Susie Bright has created an Amazon list of must-have sex stuff, and in explaining the list, she’s dashed off several valuable mini essays on vibrators (wall current rules, battery-operated sucks, The Rabbit isn’t all that), lube, and the history of the sex toy industry. The lube portion I particularly like, because she simplifies down to the essentials:

Sex educators are famous for a particular cliche: “communication and lubrication” are what make people happy in bed. But truer words were never spoken.

So, given that essential fact, what lube do you get? My Amazon list is a little truncated because of what I could list on their site.

Vegetable oil is fantastic. Pre-AIDS, it was my lube of choice. If you’re aren’t using condoms, get your favorite oil— almond is really nice, maybe add a little coconut to make it creamy— and go at it. Or just grab the olive oil off the kitchen counter if time is of the essence. It feels great, it won’t hurt you, it’s sexy…. who could ask for more?

For water-soluble lubes, I always liked Probe because it has no taste! The biggest hassle with commercial lubes is that they usually taste AWFUL and make oral sex completely undesirable.

Are there other taste and scent-free lubes? Yes, Probe is my old tried-and-true. Works great with condoms, doesn’t make you ill, doesn’t cause cancer… what a treasure!

However, sometimes you need a lube that goes BEYOND. Sometimes the drugs you’re on, or menopause, can turn you into a prune. How do you get that high-flying crazy slippery feeling that goes on and on and on?

Silicone lube.

That’s why I recommended Liquid Silk for my desert island. It also is the first lube that makes hot tub and shower sex possible and even fun. It’s not water soluble— you’ll have that slippery feeling in your vagina or ass for several hours. But the slickness is so intoxicating. Just don’t use it with other silicone products or they gum each other up! Get that spatula out of your hot tub!

I do, however, find an important omission in Susie’s discussion of power sources for vibrators. She writes:

1) Electricity is essential. I don’t care what sex toy retailers say about battery-operated vibes— the main reason they push them is because they are dirt cheap, (wholesale), and they are lightweight to ship and transport (without the batts, of course!). A Hitachi magic wand is only marked up double its cost to the retailer… so if it’s $40, maybe they paid $20.

But a battery vibe might be a dollar to them and they’ll sell it for $10 or $20.

This reasoning has nothing to do with how it feels, or if women can get off on it. And the “sound” of batteries vibrating against plastic doesn’t mean it’s powerful. They can make an awful racket and not deliver any appreciable sensation.

Can women get off on battery-vibes? YES, some can, some are their mother’s darlings— I’m not on a crusade to get rid of them. But the reason they are hyped the way they are is because of money, not because of universal sexual satisfaction.

The vibrators that are produced by the mainstream appliance manufacturers like Hitachi and Wahl, were originally introduced as “massagers.” They’re quality appliances that will last years and years. I still have the first ones I ever bought in 1981. They have warranties. They have a following that’s been going for decades, based on technology that’s over a century old now.

I always hated selling a woman a battery-operated model for her first vibrator because there was a 50% chance she’d find the whole thing a hoax. However, if I sold her a motor-driven or coil-operated electric model, she’d come out of the ‘try-out’ room with this amazed look on her face, and say, ‘OH! I GET IT NOW!”

I agree wholeheartedly about the puny vibrations you can get from a couple of “C” or even “AA” batteries. When I’ve got a vibrator in one hand and a lady’s labia and clitoral hood in the other, I want some serious jiggle and buzz. “Can you feel it now?” is not the game I am here to play. I have pink bits to vibrate and I want them V*i*B*R*a*T*e*D, not tickled. (For tickling, I have feathers.)

On the other hand, as any roofer can tell you, there isn’t an electrical outlet handy under every current bush, and dragging a power cord behind you is a pain in the ass. The same technology that lets a guy with a tool belt and a hairy ass crack drive sheet metal screws for forty minutes at the top of a sixteen foot ladder (rechargeable ni-cad or lithium-ion batteries, ta-dah!) makes a perfectly acceptable power source for a vibrator. I’ve raved before about the Phantasy Sinnflut, which is a tool-grade rechargeable vibrator that any man could be proud to dock on its charging base in the garage next to his DeWalt drill and his Makita reciprocal saw. It’s nobody’s budget option, but it’s handier than anything with a cord, safer in the shower, and functionally far beyond anything with a disposable dry cell in it.