2011 was my second year playing with and writing about sex toys. So far this year I wrote 49 sex toy reviews, exactly double the number I reviewed in 2010. In total, I played with more than 50 new toys. I’m grateful to all my wonderful helpers like Pet, Honey, and Squeak. They did it for Science! Thanks also to all the readers who shared their own feedback on my reviews.
I probably should have posted this list at the beginning of the month as a shopping guide. The holidays really snuck up on me this year. Still, too few of us get the toys we want for Christmas but many of us get holiday spending money. What better way to spend it after a stressful holiday than on the present that’ll really make you relax? This year I reviewed more toys, so I am breaking my selections down into more categories. Here are the best toys I played with during the last year:
- Best Impact Toy: The Axovus Illuminator is a flogger made half from leather tails, and half from extension cord tipped with red LED lights. It’s both a rave toy and a colorful way to inflict intense consensual pain. It never fails to get a party talking — including occasional complaints from stuffy old kinksters who’ve forgotten how to have fun. I consider this a bonus. (Buy the Illuminator from sextoy.com)
- Best Kink Toy (Restraint or Sensation): Hopefully in 2012 I’ll review enough kink toys to break this into two categories — kink vendors, if you’re reading get in touch! But the KinkLab Vampire Gloves got used a lot. Unlike the rest of the toys on this list, I was on the receiving as well as the giving end of these gloves! (Buy vampire gloves from sextoy.com)
- Honorable mention goes to the steel-reinforced Spartacus Leathers’ Black & Blue Frat Paddle which always gets the job done (Buy it!). The hand crafted wooden beauty of Josie Whip (Browse Josie Whip’s catalog) deserves a special highlight.
- Best Cock Toy: Another category I hope to expand in 2012, by popular demand of my readers. Of the cock toys I played with, the Tenga Silky Egg was my favorite. (Buy Tenga Eggs from Babeland)
- Best Insertable: Of all the toys I put into any orifice in 2011, the one I think I had the most fun with were the LELO Luna Beads. Not only did they make Pet’s (already impressive) muscle control stronger, they are lots of fun for her to wear during spankings or on outings. (Buy Luna Beads from vibrator.com)
- Best Lube: I tried 10 kinds of lube in 2011. The best, and the lube I use most often, is Water Slide. It’s slippery, versatile and has only three ingredients. (Buy Water Slide from sextoy.com)
- Best Vibrator: Who knew that a pocket-sized vibe could pack the power of a Hitachi? I didn’t, until the USB-rechargeable Fairy Wand came into my life — and the lives of my lovers, who get a big grin every time I take it out. (Buy the Fairy Wand from sextoy.com)
- Honorable Mentions for Wet Platinum, the best lube you’re likely to find on your grocery store’s condom aisle (or buy Wet online), the strong but eco-friendly Solar Bullet from California Exotic Novelties (Buy it!), and the wonderful, fuckable works of art from TC Diletti (who closed their online store till next year).
Some sex vendors continue to hide behind the lack of regulation of adult products, so why not highlight the worst as well?
The Worst of 2011
- Worst Kink Toy: The Fetish Fantasy “Rawhide” Switch. Are you kidding me? This ain’t rawhide. Or worth a dime.
- Worst Sex Toy: California Exotics’ Hummingbird is poorly made, over-priced and frustrating to use.
- Dishonorable mention: Wet International is a respectable lube manufacturer. So why are they marketing silicone lube to the gullible as a natural product?
As of this writing, I review sex toys for Babeland and Good Vibrations; I will write at least one, next year, for LELO. Although they have discontinued their formal review program, I continue to earn money as a sextoy.com affiliate. As a disclaimer, vendors and artisans send me free toys in return for my honest opinion. I don’t get paid for my reviews except when you purchase a toy through one of my links; I contributed paid articles to a couple vendors or artisans including Josie Whip and sextoy.com. I appreciate any purchases my readers make through affiliate links. As a disabled gonzo journalist & writer without a fixed income, those purchases often contribute significantly to my ability to pay rent and eat.
What were your favorite (or least favorite toys) of 2011?