterone, my cock is larger than the average clitoris, so it’s hard to find external vibrators that are large enough for that. The Prism V, however, pulls through, and I can cover my whole cock with the head. Additionally, the curve is great internally, and really hones in on my G spot. Externally, it is wonderful too. If I use it on my cock with the handle pointing away from me, I can increase the pressure and change the angle without much difficulty. It feels like a natural position for my hand to be in, and doesn’t exacerbate my joint issues. The direction of the handle does make it feel like I’m jacking up a car with each thrust, and it might be a bit difficult if you have short arms, but I find it does the job well. I can thrust and put pressure on my G spot with minimal effort, and, after all, isn’t laziness the point of masturbation?

The sky blue L'Amourose Prism V lying on a floral bedspread.I was really drawn to the Prism V by the promise of rumbly vibrations. I wanted a smaller-sized internal vibrator that I could use easily. I only owned the Lelo Ina 2 and the Fun Factory Big Boss G5, so I needed something that was small enough to insert without preparation, and didn’t have a pesky clitoral arm. I like vibrations internally, but I am more sensitive to buzzy vibrations in my front hole than I am on my cock, so rumbly is a must. Buzzy vibrations make me itch and numb me out, whereas rumbly ones will reach my internal clitoris and add to the whole experience of a vibrator on my cock. These vibrations are sufficiently rumbly, except for a bit of buzz on the higher settings. I like them internally, and I can feel them light up the rest of my internal complexes. Externally, I find them to be strong enough to easily bring me to orgasm. The vibrations do travel up the handle, but they don’t make my hand itch and they don’t hurt my joints in the way something like the Magic Wand does. I’m also a big fan of the patterns. There’s a wave, a faster wave, a pulse, and a random one. Unlike my preferences externally, I like a few patterns in an internal vibe, and I prefer them to be continuous, rather than having breaks between pulses. The Prism V has two continuous vibration settings, and they can be a lot of fun. The random setting is also a fun warm up setting, because my G spot doesn’t know what to expect. The G spot stimulation I get from the Prism V is great, and especially good when paired with thrusting. The neck of the Prism V is thin, so it doesn’t fill me up the way I like, but my G spot is happy enough for that not to matter.

The Prism V is a wonderful travel vibe. It charges via USB, so can be taken internationally. It also holds charge super well. It is a reasonable size in use but doesn’t take up heaps of space when packing, and comes with a storage pouch. It’s not as small as the quintessential travel vibe, the We-Vibe Tango, but if you need broader stimulation or want the option of using it internally, I don’t think you can go past the Prism V. The only downside is that it’s a bit loud, so might be able to be heard through exceptionally thin walls, but I can’t hear it through covers and my bedroom door when it’s on the highest setting.

Other than the volume, I can’t think of anything bad about the Prism V. It is beautiful, designed well, rumbly, strong, and reasonably priced. I am considering buying a second, so I can use both at once. I’ve never considered buying back-ups of a toy before, but the Prism V has brought me to this point. Honestly, I think if you want a rumbly internal vibe or something that feels comfortable during use externally, buy the Prism V. Maybe buy two.

If you’re interested in buying a L’Amourose Prism V, you can find one at my favourite stores: Max Black (AU, NZ), Lovehoney (AU, US, UK), Early to Bed (US), Peepshow Toys (US), SheBop (US), SheVibe (US)

The Tantus Acute lying on a platter.

Tantus Acute Review

The Tantus Acute standing upright.The Tantus Acute was a favourite of mine for a long time, and I think it is a wonderful beginner dildo. When I bought the Acute, I was looking for an everyday dildo. My regular rotation included the 1.75 inch diameter Tantus Cush, that I adored but was a bit overwhelming for everyday use, and the 1 inch diameter Fuze Velvet that was just a bit too small to be satisfying. I was drawn to the Acute for its curve and slight ridges, and for many months the Iroha Midori and the Acute were partners in crime. Sure, now they’ve been replaced with stronger and more earth-shattering (is there really another term for the Mustang?) counterparts, but there was a reason the Acute was my favourite for so long. It is simple, but still has some interesting features that can make it a real star.

A side view of the Tantus Acute.I think silicone is the best material for a first dildo, because it is body safe – both phthalate free and non-porous, so won’t leech chemicals or harbour bacteria – and soft enough to be a bit forgiving. Firmer materials like glass or steel can sometimes be a bit overwhelming with how intense the sensations they cause are. The Acute is made from standard density silicone, so it has a bit of give but still holds shape when squeezed. I think this nicely complements the curve the Acute is equipped with, which rocks up against my G spot. The shape is not a G spot missile or anything, but a medium amount of thrusting makes the head drag along the G spot. The head, which does the most dragging, is not intense. It isn’t much larger than the shaft, and doesn’t provide a popping sensation like something with a more mushroom-y head, like the Shilo, might. I personally like the popping sensation, so if you know that you’re really into that, this dildo might disappoint, but know that it still provides reasonable G spot stimulation. I don’t think I could have an internal orgasm from the Acute, and don’t think I could with most silicone dildos these days, but the Acute can add extra sensation to a mostly externally focused orgasm. G spots generally like a bit of pressure, so silicone of this firmness is a good middle ground if stainless steel or glass is going to be too intense for you. Thrusting is also easy with the Acute, because it is only 5 inches long, and doesn’t jab anything in my small vaginal canal.

The Tantus Acute lying on a platter.There are also ridges on the shaft of the Acute, which provides a subtle texture when thrusted. I quite enjoy ripple-type texture, but I find these ridges to be a bit too small to really add to the experience much. However, this is only a recent discovery, because when I first used the Acute I remember specifically remarking on the texture. That’s why I think the Acute could be a great introduction to texture – it’s not so intense that it would be grating like, say, the Tantus Bound, but there’s enough texture that you can work out if you want more. I feel the ridges more during insertion, as they pass through my vaginal entrance, than on my vaginal walls, so thrusting is key to really appreciating this texture.

Overall, this dildo is easy. It’s only 1.25 inches in diameter, so I don’t need to work up with it. It’s light, so I can thrust with it pretty easily. It doesn’t have intense texture or provide intense G spot stimulation, so I can use it regardless of what mood I’m in. If yesterday my G spot was pummeled into next year and I want to give it a rest? The Acute is a solid choice. My mental list for a beginner’s dildo is as follow: must be body safe and non-porous, must be equal to or smaller than 1.5 inches in diameter, must be shorter than 6 inches high, must be anal safe and harness compatible. The Acute does all these things, and adds a curve and a bit of texture to boot. This dildo doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles, it can just be good, and I am certain that it is.

If you’re interested in buying a Tantus Acute, you can find one at my favourite stores:  Tantus (US), SheVibe (US)

Fun Factory Bootie Small Review

The Fun Factory BootieFor as long as I have been interested in sex, I have been curious about anal play. There was a whole section of nerves and potentially pleasurable sensations that I was excited to explore, but due to my OCD, I was unable to realise this fantasy. It was only until I bought the Fun Factory Bootie Small that I was able to get into butt stuff without triggering my contamination fears. The Bootie is a really good beginner plug, and even now that I feel comfortable using slightly larger plugs, it still sees more or less frequent use.

I can use the Bootie Small without any warm up, which was the most important thing for me when I was buying my first butt plug. It clocks in at 1.1 inches in diameter at its largest point, and 3 inches in length, which I would consider manageable for most people. It is just a little wider than one of my fingers, but smaller than two. Along with some viscous water-based lube like Sliquid Sassy, I can slip the Bootie right in. However, the flexibility of the silicone means I often need to hold it at the neck rather than the base to keep it stable during insertion. The shape is curved, designed to reach the prostate, and I can’t speak for how well it does that, but it certainly enhances the feeling of “fullness” if anything is in my front hole. I also like to clench around the Bootie, because I can feel it move around in my ass. I’m sufficiently aware of it’s presence during use. The Bootie also conducts vibrations well, and I quite like having the We-Vibe Tango pressed up against the base. However, I’m still new to anal play so I might be particularly sensitive. I have found that I have to be relatively clean if I’m going to use the Bootie, otherwise particles can press into the walls of my anus, making things feel pretty uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean you have to use a douche or be on on a liquid fast or anything, but going to the bathroom at least an hour before inserting the Bootie usually works for me. Because it’s silicone, the Bootie also hangs onto butt smells in a way that stainless steel or glass plugs don’t, which might be a downside for some people. I don’t really mind it because the Bootie is only ever destined to be in my butt, but if I was using a dildo between my anus and my front hole, smells might trigger my contamination fears. Overall, the way I would describe the Bootie Small is comfortable. It brings my body’s awareness to my butt, but doesn’t overwhelm me.

The Fun Factory Bootie in between two of my fingers.A big part of the reason I wanted a butt plug was for long term wear. It sounds cliche, but the illicit thrill of doing something sexual without anyone knowing about it, or ever able to know about it, is really exciting. I’m also interested in the possibilities to use butt plugs for kink, and combining that thrill with a power play dynamic. The base of the Bootie is really comfortable between my cheeks, unless I am doing a lot of walking, when it can chafe a little. I find the base to be a perfect length, and I have no problems when walking or when fucking myself in my front hole. It is also quite flexible and will move with my body. I have never felt any uncomfortable jabbing, even in positions where a dildo in my front hole would usually be uncomfortable. I do find that after about an hour, my butt can start to feel a little dry, which is fine if I’m home and can just top up the lube, but is more of a problem if I am out of the house and can’t slip away somewhere to reapply. I haven’t had a heap of experience with butt plugs so I’m not sure if it is the particular texture of this toy that makes it dry up so easily, or if it is just a fact of using a silicone butt plug. I don’t feel the same about my njoy Pure Plug, which is stainless steel.

I think the Bootie Small is a great first plug. First of all, it is body safe, and completely sanitisable, which is especially important for anal toys. Just spray it with a 10% bleach solution or boil it for 3 minutes to sanitise. The sensations aren’t anything earth-shattering, which means you won’t be overwhelmed, but you don’t easily forget that the plug is there, because your ass keeps wanting to pull and squeeze at it. It is also incredibly affordable, and I think the cheapest toy in my collection. I like the njoy Pure Plug better, but if you can’t afford that, or think it might be too intense, the Bootie is a formidable alternative.

f you’re interested in buying the Fun Factory Bootie Small, you can find one at my favourite stores: Max Black (AU), Early to Bed (US), Peepshow Toys (US), SheVibe (US), SheBop (US)

Colourful New York Toy Collective dildos standing in a display. Walls of other toys are visible in the background.

Max Black: A Love Letter

I can smell Max Black from half way down the street. It’s a subtle, clean, fresh-out-of-the-box smell, and it makes me smile every time I notice it. Max Black was the first ever sex shop I visited, and I couldn’t be luckier. It is definitely a “boutique” or “high end” sex store but I strongly believe that these kind of stores should be the norm, rather than the poorly-lit and poorly-stocked “Adult Bookstores” that people usually think of when they think of adult stores. Up the fairy-lit stairs is a welcoming, curated store. My first visit in 2014 was filled with nerves, because sex still held an illicit thrill for me. I had heard about Max Black from a friend, but didn’t know much more than that it sold sex toys, specifically the Lelo Mona. At the time my only exposure to sex toys had been a few Oh Joy Sex Toy comics and a post of two from Epiphora. I didn’t know anything about body safe toys, or vibration quality, or reputable brands. All I could appreciate is good floor design and friendly staff. The first thing that sets Max Black apart from other (less appealing) sex stores is that the walls are white. It’s elegant and understated, so the focus is on the toys, but you don’t feel like you have to run anything under blacklight. The store is in a U-shape, which you follow from vibrators, to dildos, to kink, to anal toys, to strokers, with a side section for the Rubber Room. This allows you to browse at your leisure, and I was never flustered by where to look first. There are luxury modules in glass cases at the sides, for things like unique materials or for particular brands. I remember seeing the njoy module on my first visit and being amazed that they made sex toys out of steel. The now familiar Pure Wand was alien to me then, and I had no idea how it was meant to be used, let alone how amazing it could be. I distinctly remember that the sight of the Pure Plugs was frightening rather than exciting. The kink wall is full of leather cuffs, collars, and whips. At the time, kink wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye, so I didn’t spend too much time lingering there. Instead, the kink section was reserved for furtive glances when I was ostensibly standing in front of the dildos. And oh, the dildos. I found my first love in Tantus that day, with even a small selection of their range on display. They were well crafted, in plain, unassuming packaging, and I could hold a dildo in my hands for the first time.

Colourful New York Toy Collective dildos standing in a display. Walls of other toys are visible in the background.Since then, Max Black has been with me through many firsts. I got my first vibe there, which my then partner bought for my birthday. The $20 Neon Bullet XL was the cheapest toy there, and in hindsight I regret getting something so weak and cheap, but I was enamoured with the experience of buying and owning my very first sex toy all the same. The staff helped me get over my disappointment at the lack of Fuze Velvets in stock, and listened to me rant about everything I loved about the Velvet, before directing me to the Fun Factory Amor. Max Black was where I got my first luxury vibe, the first vibe I truly loved, my first paddle, my first strap on harness, my first butt plug, and my first latex piece. It took me two years to muster up enough courage to venture into the Rubber Room, but upon my meek request to “Uh… have a look at the… l-latex, please?”, the staff were so welcoming and informative. Max Black has introduced me to brands like the Australian leather company Wild Hide, and Tom of Finland’s kink range, as well as introducing me to real, printed books about sex and kink. The staff were irreplaceable during the We-Vibe Touch saga, I’ve never been yelled at when my (and I say this with love) annoying friends hit me with display dildos, and they taught me how to test-hit paddles on the backs of my calves.

Each item on sale is carefully chosen and high quality. While there are some toys I would be reticent to try (*cough* Jimmyjane *cough*), the selection is high quality and body safe. Some people I know complain about their high price point, but these toys are well-made and already expensive, plus the cost of running a brick and mortar store is expensive, especially if you have to ship products to Australia. Max Black is not just a place to buy sex toys, it’s a place to experience them and to learn. It’s an invaluable resource to the Sydney sex positive community, and I’m so glad I get to live in the same city as such an amazing store.

Casual Voyeurs 1

Welcome to Casual Voyeurs, to my interview series! I’m interviewing my friends and partners about their relationship to sex, both as a way to showcase different opinions on sex and sexuality, and also to give a little glimpse into the people I surround myself with. This first interview is with my sweet, sensitive, switchy girlfriend of two years.

Introduce yourself! How do you identify and what are your pronouns?

I’m a non-binary trans woman, and I use she/her pronouns.

Why are you interested in sex?

What’s not to love?? It’s intimate, you get up close and personal with people, it’s intense and it’s lots and lots of fun.

What was your sex education in school like? Was it relevant to how you have sex today?

Not even slightly. They don’t teach you anything about anal, and it was otherwise pretty limited.

What was your first sex toy?

A small cheap vibrator, that didn’t make me come but was very nice

What was your first visit to a sex shop like?

I honestly don’t remember much. I think I was a bit intimidated, but mostly curious.

How did you find out about safe sex toy materials?

I don’t know that I ever really did, to be perfectly honest. I think you’re the person who tells me the most.

What is your favourite part of sex?

I think it has to be when I make the other person moan. Either that, or being slowly worked up to orgasm with lots of teasing.

What is the scariest part of sex?

Whenever someone says to stop I always have a split second of panic that I’ve hurt them or gone too far. I think as well though, sometimes opening yourself up like that can be very emotional, and I have a definite fear of rejection around sex.

How does sex interact with your mental health?

Wildly variable. Sometimes it helps me feel better, sometimes I seek out the approval, and sometimes I feel too bad about myself to want it.

How does sex interact with your gender?

Not as much these days, but I used to have a real panic and anxiety around penetrating people and being too man-like in doing so. I’m more comfortable about it now.

How does kink interact with your sex life?

Not often enough! It’s usually a nice addition if the people involved have the time or energy to do it.

How does kink interact with your everyday life?

Not really much, aside from sometimes I wear collars out, because they’re cute.

If you could have any sex toy, what would it be?

Hard question. I’m really curious about We-Vibes. Aside from that I’m usually pretty self sufficient, other than a nice butt plug.

If you could buy me any sex toy, what would it be?

Some kind of elaborate fucking machine probably, something intense for personal use.

Finn’s rating: 8/10 – I’ve been curious about fucking machines but often the attachments aren’t body safe. Though maybe this answer encompasses a Sybian?!

The njoy Pure Wand in its box

njoy Pure Wand Review

The njoy Pure Wand next to my handThe njoy Pure Wand is larger than life. I’d read rave reviews of it for years before I bought it, and the first thing I noticed was that it was much smaller than I had imagined. It’s like meeting a celebrity and being shocked at how short they are – there is such a charged presence to them, that it’s jarring when they don’t fit your inflated sense of them. However, the Pure Wand, unlike meeting your favourite celebrity, is just as good as it is promised to be.

The Pure Wand has spawned a lot of copycat toys, which is a testament to its notoriety. As far as I know, though, the Pure Wand is the only toy in this smiley shape that is made of stainless steel. Stainless steel is hard, hefty, safe, and sexy. I have a bit of a burgeoning metal kink,  and the Pure Wand is definitely helping that take form.The design is simple, but sleek in its simplicity. The shininess is enticing, and can act as an impromptu vulva mirror if you’re in need of that sort of thing. There’s some kind of prehistoric urge that makes us attracted to shiny things, and the Pure Wand is no exception. When you pull it out of the satin-lined box, the first thing you notice is the weight. Having something so heavy that it almost feels imbued with intention is really hot, in my opinion. There’s no forgetting what you’re holding, or what’s inside of you. This weightiness means that the Pure Wand really follows through on it’s thrusts. A slight tilt will feel magnified because there is no give to the metal. I really enjoy how cool it feels against my skin, as well as the heat it picks up after I’ve fucked myself with it. The curve is also ingenious, because it finds my G spot without much help and sticks right into it.

The larger end of the njoy Pure WandWhat do orgasms with the Pure Wand feel like? They feel strong, wave like, and broad. After testosterone, I found that my orgasms became more localised. Whereas before hormones orgasms rolled all through my body, I mostly feel them just in my genital area nowadays. However, with the Pure Wand, I can feel the orgasm in my thighs and stomach, a much larger area than usual. They feel like a release of tension, and this release can sometimes be coupled with the physical release of ejaculation. The Pure Wand can also intensify an external vibrator, and I love using it with my Eroscillator for a really unique sensation. I sometimes find the Pure Wand too intense just after orgasm, because even the slightest tilt stimulates my G spot. Orgasms with the Pure Wand aren’t easy, because it is a hefty piece of equipment and take a bit of a toll on my noodle-like arms, but they are easy to make intense. A few well timed thrusts with the Pure Wand can turn a mediocre orgasm into something worth blogging about.

The Pure Wand is less of a sex toy than it is a sex tool. Anything made of stainless steel kind of has to be. Just like you wouldn’t just throw a belt sander around without learning how to use it, the Pure Wand has a serious learning (as well as a literal) curve. It can bring amazing orgasms, but you have to work out how best to bring those about. Of course, this is going to be different for every body, but I have a few tips.

  • Don’t use the Pure Wand if you aren’t aroused, because it is seriously intense if you aren’t ready for it. Because arousal enlarges the G spot, it can feel a bit like aimless jabbing if you aren’t turned on. I feel like I’m turning into a salad spinner if I’m not ready to use the Pure Wand, which makes me feel even more unsexy.
  • Prop your arm up on some pillows or a thigh, because your elbows and shoulders can tire out easily, especially if you’re settling in for a long session.
  • Don’t use the Pure Wand if you’re not ready to put in a bit of work. The neck of the Pure Wand is really thin, which makes thrusting easy, but doesn’t work if you just want to clench around your dildo.
  • Scooping motions feel amazing, but soft jiggles or strokes also work well to warm up. Don’t feel like you have to be thrusting with wild abandon just to get something out of the Pure Wand – some of my best sessions have been relaxed and gentle.
  • Use shallower motions until you work out where your pubic bone is, because the Pure Wand could (quite uncomfortably) hook into it otherwise.
  • Employ a lighter touch when the larger end is inserted, because it’s heavier and covers more surface area.
  • The Pure Wand is known as the ejaculation dildo, but don’t feel like you have to ejaculate every time. G spot orgasms and blended orgasms are just as good! The Pure Wand can provide a variety of different sensations, don’t get caught up in creating only one kind.

The njoy Pure Wand in its boxOf course, the Pure Wand isn’t all sunshine, roses, and ejaculate. It is seriously heavy hunk of metal, and if you have any upper body mobility issues, this is going to exacerbate them. I have a chronic joint condition, especially in my elbows, and some grip issues, and the Pure Wand makes these issues worse, even if I cocoon myself in supportive pillows. It is slightly lighter if the larger end is inserted, because my body supports some of the weight, but I still have difficulties manipulating it. I also only really get use out of half of the dildo. I prefer broad stimulation on my G spot, just like I prefer broad stimulation on my cock, and the smaller end doesn’t provide that. I use it maybe an eighth of the time that I use the Pure Wand. Another thing I find is that the smaller end is more likely to hook onto my pubic bone. Also, for some unknown reason, the Pure Wand tends to make me fart, which is really annoying when I’m trying to put on a show for someone else.

It has to be said, nothing can be assured to give you an orgasm, but there are some toys that are more likely to do so than others. Powerful vibrators, like the Doxy Wand, for example, are more likely to give you an orgasm than weaker ones, like Toyfriend Ticklers. The Pure Wand, I would argue, is more likely to give you an orgasm than any other dildo I own. This dildo is visually appealing, unique, and just works. Of course, if you don’t like G spot stimulation, this dildo isn’t the one for you, but if you do, I think it’s invaluable.

If you’re interested in buying a njoy Pure Wand, you can find one at my favourite stores: Lovehoney (AU, US, UK), Early to Bed (US), Peepshow Toys (US), Good Vibrations (US), SheVibe (US), SheBop (US)

The Eroscillator 2 with attachments: Ultra Soft Finger Tip, Golden Spoon, Ball and Cup, Grapes and Cockscomb

Eroscillator 2 Plus Soft Tip Combo Review

The Eroscillator 2 with attachments: Ultra Soft Finger Tip, Golden Spoon, Ball and Cup, Grapes and CockscombI got my Eroscillator 2 Plus Soft Tip Combo the same week as my new Dyson vacuum, and there are a lot of surprising similarities between the two. They’re oddly shaped, are the same colour, are smaller than my previous model, have lots of confusing attachments, have obtained cult status, and took me a while to warm up to them. (Unfortunately, unlike my vacuum, my Eroscillator doesn’t stand back up again if I kick it over.) In the world of sex toys, the Eroscillator is renowned. If there was a sex toy hall of fame, the Eroscillator would be nestled up right next to the Magic Wand and the njoy Pure Wand. It’s incredibly unique because instead of vibrating, the Eroscillator oscillates from side to side. I really appreciate this innovation, and am generally very excited by the prospect of new sensations on my genitals. While I don’t think you need to reinvent the wheel to make a good vibrator, sometimes thinking outside the wand/bullet dichotomy is exciting.

The Eroscillator range all have the same oscillating technology, but come with a range of intensities and various attachments. The most basic (Eroscillator 2) comes with one attachment, the Golden Spoon. The Eroscillator 2 Top Deluxe has a power boost compared to the Eroscillator 2. I find this system quite frustrating, because if you want to upgrade to a higher powered Eroscillator, you have to buy a whole new model, rather than upgrading certain sections. I think it’s reasonable to sell attachments separately, but to have stark differences between contemporaneous models of a toy seems ridiculous to me. It feels like there’s a lot of pressure to buy the most expensive, most powerful option right off the bat. The Eroscillator line has also recently been revamped, and instead of a unique copper colour that really complemented the design, they’ve gone for the stock-standard colour for sex toy: purple. Granted, this is a really nice metallic type of purple, but I am still upset that I can’t match the wood stain of my bedside table or the metalware in my kitchen to the colour of my Eroscillator.

I bought my Eroscillator 2 Plus Soft Tip Combo from SheBop, which means, you guessed it, it has a US plug. I can’t find a single Australian stockist, and even the Eroscillator website only offers US and EU plug options. Luckily, I already have a step-down transformer for my Magic Wand and my Neon Wand, but if you’re Australian and don’t own a step-down transformer already, that’s another 30 to 50 AUD added onto the already substantial price of the Eroscillator.

My Eroscillator has three power intensities, which are not as strong as other mains-powered vibrators, but stronger than something like the Iroha Midori. I find the cable a bit finicky to plug into the base of the Eroscillator, as well as difficult to pull out. I’m scared that I’m going to break it each time, because there isn’t enough space between the base of the vibrator and the cable to get a good grip on the cord. To change intensities, you slide the control up or down. I really dislike this type of control, because it requires a gentle touch to change between settings. If I use the amount of force that feels natural, I end up turning the vibrator up from the lowest setting to the highest, completely skipping the middle. This generally means that in order to change intensities, I have to pull the Eroscillator off my cock, and pay attention while I’m switching intensities. Most importantly, the Eroscillator has to match your masturbation style for it to be enjoyable. The first time I tried the Eroscillator was 30 minutes before I had to leave for a party, and I wanted to get off quickly before I went out. I thought the Eroscillator would be perfect for this: it was bulky, promised intense orgasms, and was mains powered. Surely it could get me off quickly! But for me, this was not the case. The Eroscillator is more like when my partner jerks me off, in that it builds up over time. Sometimes I find this too intense, which is not a problem I have with standard vibrations, even really powerful ones. The Eroscillator does give strong orgasms, but they aren’t as quick as something like the Doxy is. I can’t force the orgasm to come quicker with a bit of muscle clenching. The Eroscillator does what it wants, in it’s own damn time. I also found that pressure severely dampens the oscillations, so it works best with a gentle touch. However, the trade-off is that the orgasms I have with the Eroscillator are long as well. I can ride them out for at least thrice as long as I can with a wand, because the Eroscillator is gentler and doesn’t overstimulate me very much. At the moment, my favourite way to use it is with the njoy Pure Wand. The encouragement of the Pure Wand means that my orgasm comes faster and is a little bit more under my control. The combination of strong G-spot orgasm and a long external orgasm is a real reward for my hard work.

The Eroscillator doesn’t come with patterns, but I don’t think this is an issue, because each of the different attachments provides really interesting sensations. I have four attachments with my Eroscillator, which adds up to 7 different surfaces. I’ve ordered them from least to most enjoyable, but I can reach an enjoyable orgasm with each attachment.

The Eroscillator attachment, The Golden SpoonGolden Spoon: The Golden Spoon is an elongated depression, with some bumps on the other side, I feel like the Golden Spoon attachment is meant for smaller clitorides than mine. It doesn’t fit comfortably over my cock, meaning that I don’t get the feeling of being surrounded by vibrations. The bumpy side is imperceptible to my cock, and often a little irritating to my outer labia.

The Eroscillator attachment, the Ball and CupBall and Cup: The Ball and Cup is a circular depression with three large bumps on the other side. The Cup, like the Golden Spoon, is too small to cover my whole cock, but can comfortably surround the tip. Otherwise, it ends up poking my junk. I like it better than the Golden Spoon, but it is more uncomfortable if not placed correctly. I can feel the Ball side more than the bumps on the Golden Spoon, but I didn’t get the broad stimulation I generally prefer.

The Eroscillator attachment, the Grapes and CockscombGrapes and Cockscomb: The Grapes and Cockscomb is a series of large bumps with a protruding fan shape on the other side. This is hands down the weirdest looking attachment, but I really like it. The grapes are interesting in texture, and feel like a massage on my cock. I feel a bit pinched if I use it on the exposed tip of my cock, but on the safe they were really enjoyable. However, my natural instinct is to increase the pressure, which dampens the intensity significantly. The Cockscomb is ineffectual if I use the thinner portion on the top of my cock, but if I lie it along the side, it gives a really nice broad stimulation. However, like this, it can occasionally buzz my pubic bone.

The Eroscillator attachment, the Ultra Soft Finger TipUltra Soft Finger Tip: This attachment is squishy, like a marshmallow. This is my absolute favourite, because it feels so different to any other vibrator I own. It feels like the oscillations are travelling across and through my cock, which really excites the whole internal complex. It is sufficiently broad, and the only attachment where pressure increases sensation. I would recommend getting this in addition to the standard set, with the caveat that it is more of a lint magnet than the other attachments.

The Eroscillator has me in two minds. It’s expensive, and the attachments are porous, so they can’t be disinfected. It is, however, unlike anything else on the market, and a tried and tested favourite of many reviewers I trust. I don’t think it’s a necessity to your toybox, but if I want a long, relaxed, gentle masturbation session, the Eroscillator is a top pick.

If you’re interested in buying an Eroscillator 2 Plus Soft Finger Combo, you can find one at my favourite stores: Good Vibrations (US), SheBop (US), SheVibe (US)

How To Buy Your First Strap On: Transmasculine Edition

Guides to buying your first strap on are easy to find, but what if your strap on means more to you than just fucking? How do you shop for a strap on that doesn’t just fit your sexual needs, but also your emotional ones? For a lot of transmasculine people, this is an key question. My strap on set-up was incredibly important when I was first exploring the relationship between my gender and my sexuality. In fact, the first dildo I ever bought was primarily for strap on use. Being the penetrating partner can be very affirming for transmasculine people, especially for people who desire bottom surgery. Even if you don’t want bottom surgery, a strap on can still be an occasional way to alter your appearance to appear more traditionally masculine. Personally, my strap on is a physical representation of my gender, even if I’m feeling a little more feminine. Masculinity is an important part of me, and expressing that during sex is gratifying. A strap on can make you feel more in control, both of the situation and of your gender presentation. Your first strap requires a bit of thought, and hopefully this guide will help you out.

A lot of transmasculine people want a strap on that will look and feel like their own, which is what I’ll be focusing on in this post. However, that can mean a lot of things for a lot of different people. Consider what your ideal penetration experience would be. Do you want your toy to look like an extension of your body? Do you want to progress from soft to hard as the night goes on? Do you want to feel things yourself? Do you want to ejaculate? Then, if you are looking to play with a specific person, what do they want? Do they like a strong G or P spotting curve? Do they like small, medium, or large dildos? The answer to these questions will inform what strap on is right for you.


The Uncut 2 lying in grass.If you want a strap on that looks like a part of your body, there are a lot of options! Most good sex shops will have a gender expression section, which will generally contain packers, harnesses, and realistic dildos. If you’re pale skinned, you have a greater advantage in finding realistic dildos, but there are some options for people of darker skin tones as well. For your most basic flesh toned dildo, I would recommend the Pleasureworks First Mate*, because it comes in a range of skin tones and has some detailed veins, as well as being reasonably priced for a body-safe silicone dildo. It’s on the girthier side, so check that your activity partner can accommodate that size first. If you want your dildo to feel realistic to the touch, then I don’t think you can go past the skin-like texture of Vixskin. Vixskin is dual density, meaning there is a hard inner core and a softer outer layer, which gives The blue, pink and orang Vixen Creations Mustang standing upright on a table.the dildo a realistic impression when squeezed. Vixskin naturally feels a little sticky, but when covered with cornflour, it really does feel like skin! The Mustang is my favourite dildo ever and has a killer curve. It has incredibly detailed veins and comes in three skin tones. There is also the wider Maverick** if your partner likes girth, however it does not have a vein texture. If you want dual density and balls, the Vixen Creations Goodfella* and Bandit* are your guys. The Goodfella has balls that sit apart from the base, so they will sit on the outside of the harness, whereas the balls of the Bandit will sit behind the o-ring. You can also buy one of the New York Toy Collective Love Bumps*, which will add balls to a dildo of your choice. They are coloured to match other NTYC dildos, but they shouldn’t look to odd on another brand’s flesh tone dildo. Uncut cocks more your style? The Tantus Uncut 1* and Uncut 2 are dual density too, but not as squishy as a Vixen dildo. If those are too expensive, but you still want dual density, go for the Blush Novelties Zullo*. Remember, your perfect dildo might not be flesh toned! This is especially true if you are transmasculine and non-binary, and want a strap on that (if you’ll forgive the pun) straddles that line between traditional masculinity and femininity. I have a gold Godemiche Ambit and it gives me a great boost of self confidence every time I wear it. It’s still affirming for my gender to wear the Ambit, but it’s a bit more exciting thanThe New York Toy Collective Shilo, bent in half. just a plain flesh tone. It’sa perfect peacock cock. 

Pack and play dildos are another staple of the strap on world. Pack and play dildos allow you to both pack the dildo in your pants, as well as penetrate someone with it later. The Tantus Pack and Play 1 and Pack and Play 2* are good options, but the New York Toy Collective range reign supreme. They are much more posable than anything on the market, and pack almost flat. The Shilo is their standard size, the Mason** is longer, the Carter** is thicker, and the Ellis* is uncut. They are also dual density, which is how they are able to be moved around.

The regular Tantus Realdoe, with my fingers representing the PC muscles that hold the dildo in place.

Realistic dildos are pretty cool, but skin tones and veins aren’t the end of your options. When I was choosing my first strap on dildo, it was important that I was getting some stimulation too, so that I felt more involved in the sex. Dual stimulating dildos came in two styles: ones with clitoral ridges and ones that are double ended. Double ended dildos like the Tantus Feeldoes/Realdoes are meant to be harness-free, with your pelvic muscles holding onto the bulb, but they can still be used with a harness if you need the extra support. In the photo above, my fingers sit where your pelvic muscles would. The Realdoes are realistically textured but only come in a pale flesh tone, whereas the Feeldoes are all non-realistic colours. There are different sizes, like the wider Stout** or the thinner Slim**. I have the regular Realdoe and I like it a lot. If you personally don’t like penetration, but still want to feel something during strap on sex, try one of the Fuze toys. They come with special grooves that are meant to stimulate the clitoris, as well as a space for a bullet vibe. There’s a whole range of Fuze toys to choose from, but I like the pale-to-mid flesh coloured Ultra*, which is like my beloved Velvet, and perfect for people who like to be penetrated with something smaller. There’s also the girthier, uncut Foreman**. There is also a model of the Mustang, the Mustang Royale**, which is meant to stimulate the wearer as well, but I can’t vouch for the effectiveness of this feature.

And finally, something that I am very curious about, the Semenette Pop!* dildo. If you want to be able to ejaculate in or on your partner, the Pop! is a good contender. It has a tube inside and a bulb attached so that you can fill the tube with your substance of choice (body safe, please!) and press the bulb to ejaculate it. This is a really exciting feature, and something I am eager to add to my own collection.

It’s also important to think about what your partner wants! If they like direct G or P spot stimulation, then you will want  a dildo with a pronounced curve. Ask what size of dildo they would prefer. Dildos are generally measured by diameter, and usually range from 1.25 inches to 2 inches wide. I find that something around the 1.25 inch mark is good for people who are new to penetration, the 1.5 inch mark a comfortable mid-ground (and my goldilocks size), and 1.75 inches and up are best for people who know for certain that they like bigger toys. If I was planning to use one dildo with a lot of different people, I would probably choose a 1.5 inch dildo because this is a pretty standard size. Don’t just choose the biggest dildo, because that might not be what your partner wants! Another thing to ask is whether they like hard or soft penetration. Dual density toys are softer, so don’t choose one of those if your partner likes ramrod fucking. Conversely, dual density toys are good if your partner is on the sensitive side, because the softer material does not poke uncomfortable spots with as much force.

If all those options are a bit overwhelming for you, I’ve added a handy table for you. Read on for harness options!

A table outlining all the dildos mentioned in this post.

They are generally three styles of strap on harness: either one strap (which goes between the legs, like a thong), two strap (which goes around the legs, like a jock strap), or full cover (which cover the genital area entirely, like briefs). I prefer two strap style harnesses because I find they give more control, are less abrasive on my cock than one strap styles, and appear more masculine with their jock strap appearance. However, full cover harnesses are more comfortable for long term wear, which is important if you are planning to use a pack and play dildo. There are also three common materials that strap on harnesses are made of: nylon, fabric, and leather. Some people find nylon harnesses scratchy, but they are very affordable, easy to clean, and vegan. Nylon harnesses, like the Haka* harness, are good for beginners who are unsure if strap on sex is going to be a long term thing for them.  For full-cover cloth harnesses, you can either go for a brief or a boxer style, and RodeoH* is the leading contender in those kinds of harnesses. I personally prefer boxer-style* harnesses, as well as boxer style underwear, because briefs feels too much like “women’s” The Aslan Leather Jaguar Harness holding a gold Godemiche Ambit.underwear to me. The Spareparts Joque* is a pricer, two strap style harness made of cloth. Finally, there is leather, which has an undeniable masculine air. I don’t think you can go past the Aslan Leather Jaguar harness if you want a leather harness. It’s effortlessly sexy, will last a lifetime, and comes in different colours and vegan options. It complements just about any dildo, and is set at a really natural position, to further give the impression that it’s your own cock hanging between your legs. It also comfortably holds double ended dildos like the Tantus Feeldoes, whereas other harnesses can set the o-ring too high. Make sure that the o-ring that comes with your harness will fit your dildo, or you may need to buy an extra o-ring if your dildo is of an unusual size. Harnesses like the RodeoH* with integrated o-rings can stretch to accommodate larger dildos, but cannot hold anything smaller than the size of the o-ring.

The perfect dildo and harness combo can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time shopping for one. However, the right strap on set up can do wonders for your gender feels and self confidence. Hopefully you can find something here that suits you, or know how to start looking.

* I have not tried this

** I have tried something very similar to this