Doc Johnson Gapers

When I first began exploring anal play I was quite dismissive about the idea of inflatable butt plugs. They always seemed like such flimsy things, and I couldn’t quite understand how they could be any good considering how easy it is to compress and change the shape of anything filled with air. As my journey into anal play progressed I gradually found myself coming back to the inflatable toys. The problem I had found was that no toy was ever quite the right size. Some of my favourite toys left me wanting just that bit more girth, and others proved simply too much. I knew that there was a sweet spot and I was determined to find it, but it became apparent that the only way would be if I had something I could adjust, and inflatables re-entered my consciousness.

Read the review after the jump!

The toy arrived quite unexpectedly one morning after a kind soul had purchased it for me off my wishlist. It comes in a clear plastic box with some information tastefully printed on the outside. You can clearly see what’s within, though it looks rather like a strange juicer with the end of a blood-pressure monitor attached to it. The only thing I really took from the packaging was that the toy was made in China, and out of latex. The first fact surprised me somewhat, as usually Doc Johnson products have “proudly made in the U.S.A.” or some variant, plastered all over the packaging. The second fact barely registered, as I’ve never had any problems with latex before, but it’s worth noting for people who do.
I was eager to try the product out, so after giving it the cursory new toy wash, I liberally applied some of my favourite water-based lubricant and slipped it inside. As the Gapers has a rigid central core, and is only 1.4″ thick when deflated, it went in without a problem. Immediately I noticed an unusual warm sensation inside all around the toy, which gave me the urge to push it back out. To be on the safe side I removed it and covered it with a condom before continuing, which seemed to solve the problem. I’m not entirely sure what to make of it, but I’d advise the condom approach to anyone worried that they may be sensitive to certain materials.

With the plug back inside it actually rests quite comfortably, no differently to any other plug. The one downside I found immediately is that the air hose comes directly out of the base of the plug, meaning you can’t use the plug in a seated position.

The plug inflates very easily with the use of the hand pump. You can adjust how much it inflates by by how hard you squeeze, so a series of gentle pumps will lead to a gradual size increase, whereas a couple of firm pumps will have you feeling full quite rapidly. If you over-inflate the plug, then there’s a quick release valve on the pump, which rapidly expels the air and returns you to comfort. As you inflate the plug it takes on an ovoid shape with the widest point around the middle, which I found caused a fuller feeling at a smaller size, than with a traditional conical shaped butt plug, where the widest point sits just inside the sphincter.

Inflating the plug is a very unique experience, much different to inserting an object of a predetermined size.  You get a real sense of the pressure building against the prostate with every pump, and as you have complete control you can pump it just beyond your limit, then release the air, and repeat this to experience the sensation. It’s also quite different having something in there which isn’t solid. I found my body was less content than with a traditional butt plug. With a traditional butt plug you can really feel weight and firmness of it, and squeeze against it with your muscles to hold it in place. With the Gapers you have a big squishy air-filled void inside you, which merely compresses in response to any pressure from the body. I found I had to work a little bit harder to persuade my body to allow it to stay there, and not try to relax and force it out.

It’s possible to remove the plug from the body while still inflated, depending on how big you’ve made it. At smaller sizes it is more squishy, and therefore less useful for trying to stretch the muscles when removing it. At larger sizes it becomes more turgid, and thus less likely to change shape when you push it out, forcing the muscles to expand instead. The plug can reach over 4″ in diameter when inflated, and became reminiscent of the girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, who swelled up like a purple berry. One of the benefits of the toy is though, that you can enjoy that very full feeling inside, without having to go to the trouble of training your muscles to allow you to push something large inside.

So far when using it I haven’t gone much over 2″ in diameter, but I’m enjoying testing my limits, and having that full feeling deeper than my other plugs offer.

Aside from the questionable material, over all I’m very pleased with this toy, and am having a lot of fun experimenting with it. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for controlled anal play.

You can buy the Gapers from SexToys.co.ukLoveHoney, or SexShop365.

Toy Colours

Aesthetics have always been important to me when picking out toys; if something has an interesting shape and colour then it really adds to the overall allure. On that note, there are two colours I really can’t abide in sex toys, and I wish companies would stop using them: flesh tone and black.
Let’s start with black. I actually like the colour black; my consumer electronics are black, a large portion of my wardrobe is black, but I don’t want my sex toys being black. The thing is I see sex as something that’s fun, and therefore sex toys should be fun. To me black is not a fun colour, it’s rather severe, a black toy doesn’t inspire me to use it. Now there are some toys where black makes sense, such as my Intimidator and Big Stuff from the TitanMen range. These are large toys trying to convey an extreme image, and black works perfectly for that. I’m not saying that had they been available in another colour that I wouldn’t have chosen it, but I can accept black here because it’s contextual. When you want that giant anal toy to appear menacing, you make it black without hesitation. In other cases there’s no real argument for black, and it shouldn’t be the default shade.
Flesh tone is the other one I have a problem with, and let’s not even call it “flesh”, because really no one’s skin is that colour, it’s more of an insipid peachy-beige. The one toy I have which falls into the flesh tone category is my Pierre Fitch Dildo, and I have to say that this is the exception to the rule. A flesh colour is fine here because it’s a dildo modelled on an actual person, it’s supposed to be a realistic replica of Pierre’s penis, so giving it a skin tone makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is is a flesh coloured butt plug. Why would you even do that? A butt plug is not modelled on a body part, there’s no reason to give it that colouring. I’m not even that keen on regular phallic dildos being flesh coloured; it’s just so bland. We know it’s not an actual penis, it’s just a shape that some designer sculpted, so why not spice it up in a fun colour? I mentioned the Super 7″ in a previous post, I actually missed out on buying that at a huge discount because I wanted the blue and they only had flesh in stock.
What I want to say, to both retailers and manufacturers, is sell more colourful toys! Colourful toys are fun, they’re exciting, inspiring, they look good standing on your bedside table before you use them. There’s a whole spectrum of colours out there, so take advantage of it! For retailers especially, when companies do make the effort to produce their toys in a variety of colours, don’t just pick what you perceive to be the safe option, and stock only the black or the flesh. I want you to say no to those colours and buy the reds, the blues, the purples instead! Let’s brighten up the bedroom and have a vibrant toy chest, rather than a homogeneous one.
If you agree, comment below. 🙂

Open Letter to Rocks Off

Rocks Off is a company that I really really want to like, and not just because it’s British and I’m a big supporter of local industry, but because their designers are actually quite creative and innovative in what they do, and they’re willing to use colours in their products which is something I care about. This just makes it all the more frustrating, however, when I find silly flaws in their products which devalue them and prevent me from liking them. I’m going to go through a list of the top problems as I see them, after the jump.

The materials and manufacturing

Rocks Off manufacture the sleeves of all their toys from silicone, which should be cause for praise, surely? It’s not often you’ll hear me criticise silicone, but I’m really not fond of the blend they use. Of all the varying types employed by different manufacturers, Rocks Off has chosen one of the hardest and most inflexible silicones I’ve encountered. It’s really not comfortable to use in my opinion; it doesn’t bend easily, it doesn’t compress, and it doesn’t warm up with your body heat. At the risk of hyperbole, I’ve had silicone bakeware which felt like it would be more gentle to my insides than what they use. The exterior of the silicone is also inexplicably textured and matte, not smooth and shiny, and it has visible mould lines. The obvious result is that it does not glide easily. When I’m using a prostate massager I want it to slip in there gently, I don’t want to be aware of signs of friction and drag.
The other problem I have is with the use of materials that pretend to be something they’re not. The standard model of the RO-80mm has a chrome finish, and the RO-160mm comes with a choice of metallic blue or metallic pink finish. The thing is, neither of these toys is actually made of metal; they’re made of ABS plastic with a metallic coating, so instantly you’re met with disappointment. What springs to mind when I think of things made of plastic, with a metallic coating, is the inside of a bag of crisps. It doesn’t especially project class, and already the blue paint is scraping off my RO-160mm, I hesitate to add.
Over reliance on the RO-80mm Bullet
The RO-80mm Ammunition for Love is an award-winning bullet, as they like to keep telling us. The problem is that bullet vibes are designed for a very specific purpose – stimulating women clitorally – and while I have no doubt that this buzzy little vibe does that well, this singular accolade does not warrant putting the bullet inside every toy they make. It’s a single speed bullet vibe, not a powerhouse; once you slip it inside the thick silicone sleeve of a butt plug or prostate massager, and insert it into the body, most of the sensation is lost as the waves of vibration are dampened, leaving behind only a weak tingling feeling. Rocks Off really need to abandon this approach, and invest in powerful, rumbly, fully-integrated vibration motors in their toys. They try to market it as a positive that the bullet can be removed, but truthfully it’s just a matter of keeping costs down; they don’t need to redesign anything if they can just create a variety of silicone sleeves to fit around an existing product. How many men do you think actually remove the bullet from their prostate massager and use it alone? I tried it, and frankly it wasn’t great. It’s not truthfully a selling point if no one actually uses it, and if a man for some mysterious reason actually wanted an RO-80mm by itself they only cost £9.99, it’s pocket change.

Impractical product designs
As much as I enjoy the appearance of many of the Rocks Off toys, some of the design considerations, aesthetic or otherwise, leave the final product flawed. 
Firstly if we take the Assberries butt plugs, the Blackberry has a flared base as all anal toys should, but the problem is that the base is short and no wider than the main body of the toy. Sure, it looks nice that way, but if you push a little too hard your already relaxed sphincter muscle is just going to swallow the whole thing up. I’ve had a couple of close calls, because you do have to push hard to operate the fiddly on/off button at the end of the bullet. If aesthetic considerations are so important, then one need only look at the Tantus A-Bomb; the base of the product takes on a completely different appearance simply by rotating it 90 degrees, and is still safe. The other problem is with the bullet itself; it has to stick out of the end of the plug so you can grab onto it and remove it in case you want to use it separately, but with it sticking out like that you can’t sit down while wearing the plug, which limits how you can use it.
The Bad-Boy range of prostate massagers is another thing I have issues with, but I won’t go into too much detail as I’ve talked about it before. The hooked shape just doesn’t work for everyone, it won’t fit inside everyone’s body, and so they’re alienating a good portion of their consumer base with this, and leaving them with a product they simply cannot use. It’s all very well making a one-size-fits-all product, but you need to have some flexibility and adaptability in the design, so that it’s functional for the vast majority of the population bell curve.
As a final note I would just like to mention the Hand Solo, a new Rocks Off toy which to my amazement won the 2012 ETO Award for Best Male Product. This is a product which I really feel never should have been. Once again I appreciate that they’re trying to innovate, but in my opinion this just wasn’t the right direction to go in. There are companies out there with years of experience in making masturbators, and anyone trying to crack that market is going to have a difficult time under the best of circumstances. The problem is that when you haven’t even begun to iron out the issues in your core products, it isn’t the time to start branching out. Already so many issues are just glaring at me: a bumpy device which only covers half the penis, made from that same hard silicone, and powered by that same mediocre RO-80mm bullet. It bears an uncanny resemblance to a cheese grater, and unfortunately judging from a couple of the reviews I’ve read so far, I image that rubbing my penis on it would be at a similar level of pleasure.
I’ve realised as I’ve gone on, and as this piece became longer than I ever intended, that I am being quite harsh and critical, but I must stress that it all comes from a good place. As I said at the start, I really want to like Rocks Off, and I want to support them, but until these issues are addressed I simply can’t. I believe they’re a well intentioned company, struggling to walk the line of offering both quality and affordability, and not quite succeeding on either. Ultimately I do wish them the very best, and hope that in the future they can develop a product that I can proudly recommend here. Maybe this piece will be one of the kicks they need to spur themselves on.

Doc Johnson Round Butt Plug

The lovely people at SexToys.co.uk sent me this toy to test. What really appealed to me about it was the unusual spherical shape, opposed to the traditional conical shape most butt plugs come in.

Read the review after the jump!

These spherical butt plugs are ideal for anyone who finds themselves bored with traditional butt plug shapes, and looking for a little variety.
This plug comes in three sizes, small, medium and large. I opted for small, which measures in at a little under 1.9” in diameter. I was surprised when I got it that it actually appeared smaller than I had imagined, and I did find myself wishing I’d gone for the next size up. Conversely there’s nothing intimidating about it for anyone who may be harbouring that concern.

The plug itself is constructed in two layers; there’s a thin outer shell made of a rather tough vinyl-like material, and this in turn is filled with a flexible rubber centre, leaving the only mould line hidden below the base. When squeezing the plug you can feel that the two layers aren’t completely fused together, and it’s possible to pinch the outer skin between a thumb and forefinger, independent of the rubber core. As it’s possible to bend the plug in places, I would be worried about the potential for the outer layer to split at some point.

The ball-like shape of the plug means that it’s quite blunt. For the sake of thoroughness I did attempt to insert it without any prior preparation, and discovered that it is indeed possible, but not quite the most comfortable experience. Before using one of these plugs I’d recommend first loosening up the area using a toy with a more gentle gradient, especially for the larger sizes.
Once inside the plug provides a comfortable full feeling, quite different to other butt plugs due to the lack of elongated tip, which I found enjoyable to experience. Below the ball is a good sized neck, meaning that once you’ve inserted the plug there’s plenty of space for the muscles to close down behind it and hold it securely in place. At the bottom is a wide circular base which prevents the possibility of the toy becoming lost inside you, and which also doubles as a solid handle for pulling the plug out again once you’re finished. The shape of the base seems to have been an aesthetic consideration as it isn’t ideal for comfort. It’s not bothersome at first, but with prolonged wearing I found myself wishing it nestled more comfortably between the buttocks. 
The plug does come with a slight odour which isn’t unpleasant.
Overall, considering the low price it’s a pretty good product to have fun experimenting with.
You can buy these butt plugs from SexToys.co.uk.