Dildo Review(s) – Merfolk XL and Chaos Beast by Pleasure Forge

Dildo Review(s) – Merfolk XL and Chaos Beast by Pleasure Forge

We get a double header today with two lovely items from Pleasure Forge. The Illithid we reviewed a bit over a week ago came in the same order with these two and we figured it was high time to finish reviewing that order as it was a month old. Also I really wanted an excuse to post this picture I took of them for funsies when they arrived in order to pay homage to the D&D roots of these toys. Chaos Beast is first up, followed by Merfolk XL.

From Left to Right – Illithid, Merfolk XL, and Chaos Beast

Chaos Beast

Introducing the Chaos Beast. This is a tentacle class toy with a twist—literally. Ours came in Miami Heat, a swirly marble of black, purple, orange, and pink (We updated the Illithid review to correct the reference to this color, Illithid was in Miami Vice). Topping this hot quadruple marble is a mica sparkle and UV reactivity. Firmness is Shore 10A which is normally what we’d consider approaching uncomfortable firm but the Chaos Beast doesn’t feel that way. This is largely owed to the wild dimensions of the toy and I suspect it would have a harder time keeping its shape if you went softer. It’s definitely a firmer silicone than we’re used to but we can tell if this were a normally phallic shaped toy we’d feel that a lot harder than we do. The Chaos Beast tends to twist, bend, and give rather than resist.

How do I even begin to describe the physical appearance of this toy? You should click through that gallery to help you follow along. The shaft of this tentacle is a sinewy double helix. Filling the void of the helix is more fleshy goodness, smooth on the front, suckers on the back. As you go down the shaft the texture on the double helix itself goes from smooth to this sorta micro-ridged printer texture. The joint of the shaft and base is adorned by…..something. Is that hair, is that tentacles, is that fire, is that hair-tentacle-fire? It’s chaos, that’s what it is. I will note that ours had some very minor casting imperfections towards the base. These are tiny, purely cosmetic, and you’ll find imperfections like these fairly routinely in hand-poured silicone toys, however, we will be pointing these out wherever we see them. Topping off the already chaotic features of this tentacle is a, head? A sucker? A sucker-head? Okay, it’s a sucker head, with…teeth? The backside of the head is adorned with 3 nicely sized ridges, but that other side, there’s a lot going on there. Honestly, I expected to find casting imperfections here if anywhere, but on our Chaos Beast there are none on this crazy, tooth filled…what are those bumps anyway? Our sucker-head mouth is apparently full of clitorises. We’ll be getting to those in more detail soon.

So with all that going on how exactly are you supposed to use this thing? Emily put the Chaos Beast through its paces and some of the answers surprised us. Let’s start with that head. You can feel all of that texture internally, the ridges, the sucker-mouth-bumps, all of it. What surprised Emily about the head though was how great it was as an external stimulator. Her clitoris loved all those little sometimes also clit looking bumps rubbed all over it. The shaft is roughly the same story, surprisingly good for external use and feels-like-it-looks when used internally.

We’re not going to bother with our typical D-score table for this beasty. The shape is too irregular for that to really mean anything here and the girth is not the main star of this attraction, nor is the overall length, and most of you should be able to fit this comfortably. Even the measurements themselves are tricky, sure 6.7 inches is actually decently long but the Chaos Beast bends, folds, twists, and gives, and I think those of you with shallower vaginas might be surprised how much deeper you can take Chaos beast than the measurements would suggest, but for the sake of completeness here’s a quick rundown of the basic numbers:

Length: Overall 8.7in / Usable 6.7in
Circumference: Max 6.3in / Min 3.9in
Diameter: Max 1.97in / Min 1.0in

Like most toys in this size class, Emily found Chaos Beast very comfortable for dual penetration play. One warning though, we don’t consider the base flared/obstructed enough to be anal safe and we did not attempt to use Chaos Beast that way. Illithid, myself, or Goblin’s Tentacle played back door partner to Chaos Beast in our trials and the results were pleasant.

We picked up our Chaos Beast for 50 bucks before shipping, another steal from Pleasure Forge. We would be remiss not to include that the aesthetic took a small amount of time to get over. Chaos Beast certainly lives up to its name and there was a, albeit brief, moment of what do we even do with this? We can see some people, even fantasy inclined people, being put off by that, but fortunately this isn’t going to be a huge surprise, you should be able to work out whether you’re going to like how it looks simply through the pictures provided above. For everyone else Chaos Beast promises an intriguing, versatile, and unique set of sensations with premium colorations in an entry level price tag—entry level in the context of fantasy silicone toys anyway.

For those of you building out an existing collection the Chaos Beast is a strong and easy recommendation. Newbies to toys in general would be taking a bit of a gamble with unknown preferences in our opinion but we thoroughly enjoyed the sensations. We think there are better basics and first-buys though if that’s you. For those of you experienced with toys but perhaps just looking to dip your toes into the fantasy market, buy with confidence.

Merfolk XL

Alright size queens and size-aspirational onlookers, this next one is for you. Welcome to Merfolk XL in Shore 00-30, the gentlest fisting warm-up this side of a game table. Let’s take a moment to just gaze and take him all in; you’ll be spending at least as much time getting him in you.

Also lets talk about this King Cake coloration. We typically avoid green as a component color in our toys and we really don’t get the whole carnival thing, but here it just worked and we had to have it. I usually save the size chart stuff for later, but the whole point of the Merfolk XL—there are other sizes available if you’re not into the whole stretch thing by the way—is the size.

Merfolk XLCircumferenceDiameterD-Score
Minimum Girth7.5″2.22.27
Maximum Girth9.1″2.954.1

Quick Reminder: D-score is a measurement that essentially gives us the number of median sized dicks to equal the girth of a toy. You can read D-Score more easily as “This is how many dicks this is worth in girth”. So a D-Score of 2.5 would be 2 and a half dicks of girth, to make it simple.

Size queens should know this already, but for the sake of completeness we’re going to remind you that under no circumstances should a toy with these dimensions be deployed without copious amounts of lubricant handy and you should have a warm up toy, or two.

One thing we really like about Merfolk XL is the length and the top loaded max diameter. Merfolk XL measures just over 10 inches long with 8.7 of those inches usable, enough to satisfy the depth play needs of anyone vaginally. Emily isn’t even remotely in a place where we’d consider reviewing this for anal play and the shape isn’t technically anal safe anyway, just as an aside. In other toys with dimensions close to these, we’ve had issues hitting the max length of Emily’s vagina before we ran out of max girth—our large Spritz was in this boat and so is our large unflared Chance—but the Merfolk XL delivers that punch upfront in the large bulbous head. This is where the Shore 00-30 firmness(is that even an appropriate word to use when referring to something this soft?) really stretches its legs and shines. This stretch won’t leave you sore as the 00-30 squishes and accommodates.

There is minor gentle but noticeable texturing on Merfolk XL as you can see in the pictures, but this thing seems designed to scale up without becoming uncomfortable and it definitely accomplishes that. On that note, we know a few owners of the smaller sizes and they just adore the overall shape of this toy as well and we’re considering getting a ‘normal’ large for this reason. The lack of aggressive textures may also be responsible for the fact that our Merfolk XL is flawless, completely free of any perceptible imperfections cosmetic or otherwise. Winning.

As I alluded to before, the Merfolk XL has been our best fisting prep toy that we’ve ever owned. That was curious to me as we own toys that have a larger maximum D-score like our large Apollo. Also for the record, as these things vary a bit, my fist(duck-billed) is 10.5 inches around. I’m not sure if that is large or small on the scale but there it is, and that’s what Merfolk XL excels in prepping Emily to take. We think that has to do with the 00-30 silicone not leaving things sore before we start. Whatever the reason, as subjective as it may be, Merfolk XL just does this job better for us than anything else in our warchest.

Silicone toys in sizes like this typically come with hefty price tags to match, and Merfolk XL is no exception. However, Pleasure Forge delivers excellent value in this area again. At 100 bucks even before shipping, this is a lot of silicone for your money. The size queens reading this probably raised an eyebrow or two at that, there are much smaller toys that hit triple digits, much less hit it even. That price tag however, is still three digits and puts Merfolk XL way outside of beginner territory, though I’d argue the size already did that. But lets put aside paragraphs of who this toy isn’t for, because Merfolk XL is targeting a specific group of people—size queens—and y’all won’t be disappointed with Merfolk XL.

That wraps up our purchases from Pleasure Forge, and boy do they live up to their name, providing consistent value, beautiful toys, excellent craftsmanship, and stellar customer service. Whether you’re a size queen, fantasy newbie, or looking to expand an existing collection, you can’t go wrong with Pleasure Forge. We are truly impressed. We hope to bring you more reviews of their inventory in the future.

I am not a paid reviewer. My content comes from me and I was not solicited in any manner for this review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Activities for Bored Children

Activities for Bored Children

photo by: Ricardo Gomez Angel

I feel like I should have gotten to this one before snow season came to a close, but to be honest it would have slipped my mind completely were it not for the suggestion of a reader—also it doesn’t really snow here ever. That’s alright, we get our turn soon. We’ve got a veritable monsoon season coming up and that’s going to make it hard to get outdoors; stuck inside moments happen year round anyway, bonus points if the power is out. You’ll be bored, the kids will be trapped indoors, and you may be thinking about all the stuff you could be getting away with doing if they weren’t busy bouncing off the walls and getting into everything. So what do you do to avoid going crazy in these situations?

First, I suggest making sure your situation isn’t self-inflicted. I’ve caught myself plenty of times lamenting the fact that I was stuck in the house with the kids when it was sunny outside. Sure it was hotter than I wanted it to be, but it was about as safe to leave the house as it could ever get. This wasn’t a tornado warning or being flooded in or snowed in. I was just so bored I was making myself even more bored. Check yourself first for situations you are in control of. That being said let’s move on to our boredom toolbox.

If you are genuinely stuck inside, the particulars of your situation are going to affect whether or not a certain suggestion applies to you. For instance, we’re going to talk about baking a little bit and those of you with gas stoves can do this when the lights are out. Electric stove owners cannot, at least, unless you’re on some sort of heavy duty back-up power. See what I mean? The small details matter, I will be doing my best to cover a lot of bases but I can’t possibly cover them all.

So we’ll start with the classic inclement weather scenario. It’s raining or snowing or freezing, and it’s not an immediate danger to the family but getting out onto the road would probably be a less than ideal scenario. In situations like these there are many things to fall back on, and we’ll get to a few, but my favorite by far is passing down skill sets to the little ones in fun ways. Perhaps the easiest example of this, and one perhaps most of us can identify with, is baking cookies. Who’s not interested in cookies?! Depending on their age, you may have to limit their involvement, but even our three year-old is game for standing on a foot stool to watch us mix the batter and is definitely a good helper when it comes time to licking the cookie dough off of utensils prior to their disposal. It’s also a great way to just get them used to the idea of cooking, teaching oven safety, and if they get interested in actually making a batch themselves later on they’ll already be familiar with the process enough that you’ll be able to focus on the fun bits. Do you have a hobby that can be done indoors? Do you find yourself wishing you had the time to share that with your children but can’t seem to find it? Think about it the next time the weather keeps you cooped up.

Staying on the inclement weather kick, sometimes you really do just need a good Netflix marathon. I like to use this in situations where the weather seems scarier than it is—lots of lightning or above average winds for instance. Meet noise with noise. When I was growing up this wasn’t always a reliable option, and many are still in that boat. We had broadcast television and lightning storms tended to knock that out. We did however have a stereo that worked, and when the lights managed to stay on putting on a classic vinyl or two suited just fine. Be flexible, suggesting a Netflix marathon doesn’t mean you can’t go to your DVD or Blu-Ray library if you have one—just make some noise to lessen that thunderclap or that wind howl.

For those of us with an open air porch or similar structure I also find it’s nice to just arrange some chairs—maybe get some rockers for this—and just sit and enjoy the sounds for a few minutes. Strike up a conversation. It’s a good way to make up for lost time at the dinner table too. Some quiet face-to-face time may just be something you’re behind on.

Board(bored) games come in two distinct varieties in my experience. The first type has you interacting primarily with the people playing the game. The second type generally has you interacting with the board itself, avoid those. That’ll be games like some classic dominos, Trouble, Candy Land and Mankala. The first type is preferable, as it engages entertaining interactions. That’ll be stuff like Scrabble, Apples to Apples, Jenga, or Pictionairy. There are some type 1 games I’d avoid though, as they easily turn into drudgery, like Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit. Curate your board games carefully to fit your family or they will never leave the shelf, especially when they need to, like say in a power outage. On that note, simulate power outages and remove electronics from the family routine now and then. You should have some semi-regular periods where there’s no TV, Phone, Internet, etc, otherwise you’ll never sit down to a table top game and you won’t even know if you like what you have.

Sometimes the mandatory indoors period is going to drag on for a while. In these cases your entertainment options may not help at all because the restlessness is being caused by a lack of physical exertion. Get your kids in the habit of exercising indoors so they’ll be able to burn that energy off when they can’t go outside. Children need to physically move around and exert themselves regularly or they become restless and can act out. I find yoga actually tends to keep kids entertained. The type of exercise matters, hardcore workouts can intimidate them and are typically low on fun quotient.

These are just a few of the basic tools we keep around for when we can’t leave the house, but they cover some basic scenarios and needs. Think about the things you like to do indoors but never seem to have time for, think about how prepared you are to entertain yourselves during a power outage too. Oh, and one last tip, do not neglect to get out of the house the moment you are able. It’s really good to reset the clock on cabin fever as soon as possible.

Do you have strategies for staving off cabin fever or passing the time on rainy days that I didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments!

How We Met

How We Met

picture by: Ali Yahya

So a reader asked me a question the other day that sorta floored me. I could have sworn I had told the story of how I met Emily already, but I so haven’t. That’s something that needs fixin’.

I had just been evicted. I had been out of my parents house for about four years and hit a pretty bad snag, and was headed back. I had no job, no income at all, I was already living paycheck to paycheck prior to losing my job and even then just barely. I also had a reputation among friends and family of being the reliable one. I wasn’t feeling very reliable now. My brother had invited me to a night out to just chill somewhere. That was something I rarely got to do anymore, he’d offered to foot the bill. I would have normally said no, gotta keep that life going, gotta take care of the things I’m responsible for. A part of me felt like I should only be focusing on getting back on my feet, but I was feeling so low I didn’t even want to live up to my own expectations, so I said yes.

My entire value system was up for grabs at this point, all of me was on shaky ground. I took my beat up old truck, and what little gas I had left, and set out to just waste some time with my brother and his pals. I was thinking a few things, like that I’d never amount to anything or escape this place, but I tried to put those thoughts aside and have a good time. Things started getting weird pretty quick. See my brother and I have this dynamic, we just get silly with each other, and we were both pretty low on sugar and were acting pretty punchy as a result. Somehow we ended up in my brother’s friend’s recently rented out space he’d be using for a second hand book store. I was working again, as a volunteer, a jobless volunteer. Well, I guess that’s how you get known for being reliable. Anyway, as I was saying, my brother and I were being pretty silly. There were ancient computer parts, even by those standards, sitting in several boxes in this space and they had to be disposed of. We went through them one by one to make sure we weren’t tossing anything useful. My brother and I came across some old processors and stuck them in our foreheads until they stuck, and pretty soon we were throwing the expansion cards like ninja stars into the corrugated box, trying to get those to bury themselves in it. We’d shout “NINJA STAR!” as we did so.

As these stories often go, my brother’s friend had a girlfriend, and she’d always been a miserable person around us. See, our friend wasn’t that good at communication and would often schedule his dates on D&D night, and we ended up having to put up with an understandably pouty and bitchy person almost every session for a few weeks at this point. We did not like her, she did not like us, and she was coming over with her sister to introduce her to some guy. Good, I thought, she’ll be busy and out of our hair. The girlfriend really wasn’t my type and I really didn’t wanna deal with two of them. So as I was winding up another add-in board to toss into the now shredded cardboard box, the girlfriend walks in with sister in tow, and I stop dead in my tracks. How in the fuck were these two related?! She was petite, she was cute, and despite her very hot-topic get up I could tell she was gorgeous, and she was smiling at me. I had been straight up caught and I knew it, I could feel the obviousness in my expression and my arm was frozen mid-throw anyway, I did about the only thing I could think of and resumed the throw, “Ninja Star!”. Emily giggled. She fucking giggled. I hadn’t totally torpedoed myself! I recalled that she was here to meet someone, and I decided I was going to take their place. That was another one of my values up for grabs tonight. I was out looking for a one night stand for the first time in my life.

As luck would have it, Emily and her sister seemed more interested in helping with the bookstore than meeting that other dude. I caught his name in conversation, small town, I knew him, and he was a loser. Now I’m pulling double duty, I’ve gotta get in to this girl’s pants and at the very least I’ve gotta keep her away from that creep show. We’re trading glances regularly at this point and finding excuses to talk to each other. Now we were painting the walls. I gave zero fucks about all the unpaid work I was doing, it was more time to spend with Emily. Turns out her 18th birthday is in 2 days. Sweet, add cradle robbing to the night’s goals. I didn’t think the sister would be much of an obstacle, after all she was prepared to put her on a date with that guy, couldn’t be too concerned about me, but she stayed attached to her sister at the hip, obviously irritated that we were hitting it off.

We took a break from working to grab some food. We ended up going to this cheap local pizza buffet. My brother said he would cover me, but he wasn’t exactly made out of cash, so this seemed efficient. Emily complained about the quality of the pizza, so I directed her to the desert pizza bar, which was actually pretty damn good. I walked up there with her, told her what my favorites were, and she dutifully piled everything I was pointing out into her plate. Old episodes of Pokemon were on the televisions, the place was primarily targeted to parents after all, and Emily obviously enjoyed it. We talked about it together, I got super nerdy about it—shocker I know—and started talking about all the math involved in the game if you actually wanted to tell the difference between good and bad Pokemon. She actually enjoyed that conversation, this deal just kept getting sweeter all the time, but I knew I wasn’t going to get a chance with her alone tonight, not at the rate things were going.

Painting resumed and we kept making conversation, she mentioned a very bad experience with D&D at her high-school with boys who seemed primarily in sexualizing her, actually attacking her in the game if she had a problem with their gross behavior. She was craving coffee but was a messy painter and would have to do significant washing to get her own, so I offered to get her coffee. This used bookstore was kinda nestled in a hippy commune, there was some damn good coffee that was just free to take, piping hot. The guy that ran the cafe just liked it that way. I got her coffee black, having neglected to ask her how she took it. I figured that if she took it black and I put cream in it I couldn’t undo that, but that if she wanted those things, I could always go back and add them. Sure enough, she didn’t take her coffee black.

“Well why don’t you come with me, since you’re so messy and tell me how to do it, I can’t recall everything that’s available over there.”

So she followed me back to the coffee nook and showed me how to make her coffee the way she liked it. I wondered aloud why she tolerated that behavior she talked about earlier, neither of us really remember the answer aside from the fact that she lamented not having the books again because she’d like to use the inspiration in her own art work. She really fancied the artwork in those books. Of all the nights not to have those in tow. So I just straight up offered to go get them from the house, a good 25 minute drive one-way, and she accepted. I thought that was perfect, at the very least if she’s a decent person and plans on returning this property that guarantees a second encounter, worth the gas in my estimation. Off I went.

On the way back I sorta wondered about the possibility that her sister took the opportunity to scram and take Emily with her; I was kinda kicking myself for not getting her number or discussing that possibility. When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find her still painting, though they were packing it in for the night. I showed her the book and she squealed with delight and we just wouldn’t shut up about it. She mentioned that she’d be back at this place in 2 days, it’s where they were celebrating her birthday. No need to ask for a number now, I thought. I’ll see Emily in 2 days, that’s when I’m going to make my move, they’ll be staying the night.

I attempted to say goodbye, but Emily walked me back to my truck and I had zero problems with that. Just before I asked her myself, her sister, hanging back a good 20 feet blurted out, “Hey Emily, you going home with him tonight?!” in a mocking tone. Emily was clearly and visibly embarassed, and stammering. I just smiled at her. She shuffled sheepishly back towards her sister and we said our goodbyes.


I was nervous on Saturday. I had no idea what kind of party this would be or how it would go. There sure were a lot of guys here, guys I knew, these were my friends. Huh. I hadn’t thought about it prior, but Emily was celebrating her birthday with just her sister and her sister’s social circle. None of Emily’s friends were to be found tonight, and honestly, sitting here typing this, I’m only beginning to realize how odd that sounds. My brother was here too, for his friends sake, because Emily’s sister would be there with her boyfriend.

A television was set up and there was a giant half-circle of couch around it. I parked my butt next to her butt and she didn’t seem to mind. We smiled at each other. It seemed the night was already going well. We watched some anime and some Invader Zim, and we cuddled. As luck would have it, I actually did enjoy those things, and we were able to keep ourselves entertained while the rest of the “guests” got bored. Eventually her sister stood up and reminded her of the next activity on the docket, which was cake. I thought that was harmless and I really wanted to wish her a happy birthday too. Apparently this was timed at her actual birth hour. I wasn’t prepared for after-cake though, neither was Emily.

Her sister reminded her of something else she’d agreed to do. See, before she had really thought about me being there, or before she knew I was a thing, Emily had told her sister she wanted to see what was inside of a sex shop. I went white on the inside, and did my best not to show it. Emily definitely went visibly pale. Well this was going to be awkward, but it wouldn’t be my first time in a place like that, maybe I could actually make this more comfortable for her than the first time I set foot in one of those places. Clearly though, she was now nervous about her own idea.

When we arrived we were sorta doing everything as one large group. The store clerk seemed somewhat annoyed at us, already knowing why we were there. I suppose they saw the birthday groups a lot, they never buy anything. I sure as hell wasn’t going to buy anything. Emily knew I was single and I was not about to put my intentions on the table in such an obvious and crude fashion, she seemed damned innocent. Emily seemed into me enough as it was so adding unnecessary risk with a move like that felt dumb. Her sister was going out of her way to embarrass her in the store. We got to the novelty section with the life sized forearm and fist. I actually had to avoid eye contact because I didn’t want to show I was into that sort of thing. We had been dodging each others eyes the whole time in there, and it was obvious because of how much they were meeting prior. I decided to break from the group and just stare into the wall of porn with a hundred yard gaze. Somehow, Emily managed to duck out of the group in a few minutes and joined me. She of course, asked what I was looking at. At this point, I’d like to thank my grandfather for teaching me how to heckle newscasters, because those skills were just about to come in handy. I looked over the porn wall, “oh, I’m just looking at all these ridiculous names, here, take a look at…”. I forget the punchlines, so did she, but I started relentlessly making fun of all of the titles of the porn on the wall, and the tension eased. I even think I recall us making it to the leggings/skimpy outfit section—Amazon didn’t exist for that yet—and she told me how much she liked the idea of a corset. Even then Emily knew how to get to me, just this time I’m pretty sure it was unintentional. At some point, that wrapped up, the details of this memory get fuzzy in places, but I know we left the store both thanking our lucky stars that we hadn’t managed to scare the other off.

I got Emily more coffee from the cafe, and we settled in for some more Zim marathon. No one could say shit, birthday girl’s party. Almost everyone else had fallen asleep, it was just us, and her sister. We were staring into each others eyes something heavy, and after a few minutes her sister had to get Emily’s sleeping place ready. They hadn’t had the good sense to do that prior. I asked for a kiss while we were briefly alone and she shrank back and squeaked out a yes. There was so much I wanted to do with, and to Emily but she clearly wasn’t ready. I think that’s when I set aside my expectations for sex. I would later learn that there was also a lot she wanted to do to me but was too chicken. 8 years later I would learn that I hadn’t been concealing that boner as well as I thought. But man, that was a great kiss. Soft, slow, romantic. We were well finished by the time her sister returned, but seeing her sister return put a Cheshire grin on Emily’s face. I think she thought she got away with murder.

That was a restless night for me. Just prior to Emily being escorted to her makeshift bed her sister gave me all but a speech on how closely that room would be watched and how locked it was. Please, that’s an interior door and there’s no way I couldn’t get past it, and I wanted to say that so bad. I spent until 3am trying to figure out if I was going to get past it. At one point, I even walked up with the thought to knock. It was 0130 and I stopped for a few reasons. It was late and I didn’t want to annoy her—though it turns out she was awake—and I also didn’t want to risk waking her sister. I could definitely get past that rudimentary lock, but that seemed kinda….very aggressive, but knowing I could presented a temptation. Years later, Emily would remark it was a good thing I hadn’t, because I probably would have gotten exactly what I wanted if I had.

Despite not getting to sleep until 3, I was the first one awake that morning. Shortly afterwards Emily was out and about. It was roughly 6:30 in the morning. Naturally, I got us both coffee. I found the computer the cafe owner had briefly played music from the night before, pulled up YouTube and found Desperado. I sang it to her. She had no idea how much that song applied to me in that moment, but she loved that I was singing it to her. A bit after that, everyone else started waking up. I hadn’t gotten my second kiss yet, she was too embarrassed that someone might find out the extent that she’d already fallen. She was the only one in the dark though, and that became a meme later. I still tease her about how long it took her to figure out that we were dating.

Everyone had breakfast, and Emily’s sister reminded her it was time to go. Her parents were expecting her back soon and they were reluctant (rightly so it turns out!) to have her spend her birthday that way in the first place. We were in the middle of another conversation about nothing as we headed out of the complex, she basically demanded a hug goodbye, where she promptly decided to take a deep sniff of my hair. I think she thought she was being sneaky, but I wasn’t going to say anything, I was content to let her think she wasn’t noticed. Her sister however, guffawed, “Oh Emily did you just smell his hair!?”.

Emily turned red. I just smiled and said my goodbyes. 13 years later, it’s been a hell of a one night stand.

Card Night

Card Night

photo by: Sophie Elvis

Ah card night, we’re both still recovering from it. Once every few weekends or so we invite a couple of our friends over for adult fun and drinks. Usually the evening gets started early, the children are awake, and we start with something innocent like talking about bread baking, sculpting clay, various other hobbies, work, life in general. Sometimes we even perform these hobbies rather than talk about them—the most popular of which being the baking and the macarons in particular. After the kids shuffle to bed our friends break out their massive, complete, Cards Against Humanity collection, drinks are made, and we get down to it. This time we bit off more than we could chew, both celebrating St. Patrick’s day a little too hard and a little too early. But hey, it’s on a Sunday and I don’t get hangovers off, especially this upcoming week. It is crunch time.

So what’s the point of bringing all this up, why am I telling you all this? Well, for many of you this may be a familiar scene and for others not so much. The real point here is to highlight one of the ways we squeeze in some much needed adult time for a stay-at-home mother of three, who doesn’t get any days off unless I take some PTO. Today we’re switch hitting as we wait for the medicine to take the edge off our severe headaches and try to help each other stave off being overwhelmed by the boundless energy of our children. Emily doesn’t get a whole lot of time to have honest adult conversations with other adults. Her world is children, talking to children, teaching children, changing diapers, all that stuff. It’s such a relief and release for her to talk about something other than Mario, Mega Man, Legos, My Little Pony, family-portraits-as-spiders, mud cakes, an on it goes. Some of these things are genuinely cute, like the aforementioned way that our daughter draws us as a family of spiders, but engaging adult conversation they are not.

Emily likes talking about investment, property, dreams of a blueberry apiary, the coffee shop she’d like to start in the future, her quilting, her baking, her massive fantasy sex toy collection, all the things that help remind her that she exists beyond the identity of her motherhood. It’s not a situation that comes every day, as much as we’d like that to be the case. There’s other adult things that come first like the bills, scheduling contractors for that hurricane Michael damage that still isn’t quite done being fixed, tax returns, keeping tabs on the school, a bath, and those other random little adult emergencies that just never seem to stop. Staying on top of things.

That’s not to say I don’t get my fair share of the hectic household but I have this little trick see. I get to go to work. I get my fill of adults and adulting five days a week for between nine and ten hours. I help around the house whenever I can and with whatever I can—actually if I do it too much Emily gets a bit annoyed with me—but it doesn’t really bring Emily the adult interactions and the friend time she craves.

Card night is how we get a big dose of that adult time. Emily gets to stretch her legs and go beyond her motherhood. She gets to talk dirty, win at things, give me what’s coming to me, give as much as she gets, and just let loose for a little bit. During our normal day-to-day, Emily will sometimes exclaim, “I need an adult!”. On card night Emily gets to say, “I am an adult.”

Do you have a spouse that is starved for adult time? Are you that spouse? What is it that you do to get your time with friends and get time away from child duty?

Dildo Review – Illithid by Pleasure Forge

Dildo Review – Illithid by Pleasure Forge

Another review another indie manufacturer. Today we’re looking at the Illithid by PleasureForge. Pleasure Forge is based in Jacksonville, Florida and has its roots in a love for popular tabletop games. As such a lot of their designs are named after and inspired by high-fantasy monsters and the Illithid is no exception. Those critters are known for sucking your brains out through your nose and given Emily’s mental state after a session with one of these, we’d have to say the name is apt.

Fitting with a pattern you might be used to by now, the Illithid can be ordered in many colors, sizes, and firmnesses, so we need to disclose the configuration of ours. Our Illithid is a ‘Medium’ sized option in Shore 00-50 firmness in the ‘Miami Vice’ coloration and is UV reactive. I’ll let the pictures do the talking for a bit.

For overall design there are some intriguing things going on with the Illithid. It starts with a rather pointed and slightly curved head, rapidly widening down onto a girthy shaft with v-shaped ridges on the underside. Squiggling down from the head and also up from the base is a tentacle texturing. It should be mentioned, as this is a turn off for some, that the base size is accomplished with the ‘balls’ look, even if that is accented by some heavy tentacle shapes. The next design choice is going to be featured throughout the entire review as it has heavy impact on Emily’s enjoyment of Illithid, the head only has a coronal ridge on one side, and that’s the opposite side of the v-shaped ridges. To put it another way, the coronal ridge follows the side of the shaft that is smooth and the easy tentacle texturing follows the side of the shaft that is ridged.

When Emily inserts coronal ridge facing down, the ridge massages the posterior vaginal wall and hits some very pleasant spots while doing so, but while that’s going on the v-ridges are facing upward, engaging her G-spot with a texture more intense than the size of the ridges would suggest on their own. As an aside, she was quite perplexed by how much she could feel those ridges, we have toys that are far more aggressively textured that don’t deliver the same results. When she flips Illithid over she gets the coronal ridge action on her g-spot, or deep, or uses it for entrance play, wherever she really wants it, but the ridges shave shifted to her anterior wall and they do a delightful number on her perineum which she adores. So far in our indie manufacturer adventure we are 3/3 for toys that are beginner to intermediate friendly that have interesting enough designs to please our size queen—if any other size queens are paying attention, don’t you worry, our XL Merfolk(also from Pleasure Forge)and Large Leviathan(from Dread The Empire) reviews are coming soon.

On that note it’s time to talk about size. The Illithid in medium size is a squatty boy, with an appreciable girth that is packed into a short-ish 5.1 usable inches with 7.1 inches overall length. As for the girth, chart time!

IllithidCircumferenceDiameterD-Score
Minimum Girth5.1″1.4″0.92
Maximum Girth7.1″2.2″2.3

Quick Reminder: D-score is a measurement that essentially gives us the number of median sized dicks to equal the girth of a toy. You can read D-Score more easily as “This is how many dicks this is worth in girth”. So a D-Score of 2.5 would be 2 and a half dicks of girth, to make it simple.

We would put these measurements into the beginner to intermediate territory for girth. Due to the softness of 00-50 silicone however we’re going to lean more towards the side of beginner, but remember that Illithid doesn’t disappoint our size queen. She’s done DP play with Illithid but solo is -equally- as pleasurable for her, that’s important. You can really squeeze silicone like this in and the stretch isn’t going to be rough. On that note, we are happy to announce, and Emily especially, that anal play is becoming more and more comfortable for Emily and we were able to test Illithid for that use case. Emily’s favorite part of anal play so far is entrance sensation and the ridges on the Illithid gave her an experience that was downright pleasurable, something that was rare for her but is becoming less so. This was such a fluke that we repeated the experience twice on separate days to make sure. Confidence with the Illithid experience also gave her the moxie to tackle those Sylph ridges we mentioned in our last review and we’ve updated it with that experience as well. For either use case, we recommend generous lubricant. The texture on Illithid is slightly grabby and you’d have to be very worked up vaginally before we could recommend diving in un-lubed. Anally you may have to push a little harder than you’re accustomed to due to the squish factor of 00-50 silicone, but the head shape turns what could have been a chore into a ‘just a little harder’ adjustment.

This is our first review of an item from Pleasure Forge, and once again we can report that ordering was easy, shipping was excellent. In fact, we have something to mention about shipping in a sec, it’s related to the inventory management. Inventory comes in waves known as ‘drops’, a term that will be familiar to fantasy dildo enthusiasts. Custom orders do not happen often and have very limited slots. If it’s not available in their Etsy store you’ll have to wait for it to become available. That includes getting things in the size you want or the firmness you want. I will mention though, it is very rare I see a pour I don’t want. Pour is a term used to describe the sum total of the craftsmanship from the colors used to the pattern generated by the literal pouring action of filling the mold, but it is what it is, what you see is what you get. So when we caught a very lovely drop one particular evening, we got a little HIT THE BUTTON crazy, and our 3 items ended up in two orders. Without hesitation, Pleasure Forge refunded us one of our shipping charges and merged the orders. I was so happy for this, it happened just as I was typing an e-mail asking if it could be done. We recommend following their Twitter or favoriting their Etsy store to get notifications of fresh inventory.

I can hear some of you now. 3 items from a company you never dealt with before?! Aren’t these expensive?! Yes and no. Pleasure Forge came highly recommended to us by members of the fantasy community that we trust, more importantly, the mediums are a steal. Our Illithid was only 55 dollars before shipping and taxes, that’s only a Jackson from hitting a price we’d consider budget territory in a size that’s friendly to beginners. In other words, there’s absolutely nothing stopping us from recommending the Illithid as a fantasy toy newbie’s first buy or a collectors next craving. While it pleases our size queen though, you won’t find this toy satisfying if that’s the specific experience you are craving. With gentle texturing that more than gets the job done, a pleasant soft firmness that doesn’t impede insertion, managable dimensions that don’t shrink to disappointing, a pleasing head, and incredible pours, the medium Illithid in 00-50 is an easy buy recommendation for anyone that doesn’t already have one.

Convincing Characters

It’s late Sunday evening and the time change has me less tired than I ought to be. So I’m sitting awake late with not quite enough time to do another adult review and I lack the motivation to get into serious relationship stuff this late. So we’re going to do something new tonight and we’re going to be doing something bookish. Yeah that’s right, it’s been a while since I’ve tackled a book related topic on the blog and those got me some of my earliest followers. So this is for you guys, cuz we’re getting into fiction.

Hey Henry, how the heck does this have anything to do with relationships? Well it don’t really, I mean I could connect those dots longways and say better, more convincing characters from today’s creators are better books for tomorrows children, but let’s not get too into that sort of pretension, this is just a fun diversion I got to thinking about when I was extolling the virtues of the character writing in Wakfu. So without further ado, some tips on creating convincing characters in fiction.

Show Me.

This is a good tip for veterans and newbies alike. When you want me to believe your character is capable of doing a thing, I need to be shown that thing. Trying to convince me your antagonist, protagonist, or support characters are awesome by having ‘extras’ talk about it through exposition or some similarly because-I-say-so literary device is yawn inducing and not credible. I’m going after some heavy hitters here with my examples, no one is too famous or too high budget to avoid this mistake as a matter of course. It’s something you need to be thinking about. A fair few of these examples will involve television or cinema. Remember that screenplays and TV/Movie characters are written too. We’ll go through some direct this/not that at the end of this section just to drive it home anyway.

One of the most popular examples of getting this wrong I can think of is Voldemort. Yeah we’re going there. To be fair, in the latter half of the series Rowling corrects this, but for the first entire half of the series we’re supposed to respect the danger of a person whom many believe to be dead, is nonetheless severely crippled, and had his magic death abra kadabra bullets reflected back on him via something as common as a mother’s love for her infant. Seriously, I’m not sure what sort of household Rowling grew up in, but the idea that sort of love is uncommon enough in the wizarding world that Lord Voldemort was able to amass a large army, take over the government, and start a genocide in earnest before he encountered it is awful concerning, and it wasn’t something that impressed me a bit as a consumer of the greater fantasy genre. The only guide we have at this point in the series that he’s anything to fear at all is exposition and here-say. Total yawn villain. Wakfu’s Nox is far more frightening and it’s entirely because he does stuff on screen. In fact, in the Wakfu world, no one really knows who Nox is when he shows up. He’s not famous, he’s not wizard Hitler, and he’s got no fan club spitting exposition at the cast about how dangerous he is. Seriously, go watch it if you have trouble writing convincing villains.

On the protagonist side of awful we have Doctor Who, particularly during the reign of Matt Smith’s doctor and on. I know I know, a lot of you love the goofball but the difference between what he was shown doing on screen and how other people in the universe described him was immersion breaking at best. There’s a scene that really grinds my gears where he meets Amy again for the first time in one of the season openers and he’s being accosted by some eyeball spaceship that he ultimately gets to go away by telling it a speech about how awesome he is because of all this stuff he did off screen(this is an annoyingly common threat resolution technique in new-who in general). This is not how you diffuse tension. It’s certainly more camp, and we really didn’t seem to know how to run a TV show back then, but the show writers for the old series, and particularly for the run of the fourth, really knew how to show The Doctor’s competence on screen and he was a much more convincing character for it.

In what is probably the most under-appreciated scenes in movie history, we have one of the best damn examples ever of introducing a new villain by showing what he can do to the old villain. In Star Trek: The Motion Picture we are treated to an opening shot of three Klingon battle-cruisers shot from a dominant low angle making a slow approach to a new threat. Three battle-cruisers by the way are the unwinnable scenario in the very next movie. Extra care is taken to make the models look extra threatening(this is pre-CGI in case you forgot—or never knew). As they approach one of the battle-cruisers prepares to open fire, and the front of the ship opens up in a marvelous red hue that looks and sounds like some sort of space volcano. These guys mean fucking business and the entire scene lends credence to it. Then they get absolutely annihilated. The Klingons are given new threatening theme music just for this film, their character makeup is completely redesigned to be more threatening, but none of that would have really made you care about their casual destruction like their history in the show to that point. They planted bombs, enslaved worlds, kicked space butt, and were always taken seriously, and always on screen. To treat that sort of one-up-manship with the care it deserved the scene takes five glorious minutes to unfold.

So how do you apply this to your writing? Just remember, if you want me to believe your character can do something, show me! Don’t write me a paragraph by the narrator about how intimidating this new guy in the office is, show him successfully intimidating people he really ought not be able to, like the supervisor. Better yet, build up the supervisor first and then do it. Your office tyrant just killed the Klingons. If you’re trying your hand at a Voldemort like bad-guy who is the villain just because he’s unrelatably evil it might help you to familiarize yourself with the real evil in the world first, which will help you devise scenes where such a character convincingly executes evil atrocities. You can tell Rowling isn’t familiar with that by the way she handles the unspeakable curses. The torture curse is evil because it tortures, and we know it tortures because the book says so. Don’t do that. In fact, that gets us to our next rule.

Write What you Know.

This is just good writing advice in general. When you write about things sufficiently outside your area of expertise it will show and it will show quickly. When writing characters it helps if you focus on characters that you could convincingly role-play yourself. It will keep their motives relatable, focused, and well communicated. If you find that narrows your character breadth too much, it’s time to meet some new people, or at least read about them. Grab a historical biography of someone close to your character, an auto-biography if it’s available. Autos can be the less accurate biographies but they absolutely will show you the line of thinking, and that’s really what you’re after. This is especially important in the case of evil villains and tyrants. If you aren’t sufficiently in touch with actual evil, your villain will come across as a bit Disney. If you write a protagonist that you don’t relate with their actions and motives may not match to the point of being incomprehensible. Heck, I keep this rule in the non-fictional world of my blog. I don’t give marriage, relationship, or sexual advice to the LGBT community for instance because I have no fucking clue what that’s like and it would show awful quick. At best I’d be giving dangerously naive advice from a position of ignorance and at worst be incredibly offensive. Don’t turn that situation into a character!

Learn What a Mary Sue Is.

And then don’t do it. This goes double for fan-fiction, and wish-fulfillment writers—which is actually where the term comes from. A lot of people have tried to define exactly what a Mary Sue character is and isn’t, but everyone knows one when they see one. I’ll try to define this from a perspective that’s easy to absorb from the point of view of a writer. A Mary Sue is a character that begins the story with no room available for character development. In other words they’re already perfect and there’s no real story to tell, just a timeline of events to describe. A lot of people will correctly warn you that a Mary Sue has no character flaws, but if you just leave it at that you can lead people into a trap where they write in flaws but those flaws then turn out to only help the Mary Sue character instead of hinder them. When you plan out your characters flaws make sure that they significantly hinder the character in the story, otherwise growing out of them is meaningless. Just to flip the tables on the pattern I’ve set in this post so far, I’ll say Snape, and Neville Longbottom are a good examples of a character that isn’t a Gary Stu(that’s the male Mary Sue). Wakfu has an exemplar treatment in this regard. Ruel has to overcome his personal greed to defeat a monster that consumes gold, overcoming this flaw to accomplish this task allows him to act more selflessly when the situation calls for it. Tristepin starts the series battling an inner demon that he cannot control. It helps him out of a few pinches but always comes with a cost, and that cost ends up becoming high enough to alienate and exile him from his friends and he’s forced to do battle with his demon, with the help of his god, and win(literally). Examples of Mary Sues abound but I think some of the worst ironically come from the Star Trek series itself in Deep Space 9. Several members of the supporting cast are Mary Sues but particularly Dr. Bashir and Dax. One Gary Stu of particular interest to me is Paul Atriedes of Dune. I don’t know how he does it but Frank Herbert manages to weave genuine tension in his story despite his flawlessness. I don’t know if that’s the praise it should be or more of a backhanded compliment than it should be but that’s a truly impressive thing to do.

Competence Please.

This is going to be a short one and specifically targeted at YA writers. Please have your characters competent enough that you don’t have to turn your supporting cast into clueless morons to make your main character look good. You’ll see this all the time in media for children—hence focusing on you YA writers—where the main driver of the entire plot is “the adults are stupid”. Rowling is guilty of that one too, but I won’t tell you why this time, see if you can spot it on your own. Every Disney channel show I’ve ever seen does this too. You can run afoul of this one in adult writing just as easily though and you’ll find this most often rears its head when you’re breaking the talking outside your experience rule.

Well, that was fun, but it’s late. Hope the time change treats your sleep better than it’s treating mine. I envy the people in countries smart enough to not do this anymore. Happy writing!

Dildo Review – Sylph by HodgePodgeEntourage

Dildo Review – Sylph by HodgePodgeEntourage

We’re continuing our march through the indie sex toy market with a design by HodgePodgeEntourage(HPE for short) named Sylph. Sylph is definitely one of the more unique designs out there, but the same could be said for all of HPE’s lineup—seriously get a load of their Scylla.

Today though, we’re just talking about Sylph. First, let’s go over the configuration we chose for the review. Sylph can be had in multiple configurations, such as having a different size or firmness. Our Sylph is a “medium” size in 00-30 firmness. Our Sylph glows in the dark(GITD from here on) and is UV reactive. There are gold sparkles throughout. They’re hard to capture on camera, but I had a lovely opportunity to use some natural sunlight today and that really seems to bring them out. You can somewhat make out the fine repeating pattern of what looks to be at least a partially 3d printed manufacturing for the master/mold in person. Don’t fret however, it’s so fine it doesn’t show up in the pictures and doesn’t effect the smooth feel of the Sylph, but it is worth noting about the finish.

[We felt the need to update this section to reiterate that the ‘printer texture’ can hardly be seen and is definitely not felt. The finish is glassy smooth.]

We’re super happy with the coloration on ours and though we couldn’t get to it for the review, we’re eager to see how/if the UV and GITD features play in our bedroom. UV play is something I’ll probably be doing a standalone post about anyway.

So let’s get to the interesting design of the Sylph. As you can see there are multiple frilled ridges starting just below the tip of the head. The ridges become less pronounced as you go down the shaft of the toy ending in a slight mid-shaft bulge before slightly tapering down to the large base. Despite being cast in 00-30, which is super squishy and soft, this design stands under its own weight which allows for either riding or thrusting. Thrusting is easy to do thanks to that large base I just mentioned, it’s very easy to get a good grip on the non-insertable portion of the toy. Emily and I particularly like this design for entry play. Emily notes that the frilled ridges are easy to feel when they penetrate but aren’t sharp or uncomfortable. She can feel the frills on the ridges and she loves to take Sylph all the way out to re-penetrate when she’s playing with it so she can feel that again. A pleasant secondary effect of this design is that the frills carry lubricant in with them.

Sylph is versatile however, and you shouldn’t undersell the mid-shaft bulge. Sylph is great for shallow and deep penetration, something most toys can’t switch-hit on. On that note, Emily loves how flesh-like the 00-30 firmness feels inside her. Despite being an aggressively textured toy it is not a rough one. Beginners and experienced texture lovers alike will enjoy how Sylph delivers aggressive texturing while being gentle enough to prevent soreness. Sylph in medium is also gentle on size, girth queens may want to look elsewhere. This is another feature we’d consider beginner friendly. Below I have our standard chart of measurements and D-Score.

SylphD-Score
Head Diameter1″0.5
First Ridge Diameter
1.75″1.4
Middle Bulge Diameter2.25″2.4
Bottom of Shaft Diameter2″1.9
Usable Length7″n/a

Quick Reminder: D-score is a measurement that essentially gives us the number of median sized dicks to equal the girth of a toy. You can read D-Score more easily as “This is how many dicks this is worth in girth”. So a D-Score of 2.5 would be 2 and a half dicks of girth, to make it simple.

Now on to the really subjective stuff. As my frequent readers may know by now, Emily is a texture fiend and a size queen. We generally only get toys in this size with the intention that they are going to be used for double penetration duty or with a clitoral stimulator or vibrator. So far Sylph has made a very comfortable partner for double penetration. We’ve tried Sylph simultaneously with me vaginally and also with Sylph vaginally while I took the rear, both experiences were pleasant and rewarding. If you’re into the experience of double vaginal penetration Sylph is a very comfortable and stimulating partner. It felt really good and there weren’t any hard bends or uncomfortable features to deal with during that part of our testing. The large base is something to work around but it wasn’t too difficult.

We have not tried Sylph anally but due to the size and squish of our Sylph Emily has put on her definitely-willing-to-attempt list, which is a small and exclusive list indeed. While that’s not much to go on it’s worth noting. We will be updating this review when that happens.

[That Update is Now] 00-30 firmness comes to the rescue for Emily’s anal experience with Sylph. She noted that if the head shape was more blunt she probably would have had a hard time squishing it in there, but the ride was pleasant and pleasurable. She’s not quite experienced enough to go very deep with anal play but she got all the ridges in and then some and entrance sensation is her favorite part of the experience. She’s eager to see what those ridges and frills feel like deeper. Had the ridges been significantly more firm—such as 10A—we’re pretty sure it would have been uncomfortable for her.[End Update]

There’s only one thing really keeping me from recommending this toy to newbies and that’s the price tag. We definitely got our money’s worth from Sylph in this size but we knew exactly what we wanted already and why. Beginners by nature are still exploring their likes and dislikes, and the 90 dollar price tag—before shipping—on the medium, while feature rich, is a bit steep for that sort of discovery process. Don’t get me wrong, it would be hard to find a hand poured platinum silicone toy with a 3 color marble with a split color base, body-safe gold mica shimmer, GITD and UV reactive, for any less but the price is what it is and that puts this item outside of beginner price point territory for us.

We however, are not beginners, and we absolutely adore the Sylph. We’ll probably pick up another in larger size for times when anal isn’t on the menu, but not before we give the interesting Scylla a try. Oh, and since this is our first review for an HPE toy we should mention that the entire purchasing and shipping process was pleasant and done in a timely fashion. We had our ready made Sylph inside of a week of purchase, add some time for customs.

The Fantasy List

The Fantasy List

Communicating about sex isn’t always easy. Emily and I come from different backgrounds, had different levels of sexual experience when we met, and we have vastly different communication skills and styles. Given how unique individual lives are, I imagine there are more couples like us than not. Then you have the mind-reader syndrome, where couples that have been together a while start assuming their minds are being read.

“We’ve been together X years you should know this about me by now!”, a common refrain.

Sure, there were things Emily and I learned about each other through osmosis. You are going to learn things about your spouse simply by being with them, but as I like to remind Emily, there was a time before I met her and before she met me. That little fact seems so easy to forget after the years pile on. Not only do you become unable to imagine a future without them, you become unable to imagine anything without them, including your past, and you can forget that there was a life before your spouse.

So at 8 years into the marriage, having known each other for 11, we decided to get down and seriously talk about sex. I was starting to feel a bit caged, not for a lack of some other fancy woman that I imagined existed somewhere but because I didn’t feel free to express all of my sexual desires within’ the marriage. Emily isn’t the greatest at opening up, and I was her first and remain her only sexual partner. She had no prior experience to compare ‘us’ to so everything seemed normal, it was all she had. Not to put all the blame on her, I avoided communicating certain things because I had tastes outside of what I thought she’d consider acceptable. Guilty as charged in the sandbagging department.

I suggested an exercise, where we write down all of our sexual fantasies and preferences (at a 10,000 foot level) where we couldn’t observe each other and then swap sheets at the same time. We were to mark off the ones the relationship was fulfilling, and also mark any we felt were fantasy only as they’d wreck the marriage. My list had 28 items, hers had 8. A few things about this stuck out to me. One, I had suspected that she lacked the sexual vocabulary and experience to really consider her own wants. Due to me being her one and only, everything we did was so normal it escaped her notice. Two, she was absolutely flabbergasted at the number of things I had on my list, and more still at how few of them had check marks.

I remarked to her as I read her sheet. “I thought you were also into….” and she’d respond “That felt so normal I didn’t consider that a preference”. We eventually got her list up to 13 and finally it seemed to describe her, and all of her boxes had check marks. More than half of mine did not. Emily actually shed a tear or two, I encouraged her not to, to no avail. I actually wasn’t all that upset about the check mark count, I had realized long before the exercise that It was my job to communicate these things and I hadn’t done so. Emily however, had misplaced feelings of dereliction of duty, especially in light of the fact that a lot of those empty check boxes struck her as a lot of fun. We went over the list, willing to try, not willing to try, marking them as we went, and much to my astonishment, most of them she was willing to try, even the ones regarding exhibitionism (I thought there was no way in hell).

And the rest was history, so they say. I regret waiting until so far into ours to figure out how to get all my sexual skeletons into the open and out of the closet, even in my own marriage. I’m not advocating a specific method, the one we used is very us, but if it sounds like it would work for you by all means crib it, but I wanted to remind you all today that sexuality is something you need to figure out how to talk about and discuss openly, even if you need a few mental tricks to get you there. How scary is a ‘no’ to something you’re already not doing anyway?

Until next time.

Featured Photo by Jay on Unsplash

Saving On Groceries – Thrift Traps

Saving On Groceries – Thrift Traps

Now this is something I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while, I just had a hard time finding the right impetus to motivate me to actually put it to keyboard. The blog has been a lot of sexy times lately, which mirrors the home front, and I figured what better way to break that up than with some good old fashioned grocery shopping.

Grocery shopping never seems to get easier does it? You add more mouths to feed, more tastes to cater to, your own changing diet and cravings, and then you have the food budget to consider. You coupon cut, you get a membership at the wholesale store and for some reason that food bill just never seems to go down. Well, I can help you with that, because you’re playing the wrong game. Saving money on groceries isn’t about math, it’s about mindset. Like many of us I spent some of my early working days in a grocery store. Unlike many of us, I stayed there long after I should have moved on; I paid attention and I learned some industry tricks. Here are some traps you may be falling into.

Ad-Chasing:

I’m going to use an absurd but true example from my own childhood to illustrate why this is wrong. Coupons do this in a directly targeted way that we’ll get into later.

One day my mother came home with 10 packages of 48 count creme cookies. We all stared at her like she was weird. We wondered how we were going to even eat all those. We hardly ever ate cookies at all and when we did they were baked in the home. They were generic too. Some sort of ultra sweet shortbread with cookie creme in the middle. Oreo’s are like crack, the originals. I don’t care much for the double stuffed or other versions where the proportions are thrown out of whack, personal taste I know. Point is, we wouldn’t have been wondering what to do if she came home with those. But these, we didn’t eat these, we couldn’t even remember the last time they were in the house. Dad got annoyed, and rightfully so, we weren’t doing well financially, we never were.

“How much did those cost?” He questioned.

Mom didn’t answer the question, she responded by indicating how much money she had saved. For her part, she genuinely thought that made it all better. She was too busy doing the math on only one side of the equation.

You do not save money by buying things you don’t normally buy just because they are on sale. It is a trap I have seen thousands of customers fall into. It’s a trap my wife falls into with some regularity. It’s an effective trick I helped pull on thousands of people. The deals are often not even that good. It’s not like when the store did a loss-leader on chicken breasts or something. That’s something most people already spend money on and we’re going to get to that in a minute. This is when we stick impulse buys in front of your face at like 10%-15% off and you happily oblige. People who never buy soda will buy that soda. People who haven’t had cheese-its in 2 years will buy those cheese-its. Oh yeah, it’s usually junk food too.

Anytime you see something like that and you are tempted I want you to stop and recite this to yourself.

“Milk never goes on sale”

You know why it never goes on sale? Because you need it, it expires quickly, and you use it. You never have to discount milk because people never stop buying it and they don’t need to be reminded of its existence. Ditto for eggs. In other words, it doesn’t go on sale because people never need to be tricked into buying it. You know what does go on sale? Cheese.

Ads are constructed around this principle. They’re designed to get you to buy things you normally don’t because they’re on sale. Does it matter if you got that steak for 2 bucks off per pound when it still costs 5 dollars per pound more than the chicken you normally get? You didn’t save money, you spent it. Always watch the money going out, because nothing is coming in when you hit the register.

Buying in Bulk:

This one is going to be short and easy because it’s a psychological thing and you can all relate to it. Buying in bulk only increases your consumption. You may save money per item but your consumption of those items will increase. Anyone who has ever frivolously spent a tax return—that’s you right?—acknowledges this effect. The more you have the more you use. It’s a well known and well understood psychological trick and grocery stores have been using it for decades. You’re paying membership fees on top of that, which creates a pressure for you to shop. There are people who actually benefit from these arrangements, they were the target audience when these stores actually first opened. Small business owners that already go through enough of the things they buy in bulk that their membership works in their favor.

YOU on the other hand are pressuring yourself to go to the bulk store more to get more ‘mileage’ out of your membership card and at the end of the day, you are spending more money. Watch where the money is going, and stop overvaluing where it isn’t.

One more example of this effect. When you make a giant pot of spaghetti, or make a large pork roast, do you eat less or more than you typically eat in one setting. When you hit the buffet do you eat less or more? This effect doesn’t just apply to bulk shopping membership stores, it applies to the decisions about the meals we cook. It even rears its head when you decide to make meatloaf instead of burger patties (can you guess which one goes farther?).

Membership Rewards Programs:

Don’t, just don’t. I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on this one, just avoid stores that do this. This is like the Ad-Chasing problem above except 10x more coercive because you categorically WON’T save any money on anything unless you participate in said Ad-Chasing. By the way, everything in the store is marked up to compensate.

Coupon cutting does the same exact thing. Membership rewards programs are just a newer form of it that also makes you a free data point for a gigantic database on buyers trends that the store keeps. You are not only not really saving any money, you are directly telling a giant database how best to exploit you. It was rare, but more frequent than it should be, that a customer would find out they were pregnant because their buying pattern matched pregnancy enough that they started getting baby coupons in the mail. Yikes!

Not Actually Having a Food Budget:

Last but certainly not least on the list. The food budget itself. Money is fungible, spent with plastic, and it’s easy to lose track of what we spent where. If you do not have a food budget, not actually sitting down and figuring out the difference between what you think you should be spending on food, what you should be spending on food, and what you are spending on food is costing you money, I guarantee it.

There’s a lot of busy, fancy apps that promise to help us with this, ignore them. I want you to pick a number for your food budget, take that money out of your bank or an ATM, physically take an envelope and write food on it with some sharpie, and I want you to put that money in the envelope. That is your food budget. When it runs out, it runs out. Your plastic isn’t allowed to save you. I guarantee your costs will come down. Oh, and takeout counts, that comes from the envelope too.

Okay Smarty Pants What do I do?

Here’s the number one knockout way to avoid falling prey to ad gimmicks and psychological tricks—the more insidious of which are outside the scope of this article, this is just an article about the ones you can do something about. It’s also the number one way to stay in your budget.

Okay, ready?

Make a meal plan, and stick to it.

I want you to take all the time you use ad-browsing and I want you to instead use that time to plan your meals, down to the portions. This is going to do two things that short circuit all of these gimmicks, and you may even find it easier to take some weight off as a pleasant side effect.

Thing number one, you are going to control what you buy. You can make it by the month or by the week, I recommend by the week. If one of your meals happens to go on sale, sweet, you’ve actually saved money, congratulations. If the ad-break happens before that particular meals day you can swap days that week, have taco Thursday instead of taco Tuesday, but your ad-chasing days are over, that is also going to save you money, you’re welcome.

Thing number two, you are also going to control how much you buy. You are going to stop making giant pots of rice that you go through too quickly when you only needed 6 ounces of cooked rice. You’re going to do the same thing with potatoes, noodles, and anything else we can be tempted to throw into a giant pot that could feed us 4x over but will only feed us twice. You’re also going to stop buying too many boxes of mac and cheese and then eating too much of that because it’s so damn tasty, comforting, and easy. I know I know, guilty as charged. Your food bill will actually come down for once.

Here’s the last hurdle though, and this is less of a hurdle and more of a conscious choice you need to make, and it’s one of the reasons food bills never seem to come down. When we save money in the food budget we tend to re-appropriate it immediately to food reward. This is when we buy ourselves steaks or seafood or whatever your reward food is. The fancy cheese, the more expensive bottle of wine (that’s food right?), or even some takeout we normally don’t have. These rewards can be psychologically comforting and rewarding and you need to make the conscious decision on whether shrinking your food budget is worth going without them. If not, here’s another challenge, implement the changes above to have more reward steak. Now that’s a motivator if I’ve ever heard one.

Dildo Review – Tentacle by Goblin Dildo Emporium.

Dildo Review – Tentacle by Goblin Dildo Emporium.

This toy has been in almost every way a pleasant surprise. For those of you who need a tl;dr just go buy this thing you have absolutely nothing to lose. As always, the details are a little more nuanced than that, but this is going to be a pretty glowing review. There was a downside but it is so incredibly minor that Emily didn’t see it—I kept it from her on purpose to see if she’d notice for the review, and I just asked her. Without further ado I give you the Tentacle—small size.

Part 1 – Aesthetics:

Tentacles are no stranger to the fantasy toy community, but they can be pretty polarizing. Some people just are completely turned off by the look of it, while others are really turned on. A lot of us just wanna know how those suckers feel. Goblin’s version of the tentacle comes with the standard suckers but he also adds scaled ridge texture to the backside which I think is a nice touch. Our ‘ready to ship’ model came is a very pleasant pink. There were some slight perfections on the scale side. This is the thing that was so subtle that Emily simply didn’t notice. They’re very very tiny depressed lines in the texture that if I had to compare with anything, would be stretch marks. Again, Emily didn’t even notice these and I don’t think the camera picked them up either.

[On third inspection this texturing appears to be intentional]

They’re included in the review for the sake of completeness. On the flip side, the sucker detailing is superb and there were zero imperfections on the sucker side. The finish is nice as well. I have a toy from another indie manufacturer where you can see 3d printer patterning on the final product. I find nothing remotely resembling that here. There’s not much else to say about the aesthetics for this one. We didn’t get custom colors or sparkles for ours (more on that later). Great job Goblin.

Part 2 – Texture:

Texture is a big selling point of tentacles, mostly for the side with the suckers on. The idea of the suckers sparked curiosity and a little bit of apprehension in Emily when we first started looking into them, and she is by all rights a texture fiend. Would the suckers be too hard? Would the perpendicular angles be too rough? The answer for both of those would be no. I asked Emily to describe how the suckers felt.

They’re very noticeable. It’s not really something I can describe. I can say they felt exactly how I thought they would after watching all that hentai.

-Emily on suckers

Sufficiently aroused, Emily did not need to use lubricant when using this toy vaginally, but we’d both recommend it if you’re using the tentacle to warm up, which it does a great job at. Emily also found the texture comfortable anally, which was something of a shock to both of us and warrants its own section in this review. The 00-50 firmness of the silicone compliments the textures perfectly. It stands firmly on its own but comes with plenty of compressible squish.

To wrap up this section, the texture is noticeable but comfortable and pleasant. This is no Nova and it’s not going to leave you raw or sore after use, which is only a bummer if that’s what you were going for. Another clear win in our book for this tentacle. We would call it beginner friendly even.

Part 3 – Size:

We picked up our tentacle in small. Don’t let that moniker fool you though, ‘small’ in the fantasy toy world is often ‘standard’ and sometimes even ‘large’ in the mainstream sex toy market. The small tentacle measurements are below.

Quick Reminder: D-score is a measurement that essentially gives us the number of median sized dicks to equal the girth of a toy. You can read D-Score more easily as “This is how many dicks this is worth in girth”. So a D-Score of 2.5 would be 2 and a half dicks of girth, to make it simple.

Usable LengthDiameter of TipLargest Diameter
Tentacle6.6″0.9″2.1″
D-ScoresN/A0.42.2

Here you can really see the control the tapered size gives you in managing the girth. The tip starts at a downright petite D-score of 0.4, that’s less than half a median penis. This is straight up beginner friendly. As you move down the tentacle it widens to a D-Score of 2.2, that’s a pretty nice range! A little note on the ‘tip’ measurement, it’s take a small way down. The actual tip is pointed to aid insertion and I’d call it pinky sized. It’s pretty useless to measure the toy there though.

As I’ve mentioned before, Emily is something of a size queen, but the small tentacle gets girthy enough and has the requisite texture to push her buttons satisfactorily when used vaginally. It won’t be winning any A-spot awards but it’s not designed for that, not at this size anyway. On the flip size, Emily is an anal novice, and she found the starting diameter downright pleasant and very workable. This is only the second toy we own to get that praise, which includes our 3 plugs, and the first one she’s comfortable using as a starter.

Part 4 – The Anal Thing:

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this toy for us are the anal applications. But to talk about that we’ll have to talk a little bit about Emily’s body and her brain. When it comes to anal stimulation Emily has very sensitive brakes as Dr. Nagoski would put it. Emily has to be very aroused (or a bit drunk) to want anal stimulation, but when she wants it she really wants it. Small difficulties in the warm-up and prep process for anal play however, will knock her right out of the mood. She’s sensitive to hard firmness and finds it uncomfortable at best. High firmness is, as near as I can tell, usually regarded as a positive for anal experience. Most plugs are very firm, even the silicone ones, the rest are glass or metal—speaking in a body-safe context of course. So Emily’s anal tastes are counter-market and very sensitive to disruption.

So we were both very surprised by the fact that she had a great time with the tentacle anally. She can’t quite hilt it yet, and experienced anal users may find that a bit adorable in a ‘look at the beginner’ kind of way, but that’s exactly the point. We want to stress this toys potential use to people who may have had an interest in anal play but found the same roadblocks Emily did. Another surprise is that Emily wants to work on hilting the tentacle. She’s never enjoyed any toy enough anally to think about its future sustained use.

Part 5 – Usage:

So lets wrap this all together. For us the small Tentacle is a wonderful multi-purpose foreplay-to-coreplay toy whether enjoyed vaginally or anally. It is the first toy in our entire warchest to earn that distinction. Our small Echo from Bad Dragon in medium firmness is another toy she finds comfortable anally but it just doesn’t get the job done vaginally.

Emily also enjoys the small tentacle in a double penetration role for our smaller-to-medium vaginal toys, or as a partner for me to fill whichever area I’m not occupying. On that note, I can somewhat feel the texture of the tentacle through the posterior vaginal wall when the tentacle is used in that role and it’s an intense sensation.

I’ve already mentioned that the tentacle is a good warm-up toy, and that it’s good for core play as well, but we’ve also found it satisfying as a cool down toy too. Our last session involved Emily riding a Large Nova in Firm from Bad Dragon and after and orgasm or two with that she switched to the tentacle and had a great time with it. The shaft of the Nova has a D-Score of 3 by the way, and the harder firmness is intentionally punishing.

Part 6 – Cost, Conclusion, and Manufacturer Rating:

We actually picked up the small Tentacle on a lark. We were talking in reddit about having apprehensions about getting some tentacle styled toys from a competitor, and we were noting the slower taper and worrying about running out of vaginal length before getting to a satisfying girth. Another redditor mentioned the quicker taper on the Goblin toy and the quick shipping from Goblin Dildo Emporium. So we took to the Etsy shop not really expecting to buy anything. Then we saw the small Tentacle on discount for 25 dollars. That’s an absolute steal in the silicone fantasy dildo market and we had a very impulsive “what have we got to lose” buy moment. We were worried that for the price, surely we’d be getting something lower quality. Those were unfounded fears. The finish on this toy is very professional, easily as good as the finish on Bad Dragon toys, which is one of their strongest points in our opinion. The shipping was stupid fast, just as the other user mentioned. Our experience with Goblin Dildo Emporium has been nothing but good. We will probably be getting another larger tentacle in the future for vaginal use and we are going to customize that one.

In conclusion, this is another one of those fantasy toys that has broad appeal and strikes gold in its simple and effective design. Unless the aesthetic of the tentacle turns you off outright, we can recommend the small Tentacle as a nothing-to-lose everything-to-gain staple addition to any warchest and at this price, or even the normal price, we’re issuing a hard buy on this item. It’s making me reconsider adding ‘editor awards’ to my review format—if I had to make one up on the spot, it’d be the “warchest staple”. As much as we enjoy our other toys, and how well they fit us, they all come with lots of caveats when recommending them to others. We love this but….(Emily is a size queen, Emily loves aggressive textures, It’s stupid expensive, etc). The small Tentacle doesn’t suffer from these reservations. Go get one. Get it now (there’s a sale on).

I am not a paid reviewer. My content comes from me and I was not solicited in any manner for this review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.