Review: Umie by Tantriss (with a word on gender, representation, and appropriation)

Review: Umie by Tantriss (with a word on gender, representation, and appropriation)

photo against a white and grey chevron quilt; pink dildo-shaped vibrator with a smartphone illustration featuring a screenshot from the Umie app; white text box with black text "Review: Umie by Tantriss" and teal text "Chronic Sex"

Disclaimer: I was given the Umie for free in exchange for my honest review.

There’s a lot to say, so let’s just dig in.

Product details

The Umie is 9.5 inches long and made of silicone.

It charges via USB and the cord is included in the package. You can take the Umie underwater with you for up to 30 minutes.

There is a partner app that makes the Umie incredibly accessible. I’ll touch more on that below, but it’s the thing that makes this toy worthwhile.

Testing

Without the app, I’m not sure how much I’d be able to figure out the toy. The buttons are small to not get in the way, but also don’t lend themselves to great accessibility. It’s not always easy to tell which button you’re touching in the moment – or to press it.

A sun symbol controls the heat while a symbol similar to a wifi one cycles through the patterns. The arrow at the bottom of the toy turns it on, which seems to be different for many toys. I doubt neither myself nor my husband would be able to remember any of this.

I honestly just mashed the buttons until they turned on each time I used the Umie.

Solo use

For me, the app really saved the day. It allows you to control and access a number of features that would be tricky to move through with the Umie alone. You can turn the toy off, control intensity, move through preset patterns, and more.

There was no accessible way to enjoy this toy without the app.

I really appreciated the warming feature in the toy, especially now that we’ve gotten freezing temperatures here in the Midwest. It takes a few minutes to warm up, but that feature needs to be included in so many more toys.

A lot of learning about and playing with this toy was through trial and error more than having a roadmap. There was more explanation in the app itself, but that’s also not accessible for many people.

The presets were great for changing up the sensations Umie doles out. I appreciated the draw-your-own-pattern/custom mode as well, though I wish there was more information on this. The sound mode seemed like a fun idea, but didn’t seem to correlate that great with sounds in our bedroom, whether I was alone or not.

Partner play

I made the mistake of giving the hubs control of my phone while playing with the Umie. It was a fun mistake, but also led to me getting vibrations from Andrew Gurza’s Disability After Dark podcast, the Beauty & The Beast Original Broadway Cast Soundtrack, and videos of the guinea pigs.

The problem is that, while you can access media to sync with the vibrations you feel, there’s no separation. Podcast episodes were alongside voice memos and songs with no way to access playlists through the app. The videos were even worse, though that’s probably because all my videos are of our guinea pigs or my niblings.

It was, uh, weird.

Plus, there seemed to be little correlation between the intensity of the vibrations and the media being played. A rap song with heavy bass gave the same constant vibration as Andrew’s beautiful voice. Vibrations went 0-100 very quickly. While this was a nice potential feature, it feels like these things weren’t fleshed out fully before release.

There was a lot of fun in letting T control the app and not knowing what was going to happen. That was really the end of that excitement, though. Maybe if I were better at being serious and communicating what I like or if we got a little more serious in the bedroom, this would’ve worked better. The design needs some tweaking, though.

I can see this being fun for play when I travel or if we were long-distance. It would really have to be combined with a call or Skype, though. We didn’t try to access the actual long-distance features.

A word about gender, sexuality, and appropriation

I’ll admit that I’m a little… I fell odd about the gendered nature of this toy. The marketing is geared towards women, either single or in a relationship. Even the colors – pink or white – tend to be more femme-geared ones for toys. They even label the toy the “PREMIER PLEASURE TOY FOR BOTH WOMEN AND COUPLES.”

In the app’s social component that allows you to interact with other users if you so choose, you can only select between male and female. It felt odd to be misgendered by a sex toy – and their company.

There seems to be some cisheteronormativity going on, too. In everything I could find, the only couples interviewed or featured were cis-appearing male/female couples. They were also white… which brings up another issue. I know that it’s not always easy to display diversity, but you can’t rely on white abled-appearing cishet couples to sell a sex toy. You just can’t.

There are a lot of comments on Umie/Tantriss’ social media around unlocking enlightenment using this toy. Even the preset vibrations are names related to Asian religions – Nirvana, Chakra, etc. Without being able to find much about Umie/Tantriss’ background, this feels very appropriative to me. It’s essentially a sex toy version of commercialized yoga or Buddhism… especially since there’s no education around Tantra on their site or in their app. The site mentions breathwork, for example, but nothing more about it.

Look, my undergraduate degree was in religious studies and I focused heavily on Asian religions, so this really irks me. There’s so much appropriation of these cultural ideals and beliefs in our society. When someone adept at internet searching can’t find much about the background of your company in relation to these ideals, it’s definitely not a great look.

Verdict

As problematic as this is, I enjoyed the vibrator. I liked being able to switch things up on my phone, that I can do it one-handed. There’s an app for this toy that makes it more accessible when my hands are having a rough arthritis day. It’s lightweight and easy to move around.

All the problematic stuff, though, brings me down. I’m post-orgasm and should be super happy. Instead, I’m relaxed but super irked. This isn’t something I feel comfortable endorsing because it goes against so many things I fight for – gender neutrality, cultural respect, diversity, social justice, etc. There’s not enough transparency about the company to even know if this is appropriative or not, but it feels that way. It shouldn’t be hard to find the background of your company, either, and that’s off-putting.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had a sex toy cause me to feel so much shame. If you made it to the end here, I wish I had something awesome to give you.

You can always save 10% off more ethical gear over at Vibrant when you use the code ‘CHRONICSEX’ (not applicable for use with other coupon codes). Likewise, you can save 10% at Peepshow Toys using ‘CHRONIC.’ At the very least, maybe check out Pink Label. They have amazing porn full of diversity, representation, and beautiful consent!

If interested, you can snag the Umie directly from Umie/Tantriss.

Review: The Queen Bee from Hot Octopuss

Review: The Queen Bee from Hot Octopuss

white background with purple octopus and bee with 'be' and 'mine' above black text "Review: The Queen Bee from Hot Octopuss" and "Chronic Sex"

The amazing people over at Hot Octopuss gave me the Queen Bee for free in exchange for an honest review.

Technology brings us the most amazing things sometimes. The Queen Bee is one of them. I just finished testing it and I’m honestly a bit speechless, so let’s just dive right in.

Product Deets

Queen Bee is two-sided in the best way.

front view of Hot Octopuss' Queen Bee - grey hairbrush-shaped sex toy against a grey and white chevron quilt - the brush-resembling portion is smooth with buttons and a charging spot on the handle

One side is massage-oriented, delivering nice vibrations without being too overwhelming. You’ll also find the controls and charging spot on the handle on this side.

back view of Hot Octopuss' Queen Bee - grey hairbrush-shaped sex toy against a grey and white chevron quilt - the hairbrush resembling portion has an oval set apart by an outline

The other side has what really makes Queen Bee different – their multi-award winning PulsePlate Technology™ that delivers more powerful oscillations.

There are six vibration patterns to choose from. With two sides and several intensity settings, this gives you a fun list of combinations to play with. The Queen Bee is also completely waterproof!

Queen Bee charges using a magnetic USB cord, maximizing your pleasure if you care about the earth. You can run it for up to an hour on one charge, too, which is nice. It takes about four hours to fully charge.

It’s 9.5 inches long and is made of TPE/TPR. Hot Octopuss suggests using a water-based lubricant if you pick this up. Make sure to clean after each use!

Testing

From an accessibility standpoint, Queen Bee is pretty great. It’s ergonomic in design and pretty light. It’s easy to access the control and change anything. I really enjoyed it from that aspect as there aren’t many toys out there that are relatively easy for me to use without interrupting the fun. That said, the controls aren’t necessarily intuitive. I’ve found myself switching vibration patterns instead of increasing the intensity. I usually struggle with this, though, and didn’t find it to be much of a deterrent.

It’s a little loud. Hot Octopuss rates this at under 55 decibels, which is about what a fridge or air conditioner sounds like in your home. It’s not the toy for you if you’re looking for something incredibly quiet and discrete.

In order to really get the full effect from the pulse plate, I had to actively separate my labia and set the toy against it. When trying to snag clitoral stimulation from other toys, I have been able to get away with not doing that. The other side, though, was able to bring fun sensations regardless of where I set it.

An orgasm was fairly easy either way, though slightly less so if I was squirming and needed to recenter the pulse plate side. All in all, I wasn’t turned off by that. It’s kind of fun to tease yourself sometimes. Plus, with how easy it was to move and control Queen Bee, having to put in a little more effort there wasn’t an issue.

Verdict

If you’re looking for something discrete, quiet, or insertable, Queen Bee isn’t something you’ll be happy with in the end. Don’t get me wrong – I like it – but not everyone does.

As a vulva owner, I enjoyed the Queen Bee. It’s certainly worth taking a look at getting your hands on one. It’s versatile, different, and sleek. I can also see how it would be a great toy regardless of gender, too, because it’s very similar to wand massagers but lighter and easier to control.

You can snag the Queen Bee from Hot Octopuss or from my affiliates Peepshow Toys and SheVibe.

Review: Fun Factory Delight

Review: Fun Factory Delight

a black and white S shaped toy against a black and white zebra striped blanket with product box in the background; black text box has white text "Review" purple text "Fun Factory Delight" and below has a purple text box with white text "Chronic Sex"

Disclaimer: I was given this product for free in exchange for my honest review.

Fun Factory, one of my favorite companies in the world, sent me the Delight to try out.

black and white S-shaped toy

 

I was intrigued by the shape of the Delight. I mean, it looks amazing, right?

Product details

The Delight is just under 6 inches long and over an inch wide. You can get it wet, but it’s not fully waterproof. It has three different vibration patterns and eight intensities. Because of the curvy shape, it’s safe for butt play – and can be a great prostate massager! It’s also a rechargeable toy, making it more eco-friendly.

That’s one of my favorite things about Fun Factory in general – they’re super eco-conscious.

The black section of the toy is more rubbery and grippy, while the white part is harder.

Testing

I’m not gonna lie – I had a lot of fun testing this one. I always try to test under a variety of conditions – bad pain, migraine, etc. At the risk of being punny, this toy was a Delight to use each time.

Sorry. Anyway…

The curve this toy has is something that I really enjoy. It can be an effective vibrating dildo or give direct clitoral stimulation. If you get the angle just right, you can have some clitoral stimulation while using this internally, too.

I didn’t use it with any butt play, but it’s definitely a safe one for that. It’s not a flared base, but it’s not far off, either. The curve that makes this toy beautiful also makes it very difficult to disappear up there.

That little curly bit at the top makes the Delight easy to hold, especially with that little bit of grip. Having the buttons on this piece also makes it super easy for someone like me to change up the intensity often. I had no problem using this while having a rough hand day, either, which is always a plus!

The very thing that makes it easy to use for solo play might make it harder for partner play. A partner might have a rough time trying to control the speed since the controls are so close to the body. I flail around a lot while having fun, so that could just be me.

Verdict

This is definitely a great toy – accessible, comfortable, and easy to use. Each time I tested it, I was able to orgasm one way or another. If you’re looking for a reliable and beautiful sex toy, the Delight won’t steer you wrong.

Review: The Doxy Massager, My New Lover

Review: The Doxy Massager, My New Lover

photo of a purple Doxy massager on a white fluffy comforter next to a copy of the book "The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability" - underneath is a purple box with white text "Review: Doxy Massager' and "Chronic Sex" all middle-aligned

Disclaimer: I was given the Doxy Massager for free in exchange for my honest review.

This is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I’ve never had a wand-type toy. Everything I’ve had is either a vibrator, dildo, or epic combination of the two. I wanted one but could never seem to justify spending that kind of money on myself.

I just want to say that, thanks to Doxy, I get it. They gave several massagers to sex bloggers attending Woodhull in August. It’s taken me this long to write up my review because… well, I had fun testing.

Product Deets

The wand plugs into an outlet using a built-in AC adapter. The 12-foot cord means you shouldn’t run into too many problems with that, though. The top speed is 9,000 RPM which is, uh, intense. This means, though, that this is not a submergeable toy. Please don’t bathe with it!

It’s just over a foot long and under 3 inches wide, aside from the head which is 7.5 inches. The body on this particular one is plastic with the head made from PVC. I haven’t experimented, but the head can accommodate any magic wand attachments.

From an accessibility standpoint, this toy is exceptional. There are many toy mounts and pillows out there to help you get in the right position with this wand. While this is a slightly heavier toy at around 2 pounds, it’s relatively easy to move. The buttons are in a great spot and are straightforward – on/off, increase, decrease.

It’s also great to note that wands can be used for many things outside of sex. When I’m having a rough back day, hubs will give me a back massage and use the Doxy to loosen up tight spots. Even my acupuncturist recommends people get one!

Okay, he recommends everyone learn how to masturbate properly, too. We get along super well.

Testing

I started the testing process on this toy within two hours of picking it up. I went back to my hotel room at Woodhull and got to work. Initially, I started working on neck knots and one thing led to another. After a nap, I was ready to head back to the conference itself.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that I orgasm very quickly from this wand. Like, wow, I have to work in some edging work if I want to last longer than two minutes. After struggling for a while with orgasms (thanks, multiple antidepressants!), it’s a nice problem to have. Even on days where other masturbation techniques don’t quite get me there, the Doxy does.

The motor in this wand is extremely powerful that direct clitoral stimulation is a bit much for me. I’ve found it much more comfortable to grind against the wand or push it up against that sweet spot between the vulva and vaginal opening. It’s great for foreplay, too, when used around the thighs, nipples, and other erogenous zones. I found it easy to hold and maneuver as long as I used my stronger dominant hand.

I’m super excited to start exploring some of the wand attachments out there, too. It’s a very new thing for me to get turned on looking at sex toy accessories, but damn.

If there’s one downside, it’s that it can get a little loud on some of the higher settings. I don’t know many things that can get up to 9,000 RPM and be completely silent, so it’s worth the noise.

Verdict

Each person is different, but I’ve never met someone who doesn’t love the Doxy. If you are looking for a reliable toy that can do double duty and give you some relief from chronic pain and muscle tension, there is literally no better thing out there than this wand. It’s accessible, beautiful, and has a permanent place by my bedside.

You can get the Doxy from most sites. If you snag one from Vibrant, remember that proceeds from your sale help fund the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains! You can snag this wand in black, white, pink, or purple.

Review: Good Clean Love CaraGold Premium Lube

I’ve been wanting to try CaraGold from Good Clean Love for a while now.

Over the course of a few weeks, I had several people message me and tell me to try it from randos to pals to other sex educators. Naturally, the next time I found myself at an awesome shop – Shag in Brooklyn! – I picked up a tube.

What is CBD?

I use a lot of CBD products. For those who aren’t as familiar with it, CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s a naturally occurring part of the marijuana and hemp plants. Unlike THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is not mind-altering or psychotropic. Still, there is some debate over the legality of it.

CBD oil has a lot of benefits. It can help with anxiety, seizures, pain, nausea, inflammation, appetite, PTSD, and more. There are many ways to utilize CBD – lotions, tinctures, salves, etc. CaraGold, though, is the first lube I’ve seen.

To the lube!

The first thing I was struck by was how thick this stuff is.

Left: CaraGold                                                              Right: another amazing lube

It’s much more gel than liquid in texture but is still body safe and free from parabens and glycerin:

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan, Organic-compliant flavor (EU: Aroma), Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Organic Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil

CaraGold has a pleasant smell, too. It’s not quite as strong as the vanilla smell from GCL’s Almost Naked but is still lovely.

TMI ALERT

Before I get into how I liked the lube, let’s talk about why this was a draw for me – other than the general CBD thing.

I have been dealing with some pretty uncomfortable vaginal/uterus stuff. Sometimes it comes on randomly and other times it shows up after penetration or orgasm… which really sucks. It’s almost like my whole uterus is spasming and just being ridiculous. Yes, I know, I need to talk to my primary care doc. There are some other fires to put out first like my neurological WTF.

Honestly, it’s been enough that it made me put off the last two toy reviews for a few months. I just couldn’t bring myself to test toys.

Using this lube has been a game changer. I was able to do more than just penetration but get a little adventurous, too. That’s been a first for a while.

CaraGold lasted very well, whether I was being active or not. I sat for a while and played on my phone in between testing and didn’t even have to reapply!

It’s kind of amazing.

Final verdict?

I highly recommend Good Clean Love products in general, but especially CaraGold.