Since beginning to review toys last year, I have played with many toys which were pleasurable and toys which were fun. However, I have not played with any other toys which felt so much like a work of art until now. Although I review toys for several major sex toy vendors, this is my first chance to review a toy that I have been provided directly by the artisan who created it.
Josie Whip makes paddles, whips, floggers and other impact toys from some of the finest wood and leather I have seen in toys. I was beyond excited when I heard they’d be sending me a sample for review.
Although they make certain styles of toy on a regular basis, each toy is a unique, hand-crafted instrument of pleasure and pain. Jon, the artisan behind Josie Whip told me: “Each piece that is made is different. They are individually hand crafted depending on a large number of variables: Wood grain patterns and stability, size and finally, my overall mood for the day are just a few.” They also offer made-to-order custom whips.
The toy I was sent was a leather flogger with a handle made from African Paduak wood, much like this one. The handle is highly polished and smooth. The tails are of some of the softest leather I have ever touched. It arrived tied in some leather ribbons and for days I didn’t even want to unwrap it — I just kept taking it off my shelf and inhaling the incredible leather scent. I may be a vegetarian, but I just adore leather and rarely have I gotten to be near, much less own, such lovely stuff.
The handle itself is a thing of beauty, with a bulbed end that leads to a more narrow middle with some ridges for added grip. It can be held at almost any part of its length depending on your personal style and the size of your hand. Though I haven’t had the chance to try it yet, the smooth texture and interesting shape just begs to have a condom slipped over it so that the handle can be used for other purposes.
On my flogger, 16 broad leather tails emerge from a woven leather knot. That delightful leather smell fills the air as you swing it and the tails make a swishing sound that is equally pleasing to the ear. The balance on the handle is just incredible — while I’ve played with a bunch of other toys that are well-balanced, this one just feels like another part of my hand. It’s so easy to swing that I almost forget it’s there until I realize my arm is getting tired.
When I finally brought this toy out to play I just couldn’t get enough of it. I used it on all the play partners I see on a regular basis — my Pet, Squeak, and Honey J. Each one adored its heavy thuddiness. I think I will mostly use this toy for warming up or cooling down during longer sessions, later moving on to toys which are heavier or sting more. Still, this flogger cannot be underestimated: Although the tails are broad, it can still hit with a wallop. After a particularly heavy strike on my pet’s upper back, she squealed out “that toy is pretty and mean.”
Josie Whip is still a newer vendor, and Jon, the artisan behind their toys, told me he was genuinely interested in my constructive criticism. It’s hard to find fault with this, but I’ll name a few minor quibbles. When the toy shipped, the return address was ‘Josie Whip.’ This is not a problem for me, since my life is a very open one, but it was a variation from the more generic names on most toy vendors’ return addresses. Though the toy shipped securely and well padded, it did not include any information on care or use, which might be useful if someone purchases or is gifted a finely crafted piece like this Paduak Whip.
Josie Whip offers a three day return policy on defective toys. While this is far better than the policy some large vendors have (some of them refuse all returns!), I can’t help but feel for the price these toys cost that Josie Whip should consider a longer window in order to reassure buyers.
As I said, I feel like I am picking nits here. I have put this toy through as much use as I can in the last few days. The tails have been used gently at times but also roughly snapped against skin. I have swung, dangled, and whipped with this toy to my heart’s content. I feel like this flogger will be a reliable, often used prize in my collection for years and years to come, and I am confident it will continue to remain both pretty and mean.
If you love floggers as much as I do and you want to get a toy that’s as beautiful as it is balanced and effective, then I think you should pay a visit to Josie Whip.
Update 3/21/2011: Josie Whip responded to some of my criticisms here including increasing the return period from three days to ninety days.
Disclaimer: Although I am not paid for reviews, I am sent free products in exchange for my honest opinion.