Monday, June 18, 2012

Cure Your Hysteria With Our Summer Sex Toy Guide!

Your Great Great Grandmother Could Have Had A Vibrator Like This
So I saw "Hysteria" last night. Obviously, because I love vibrators. But this isn't the first (or the best) movie I've seen about Victorian-era "uterine massage"--to that, I commend you "The Road to Wellville," my favorite book of all time and definitely the best movie about veganism and enemas.

The movie is worth seeing, and probably delightful for those not so drowning-in-vibrator-knowledge as I. At the end of the movie, I thought of how lucky we all are that these days, we don't have to rely on a physician that doesn't believe in germs to masturbate us to orgasm.

If you want to see what ye olde vibrators looked like, Babeland has an online museum you can check out hereThis one looks perilously close to the one in the movie.

But what is out there these days? My annual trip to Babeland is planned for late July and this is a compilation of what I'll be eager to get my hands on when I reach my mothership in New York.

I present: The How to Have Sex in Texas Summer Sex Toy Guide 

Lelo's Smart Wand

First up is The Smart Wand from Lelo, at left. I'm not a big wand gal, but this is damn awesome. One of the biggest complaints about the Hitachi Magic Wand is that the handle is straight, which can make it difficult to hold for long periods of time. It's also one of the few toys that actually plugs into the wall.

The Smart Wand has a nicely curved handle and, as we've come to expect from Lelo, is waterproof and rechargeable. $129. Daaaamn. I can think of a couple of extra uses for that handle, too....

The Obsession Bullet



Next we have the Obsession Bullet Vibe. If you don't have a bullet vibe, stop reading this blog and go buy one right now. Seriously. The incredibly cheap (but worth every penny) Silver Bullet is a total must-have but the Obsession Bullet Vibe incorporates memory so you don't have to bother finding that just right vibration setting; it remembers for you. Obviously a super convenient feature for the gal on the go :) It's also waterproof which is a big improvement over the Silver Bullet. $28. At right.


In keeping with the women's liberation theme of "Hysteria" I love the Liberator Pulse! Probably pretty awkward if you live with roommates, but totally freaking incredible. If you're an on-top person, this should be on your Chrismukkah list. You provide the dildo and whatever rocking motion suits your fancy. I recommend something with a flared base, like the Adam. At left, $84.


Lelo's Earl


The anal toy of the millennium goes to Lelo, for the Earl. Available in 18k gold or sterling silver, my Nana would definitely approve. It comes with matching cufflinks, so if you're looking for a guy who's into prostate play, look for the Lelo links at your next formal playparty.  If you're a sugar-somebody with a kept man, show him you love him with this beauty. Or, you know, get it for a blogger you love. $590 for silver and $990 for gold.


It's hard to imagine what revolutionary advances could be made in lube, but Babeland has us covered. As an unabashed lover of all things cowboy (other than the actual Cowboys, that is--Redskins 4eva) I'm thrilled that Texas-based Sliquid has me covered with a new line of Dude Lubes. Looking good is the Ride Rub Stroke Oil, an oil and silicone-based lube that I'm willing to bet lasts forevvvvver. Since it contains oil, it can't be used with condoms, but if you and your partner(s) are tested and confirmed STI-free and/or sharing, this looks like a killer lube. They have an oil-free version called Ride Dude Lube. Yes, please. Both are glycerin, paraben and gluten free and vegan. $14.

Those are my picks for 2012. It's gonna be a long, hot summer y'all. We should be together!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Texas Has an Escort Review Website In It!
(Lord Have Mercy On Our Souls)

Being the land of cost conscious Thirty Thousand Dollar Millionaires, North Texas is of course home to an international website called Eccie featuring reviews by and for "Hobbyists" which allows individual escorts to "introduce" themselves and be rated by clients looking to get their money's worth. But at least one discerning Hobbyist in Texas, as yet unnamed, suspects that Eccie is really run by pimps and isn't putting forth honest information about the escorts available. And he's getting sued, reports the Dallas Observer

In this era of constant Yelping and Angie's Listing it's not surprising people would be interested in knowing where they can get the most bang for their buck in their hobbies. Especially if their hobby is The Hobby, or the practice of hiring escorts. The blogger going up against Eccie claims that pimps are the ones writing the ads and reviews and not the women themselves, which, while hard to verify, certainly echoes my experience working at the Washington City Paper in the pre-Craigslist days when pimps would come in on Mondays to place classified ads. I would say about 1 in 20 ads placed in "Adult Services" was placed by an independently operating woman.

So let's explore Eccie, shall we? Though the website claims to be "worldwide" and has listings in a variety of US cities and other nations, Texas is listed first and has the most cities. Austin's forum has sections called "Independent Provider Reviews," "Agency Reviews," "Spa/Studio/MP [massage parlor] Reviews," and "Strip Club Reviews."

Having just been in Thailand, where, as an American tourist you're constantly told about the easy availability of sex for pay, I am shocked, just *shocked* to learn that American men with money have the ability to purchase sex in our own country and yet are outsourcing these valuable jobs! And they have the audacity to write reviews about it!

While the standard reviews do include a little bit of detail about what happened (Spa/MP reviews include a lot of "HJ", ie., handjobs), to get the juicy details you have to read the "Rest of the Story," the boner-inducing content available only to paid subscribers. But you're not supposed to say "blowjob" because, of course you can't get a blowjob in a strip club, so the site's guidelines suggest posters say things like:
BBBJ was excellent, she performed French without a translator, her French skills were excellent and didn’t need a translator; those are several ways to say the same thing and there are more varieties. Trip to Mediterranean area = greek. 
It had never occurred to me that one could get a blow job (or more) in a strip club in the US until one of my students who had worked in several told me that it happened all the time. I assumed that strip clubs would have been so scrutinized by authorities as places where sex work could happen so easily that it would be courting trouble to allow it to happen. But of course you can get a blow job in a strip club--I've just never been to the VIP (and I don't have a dick).

When I was in Thailand it seemed so obvious where sex work was happening (though I didn't go looking for it) but I stepped back from that assumption and thought what foreign tourists would think of American sexual culture. I didn't see any Thai people touching in public in the three cities I visited--Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Hua Hin--the only couples that touched were white people or white men with Asian women (many of the women who engage in sex work in Thailand are reportedly not Thai, but smuggled in from war torn regions of Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos). And yes, the ping pong show is a real thing and I was aggressively solicited to see it--but I'm glad I didn't, because it's widely known to be a total scam.

I have no idea what escort services are available, though I'm sure there are tons, but the "girl bars" that line the seedier tourist areas of all three places I visited are just assumed to have women available for sex work--it's mentioned in the travel guides. But there was nothing like what goes on on 6th Street in Austin and any other generic party district of any given American city, where drunk people fuck-dance, make out, and more in public, on dance floors, and just hook up. For free.

I talked to my mom while we were there about the blinders we must have as Americans about the sex work going on in our own culture. I strongly believe that sexual behavior at the population level does not change significantly between time and place, so I don't believe that sex work is more common in one place rather than another. There is no culture on the planet where relations between men and women and rich and poor render sex work unnecessary and anyone who thinks that sex work isn't happening where they live is delusional. But we don't see it in our own backyard.

When I was in public health school and in my years as a sex educator since I have met so many people who have been interested in human trafficking happening in other places, the plight of women "forced" into prostitution in lands like Thailand, which I guess we assume are somehow more in need of our help than women in our own land. But to look at a site like Eccie, where a completely illegal activity is named and located all day, every day, I think we need to examine the log in our own eye as we criticize the speck in the eye of other nations that we perceive as having a problem with sex work, particularly considering Western men are often the problem.  Austin has 6,434 "provider ads" on Eccie; Thailand has none.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Nothing Makes a Man Think "I Need These New Trojan Charged Orgasmic Pleasure Condoms" Like Just for Men 'Stache Dye

Camera Phone + Walgreens lighting = blurry picture

Loyal readers of How to Have Sex in Texas know that I regularly check out the condom section at various and sundry retailers when I'm out shopping on a Sunday night. It was on such a trip that I discovered the hilariously repackaged "Armor" spermicide condoms I wrote about earlier this spring and the "vertical package" Hey Look I Have a Huge Dick! Trojans that sneakily reduced the number of condoms in the box while raising the price. Condoms have always been sold 12 to a box but the economy is bad, you guys! They had to pay for all that extra condom wrapping foil somehow.

Usually, the condoms have just been retooled with some "luxury" lubricant,  burning or cooling or burning and cooling substance, or whatever other recycled gimmick (see: nonoxynol-9) our pals over at Church & Dwight have slapped on the box that doesn't have any effect on the condom's actual efficacy, as such a change would require FDA review.  So last night when I went to Walgreens looking for calcium pills and rubbing alcohol (whatever, it was Sunday) I was surprised to see a new bro in the condom frat house: Trojan Charged: Orgasmic Pleasure, coming in at a whopping $14.99 per box.* $1.49 per condom? Really, Trojan? Oh, I get it--the lubricant is "intensified."

Look, I don't know if Charged is just a repackaging of the warming condoms, which aren't individually listed on the hella-flashy Trojan website anymore. There are what appear to be new ribs on the tip of the condom, where they're totally unnecessary, since the nerve endings inside the vagina aren't fine-tuned enough to notice that kind of microdetail. The ribs claim to be "deep" but the quality of Trojan's ribs has never been in question--they are one of the few condoms with ribs you can actually feel at the base of the vagina, which is the most sensitive part.

The jury is out on whether warming lubricant actually does anything other than cause a mild warmth that is totally distinct from the terrifying burning/cooling sensation of the Fire & Ice line of products. I stand by my review of the Bareskin but otherwise don't pay attention to Trojan's gimmicks. Every dick is different and you should find a condom that works for you, even if it doesn't come in a Hey Look I Have a Huge Dick wrapper or isn't slathered with a nasty climax control/warming/cooling/warming & cooling/tingling/spermicidal lubricant.
"Guys who buy hair dye are trying to get laid, so let's put the condoms next to the 'stache kit!" --Brilliant Walgreens Manager
On a totally different note, Walgreens has inexplicably put the condoms next to the Just for Men hair dye section while keeping the lube, paternity tests, Intelligender (!) "gender prediction" kits, and spermicides in the tampon aisle. I actually had to ask the lady restocking the pantyhose at 9 on a Sunday night if they didn't carry condoms anymore. 99.99999% of the rest of the condom shoppers on the planet are not going to ask where the condoms are--they're going to assume that they've been relocated to the "Slut Supplies" aisle to teach you a lesson and sheepishly leave without their latex. 

Memo to Walgreens--keep your sexytime products all in one place. Yes, condoms go on people with penises, many of whom identify as male, and might at some point consider buying Just For Men hair dye. But seriously, put all the sex stuff in the same place. Condoms are the one item in the drugstore that no one wants to have to ask about so don't go changing the game like that. And while you're listening, no one knows what "family planning" means anymore--just put "condoms" or "contraceptives" on the sign above the aisle. Or, you know, "Slut Supplies."


*protip: you can get them for $8.99 at drugstore.com 

Rise In Luxury Sex Toys

Sex toys have come quite a long way over the years, to the point that you can now go out and buy just about anything you could possibly think of that might help you or your partner in bed. Once upon a time the selection was relatively basic, but now, at stores like Adam &Eve, you can find a massive variety complete with everything from basic, plain dildos to more advanced electronic toys, and everything in between. For those who frequently browse the selections, it might be clear that there has also been a specific rise in various types of more “luxurious” sex toys over the years. There are various examples to support this pattern.

To begin with, the electronic toys mentioned above have become more and more popular. Of course, “electronic” is a broad term that can also apply to a very simple vibrator. However, the more advanced toys make use of various vibrating or moving parts, and creative shapes designed for maximum pleasure. For example, consider rabbit vibrators for women and vibrating strokers for men. These sorts of toys are considered by many to be more advanced versions of simpler options, and can certainly fall under the heading of luxury sex toys. Generally they cost a bit more than their simpler counterparts, but all you need to do is glance at a few reviews to see that most people think the extra cost well worth it.

Additionally, with the rise in popularity of sex toy variety and the increased demand for luxury options, different materials have become more popular. For those who truly wish to splurge on toys for the sake of appearance and luxury feel, there are actually gold and crystal toys available – in fact, some even have precious stones inlaid on them! If this is a bit much for you, but you are still interested in some nicer materials, you can also look into options such as glass vibrators, which are nice looking, classy, and even easier to clean!

Ultimately, it is clear that you have almost endless options when it comes to selecting sex toys for yourself. Not only are there various types of toys, but there are even differences within those types, such as material, electronic capability, price, effectiveness, etc. However, if you are interested in something that seems a bit classier or a bit more high quality to you, some of the options listed above might be well worth considering. Before long you might have a collection of toys that is both effective and admirable.