Cache directory "/home/content/k/y/r/kyrasaunders/html/wp-content/plugins/ttftitles/cache" is not writable.The Art of Sex Toy Reviews

Posted on May 29, 2010 by

I’ve had several people write to me and ask about various aspects of sex toy reviewing. The questions span a gamut from how I got started, how I approach a toy review and even why I would review sex toys and publicly post my opinions at all.

I decided that I have the most to say about how I approach toy reviews so I thought I’d write about that for today. Many people seem to believe that writing sex toy reviews is a case of “masturbate and regurgitate” but I believe there’s more to it than that if you want to do a good job. It’s not as sexy as it first sounds unless you get off on having a notebook and pen in bed with you and breaking your post-orgasm bliss to jot down notes. It’s a bonus to have a partner who doesn’t get annoyed when post-play is interrupted by a need to scrawl down a few words and even more so if said partner is willing to frankly talk about the toy, too.

You absolutely cannot be body shy and have to be able to talk frankly and clearly about your body, how you use your toys and what you like and don’t like. Sex toy reviews are no place for euphemisms or purple prose.

First off, I’m a huge believer in honesty in reviews. No matter if I buy my own toy or I am reviewing one I received free for that purpose, I make it a point to always be extremely honest. What is the use of reading a review if the reviewer isn’t honest? Despite what some people think, I’ve never met a toy distributor or manufacturer yet who would trade honesty for gushing and undeserved adoration. I’ve also never been asked to write only positive reviews and would never accept that stipulation as a condition of receiving any review item. I write about MY opinions.

That said, I also don’t believe in deliberately setting out to trash any item I review. Facts, clear opinions and backing up my statements with reasons are plenty – whether I like or dislike a toy. I know I can write an honest review that is not favorable without resorting to trashing anything or anyone. I’ve done it and I’ll continue to do it when warranted.

I try to review toys in different price ranges and that might suit different needs. It may be great to get a pricey toy but how many of them can real people afford? I think this is part of making sure my reviews are useful to readers. A review of a $20 toy is just as worthy and useful as a review of a $300 toy.

When I get my toy to review, I open it when I have some time to devote to making review notes. Tempted as I am to rip into any package (I’m not much for delayed gratification), I need to pay attention when I open it. The first notes I make are about the toy’s presentation, appearance, size, feel, smell and how easy it is to insert batteries or control. I have a notebook and I take notes on anything I notice. I don’t use them all, but I don’t want to lose those first impressions.

What is the packaging like? What impressions do I get from how it’s presented? How easy or hard is it to open? What is in the package with it?

Then I look at the toy itself. How well is it made? Is it well-finished or does it have rough spots? Is there stickiness, oil or anything on the surface? Does it smell funny/chemically? How does it feel in my hand?

If the toy takes batteries or is powered, how easy is it to insert the batteries? How easy is it to understand the controls without reading the instructions? I cycle through whatever speeds/settings the toy might have and make notes on just what is available.

Once I’ve written down my first impressions, I wash the toy before use. Always. I know that I have fairly sensitive skin and I don’t need a bad reaction to something on the toy’s surface to make my life miserable for days. You just never know what might be on a toy after manufacturing and, honestly, would you cook in a new pan without washing it the first time? It’s just common sense. I use a dedicated toy cleaner as a mainstay unless I have a compelling reason to use something else.

When I have some time to devote to actually playing with the toy, I kick my partner out of the bedroom and give myself some time to play with the toy and make notes while I can focus on the toy and my own body. I love to explore toys with my partner, but it can be very distracting so, again, I want my first impressions to be clear and focused.

An important thing to understand when you start actually playing with sex toys for review is that every person is different and has a different anatomy, different likes and dislikes. I have a very clear understanding of my own preferences and where I differ from other people I’ve discussed toys with. I’ve had two children and I know I prefer toys with a good girth on them. I have a clitoral hood piercing and a labial piercing and this makes some of my toy usage different than a woman who does not have them. I love anal sex and I have to warm up to g-spot stimulation. I prefer heavy, thumpy vibrators to buzzier vibrators. I don’t have very sensitive nipples and I have a very high pain tolerance.

I use whatever I would normally use in the way of lubricants or protection, depending on the toy. I have an assortment of lubes and condoms at hand for whatever I feel I need or want to try.

Then I play. I experiment with the toy, with how I hold it, with how I move it, etc.

As soon as I catch my breath after coming, I make notes of what I thought of the experience including what I liked and didn’t. Sometimes I go right from that first try to another if I’m feeling inspired. Otherwise I might wait a day or two and try a second spin with the toy – maybe with a new technique, maybe anally instead of vaginally, maybe with my partner. I make notes after this playtime too.

I usually give myself a day or two at least to ponder the toy and what I want to say in my review before I start writing it. This gives a chance for my mind to settle on what stood out the most and what I really want to mention. I always get the toy’s stats from the distributor or manufacturer so I can include it in the review as well as a few pictures.

Another thing I try to include is any power requirements and care instructions. Not everyone knows how each type of material should be handled and it never hurts to include it. Sometimes I mention if I have concerns that are not stated on the packaging and indicate where I have taken different steps and why.

When I sit down to write the review, I do so when I’m alone and can focus on what I’m writing and my notes. I normally structure my reviews in the same general way – I want to walk the reader through my experience from opening the toy to what I thought about my playtime with it to what I feel about recommending it, for who and why. I tend to have some humor thrown in because that’s just who I am and my personality and it comes through. I always write my reviews with a clear understanding that my preferences are not everyone’s and I take that into account with my recommendations and feedback.

I like to write reviews that are about one and a half to two pages long with pictures inserted. I think this gives me enough room for a comprehensive review. I try to read the review at least once but I still occasionally miss a typo or two. I’m working on that.

As you can see – writing sex toy reviews does take some work and some organization if you want to do a good job. But it is a lot of fun and I really enjoy the process and the feeling that I contribute some information and insight to other people that I know is honest.

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