Sex toys have come a long way from the brightly hued jelly vibrators you once giggled at in the back of Spencer’s Gifts. Led by companies like JimmyJane and Lelo, today’s high-end sex toys are both technically and aesthetically impressive and most of them wouldn’t look out of place in an Apple Store. While the popular conception of a sex toy user is often a lone woman getting some vibrating assistance during a dry spell or while away from her partner (see the huge market for ‘travel size’ vibrators and every woman with a story about her vibrator turning on by itself in the airport security line), plenty of couple-oriented products exist, so you and your significant other can share in the joys of battery-enhanced congress. With the help of my boyfriend, I reviewed a selection of couple’s toys, from classic to innovative.
Lelo Smart Wand Large
The Lelo Smart Wand is like the Maserati of personal massagers. It’s made of velvety smooth silicone, with the underside of the handle providing a stylish contrast of gleaming metal. Giving massages is a great form of foreplay, and the Smart Wand makes it ridiculously easy. Instead of kneading what you think might be a muscle with increasingly aching hands, you just hang out, whisper sweet nothings and let the Smart Wand do the work. Of course, it’s also a vibrator, and at that task it’s also excellent. It’s a little unwieldy for use during intercourse, it’s a perfect size for a partner to use on you while laying beside you while you kiss or talk about Bob’s Burgers or whatever. It’s also great for solo use for the ladies: I would argue that it’s only a touch less powerful than the famed Hitachi Magic Wand, while being vastly quieter as well as cordless and waterproof. It also has Lelo’s “button lock” feature, allowing you to easily lock the toy for transport – no airport embarrassment here.
Notes from my boyfriend:
While I was giving him a back massage, he mumbled, “I’m seriously drooling right now. This must feel insane on your vagina.” Later, when asked for his impressions, he said, “Every man should own a vibrator to give himself deep tissue massages. And also to be a generous lover.”
The Smart Wand is $189 and frankly, I think it’s worth every penny: it provides orgasms and massages and looks great doing it. I am obsessed with my Smart Wand and would probably cry if it broke. Luckily it’s got a warranty.
Je Joue Mio
The Je Joue Mio is a perfect example of the luxury sex toy market at work. Cock rings have always seemed un-sexy, or simply utilitarian: a tool purchased at the adult video story for guys to maintain their erection. I couldn’t imagine ever using one, but I have been proven entirely wrong. The Mio is a sleek, minimalistic black ring of smooth, soft silicone, with a compact motor attached at the top. There are two raised silver buttons to increase and decrease vibrations, and a center button to control the 6 different vibration modes. It’s completely rechargeable, with a magnetic charger that ‘snaps’ onto the metal buttons and a little red indicator light to let you know it’s charging.
The ring stretches enough to go on comfortably and stay on snugly, and the five levels of vibration are easy to control during sex. The motor provides an impressive amount of power, and manages to hit the balance of providing enough surface area for plenty of clit stimulation without getting in the way of the action in any face-to-face position. Using the Mio during other positions is doable, but takes some, um, experimentation.
Notes from my boyfriend:
As we were unpacking all of the toys and playing with various features, he discovered the magnetic charger and said “Okay, now this is cool to me.” Later we discovered that he’s not really into vibration, but said regardless, “I liked that you liked it.”
Besides being quite attractive, the Mio’s greatest strengths are that it is comfy for the dude (use a drop of water-based lube, though) and offers tons of vibration for the lady. $100 is definitely pricey for a cock ring, but if you’re in the market, this is the one.
The Jimmyjane Hello Touch isn’t exactly sexy-looking. It looks like one of those Nike running armbands that you put an iPod in: it has an wristband containing a battery pod with cords extending from it, connecting to fingerpads that provide vibration. The assembly instructions are hilariously IKEA-like. (It even includes a diagram of the location of the clitoris and G-spot. Thanks!) But the benefit of the Hello Touch is that it, quite literally, can go wherever your hands do. The silicone “fingerpods” wrap around the tip of your fingers and don’t budge. You can even use them internally, hence the G-spot diagram. This offers a much more seamless, intuitive experience than using a traditional vibe during sex. With the Hello Touch, you just do whatever you’d usually do, with the power bumped up.
But, speaking of power: there’s not much. When I first turned on the Hello Touch, I kept holding the power button down, positive that it wasn’t at full capacity yet. It was! Frankly, if you’re used to the power of a full-capacity vibe, this isn’t going to do much for you. I did a quick side-by-side test on my thigh and I would say my Lelo Nea, at its highest setting, was twice as strong as the Hello Touch fingerpod.
Notes from my boyfriend:
After putting the fingerpods on, he said “I can’t tell if I feel like a robot, or a tree frog. I guess like a robotic tree frog.” (While we were making plans to test it, he accidentally texted his mom instead of me and asked her if she wanted to have “froggy sex” later. Awkward.)
The Hello Touch is fun to use because it’s so novel, but I suspect that people’s satisfaction with it might vary wildly. It might be a perfect entry point into toys for a couple who read more Gizmodo than Nerve.
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