The Making of A Sex Toy Review: D-Score Explained

Told you we’d be making time for fun now and again. Emily and I are busy working on our first sex toy review, which is mostly already done. In fact, we could probably both independently write the first one from memory and the sum of all of our experiences with it. There’s a catch though.

It may seem like a stuck-on-stupid moment, but while we were going through building a format we thought would be most useful to our readers we ran into a bit of a stumbling block, size. There are plenty of objective ways to describe the size of a toy; the diameter, the length, the areal cross section, or even the displaced volume, but how do you turn that into a subjective recommendation? What exactly is a good size for a beginner? We have no clue, Emily hasn’t been a beginner in some time, we’ve completely lost frame of reference for that experience.

Sure, there are lots of toys that claim they’re good for beginners, take the Tantus Starter for instance, but we’re doing a review here. We’re supposed to be examining those claims. Does great for a beginner also mean bored in a week? At 1 inch diameter and 4.5 insertable length the Starter seems like it could be just that. Problem is, we really don’t know, we can’t wave a magic wand (or a Hitachi Magic Wand for that matter) and make Emily a beginner again, and even then while vaginas have an average size like everything else, they’re also unique. These types of things are things I’d like to be able to tell my readers with confidence; this is good for a beginner, or experienced users only. Things like lubricants are a little easier due to their subjectivity. We can simply say in the case of a water based lubricant if it felt like it dried out too quickly for us, things of that nature, but it’s hard for someone who can hilt a large Apollo to make subjective recommendations about being ‘good for beginners’ in the size department. Getting back to the Starter, it’s easy to say the shape is exactly what a beginner would want, the head is a bit larger than the shaft, the whole thing is smooth and glossy, it’s relatively short (you probably won’t be accidentally slamming your cervix), made from a body safe material, and relatively cheap. The problem really comes in the girth department. Is one inch diameter really good enough, even for a newbie? In other words, are you going to be getting your 30 bucks out of that?

We’re struggling to answer questions like that. One thing we do know is, just the simple diameter of a toy isn’t really something that translates well to gauging size. These aren’t pants, you can’t really try them on in the fitting room, and you definitely can’t return them if you’re dissatisfied. Diameter also doesn’t scale linearly to the felt girth, which we’ll get into soon. We need a way to accurately communicate the difficulty, or lack thereof, of using a toy of a certain size.

For a while I considered taking the volume of the total displacement of a toy, which would give us its absolute volume, but some toys have very large portions that aren’t insertable or meant to be insertable. This includes the flared bases of anal safe toys, harness compatible toys, and things like the gigantic bases of toys meant to literally resemble a horse’s dick. Absolute displacement is out. So then I thought about just measuring the insertable portion and doing a rough approximation of a cylinders volume. This presents trouble for two reasons. Some toys change drastically in thickness like the Crystal Delights Twist and you can always control how much the toy is inserted, making the total volume largely adjustable by the user. The real difficulty comes from roughly 3 factors; the firmness of the toy, the shape of the head, and the area of the cross section of the toy. There’s still the problem of making a useful comparison however.

For very experienced people like Emily, it would be useful to compare the diameter to a standard soda can, but then you’d have to say what kind of soda can—they’re different around even English speaking countries.

Then it clicked, since our target audience are traditional couples, we can take the average areal cross-section—though in functional terms the circumference is just as good they really reflect the same measurement—of the average member and assign a score to how much larger or smaller the area of the toy is than that. For a variety of amusing reasons; diameter, deviation, dick, rhyming with Z, and because this is supposed to be fun, we are going to call this the D-score. We are still going to post the diameter, that’s still useful information, but we will also be posting the D-score. A D-score of 1 means the toy has roughly the same area as your average man (that’s 1.67 square inches for those curious).

Some of the more mathematically inclined out there might be asking, “why don’t you just use diameter then? The area is based on radius in the first place so reporting the listed diameter is as good as listing the area right?”. I get it, and you’re right, those measurements are intrinsically related. However, if you caught that bit, you also likely know that a 50% increase in diameter doesn’t equate to a 50% increase in area, and that’s why listing diameters can be misleading. Let’s go back to the soda can and our new base measurement. The average human has a diameter of 1.46 inches (1.67 square inches) and the standard 12oz can in the united states has a diameter of 2.6 inches (5.3 square inches). If we just eyeball the diameters we might be tempted to think the soda can is 78% larger than your average guy, but the area is just over 3 times as much (3.17x to be exact). It should be obvious which one of those better reflects the felt reality in the difference between the two objects. Thus, we would say the soda can has a D-score of 3.2 (we will be gratuitously rounding here). For those of you curious about the Starter I mentioned earlier, it has a D-score of .5!

I hope that was as fun for you to read as it was for me to write. First toy review will be up soon. In the mean time, have a good one.

Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.

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