Sex toy reviewing here at ErosBlog has followed a curious arc. In the early days of the blog, when traffic was bigger and sex blogs were more rare (this was before Fleshbot, mostly) I got a lot of unsolicited sex toys in the mail. I typically reviewed only the favorites, and I was always clear with folks that stuff would have to impress me a lot (code for “be expensive, nifty, and useful”) in order for me to stir my lazy ass enough to write a review.

Then sex blogging took off and got commercial. Potential places to get reviews became numerous. And sex toy sellers figured out that guaranteed reviews from smaller blogs were more valuable than potential reviews at ErosBlog that might or might not happen. The no-strings-attached stuff in the mail trickled off, but the offers with strings exploded. I don’t play those games; I’m not going to promise a review, return your toys after review (yuck), promise your preferred anchor text in my review links, none of it. Mostly I ignore those emails as spam; sometimes, if the offer is about a toy I’d actually like to see, I’ll respond with my “send it if you want, no promises” disclaimer. Sometimes this leads to amusing exchanges with huffy and offended sex toy purveyors who think I should be drooling to get free toys; less often, it leads to stuff in the mail. A surprising number of times it results in promises to send stuff that never arrives; apparently, too many sex toy companies have drop shippers that can’t handle shipping to post office boxes or discrete packaging and labeling. What with one thing and another, it’s been years since ErosBlog got stuff in the mail that was nifty enough to try out and quality enough to actually review. That’s just how it goes.

However, reviewers for more prominent outlets apparently got (still get?) a lot more, and more amazing, stuff. Here’s Gram Ponante:

I would review sex toys, often securing the assistance of willing female friends to give their honest impressions of non-organic objects I would scientifically insert into their bodies.

“Don’t worry, Baby,” I would say. “It’s for a blog.”

Each month I’d get boxes and boxes of dildos and vibrators — some of them heavy and elegant pieces of practical art — that would disappear into the purses and vaginas of various friends. And that’s great because I didn’t need them back.

But then came the male-oriented sex toys: the masturbation sleeves, the disembodied molded vaginas and anuses of people like Carmen Luvana, Joanna Angel, Jada Fire, and others, made of phthalate-rich rubbery material with names like “Cyberskin” and “TrueFlesh.” It was very difficult to give this stuff away. When April Flores’ “Realistic Pussy & Ass” arrived, we had great fun just slapping it around the office; it did feel like the ass of a delighted BBW vixen, but I couldn’t find anyone to fuck it, ditto the rubberized moneymakers of any of the other porn stars.

What’s more, when I would place April Flores’ Realistic Pussy & Ass on a co-worker’s chair as a joke, I was mortified to find it left residue. Were April Flores herself to sit her naked pussy and ass on an office chair, the next tenant would only sense that something wonderful had happened there, not be unnerved by some pinkish chemical ooze.

Just so, just so. That chair, you could probably sell on eBay. Meanwhile, I’m pleased to report nobody ever tried to mail me any disembodied phthalate-oozing pussies or asses.

The rest of Gram’s article is worth reading for his take on male-oriented sex toys (mostly not worth the added complexity “unless the toy is for a part of your person you just can’t get at, like the prostate”) and for good lines like this: “The lapsed Catholic in me was fine with spilling my seed non-procreatively, but not on the ground; it had to be on a living face.”

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