Fun Factory Duke

The Fun Factory Duke is a prostate massager that I’ve had my eye on for a while; I really like the idea of a wearable prostate massager and perineum stimulator that can be used hands free, but I haven’t had much luck with similar products such as the Rocks Off Bad Boy, so I was eager to try out the design of the Duke.

The Fun Factory Duke is made from silicone, but unlike similar products, such as the Rocks Off toys, it’s made from a soft silicone and exhibits the qualities that you’d typically expect from a silicone toy. The material is nice and bendy and flexible, and can be moved around without too much effort, it also has a good amount of give in the surface so you can squeeze and compress it. The surface of the material is matte which gives it the slightest amount of drag, but it feels lovely and velvety to the touch, without any hint of texture. The silicone portion is formed from two halves, giving it a mould line running the entire way around, but this is incredibly subtle and can barely be seen or felt by the finger, let alone when it’s inside you.
The Duke is quite a strangely shaped toy in design, and looks a little like an S depending on how you hold it. The toy has three main areas: a bulge at the tip which is designed to sit deeper inside the rectum to create a fuller feeling and anchor the toy there, a rounded nub which puts pressure on the prostate, and an arm which sits along the perineum to stimulate it. Inserting the toy at first can be a little fiddly and requires you to guide the tip inside because of how bendy the portion below it is. Once the tip is inside the rest slides in comfortably and smoothly; because the widest section is no more than 1 1/4″ it’s very easy to snake the toy into the body, even for someone who isn’t experienced with anal play. When the main portion of the toy, excluding the bulge at the tip, is inserted around halfway you’ll feel the end of the arm-section touching up against the perineum. As the silicone is so flexible the arm will bend to fit around your body as you push the Duke in the rest of the way, and eventually will sit completely flush. The downside is that because the arm is so flexible it doesn’t apply any pressure to the perineum, but it is a nice length and does rest against the most sensitive portion of the perineum, right behind the scrotum. When the The Duke is fully inserted it feels really comfortable, and almost as though it’s natural for it to be there. There are a few downsides to the design of the Duke however: because of the absence of a neck in the design the Duke naturally wants to slip out of the body to a degree, and this means that it’s difficult to maintain a firm pressure against the prostate. You only want to use a small amount of lube, preferably as little as possible, as if you apply it liberally then it’ll really start to slide out quickly. The arm portion also helps to pull the Duke out; by virtue of it being stretched elastically it forms a lever action against the perineum as it tries to regain its natural shape. You’re going to find yourself never wanting to relax your sphincter completely in order to keep some pressure there holding the toy within the body, and you will need to occasionally push the toy back inside. This can be a bit of a nuisance, especially if you wanted to use it during intercourse with a partner. If you choose to use the toy in a seated position in order to keep it in place then the downside is that as soon as the base of the Duke touches whatever you’re sitting on, then all the vibrations immediately get transmitted downwards and into that, and you feel them far less inside the body.
The vibrations are created in the toy by Fun Factory’s own German-made bullet. The bullet is 2 1/2″ long and 7/8″ wide, and slots into a hole in the silicone portion. The hole for the bullet is located in the portion of the toy which is inserted into the body, rather than in the arm that stimulates the perineum as with Rocks Off toys, which is a welcome feature as it directs the vibrations right where you want them. Unfortunately the size of the bullet and the depth of the hole means that the bullet only sits in the lower half of the portion designed to stimulate the prostate, and so the strongest vibrations will be occurring at the region where the sphincter holds onto the toy, rather than at the prostate itself. The size of the bullet, being short and fat, means that it’s the only one which can be used with the Duke as nothing else will fit. Personally I wish they had used a more traditionally shaped bullet as I would like to have had the option of using my We-Vibe Salsa with the toy as an alternative. The bullet has 6 functions, 3 speeds and 3 vibration patterns, and is operated by a button located on the side. The button has to be one of the worst features as it’s completely unresponsive; when you press it it doesn’t move at all, and you have to hold it down for a full second before it does anything, so it can be difficult to tell if you’ve pressed it firmly enough to activate it. The other issue is the location of the button, it’s very hard to access when the toy is inserted, and you end up with a finger pressed between the side of the toy and your left buttock as you try to feel around to press the thing. You begin by holding the button down for a second which turns the bullet on at its lowest speed. This speed unfortunately is pretty worthless and can barely be felt so you’ll want to quickly change up to the next one. Cycling through the various options takes only a brief press of the button which is much more convenient, provided you remember to press it firmly enough each time. The second power setting is strong enough to be felt and is pleasant, but it’s the top setting which is where the toy really comes alive and gets quite enjoyable. If you turn the toy on when it’s outside the body then you can see and feel just how well the vibrations travel throughout the silicone, but there is an issue with this. If you turn the toy on to its highest setting and touch the portion which is supposed to press against the prostate, then the vibrations feel pretty strong there, but then if you hold the toy by the portion where the bullet is located then you instantly notice a reduction in vibration strength up at the part which touches the prostate. You can imagine that every time you clench to try to hold the toy inside the body all the vibrations are going to go straight to the sphincter and reduce the sensation against the prostate. The three vibration patterns are disappointing because bizarrely they all appear to be at the lowest vibration strength. The first pattern is an ordinary sequence of short evenly spaced pulses at a medium speed, the second is the same but at a fast speed, and the third reminds me of a steam train pulling out of the station, the way the pulses start slowly and steadily building up. Of the three patterns the third was definitely my favourite to use. Typically I enjoy patterns, but in the case of the Duke I shunned them in favour of the constant mode as I needed the power that it offered. The vibrations themselves feel more rumbly than they do buzzy, so they penetrate the prostate quite well provided the power is on high enough. The vibrations give a pleasant sensation throughout the region, but nothing which felt like it would drive me to orgasm. To turn the bullet off again when you’re done the button needs to be held down again for a second.
When it comes to cleaning the toy the bullet must be removed first as it isn’t waterproof. The silicone portion can then be washed or sterilised depending on your preference. The bullet is very easy to remove as the silicone around it is thin and stretches.
Happily the bullet is quiet enough that the Duke could be used whilst someone was in the next room, or stood outside of your door.
The bullet is rechargeable and uses a magnetic charger that comes with the toy. The charger is slightly odd as it doesn’t sit flush with the toy, but the magnets are really strong and hold the charger in place, so the connectors make a strong contact and it charges without worry. In this regard it’s miles better than the charging system of the We-Vibe Salsa. Reassuringly the charger also lights up to let you know that it’s working. The bullet will last for only 30 minutes on a single charge, which is a little disappointing.

The Duke Comes inside a lovely presentation box made from cardboard, and which also features a clear plastic viewing window at the front. For some reason when I opened mine it was very dusty inside, with particles stuck all over the silicone of the toy which appears to attract this.

Overall I have to say that I’m rather disappointed with the Duke due to the high hopes that I had for it. In my opinion it’s probably the best toy of this design, and in this price range, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone over any of the Rocks Off toys that I’ve tried, but objectively it still isn’t that spectacular. I really like the creative thought and innovation that Fun Factory have put into this toy, but it just has some flaws which need ironing out.
If you’d like to try the Duke then you can buy it from these fine retailers:

UK & Europe: Lovehoney UK.

North America: SheVibe, Lovehoney USA, and NiteTimeToys.

Buying Electrical Toys Abroad

So, you’ve just bought that fancy new rechargeable vibrator or prostate massager from abroad, only to realise that it comes with a foreign plug. What do you do now, fork out more money on a replacement plug, buy a travel adaptor? Well you needn’t fret, and here’s why:

Chances are that if you live in the UK you’ll have inside your bathroom the humble shaver socket, but what does this have to do with sex toys exactly? Well, you’ve probably noticed that the plugs on shavers, electric toothbrushes, etc, are different to standard plugs. In fact these rounded two-prong plugs are the same as the ones used all across Europe, so voilà, you already have somewhere in the house to plug in a European plug. The second thing to note is that the shape of the holes in the shaver socket aren’t completely round, they’re like an arch with a notch at the bottom. This notch is important because it also allows a standard flat two-prong North American plug to fit into it. Some shaver sockets even have additional notches cut out around them to accommodate a wider variety of foreign plugs, including the Japanese. So there we go, this whole time you’ve unknowingly had somewhere in your house where you can plug in and charge your foreign gadgets, with no need to buy extra equipment!
One final thing to note, most of these products will have a transformer on the plug, you should check the voltage range printed on it before plugging it in. Typically it will say something such as 110v-240v, meaning you can use either side of the shaver socket. Remember to always exercise common sense and caution; if you’re not certain that it’s safe to plug something in then don’t do it. This author accepts no responsibility for any damage to property or person as a result of the information provided in this post.

We-Vibe Salsa

Recently I’ve found myself thinking a lot about bullet vibes, which might not seem like the traditional territory for a blog slanted towards sex toys for men, but it’s surprising how many toys out there – aimed at both sexes – are actually powered by bullets. One of the main companies to do this is Rocks Off, who use their RO-80mm bullet in their prostate massagers, butt plugs, cock rings, male masturbation aids, you name it. Even Tantus have bullet holes in several of their dildos, and include a free vibe to use in conjunction with them, so it’s an increasingly common practice.

My problem has always been that I’ve found the bullets that come with all these toys rather lacklustre; they’re buzzy, one speed, and frankly do little for me, so I’ve been on the lookout for something to give them a little more “oomph”, and that’s when I learnt about We-Vibe.

We-Vibe currently makes two compact rechargeable bullet vibes, the Tango and the Salsa, both of which I have heard very positive things about. At their core they’re essentially the same product, with only some surface differences in the shape of the tip and the colour selection available. I opted to buy myself a Salsa because it has the more traditional shape, and it’s available in red, so it should match the toys I plan to use it with.

Update: This product has been discontinued as of 2013. Please see my review of the new Tango which replaces it.

The old review continues below

Traditionally bullet vibes have been considered a product exclusively for women, but with more and more unisex toys containing bullet holes, items such as the Salsa are proving to be a convenient powerhouse, to give a welcome boost to a range of other novelties in your toy box.
The Salsa is a nice compact vibe which measures in at only 3 3/8″ long  by 3/4″ wide. It’s a little bit longer than the battery powered bullets you get included with some toys, but the width allows it to easily fit inside products made by Tantus and Rocks Off amongst others. The body of the toy is manufactured in one single piece from ABS plastic, and comes in a choice of three colours; I went for the red as I felt it best lived up to the name. The surface of the plastic is very smooth and shiny; there is one moulding mark on the very tip of the toy, but it has been smoothed down and polished over, so while you can see a faint dot you can’t actually feel anything there. The tip of the toy is tapered, giving it a gently rounded end which blends seamlessly into the straight shaft, before finishing with slight outward flare. The very end of the toy is finished off with a solid white silicone-rubber cap where the power button is located. The Salsa has a lovely sleek appearance, and as well as being attractive it also looks quite discreet.
The Salsa has eight modes in total: four differing speeds as well as four varying vibration patterns. This makes it especially good if you’re going to use it inside another toy, as standard bullets typically only have one mode of on or off. The bullet is activated by pressing the button at the end once, and every subsequent press of the button will change the Salsa to the next mode. Once you cycle through all eight modes pressing the button again will switch the vibe off. If you want to switch the vibe off immediately then holding down the button for a couple of seconds will do this, and the next time you turn the vibe on it will remember which mode you were using last, which I found to be a very handy feature. The button is nice and responsive, you don’t have to push it too firmly, and it feels reassuringly well-built.* The vibrations from the Salsa are wonderfully strong, and even at the lowest setting they feel deep and rumbly. When you use the Salsa inside another toy, such as a butt plug, it’s this power which really helps the vibrations to travel through the thick layers of material and still be able to be felt deep inside the body. It has to be the vibration patterns which are my favourite part though, as the rhythmic pulsing of the vibe inside a butt plug causes some great sensations internally, especially in the prostate. The vibe by itself is quite quiet, though I would say it’s a little louder than some other bullets I have, but still not enough to be heard through a closed door or a thin partition wall. When it’s inside another toy the sound gets muffled exceedingly well and is even less obvious.
Aside from utilising the Salsa inside bullet toys, the other way I can put it to use as a man is for penile stimulation. Vibrations can feel incredibly stimulating on the penis if they’re used in the correct manner. Typically I don’t enjoy bullet vibes for this as they’re too buzzy, but the Salsa is different. The Salsa delivers strong vibrating sensations deep into the penis, which feel great when it’s applied to the head and around the frenulum. Initially I had been concerned that perhaps the We-Vibe Tango would be better suited to this, due to its flat surface, but in fact this level of surface contact with the skin can be duplicated by using the side of the Salsa, while the tapered tip is great for applying more precise and concentrated stimulation. The different vibration patterns also work well in this instance and can increase the level of pleasure, and hasten climax. It can be great to use just for teasing as part of foreplay, or in combination with a handjob to enhance the experience.

The Salsa is a waterproof toy, which means it can be used in the bath or shower if you’re considering taking your play outside the bedroom. It also means that it’s very easy to clean, as you can splash as much water over it as you like. As a precaution you only want to wash it with hot water and anti-bacterial soap, or with your favourite toy cleaner / toy wipe. Plastic is a durable material, but it’s not advisable to go boiling electronic items.

The one annoying thing about the We-Vibe Salsa has to be the charging system. On the surface it seems like quite a clever system, comprised of two parts. The power adaptor plugs into a white dock in the shape of a hemisphere, which then connects to the Salsa itself magnetically. The advantage of the magnetic system is that it allows the Salsa to be 100% waterproof. The way this is achieved is by having a solid silicone-rubber cap at the end of the Salsa, which is where the control button is located. Either side of the button are two metal electrodes which protrude slightly above the rubber seal, and these in turn connect to two shallow metal depressions on the underside of the plastic dock. When all the metal parts are touching the current flows and the Salsa charges. Where the problem lies is with the rubber seal itself. If the thickness of the rubber is even the slightest bit too much then it prevents the electrodes in the Salsa from making a firm connection with the dock. This is precisely what happens in mine. When I first plug the Salsa in to charge the charging light will come on for about 30 seconds, indicating a flow of electricity, but then it goes out completely. The only way to maintain a firm connection between the Salsa and the dock, sufficient enough to charge the device, is to physically squeeze the two parts together, thus compressing the rubber to such a degree that the electrodes can fully touch. As you can imagine this is inconvenient, I would prefer to just be able to plug my Salsa in and leave it alone while it charges, rather than having to sit there holding it for 90 minutes. The only alternatives are to either try to jury-rig the dock with some small pieces of metal foil, which proves quite fiddly, or to place the Salsa in such a position where I can use the weight of a heavy object to push the two halves together, but the shape of it makes it awkward to achieve. I have no doubt that it would be a fine system if it worked, but the level of precision that seems to be required leaves it victim to the natural variances which will always occur in the manufacturing process. Once is Salsa is fully charged it has enough battery life to last for 2 hours, which is impressive for a toy of its size.

How I have to charge it.
One of the nice added features is that the Salsa comes with its own little cloth storage pouch. It’s a little oversized compared to the diminutive bullet, but it allows you to put the charger inside it as well, which is perfect if you’re travelling.
Overall I’m very pleased with the Salsa, it’s powerful, versatile and a quality product. If it weren’t for the issue with the charger then I’d probably give it full marks.

*Update: Unfortunately after no more than a year of ownership the power button on my Salsa has failed, making it extremely difficult to turn on or off, let alone cycle through patterns, and rendering it almost unusable. After all the problems I’ve had with the charger since day one, and now this, I’m feeling less than impressed. When the toy does work it’s fantastic, and I couldn’t recommend anything better in this size, so I want to give the benefit of the doubt and believe that with all the issues I was just the unlucky recipient of a faulty model. Let me know in the comments if you’ve experienced similar problems.

LELO Billy

After my disappointment with previous prostate massagers I wasn’t ready to give up yet, and this ergonomic creation from Swedish luxury sex toy designer Lelo happened to catch my eye.
Read the review after the jump!

The Billy is Lelo’s first toy insertable toy aimed at men, and for many years has been by far the best vibrating prostate massager I own, but that aside it doesn’t come entirely without its own set of negatives.
The product comes presented in some rather nice packaging; the glossy outer box features a very minimalist design with the words “Lelo Homme” printed discreetly on one side, and on the reverse is a simple photograph of the item itself set against a white background. The feeling it manages to exude is a cross between something from an haute couture fashion label, and an expensive piece of stylish electronics such as a smart phone. Inside is another matte black box, with the word “Lelo” embossed on a lid which lifts off. Within this second box the contents are arranged somewhat less desirably than with other Lelo products, such as the Insignia range. They sit loosely in the box, rather than having their own moulded depressions to rest securely inside, but this is perhaps a minor niggle, as overall the box provides a good place to store your massager when not using it, even if you choose to discard the outer box for any reason.
One of the first things I noticed about the toy was how small it actually was, much more than you would imagine from the photos. It’s actually the smallest toy in my collection, with 4” of insertable length and a 3.5” circumference, or 1.1” diameter. Because of the size it’s an ease to insert, and thus suited perfectly to a beginner in this field. For someone more experienced with larger toys there’s the distinct possibility that this product won’t leave you feeling as full as you would typically desire, and so I’d recommend that on any occasion in which you intended to use the Billy, not using anything larger first, so as to avoid the direct contrast.
The product is very solidly constructed; the handle is moulded in two pieces from a hard white plastic, with the buttons placed centrally on one side. The insertable portion has a gentle upward curve to it, and is coated in a soft silicone, but is completely inflexible. Despite this rigidity it actually feels very comfortable once inside the body. The silicone coating is available in two colours, an ultramarine blue, or an earthy raspberry colour, which like its name “Bordeaux” is reminiscent of an aged wine. Between the handle and the lower portion is a circular guard piece moulded from the silicone, which prevents the item from being accidentally inserted too far.
When using the Billy the functions are operated by the buttons on the handle, which can be a little fiddly. Due to the shortness of the handle and its position during use, it is a struggle to actually see any of the buttons, and their close proximity to each other combined with their similar shapes also makes it difficult to tell what you’re pushing by touch alone. The buttons are laid out in a cross shape, with left and right controlling the strength of vibration, and up and down changing the rhythm. You’re unlikely to alter your settings by accident as it takes more than a quick touch of the button to change anything, and instead you must hold the button down for a fraction of a second and release before it will take effect. Holding down two of the buttons simultaneously for a couple of seconds will lock the controls, preventing accidental activation of the toy when not in use.
The massager has variable vibration strength settings, allowing you to ease yourself into things, but I only ever found myself wanting to use the highest one. The top setting produces really quite strong vibrations, but there were times when I found myself craving more than was available. There are also a number of different programmes to choose between. The first one is a constant vibration, which tends to be the only option in many other prostate massagers on the market, and which does nothing for me. The other options deliver patterns of pulsations, varying the length of each pulse, and the pause in between as well. This is where the Lelo Billy really comes into its own and delivers some fantastic sensations. There are four to choose from, two slower and two faster. One of my favourite settings is the slowest one, as the vibrations it creates manage to mimic the sensation of a long deep thrusting motion, which is guaranteed to drive you wild. The fastest setting is one of my least favourites as it seems to lose some of its power in a compromise to achieve the speed. The other two are great in their own right, and it’s fun to switch between them during use to add some variety. One of the downsides is that you can’t cycle through the different settings; they’re arranged in a linear fashion, so once you reach the last one you have to go back down through the others in order to return to the first. Depending on the setting, the vibrations aren’t the quietest I’ve encountered, but it’s still at a level where it’s highly unlikely that anyone could hear it in an adjoining room.
Due to the protrusion of the handle there aren’t too many positions you can use the Billy in, you’re pretty much restricted to lying on your back or side, as sitting on it would not be possible. Conceivably you could use it during intercourse, but you would need to hold it in place with your muscles, as the size and shape of it leave it somewhat prone to slipping out if the soothing vibrations give you the urge to relax back there.
The Billy seems to work well as a hands free device, where the aim is to stimulate the prostate alone, but I’ve yet to achieve the elusive anally induced orgasm. Despite feeling as though I was close on occasion, there didn’t seem to be quite enough power to drive me over the edge, but I’m certain that with time it could be achieved. The effectiveness in this circumstance seems to increase if you’re already aroused by some form of visual stimulus, rather than starting with the device from a completely unaroused state. Having the massager in place also goes a way to improving a regular orgasm, by adding a whole wave of new sensations.
The product is completely rechargeable and requires no batteries. A handy white light around the buttons flashes during charging, and a 2 hour charge is said to deliver 4 hours of use, though I’m certain I’ve surpassed this mark. Unfortunately the charger it comes with is of a traditional design, unlike something such as an electric toothbrush, and therefore the toy is not waterproof. This means the need for caution when washing it. The instructions also recommend not using any alcohol based products on the toy, which rules out the majority of sex toy cleaners, except the one sold by Lelo themselves.
As an added accessory the Billy comes with a small travel pouch to store it in, made seemingly from a polyester material, or similar man-made fabric.
Overall I’m very pleased with the Lelo Billy, and would be inclined to recommend it, but scoring becomes a little difficult when considering the value-for-money. It’s clearly marketed as a luxury item, and the price reflects this, but when you’re spending that much, you could quite reasonably expect it to be waterproof, to be a somewhat larger than it is, and to have a little more power behind the highest vibration level. For those reasons I was tempted to knock a star off, but in the end I declined, and elected to rate it on performance alone. It isn’t perfect, but nothing is without its flaws, and in the end it’s up to the individual to decide its worth.

The Lelo Billy is available directly from Lelo, and from the following retailers around the world:

UK and Europe:  SexToys.co.ukLovehoney, Simply Pleasure, and Bondara

North America: Shevibe