Kinkonomics – Sex Toy Pricing

Last week sex toy pricing was twice the topic on Twitter: British gay sex shop Clonezone announced a sale up to 75% which lead to a little shit storm because people felt they Clonezone would generally overcharge them. Later this week, Twitter user DiggerPup responded to my review of the Mister B Nipple Claws that you could get the barrels off eBay as diamond prongs for around £3.50 instead of the £30 Mister B charges for the sex toy. Since both topics are somewhat related and the topic of sex toy pricing is a constant one in my reader questions, I decided to blog about it today.

The Iconic Mr S Store on 8th Street in San Francisco. Maintaining such a big presence in a high-rent area is expensive.

Running a business creates a lot of costs beyond the purchase price of the goods sold: Rent, insurance, capital costs, wages, income and value added taxes and many more. When the business manufactures own goods, the prices for workshop equipment, defective work and research & development also needs to be priced into the product price. If you are a multi-channel retailer (which means running an online and a brick & mortar business at the same time), your prices have to have a mixed calculation: Being competitive towards other online retailers, being the same offline and online and still covering the costs of stationary stores (for example store rent in the gay district which – especially through gentrification – is generally higher than the rent in an industrial estate).

While all retails have to cover these costs, kinky products come with the same challenges as luxury goods: They are not essential needs but part of the self-actualization so among all the other purchase possibilities they generally speaking rank amid the lowest in priority. Furthermore, once bought, the likelihood of purchasing a similar good again soon, is low compared to other products. So all the costs mentioned above need to be covered by products which are not bought often and are marketed to a niche.

For that reason, the profit margin of most kink products compared to luxury goods which ranges between 60% and 150%. This sounds like a lot, but if you take off the value added tax (in percentage points!) and take into consideration that the average receipt is relatively low because the most common purchases are cockrings, nipple clamps and lube, the profit is not that high.

The S10 Hooded Gas Mask: A good example how Labor and Material Costs increase the Price of a Pervertable

So, how does this relate to the two opening examples? First let’s talk about the Clonezone sale. The initial tweet readUp to 75%”. The word “up” is important. I went to webpage linked in the tweet on Jan 21st at 6pm and the average discount over all offers was 26.11%. At an average cloth retailer you will get a bigger discount rate at an end of season sale. Looking at the profit margin from the last paragraph and taking into consideration the VAT, the products are not that outrageously overpriced as the 75% discount would imply but priced margin-wise in the neighborhood of average department store or luxury products.

The Mister B Nipple Claws are actually a good example to illustrate why kink products are not as overpriced as they first might appear. If you wanted to make your own Nipples Claws you would need two diamond prongs which cost £9 including shipping and chain and the two bails for approx. £2. The labor time for drilling, deburring and soldering will take about 10 minutes which will cost approx. £4. So a self-made Nipple Claw would cost you £15 – not including tool depreciation and maintenance costs, the labor costs for purchasing the materials and the hypothetical costs of defective work. Taking into consideration scale effects, the Nipple Claws will have a purchase price for Mister B of £10. But Mister B is not only a multi-channel retailer, but also a wholesaler. They need to price their products so they can sell it to other retailers with a profit and they must be able to make a profit covering all the costs of their own business.

The Mr S Four Buckel Restraints and Bishop Head Harness. Two of the probably most knocked-off Piece of Bondage Gear.

While I am on the subject, I want to address a third aspect I often get asked: Why are toys from Bad Dragon, Square Pegs or Oxballs so expensive? Why buy the original products from Mr S or Regulation when there are cheaper version of them from Asia on eBay?

  1. Raw Material Price: Premium sex toy maker use premium, but thus more expensive materials. Silicone for example needs a catalyst which can be the inexpensive metal lead. But for humans, lead is an highly toxic material so body-safe products should use the catalyst platinum which naturally is more expensive. Most leather from Asia is dressed in a way which does not satisfy European or American safety standards. Potentially dangerous chemicals and processes are used among which the Chrome-6 allergy is the most common yet the most “harmless”. Since most leather pieces designed for BDSM are worn on the bare skin, these chemicals are more easily absorbed through body warmth and sweat than when the leather is used to make a cheap leather jacket which has a cloth lining.
  2. Liability Risks and Customer Loyalty: The potential harm through cheap raw materials is only one part of potential liability risk. When selling bondage gear for extremer scenes like suspension, the production quality has to be so good, that an avarage piece being sold must be able to good enough to satisfy safety requirements even when assesed in court.
    Because established companies have become a brand of their own. The customer expects a certain level of product quality. Otherwise through the small size of the kink community, a bad reputation quickly spreads which can easily get a company into big economic troubles. This kind quality control causes higher costs through more thorough manufacturing, quality testing of samples or all products and higher cull.
  3. Lack of scale effects: Most kink products are not made in large quantities. A type of bondage gear is usually only manufactured two or three pieces at a time because the capital tie-cost would be too high to produce them in bulk and just store them. Through the large number of different color and pattern options, firmness degrees and extras, each Bad Dragon toy is individually made. Despite the basic technique of making leather or polymer toys is the same, there is no real chance of gathering much experience making the individual model so there are only little scale effects (for example increased manufacturing speed and reduction of defective work).
  4. The Prototype of the Mountain Drake Dildo, submitted by user Xan to the Bad Dragon Labs

    Labor costs: These companies are usually located in the western world and there in areas with high living costs like London or LA. Through social security systems and generally high living costs than in developing countries, the labor costs of skilled craftsmen like leather tailors are considerably higher causing higher product prices.

  5. Research and Development: The more elaborate the product, the more complex the design process is going to be. For example: Oxballs uses 3D printer to rapid prototype their new toys, Bad Dragon has an entire community dedicated to product design, not to talk about how difficult it is to create a sowing pattern for ergonomically designed bondage gear. All these efforts to design new products costs time and thus labor, sometimes required special equipment (3D printer, CAD programs, etc.) and expensive raw materials.

I know that sex and kink toys are expensive and that there are always more toys a kinkster wants than he can afford. But I hope this little blog entry illustrated well why the products we perverts yearn for are most of the time worth the price in the store.

Nipple Claws

The Mister B Nipple Claws

Vendor: Mister B

Construction

These clamps are quite inconspicuous: Just two barrels with a lever at the bottom. But when you push the lever, four pointy metal fingers extend which are 11mm long and created an aperture of about 10mm.  The housing barrel is 51mm long and has a diameter of 7mm. The upper 4/5 of the barrel is knurled for better grip and a disk around the rim with a 15mm diameter enables precise operation and control of the clamps even wearing thicker rubber gloves and somewhat lubey hands. The barrels are connected by 32cm long chain which is attached to them by a movable bail

Detail of the Knurling and Grip Disk

Playing with the Nipple Claws

Pputting these clamps onto the nipple is a quite surprising experience: Through the relatively tame spring tension the pain is not as intense as the intimidating look might imply. This difference of anticipated and actual sensation makes these clamps ideal for a bit of mindfuck. Though they are far from tame. Even lightly pulling on the chain increases the pain dramatically. Suspending a weight from it and let it swing is agonizing. Letting it drop is hell – especially since unlike other clamps the Nipple Claws stay in place when the weight drops. Like with any other clamp, pumping the nipples in advance will increase their sensitivity. But unlike with most other clamps, the added puffiness will not compromise the grip.

Detail of the actual clamp

These clamps really shine in more messy scenes. The knurling and disk allow to operate the clamps even with messy fingers to a certain degree. Since the metal fingers dig a bit into the tissue, the Nipple Claws even grip onto sweaty nipples, lube-covered ball skin or pre-cum drenched foreskin where other clamps would slip off.

Despite looking quite mean, the claws never broke the skin while testing them. Through the relatively small aperture and lighter spring tension, these clamps are made for play on bare skin. They can pierce lycra and thinner rubber, thicker rubber and leather will prevent them from gripping the nipple.

Conclusion: Mean clamps with even meaner looks and hard grip.
Pro Cons Where to get Price
Stays securely on attached body area Small aperture might make attaching clamp to desired body area Mister B 34.50€
Easy to operate

Kinkonomics – The Next Big Kink

Yesterday I responded to a tweet of the awesome Pup Bolt who was wondering if pup play was going out of fashion and what is going to be the next big thing in the fetish world. My response got me so many direct messages that I decided to blog about it.

As an economist specializing in marketing and minor in sociology, I am focusing on these aspects. If you have gotten a profound sociological or psychological opinion on this topic, please share it! Also, in order to not make this post too long and overly academic I made some generalizations.

The Mr S Neoprene Puppy Hood is the pupsonas face for my Pup Player

In my response tweet I call pup play a “macro trend” which is a governing set of actions, believes and looks prevailing for years. A macro trend can have many micro/ sub trends like this case wearing Mr S Neoprene pup hoods with individual color schemes. In order to make an educated guess what the Next Big Kink could be, let’s take a look why and how trends emerge.

Among other things human behavior is driven by the urge to belong to a group of people and to express one self. So people tend to gravitate to groups which have a strong internal cohesion and differentiate themselves against the rest of the population (being a so called in-group against the majority which is call out-group). All trends start out as a small in-group which through different means gain momentum until at some point the majority looses interest, a small “hardcore” in-group remains, some elements have been integrated in the out-group for good and a new trend emerges.

Let’s look at four major means which facilitate a small nice in-group becoming a major trend:

  1. Accessibility: The lower the entrance barrier, the more likely it is people are going to adopt elements of the trend. Entrance barriers can be necessary investments in paraphernalia like likes cloths or accessories, having to travel to events or the nature of association messages which are accepted by the in-group.
    Pup Play Example: In order to belong to the pup community, one has just to call himself a pup. Different sub-groups have higher entrance barriers like owning a tail or a hood.
  2. The Mr S Woof Muzzle, for years the most present piece of Pup Gear

    Desirability and Rewards: Openly associating oneself with a group allows for certain assumptions what a stranger can expect from a person and thus influences the interaction with this person (so called halo effect). If the reputation or the actions which result out of these assumptions are considered desirable, more people will gravitate towards the in-group.
    Pup Play Example: Getting affection like scritches, lowering the barriers to interact with stranger or being allowed to leave the conventions and responsibility of everyday live behind and behave like a dog for a period of time is considered desirable by many people.

  3. Exposure and Self-Affirmation: The more exposure in mass and nowadays social media a trend and its rewards gets, the more people know about its existence and can decide to join. The degree of exposure depends on the “novelty factor”, meaning how much news or shock value or escape (pleasure of doing something other than the everyday routine) a media item has and thus how likely it will be read. In order to create cohesion expressions of belonging to the in-group is rewarded by its members with a kind of attention people crave called resonance.
    Pup Play Example: Pup Play has been featured in all major types of media in the western world. Posting a picture of playing pups or a new hood on social media usually causes a bunch of positive feedback, boosting the poster’s ego.
  4. Commercialization: As soon as an in-group leaves its initial small niche, businesses try to commercialize on the trend, lowering the entrance barriers, giving it exposure and structuring the scene. Through product selection and advertising business construct the image what it takes for an outsider to enter the scene because from a certain point of time on businesses are more vocal than the initial in-group. At this point of time, it is not uncommon for the initial in-group members to distance themselves from the trend because it has changed so much.
    Pup Play Example: Mr S through renaming their bondage mitts “Puppy Mitts”, their many pup hood and muzzle designs and selection of tails, had a big influence on what springs to mind when the word “Pup” is mentioned. That this image is subjected to change over time in relation to products can easily be seen here: 5 years ago many people associate the Mr S Woof Muzzle with the word “Pup”, today it is their Neoprene Puppy Hood.

The hood whichs makes the sub faceless and anonymous is an important piece of gear for all gimps

Looking at social media postings, reports on the pup community and interviews with community members for most pup players the relinquishing of self control and just entering a primal state of mind is what draws them towards this kind of play. This is a logical response to a world with an ever-increasing complexity. Two in-groups have gotten increasing presence in the kink community over the past two years which would continue this trend: Gimps/ drones and fisting. The gimp/ drone trend is pushing the de-humanization to the max: Not being expected to do anything but just being an anonymous object is the ultimate state for leaving the stressful world behind. Fisting is triggering a primal sexuality which blends out everything else. The intense sexual feelings go along with the increasing desire for hedonism in most developed countries. Both trends have low entrance barriers, their media is getting big exposure in social media and according responses and after all through cat/ gimp suits (and for drone play most commonly e-stim and milking machines) and anal toys for fisting the trends are commercialized.

But: Will there be a new macro trend at all? With the rise of the internet in the past 20 years the way trends emerge has changed. Before the internet means of mass communication were expensive and there was no egalitarian access to the publishing industry. Thus only few trends emerged and people gravitated towards them. The infinite way of communication and organization of the internet lead what is called the “Long Tail” (no pup pun intended). People who otherwise never would have gotten in contact are now in touch, forming their small in-groups around the globe, giving them a level of cohesion and thus satisfaction from it, making them independent of macro trends. In the end the internet solved to some extended the coordination problem, through the individual combination of in-group behavior the expectations fade creating an increasing transformation problem.

While this is all interesting from an academic point of view, do not think too much about it but go out, be kink and have all the fun you want.

Pocket Crop

The Jack’s Flogger Pocket Crop

Vendor: Jack’s Flogger

Construction

This crop has a traditional riding crop design, but with its overall length just short of 400mm is considerably shorter than riding crops for sporting purposes.

Like almost all impact toys from Jack’s Flogger the handle is covered with braided leather, almost like a flogger handle. There is a tiny knot at both ends; the lower one houses a ring for easy storage. The shaft is made out of fiber glass and 145mm long. Most of it is covered in braided nylon but a bit of the upper part where leather of the slapper is sown around it. The 90mm long swat itself is made out of stiff, 4mm thick oil-taned bridle leather. 2/3 of it are 27mm wide and sown and glues together while the last third tappers up to a 12mm wide slapper.

Detail of the Swat

Playing with the Pocket Crop

Usually riding crops are used for quick, precise “long-range” punishment or encouragement like motivating a sub licking boots or goad him without having to get up. Being shorter the Pocket Crop allows for new kinds of play. It is short enough to be feasible for over the knee, hitting a sub strapped to a spanking horse while maintaining body contact or bastinado. The compact size makes it ideal for bringing life into toys which have lost their bite during a scene like clamps or suction cups. Simply hit them a bit and the sub will certainly feel them again.

Detail of the Braided Handle, End Knot and Ring for Storage

Like every riding crop the premiere sensation is stingy. The intensity can easily be adjusted from tapping over just flicking to full energy blows. While just hitting with the tip is a bit less intense because it has some give, hitting with the lower 2/3 is intense. The stiff leather in combination with the hard fiber glass turns all impact energy into pain. Like the different pain sensation, the coloring of the two sections is very different. The slapper leaves almost no marks but hitting with the entire swat quickly reddens the skin and leave bruises. While it will not break the skin easily I would recommend not hitting body parts with frail bones like the hand for example frequently and with high intensity. The same applies for CBT: Tapping or light flicking on the ball or the glans make the sub squirm. But full blows or hard flicking can lead to bruises or serious injuries so please be careful.

Even though the crop is quite short, it is not really jacket-pocket short. But it fits well into briefcases and became quite popular with BLUF friends of mine. They attached the crop to their belts or put it into their boots because it was shorter than traditional crops and thus not as cumbersome.

Conclusion: Short and powerful riding crop for an incredible price.
Pro Cons Where to get Price
High level of craftsmanship and quality materials Jack’s Flogger £12
Incredible value for money

ElectraStim Classic Plug

Vendor: ElectraStim

Construction

The Classic Plug is a bi-polar plug made by ElectraStim. It is cone-shaped and comes in three sizes.

Name Maximum Diameter Insertable Length
Beginner’s 30mm 56mm
Midi 40mm 70mm
Maxi 50mm 85mm

The ElectraStim Maxi Classic Plug

Unlike the bi-polar anal electrodes made by E-Stim Systems the two poles are split horizontally, with the ElectraStim Classic Plug they are split vertically. Two polished tapered aluminum halves are connected using acrylic which isolates the two poles. The junction is very well-made with almost no burr so unlike other, cheap electrodes which mimic this style there is not injury risk when inserting the electrode. Around the base two rubber bands are wrapped which provide good grip even with lubey fingers. Theoretically they provide some level of isolation when inserting the plug or taking it out even when currency is running through the plug. However, first I strongly advise against moving the plug while e-stim is one because the alteration of the contact surface can lead to nasty spikes in the felt stimulation. Also when you really grip the base, the fingers will make contact with the aluminum, making it likely currency will flow through your fingers. If you still want to pull or push the plug while it is energized, wear isolating gloves.

To connect the plug with your power box there is a socket for 2mm pin connectors at the bottom of each pole.

Detail of the Two 2mm Sockets

While I have gotten the Maxi to review, the construction and handling of the toy are the same for all three sizes. Due to the smaller amount of mass in the sensations when playing can feel a bit different.

Playing with the Classic Plug

The shape of the Classic Plug is the same like most traditional butt plugs which means it gradually opens up the sphincter which makes for easy insertion. To ensure good conductivity I recommend water-based lube. I personally prefer Swiss Navy which has good conductive properties.

Because the two poles are facing each other instead of being above each other Classic Plug offers unique sensations compared to my other bi-polar e-stim plugs. The bad news first: Naturally due to the poles’ position there is no fucking sensation possible. When I started reviewing the plug I went through all the programs on my wide selection of e-stim power boxes. Some of my favorite ones I did not like at all, others I never considered to be fun suddenly became interesting. So when you have gotten only E-Stim System Premium Anal Electrodes, take a look at this one for more varied play options.

Detail of the Isolation Rings Around the Base

Another good news is: All the sensation felt is just centered at the sphincter which leads to an intense stimulation. Even at low intensity settings, strong sensations can be felt. So this plug is good for nuanced play as well as for more tormenting scenes. An e-stim sadist friend of mine grew very fond of the small plug because it gave his sub who maxed all his power boxes a new challenge.

However, what spoils the plug a bit for me is the lack of 2mm pin low profile leads. I searched the internet and could not find any. So sitting on the plug is not possible, lying on it is a bit of a challenge, both will increase the likelihood of lead fracture which limits the bondage layouts I really want to incorporate this electrode in.

Conclusion: Easy to insert bi-polar anal electrode for focus sphincter stimulation
Pro Cons Where to get Price
Interesting pole positions Location of the sockets unpractical for many bondage layouts ElectraStim Beginner’s: 99€
Shape makes it easy to insert Midi: 115€
Maxi: 129€
Good build quality
Disclaimer: This toy was sent to me by ElectraStim for an honest and unbiased review.

Oxballs Slung

The Oxballs Slung

Vendor: Regulation

Construction

This toy is basically a triangular ball stretcher with added features. The stretcher is 35mm high and hole through which you put your balls has a diameter of 32mm. The material thickness at the sides is 11mm. The corners are heavily reinforced. There are holes in the middle of the reinforcements in which non-locking carabiners are housed. Their material thickness is 5mm and they measure 50x24mm.

The Slung is made out of Platinum Silicone which means it is hypoallergenic and while being somewhat flexible stiffer than the FLEX-TPR Oxballs uses on other products.

Playing with the Slung

Despite calling the Slung “a ball stretcher” it really works like a parachute. The carabiners are there to have things attached to them. Either weights or – for even more fun  – restraints. I usually attach each wrist or ankle restraint to one of the carabiners and the third to some form of head gear. The more the sub struggles, the harder his balls get tugged.

Detail of the Carabiner Housing

When I first considered buying this toy, I was skeptical if it could work. Knowing how easily my other Oxballs toy stretch for easy handling, I believed that you could easily pull the Slung off balls. But well, it doesn’t. I had a real CBT aficionado over who suspends kilograms of weights from his balls and we attached 8kg to the Slung and let is swing without a problem. It actually works a bit better than a traditional parachute. With leather ones the balls can shift so that the parachute slips off. But the  silicone’s strength and stiffness stretches the sack tightly, keeping the balls in place. This sturdiness in combination with the high material thickness makes the Slung good for ball busting. The nuts stay in place (and furthermore can be tied in place using the carabiners) and the wide rim makes a good contact surface when they get hit. For this kind of play I recommend turning the carbiners parallel to the Slung.

Carabiner Orientation for Ball Busting

However, the stiffness is also a problem when putting it on. You basically need three hands: Two to pull the strong silicone apart to make the hole larger and a third to reach for the balls and pull them through. If you have really strong fingers and are dexterous, you can tie off your balls tightly using other TPR stretchers and maneuver them through on your own while pulling the stretcher open. Also, unlike leather parachutes, the size of the Slung’s hole is naturally not adjustable. So if you have really tiny balls, you will just slip through it.

Being made out of platinum silicone it is quite easy to clean after play: Wash it in hot soap water, let it dry and spray sanitizer on it. Since silicone oil will disintegrate the material, keep silicone lube away from it. Also, silicone attracts dust like almost nothing else.

Conclusion: Unique form of parachute which works better but is a pain in the ass to put on.
Pro Cons Where to get Price
Sits more securely then traditional parachute Extremely difficult to put on. Regulation £44.99
Three different attachment points Not for people with small balls

 

Venus 2000

The Venus 2000 with all the Accessories the Standard Package comes with

Vendor: VenusForMen

Construction

The Venus 2000’s main element is the black milker unit itself which houses the vacuum pump. It is made out of a black, slightly textured polymer, measures 240x155x208mm and weights just short of 5½kg. On top there is a handle for “easy” carrying. At the back of the milker there are two ports for the controls: The rotary control to adjust the speed between 8 and 300 strokes per minute and the air control for increasing or decreasing the air pressure inside the receiver which determines how intense the strokes can be felt and how securely the receiver stays on the sub. Both are connected through a 1200mm long cable resp. hose. Also on this panel you plug the power cord in and connect the milker with the receiver using a 1200mm hose.

Detail of the Back Panel of the Milker Unit

Besides the machine itself and the control boxes each Venus 2000 comes with one made to measure receiver. Having a custom fit receiver is the basis for an effective milking because it is not too loose or too tight. A bit of leeway is not a problem though. If you – like me – are often entertaining different dick sizes, VenusForMen can help you with a set which covers the most common dick sizes. However, if you have got a regular play partner, making him bring his own custom receiver is a good idea. The receiver is made out of a transparent polymer and outfitted with a rubber liner. The tube’s top end is sealed with a black vinyl cap which is outfitted with a security valve. Close to the bottom is a short brass duct to connect the receiver with the milking machine. When not in use and especially when cleaning the receiver, the duct should be covered by a black vinyl cap to keep moisture and dust from entering the receiver.

Each receiver you order comes with a 76cm long spare liner for replacement. The Venus 200 package also consists of a cleaning brush, 130ml of water-based ID Glide, the power cord and a little black zipper bag for storing all the accessories.

The Venus 2000’s Controls: Left for the Pressure inside the Receiver, Right Power Switch and Stroke Control

Besides the Venus 2000 I also got the Head & Nipple Massager Set. It consists of two 80mm tall receivers with a diameter of 55mm. along with two 300mm long hoses and a T-connector for connecting both receivers to the main suction hose.

Playing with the Venus 2000

The bad news first: The Venus 2000 is not an “easy out of the box fun” toy. Setting it up the Venus itself only takes a minute: Plug in the power cord and the two controls, connect the receiver with the milker unit, lube up the dick and the inside of the receiver and bit and you are ready to go – theoretically. Practically I find it impossible to adjust the air pressure inside the receiver just so that it stays in place while jerking. There are different ways to keep it in place; I have seen rope or bungee cords in combination with TPR cockrings or different tripod accessory layouts (I use the one YngMstrDetroit developed for his playroom). Once it is setup for play, you run into a bit of a problem when you are uncut: The receiver will inevitably pull your foreskin back which the majority of my testee panel – including me – found uncomfortable and made it harder to come. If you know a way to keep the glans covered when using the Venus, please write me an e-mail! Furthermore despite being compact, it is quite heavy so especially when you air travel it is not a toy you lightly take with you.

My Device to hold the Receiver in place made ouf ot Tripod Accessories (Design by YngMstrDetroit)

So much for the bad part. The good part is, it is a hell of a lot fun as an edging toy. The alternation of increasing and decreasing vacuum massaged the dick and moves the receiver up and down a bit, stimulating the nerve endings and giving the sub the feeling of being close to cumming for extended periods of time. Through overstimulation the feeling can go down a bit, but will come back rather sooner than later.

As a milking toy, the Venus 2000 is a bit like E-Stim: It takes practice. Only few of my testees who have never been connected to a Venus 2000 came during the first scene. It takes some time to figure out which is the best receiver size (if they don’t have their own custom one), how much air pressure needs to be in the tube for optimal stimulation and which stroke speed is the most effective. When it comes to stroke speed, it is an urban legend that more is better. The sensation of the receiver on the dick can be so intense that a quick stroke speed can overexcite the nerves and the sub doesn’t feel anything anymore. So especially for the first two or three milking scenes is to bound the sub comfortably and blindfolded so that he can focus on the milking sensation, get used to it, struggle against the building tension and ultimately give in to one, two or even more orgasms. If you want quick results, additional stimulation like e-stim, vibration on the taint or hypno files are a good thing. Once the sub has learned to climax through the Venus 2000, the fun game of keeping the just on the edge for hours until he loses his mind or making him cum over and over until his dick is sore.

Head & Nipple Massager Set

Of cause there are also kinksters at the other end of the spectrum: People who cum very quickly. I had subs who managed to come within the first minute and then another three time within the next half hour! Scene after scene it became harder for him to shoot so the Venus 2000 actually helped desensitize him a bit. Another testee has problems getting and staying hard. Because the Venus sucks merciless he could reach some quality orgasms with it. Sadly he lives quite far away so we could not look at long-term effects. He actually got himself a used Venus 2000 and now works on his condition. In his experience using the receivers without the liner is more effective because the vacuum pulls directly on the dick like a vacuum pump (I personally prefer the more controlled suction of a dedicated penis pump with more comfortable cylinders). I will update this post in half a year or so to see if regular improves his condition.

A really fun accessory for the Venus 2000 are the Head & Nipple Massager Set.  Especially when you “prime” the nipple with a vacuum pump to be extra sensitive, the waves of suction are fun, especially as a constant stimulation during sensation play. A single massager can be used on the dick in actually two ways. Either with the cap on, just massaging the glans. I found this focused stimulation of the dick’s part with the highest nerve ending density a very effective way to “teach” the dick the Venus stimulation. Also, the shaft is exposed for all kinds of play like way or e-stim just to name two. With the cap off, the massage can be administered along the shaft, leaving the glans exposed to many deviant ideas: Head polishing, sounding, e-stim or adding a massager with a head attachment.

Two Receivers

Finally a word on the lubes you should use with the receivers. VenusForMen recommends only water-based lubes. I will add that slicker ones like the ID Glide which comes with the toy or Elbow Grease H2O Thick Gel work better then thinner ones like Swiss Navy because the thicker will stay in place. Finding the right amount of lube takes practice. Use too little and the milking will not be comfortable enough for the sub to climax (entering the realm of CBT…), use too much and the receiver can pop off too easily. In any case you should relube regularly. In the manual VenusForMen advises against using silicone and oil-based lube. While oil-based lube destroys the liner, you can actually use silicone lube if you are careful. Use only little and don’t distribute it too generously because the cap at the top only stays in place through friction. If silicone lube gets between the cap and the liner, the pressure inside the liner will be strong enough to make it pop off. Once silicone lube has gotten there, it is a pain in the ass to get every last bit cleaned up so the cap sticks again.

Conclusion: Powerful milking machine with requires experience to unleash the full potential.
Pro Cons Where to get Price
Very strong and finely adjustable stroke Requires device to keep in receiver in place Venus 2000 $956
Additional Receiver $39
Receiver is custom build for best stimulation Head & Nipple Massager Set $78
In most cases dick needs to “learn” to orgasm from the stimulation
Easy to set up and compact for storing away
High quality build
Disclaimer: This toy was sent to me by VenusForMen for an honest and unbiased review.

 

E-Stim Systems Pebble

The E-Stim Systems Pebble Power Box

Vendor: E-Stim Systems

After I reviewed the E-Stim Systems Helix in this year’s E-Stim Special in the spring, I literally got inundated with questions regarding the Pebble. The folks at E-Stim Systems were kind enough to provide me with a review sample so here are my testee panel’s condensed thoughts and experiences with the Pebble.

Construction

The Pebbles design is quite distinct for an e-stim power box: With its convex sides it has an almost hand axe like shape which rests really well in the top’s hand. The back, the top and the bottom are made out of the same high quality, sturdy black polymer all E-Stim Systems’ power boxes are made out of. The convex sides are covered in a rubberized soft-touch material for even better grip. The box is 117mm long, 24mm high and measures 78mm at the widest point. The panel at the front side features two 3.5mm sockets and the power switch in the middle. Behind the power switch the microphone is located.

The upper part of the control panel on top of the box is also symmetrically laid out. On the left and on the right are the rotary controls for controlling the intensity of the two channels. Above them is a blue LED which is on when the channel fires. Between the two intensity controls is the “Adjust” rotary control for manipulating the program’s sensation. Below these controls on the left side are two soft-touch buttons labeled with arrows up and down. They are for the program selection. On the right side next to the buttons are the 9 programs names with a blue LED next to them which flashes in a unique pattern for each program (see below).

The E-Stim Systems Pebble with the Entire Box Content

The box is powered by a standard 9V block battery which’s compartment is on the bottom. So if the battery runs out of power you can replace it easily and quickly during the scene.

Like all E-Stim Systems Premium Products the Pebbles has a lifetime warranty. It comes like all power boxes in a black carrying case lined with foam. If you cut the foam a bit on your own, there is plenty of space for some basic electrodes. Out of the box the Pebble comes with a detailed manual, a battery, 4 pad electrodes and two 3.5mm jack to 2mm pin plug leads. While I can understand the choice so you can out of the box connect the box to the pad electrode it is still a bit annoying because most E-Stim Systems electrodes are laid out for 4mm banana plugs (for more detailed information of the carrying case’s content, read my unboxing).

Playing with the Pebble Power Box

After turning the box on there is a 4se self-test during which the program LEDs flash after each other from the bottom to the top. Then the LEDs go on according the current battery status. If only half the LEDs are on, you should consider replacing the battery. The Pebble will only start firing a channel when a program is selected by pressing the arrow buttons. After the selection it takes between 2 and 4 seconds until the program is activated. Once the program is activated the 9 LEDs flash in a unique pattern. This is a bit annoying because you have to memorize which pattern is associated with which program in order to figure out which is currently active.

Program Name Sensation Adjust Effect Flashing Pattern
Pulse Single pulses simultaneously on both channels Speed of pulses Single LED, moving upwards in the speed of the pulses
Flo Wave-Form Making the wave’s sensation stingier Single LED moving up and down
Split Wave-form on left channel, pulse on right channel Speed of pulses on right channel Two LEDs converging towards the middle, a step after the bottom one blinked
Bounce A pulse alternating between left and right channel Alternation speed One LED converging alternating towards the middle and back
Audio Channels fire corresponding to audio input Microphone sensitivity Outgoing from the middle LED the LEDs light up corresponding to the sound’s intensity like an equalizer display
Milk Pulses which frequency first increases and then decreases again Cycle length Two LEDs converging towards the middle and going back corresponding to the pulses’ speed
Squeeze Pulses which increase in speed until max and start again Cycle length Two LEDs converging towards the middle corresponding to the pulses’ speed
Tease Continuous output which changes from soft to stingy and back Cycle length Two LEDs moving from the middle to both ends and start over
Torment Continuous output which changes from soft to stingy and starts again Cycle length Two LEDs converge towards the middle, pause the and move outward again

Detail of the Front Side Panel and the Soft-Touch Grip sections on the Side

Like the Helix the Pebble is an analogue box so the basic feel is very smooth but depending on the program can become quite stingy. Especially for beginners I recommend staying at the smoother side of the possible sensations because the sting of cheap e-stim units drives most rookies away. Still the Pebble packs enough punch for experienced players. The programs range from the basic (Flo and Pulse) to elaborate ones (Tease & Torment) which leave enough room to explore different play scenarios even for more experienced e-stim doms.

Like almost all build-in microphones of e-stim units it is not that great and sensitive. But the Pebble – unlike its big brother – doesn’t have a microphone line-in. So if you want to use the audio feature, place the power switch directly in front of the audio source for a good and detailed input.

Example of the Flashing Patterns indicating the Selected Program

So, compared to the Helix, where does the Pebble stand? My honest opinion is, there actually is no real reason to buy the Helix when the Pebble is available. With 5 more programs and dual output for just £40 more, the Pebble offers a better value for the money in my opinion. However, if you know that you only like stimulation in one place, like to threat your sub with the “Fire” button usage or are looking for more control over the program the Helix is the box for you. But from my experience, having talked with dozens of people venturing into e-stim, most people enjoy the possibilities of dual channel stimulation. So even if you are starting out in e-stim, I would recommend the Pebble and if you want to dive even deeper into this form of play and want the features described above, buy the Helix as your second box.

Conclusion: Basic yet versatile beginner’s power box with good value for money.
Pro Cons Where to get Price
Dual analogue output for smooth sensation Inconvenient microphone position and no additional line-in E-Stim Systems

(Manufacturer)

Standard: £149
XPE (with conductive Loops & bipolar Egg electrode): £209
Powerful
Interesting programs Only supplied with 2mm pin leads XPF (with conductive Loops & Flange bipolar electrode): £209
Audio feature
Disclaimer: This toy was sent to me by E-Stim System for an honest and unbiased review.

Padded Posture Collar

The Regulation Padded Posture Collar

Vendor: Regulation

Construction

The actual collar is a piece of leather which is roughly anatomically shaped to follow the jaw line on the top and create a support around the sternum. The minimum width of the collar is 100mm so it is quite restricting through its sheer height. Onto the collar an anatomically shaped rest for keeping the chin from moving is riveted.

All pieces are made out of stiff bridle leather so it is really restricting. The edges are burnished and dyed so despite the stiffness the collar is comfortable to wear (leaving out the stress bondage aspect). Regulation calls this collar “padded” and technical I have to agree: Below the soft garment leather lining there is a thin, stiff layer of foam padding. However it is far from the lavish padding on their other premium bondage equipment. Thicker padding would actually compromise the purpose of this collar because it would give in to movement limiting the restricting aspect.

Detail of the Posture Collar’s Anatomic Shape

The collar comes in two sizes: M for a collar circumference between 37cm and 46cm; L for between 45cm and 51cm. It is closed by two 32mm wide leather belts with roller buckles and is equipped with three D-rings: one in the front and one on each side.

Playing with the Posture Collar

As the name of this piece of bondage already tells: It is designed to keep the head in a certain position and it does it really well. Of cause there is a little room for movement because leather is not steel and even the strict riveting allows for a little wiggle room. However it is the most strict posture collar I have come cross yet thus it is fitting gear for stress bondage. And while it is comfortable to wear over extended periods of time through the great production and material quality, keep in mind that forcing any limb or joint to remain in one position for extended periods of time will make it go stiff. This in combination with the head being rather heavy requires a lot of attention and support when taking the collar off the sub’s neck. Otherwise something similar to whiplash can happen.

Detail of the Rollar Buckle and the Custom Locking Posts

The three D-rings are ideal for “traditional” bondage positions: Attach a leash to the front one and wrist restraints or bondage mitts to the side ones. A handler friend of mine gives his dog elbow and knee pads, fetters his legs with the Fetters Heavy Hogtie Set, clip the bondage mitts to the posture collar and leads his K9 around this way for a more intense animal play headspace. Another top friend of mine attached short leashes to the side D-rings to have something to hold onto while face-fucking his boy who could not turn his head away.

Detail of the Burnished and Dyed Edges and the Padding

Especially on Tumblr I have seen pictures of people incorporating this posture collar into (rope) bondage layouts to completely immobilize a sub. While this collar is good for keeping the sub’s head from moving, the rest of the bondage layout should be equally tight or even tighter. Otherwise the sub might be able to get up and strangle himself.

When I ordered my collar I had it custom made with added locking posts. Especially when it comes to such an intense piece of (stress) bondage gear, hearing the locks lick and the inescapability sink in is a big mindfuck! If you are interested in that option, simply write it as a comment in the ordering process.

Conclusion: Very well made and very strict (stress) bondage collar.
Pro Cons Where to get Price
Reliably keeps the head from almost moving at all Off the rack without locking posts Regulation £149.99
Very well made with attention to detail out of high quality leather
Three D-rings

 

LA Pump Cylinders & Vacuum Pump

La Pump Toys from left to right: Trigger Pump, Nipple Cylinder, Elliptical Cylinder, Thick-Wall Cylinder & Rosebud Cylinder

Vendor: Uberkinky

Construction

The toy you need for all pumping action is the actual pump. I have gotten a very basic one made out of plastic which does the job and is light-weight. One of my more pumping experienced testees actually prefers this kind of pumps for traveling because they are light and simple so are quite sturdy. It has only two moving parts: The grip you pull for pumping and a button for releasing the vacuum located right next to the hose. The hose is 50cm long and made out of transparent silicone with a one connector at the other end which fits into the vacuum valve on the cylinders.

Cylinders are the toys which are put on the body part which should be pumped. All cylinders from LA Pump are handcrafted from a sturdy polymer. The most common cylinders are the ones for pumping your penis and I have gotten two of them. First there is the round thick-wall cylinder which gets his name from the 7mm thick walls. It is rounded at the bottom for a good and comfortable vacuum seal. The other cylinder is an elliptical one so its shape is more like the one of a penis. At the bottom is has a flange which is between 12mm and 17mm wide. The flange distributes the vacuum pressure more evenly making it more comfortable to wear over long time and more intense scenes. To determine the correct size for your cock cylinder a rule of thumb is taking one third of your dick’s circumference as the diameter.

Detail of the Rosebud Cylinder’s Rod

Switching to the body’s rear I have gotten a rosebud cylinder for ass pumping. It is a 165mm long round cylinder with diameter of 75mm which ends in a rounded, elliptical flange which width increases from 11mm to 17mm. In the middle of the cylinder there is 254mm long and 25mm thick rod which is screwed and glues to the cylinder’s top. This rod goes inside your anus. Sadly this cylinder comes in one size only. So if your ass quiet experienced there can be a problem because the rod is too thin to form a vacuum along the sphincter. If that happens, don’t try to forcefully create a vacuum but continue pumping. This can lead to internal injuries!

For going up the torso I have gotten two nipple cylinders. They are 104.5mm long including the vacuum valve and have 7mm flange at the bottom for more comfortable long term scenes. To really feel the vacuum sensation on the nipple the internal diameter should be slightly smaller than areola.

Detail of the Cylinder’s Vacuum Valve and the Hose’s Connector

Playing with the Pump & Cylinders

Getting ready for pumping takes a bit of preparation. The body area onto which the cylinder’s rim sits should be mostly hairless because hair below the rim can prevent a vacuum seal from forming. For a smoother experience some people cover the rim and the bottom 5cm of the cylinder’s inside or the soon to be pumped body area with lube so the skin can get sucked in more easily. Personally I did not feel the need to do so but if you are having a pinching sensation around the cylinder when pumping give it a try.

When you are ready to pump, connect the pump to the cylinder and lightly press the cylinder against your body so the rim sinks into the tissue a bit. Especially with the rosebud cylinder you might need a second person for this because regardless if you are in doggy position or lying on your back, holding the cylinder in place and pumping at the same time is a bit awkward and clumsy.  Slowly start pumping until you feel a bit of a draft sensation. Stop until the sensation slowly fades away, than pump again. The aim of pumping is to maintain a pleasurable pulling sensation all the time. Pumping too quickly can lead to injuries. Good pumps have a gauge so you can see how much suction there is already inside the cylinder. If you want to take a break while pumping and walk around with your cylinder stuck to your body or pump on a different cylinder, push the little leaver on the vacuum vavle and pull the hose connector out. The vacuum will be maintained. To release the vacuum, connect the pump with the cylinder again and push the button next to the hose. When cock pumping I personally prefer the thick-wall cylinder. Due to its thicker wall it is heavier and feeling the heavy, solid cylinder in my hand while I see my dick grow is a horny mindfuck.

Difference of the Cylinder’s Bottom between a Thick-Wall (left) and Elliptical with a Flange (right)

After playing wash the cylinder wish warm soap water and if you use it on multiple partners sanitize it. The agents on the sanitizers can make the polymer dull so be prepared that over time the cylinders will lose a bit of their crystal appeal. Before using the cylinders again they should really be dry including the vacuum valve! Otherwise moisture can get sucked into the pump causing damage in the long run.

So much for the technical part; now to the anatomical. Cock pumps can have a beneficial effect on your sexual health and stamina. Pumping draws blood into the pumped body area increasing the blood flow making getting and maintaining an erecting more easily. Besides blood tissue fluid is getting pumped into the body area giving a puffy feel and increase the temporarily increase the size. When jerking off after pumping it will feel a bit like stroking a stranger’s dick which can be a hot experience on its own. Furthermore the light draft stress of the vacuum makes the nerve endings more sensible which lead to more intense orgasms or more intense nipple or ass play.

The Basic Trigger Pump without a Gauge

Cock pumps are often advertised to facilitate penis growth but sadly there isn’t scientific evidence that even after long and regular pumping your penis will permanently grow significantly. There can be a bit of increase in length and girth but don’t expect the increase to be measurable in centimeters – at least if you are interested in a rock hard dick. If you pump very often and for very extended periods of time the size will increase but the dick will feel soft and soggy because you are basically outstretching the skin and facilitate permanent tissue fluid accumulations. In a worst case scenario your dick will lose its ability to become hard. This “sponge dick” appears when you pump too quickly so the blood shooting into the cavernous bodies damages them. In a really bad case a blood vessel in your erect penis can erupt which is a case to call the ambulance! Pumping “hard” on body areas without cavernous bodies like the ass or nipple is not dangerous but can “just” lead to hematomas.

Conclusion: High quality cylinders with a basic pump.
Pro Cons Where to get Price
Cock & Nipple Cylinders come in various sizes to fit all dick sizes & shapes Rosebud cylinder only comes in one size Thick Wall Cylinder £99.99
Elliptical Cylinder £99.99
Pump has no gauge Nipple Cylinder £69.99
Well made out of high quality materials for a good and comfortable vacuum seal Rosebud Cylinder £159.99
Basic Pump £16.99
Disclaimer: This toy was sent to me by Uberkinky for an honest and unbiased review.
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