The Sex Issue

Unlike the stretchy material of the cock rings you may have contemplated using in the past--you know, like your sister's hairband--this plastic one holds a consistent tension. Which means that, if you can endure its occasional pinching, you'll also be able to ride on for such an epic length of time that you'll expect credits to roll and an Ennio Morricone score to play softly in the distance. Our words of advice: It's a bit disconcerting to see the parts your Speedo covers suddenly morph into a big purple eggplant. So whatever you do, don't look down.

OVERALL RATING: ******* 7

 

Bonds Have More Fun

This beginner's bondage kit includes red vinyl, velcro-secured handcuffs lined with black faux fur so soft you'd think you had fuzzy baby chicks Krazy Glued to your wrists. Of course, even if you actually were wearing future KFC wings as bracelets, you'd never know it. A matching reversible blindfold keeps you in the dark--that way your sighted companion can surprise you with a smack from the accompanying paddle. The leather side of that paddle performs such delicious karate on your rump that if all dog owners replaced their rolled-up newspapers with it, every poodle in the country would be relieving himself on the Oriental rug.

"Yes! I'm wicked! I've committed major sins!" it will make you declare, desperately trying to convince your punisher to lay it on. "I'm turned on by 7th Heaven! I've worn Birkenstocks with socks!" Sadly, the fuzzy underside of the paddle doesn't measure up to its leather half: Being hit with the lackluster thud of faux fur is about as sexy as batting at your backside with a dead squirrel. (If you're looking for lighter play, the complimentary feather duster might better tickle your fancy.) Still, it's a small complaint about a largely addictive kit. Once you go Bond, you'll never go back.

OVERALL RATING: ******** 8

 

Wahl Coil
Hitachi Magic Wand

Rachel Maines's The Technology of the Orgasm reports that as early as the first century A.D. and as late as the 19th century, Western doctors encouraged physicians or midwives to massage female patients to orgasm with vibrators as a cure for hysteria. You wonder: If you've got a volunteer who is ready and willing to double-click your mouse five times a day, wouldn't committing yourself to a mental institution be the only sane choice?

Even if modern times have rendered a doctor's appointment less exciting than it was in days of yore, the Wahl Coil and the Hitachi Magic Wand make the safe, sterile tools of the medical world seem sexy. Both best-selling, classic vibrators are white, comfortable, relaxing, and impeccably clean, with a shape that mimics the devices tucked away in a surgeon's drawer. The two-speed Wahl Coil looks like a suction cup with a glue-gun grip, while the Hitachi Magic Wand is more akin to a tennis ball situated atop a foot-long electric-toothbrush handle. Because neither bears any resemblance to the male anatomy (unless someone has very special plumbing) these happy sticks can be particularly lesbian-friendly. And just in case you're still sheepish about owning them, both come with instructions that feature someone using the toy to soothe a sore back. (We tested its spine-tingling quotient--it's the next best thing to having a full-time masseuse.)

Our only gripe: The Wahl's collection of somewhat cumbersome attachments, which inexplicably includes a "scalp massager." Judging by what we learned in health class, we know there's no "scalp" between a woman's thighs--although if there were, that would explain those Herbal Essences commercials.

OVERALL RATING, WAHL COIL: ******* 7

OVERALL RATING, HITACHI: ********** 10

 

Fleshlight

To think of all the precious time men spend callusing their hands when they could just unscrew the top of a flashlight, quietly hump the spot where the double-D batteries go, and be done with it. This gray plastic device is a dead ringer for a Black & Decker, but it might not help you on any camping expeditions: Inside the fake extra-large portable spotlight is a smooth, 10-inch-long lavender sleeve of waterproof thermal plastic connected to the fleshy manhole of your choice: anus, vagina, or simple, neutral crack. When used with the proper lubricant (see Lube Sampler Pack, below) and condom, the slick, comfy SoftSkin can help you experience the ins and outs of true love. (We recommend both guys and dolls always use a condom with sex toys to keep them clean. If you don't, you'll find that your infection-harboring tool really is the gift that keeps on giving.)

When you've slowly worked your way through every small, pleasurable nuance of foreplay, play, and afterplay with the Fleshlight (estimated time: five seconds), your "partner" sometimes makes an unsettling gurgling sound as you pull away. But we doubt that the fact that the Fleshlight is both a literal and metaphorical whoopee cushion will turn you off entirely. When you've already decided to make love to a giant inanimate vagina that someone put together on an assembly line, modesty probably won't be a problem.

OVERALL RATING: ********* 9

 

Bend Over Boyfriend Kit

Sex slang has a way of making the entire English language sound dirty. We are tired of telling lewd-minded Frasier fans that "Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs" is not about a girl who gives rim jobs while masturbating. Let's face it: Sometimes you need to distinguish between circling someone else's hidden asterisk with your tongue and literally shoving arugula in your mouth. Which is why the plain language in Dr. Carol Queen's Bend Over Boyfriend informational video is so necessary. The movie--which comes in a kit that includes a Malibu Terra Firma fabric harness, a Crystal Jelly Boy dildo (nearly six inches long and almost two inches in diameter), a one-ounce bottle of Embrace lube, a 10-pack of latex gloves (your choice of size) and two condoms--uses clear instructions to lead you through both the emotional and physical preparation for allowing a woman to take the dominant role in anal sex with her boyfriend.

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