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Sep 25 2014

“A Perfect Fit”: Staff Review of
the Tantus Beginners Gag

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by Kate M.

beginners gag

For those interested in exploring BDSM or those who are already seasoned veterans, this is a great alternative to the classic ball gag. Instead of the traditional rubber or latex, the insertable part of the Beginners Gag is made of ultra high quality silicone. This means there’s no unpleasant taste or odor, and that it can easily be cleaned after play and the straps can be removed to facilitate even easier cleaning.

The straps themselves are made of leather, providing a great sense of quality to this toy. It attaches behind the head with a velcro closure. This allows the toy to be fitted to each individual person’s head, meaning it will always be a perfect fit!

The internal part of this gag has a ball shape with a tapered stem, allowing the teeth and lips to comfortably close instead of being stretched open. However, the internal part is prominent enough to still act as an effective gag.

I find this to be a great option because traditional ball gags open cause me jaw pain. I like that I don’t have to keep my mouth so wide open, I enjoy the total lack of flavor or odor, and I really appreciate the quality of this gag.

Sep 01 2014

“I AM MAGIC.”
Antoinette Reviews the Tantus Duke

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by Kate M.

tantus duke

There’s a secret to fisting, to why people love it, if the hand and the body fit together just so. That fit, or the work that it might take to get there, may not happen to everyone, leaving them wondering why, even after the how has been revealed. Size queens, big deal, not for me, they may say. It’s understandable. It’s a lot of work to get there for most, and if BIGGER! is not on someone’s agenda keeping them up at night and guiding their every move in the world, the Olympian training program might not seem worth the effort.

The thing is, though, it’s not always about bigger. Sometimes it’s about the thrilling pushing past of an insistent object, that heart-palpitating moment of what feels like a lifetime’s first penetration every single time, followed by the smooth slide of the rest of it, giving ease while the mass finds a home deep inside, both trapped and protected by the wrap of the muscles around the wrist. You both breathe, and accept that nothing is impossible. When the muscles relax enough to trust that acceptance beaten out by your hearts, you can both move, little by little, and then when ready, move a lot, reversing the world-shattering motion and repeating it, over and over again, creating and destroying and creating the world. Together.

There are books and poems and websites devoted to the passion and emotion experienced by devotees of this act and its alchemy. I won’t go any further in that direction in what is meant to be a simple little dildo review. What I will do is point out the fact that, as with any great art form, there is a technical trick or two behind the magic of why fisting feels the way it does. And the Tantus Duke replicates that trick. (One of them.) What I think is really cool about this toy is that it allows someone who may never be interested in something like fisting to enjoy one of the nicest parts of the experience, without all the Olympic training. They don’t want this sport at this year’s Olympics, anyway.

The technical details of the Duke: it’s a straight, smooth, semi-phallic platinum silicone dildo of moderate length (6.5″) and girth (1 1/4″ to 1 7/8″, more about that later). It has a harness-friendly base, with a bullet space for those who appreciate a little vibration with their penetration, and comes in a pearlescent purple or teal. (The teal is jaw-droppingly beautiful: more toys should come in colors other than pink, pink, pink, or pink.) It’s nice and firm like most of Tantus‘ single-density toys. The shaft of the toy is a frosted matte, and the head is slick and shiny, which makes for easy entry providing things are adequately lubricated. These are all great qualities in a toy, pretty, safe, multi-functional, but the most pertinent fact here is the shape. The Duke is mushroom-headed, with a nicely flared corona and plump frenulum that bellies out. If you have a g-spot or a prostate, this feature will drive it crazy as it slides back and forth over it–but that’s not all. Most toys with this sort of shape have a shaft that is more than a little uninspired, or maybe just neglected. A shaft with the same diameter all the way up and down can be pistoning at the speed of a porn star and, if the head itself is not coming in and out of the body, feel exactly like it’s not moving at all. This is not a problem with the Duke; the shaft increases oh so gradually toward the head, smoothly, gently. Almost like a wrist. It’s a subtle grade, but it’s there, and it must be on purpose. Right, Tantus? You knew about this trick?

When a wrist suddenly flares out into the width of a balled hand at the opening of someone’s body, something happens, as I said before. The heart jumps. It’s the feeling of “I don’t know If I can do this I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS I AM MAGIC” and then back again. It’s intimacy-making and empowering and joyful and strength-affirming. It’s the rush people chase. A large part of this is the intimacy; sometimes it’s all about the intimacy. But part of it is the simple, evil little trick of a slow expansion to a great and dramatic flaring out and open, past the opening of the body, past the erectile, chemical-producing nodes right inside, and then deeply in toward the spine, what many people would call the very center of the body. It might have to do with the fact that the orifices of our bodies are designed to handle not only nicely moderate forms of penetration but to, in dramatic life-or-death situations, act as the gateway to much bigger things. I once read someone describing giving birth to their child and taking what they called a hologram print of the child’s body as it rushed through that gate. I may not have given birth, or be speaking specifically of vaginal sex here at all, but I understand this deeply. I do think of acts of sex as being acts of love–partner-love, self-love, humanity-love. I do think that playing with a toy is a willful act of sex and love. I do think that learning an art form allows us to study its neat little tricks and apply them to our self-expression and communication with the world. If someone would like to venture into the more cosmic applications of penetrative play, they could do worse than to start with the Duke. It will let them explore their inner space and strength, and share that with partners if desired. It’s just a little trick, but sometimes that trick is everything we need to start dancing. And if they want more, well, there’s always more, isn’t there? That’s another secret to pleasure. There is always more. It starts from within. 

(Deborah Addington’s book A Hand in the Bush, and Bert Herrman’s Trust: The Hand Book are good places to start if someone wants to go further.)

Grade: A-fucking-plus, and thank you!!

This review was written by Antoinette Elizabeth, a sex educator and Pleasure Chest employee.

Jun 11 2014

Tenga Hard Boiled Eggs:
“Very Similar to Oral Sex”

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by Kate M.

Louie, from our Chicago store, tried out one of the new Tenga Hard Boiled Eggs and wrote this fabulously comprehensive review, complete with tips for using them. Enjoy!

tenga eggs 2

Tired of the same old hand-jobs? Whether solo or with a partner, the Tenga Hard Boiled Egg series has great introductory toys to intensify your experience. Each one is well crafted and meticulously thought-out from beginning (the packaging) to the end (clean up).

Unlike most other masturbation sleeves, which can be bulky and difficult to store, the packaging encasing the Hard Boiled Eggs was designed to be somewhat discreet, easy to store and travel-friendly for the cock on the go. The designs on the labels are the actual textures you’ll feel inside each one. Once opened, you’ll find a little hard removable plastic tube inside the hole of the egg. It contains a small packet of lubricant. Bravo on being able to carry one egg with everything you need inside, ready to use.

tenga eggs 4The lube provided is a nice slippery, saliva-like, water-based gel (Glycerin, Polyacrylate Na, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, and Methylparaben). The eggs are made of an elastomer (porous), so only water-based lubricants are recommended. But since the eggs were meant to be disposable, feel free to use any kind of lubricant you want, even silicone like Überlube for a silky smooth session or oil-based lubricants like Gun Oil’s Stroke 29 for a warming glide that helps increase blood flow to the penile tissue. Just pitch it afterwards because these lubes will deteriorate the material and are difficult to wash off completely. By using only water-based lubricants and properly cleaning with mild soap and water, you’ll probably be able to get more bang for your buck.

The Tenga Hard Boiled Eggs are a slight improvement to the already popular Tenga Eggs. For those who found the originals were too thin to grip, the “hard boiled” series allow for a firmer handle on things. The textures inside are thicker and the material has a silkier feel – very similar to what a tongue feels like. You can warm things up by first soaking in hot water. Fill your egg up with the lube provided, insert yourself and squeeze the tip to release some air pressure – like putting on a condom. The textures in the Thunder Hard Boiled Egg are so defined, soft and smooth that it is ideal for twisting around the head and working the sensitive glans. A generous amount of the lube provided is going to feel and even sound very similar to oral sex. When you are ready, go ahead and take slow and long strokes up and down. You can utilize the textures by squeezing or twisting along the shaft. The material is super elastic and can stretch up to nearly 9 inches in length. If you’re having a more vigorous stroking session, the material will likely break, which is not necessarily a bad thing as this allows for more sensation on the shaft. If you love to receive oral but your partner may not be able to go down very long, this toy will help finish things off without losing the realistic feel of the blow-job. Since everything tenga eggs 3you need is all packaged together, you don’t have lose the heat of the moment while switching from oral to the egg. The Tenga Hard Boiled Eggs just might become the new best friend for both of you. It is worth noting that if you are shooting a large load into the egg sleeve, it may fill up and come out the bottom end. Leave it to Tenga to think things out completely. By leaving the hard shells nearby, you can place the eggs sleeve back in the shell while you use the Pjur Med Clean Wipes to wash yourself off, followed by cleaning the sleeve and shell. Allow to dry completely, and then put the sleeve back into the shell for storing or disposing.

If you are interested in a dick toy that is inexpensive, discreet, high quality and easy to use from beginning to end, I would definitely recommend giving the Tenga Hard Boiled Egg series a shot! Thunder, Crater, Misty, Cloudy, Shiny, and Surfer – different strokes from different yolks, so go ahead try them all! Each one is a pleaser.

Jun 11 2014

Staff Book Club Pick:
Urban Tantra

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by Kate M.

book club

Yesterday, folks from our L.A. and national office staff held our first book club meeting! Our goal is to read books that we sell, so that we can better educate ourselves and our customers. June’s selection was Urban Tantra, the excellent and highly readable guide by Barbara Carrellas.

We, as a group, had different levels of experience and comfort with concepts like chakras and meditation. Still, even those of us who found some of the more spiritual aspects of Urban Tantra discomfiting or challenging agreed that every exercise in the book could be valuable, not least because they all sound like they feel great. One member of our L.A. staff, a theater director, even said that she had used some of the breathing exercises with her actors, with great success.

urban tantraWe also agreed that Barbara Carrellas is awesome about writing inclusively. Rather than talking about male and female bodies, she talks about testosterone-based bodies and estrogen-based bodies, or about specific genitalia, even acknowledging that there are not just two gender identities or two possible genital configurations. She also says specifically that certain exercises are particularly adaptable for people with certain disabilities.

Even when Carrellas doesn’t go out of her way to suggest it, the exercises in Urban Tantra are very adaptable. One of our staff wondered out loud how she might adapt some of the tantra techniques based on eye contact to use with her partner, who has a visual disability. Immediately, two other people were able to suggest touch- or sound-based techniques from the book that might work in place of eye contact to help two partners connect intimately.

Of course, as educators, we had two big questions: what techniques can we recommend to customers and folks who come to our workshops, and who would we recommend read this book? Here’s what we decided.

book club 2This book is great if you want to learn:
How to de-stress from your workday
How to warm up (and get out of your head) for sexytimes
How to delay orgasm
How to have bigger, deeper, different and more varied orgasms
How to connect or re-connect with your partner
How to give a delicious massage
How to give a kick-ass hand job (on any body)
How to figure out what kind of touch your partner enjoys
How to warm up a BDSM bottom
… and more. It’s a really comprehensive  book. We’d even recommend it to folks who are just looking for a basic sex primer, since it puts so much focus on getting to know your body and what feels good to you. Plus, the anatomy diagrams are excellent.

In short, we went nuts for Urban Tantra. It was a great pick for our first meeting, and we all highly recommend it.

Intrigued? Get your copy here.

Feb 18 2014

Sarah Sloane on Fisting

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by thepleasurechest

fisting superhero

Hey guys! Sarah Sloane, our Chicago store manager, was quoted in an excellent article about fisting from Ms. Fit.

“Stay away from the concept that it has to be a goal. A large part of the joy is getting there, even if you never arrive,” she advises, and goes on to offer a few practical tips for the fisting-curious. We recommend checking out the article and, if it piques your interest, reviewing the fisting primer on our how-to blog.

Feb 17 2014

Want to Win a Meany?
Don’t be a Meanie!

19

by thepleasurechest

meany

Update: Congratulations to Anna, who won the Fun Factory Meany on Facebook! Thanks to everyone who entered. Keep an eye out for more giveaways soon!

We’re giving away a Fun Factory Meany Mini Vibe!

The Meany is an extra nice little vibe. Its soft silicone ridges are sure to please, and its powerful motor offers a selection of speeds and pulse patterns. Plus, its bright color makes it perfect for people who’d like a break from pink.

Want to win a Meany? Here’s how.

For this contest, we were inspired by our Chicago store manager Sarah Sloane’s blog post about “The Etiquette of the Screw.” In it, she outlines six rules for being a well-mannered sex partner. For instance:

2. Always bring a “host gift” of safer sex supplies. These can be arranged in a lovely basket, made into a centerpiece, or placed into a foil wrapped box to add charm and attractiveness to the gift. Not arriving with a gift of barriers is akin to showing up to dinner without any food to contribute – it’s rude, and it places the burden on your host, which shows a lack of courtesy on your part.

To win the Meany, make up your own rule of sexual etiquette and post it in the comments below. We’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, 2/21 at noon, PST.

U.S. residents only. 

Feb 12 2014

The Amorino is our Valentine

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by thepleasurechest

amorino

Are you still looking for a Valentine’s gift? Our staff is pretty well obsessed with the Fun Factory Amorino. In fact, Antoinette Elizabeth, at the Chicago store, wrote an incredibly thorough review that takes you through several different ways that you can use it. We thought you might like to take a look:

The Amorino is a petite dual-stimulation vibe from Fun Factory with the same waterproof, magnetically-charged, ridiculously strong qualities as the Pearly, Flora, and Semilino… and then some. It has a little something extra: a silicone band stretched from its big point to its little point, like the bow of the Cupid it’s named for. There are grooves or tracks molded into those points so it doesn’t slide off (something I wondered about before I saw it in person), and the band can be used twisted like an X between the points, open like an O around them, or removed entirely for a more traditional rabbit-style effect. The idea is that the vibrations will transfer to the band and stimulate the entire vulva between the vibrating points. Fun Factory has a good track record with anatomical intuition; their toys frequently do not do just one thing well, but two or three or four or…

How did I like the Amorino? I liked it a lot! 

It was an interesting journey. (A note on the vibration itself: I like strong vibration and don’t much care for pulsation, so I confess to mostly neglecting the lower settings and patterns. The quality overall is strong but fine; with a higher pitch than many but not teeth-grittingly buzzy. It’s a silver feather of light, not an angry bee. It’s also not too loud. A toy to compare it to in vibration frequency would be the Vibratex Rosebud, which also has two vibrating points, and which I frequently recommend be used this way, externally. This one takes that side dish and builds it into a main course. People who like the Rosebud should like this. Almost everyone seems to like the Rosebud.)

At first, used dry as a slow warmup, it stimulated the top of the clitoral hood and the fourchette (this is the ‘fork’ where the lips come together at the bottom of the vaginal opening, right before the perineum) simultaneously, a different sensation than I was used to from a toy, but had experienced before from loving and attentive hands. The little or clitoral point is pronounced, and brought the vibration down into the clit through the hood and up into its little sensitive nerve bundle without actually touching the head. I had the band in an X shape (the O shape did not fit my body very well) and at this stage did not notice it nearly as much as I noticed the dual vibration that made me very aware of the entire length of my vulva. All I was doing was pressing it against myself gently; it was quite enough for a while. 

Once everything was happy and warm, it was on to the next stage, wetness and motion. With some comfy water-based lube, I pressed a little more and observed how it fit and what motions would be most comfortable. It went only a little deeper past the fourchette and in/down while pressing the clit more directly. The crossed band that kept it from doing any real penetration was now a factor. It pressed against the urethra and the nerve-rich area under it called the vestibule, which is the outside of the G-spot and as important as the clitoris in many people’s sexual response. There were a lot of small positioning changes that produced noticeable effects. The toy will hit different bodies different ways, but this quality should be true for most or all of them, and the ability to twist or untwist the band will allow for some customization. Even though it was still mostly external stimulation, the downward pressure on the fourchette and perineum already felt a lot like penetration. Both the vestibule and the fourchette are so often neglected when we talk about sex, and few toys acknowledge their existence intelligently. 

Next, I pulled back and with more lube used just the big tip like a tongue on and around my clitoris for much longer than almost any other toy has ever convinced me to do (the other one was the FF Tango). The small, rounded-yet-pointed shape was a big part of it. It was easy to stroke it in between and around all the little puffed up surfaces, just pointed enough, just small enough, just flat enough at certain angles. The band was less noticeable now. Going back and forth between this position and the earlier ones that stimulated the whole vulva really felt like skilled cunnilingus. That’s a first for me with a toy!

But…after a while, even if the cunnilingus is very skilled, some of us want more. How did it work as a ‘regular toy?’ The band did make full penetration slightly uncomfortable at medium arousal; at high arousal it might be easier if one desires it. When I wanted all of it inside, I took the band off. Again, the oddly shaped tips made a difference, and concentrated the vibration in a way that made it more effective. It’s not a big toy, but penetration with it was very satisfying, especially after the full vulva warm-up it gave beforehand, and the grooves for the band added some pleasant texture. The little tip did not in this position actually touch the clitoris, but it pressed up so intently beneath it through the fourchette that everything was happy and feeling it, and the big tip was curving toward the G-spot just so. The fact that it had previously stimulated every surface and special spot on the outside made for a far more complete-feeling orgasm, like the one you get with someone who cares enough to touch and take care of all of you. It’s a more romantic form of self-love! Or partner love. I swear I did not say that to build on the Cupid-bow-Xes and Ohs et cetera; Fun Factory is just magic (or science). 

Really, this will be delightful for singles and couples (and groups). I can only imagine how nice it will also be for penises and butts, both of which it is also authorized and designed to handle. In the land of Love, all is permitted. My journey is not over, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing about other people’s trips with this one for a long time.

Grade: A+. Thank you Fun Factory, thank you fun job.

By the way, if you’re reading this before 2/14/2014 at noon PST, you still have a chance to win an Amorino!