Review of We-Vibe’s Nova

So!  It’s been a while!  I have a metric fuckton of toys to review, including a rocket ship, a corncob, a twisty NoFrillDo, a paddle, a glass double-sider, and this ridiculous pink wand I got for free and am surprisingly in love with.  But TODAY!  Today I review the We-Vibe Nova.  I spent the last week visiting old friends, family, and my former apartment in Oakland, eating endlessly and riding the nostalgia wave.  I initially went with two promises to myself, 1.) I would not step on a scale the entire time, and 2.) I would not create a concrete itinerary.  The flexibility of my week set a tone that would be much needed as my time there waned, from my first experience of an earthquake to my cancelled flight (thanks “bomb cyclone!”) which landed me on the scariest red-eye of my life.  I needed that flexibility to remind me that my trip was all about necessary indulgences, from sunny french-drip mornings under the orange tree to spliffy evenings with friends and film.  A distinct “California-Bay vibe” sifted into me, making me wish I took that job at the Emeryville Lush in 2013 and stayed in my adorable studio off Lakeshore.  The regret was bittersweet, and I left promising myself that some day I’d be back for good.

Cancelled flight? Favorite beer ever should take care of that

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My favorite experience and by far most surreal was on New Year’s Day, the day California legalized recreational cannabis.  Legalization is problematic in so many ways.  Folx who have been unfairly convicted in the past may be pardoned, but that doesn’t erase the complex traumas of arrest.  Taxes have gone astronomical on cannabis products, making it less economically feasible.  The biggest question I heard most was whether rich white men were to benefit most as distributors and dispensary owners.  In the Oakland subreddit, someone commented on a post saying that despite the instated Equity Permit Program, the “blue oasis called California [has] red pockets running deep.”  I was once a former medical cannabis patient at Berkeley Patients Group and have always appreciated their philanthropy as well as community initiatives, so I wasn’t surprised when they announced that Berkeley’s mayor would be showing up to the New Year’s Day legalization opening.  I walked back into my old facility via a lime green carpet and velvet rope, a DJ blasting sick mashups, free massages with CBD cream, and a fucking VENDING MACHINE for those who didn’t/couldn’t wait in long lines.  Huge balloon arches hung over San Pablo in celebration.  I still had seven dollars worth of BPG points on my old member’s card, which I put towards sore throat lozenges and Sleep Cream.  I’m currently enrolled in New Jersey’s medical cannabis program despite the potential legalization by Phil Murphy come March, but the cost of enrollment and hoop-jumping in NJ has been really debilitating on so many levels.  I wish they would get their shit together like California, or at least start asking the right questions.

I had also visited my former Good Vibrations on Lakeshore a few days prior, dizzying my childhood best friend (and even stumping some of the employees) with toy musings.  My friend is my DDD twin and our fucked up backs both appreciate giant wands for pain relief more than masturbation.  I made a mental note of her interest in the Magic Wand, and after visiting BPG on New Year’s, I zipped a block down on San Pablo to one of Good Vibes’ other locations.  With a shopping bag of cannabis in one hand and a Magic Wand in the other, I decided it was going to be a self-care day and looked at the We-Vibe Nova with confident determination.  After some great conversation with GV’s employees about blogging and sex education, they blessed me with amazing discounts and free swag.  I told them I’d give a shout-out, but I wish I could do so much more.  Thank you so much, Berkeley Good Vibes, for the pleasant company, resounding support in this industry, and making this review financially attainable.  That Wonder Woman Wand keychain was just the cherry atop a wonderful shopping experience.

I waited to get back to NJ to try out the Nova but charged it while I was on the West Coast.  My friend got a chuckle out of seeing it on her counter top and accurately noted that this was probably just an everyday task for me.  The flightmare from hell and an 8 hour Sleep Cream nap left me nestled in bed, curious about the Nova.  I wanted to wait until I saw my partner to use it, but I also knew an orgasm would help my headache and lethargy.  One thing I also found interesting was how sure I was of this orgasm.  The Nova looked so similar to my treasured Vr6, similar vibrations, silky texture, proportionally alike…my only question was about its most renowned feature: the bendy arm.  The Vr6’s arm has a little bit of bend but enough firmness to put pressure where I need it.  I worried the flexibility of the Nova’s arm wouldn’t hit me as hard or directly.  I was pleasantly wrong.

The arm is now my favorite part of the Nova.  Sure, the G-Spot angle is harder and more direct, but it’s also just a touch less girthy than my Vr6.  It still fills me nicely, but the arm is really where the magic happens.  No matter how I move the Nova, no matter how hard I thrust or which way I turn the handle, the arm finds its way to a happy place.  Its flattened structure consistently distributes major rumbles, and though the motion appears clumsy, the feeling is spot-on.

The Nova has a lot of bells and whistles, like We-Vibe does best.  Tons of features, vibration patterns with cute names like “Echo” and “Tide,” Bluetooth compatibility, a unique magnetic charger…it’s all well and good but coming from someone who enjoyed the two-button simplicity of the Vr6, it’s really not necessary for me.  Unlike the We-Vibe Tango, the Nova’s magnetic charger stays put, plugging into a USB port or computer for power.  The buttons are a little complicated, but I really only use the increase/decrease strength anyway so I basically ignore half of the control pad.  The silicone has a nice drag to it, keeping the toy dust-free.  I even like the color!  Me!  Member of the anti-pink patrol!  It’s a neon pink, close to a fuchsia, and like the Vr6’s neon purple, it gives me some rad 90’s nostalgia feels.

So I basically love this thing.  It’s no better or worse than my Vr6, just a bit different.  Orgasms come easily, and although I’ve only used it solo, I’m super excited to see what my partner thinks of it.  My guess is he’ll be relieved that the buttons aren’t as susceptible for accidental pressing like the two bumps on the Vr6, and I’m betting he’ll like the arm range as well.  Will keep you updated!

 

Hello subspace my old friend…

So I retract my previous blog statement about finally finding a water-based lube that doesn’t irritate me.  Maybe it’s because I only used a little of it once or twice without issue but right now I am typing with an angry yeast infection and its best friend, Diflucan-induced diarrhea.  My partner and I had what felt like a 3 hour kink-a-thon yesterday and copious amounts of lube were used.  We tried the water-based lube as the toys got larger, but when it came to fisting, we went back to good old coconut oil as the lube was starting to burn.  Between gentle fingers and soothing coconut oil, I felt much better until later in the evening when the itch began.  It’s just as well…I don’t know why I felt I needed to stray from coconut oil, maybe the sheer determination of finally finding my perfect water-based lube.  If only I had enough money to invest, I’d totally just create my own.  No aloe, no glycerin or parabens, no citric acid, no propylene glycol, just basic BASIC shit.  And if that means it dries up quickly, so be it.  I recently started using these baby wipes that are literally just water and cloth…my nethers have never been happier.  I’ve also had a bidet on my wish list for a few years, but Jersey winters would make that water shockingly cold on my butthole and the hot water option is much more expensive and difficult to hook up.  Anyway, ramblings as I was up on a Tuesday morning, glancing longingly at my coffee knowing it’ll just cause further diarrhea.  Basta.

Last night was, unf.  While Mike and I have always had our kinks, last night was sort of a “no-holds barred,” “try anything” situation.  Spitting in each other’s mouths, biting, choking, jerking off each other and cumming on each other, the whole thing was just bliss.  I’ve never really been topped by Mike before, and although I am switchy, it was such an out-of-body experience.  Like, not just my usual subspace (although is there ever a “usual” subspace?) but a subspace where I was kind of co-topping myself WITH him.  I don’t know if that makes any sense.  It just started as one of those clean slate nights, sort of “I’m going to close my eyes and I want you to choose one toy that vibrates and one that penetrates,” and letting him do the rest.  I was so tickled that he immediately went for the Tails and Portholes Leviathan…something in him must have known I wanted to be stretched out.  But the Leviathan was squishy and cumbersome for him to thrust, so he went for the NS Novelties Rainbow Pride dildo.  This was definitely an improvement, as well as the Prism he gave me for vibration.  But I kept wanting bigger and bigger, finally realizing I didn’t want a dildo at all.  I didn’t want vibrations.  I wanted his hand.  So fisting away we went, fisting led to fucking…there were so many orgasms for both of us I can’t even count.  Again, a total primal subspace.  I squirted with the Prism, then squirted on him with the Vanity Vr6, lapped that up, and we just kept going.

The night was wild, and again, we have our kinks, but this pushed it ever-so-slightly out of his comfort zone and I am very grateful for his consent and enthusiasm.  When he went to go clean the toys (I don’t know why but I find it so endearing when he does that), I snuck a stainless steel gemmed butt plug in between my cheeks before we hopped in the shower.  It was a great surprise when I told him that he forgot to clean one last toy and just pulled it out.  His face lit up and he just smiled this gleeful smile, like I’d just played the most adorable yet sexy prank he’s ever seen.  I love that he’s always willing to try new things and keeps such an open mind about our sexualities and identities.  I love that we continually discover new shit we like but don’t pressure every sexual interaction to be an epic journey…

I think we appreciate all the connections made during sex.  Speaking for myself, they don’t really fit into rankings, they’re all just different…but when we have sessions like last night, there’s just a sense of complete fearlessness unlike anything I’ve experienced at even my kinkiest play parties.  I don’t need marks for good impact, I don’t need my hair pulled to control my movement.  Time and time again I’ve been told my kink is through energy-exchange (grow up with an ancestry of witches and who’s surprised?), and Mike is very similar.  I like our kink a lot.  It’s very unique to our chemistry and filled with love.  In a time where it feels like the world keeps giving up on folks, it’s nice to know we haven’t given up on each other.  And that extends from the simplest gestures of a morning kiss to the depths of soiled sheets and pruned fingertips.

Review of Funkit’s Pumpkin Almond

It’s 6:30am and I’m wide awake. I typically have my clearest moments in the morning, and I’ve been in hypomanic for a little over a month now. But, almost like overcaffeination, the mania keeps me productive in some areas and completely avoidant for most of the truly important stuff. I’ve been spending money like it’s my job, to the point where I just saw Amazon is having their Black Friday deals and almost clicked off this post to fall into a capitalist K-Hole of nonsense and Himalayan Salt Lamps. It’s a friend’s birthday today as well as my second tattoo appointment of the week, and yet I find myself far more excited to go use Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons on a gift she’s likely not going to need than getting my tattoo.

foot tattoo
Post/Post Edit: maple and oak (oak freshly done).

Wednesday I got a maple leaf on my left foot and today I’m going to a different artist to get an oak leaf on my right. The two have been symbolic of my past and now current relationship: alas, I have gotten back together with the boy. Our oak and maple penny necklaces sat blessed by moonlight during a good six months of no contact. Along with a “Dazzling Red Maple” Yankee Candle and a 3-year-old love note, I was able to reach out to him on what would have been our anniversary in September. Things have been wonderful since. Call it a renegotiated limerence or renewed relationship energy; we don’t want to jinx it and taking things slowly has been much more productive for better communication. Anyway, that’s the short version of my relationship update.

I know. We’re gross.

What has also changed dramatically is my sexual appetite. I actually HAVE one now. One by one, the toys are getting less dusty with usage, some orders have arrived, and I almost forgot how electric it is to self-lubricate again. As in, I can so much as hear him breathe in a certain way and I know we’re both in tune with whatever level of arousal we’re at, even if it’s just sitting on the couch. It’s like music. Sex with Mike is like music. I don’t know why I should be surprised, if I am at all, considering his natural musical talents and my tendency to synchronize energies during sex. But in the words of the ever-classic Celine Dion, it’s all coming back to me now.  Especially now with Kenton’s amazing deals.  Who could resist?

I’ve also finally found a water-based lube that doesn’t irritate me, one that I’d sold for years and never actually tried. I’m still a dyed-in-the-wool coconut oil fan, but on cold, solidified days when the dispenser doesn’t want to work, this Slippery Stuff really hits the spot. Another review on that later. Jesus, I actually have stuff to review now! I recently acquired a “pumpkin” butt plug from Kenton at Funkit Toys, an item that explicitly states it is NOT a carrot. Whatever…carrot, pumpkin, almond, it all works suitably considering my butt has been insatiably hungry lately.

I was even able to handle the Tristan 1 the other day, a notoriously challenging plug for me because of its squish and wide neck. With firmer shore, a narrower tip and a much more gradual bulb, the Pumpkin Almond looks great from all angles. The colors are skillfully poured and the signature suction base known to Funkit Toys made me so proud to own another one of Kenton’s creations. I even liked the subtle ridges from top to bottom due to the 3-D printed mold. Surprisingly, I could actually feel them upon insertion and they were really stimulating.

Butt Plug
Ridges are visible here. Also, sorry to future CVS customers who buy these almonds.

When I say “all angles,” I didn’t realize the Pumpkin Almond is not perfectly symmetrical. Which makes sense, because Kenton’s website description literally says “lateral ridges and a slight forward bend.” The bend isn’t created so much as a tilt or curve, but because one side of the Almond is a little rounder than the other. This creates a slight dorsal ridge on each side, you know, like an actual fucking almond. Initially assuming it was completely round, I met a challenge upon insertion as I realized there might be more optimal methods of using the Almond aside from just sliding it in willy-nilly. I needed to find which way to put it in that felt most comfortable.

Butt Plug
Not perfectly round. Y’know…like an almond.

Again, another teachable moment about my body: where I thought inserting the Almond with a horizontal orientation would feel better, the vertical actually worked more. I figured a side-to-side stretch would give me more feeling of fullness, but turning the plug so the wider part pressed against my tailbone and front wall brought me to orgasm almost effortlessly. I tried double-penetration with my Jopen Vanity Vr6, my go-to when it comes to DP testing, and it felt perfect. The squishy flared base of the Almond was unimposing but present and it didn’t get in the way. The one thing I did notice, which has become standard for most of my butt plugs, was that the Almond shot right out of me during orgasm.

Butt Plug

The taper-ratio is pleasurably gradual for insertion and it stays in place for DP, but once my muscles contract for an orgasm, it just won’t stay in on its own. It’s fine, since I think out of my twelve butt plugs only about three of them stay put during orgasm. As long as I keep one hand securing the base, my orgasms with the Almond are really satisfying. Cleanup is simple, and despite its glossy appearance, the Almond is not a complete dust magnet. I’ve noticed this with the Crista, too…something about Funkit’s silicone really stands up to the “Cat-Hair” challenge.

Butt Plug
Signature base with Funkit’s logo.

Which is great, because they’re two of my favorite toys to show off when visitors curiously enter my bedroom and are drawn to the toy shelf. I’ll be interested to see what boy thinks of it, so this post might get updated soon. Or, y’know, as an addendum in future reviews. My sexual hiatus is finally over. And I am SO glad the Pumpkin Almond got to be a part of that reawakening.

Review of the Crave Flex

Well, I’d say it’s been getting easier because it probably looks that way from the outside, but it really isn’t.  Every day is sort of a literal/figurative rinse, lather, and repeat with different Lush products to make it seem less repetitive, but it’s still the same process.  Running trainings for Planned Parenthood employees, biking 23 miles, somehow managing to visit friends at RennFaire three times… I’m active and it’s valuable but it also distracts me from the biggest realities of missing my ex and wondering what the fuck happened to my sex drive.

 

I’ve still got it in my head that there’s a purpose for not wanting anyone else, and I think that might be a good move for different reasons, but why the hell can’t I bring myself to jerk off?  The times I do, I end up in tears before orgasm, and if I do have that rare orgasm in between, it’s filled with emptiness and dissatisfaction.  Have I become one of those people who replaces sexual release with exercise?  Someone I thought I’d never be, not because I judge “that person,” but because I never believed I could enjoy exercise.

Crave Flex vibrator
The buttons look deceivingly simple.

The only times I do come are in the shower, rocking 5 minute wall sits until my quads are on fire with the shower head pulsing away at my parts.  My skin is so hungry, and yet I get nauseous at the thought of anyone touching me.  It also doesn’t help that I was just recently diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis and kidney stones, so my body and mind are all over the place.  I recognize the dissonance and contradictions in all the circles of my sexuality right now and yet feel completely helpless to do anything.  I even tried buying a Crave Flex since I liked the Vesper so much and grew increasingly frustrated at my body’s response.  Something didn’t translate, whether it be the silky silicone and bendy tip or the dulling effect the vibrations had as I tried to press them harder onto my parts.

Ghosts can like bendy tips too!

The modes seemed excessive and where I’m at mentally, the process of having to skip through to find the strongest constant vibration was (and is) enough to lose my build.  At this point, something so simple as a truck driving past my window can carry away any tenuous desire I have for an orgasm, so the process of experimenting with new toys is just an investment I can’t emotionally or physically handle right now.  I’ve had one orgasm in the 5 or 6 times I tried the Flex and it required me to be on my knees, squatted over my Shilo, again becoming increasingly frustrated that here I am, fucking my own dick and trying to pretend it’s his, wishing I at least had him to help me thrust the Shilo.  It wasn’t until the burning of my quads kicked in that I could get back into my body and appreciate the increase of heartrate long enough to let go of thoughts and just come.

Crave Flex vibrator
USB chargers make life so much easier.

The Flex is probably amazing for folks, between the multiple vibrations from tip to base and its attached USB charger (so all you need to do is find a laptop or wall outlet without bothering with wires).  It’s really nice to look at and still somewhat in the same price range as the Vesper, but something about having the sheer metal and temperature change of the Vesper gives me truly pinpoint stimulation without any power diffusing through silicone.  I’d still recommend it, and maybe someday I’ll be able to pull out of my funk enough to truly enjoy it.

Where am I?

Drenched in sweat, starfished on the kitchen floor, the dehumidifier blowing musty air in my face as I come back into my body… it’s the closest I’ve been to anything like an orgasm in what feels like ages and it’s tachycardia. I’ve just installed a new bike seat on the vintage Schwinn my landlord gifted me a month ago, lime green with a hole cutout in the middle, a reminder of yet another accommodation for what’s between my legs, but at least I get to make it green to compliment the purple bars of the bike, a genderqueer tribute to my dysphoria. Biking surprisingly doesn’t hurt my discs, and while the soreness of my groin is the closest I’ll be to a hard fucking in a long time, I lost most desire for sex since my breakup anyway.

I need the new seat otherwise I can’t handle the freedom and endorphins of the 11 mile trail I’ve been blessed with outside my home. Although I loathe the 90 degree weather and humidity signature to Jersey summers, I’m completely claustrophobic with the contexts of this particular July from academic to personal obligations. My mental health is rapidly deteriorating to the point where I don’t even know what self-care looks like anymore. Today it looked like a new bike seat and a quick ride to test it out, but it also neglected hydration and included caffeine; it forgot that I took a Vicodin for my back last night after 10 days of classes sleeping without an actual bed and how opiates trigger my SVT episodes. So my last mile push home included palpitations, followed by a half hour sweat-out on the kitchen floor, my only space left in this apartment currently to sprawl in semi-privacy.

I’d cry if I had the tears, the heart-rate, the spoons, the understanding of what I should mourn first. The cats who aren’t even my cats came to lick the sweat out of my hair as I nudged them away, reminders of what I can’t handle. I looked to the ceiling fan, a snakeskin lightning bolt charm hanging from a chain reminding me of power symbols as I tried to focus my eyes and breath to cut the palpitations. I meditated and affirmed myself as best I could, prayed nobody came into the room and the cats could give me some peace.

As the 180 finally went back to 60 bpm, I opened my palms to the ceiling and noticed my right arm had been touching my No-Face backpack of books the entire time. At first I went to push it away with disdain and then recognized the conflict of this action. How my academics are the source of my frustration and strength, how my love and hate and fear and insecurity are all blended together through my journey and academia is what taught me to blend my heart and my brain. How appropriate I chose No-Face as my bookbag for all the character represents and how placeless I feel in life all the time, how dependent I am on others for my own existence, how the familiarity of this hard kitchen floor brings back the warmth I felt sleeping on wood during my stay in Philadelphia and how I thought my self-care this week would include solitude but it really requires comfort around positive people.

I still firmly believe my heart thrives in nature, that I cannot handle living in a city for all the infinitely unique thoughts of people buzzing directly around me, but right now I feel so ungrounded. My skin hunger is nauseated but present, my boundaries of self-in-world are blurring, and there is so much I want to do but here I am: starfished on a kitchen floor trying to figure out my next move.

Mental Check-In and Review of Tantus’s ProTouch

Ohhhh yes.  My upcoming summer semester (and hopefully final semester at Widener) is quickly approaching and I’ve just begun plugging my due dates into Google Calendar…this one is going to be a doozy.  Three courses wedged into the entire month of July, class nonstop from the 8th to the 16th, papers galore…I may have bitten off more than I can chew when I said I needed more of a challenge at this school.  We shall see.

What it has done is given me a swift kick in the ass to get my writing flow back into gear, which is a bonus.  I’ve basically spent the last two weeks getting back in touch with my roots, revisiting parts of my identity I had once abandoned with shame and regret.  A trip to Aruba spent solely with Mom and Dad, a weekend of Punk Rock Bowling with a best friend, videogames with Steam friends…I needed the familiarity of these things accompanied by a deeper introspection of what they have meant historically to me through the years.  How many times I’ve enjoyed the company of friends on my Aruba trips only to later make enemies with them, how many punk buddies I’ve pushed away never to speak to again, how, even now, I am constantly navigating the paranoia of annoying my Steam friends and sometimes I intentionally “fall off the map” because I think I’ve been a burden to them.

I was diagnosed with BPD in 2010 only to later be dually diagnosed with Bipolar II three years ago.  Meanwhile, I’ve had one or two exes who have armchair diagnosed me with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, something I’ve mentioned to every psych professional I’ve seen since undergrad and has been consistently shot down…so who knows.  I overproject intellectualism, have an ever-escaping self-awareness of my neurodivergences, and I’m definitely insecure… Probably going to delete all of this anyway because why on earth would anyone want to read something this personal in someone’s sex blog?  Wouldn’t you rather read about handjobs or my gag reflex?

PURSEonal stuff first. OHHHH the puns.

I guess the point of this reflection is that I’m trying not to be scared of looking back at who I was or being open about it to anyone (and I mean anyone).  The 25 years spent chasing iguanas by the beach, the 15 years making out with sweaty folx in mosh pits, and now the recent years finding a community who shares my same love for gaming.  I’ve fucked up a lot of it, but it’s not all bad, and neither am I.  I NEED to start believing this.  If I keep wasting time shitting on myself, I’ll never get back to blogging from a positive headspace, I’ll never learn how to love other people the way I want to be loved, I’ll never take the time to appreciate the world outside my head, beyond anything I could ever imagine.  The whole concept of self-love terrifies me sometimes, because deep down I don’t think I really understand it, and I’m scared I never will.

This post was ACTUALLY supposed to be a review, believe it or not.  I had every intention of getting punnily detailed with my recent usage of the Tantus ProTouch, a versatile toy I’ve been promoting since my days at the porn store but never actually tried.  I opted for the Grab Bag version and ended up with literally the SAME fucking color (like a more translucent version of “wine”) it comes in normally (I swear to goddess, I have the worst luck with Tantus Grab Bag colors).  I got so bitter about it I never ended up using the fucking thing.

ProTouch by Tantus

Yesterday I finally had my first masturbatory release in months…a little Nine Inch Nails and a Wartenberg Wheel was enough to get me going.  My butt just kind of wanted everything on the shelf.  I went for each anal toy I could find, starting small, eventually working my way up to an Echo Handle.  It was an intense afternoon and I direly needed it.  But the ProTouch surprised the hell out of me.  I was expecting the curve to be painful, uncomfortable, anything like any other curved butt product I’ve used before.  It wasn’t at all.  Sure, it’s made with the same shore silicone in most Tantus products, but maybe because of the hollow middle (which is meant for a vibrating bullet though I left it empty), it had some squish.

ProTouch by Tantus

I’m not usually a fan of the freebie bullets that come with Tantus toys anyway (kinda weak), and the depth of the hole inside the ProTouch is too shallow for the WeVibe Tango.  Besides, it actually made it more grippy for me because I could just stick my finger inside it while I hooked the flare with my thumb.  Regardless, the curve of the ProTouch conformed nicely to my body and was actually relatively comfortable.  My other surprise was that I could actually feel all the textures of it in the best ways possible.  I went back to the ProTouch after using the Echo Handle and the ProTouch still had quite a…how shall I say…presence?  The curves were stimulating enough to remind me it was inside, but not too scrapey or pinchy.  So I’ll be damned.  That thing has been sitting on my shelf for months now and I’ve just discovered I actually rather like it.

The ProTouch by Tantus
Little grippy ribs in the middle, good for bullets, also great for my lubey fingers.

Sometimes I learn a lesson or two about myself when it comes to toys.  I’ve been thematically discovering through blogging how the toys I think I’ll like, I don’t end up enjoying very much and the toys I don’t expect to like, I do.  Or the toys I’ve loved for years suddenly don’t do it for me anymore, that my body and mind can change, that pleasure isn’t linear or orderly…it doesn’t obey any logic or mapping and what feels right to me one day might feel absolutely backwards the next.

Shelf all cleaned and reorganized.

I’m looking at my shelf and getting a little weepy now.  These toys have taught me a lot.  I cherish them.  Beyond pride, beyond memory…there’s a little bit of magic in each of them and I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever understand.  Maybe that’s what makes reviewing them so exciting.  Because who knows?  Two years from now, my body might be able to tolerate Aloe, and I might actually dig soft silicone.  These reviews aren’t just unique to us as individuals, but unique to our place and time in life.  It’s the futile but delicate attempt at grabbing a bit of eggshell through the yolk…always almost there but always slipping away.

Audre Lorde will always guide my spirit.

I think about Audre Lorde’s “Poetry is Not a Luxury,” and how she spoke of words, how “Possibility is neither forever not instant,” and yet there is always a validity in her phrase “it feels right to me.”  Each toy has its purpose, its opportunity to “feel right” for someone, as does each review.  Maybe a time in my life will come when things begin to holistically “feel right,” maybe not.  So for as disjointed and (perhaps inappropriately, to some) unsteady this blog post may seem, I think I’ll actually leave it as is, consciously unedited.  I suppose it just feels right to me.

…with your own understanding of what it means to suffer.

I keep thinking in lyrics lately, sometimes verses that will play over and over in my head until I realize what their repetition means.  I think the universe has been trying to talk to me lately through the arts. I’ve been drawing all sorts of genitalia for more inclusivity in our Sex Ed Manual at Masakhane, doing puzzles with friends, sewing, discovering new music, redecorating…but I haven’t been writing. I cannot bring myself to write these days. I wish I could say I don’t know why, but I do.

I can think of so many reasons whirring about, sending me into a panicky malaise when it comes to approaching a blog post. From the ending of an intense semester to the ending of my most serious long-term relationship, I’ve been drained of all desire to speak, wax poetic, theorize…things that typically drive my posts. I’ve also all but completely lost my sex drive to the point where masturbation renders me to tears as I get so caught up in my thoughts and completely dissociate from my body. I find myself attracted to other people, but when it comes to wanting a sexual experience I cannot help but ache for my ex. Breakups, man.

I keep thinking, “Pick a toy, use it, review it, BOOM…content!” and then I also think “Don’t write if your heart’s not in it.” I’m not afraid of showing vulnerability in my work: it’s been one of my greatest strengths and weaknesses in all areas of my life. Those flickers of emotional nakedness where I worry whether I’ve said too much and if it will push people away. That balance, the social cues, the honesty with my fears and passions…they leave me constantly paranoid that people dislike me. And then when a breakup happens, especially a rough breakup, the paranoia seems justified and I just flail.

I oscillate from the need for self-love and reflection to complete isolation and loneliness. I’ll reach out to friends, family, familiar faces for validation and then come home to an empty bed, feeling sick. This weekend I decided to clean all the dust off of my dildo shelf…all the toys that hadn’t been used in months and are unlikely to be used anytime soon. I still don’t have the heart to throw away his Tengas. They’re just sitting in my closet in case I decide to “science” them. I had just bought him a new Fliphole in silver to replace his worn-through white one and I’m pretty sure he never even used it. Looking at my Tantus harness, I think about how excited we were to try it and now it just sits there hanging in wait.

As the moon wanes I want to bless these shelves, make them mine again, reaffirm what they mean to me…but I feel like there’s so much work to do in so many other facets of my life. Ideally my collection would be an arsenal of identity, but right now I feel lost. The least I could do was verbalize where I’m at right now for the sake of transparency. The anniversary of my blog’s creation is this month and I want to do something really special. But again, spoons. My love goes out to those reading this and those who aren’t. Comfort is something I took too much for granted during my almost 3 year relationship, and a redefinition is in due order.

 

Wishing comfort for everyone…
Avery

Dear “Amazing” Toys:

Recently I’ve noticed a lot of sex bloggers posting about how sometimes the most recommended items in the sex industry may not work for everyone.  And I’m finding so much comfort in this.  I remember the moment I read JoEllen’s post about the Womanizer and why it was crucial to talk about how highly-hyped toys can really affect people’s self-esteem; no words can describe how that article spoke to me.

Just recently Epiphora and Lilly went on an awesome search to find water-based lubes without aloe, citric acid, parabens, or propylene glycol, which made my heart sing and sink at the same time because the market is so limited for this.  To think of it as such a “strangely” specific request to help “some” people makes me feel, well…”strange.”  Do my needs represent a strange minority or are they just different needs?  I really don’t know, but I think the language needs to change.  I do know that Piph just posted an awesome tweet about why glycerin shouldn’t be in lube anymore and the first response was in essence: “YEAH! Sliquid all the way!”  Which, along with lots of other reasons, leads me to my post.

“But it’s ___! Everybody likes ___!” Well guess what? My fronthole is not everybody’s fronthole. My butt is not everybody’s butt. There is nothing worse feeling as a neurodivergent human who already gets excluded from general life things for their GSM and disability identities to also feel excluded because they don’t get mindblowing orgasms from seemingly universally-lauded sex things. So I’ve decided to make a list. Instead of blogging entry-by-entry on the things that “shoulda, coulda, woulda” gotten me off, I’d rather have a massive “cleanse post” because frankly, I’ve been in that mode lately. Call it “spring cleaning.”

These are the items that gather the most dust on my shelf. And while I dusted them off for one last try, I was still left mostly underwhelmed, angry, even sometimes downright dysphoric. So this massive review is going to come with a bit of a content warning. But then again, there are some positives, so I really don’t know. A bit stream-of-consciousness here…please bear with me:

Let’s start with an easy one. And by easy I mean a gratingly painful torture device that frequently turns into battery acid and breaks in ten different ways. Satisfyer contacted me a little more than a month ago, and being the naive blogger I am, I thought it had something to do with my recent Liberator posts or all the circulation my handle had been getting in a Twitter thread on trans and non-binary bloggers with disabilities. I thought I actually started making a name for myself, but no.

Satisfyer contacted literally almost every sex blogger in the fucking industry. As in, I’m genuinely curious how that mailing algorithm worked, because every blogger I followed on every form of social media got a Satisfyer kit. A hell of a pitch, I thought. Also incredibly suspicious, but whatever, I’ll take free toys with no contract attachments. I also knew I’d hate the thing since I once tried my ex girlfriend’s Womanizer and screeched in pain after a 30 minute attempt to orgasm. I figured this thing would be no different, and it really wasn’t.

A couple more modes of suction intensity, which were even more difficult to figure out. Buttons even further away from the flimsy Satisfyer 2 handle, almost impossible to discern, whatever. It still provided the most painful orgasm I have ever experienced. Have you ever had a UTI where you felt like you might be horny but really you just needed to pee really badly? And then, of course, because it’s a FUCKING UTI you don’t actually have any pee, just burning and throbbing sensations of HELL by your urethra? Yeah, that’s the Satisfyer 2 for me. That’s pretty much any of these Satanic suction devices for me. They feel like a goddamned UTI. I’ll pass.

An example of my sex shop raffle prizes in 2011.

Speaking of UTI’s, YI’s, BV, and all that awesome fun that happens because hey, I LOVE having a fronthole NO I DON’T WELL OK SOMETIMES BUT MOSTLY NO: enter Sliquid. Sliquid is the “do no harm” of the lube world. It took me years working at the sex shop to get them to stock it, and it was my pride and joy once they did. I introduced my mom to Sliquid Swirl and she was so thankful for it. At one point in time my body actually really liked Sliquid Sea. But hey, at one point my body also liked KY Yours and Mine, so I think I’ve just ritualistically trained my parts to hate anything but self-produced lubrication now.

But seriously though, Sliquid. Come on! You’re supposed to be the best of the best! The gentlest! The friendliest! Citric acid and aloe? It’s so burny! As someone with a sensitivity to garlic and onions, the aloe really does me in.  When I say sensitive I mean sensitive: if you take the onions off a salad I will still have onion breath for the next two days.  If I touch a piece of garlic, my fingernails will smell that way for a week minimum.  So nowadays if I use a Sliquid with aloe, my nethers are a flaming Greek Salad for a week. It is beyond upsetting. One of my biggest dysphorias about that part of my body is the smell. I can pack and wear all the briefs I want, but it’s still going to smell like something I enjoy on other people, but not myself. And for a lube which is supposedly so body-positive, it makes me feel incredibly negative not only about my body, but about my gendered body as well.

No joke: I couldn’t give away enough Sliquid at my job.

On the upswing (pun intended), I’ve recently found a reason to not entirely dislike my Feeldoe. At first I was absolutely going to jump on the bandwagon of “It doesn’t work like it’s supposed to!” but then I realized that sex toys shouldn’t really be proscriptive to begin with. Yeah, you’re shelling out a lot of dough for a hard silicone two-fer that might look like it’s meant for a particular type of partnered penetration.

But a.) I bought my Feeldoe secondhand from an r/sextoys exchange for a whopping $60 (yes, boil and bleach), b.) I love Tantus’s hard silicone and am realizing hard silicone really is my jam after all, and c.) I am really enjoying the Feeldoe as a trans-identified person. For one, blowjobs are great with it. I love that I can stretch my partner’s mouth, that the slickness of the dildo lets them give me really sloppy blowjobs where I can watch their spit drip all the way down the glossy shaft. I love that the shaft is extra long so I don’t have to worry about their face getting too close to my mons when I’m feeling dysphoric. I love that they can jerk me off during a blowjob to stimulate me and they can fucking cradle my balls too.

For me, the Feeldoe is just blowjob gold. I also discovered during solo play last night that the Feeldoe is actually really amazing for jerking off. I already knew I liked jerking off the way I use my Jopen Vr6, and with a We-Vibe Tango popped in to the Feeldoe, I can actually feel the vibrations through the ribbed part. Jerking off felt extremely affirming, all the way down to the angle of it, how I’d hold my cock pointed towards me instead of going straight up. So yeah, if I’m walking around, the Feeldoe’s going to fall out. If I’m trying to peg with it, the Feeldoe’s going to fall out. But if I’m getting head or having a rough wank, which doesn’t seem to be a main narrative surrounding Feeldoe reviews, this toy is fucking great.

Which transitions to the Tango. Another toy I was ready to fall in love with and then…didn’t. I won the Tango through Ninja Lunabelle‘s awesome Great Dildo Weigh-In Giveaway and was so excited. I’d never won a giveaway before, let alone for something I really wanted! I even got it in blue, which excited me even more. Everything about the Tango sounded perfect. The wedged tip, the smooth acrylic, the rumbly motor, the various features. Literally every one of the perks people praised were the things I loathed. The plastic was far too hard, giving me no grip for my fingers or my flesh, the motor, while rumbly, had an even worse dampening effect than the Lust 2.5, and the features were cumbersome to cycle through.

There is literally one speed on the Tango that comes close to getting me off, and that is with some serious effort. I was probably the most let down by the Tango, a toy with such history and typically recommended to people who want a small toy with strong vibrations. I could not believe how much those vibrations dampened to almost virtual silence upon skin contact. It wasn’t until I put the Tango inside the Feeldoe that the vibrations actually transferred properly. Up until last night I was afraid I’d have no use for the Tango anymore, but now I’ve found a really good one.

A fitting end to the favorites would be the Njoy Pure Plug. I bought mine in medium, as the small looks teensy and the large looks like it would be a bit of a struggle for me. The medium, however, goes in smooth. Too smooth. As in I barely feel it. There is no pressure, no stimulation on insertion, none of that satisfying stretch you get when you’re slipping a plug in and taking a deep breath. It just pops right in and I’m left going, “That’s it?” Except then I’m not, because about one minute later I get an intense stabby feeling in the front wall of my rectum as the Pure Plug angles itself with its own weight.

If I become too aroused, I swell up and it pinches. If I sit up, it pinches. If I use a toy in my fronthole, it pinches. If I turn the handle so it’s not blocking said fronthole with vertical alignment, it pinches. There is really a limited amount of what I can do with the Pure Plug. It’s not particularly good for thrusting, more like a wiggly toy, and even then I have to be careful not to hit an uncomfortable spot. I thought it might be good for prostate play, but the two prostatepeople who have tried it have also said it gives a rather “pointy sensation.” So I don’t know, really. Love the company, really wanted to love this toy.

So that’s pretty much it. A collection of toys and lubes that may be majority favorites, but don’t really do it for me. Which isn’t meant to be discouraging, but rather a reminder that we all have different minds and bodies and that we should remember this not only as consumers providing feedback but also as companies who are constantly looking to innovate new products with inclusive designs.

No I say!

Bonus gif of Ollie batting away a Hitachi similarly to how I might.  The way it vibrates into my femoral artery freaks me the fuck out sometimes.

Review of Tails and Portholes Leviathan

So my birthday recently passed on March 31st, and despite living that typical Aries life for now 32 years…firey, stubborn, willing to get into fights with “high-horsed” folx, I’ve also heard the Zodiac has changed and supposedly I’m a Pisces?  Which, to be honest, sort of makes sense.  The water to my fire, the manic depression of my life, my tendency to socially withdraw but also want to flow and enjoy the fluidity of existence…even the way I write with ellipsis because I find discomfort in the permanence of a period.  My living space has gradually taken on water themes in my places of relaxation, namely the bathroom and bedroom.  (Interestingly enough my living room has always had red and blue themes…fire and water perhaps?)  So I know the Zodiac is often what we make of it and many folx are saying the new shift is kind of BS, but if I could pick any other sign to replace the Aries I’ve strongly identified with for all these years, it’d probably have to be a Pisces.
After finally diving into the world of fantasy dildos with my Phoenix Flame Forge Monty the Manticore, I wanted to continue my collection, but also learned through my Damn Average Lumpy that soft silicone just wasn’t for me.  I knew Tails and Portholes had so many beautiful nautically-themed pieces that came with dual density options, but was hesitant to shell out the doubloons right away.  When the announcement came that Brandie would be closing up shop for good, the choice was made.  The Leviathan I’d been scoping out needed to become a reality.  I picked my colors (Mermaid’s Tail, a beautiful swirl of glittery blue and green), selected the dual density option, and waited for my loot to arrive.
What came in a lovely organza pouch was my Leviathan, a squishy, intricately detailed work of art with a gorgeous gloss and an extremely wide base.  This is easily the most beautiful toy in my collection now.  Every sucker, every ridge, every dip is so deliberately and brilliantly placed all the way down to the logo at the dorsal base of the toy.  SO much thought went into the exterior design of this toy and I wish I could find more ways to show it off because it seems tragic to have it sitting on a shelf all day.

As far as function goes, I found myself expecting the wide tip and expansive shaft to leave me feeling full, which didn’t quite happen.  During thrusting, the Leviathan just sort of mushed into me, and while the flayed head does give me that initial G-spot shock of “oh hello” when it pops inside, once I get to a thrusting motion I find myself wanting more.  I tried using the Leviathan as a G-spotter to orgasm by pulling the head slightly out of me instead of thrusting it, but the softness of the head conformed to the shape of my G-spot instead of stimulating it.

Even with the dual-density, the silicone was just too soft to offer enough pressure, and the dual-density itself does not reach the G-spot tip.  When I use it vigorously, I’m just wiggling it all over the place, going left and right but not really in and out. The Leviathan is acharacteristic from my experience with dual-densities like the Vixskin Mustang, Tantus’s Mikey, or my NYTC Shilo.  Because The Leviathan’s dual-density doesn’t flare throughout its extremely wide base, the base itself gets a little floppy and bends when I try to get a grip.  Even though the base is still really nicely designed, (there’s even a little thumb-dip) something still isn’t working and I think it might just be the large base circumference combined with the softness and overall weight of the toy.  If my hands were a little bigger or my grip a little stronger this might work but right now I just keep cramping up.
For every cat hair I removed in this picture, two more flew in.
The advantage of the dual-density core not reaching the base, however, is that I am able to curl the Leviathan once it’s inside of me in order to rub all of the tentacle suckers against my bits.  I can bend it in all different ways to meet different angles of my anatomy in order to stimulate my sensitive parts.  It’s pretty electric for someone who doesn’t normally use texture for clitoral stimulation.  (This is giving me a newfound curiosity towards Funkit’s Signet project).   The suckers also make great sounds for folks into auditory stuffs, kind of like really yummy sex as each tentacle catches a bit of air and lube and flesh.  It’s sort of a slurpy sex feeling I wasn’t really expecting, so added bonus!  The suckers also work as little lube trappers, keeping the Leviathan from getting too slippery but somehow making it slick enough once the shaft is inside me.
Monty for comparison.
For science’s sake, I used Phoenix Flame Forge’s Monty the Manticore directly after The Leviathan to see what the difference in orgasms would be like.  While I had difficulty orgasming with The Leviathan because of penetration frustration, I noticed that the Monty’s density was actually a bit firmer and Monty’s pointy tip actually gave me great G-spot stimulation as it held form during thrusting.  Because of Monty’s slickness and shape, however, it was even more difficult getting a grip once fully lubed.
Monty warmed up, because I couldn’t resist.
Whereas The Leviathan’s flayed tip and bumpy texture kept it snug inside of me during orgasm spasms, the Monty went shooting out the moment I started pulsing.  Both toys have their pluses and minuses.  Overall, I continue to learn that I just really am not a fan of soft silicone, but given the beauty and now the rarity of The Leviathan and the incredible work Brandie does for Tails and Portholes, I am so proud to have this new addition in my home.

Review of Liberator’s Black Label Esse Chaise

When I was approached by Liberator to review their Black Label Esse Chaise, I was sort of mystified.  Like this blog post and even the Chaise itself, I didn’t know where to start or how to react. I was excited, I was intimidated, I knew the possibilities would be beyond my imagination and I knew things were really up to me for direction and choice.

BLACK LABEL ESSE CHAISE
What’s This? WHAT’S THIS? There’s boxes everywhere!

Now, I’m switchy in all aspects of my life: kink, academia, picking a place to eat…when it comes to fucking on a gorgeous piece of furniture or choosing how to write about it, the same principles apply. Do I take the cerebral road and wax poetic about how this item has led me to reconsider disability, particularly in my anxieties over using it? Do I just get straight into the meat of the review because I think readers would be more interested in the form and function of the chaise for their own personal considerations, particularly given the price-point of the toy and the decisions required to make such an investment? I really don’t know.

BLACK LABEL ESSE CHAISE
The vacuum-sealed foam.

I know I could write a really lengthy post about the whole experience, and I’ve only really used the chaise for sex three times after having it for a month, but to be completely transparent, I’m contracted by Liberator to write this free review within 30 days, so time is somewhat a factor. Which plays into the first theme of my thoughts on disability. I’ve never reviewed something for a company before. Every review I’ve ever done has been without contract and that’s sort of alienated me from the rest of the professional blogging community because I fear my work has less value.  I worry folks think I don’t put as much care into what I do because I’m not getting paid for it. I’m still not getting paid here, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t get a massively gorgeous $600 furniture kit for the quality of my writing, so here goes:

BLACK LABEL ESSE CHAISE
All expanded, before putting on the cover.

No, maybe I’m not a legit blogger. And that does do my head in a bit, mental healthwise. Seeing a contract for the first time certainly triggered some unexpected anxiety, and considering my primary partner and I don’t have the most frequent sex, scheduling time between my stressful semester, my back, his job, and our sick kitty to try out the Chaise has been a little tricky. What I have discovered, though, is that this Chaise is great not only for physical disabilities, but has done wonders for our neurodivergences as well.

BLACK LABEL ESSE CHAISE
Ta-Da! The Chaise’s new home.

Being that it is so supportive, grippy where it needs to be, the texture of the faux leather cover, the strong D-rings on the bottom, and the angles of the curves, the Chaise is like a little mental vacation once we get onto it. It’s like a really gentle inversion table at times, except I’m consenting to the bloodflow differential and I have all the fluff and back support I need. The headspace change happens almost the second I touch the Chaise. Just feeling the texture of faux leather in comparison with everything else in my apartment brings me a visceral awareness of my sexuality. It’s not as though I’ve fetishized the Chaise (well maybe I have, a bit), but rather just something about it that fits so appropriately with my identity, physically and spiritually.

BLACK LABEL ESSE CHAISE
Yes, I would say this is relevant to my interests.

I thought it was just me who felt that way, as the first time I used it I masturbated alone while my partner was at work. I worked myself into what felt like ten different positions with my Hitachi. I rarely orgasm that many times from a Hitachi; it’s usually one or two and I’m over-sensitized and blissed out, but something about the Chaise had this organically coaching feeling telling me that I could keep going if I wanted to, and I did. It didn’t cradle me like a bed. It was comfortable, but I didn’t want to just sprawl out and nod off into a sweaty mess like I usually do. I felt a weird out of body experience as the sun shone through the snake tank and onto my beating chest, like I was on display…for myself. It was really erotic and very confidence-building.

BLACK LABEL ESSE CHAISE
Truly at peace.

My partner had a similar experience when he used it on his own and felt really sexy afterwards, describing an energized state and attributing it to the position he was in, back rested against the higher slope and one foot on each side, toes dug into the carpet. He said that because of this, it didn’t strain him or tire him, but it also didn’t feel like a sleepy wank either, where he usually wants to sink back into bed afterwards.

The angles of the Chaise make it very easy to get out of, even if I’ve got my head at the lower slope and my ass at the highest slope, all I need to do is move one leg with gravity and I’ve got a firm plant on the floor. There is no “turtling” required, which I usually need to do to get off of my back once I’ve been in a sunken bed for a while. The Chaise is firm and supportive, but not stiff, so it holds both my 200 pound body and my partner’s 130 pound body in many different positions. I could be on my knees with this thing and it will barely make a dent. The Chaise really is a solid piece of material.

BLACK LABEL ESSE CHAISE
That lumbar support is crucial.

So the day finally came when my partner and I got to use it together. And it was funny, because we were both just casually showing each other how we each masturbated on it, but watching each other do that was so arousing that a full session evolved from there. Everything felt so good! I was amazed at how easy it was to be on top again, with him lying down and my legs on either side of the Chaise. It was the perfect height, and the dip in the middle gave him a great space for thrusting while I could use my legs to lift myself up and down off of him, plus the slope behind his head was great to grab onto for additional support.

BLACK LABEL ESSE CHAISE
One example of a doggy position.

I don’t think sex with me on top has ever been that easy in my entire life. The other position that blew us away because we never get to do it was doggy style. Normally, even off the edge of the bed, doggy style is extremely tiring on his legs, and I can never arch my back properly without it hurting my discs or triggering my sciatica. This has been so disappointing for us as doggy style was always my favorite position, and I used to be able to arch my back to work my G-spot really well. By positioning me in the dip of the chaise with him at the top of the lowest slope, he was able to use physics of all things, the gravity of the cushioning to help spring him back up each time he came down from behind. I’m not sure how much sense that makes, but if I’m laid out, hugging the higher slope with my legs spread, and he’s on the other slope with his legs together, he was able to get a really great entry angle for a virtually inexhaustible doggy style that left both of us very satisfied at the end.

Cats and hoomans aren't the only creatures to enjoy @liberator_inc products.

A post shared by Avery (@thepalimpsex) on

Something I find equally valuable about the Chaise is the many usages for it. Currently it sits in our pet room between two bookcases. I keep discovering new things every day for this lounger. Just this week I needed to flip through about 20 books on sex therapy for a paper, and instead of kneeling on the floor, I luxuriously flopped over the chaise to read Jessica Benjamin’s The Bonds of Love. (Paging Dr. Freud!) My partner loves to steal the grippy pillow that comes with the chaise, as it has all these little nubbins on the back and looks identical to one of those medical lumbar pillows you put on a computer chair…which is exactly what he uses it for. We both love using the chaise as our viewing couch when we feed our snake, Princess Buttercup.

CUFF KIT ACCESSORIES
Awesome modular assortment for DIY tie-ups.

I should also mention that the D rings at the base of the Chaise have a distinctly kinky function for bondage, and Liberator was kind enough to send us a pack of their modular ankle and wrist cuffs, but for some reason we were unable to thread them through the D rings. The clips and straps were too thick to fit through, and to be completely honest, were a bit too complicated for our liking. The blindfold was fantastic, though! It even had a little lip of padding at the bottom for cheek comfort and kept me from being able to peek out the bottom (also great for multi-purpose, as my partner uses this blindfold to block out my laptop light when I’m up late nights in bed).

CUFF KIT ACCESSORIES
Though the D Rings were just a smidge too small.

We do like the D rings because they are sturdy as hell. They make lifting and moving the Chaise so easy, and for someone with a bad back, this is so crucial. Lifting by the D rings gives us a great grip on the thing and we have no fear of the cover ripping at all. They’re actually part of the removable cover, as the Chaise has two covers which are simple to take off, and as with any Liberator product, totally washable. Though to be honest, given the smoothness of the faux leather, I think a simple spot treatment should do. Overall I am so impressed with this massive product and would highly recommend the Black Label Esse Chaise for anyone who has the space for it!

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